Oct 3, 2011
Amazon has finally announced their long-rumored Android tablet. Chris Nitz has a rundown of the tablet’s features in his post from last week. However, internet pundits have been speculating left and right about who this tablet will affect the most: Google, because of the tablet largely featuring a customized Amazon experience instead of a core Android one, along with the exclusion of most Google Android features in favor of Amazon ones, such as the Amazon Appstore being featured instead of the Android Market. Apple is also potentially threatened, because the tablet features reasonable specifications at a $200 price point, though the tablet is only a 7-inch model.
The thing is, Google will likely suffer the most adverse effects from the Kindle Fire’s Amazon Appstore exclusivity, but they won’t be killed by it. What developer is going to ditch the Android Market entirely for the Amazon Appstore, unless exclusive contracts are involved? Amazon likely isn’t fretting over the more limited selection on the Amazon Appstore, in part because of the fact that a device with exclusive access to the store will likely appeal to developers who haven’t yet become a part of the store. Whether this is a good thing for them or not is a good question due to some of Amazon’s Appstore policies.
Does the iPad have anything to fear from the Kindle Fire? As a 7-inch tablet, likely not. The larger size of the iPad is a draw that these smaller tablets do not have. However, this could sway those interested in tablets to check them out, at a much more friendly entry price. It could push the iPad into the ‘premium’ product market that Apple products have typically been part of due to their higher prices, but consumers have gotten accustomed to the iPad’s price, and as the progenitor of the modern generation of tablets, it will still have its appeal. But the space needs a quality entry level tablet; and Amazon’s clout may be the one to provide it.
Ultimately, more Android devices in people’s hands is a good thing. More devices for apps to be sold on is a good thing for developers, and for promoting development on Android. If more apps are being released for Android, even if it’s because of a device that’s leading people away from the traditional Android experience. Google will only suffer from more apps being purchased on the Amazon Appstore.
Amazon is the one company that could provide a high-quality entry level tablet experience. They already have a major e-book platform that will integrate in with the tablet. They already have an app platform that has attracted users and attention to it through its much-publicized free apps program. They already have music and video stores, and are launching a streaming platform with Amazon Prime. They have the massive server farms that can power their many cloud-based services. They can make the Kindle Fire a useful and powerful product, and with their interface built from the ground up for it, they can make it something vastly different from the iPad. The price and powerful specifications don’t hurt, either. Will consumers accept it? Anecdotally, it seems as if people want a product like this. Will it topple the iPad? Doubtful. Does it need to? Doubtful.