Kindle Fire HD Coupon – Kindle Fire HD $179 with $20 off Coupon

Amazon has just announced a Kindle Fire HD Coupon for Mother’s Day. Kindle Fire HD is now $179 if you use this $20 off Coupon.

Kindle Fire HD Coupon: FIRE4MOM. Pyromaniacs of the world – Please don’t take this as a green light to burn the outhouse or the garage.

For moms who love movies, magazines, books and more, Kindle Fire HD is the perfect gift. Down from $199 to $179 through Mother’s Day, enter FIRE4MOM at checkout to redeem the discount.

B&N recently took the semi-suicidal step of opening up Google Play Store for Nook HD and Nook HD+. Not content with that little spark, B&N also announced a $50 drop in Nook HD prices to $149 and a massive $90 drop in Nook HD+ prices to $179.

I was hoping Amazon would match – either the Google Play Store addition, or the price drops. Well, a $20 price drop isn’t bad.

Kindle Fire HD Coupon – Is $20 off a good deal?

It’s a good deal but not a great one.

While Amazon OFTEN drops the price of the Kindle Fire HD+, it doesn’t often drop the price of the Kindle Fire HD. There are just 1 or 2 sales I can think of. One was centered around either Black Friday or Holiday Season, and the other was a $20 coupon (if my memory serves me correctly).

$20 off Kindle Fire HD is not bad.

Kindle Fire HD Coupon – Kindle Fire HD at $179 or Nook HD at $149?

This is a tough decision.

Kindle Fire HD used to have a much better ecosystem, but Nook HD now has Google Play Store giving it the edge there.

Both are based on Android 4.0 – However, Kindle Fire HD’s software is more polished.

If you’re an Amazon customer, then Kindle Fire HD is much better. If you’re a B&N customer, then Nook HD is much better.

Nook HD hardware is better (especially the screen) but Kindle Fire HD has better speakers. The difference isn’t much.

Nook HD adding Google Play Store adds in the fact that you can get Kindle for Android and read your Kindle books on Nook HD.

So it’s a very tough decision. You should consider both devices. Nook HD at $149 and Kindle Fire HD at $179 are both real steals.

Kindle Fire China – Amazon ready to launch Kindle Fire in China?

Steven Millward at Tech in Asia reports on Amazon launching the Kindle Fire & Kindle Phone App Store in China. Perhaps we should we call it ‘Amazon App Store’ and pretend its main purpose is something other than selling Kindle Phones and Kindle Fires.

Interestingly, absolutely no one in the US Press is reporting on this. Contrast that with the 200 or 300 technology blogs and newspapers that reported on Nook HD and HD+ opening up to Google Play Store. It’s a striking example of how lost in its own world the main stream tech press can be. The #2 best-selling Tablet in the US will soon be expanding to China and that’s not considered news worthy?

Why Kindle Fire launching in China is a big, big deal

Well, here are a few reasons –

  1. Apple had 18.8% of its earnings from China in the last quarter ($8.2 billion) and considers China to be its most important country going forward (I doubt the latter part, perhaps Apple means ‘most important after US’).
  2. For what it is worth (perhaps nothing at all), some analysts are even saying that China saved Apple’s Earnings in the last quarter.
  3. Amazon currently sells ZERO Kindle Fires officially in China.
  4. Android Tablets dominate in China. If Amazon can have the bestselling Android Tablet in China then it can sell A TON of Kindle Fires. Even being the #2 Bestselling Android Tablet would work wonders for Kindle Fire sales.
  5. Amazon China has been around for a long time. The original company (Joyo) has been selling books since 1999. So Amazon would go in with a trusted brand. Perhaps not as trusted as Apple. However, definitely trusted and well-known to users.
  6. Kindle Fire launching in China would be a precursor to Kindle Phone launching in China. China has the LARGEST population of smart phone users in the world. The huge market opportunity for Kindle Phone and Kindle Fire might even make China the 3rd most important overall market for Amazon after US and UK.
  7. Kindle Fire at $149 and $199 (expected prices for launch) would mean the market for Kindle Fire might be 2-4 times that of the higher priced iPad Mini and iPad.
  8. Kindle Phone being priced lower than iPhone – Again, the market might be 2-4 times larger.

We could just sit here all day and talk about why a market of 1 billion people, hundreds of millions of smart phone owners, and 25+ million Tablet owners is crucial for Amazon. The truth is that Kindle Fire launching in China is a very big deal. Not just for Amazon – also for a lot of other companies. What impact will it have on Apple’s sales? What lessons will it hold for other US companies that want to expand to China?

Will Kindle Fire sell well in China?

This is a tough question for a few reasons –

  1. The first factor is that iPad and iPad Mini have a lot of ‘status signalling power’ in China. This is supposed to be a big deal in China (not an expert, so take it with a grain of salt). Amazon’s Kindle Fire probably will not.
  2. The second factor is that Android Tablets dominate in China. Can Kindle Fire prove more attractive than the Android Tablets already available.
  3. The third factor is that there is a huge market in China for white label Android Tablets in the $50 to $100 range. If Amazon tries the ‘low price, high value’ approach it might find that particular market segment already flooded and overwhelmed by white label tablets.

Update: Google Play apparently doesn’t support paid apps in China. That’s a bit ridiculous. This means that Amazon’s Kindle Fire & Kindle Phone App Store will support paid apps BEFORE Google Play. Making it a great choice for developers and increasing its chances.

Amazon has to pull off a double trick – Maintain ‘Status Signalling Power’ and also undercut Apple on price significantly.

It also has to make its app store seem as attractive as Android. Towards this end it has signed up with companies like Tencent and SINA to provide their well established games and apps via the Amazon App Store. However, there’s no guarantee Chinese users will embrace an App Store that is 1/10th the size of the Android Store and 1/5th the size of the iPad Store. In terms of Tablet optimized apps, perhaps even smaller.

Kindle Fire China – Closing Thoughts

As the US and UK and European markets get saturated and very competitive (especially with Windows 8 Tablets arriving), the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China) are critical in deciding who the big winners and losers will be. This is true for both Smartphones and Tablets.

Amazon is making moves in all 4 BRIC countries –

  1. In Brazil it’s using Kindle and ebooks. Perhaps other moves too.
  2. In Russia there are reports it has gotten permission to start selling goods and services.
  3. In India it’s struck a deal for selling Kindle Fires with the same distributor that distributes iPads and iPad Minis. It has also been buying some companies in India.
  4. In China, it’s making a variety of moves including this move i.e. expanding the Kindle Fire & Kindle Phone App Store to China.

In my opinion, China is the most important of the BRIC countries. India still doesn’t have as much buying power. India is also more competitive because there are far fewer limitations like language – The number of companies that will take China seriously will be lower because of the hassles. Brazil and Russia just aren’t big enough population wise to compete. That leaves China as the single most appealing market out of the BRIC countries.

The expansion of the Kindle Fire & Kindle Phone App Store to China is a very, very big deal. It suggests that by end of 2013 both Kindle Fire and Kindle Phone (assuming it launches in 2013) will be sold in China.

Will Amazon add Google Play Store to Kindle Fire?

B&N has really shaken things up by adding Google Play to Nook HD and HD+. Have been reading comments on articles and forums. It’s interesting to see the number of people who –

  1. Now think Nook HD is the best pure Android Tablet. This includes some big tech bloggers like the one at Verge who ‘wanted to make sweet love to iPhone 5’ (Yes, he actually wrote that).
  2. Have now added Nook HD and HD+ to their list of ‘options to consider for their next tablet’.
  3. Have decided to add a HD or HD+ to their set of Tablets and/or devices.

A LOT of people suddenly are claiming that they will buy and/or consider buying a Nook HD.

Of course, all these data points come with a giant question mark. The people most likely to appreciate Google Play Store on a Nook HD, also happen to be the ones most likely to read tech blogs and comment on them.

It is, however, not out of the realm of possibility that B&N has expanded its market by 50% to 100% with one move. If there are a bunch of tech journalists (and we do use the word journalist lightly) now applauding Nook HD as the ‘Best Android Tablet’ then that will translate into sales sooner or later.

All of this presents quite a big problem for Amazon.

The Tablet Decision Earlier Versus the Tablet Decision Now

Before B&N added Play Store, the Tablet Buying Decision was (think Holiday Season 2012) –

  1. iPad or Something Else. 50% to 60% chose the iPad.
  2. If Something Else, then Google Nexus 7 or Kindle Fire or Samsung or Nook.
  3. If Google Play is a factor, then Nexus 7 or Samsung. Neither of which are super impressive (You have to factor out the ‘OMG it’s pure Google’ factor which makes a lot of people assume Nexus 7 is better than it is). That left two impressive and impressively cheap Tablets – Kindle Fire HD and Nook HD.
  4. Kindle Fire HD had a much better ecosystem than Nook HD. This meant it became the BEST Android based tablet for anyone who didn’t absolutely have to have Google Play Store. It became a strong #1 choice overall because NONE of the Android Based Tablets with Google Play Store were as good as Kindle Fire (Nexus 7 does not really compare with Kindle Fire HD).
  5. All of this meant that Kindle Fire HD was the ‘Best non-iPad Tablet’ for enough people. This led to great sales for Kindle Fire HD.

Now that B&N has added the Play Store to Nook HD and Nook HD+, the Tablet Buying Decision becomes –

  1. iPad or Something Else. 45% to 50% will choose iPad.
  2. If Something Else, then Nexus 7 or Nook or Kindle Fire or Samsung.
  3. If Google Play is a factor, then Nook HD is now the BEST Android Tablet with Google Play. If you detach any personal feelings you might have about the companies, it’s a very clear decision.
  4. If Google Play is not a factor, then Nook HD compares very favorably to Kindle Fire HD because it has fixed its ecosystem disadvantage. You get Nook Store, Google Play Store, and apps for Kindle and Kobo. Nook HD’s Ecosystem is now a major strength instead of a major weakness.
  5. This means that Nook HD is now ‘Best non-iPad Tablet’ often enough to lead to solid, solid sales. It also means that Kindle Fire is no longer the most frequent choice for ‘Best non-iPad Tablet’.

Think of it as – The automatic #2 choice in the Tablet Market is now Nook HD and not Kindle Fire HD. For the majority of people.

Will this really impact Kindle Fire HD and Amazon

Yes.

Firstly, just a 45% to 60% share of the Tablet pie is available for Android Tablets. Rest goes to iPad.

Secondly, that non-iPad Tablet share of the pie is split between LOTS of Tablets. It’s also being eaten into by Windows 8 Tablets.

Thirdly, only the #1 and #2 Android Tablets (#2 and #3 overall Tablets) are going to do well enough to lead to future profits and developer mind share and a consistent stream of apps.

Kindle Fire was the best Android Tablet because of three main reasons – Solid device, Amazon brand and trust, Solid ecosystem.

Nook HD was losing to Kindle Fire because of – Weak Software, Weak Ecosystem, no ‘Nook Tablet’ brand or association.

By adding Google Play, it fixes two things – Firstly, it has a Very Strong Ecosystem now. Secondly, the Press love it and will create a ‘Nook is the best Android Tablet’ narrative.

Keep in mind that a lot of Android Tablet promotion is tied to the ‘open, do no evil, sharing is caring’ party line. Android people just LOVE the magical ‘openness’ of Android. B&N becoming ‘open’ means Nook HD is suddenly in line with the aspirations and dreams and identity of Android people.

It’s a pretty big deal. You can read the posts and see that people are so happy that B&N has ‘seen the light of openness’. It’s not just in the comments. Lots of the articles themselves have this rather interesting ‘finally, you have seen the light, my dear lost B&N’ quality about them.

People love someone who has ‘seen the light’ more than those who never strayed from the path of righteousness

Google Nexus 7 now becomes boring. Where’s the story and magic in a device that was always open?

On the other hand, Nook HD and HD+ present the press and Android people with the perfect opportunity – Look, it really does help to be open and good and do no evil. B&N Nook was closed and was dying. It then embraced openness and it prospered.

The Press are absolutely going to pump up Nook HD and HD+. Android people are 100% going to buy Nook devices.

Nook HD and HD+ succeeding now becomes part of the Android Dream.

What does that mean?

Android loving press and people will put their weight behind Nook HD and HD+.

Nook sales will increase at least 50% just from Android People and from gushing Press Coverage. Instead of talking about the ‘sluggish software’ (which is only an issue on closed tablets), the Press will talk about the Strong and Open Ecosystem.

Sales might even double. Plus the normal every day user will hear ‘Nook HD is Best Android Tablet’ so often, that sales to everyday users might increase too.

There wasn’t really a beautiful hardware Android Tablet. Nexus 7 was good but not beautiful. Now there is. And it’s OPEN.

B&N’s Nook HD and HD+ now have 710,000 Apps Versus Kindle Fire’s 50,000 to 60,000 Apps

Here’s the actual break up (assumptions) –

  1. Tablet optimized Apps – 10K from Nook Store and 20K from Play Store. That’s 30K for Nook HD. Kindle Fire HD – 15K out of the 50K apps are tablet optimized.
  2. ‘Work somewhat decently on Tablets’ Apps – 10K from Nook Store and 50K from Play Store. That’s 60K for Nook HD. Kindle Fire HD – 25K out of the 50K.
  3. Total Apps (whether or not they work) – 710,000 for Nook HD. 60,000 for Kindle Fire HD.

Guess which comparison the Press will fixate on?

Keep in mind that Nook HD is now the prodigal son who has returned home. The Press will magically forget to mention that only 30,000 out of those 710,000 Apps are actually optimized to work well on Android Tablets.

How long will it take Kindle Fire Store to get from 60,000 total Apps to 710,000 total Apps. Well, it might never happen. There might never be 710,000 apps in the Kindle Fire HD store. If Kindle Fire HD Store actually hits 710,000 total apps it might take 3 to 4 years. Android Store will have 2 million Apps by then. It’s really, really hard for Amazon to catch up.

Amazon has well and truly lost the ‘We have more Apps that will never work on your Tablet’ battle. The Press will never mention that it’s actually 15,000 Tablet optimized Apps on Kindle Fire HD Versus 30,000 Tablet Optimized Apps on Nook HD. It’ll always be 50,000 Versus 710,000.

Anyone who wants Play Store, or for whom Apps are a big deal – Nook HD wins almost every time over Kindle Fire HD.

Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD is in a LOT of trouble

Notice all the Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ sales? Notice the price drop of the Kindle Fire HD? Notice how Amazon is, for the first time ever, discounting Kindle devices within 3-4 months of launch?

Take a look – Amazing Shrinking Price of Kindle Fire HD 8.9″.

That suggests Kindle Fire HD and Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ sales were already under pressure from iPad Mini (and to an extent from Nexus 7).

Nook HD just went from ‘beautiful device with buggy software and tiny ecosystem’ to ‘beautiful device with massive ecosystem and buggy software’. It’s become very compelling.

There will now be three devices cutting into Kindle sales – iPad Mini, Nook HD, Nexus 7. It’s also worth nothing that Nook HD has WAY more retail distribution than any other Android Tablet. It’s also sold in WalMart and Target while Kindle Fire HD is not.

B&N has put its own ebook and movie revenues streams in danger. However, it has ensured good sales for Nook HD and HD+. At least until a markedly better Android Tablet comes along. It has also put Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD in a lot of trouble.

Will Amazon add Google Play Store to Kindle Fire?

Well, it doesn’t really have an option. It either adds Google Play Store to Kindle Fire or it loses a significant amount of market share.

  1. If Amazon doesn’t add Google Play Store then it’ll slowly and steadily lose market share. This might not seem like a big deal, at first. However, over time, this would mean less developers want to make apps for Kindle Fire (they would all flock to iPad and Windows and Android).
  2. We now have iPad which has the most and the best apps, Android which has the 2nd most apps (though not really very good ones), and Windows 8 which is adding apps at a ridiculously high pace (10K per month). After all of those, we have Kindle Fire which has a low number of apps and the quality isn’t as good as iPad. That means Kindle Fire becomes, in effect, the Tablet with the WORST choice of Apps. It doesn’t make up things in Quality either – because most of the apps are apps ported over from Android.
  3. Amazon will have to open up Kindle Fire HD to the Google Play Store. Sooner or later.

It can’t continue without Google Play Store unless it’s willing to lose market share. It could avoid Google Play Store while it had the best ecosystem out of the two non-iPad Tablets that were very good. But now B&N has that distinction.

Amazon will be very, very, very reluctant to give up its ecosystem and customers to Google. That means it’ll wait for one more Holiday Season. Which means it will suffer some market share losses. Depending on how aggressive Google is with Nexus 7 pricing, and depending on how aggressive B&N is with Nook HD pricing, Kindle Fire HD might lose a lot of market share.

What will Amazon do?

It’s hard to say. There are 4 major paths forward –

  1. Drop the prices of Kindle Fire HD and Kindle Fire HD 8.9″.
  2. Ignore lost customers and focus on customers loyal to Amazon.
  3. Add Google Play Store.
  4. Ramp up the rate at which Apps are added to its store.

The 2nd and 4th are very painful to do. That leaves just the 1st and 3rd.

Note: The 2nd would not be painful for Apple. For a company like Amazon that wants and needs large numbers of customers, it is very painful to lose potential ‘socks & sink buying’ customers.

My prediction: Amazon first tries a price drop and a ramp-up in the number of apps added. After 6-9 months it realizes the futility of it and adds Google Play Store. Which would mean that Google’s Android OS gets a really good shot at becoming the dominant Tablet OS and staying that way for a long time.