Which are the most popular Amazon devices?
When Amazon announced the first Kindle EBR (E-Book Reader) in 2007, there was a lot of skepticism. One big argument was that Amazon was a retailer (and primarily a content retailer), not a manufacturer. “They don’t know how to do hardware” and “Who would buy a device made by Amazon?”
Well, the answer to the latter was…a lot of people. 🙂
Much of the doubt came from techies…many of the purchases did not.
The Kindle appealed, in my opinion, in part because it was from Amazon.
The people who bought it were readers, and still thought of Amazon as “Earth’s Biggest Bookstore”. Other EBRs at the time (and there were more than ten models in the USA market…they just weren’t selling much) required you to plug the device into a computer to transfer the books…pretty clunky for a non-techie. Another big appeal of the Kindle, then, was the wireless connection to the store. Buying books was easy…many people found it too easy. 😉
Even at roughly $400, the Kindle was a hit. Over time, the price came down and more capabilities (including text-to-speech with the Kindle 2, and international access) were added.
The skepticism was back in 2011, when Amazon decided to enter the tablet market. This was moving out of their area of dominance (bookselling), and directly competing with well established hardware manufacturers.
The Kindle Fire (later just the Fire tablet) was a hit.
In April 2014, Amazon introduced the Fire TV, again, going head to head against established players.
The Fire TV was a hit.
In June 2014, Amazon introduced the Fire Phone, once again, daring to challenge the favorites.
It flopped…badly. 😉
I should say, I bought a Fire Phone when it first came out for full price (about $200), and it has been my daily use SmartPhone ever since. It has served me reasonably well, although it isn’t my favorite SmartPhone I’ve owned.
In November of that same year, Amazon announced the Echo, and slowly rolled it out. This was really establishing a new market, arguably even more so than the original Kindle did (although it wasn’t completely unprecedented).
That’s been big, and the family of Echo products is about to expand with new releases coming March 31st (I’ve ordered both the Tap and the Dot…and predicted the Dot would be a big hit, almost a necessity for many people, while the Tap will be a gadget, an optional luxury).
So, which Amazon hardware products are selling (or pre-selling) the best right now?
I took a look at the
The first thing that struck was that eight of the top ten electronics best sellers at Amazon are Amazon products. That certainly didn’t used to be true (Google’s Chromestick was #1 for a while), and the other two are…instant film? Are those really part of electronics?
Okay, let’s start looking at the ranking:
- $50 (roughly) Fire tablet…I have one of these, but it’s really for guests. Inexpensive, not top of the line, but serviceable…that’s Amazon’s sweet spot for electronics
- Amazon Fire TV Stick: I use one of these every day. It’s what runs our bedroom TV. It’s about $40, and has some cool features, including (with an optional voice remote, or through the app on your Smartphone) the Alexa Voice Service
- Amazon Echo: an important part of our household. 🙂 It’s not inexpensive at about $180. When our adult kid was visiting, we had it unplugged for several days (I think like a lot Millenials, our kid didn’t like that it was listening for the “wake word” all the time). We did miss using it, although we could control our home automation using apps on our phones
- Echo Dot: it’s pretty amazing that this is number four in electronics in all of Amazon, given that you can only order it through an Echo right now (well, there are some convoluted workarounds). This one will go in our bedroom (the Echo is in the family room). It’s going to give people that “Star Trek computer” effect, and this is better than the original Echo for audiophiles. Why? It can either cable out or do Bluetooth to high end speakers (like a BOSE). The Echo has a good speaker: I’m impressed with it. It doesn’t have a luxury, top of the line speaker…and the Tap can connect to one, while the original Echo can not
- Fujifilm instant film
- Kindle Paperwhite: I use one of these a few times a week. It’s a great device at $120. If somebody told me they just wanted to get a Kindle, this is the model I’d recommend
- Kindle Fire Kids Edition for about $80
- Fire TV Stick with Voice Remote: that is really what we have, but the voice remote broke. I’ve found those voice remotes to be pretty unreliable: I’ve had a few fail
- Fujifilm instant film
- Amazon Fire TV: we use this a lot. It’s what runs our TV in the family room
Looking at some of the other Amazon device ranks in the top 100:
24. The $80, least expensive Kindle
33. Kindle Voyage, the most expensive, top of the line Kindle. I use one of these every day
37. Fire HD 8″ tablet
57. Fire HD 10″ tablet
It’s clear looking at this that Amazon is a diverse hardware company. Right up towards the top is a tablet, an EBR, Echo family, and a Fire TV product.
I also think it’s pretty clear that less expensive sells more units for Amazon.
I think over the next year or so, the Dot will move up even further, and will probably be #1 for at least a short period.
I’m not thinking Amazon will introduce its own SmartPhone again in the near future, but we will see Alexa on other branded phones.
What else could Amazon introduce?
My guess is something small and super portable with Alexa. That could be a SmartWatch…but it might also be positioned a fitness tracker (of course, it could do both). It would have the Alexa Voice Service, and work with headphones as well as a relatively tinny speaker, perhaps. 🙂 I’d like to see it do text-to-speech, as the Echo now does. If it was a watch, getting alerts on sales (purely optional, of course…although turning it off might be buried in the menus) might be great, especially at the holidays.
What do you think? What should Amazon do in the future with hardware? What will they do (two different questions)? Feel free to tell me and my readers by commenting on this post.
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This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.