Earlier today, Paul covered the news of Amazon.com's latest Kindle Fire releases. I have a first-generation Kindle Fire and while it's a neat device, I handed it over to my 4 year old a long while ago. To me, the sliding bookshelf interface makes it more of a novelty than anything. It's much better placed in the hands of a youngster who doesn't have real work to do and would rather make on-screen cupcakes, stir virtual cake batter, and glitterize cartoon toes than answer email or produce business-required documents.
So, it's interesting to see that Amazon is promoting the new Kindle Fire devices as "built for work and play." In my wildest fantasy, I have never once considered a Kindle Fire as a tablet I expect to see in a business setting (not that I truly fantasize about tablets, mind you), however, Amazon has quietly developed Enterprise-like features into the new devices.
The new devices include:
- Enterprise email
- Exchange ActiveSync support
- VPN Client
- Wireless Printing
- Office compatible productivity suite
- Mobile Device Management (MDM) support
- Hardware data encryption
Amazon has the features listed in a special "Get Work done on Kindle" section of their web site.
I suspect Amazon has something up their sleeve here. Microsoft just unveiled the Surface 2 devices, but stuck with close-to-original Surface pricing, which will turn a lot of people off. The Kindle Fire devices are all priced under $500. In fact, the most expensive model, the 8.9" Fire HDX with 64 GB, is just $479.
Amazon, of course, needs to work on hardware add-ons. Throw in a keyboard like I suggested will make the Surface Pro sell, and Amazon may make some quick penetration into the Enterprise. And, incidentally, the new Kindle Fire comes in 4G LTE models for both AT&T and Verizon. Microsoft has only rumored that a LTE SDK may show up sometime next year, forcing business users to remain Wi-Fi only.
Still…that stupid interface…
What do you think? Does adding Enterprise features make the Kindle Fire an Enterprise class device? Or, is it more like trying to enter a 1976 Volkswagen Beetle in the Indy 500?