Why the Possibility of an Amazon Tablet Intrigues Me
Last week I discussed Amazon’s rumored entry into the mobile software field and how the Internet giant’s involvement with the Android OS hinted at the possibility of the company releasing their own Android-powered device in the near future. While Amazon has yet to publicly confirm anything, recent actions seem to at very least back all of the rumors that I am reading about Amazon’s involvement with the application marketplace, and it wouldn’t be at all far-fetched to believe that they could be working on a tablet or mobile device as well.
While I am not sure exactly how well Amazon would fare with this type of venture, I do know that they wouldn’t be starting off cold, but rather building on the success of he Amazon Kindle, which has already proven itself as an excellent eBook reader. However, having purchased the device for someone last holiday season, I was actually surprised to find that the device supports games (as of August 2010) and documents as well. With this in mind, it almost seems like Amazon has been trying to expand the Kindle’s features and usability across different groups, but has yet to be able to take their work to the full potential because of the simple limitations of the device.
Even without knowing what Amazon’s tablet would bring – or even if there is going to be an Amazon tablet – the one thing I absolutely know is that I already want one.
First off, Amazon has never ceased to amaze me with any of their products or services. Sure, the Kindle wasn’t my cup of tea simply because I do the majority of my reading on the computer or with a physical newspaper for more “local” news (yes, that still exists). Nonetheless, the fact that the device is able to provide users a simple user experience speaks wonders.
One of the biggest components with the user interface is the fact that the 3G Kindle can download eBooks over a 3G network available in over one hundred countries and territories – all without paying a dime more than one would if they purchased/downloaded the file on their own connection. If Amazon were able to bring this same concept to a wireless tablet so that the cost of an application, song, or content download over the network was factored into the cost of the purchase itself, the company would truly have a leading edge over the application and music stores that Apple implements into their iOS devices.
In terms of actual content, I honestly think that Amazon – despite having big shoes to fill – is in a position where they can very well compete with Apple. Amazon’s music store has a competitive library in terms of both size and price, their new movie streaming service could be brought to a mobile interface, and I think that the company could easily put together a MobileMe competitor. Off the bat, Amazon would be able to compete with the native features of the Apple iPad and would theoretically be able to compete with iOS’s apps simply because of the sheer number of Android applications available.
Price-wise, while I do think Apple is extremely competitive with the iPad’s pricing – especially with the release of the iPad 2 – I honestly think that Amazon is in the position to take a jab at the iPad on that front as well. If you look at the $139 price-tag on the standard WiFi-sporting Kindle, it wouldn’t surprise me if Amazon were able to meet or beat Apple’s $499 baseline iPad price simply because Amazon has the resources ti mass-produce the devices.
Much like the Kindles is marketed now, I think we would see Amazon promoting their tablet everywhere. Why do you think the Kindle is the #1 best-selling item on Amazon’s website? It’s because the device seems permanently affixed to the homepage so that no visitor can possibly miss it. And as we’ve seen with Amazon’s more recent series of television ads for the Kindle, the company isn’t scared to invest in advertising. By being forced into the public spotlight Amazon’s rumored tablet will, in my mind, have a standing chance.
Maybe it’s just a dream of mine; a fantasy, perhaps – but I would really like to see what Amazon would do with their own tablet computer system.
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