The Amazon Kindle Fire tablet has launched after a couple of months of heavy pre-publicity and already is being hailed as the iPad 2 killer. We have seen a number of tablets launched in the past 18 months and most have either died quietly or trundled along with a low sales volume. Microsoft has just killed off its Courier tablet, leaving the field wide open to Apple.
We have written about the game-changing nature of the tablet for event and meeting planners this year and the arrival of the Kindle Fire adds weight to our arguments around the urgent need for event professionals to understand the effect these devices will have on the conference/exhibition/seminar space over the next year.
These devices join the laptop/notebook and smartphone to form a fierce trinity of bandwidth guzzlers. Any meeting design simply has to acknowledge this fact and prepare to meet the demands on network connectivity that this trinity will impose.
Event attendees will be using one or more wifi-enabled devices during sessions and in the spaces in between. By their nature, these devices can download video, audio, animation and other bandwidth-hungry data – and attendees will want to experience similar levels of service that they have in their own homes.
Agile meeting design that focuses on network connectivity management will provide that level of service and so should in turn deliver maximum return on investment for any event.
Why have we focused on the Kindle Fire launch? Because this device has brand trust behind it (Amazon), is priced at a mouth-watering $199 and comes with free access for a month to a range of video services. Head-to-head with the iPad 2, it clearly lacks features but the iPad is $499, and is a part of the closed garden strategy that Apple continues to pursue. You can see the specifications for the two devices here.
The only potential crusher to a Christmas Amazon bonanza is the persistent rumour that the Kindle Fire is a stop-gap launch, with a more powerful, better specified device due out in early 2012. But at the price point, we think many will choose to dive in now and upgrade in the New Year, if Amazon does indeed launch a better model. The name is also exceptionally cool.
As of this week, there is no news yet on a UK launch date but it cannot be far way – if Amazon misses the Christmas rush, then it might struggle to persuade people to buy in the New Year.
The advent of Kindle Fire means that in 2012, event planners will see growing demands on network connectivity as attendees soak up the bandwidth with multiple devices. We continue to argue strongly that event professionals will need to understand the network connectivity being offered at their chosen venue, will need to know how to manage this cost-effectively and will need to partner with an network connectivity expert who can guide them. The mother of event disasters awaits those who do not take this to heart.