Who's buying Kindle Fire?

On September 30, I asked: "Will you buy Kindle Fire?" Based on responses to our survey, your comments and a study showing some people putting off iPad 2 purchases for Kindle Fire, the question could have been: "Why won't you buy Kindle Fire?" Many people plan to, and Amazon will make it easy. Unlike the original Kindle's debut, exclusively through Amazon, Fire sells in stores like Best Buy. Actually, Amazon plans broad retail availability, giving Kindle Fire the kind of distribution needed to take on other Android tablets and, of course, iPad 2.

Among the 1,156 BetaNews survey respondents, 31.66 percent already preordered Kindle Fire -- another 23.26 percent plan to purchase within 3 months. I'll skip to the punchline: Only 28.89 percent of respondents "have no plans" to buy Amazon's Android tablet. I've embedded the survey below for some fresh responses and expect the numbers to go up. The responders aren't qualified, meaning we don't know who they are but assume many are techies like you.

Kindle Fire is scheduled to ship tomorrow, but Amazon's website says "ships today". "We’re thrilled to be able to ship Kindle Fire to our customers earlier than we expected", Dave Limp, Kindle vice president, says. That's good marketing -- deliver more than promised.

"Kindle Fire quickly became the bestselling item across all of Amazon.com, and based on customer response we’re building millions more than we’d planned", he continues.

Among Fire's most appealing attributes is price -- $199. According to a different BetaNews survey, $199 is the selling sweet spot. We asked: "What price would be low enough for you to buy a media tablet?" The majority, 30.53 percent, answered $199. For more than 60 percent of respondents, it's $199 or less.

That price puts Fire at half the cost of iPad 2, and with similar supporting benefits. Amazon is creating a curated experience. Like Apple, the online retailer takes complete control over the entire stack -- software, hardware, cloud services, retail sales and customer support. Fire features an Amazon-customized version of Android 2.x, its own Android app store, music and movie stores, ebook store, web browser and customized media consumption software and services. Amazon also brings to bear a popular brand, and loads of extras, such as free movies and TV shows and book lending for Prime members. Amazon Prime is a $79/year service that provides free two-day shipping for up to four accounts in the same residence/family.

Today, IDC released a study finding that Kindle Fire is now the most popular Android tablet among developers. So what about you?

Buyers and Naysayers

I preordered, for my wife, as an early Christmas present. Amazon charged my credit card today but hasn't yet shipped Fire. Commenter Darell did likewise -- "for my son who just started college. We have three Kindles in our family and love them. I'm betting the Fire will be as enjoyable. the other thing I consider is, at $199, I can always afford to buy the upgrade in 6 months".

iPad comparisons irk some Betanews readers. "It's a 7-inch ereader with some bells and whistles", writes geomarks. "It's not in the same league as the iPad -- totally different devices with arguably different markets". RCS_hkt responds:

Exactly. It is designed to provide the same basic functionality at a much lower price. When people shop for gifts they buy based on price points, not specs. It will sell like crazy this Xmas and beyond that will sell well because many mass market consumers are more concerned with price than with having absolutely the highest spec device on the planet. Two completely different markets. That's why companies like Walmart can exist.

According to a study Retrevo published last week, 27 percent of existing tablet owners plan to buy Fire this holiday, compared to 20 percent for iPad 2. The markets may be different, but Retrevo's study shows potential sales pull away: 44 percent of respondents are interested in buying Fire instead of Apple's tablet.

internetworld7: "I'll buy a Kindle Fire when it runs iOS and is MADE BY APPLE". Good luck with that. dougau: "Yeah sure, I'm going to buy one of everything, let the bank take my house and go protest on Wall Street!!" Excellent, when cops jail all the Occupy Wall Street protesters, you'll have something to read in the slammer.

Commenter Defunct Online represents the kind of user who might have moved up from Kindle to iPad 2 but plans on Kindle Fire instead:

To be bluntly honest, the Kindle Fire really doesn't have the specs that a lot of people demand from their Tablets. However, I am going to buy one- and this is why. I have been a Kindle owner for 3 years now. I absolutely love my Kindle. But more than that, when I have run into issues with my Kindle, Amazon's support has been utterly and completely fantastic. So, for $199, I see no reason why I shouldn't eventually upgrade to the Kindle Fire. No, I am not preordering, but I know I will eventually get it. After all, I can still read my Kindle books and do a lot more than I can currently do with my Kindle.

Did you buy? Will you? Please answer in comments below and the poll above.

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