Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A Cheaper Tablet Arrives, Kindle On Fire

Hello tablet competition with the arrival of a new tablet from Amazon at a price point that just might make Apple and others blush. Priced at less than half the price of the iPad, the Kindle Fire may just appeal to the budget conscious consumer seeking a mobile screen for web connection. It may not offer some handy features like a "camera, microphone or 3G connectivity", it does connect to the web and enable streaming of all data. Listen to songs, watch a video, read a book, buy on Amazon, the Kindle Fire may be exactly what the consumer seeks in a lower cost model.

But if brand and the added capabilities that go with the Apple experience are what suit you, than price will not sway you from an iPad purchase. That is certainly what Apple hopes although their October press announcement could include some iPad updates. Still quiet is Barnes & Noble's Nook tablet. Staying on the sideline is not be a smart tactic and B&N is expected to have another trick up their sleeve in order to stay ahead of Amazon in the tablet race. The timing is certainly key as the Holiday Season is just around the corner.

The $199 price point is said to be a loss leader for Amazon. It's unique strategy is to get the Kindle Fire into many hands and make the return on the content that is purchased for the device. To this strategy, content is king, and Amazon needs to announce some unique, exclusive content to drive its distribution strategy. As Apple leads with a brand leader and market share, it is keen to make its return in the purchase and the content. Even without buying downloads, the iPad becomes an important companion in an Apple home, tied to the iPhone and mac. The introduction of the iCloud only solidifies that connectivity of devices. And for the Nook, a differentiation strategy is required to separate yourself from both the Kindle Fire, which shares your Google Android operating system, and the iPad. It's time to see more muscle.

So if you're waiting on the sidelines to buy a tablet, this Holiday could be your time. Enjoy!

LightSquared True Wireless Motives

Is LightSquared about political and personal fortune at the expense of the public, or are they truly wanting to build a better mousetrap that will improve connectivity and give consumers another choice? "LightSquared wants to build a network with 40,000 towers across the U.S. using spectrum that was originally set aside for satellite phones. Rather than selling cellphone service directly to consumers, the company plans to offer its network to other wireless carriers and companies such as Best Buy Co."

The 21st Century could soon be declared the beginning of the connected consumer. We feel the need to be connected via the web, whether we are in our house or on an airplane, at the supermarket or riding the subway. And when we are not connected, we feel a loss, unable to make a call, send a tweet, play a game of Words With Friends. Connectivity could soon be declared a required right like food, shelter, and clothing.

Seriously, the need for connectivity, at a low cost, makes the entry of LightSquared an important competitor in what has slowly become a limited market of players. That their entry occurs without interfering with other GPS signals and affecting safety is essential. And lastly, that the politics of lobbying and electorial support can be withdrawn so that the true opportunity for the economics of business to take control. "The debate heated up when the Center for Public Integrity, a nonprofit investigative news organization, published White House emails showing LightSquared officials boasting of campaign donations while trying to schedule meetings with White House officials." This may be "business as usual", but it would be best to remove the politics and let the consumer push for LightSquared support.

The need for more broadband and wireless players in the market is essential. With AT&T's desire to purchase T-Mobile and the cable companies continuing to converge, LightSquared could be a well needed player. Get the technology right and let free market rule,