Amazon’s success with the Kindle reader puts them in an ideal position to launch a tablet computer to compete head on with the iPad and any other competitors that finally get to market. It just makes so much sense. As Andy Ihnatko says in the Chicago Sun Times, Amazon and not HP or any of the other favourite contenders, could be the one to pull the real competitor out of the hat:
…I do know that Amazon has all of the required pieces in place and that they — not Google, not Motorola, not HP, RIM, Samsung, or any other tech company who’s shoved their CEO in front of a press audience in the past year with a shaky tablet prototype and an even shakier list of things he’s allowed to say about it — are clearly in the best position to challenge Apple and the iPad.
Until the Kindle came along, no one would have thought of Amazon as a developer of devices rather than a seller of books and multitudes of other consumer products. Now, though, a good reputation as a hardware manufacturer as been won and I think there would be wide public acceptance for an Amazon tablet. The introduction of the Amazon Android applications store is as good a hint as any that something is in the pipeline.
A relatively cheap, mid-sized Android tablet with an Amazon front end would appeal not only to existing Kindle customers and Amazon fans. After all, Amazon have the perfect market place for the marketing of such a device.
I’m by no means alone in thinking that an Amazon tablet makes a lot of sense. Margo Arment, who knows a think or two about the industry, speculates a little further:
- A 7” tablet, to keep costs down, named something like the Kindle Color, Kindle Tablet, or Kindle Touch. (The existing e-ink Kindle would continue to fill the low-end spot in the lineup.)
- Android, but with Amazon’s media-storefront apps and (only?) the Amazon App Store to download new apps, all pre-linked to your Amazon payment information (like today’s Kindle) for one-tap purchases.
- A very aggressive entry price of $200-300, with the entry-level model being subsidized by up to $100 with ads, to compete very strongly with the iPad on price.
- Prominent promotion on Amazon’s front page every day.
He goes on to suggest that it is Apple’s concern about the possibility of a competing tablet from Amazon that has persuaded them to take a softer line on the in-app purchasing rules. By rights, according to the letter of Lex Cupertinius, Amazon should have been booted out of the App Store, but is still there when others have gone. The Amazon Kindle app for iOS has such a big following that, we presume, Apple would not want to upset so many iPad and iPhone users.