Amazon’s Upcoming Android Tablet? Speculation by

  • September 8, 2011
  • Tech
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Amazon’s Upcoming Android Tablet? Speculation by

Amazon has been very successful in the e-book reader space with the Kindle. It’s no wonder that now, with Android tablets becoming so popular, people have been speculating as to whether the online retail giant would introduce their own Android based tablet.

Last week we got the first confirmation, more or less. A Techcrunch editor wrote a lengthy article where he claimed to have seen the actual device. If we are to trust his account, the Amazon tablet is real. But it’s also quite different than a typical tablet.

Google launched Android for free, allowing manufacturers to use that code and make their own phones or tablets, free of charge. It’s no wonder that in the past year, we’ve seen so many new products hit the market. But Google also makes a lot of integrated apps. To call the device a “Google tablet”, a manufacturer has to work with the company to integrate Gmail, Google Maps, Search, and many other different products. It also has to include the Android Marketplace, which is where people can go to download apps. And indeed, the majority of manufacturers do just that.

But according to the report, Amazon did not. In fact, it didn’t work with Google at all, and thus there is no integration with Gmail or any other Google product. They did not even include access to the Android Marketplace. Instead, they re-branded the whole interface with the Amazon colors and services. The media player was replaced with the Amazon Cloud Player, the book reading capabilities tie into the Amazon Kindle service, and so on. Apps can still be downloaded, but only from the Amazon Marketplace.

But that doesn’t necessarily make it a bad product. Indeed, Android has often been criticized as not being as easy to use as some other popular tablet, the iPad. Also, the price point on most tablets are higher than the rumored $250 that the Amazon tablet should be available for. If the customizations that Amazon made to the device allows it to provide a better user experience at a lower price, it may be a success.

Of course, a new tablet can’t be compared just to other Android tablets. The most popular tablet right now is Apple’s iPad. It would take a lot for a new tablet to replace the iPad as market leader, and it’s unlikely that the Amazon tablet will. But that’s not what Amazon may want. After all, both companies are in different markets. Apple is in the hardware business. They want people to buy their devices. Amazon is a services company, that sells items and online services.

Just like the Kindle was a way for Amazon to provide an entry door for customers to access its e-books, this new tablet may be an entry door for all of the other Amazon services. Like other publishers and content makers, Amazon hasn’t seen eye to eye with Apple, and just recently had to cripple its Kindle app for iOS due to new demands Apple made. If instead, Amazon owned the device most of its customers used, that would be a great move for the company.

While it’s still too early to predict whether this will be a success or not, it’s always good to see new players in the tablet space trying to innovate and be different, rather than yet another copy of a dozen existing devices.

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