Amazon.com's Kindle Fire tablet, which is slated to ship tomorrow, is attracting plenty of early interest from developers, based on a survey of more than 2,000 developers conducted early this month.
In their most recent quarterly survey on mobile OS trends, mobile application development software vendor Appcelerator and analyst firm IDC found that the Kindle Fire had topped the Samsung Galaxy Tab tablet as the most popular Android tablet in North America. It has a level of interest about equal to what Apple's iPad had registered just prior to launch in April 2010. Forty-nine percent of developers in North America polled said they were very interested in building for the Kindle Fire in the latest survey; 53 percent had wanted to build for iPad when it first appeared. Worldwide, the Kindle Fire attracted interest from 43 percent of developers, second only to Samsung Galaxy Tab in the Android category with 56 percent. The survey involved 2,160 developers using the Appcelerator Titanium application development platform.
The Kindle Fire features a 7-inch, multitouch display, Wi-Fi, and Amazon's Silk Web browser, but it lacks features like a microphone and camera. Accessibility to Amazon's vast library of content and the device's $199 price tag make the Kindle Fire attractive, said Scott Schwarzhoff, Appcelerator's vice president of marketing.
The Kindle Fire, however, has its drawbacks for developers, notably that it perpetuates fragmentation in the Android space, Schwarzhoff said. "The Kindle Fire will introduce a separate Android development path for developers," he said. "It's yet another version -- and a very distinct version -- that developers will have to keep track of." Still, this problem "is not going to be a showstopper."
The Kindle Fire could jump-start an Android market that has faced setbacks in Appcelerator's survey. Overall, developer interest in Android smartphones fell about 4 points to 83 percent while Android tablets dropped almost six points to 68 percent. Android tablets "are not competing favorably against the iPad," Schwarzoff said.