Robust Kindle Fire sales over the month of December (Amazon already has said it sold four million of the devices before the end of December 2011) illustrate both the role of content consumption and mobile commerce as lead applications for tablets and other mobile devices.

Separately, Apple says it will hold a media event in late January 2012, with speculation that it has something to do with either advertising or content. That would illustrate the growing content consumption role of devices in general, with a strong tie to mobile commerce.

The Kindle Fire interface, for example, features tabs for “Newsstand, Books, Music, Videos, Docs, Apps, Web.” That is perhaps the most-logical way to organize a content consumption device.

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But each tab is a gateway to commerce, namely, the ordering of new content to put in user libraries.

Kindle Fire users seem quite happy with the product, in general, according to analyst Gene Munster. Personally, I find the device a big sluggish.

Most people probably won’t care about the Kindle Fire media consumption format and the tight integration with Amazon shopping services for buying content.

Also, though it is obvious why Amazon has optimized the user interface around content consumption, the experience, for me, is a bit too much like a single-purpose device (TV, radio, Sirius XM, iPod) than general-purpose appliance. That’s just my preference: most people will enjoy it.

Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster said half of the 8,529 Fire reviews he surveyed gave the tablet 5 out of 5 stars, compared with 48 percent of those polled who gave the tablet a 5-star review on 13 December and 47 percent who gave the tablet a 5-star review on December 8, 2011.

The point is that both content consumption and commerce are becoming defining features of most mobile devices. We have been fond of saying mobile phones have become “computers.”
It might be more appropriate to say they have become content consumption and mobile commerce platforms.

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