Amazon released the Kindle Fire amidst much speculation earlier this week.
As the dust has settled and we’ve seen some hands-on reviews from the cadre of journalists who covered the launch event, it’s started to make me wonder if Amazon just made a major change to the new era of cloud computing and the consumerization of IT. Those two buzz-terms have permeated the IT world for the past few years now, and the major vendors in the cloud and virtualization industries have made great strides to socialize those terms and make them relevant to their technology offerings. I think the tipping point for the “consumerization” concept came when these major vendors started to make plays directly to end users. That applies to both cloud vendors and virtualization vendors alike. Where previously they had typically made their sales pitches and pointed their marketing campaigns directly to IT professionals, now those plays are made directly at the end user or consumers. Granted, some are still pitched through IT by conditioning and appealing to IT to adopt things like BYOC programs and “any device, anywhere” connectivity. Backup, storage, and multimedia consumer services on the other hand have brought the cloud concept to consumers through incorporating it into their offerings, explaining it in a much simplified and non-technical way. Amazon already has a major cloud computing offering in its EC2 cloud for which they’ve leveraged consumer offerings through Amazon Prime, etc. Now they’ve come full ecosystem and brought the endpoint device into it as well. The Kindle Fire is a consumer-oriented product, but it’s got some high-potential features that could easily position a more robust device to enter the business-class device market. The Silk browser’s concept of splitting computing between the device and the cloud resources brings a highly advanced and technical concept to a mainstream computing device. It can be argued that enterprises do this already with advanced VDI and application/presentation virtualization splitting things like multimedia processing or graphics processing between the device and the back-end servers, but those are all things that require huge and complex architectures (and smart folks to engineer and maintain them). The Kindle Fire simplifies all this and makes me wonder if it isn’t the new face representing cloud computing and the consumerization of IT.