In the booming tablet market, new companies are always joining the fray, only to continuously be beaten by Apple’s ever-popular iPad. Now, Amazon is planning to release its own Android tablet in October, sources told the Wall Street Journal.
Why should Amazon be interested in releasing a tablet now? Think about it. Amazon’s tablet will have a very similar purpose as Apple’s iPad. To sell their digital goods. Amazon has been offering digital downloads on their website for a while now, but so far, these downloads were only for computers, except for ebooks for the Kindle. Customers can download Android apps from the Amazon Appstore, download songs and videos and store them in Amazon’s Cloud Drive, and download ebooks for the Kindle.
By developing their own tablet, they will enable consumers to download this whole host of products onto one device, and users will have access to them through Amazon’s Cloud Drive.
Talking about developing the tablet, according to the sources, Amazon will not be developing this tablet, but rather will be outsourcing to an Asian manufacturer. However, Amazon is allegedly designing a second tablet, which could be on the market next year.
The details are still very vague about this tablet. The sources said that it will not feature any cameras, unlike the iPad 2, so users will not be able to video-chat. Also, they claim that the tablet will have roughly a 9-inch screen, but no details have been leaked about what version of Android it will be running. (I have an inkling that it will probably run Android 3.0 Honeycomb)
This is not the first time that Apple and Amazon will butt heads. Like Apple, Amazon sells digital songs, videos, and apps just like Apple’s iTunes and App Store. Also, in March, Apple sued Amazon, stating that Amazon had illegally used the term “App Store”.
One problem that Amazon faces by releasing their own tablet is the competition between its own Kindle and the tablet. Amazon has long touted the Kindle as their best-selling product, but how will the introduction of their own Android tablet affect sales of the dedicated ebook reader? One of the sources said that Amazon is still trying to figure out how to market the tablet without affecting sales of the Kindle too much.
Amazon is not the only one that has tablets in the pipeline. On Wednesday, Sony gave reporters a glimpse at their upcoming S1 and S2 tablets. The S2 will be a “fold-up” tablet much like the Kyocera Echo. Both devices will be able to run Playstation games along with the ability to download music, videos, apps, and ebooks, making them viable competitors with Amazon’s tablet.
According to a Forrester analyst, Amazon is better-fit to face Apple than other companies. Why? Because Amazon already has a well-established digital-content store with many offerings and is pretty popular.
There have been many other tablets that looked to be very promising competitors for the Apple iPad, but they all turned out to be less successful than people expected (remember all the hype about the Motorola Xoom?).