Recently the speculation on the potential for a Kindle tablet has gone from considering it a good idea to considering it an inevitability. All the signs are certainly pointing that way, and it fits in with Amazon’s established business model so far. The only real question right now is that of what the particulars will be.
Now, we know that Amazon doesn’t really get too into the whole traditional hardware competition mindset too well. Their only entry so far, as far as I know, has been the Kindle. While it’s great at what it does, the functionality has always been limited to doing one thing very well rather than adding in all the bells and whistles. It is safe to assume that the same will be true of any tablet that they bring out. Affordability and ability to consume media are almost certain to be highlighted over any numerical comparisons of hardware superiority.
As far as software goes, the new Android store and the recent updating of the Kindle for Android software to allow for better tablet PC support via Honeycomb are both indicative of Amazon’s interest in this system. We’re going to be looking at an Android 3.0 device. As a result, right out the door the device should have a great selection of apps ready to go, even excluding the Kindle book apps.
One thing that I’m wondering about is whether or not it will be a part of the Kindle line or a new branch of Amazon hardware. For the most part people have been assuming that it would just be the next generation of the Kindle. Something along the lines of a Kindle Color to compete directly with the Barnes & Noble Nook Color. The more I think about this, the less likely it seems.
Amazon is making their money in the Kindle Store, not on the Kindle itself. Hardware is not what makes this so amazingly profitable for them. The same will be true of any tablet they might come out with. By offering their own device with a predetermined source for app purchases, they should be able to lock in that much more in terms of software sales. The image of the product is likely to reflect this. Just as the Kindle is advertised as having the best selection of eBooks anywhere, the predicted tablet is likely to be sold as a method to have easy access to any app you could ever need.
When you think of apps, is the first thing that comes to mind the Nook Color? For me, not really. While it makes sense at first glance that the smart move would be to capitalize on the Kindle brand in order to jump-start sales, I would say it’s at least as likely that Amazon will try to start off a fresh hardware line without the existing B&N rivalry to anchor this in customers’ minds as a reading device. If they’re going to try to take on the iPad, the best way to approach isn’t with direct comparisons to another product that doesn’t compete on the same level.