The e-commerce giant is expected to introduce a tablet based on Google's Android "Honeycomb" operating system in October.
Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) could sell anywhere between 3 million and 5 million Google
(NASDAQ:GOOG) Android tablets in the fourth quarter, making it far and away the
most successful slate provider on the open-source platform, according to
The e-commerce giant is expected to introduce a tablet
based on Google's Android "Honeycomb" operating
system in October. To compete with Apple's iPad, which has sold more than 30
million units to date, Amazon is expected to leverage its expertise in content
will sell applications from its Android Appstore, movies through Amazon
Instant Video and MP3 downloads supported by the Amazon Cloud Player storage
service for consumption on its media tablet.
Forrester analyst Sarah Rotman Epps, who has first predicted an Amazon tablet
in March, said that while she believes the
e-tail giant could find success with a tablet, the company would have to price
it under $300 and make sure that it has enough devices to meet consumer demand.
"Even though Amazon taking on Apple is a bit like David taking on Goliath
(compare the market cap, profits and cash position of the two companies),
Amazon's willingness to sell hardware at a loss combined with the strength of
its brand, content, cloud infrastructure and commerce assets makes it the only
credible iPad competitor in the market, Epps wrote Aug. 29
Epps' report comes two weeks after
Creative Strategies analyst Tim Bajarin said the Amazon tablet might cost $300
, but Amazon would discount it by $51 to entice consumers to buy it.
Amazon could make up the difference in movie rentals, music downloads, Kindle
book sales, other application purchases and advertising.
Amazon, using its one-click buying method as an easy-on-ramp to customers to
make purchases through its Android Appstore and regular e-commerce offerings,
could make back the $51 difference within six months and make a profit between
10 percent and 30 percent over the last 18 months of the device's accounting
period, Bajarin noted.
One interesting caveat to this punditry: Even if the Amazon tablet is built
with Google's Android "Honeycomb" operating system, Epps said they
shouldn't market it as such. In fact, Amazon might want to take a page out of
Barnes & Noble's playbook and play down the Android software on the slate.
Apparently, product strategists from Android tablet OEMs have expressed
frustration with the bugginess of the Honeycomb software and the weak user
experience of the Android Market.
"Only 9 percent of consumers considering buying a tablet actively prefer
an Android tablet-compared with 16 percent who prefer iOS and 46 percent who
prefer Windows. Barnes & Noble has chosen to emphasize its own brand and
user experience on the Nook Color rather than emphasize the Google or Android
brands, even though the Nook is built on Android. Amazon may not wish to go
that far on the curation spectrum, but it does need to differentiate its flavor
of Android from all the rest, and that may come from emphasizing the Amazon
experience over the Google one.
On the other hand, the benefit of hitching itself to Android is that Amazon can
over time provide its software and services on slates from Samsung, Motorola,
Asus, Acer, Toshiba and others.
"In a year from now, we could see a range of -Amazon tablets' made by
different hardware manufacturers," Epps wrote. That is, of course,
assuming Apple won't successfully sue to block Android tablet distribution the
way it has with Samsung overseas.