The Latest "iPad Killer"

The iPad has been on the market for less than two years (delivery of the iPad1 started in March 2010), but ever since Apple essentially invented the market for tablet devices, competitors have been trying to edge their way into the market. The most notable true competitors have been the Samsung Galaxy, HP TouchPad, Motorola Xoom and BlackBerry PlayBook. There was also the related market of "readers," tablet-sized devices that were primarily, if not only, designed for eBook downloads and reading. The leaders among the "readers" were Amazon's Kindle and the Nook (from the now defunct bookseller Borders). Readers have always been considerably lower-priced, but at the expense of functionality. But the new big news is that the latest version of the Kindle is going to be a major pain in Apple's side, and the biggest-ever real threat to the iPad. It is smaller. It is less-functioned than the iPad. It has no camera. It isn't a phone. Perhaps these features will come with future versions or as optional add-ons, but as CNET's Molly Wood says, the new Kindle will be a real iPad threat. Why? "It's the price, stupid." The Kindle's price? $199. In the current economy, somebody "thinking" about a tablet might have qualms about spending $600-$800 for an iPad, but much less concern about putting out $199 for the Kindle. Sometimes, less for less is a good deal, and it can lead to the real "mainstreaming" of a new technology. The iPad was the innovator model; it's recent similarly-priced and featured competitors have been the model for other early adapters; but the Kindle (and whatever companies copy the idea) will be the tablet for mass adoption.