Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD: A Stealth BYOD Tablet Competitor
Amazon announced today that its Kindle Fire HD tablet offerings will rocket from availability in just seven markets (U.S., U.K., Germany, France, Spain, Italy and Japan) to 170+ countries in mid-June. The 7” and 8.9” Amazon Kindle Fire HD models have enjoyed great success in the consumer market, as Forrester predicted they would even before the first device was released in November, 2011.
The move to expand geographically makes sense, as Amazon continues to capitalize on its core strength – its content + device + services value proposition – in consumer markets. Perhaps less obviously, though, Kindle Fire HD has turned out to be something of a stealth competitor in the bring-your-own-device (BYO) space.
In a survey of information workers in the U.S., Canada, U.K., France, and Germany – fielded from February to April 2013 – we found that, among those who say they use a tablet at least weekly for work:
- Amazon’s Kindle Fire ranks #3 overall among tablets used for work. At 9% of information workers in aggregate across those five markets, Kindle Fire ranks behind overwhelming market leader Apple iPad (53%) and second-place player Samsung Galaxy (18%). Samsung Galaxy is explicitly targeted at enterprises and business use (in addition to its more consumer-flavored offerings), so some of its market share comes from company-issued devices (rather than from BYO). Amazon’s third-place finish is pretty impressive for a consumer-oriented tablet with strong origins in ebooks and media.
- Among American information workers, Amazon Kindle Fire ties for #2. At 15% of U.S. information workers, the Amazon Kindle Fire ties with Samsung’s Galaxy for second place among tablets used at work. The tablet doesn’t have quite as strong a presence in the U.K., France, or Germany (and isn’t yet available in Canada) but its position in the U.S. is a leading indicator of work usage elsewhere.
Percentage of information workers who use a tablet for work weekly saying they use an Amazon Kindle Fire
The Kindle Fire’s success in workplaces rests squarely on BYO behaviors, since the device isn’t sold directly to enterprises. But the Kindle Fire HD does have some basic work-related functionality, as Amazon describes on this page: Support for ActiveSync (and thus Exchange email and calendars); Skype app; WebEx; VPN; and a preloaded OfficeSuite app to view Microsoft Office documents. There’s also a 4G LTE option on some models, which allows mobile parity with Apple’s iPad and iPad Mini devices.
Given the available size categories, it’s unlikely that users are doing heavy computing. Communications and content consumption are the likely scenarios these workers are achieving. (Please note that I don’t believe most tablets are limited to ‘consumption’ activities as a general rule, though).
With Amazon rumored to have plans for a 10” tablet, the range of BYOD computing activities can only continue to grow. Prepare to see more workers bringing them into the workplace – now globally – in the near future.