When the 1st iPad launched back in 2012 the other Apple competitors tried to bring to market a competitor with the same 10 inch form factor and higher pricing. The user experience was different, in a bad way, so it’s no wonder the whole thing didn’t caught on and two years after the official launch of the slate tablet concept only Apple managed to sell tens of millions units.

Late in 2011 Amazon realized the potential and it launched a completely different form factor, the cheap (read affordable) 7 inch Kindle Fire. Since the it seems all other manufacturers have realized the potential of offering something different, an alternative to the iPad (now reaching 3rd generation), so consumers have can choose something more pocketable, a characteristic that can’t be attributed to the bigger 4:3 aspect ratio iPad.

Why was the Kindle Fire a success?

The success of the Amazon Kindle Fire was attributed to the fact it was affordable, as a tablet should be in my opinion. Why? Because slates are not workstations, they’re just entertainment devices that don’t need something special to make them good at what they do.

I know it sounds a little bit too abstract, but tablets are just for entertainment, for the time we don’t want to work. Amazon knew that and it focused its Kindle tablet on movies, music, magazines, ebook and apps, which the company is happy to provide since it owns all these streaming services in the Cloud.

Amazon Kindle Fire opened the road for 7 inch tablets
Credit: Amazon.com

2012 is a turning point

That’s why Amazon’s Kindle was a success. But is it still the best tablet you can buy in 2012? I think it’s time is gone, and not because of the new iPad 3, but because Samsung, Asus, Toshiba, Acer and all other competitors are now aiming to bring to market affordable 7 inch tablets. My take would be for anyone who thinks it wants a new tablet this year to wait just a few more months until all these cheap 7 inch Android tablets will make it in stores this summer. Scan for competitive offers and make your move.

Especially interesting is the Samsung Galaxy TAB 2 (7.0), which will retail for just 250 bucks while providing all the amenities the Kindle Fire doesn’t: stock Android 4.0 ICS, dual cameras, double the RAM, a slicked body and the Samsung brand to back it up. You can’t just ignore these things, that’s why I suggest you watch out for 7 inch tablets this year: that’s where the most important products are, and consumers are in for a surprise when it comes to features and price, the factors that made the iPad the tablet that it is today.