The Counter-Intuitive Successes of the iPod and the Kindle

As I read the various recent articles about the success of the Amazon Kindle ebook reader like this one on ZDNet…
Amazon: “Kindle exceeded our most optimistic expectations”; beats Q1 estimates
…and recall my own whining about the Kindle’s high price (from my perspective), I reflect on my past commentary on another overpriced (again from my own perspective) late-to-the-game consumer media device: The Apple iPod. The Kindle wasn’t the first ebook reader and the iPod wasn’t the first MP3 music player. Both the first Kindle and first iPod launched at almost ridiculously high price points in a market segment that hadn’t excited consumers up until their launch.
While both devices seemed to overcome the design issues of products that preceded them, another common factor in their successes are the well-stocked and content-discovery functions of their respective content delivery system: The iTunes Store for the iPod and the Amazon Kindle eBook Store for the Kindle. There basically has to be a lot of content that is easy to find, easy to buy, and relatively inexpensive (though one could argue about the relatively high price of Amazon Kindle ebooks).
I wonder if Linux based netbooks could succeed against Windows XP and Windows 7 if vendors simply took the rich Linux app content available through tools like Synaptic and Yum and made it easier for non-technical end-users to find, download, install, and use apps?



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