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Why Amazon’s Tablet Won’t Be Some Piddly Nook Color Rival

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Unconfirmed reports (traced back to Business Insider) are saying that Amazon’s tablet could be a smaller and limited Nook Color competitor - not a full tablet that would take on the iPad. While Amazon has every reason to go after the success of the Nook Color as well, we believe that we will soon be seeing a full tablet from the online retailer.

Three Reasons

The first reason we believe that a full tablet is coming is that the market is ready for it. A recent study by Retrevo found that customers would seriously consider buying a tablet from Amazon more than from any other (non-Apple) company. The survey also showed that buyers were primed to jump at any iPad rival that could drop below the $300 price range (Amazon could possibly do that). That’s an opportunity that Amazon would be foolish to pass up.

The second reason we’re suspicious of the new ‘Nook Color rival’ claims is that Amazon has been locking up video content left and right. Last week they inked a deal with CBS to stream shows. Earlier this week, they added NBC/Universal to the mix. Sure, they could just be beefing up their desktop streaming service. But we highly doubt it. They have a full tablet coming, and a bundled video streaming that will rival Netflix is going to be one of its biggest draws.

But the clearest sign that a full-on Amazon tablet is coming has been right in front of our faces since March. As it stands right now, Amazon’s App Store is an interesting side venture for the company. With an Amazon tablet on the market, the Amazon App Store suddenly makes perfect sense. It will be the central hub for delivering content to owners of the slate.

Amazon didn't do this just for kicks

Some may argue that the Nook Color has its own market – so how does the existence of the Amazon App Store rule out that it will be like Barnes & Noble’s 7″ hybrid eReader? It will be different because, as any Android user knows, the Amazon App Store includes nearly everything that Google’s Android Market does. This isn’t some watered down marketplace, with Angry Birds and a few productivity apps to complement eReading. No, it is intended as an Android Market replacement.

Using Android to Emulate iOS

Or, perhaps more accurately, it’s intended as an iOS AppStore competitor. Amazon is very smart, see. They looked at some of the ingredients that have made Apple’s platform so successful. It’s a closed system, and Apple controls all content delivery. That allows them to make the experience much more stable, user-friendly, and – most of all – profitable.

Amazon can take Android, which is an open platform, and turn it into their own closed platform. All they needed was their own app market. We believe that is the main reason why it launched in March (possibly about 6-7 months before Amazon’s tablet will launch).

And Then There Were Two

What could be the case here is that Amazon will launch two tablets, and that both predictions are “right.” One will be the Nook Color killer that the source spoke of. The second will be a full tablet, complete with Amazon App Store, their own custom UI (on top of Honeycomb or Ice Cream Sandwich), and bundled streaming apps.

It will be well-designed, skimp on just enough unnecessary features to be priced right, and will be the first Android tablet to make a splash in the market. Whether it launches this Fall or early in 2012, it’s coming.

Having previously written for Android Central and Android Police, Will is shifting his focus to iOS at GottaBeMobile (without neglecting his old pal Android, of course). He lives in Chicago with his wife, Jess, and is on Twitter at @willshanklin

12 Comments

  1. Cuhulin

    07/29/2011 at 6:22 pm

    I don’t think the Business Insider report and the Android marketplace are contradictory at all.  Why shouldn’t Amazon have its own walled garden, with an interface that is its own and directs its users to buy Kindle book, amazon music, amazon videos and the like?  Having a marketplace with more apps, plus music and video is how it will succeed.  The key is offering complete for things people want to do, like Apple does and Barnes & Noble does, not just hardware and an OS, like the other tablet vendors appear to do.

    Moreover, if you aim high — “we’re the Ipad killer” — it’s easy to get negative press.  If you aim lower — “we’re better than Nook Color” — it’s much easier to get positive reviews.  From there, the product can sell, then work on the Ipad competition.  Selling the tablet also sells apps and Kindle books, which generates profits not available to the motorolas and htc’s of the world.

    Barnes & Noble has a good business model.  Why wouldn’t Amazon copy and extend?  That actually puts it in competition with Apple without ever saying so.

  2. Derek Downs

    07/31/2011 at 3:19 pm

    “Amazon can take Android, which is an open platform, and turn it into their own closed platform.” – …only, they cannot.  Open Source does not mean “free-for-all” and has a few rules to follow.  If you may recall, a (ahem) little software company recently (January 2011) was ordered by the courts to pull EVERY COPY of their flagship office productivity suite from EVERY retail shelf and immediately cease all on-line sales of said product.

    • Yogh

      07/31/2011 at 9:09 pm

      Closed platform doesn’t mean closed source.  They can’t stop people from hacking at the kernel or sideloading apps any more than other Android devices, but they can control the platform in a way more like iOS than Android with closer attention paid to the marketplace.  That way the people who want to play around still can, but for the average user is provides a better experience.

    • Yogh

      07/31/2011 at 9:09 pm

      Closed platform doesn’t mean closed source.  They can’t stop people from hacking at the kernel or sideloading apps any more than other Android devices, but they can control the platform in a way more like iOS than Android with closer attention paid to the marketplace.  That way the people who want to play around still can, but for the average user is provides a better experience.

  3. Yogh

    07/31/2011 at 9:36 pm

    I think another reason that their tablet won’t be a color e-reader is that tablets aren’t as good as e-readers for reading.  Amazon has the epitomic e-reader and won’t want to detract from the message that an e-reader should use a reflective screen, not backlit.  The original Nook couldn’t compete with the Kindle so Barnes & Noble brought out the Color Nook to distinguish it.  Amazon doesn’t need to do this.

  4. Peter Larson

    08/01/2011 at 5:58 pm

    This whole argument implies the Nook Color is not a full tablet- but anyone who’s hacked it can tell you that it is. 

    Barnes and Noble just hasn’t brought all the pieces together yet b/c they need to close the acquisition. Once they do, and become part of the Liberty media empire, they will have ownership ties to a very competitive streaming video provider (Liberty owned Starz provides ~50% of Netflix streaming content), a very competitive music service (Liberty owned Sirius XM), and a very competitive video game streaming and download service (BKS spinoff Gamestop- still largely owned by BKS founder Riggio- and it’s acquisitions have already announced plans to get into the tablet game).

    Oh, also, the $250 price tag = the amount offered by AT&T as a subsidy for tablet activation with 3G.  3g Nook is expected but has not yet been announced.

    In other words- AT&T, Riggio, and Malone will FULLY subsidize this tablet for the benefit of growing their various, existing, digital empires.

    Very few people have put all the pieces together yet.

    Amazon will need to do the same.

  5. Aaron

    08/02/2011 at 1:20 pm

    Too much make believe and brand idealism in this article to take it seriously.

  6. cd

    08/14/2011 at 3:37 am

    Surprisingly, I think Amazon has it’s work cut out for it. B&N has 27% of the eBook market alone. Nook is now a known brand and has been highly successful.  If I were B&N, I would wait for Amazon to release and then release the upgraded Nook Color and 3G Nook versions.

  7. Micromax Mobile Phones

    09/01/2011 at 5:00 am

    People now a days prefers to buy online as nobody have time to go and see at the showroom for any damn thing. In such cases online shopping portal are the blessings.

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