Mobile Mavens

The PocketGamer.biz Mobile Gaming Mavens on Amazon stoking the Android fire with Kindle

The PocketGamer.biz Mobile Gaming Mavens on Amazon stoking the Android fire with Kindle

The PocketGamer.biz Mobile Mavens is our panel of experts drawn from all sectors of the mobile gaming industry.

After much speculation, Amazon has lifted the lid on its new range of Kindle Fire devices, with the tablet for the first time making its way across the Atlantic to launch in the UK.

The news came just days after the online retail giant also unleashed its Appstore for Android across the EU5.

So, we asked the Mavens:

What has Amazon brought to the Android table that Google hadn't, and does its vertical strategy – handling both the hardware itself and the vehicles for the software that runs on it – make it a more attractive proposition than standard OEMs?

Jussi Laakkonen CEO / Founder Applifier

Amazon is synonymous with effortless buying - hello there, infamous 1-Click patent. Amazon learned how to take that effortless buying first to the Kindle e-readers and have very successfully carried it over to Kindle Fire tablets.

Even though the Kindle Fire was clearly a compromise on hardware to meet the low price point, the device is a very well integrated whole that ties into your existing Amazon identity and most importantly to your credit cards.

That combined with the smaller supply of games has made Kindle Fire a good ecosystem for some smaller developers with higher install numbers, higher ARPUs and even absolute revenues. The install base is still so small that Amazon really needs to deliver with the new Kindle Fire devices to make it viable for developers to consider to go "Kindle Fire first".

What Amazon has definitely managed to do, is to force Google to move faster. Nexus 7's aggressive pricing is in part due to the strategic competition with Amazon and Google has invested heavily into content by e.g. transforming the Android Market into a true horizontal content play including music, videos, TV and games.

Competition here is great for consumers and great for developers, so I'm very excited for the product launches this fall with new Kindle Fires and the rumoured mini iPad.

Kyu Lee President (Gamevil USA) Gamevil

Kyu has been at GAMEVIL since the beginning in 2000 and has constantly played a key role in the evolution of Korean mobile gaming, continuously introducing innovation to the world.

Kyu graduated from Seoul National University with a BS in Physics and is currently on the board of advisory at GDC Mobile.

Just like Apple brought in the MP3 Player market to smartphones, Amazon has brought in the eBook market to Android tablets.

The most important vertical that Amazon has brought is its "users", not its "software" or "hardware".

Volker Hirsch Co-Founder / Board Member Blue Beck

Alongside multiple industry roles, Volker is the co-founder Oystercrowd, Blue Beck, and Digital M. Former posts at BlackBerry and Scoreloop add to an enviable CV, which also includes the co-founding of Connect2Me

The point is neither about hardware nor software - it is about user experience. And this is where it gets interesting, because Amazon is one of the very few companies that can "fake" vertical integration without actually owning the plastic.

The reason? Amazon owns the user experience and this is what counts.

Amazon has the experience and access to ecosystem - product, billing, fulfilment - to provide a seamless user experience and the firm has the trust of the user. Why? Because Amazon delivered! Always!

It is, therefore, at the same time intriguing and exciting to watch: we have one OEM who showed everyone (Apple), one who promises to show (BlackBerry) and one who can't (Google). And now we have someone who owns everything other than the silicon (Amazon) and starts to show.

I wonder how long Google will put up with it.

John Golden Senior Director of Marketing PlayPhone

I agree with Jussi and Volker.

Amazon is a retail powerhouse that knows how to sell product to its user base via a seamless experience and can exploit the millions of credit cards they have stored. Google doesn’t know retail. Yet.

Charles Chapman Director / Owner First Touch Games

As the others have said, it's all about the user accounts. I understand Amazon are second only to Apple in terms of numbers of user accounts - and therefore credit cards - leading to ultra-low friction for purchases, and the reported higher ARPU.

It'll be interesting to see what level of penetration they can get with the Amazon App Store onto non Amazon devices, particularly phones - for an average user with a non Amazon device it'll need something pretty special to install an app store other than Google Play. The daily free apps will no doubt help here though.

Also, at the moment, Amazon are tablets only - ignoring the fact that you can install the store on a phone - and whilst tablets are growing massively, our experience is that it's still on phones that the vast majority of revenue is made, so I would expect the big money on Android still being made on Google Play despite the lower APRU.


With a fine eye for detail, Keith Andrew is fuelled by strong coffee, Kylie Minogue and the shapely curve of a san serif font.

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