Amazon's new Kindle tablet is underway, and if Amazon delivers as promised, consumers will be able to get their hands on this new tablet by the holiday season. But while Amazon originally promised to produce both 7- and 10-inch tablets, it's confirmed to producing only the smaller variant, at least for now. And this might just be its best business decision yet.
Amazon's reported decision to pull out of the 10-inch tablet game even before it joined had been criticized as a move that leaves tablet enthusiasts out of the equation. Most other Android tablet manufacturers have both a bigger 10-inch offering and a smaller 7-inch (or other form factor) to cater to the lower-end crowd. But some industry observers say that Amazon might just have a winner here. However, it's not going to be the "iPad killer" that Apple competitors are looking for. Rather, it will be an "Android tablet killer."
Amazon's 7-inch Kindle tablet will not be for Android geeks, but rather for consumers
Tablet vs. eReader
Say "tablet" and most people would think iPad. After all, Apple commands approximately 80% market share in tablets. Most other competitors, like Samsung, Motorola, HTC, Dell and even HP, have to make do with being in the minority. Most would compete in terms of specs and power. Amazon might have some difficulty competing in this market -- small as it is -- being new to the game. But then it chose not to enter the market with the same rules that the other guys are playing with. It's running its own game, and it's called Kindle.
In short, Amazon chose to release its 7-inch Android tablet not as a 7-inch Android tablet but rather simply as the Kindle. The brand factor itself speaks volumes about the potential market for the Kindle. The Kindle is small, and has a supposedly easy-to-use custom UI built on top, and will have access to Amazon content. It's actually a souped-up upgrade to the Kindle e-book reader -- the only difference is that it runs Android. But don't tell the average buyer (they don't need to know).
Give Consumers What They Want
With this in mind, customers will buy the Kindle not because it's an Android device, but rather for its function as an e-book reader, movie viewer and web browsing device with email capabilities. The kind of customers whom the Kindle will attract are not those looking for high-end specs, but those looking to consume content. Take note that the market for e-book readers is said to be fast overtaking the market for tablet computers.
Amazon may or may not be the tablet that can break the iPad's market lock. At US$ 250, the 7-inch device will be competing against e-book readers in the high end and tablet computers in the low end. At the end of the day, it will be about marketing and positioning. Amazon won't have to compete head-on with Apple and the plethora of Android tablet manufacturers out there. It just needs to establish the Kindle as a class of its own.