Capitalize on Touchco, Be Yourself

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2010-02-04 Print this article Print

5. Capitalize on Touchco

Speaking of Touchco's technology, Amazon needs to capitalize on it as quickly as possible. Once the iPad hits store shelves, the Kindle's touch display will look obsolete. Touchco's touch screen can change all that. By leveraging its latest reported acquisition, Amazon can update the Kindle to compete on the same level as the iPad. At this point, it's not an option, it's a requirement.

6. Be Amazon

If Amazon wants to be successful, it needs to stay true to its roots. The online retailer is known for offering a product that people want and getting it to them quickly with the help of a distribution channel that is second to none. It brought that to the Kindle byway of its WhisperNet, but it needs to keep it up in any future iteration of the device. Consumers expect an Amazon-like experience in every product it offers. It must deliver that.

7. Books Aren't Everything

E-books might be the way that Kindle made a name for itself in the tech industry, but digitized books can't be all that the device offers going forward. Apple's iBooks service looks to be a fine alternative to Amazon's Kindle store. But the iPad also boasts music, movies, Web browsing, a productivity suite and much more. It's a full-featured device that combines the functionality of the Kindle with the value of the iPod Touch. If Amazon wants the Kindle to stay relevant, it must deliver color, a Web browser and a productivity suite at a minimum.

8. Remember the App Store

Amazon will also want to work hard at growing its upcoming application store. One of the main reasons for Apple's success is its App Store. Folks who want to expand the functionality of the iPhone beyond its native software can do so with over 140,000 programs. If the Kindle is to be successful after the iPad is released, Amazon needs to work hard to build an app store as quickly as possible. Apple will continue to tout its App Store figures to entice consumers. If Amazon can't keep up, it won't have much to say in response.

9. Work on Price

Apple's iPad will be offered for as little as $499. But a more thorough analysis of the device's many versions reveals the best value is priced a few hundred dollars more than that. Realizing that, Amazon needs to find a way to keep its costs down and deliver a competitive Kindle at a reduced price. Buying Touchco is a good first start, since it can control the manufacturing process. But Amazon needs to find other avenues where it can reduce its costs and deliver a product that's on par with the iPad and costs less.

10. Entertainment Is Key

Building entertainment value into the Kindle is an extremely important step for Amazon. Luckily, it should be able to do that without much trouble. Right now, users can download music from Amazon's MP3 store. They can also pick up movies and television shows from its Unbox service. If Amazon can bring those services to the Kindle, it can offer a product that boasts the same offerings as Apple's iPad running iTunes. The obvious answer is to combine all those entertainment product outlets together with a new applications service in a single, integrated Website that looks more like iTunes.

Consumers want more than books from tablet vendors. Amazon will need to accept that sooner, rather than later.

Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at

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