Grading the Kindle Fire as Amazon’s Tablet Turns Two

Amazon’s introduction of its new Kindle Fire tablet this week was a marvel to behold and a riddle to deconstruct. The company did almost everything differently. Instead of jamming journalists into a convention center to live-blog the proceedings, Jeff Bezos conducted more than a dozen sit-downs with representatives from print, television, and the blogosphere. In a mild rebuke to the notion that Bezos is averse to the press, reporters were invited, one after another, to visit Amazon headquarters for an audience with the sage of Seattle.

What Bezos talked about in these sessions was illuminating as well. Other Kindle execs briefed journalists on the new, spiffed-up Kindle HDX models. Bezos spent his time talking about the principles that guide Amazon’s Kindle group (“sell premium products at non-premium prices”) as well as such new features as the Mayday button, which summons a live videochat with a customer service rep. At the end of each conversation, Bezos actually did pull out “one more thing” in Jobsian fashion. But it was last year’s Kindle HD, now repurposed at $139, down from an introductory price of $199 last year. It’s the Kindle Fire model with the fewest bells and whistles, not the most, and it was the opposite of what Steve would have pulled out of his bag at the end of a product rollout. Read the full story here on