So many tech journalists reporting that Amazon's new Kindle tablet won't really be a direct, serious threat to Apple's industry-leading iPad because the company's first unit will be a 7-inch touchscreen instead of a 10-inch touchscreen miss one very valuable point.
In the fast-changing consumer tech gadget world, you can't compare apples to apples (no pun intended) only. Often, a banana can become yesterday's Apple. And so it is with Amazon, nearing launch of its new Kindle tablet. These who say Amazon's tablet isn't likely to give Apple's iPad a run for its money aren't looking much beyond the hardware and software.
Consider only that Apple's biggest advantage in dominating the global tablet space with the iPad is more than the hardware. It's the company's back support, including a massive app store, connectivity to other leading Apple products incuding the iPhone smartphone and Mac computers that give Apple advantage.
Enter Amazon's biggest competitive threat to Apple that makes its forthcoming tablet a serious player even before the product is launched. Amazon says the company is testing a major redesign of its Web site, an overhaul, that according to The Wall Street Journal, could refashion the way people shop on the world's largest online retailer.
The new site is being streamlined for tablet optimization, meaning Amazon will be more user-friendly for Apple iPad users and users of the company's new Kindle tablet, which Amazon is expected to release within weeks.
Amazon's new Web site is less cluttered, with fewer buttons, more white space and a bigger search box. It's cleaner, lighter -- a tablet users' dream engine.
The company won't say when its new site will be available to the general public, but admits that yes, a major redesign is on the way. Consider that 1 in 5 global Internet users already interacts with Amazon on a monthly basis, according to industry research. Consider that iPad users are already familiar with Amazon, because many use Kindle software as a primary e-reader app.
Consider that Amazon, already positioned as the leading global retail site with the addition of tablet-friendly site positioning with a signature tablet to sell is, well, embarking upon a game-changing global tablet moment. Most every industry observer thinks Amazon's new tablet, which will run on a customized version of Google's Android operating system, will be a solid, affordable product.
Already, we know that Amazon is likely to sell the new tablet at $250, well below the entry level price point for a new iPad2 at $499. Already, we know that many first-time tablet buyers want a lower price point -- HP's TouchPad sellout fire sale at $99 being a prime example.
But HP didn't have much to offer beyond the fire sale discount. Amazon does, and in a way that we've not seen before in the emerging tablet industry. Sure, Amazon will threaten Barnes and Noble's solid Nook Color out of the gate. But just because it's a different size doesn't mean that Amazon's tablet won't threaten Apple's iPad.
In the tablet world, we're about to see that size doesn't always matter. Industry leading content and one-stop shopping on a tablet-friendly site does, however.