Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) is planting seeds to whet the public's appetites for its forthcoming tablet and it received some help from comScore this past week to heap on the hype.
The expectation of another Android tablet is relegated to speculative drool from gadget blogs that love to hype the latest Android tablet as a potential challenger to Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) market-defining iPad.
Yet slow sales of Android "Honeycomb" tablets such as the Motorola Xoom, Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and Toshiba Thrive have tempered enthusiasm for the casting of yet another fish into the increasingly crowded Android tablet sea.
But this is Amazon, whose brand and content ecosystem analysts from Forrester Research, Gartner and other researchers believe make the company the best potential challenger to the iPad. That's assuming it actually delivers the tablet this year; Apple has sold roughly 30 million iPads to date.
Amazon moved to bolster its content credibility Aug. 18 by revealing that its Amazon Instant Video now offers more than 100,000 movies and TV shows, including 15,000 HD titles, for purchase or rental.
The titles, boosted by Amazon's recent content licensing agreements with CBS and NBC Universal, include 9,000 movies and TV shows for no additional cost to Amazon Prime members, who pay $79 a year for unlimited, free two-day shaping.
Amazon Instant video users may access their content through PCs, Macs, or Google TV and other compatible devices, such as Android-based tablets.
eWEEK was able to watch Amazon Instant video content from a Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet after downloading Adobe Flash Player 10.2 from Google's Android Market .
Ideally, an Amazon tablet will let consumers stream Instant Video, MP3 music and access Kindle e-reader content, rivaling the massive content provisions accessible via the 100,000 iPad applications residing in Apple's iTunes App Store.
There are other reasons to feel confident in Amazon's ability to provide a good Web content medium for its tablet. comScore said Amazon received more than 282 million visitors in June, equivalent to 20.4 percent of the worldwide Internet population.
Amazon attracted 35.4 percent of its audience from North America, while Europe contributed 31.8 percent of visitors and Asia Pacific accounted for 24.1 percent. Apple.com boasted strikingly similar breakdowns, with 32 percent of its visitors from North America, 29.6 percent from Europe and 24.9 percent in Asia.
Here's an interesting hypothetical. If even 10 percent of those nearly 300 million visitors purchase an Amazon tablet later this year and through 2012, that would be 30 million tablets sold, or equal Apple's iPad user base as it currently stands.
Assuming the iPad enjoys a strong holiday sales push this year, and that Apple launches the iPad 3 in early 2012 as rumored, the company might have 45 million tablets sold in 6 months. That would put Amazon's Android tablet within striking distance of the iPad's marketshare.
Of course, Amazon has to deliver a product these Internet users will want to purchase, so there are lot of mitigating factors to this scenario. But an Amazon tablet is almost certainly better off than Honeycomb tablets with fragmented content support systems.