Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Amazon's Tablet - Is This The Next Big Thing?

It is widely believed that Amazon will launch its 7" Android 2.1 based tablet at this event on Wednesday. While many see this as a competitor to the Apple iPad, it is actually aimed at the Barnes & Noble Nook Color, and most people expect it to be priced accordingly; around $250-$300. The difference in pricing might be to do with whether Amazon Prime is included or not, but this was not confirmed. Sources are also suggesting that it will carry the Kindle branding, and be known as the Kindle Fire.

So why is this so important? The iPad owns the 10” space, as other manufacturers have discovered to their detriment. However, as the market grows there will be opportunity for other form factors to find their own niche. In my personal opinion, the size and weight of the iPad make it a little awkward to use outside my home environment. Samsung’s original Galaxy Tab was 7”, but only enjoyed minor success in the market. However, this was more because of the poor experience with Android Gingerbread, which was meant for bigger screens, and the lack of available apps, than because of the screen size.

Part of the success of both the iPhone and the iPad can be attributed to the ease of access to apps and media through iTunes. Amazon is better suited than anyone else to offer a similar experience – they are the world’s  biggest online retailer, and already have a large digital store in addition to physical goods.

If Amazon can offer a tablet that is more portable than the iPad, can be held comfortably in one hand (great for reading), has apps available through the Amazon Appstore, and comes in under $300, then they have a great chance at success.

However, Amazon need to concentrate on the advantages of their tablet, and not market it as an alternative to the iPad. Instead, I believe they will market it as a top of the range Kindle, with the added advantage of a color screen (better for magazines) and the ability to run apps.

I am looking forward to tomorrow’s announcement to see exactly what Amazon will present, but I am already lusting over another new gadget!

Thanks for reading!