Posted by Eric Zeman on Thursday Jul 14th at 4:50pm
Amazon is preparing a tablet device based on Google’s Android platform. It is scheduled to debut by October, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Sources who provided details about the tablet appear to be pretty well informed. The device, as yet unnamed, will have a screen measuring about nine inches. It will run Google’s Android platform, though which version wasn’t specified. It will lack a camera, leaving it unable to do things such as perform video chats. The tablet won’t be designed by Amazon, but instead will be outsourced to an Asian manufacturer, according to the Journal.
Earlier this year, DigiTimes said Amazon would field a tablet by the end of the year, and named Quanta Computer as a possible manufacturer. Initial sales targets were between 700,000 and 800,000.
The idea isn’t entirely crazy. By sticking Android in its top-of-the-line Nook, Barnes & Noble sort of set the stage for this type of move from Amazon. Of course, Amazon probably also wants to compete against the Apple iPad. Surely, an Amazon tablet won’t surpass the iPad in terms of capabilities.
Instead it will do for Amazon what the iPad has done for Apple: serve as a platform through which digital goods can be sold.
The iPad is a digital media consumption device, plain and simple. Through iTunes and the App Store, iPad users can download applications, books, movies, music, TV shows, videos, and so on. Since it is so easy to make purchases directly from the iPad, no doubt Amazon is losing out on some digital sales that might otherwise be made through its website.
I purchase digital music frequently. I nearly always end up choosing between iTunes and Amazon’s MP3 Download service. I generally pick whichever one is the cheapest, though there are times when I pick iTunes over Amazon because I can download a track or an album directly to my device and skip the need to sync with a PC to get it. It’s just this sort of opportunity Amazon wants to turn around in its favor.
Entering the tablet market is not without risks for Amazon. First, it will probably price its tablet lower than the iPad. It has to, whatever the development costs are. Unless the Amazon tablet can stand up to the iPad feature-for-feature, it has to sell for less. It is going up against a widely established market leader. In order to be successful, it has to tie together Amazon’s digital goods services in a way that’s natural, easy, and inexpensive for customers. How low can Amazon go? That depends a lot on which features it chooses to include and which it chooses to leave out. For example, skipping the camera for now is probably smart, as it will help keep the cost lower.
But Apple won’t be Amazon’s only competitor. Amazon has already done a good job of making digital content available to Android-based handsets and tablets. There’s a solid crop of Android-based tablets that are gaining a foothold in the market now. They’ve set the benchmark for what Android tablets are capable of. Amazon will probably have to undercut these competitors on price, as well.
Amazon also has to make sure it doesn’t steal away sales from its own Kindle products.
Can it? Will it?
Naturally, Amazon has not confirmed the Journal’s report.
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Monthly Archives: July 2011
Posted by Eric Zeman on Thursday Jul 14th at 4:50pm
Rumors are floating that Apple will be introducing a HD version of their iPad.
So say the good folks at This Is My Next, who report that the next Apple tablet will ship this fall, and come equipped with a 2048 x 1536-pixel resolution screen – a pretty sizable leap over the 1024 x 768-pixel resolution display on the current model iPad. Interestingly, the iPad HD is being mentioned not as a replacement for the iPad 2, but as a supplement of sorts, geared toward “pros” at the “high-end” of the market.
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In other words, Apple would keep cranking out iPad 2 units, and us regular folks could continue to buy them. Meanwhile, the iPad 2 would be joined on the shelves by the iPad HD – a very tentative and very unofficial name, FYI – which would be geared toward people who work in video production, or another line of work requiring some serious HD firepower. To that end, This Is My Next thinks this iPad HD will come pre-loaded with an iPad-centric version of Final Cut or Aperture. It’s an interesting idea. Is it plausible?
Well, over at Ars Technica, Chris Foresman agrees that the 2048 x 1536-pixel resolution iPad screen is probably real. But he speculates that the higher resolution screen won’t arrive until next spring, when Apple unveils the iPad 3, or whatever device fully replaces the iPad 2. Foresman’s reasoning is simple: He’s not convinced Apple would want to “fragment” its top-selling tablet.
“[We] feel that one of the biggest improvements that would come from such a high-resolution display – sharper and easier to read text on websites, eBooks, PDFs, or digital magazines – would benefit all iPad users,” Foresman writes. “Even though the iPad dominates tablet market share at this early stage, it doesn’t seem wise to fragment the platform into two separate display resolutions.” More when we know it.
In related news, Roger Fidler, the program director for digital publishing at Reynolds Journalism Institute at the University of Missouri, recently finished polling a whole bunch of iPad owners, and he discovered an interesting trend: the longer iPad owners own their Apple tablets, the more they love them. That is “unusual for new technology devices,” Fidler said. “In most cases, satisfaction tends to drop off significantly after about 13 weeks. That clearly is not the trend with the iPad.”