Instapaper creator Marco Arment suggested Amazon could build a tablet and subsidize it with ads-not unlike what it's doing with the new $114 Kindle. The idea is to wrest market share from Apple's iPad.
In Motion's PlayBook
April 19 against a backdrop of sharp criticism, which has already
forced some folks to write off the device as a credible challenger to Apple's
vaunted iPad. This after reports of weak sales for Motorola's Xoom and reported
delays for future Android 3.0 "Honeycomb" tablets; specifically, some
industry watchers are again calling for an Amazon.com to launch a tablet that
could, if not topple, at least shake the iPad from its position as the dominant
tablet in the computing industry.
Arment, an application programmer who built the Instapaper Web page saver app,
revitalized the meme April 15 when he wrote that Amazon.com's introduction of
an ad-supported Kindle e-reader suggests the e-commerce giant is laying the
foundation for a larger ad-subsidy system.
CEO Jeff Bezos
said that a Kindle with special offers and sponsored
screensavers would help anyone who wants a Kindle to be able to afford a
Kindle. The ad-loaded Kindle retails for $114, compared with the $139 base
Kindle model and the $189 Kindle 3G.
imagines such a system would give pause to readers trying to decide whether to
buy a Nook from Barnes & Noble or an iPad for consuming books.
his blog, imagined this system applied to a tablet as looking something like
- A 7-inch tablet, to keep costs down, named
something like the Kindle Color, Kindle Tablet, or Kindle Touch.
- Android, but with Amazon's media-storefront apps
and the Amazon App Store to download new apps all pre-linked to your Amazon
payment information (like today's Kindle) for one-tap purchases.
- A very aggressive entry price of $200-300, with
the entry-level model being subsidized by up to $100 worth of ads; the idea is
to compete with the iPad on price.
- Prominent promotion on Amazon's front page every
of what makes the idea interesting is that it seems like something Google, the
largest Internet advertising company, could and would do to promote its own
Android tablets but hasn't to date. Google has marketed its own Nexus line of
phones, of which there are currently two, and is rumored to be building a Nexus
what if Amazon beat Google to the punch with a device that cost about half as
much as the iPad 2 and had all of the requisite competing features, from dual
cameras to being super thin and light (thinner than a pen, under a pound) and
available via WiFi or with a 3G/4G data contract from Verizon Wireless or some other
said an Amazon tablet would be one way for Amazon to get around relying on the
popular Amazon Kindle app for iOS devices. This would cause a "pretty big
short-term headache for Apple that could pose a credible threat to the iPad's
Amazon tablet meme doesn't quite come from out of left field. Forrester
Research analyst Sarah Rotman Epps
wrote in a blog post March 10 that
Amazon could create a compelling Android- or Linux-based tablet and entice
users with apps from its Amazon Appstore for Android and features such as
one-click purchasing, Amazon Prime service and its recommendations engine.
idea would be to offer users an alternative to the stringent rules Apple has
created for e-book sellers and publishers that require in-application payments,
which potentially freezes out Amazon. Other analysts differed
in their feeling on the matter. Analyst Jack Gold acknowledged Amazon's brand
recognition and ability to sell products but said the price of the device would
Kindle-Android device could prove popular, building on the large installed base
of Kindle users. And Amazon clearly has the largest 'store' out there-bigger
than the iTunes/app store world-so that could be a swaying factor if they got
aggressive with offering special deals on their own device," Gold said.
Gartner analyst Van Baker told eWEEK
that Amazon's interest is in the reader market because it supplements its book
selling business. "It is more likely that Amazon will make the Kindle free to Amazon
Prime subscribers and then make their money selling ebooks rather than
introduce a full-featured tablet," Baker said.