The much-awaited tablet from Amazon, possibly an Android-powered Kindle, is expected to challenge iPad's rule in the tablet market and that's good because competition is good.
Apple has tasted huge success with the iPad, having sold over 25 million units since its launch 16 months ago. In the process, iPad has blotted out its rivals from Samsung, Motorola, HP, RIM and a slew of other manufacturers partly because most other tablets are not clearly connected to content.
Despite more Android devices being activated than iOS everyday, Android tablets are fighting a losing battle against the iPad.
However, the new Amazon tablet can change the landscape. Earlier this month, the wall Street Journal reported that Amazon plans to introduce a tablet with a 9-inch screen before October that will run on Google's Android OS and in a recent note to investors, Canaccord Genuity analysts wrote that while at least 1.5 million Amazon tablets are being built for the third quarter of this year, the target for 2011 as a whole is 4.5-5 million.
According to a report by New York Times' Nick Bilton Amazon could be planning the launch of an Android-powered Kindle soon and has already begun seeking developers with Android programming experience.
DigiTimes has also reported that the tablet will be assembled solely by Quanta, with Chunghwa Picture Tubes supplying the touch sensors for the tablet. Amazon has also reportedly tapped component suppliers such as Nvidia (CPU; ILI Technology (Touch controller ICs); Novatek Microelectronics (LCD driver ICs); Capella Microsystems and Sitronix Technology (Ambient light sensors); Richtek Technology and Global Mixed-code Technology (Power management ICs); and Sitronix (Gravity sensors).
And that's good because it means Amazon is expecting brisk sales of its new tablet and finally the iPad may face some real competition. Six reasons why the Amazon tablet is expected to give iPad a run for its money are:
Kindle's Popularity: Though no official figures are out, Kindle has turned out to be a hugely successful e-reader from Amazon despite being just that - an e-reader. Imagine what would happen if it now comes powered by Android. The people's devotion for iPad can only be matched by the same devotion displayed by Kindle fans.
"In the tablet market, the No. 2 player will be Amazon," Mark Gerber, director of technology research at Detwiler Fenton, told Reuters. "None of these other tablets have really taken off."
Android Market: Kindle users will love to welcome an Android-powered Kindle as they will be able to access the Android Market, which now boasts of over 200,000 apps. Of course it's a far cry from Apple's App Store but if the blistering pace of sales of Android devices is any indication, Android Market will overtake the App Store in the near future.
Amazon Services: To date Android tablets have struggled against the iPad because the devices are built and marketed by companies with their own interests and goals and the Androids are tweaked to suit their own purpose. In this regard, Amazon can bring a clean, new, focused experience built around Amazon services. The same way the iPad is intertwined with iTunes, the Amazon tablet can be built around Amazon services, including Amazon MP3 music, Cloud Drive and Amazon Instant Video.
Retail Experience: Amazon, which has an omnipresence on the Web as far as e-commerce is concerned, can match Apple in terms of offering shoppers the best retail experience viz. because it controls its own retail experience unlike Samsung and others, which have to depend mainly on the ilks of Target, Best Buy and WalMart to spur its sales. Though Amazon doesn't have a bunch of brick-and-mortar shops set up around the country where people can go and try out stuff, yet the fact that Kindle has done so well gives rise to expectations that an Android-powered Kindle will do well too.
Strong Brand Presence: Amazon surprisingly has a stronger brand presence than Samsung, Motorola and the ilk and according to Retrevo.com, in a recent survey, 55 percent said they would seriously consider buying a tablet if it's made by Amazon than Motorola 931 percent), HP/Palm (31 percent), Samsung (38 percent), Dell (38 percent) and RIM (24 percent).
Competitive Pricing: The most appealing aspect of the Amazon tablet is expected to be its price. Just as Amazon has brought down the price of its Kindle to a level where nearly everybody can own the e-reader, the company is expected to price its tablet aggressively.
According to Retrevo.com Director of Community and Content Andrew Eisner, "If Amazon does, in fact, enter the tablet market with a low cost Android tablet this fall they might be able to change the playing field to a lower margin one where Apple would be less able to compete."
In a recent survey, Eisner said, 48 percent of respondents said they would consider an Android tablet over an iPad if the former is priced at $300 while 79 percent said they would buy an Amazon Android tablet if it cost less than $250.
"Despite the fact that Apple makes a lot of money on companion products like apps, music and software, Amazon may be in a better position to sacrifice a high profit margin on a tablet or razor in return for revenue from razor blades like books, music, videos and apps," Eisner said in the blog post.