The Orange View (on hiatus) Because Apple is great but it isn't perfect


Amazon’s tablet will not be an iPad killer

PC Magazine's Tim Bajarin reviews the various rumors about a possible tablet device. And he makes one point everyone should try to keep in mind as we bury the lazy "X will kill Y" angle.

Over the next few weeks, there will be a lot of speculation about an Amazon tablet. You may even hear that it will be an iPad killer, but don't fall for that malarkey. Yes, it will be competitive with Apple's iPad, but I believe Amazon's real target is not Apple, but the other Android vendors who are going after the market with mostly a hardware play and jerry-rigged service offerings. And if what I am hearing is correct, then this Amazon tablet offering would be a serious threat to any Android tablet vendor, since Amazon has brand, clout, integrated services, and a very loyal fan base.

-PC Magazine, May 23, 2011

Posted by Aaron Pressman

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  1. Amazon’s target isn’t the existing Android tablet manufacturers, either. To date, Amazon has been happy to sell their content and services to any Android device they can reach, and I don’t see that changing.

    I think Amazon’s primary target is the NOOK Color (or, more generally, defending their place in the e-reader market). Barnes & Noble has put together an attractive, touchscreen e-reader that is also an intriguing entry-level tablet (they’re calling it “The Reader’s Tablet”) at a very competitive price. If Amazon doesn’t have something that can compete, they risk seeing Kindles replaced by NOOKs (especially as NOOK Colors become cheaper to make). I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that things have started moving in that direction already (particularly with respect to first-time e-reader customers). Throw in the recent Kobo Touch announcement and it is clear Amazon has to have some sort of touchscreen response.

    I’d say their next goal would be to have a hedge against device manufacturers getting between Amazon and their customers (whether it is Apple with their App Store terms, HTC and their video-streaming service or Samsung and their pre-loading of Kobo). If anything “bad” happens, I’d bet they’d want to be able to point people at an Amazon device (possibly with targeted incentives) as one way to fix their customer’s problem.

    Another goal I can see is “doing it right” – building a tablet that integrates and shows off all of Amazon’s products and services. But that goal is similar to Google’s with a Nexus device. They would be setting a standard and giving other manufacturers something to emulate, not trying to win the device market by themselves.

    In any case, none of this requires targeting existing Android tablet manufacturers – except as a defensive response (should it become necessary). I think they’d be just as happy to see an existing manufacturer partner with them to provide Amazon content and services as they would be to sell a tablet themselves.

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