That Amazon.com is building a tablet is no longer a question of if, but when we will see the long-rumored device.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos told Consumer Reports to “stay tuned” in answer to a question about whether it was building a multi-purpose slate to complement its uni-purpose Kindle e-reader.
“We will always be very mindful that we will want a dedicated reading device,” he said. “In terms of any other product introductions, I shouldn’t answer,” Bezos told Consumer Reports.
This comes less than two weeks after DigiTimes said Amazon expects sales of the device to reach 700,000 to 800,000 units a month during the “peak season.”
Bezos didn’t even say “maybe” or “we’ll see.” He said “stay tuned.” That’s CEO speak for yes, but we’re not ready to talk about it let alone release it.
An Amazon tablet should come as absolutely no shock to anyone. The company has built and Android Appstore, touting it as a more appealing, consumer-friendly application stop-and-shop than Google’s own Android Market.
Tablets are media consumption machines. With the Kindle, Amazon can only compete with Apple’s iPad and Google’s Android slates in books, a form of digital media it plainly rules, albeit with a dedicated device.
With a tablet, Amazon has a broader palette with which to serve books, music from its Cloud Drive storage service and movies from its Amazon Instant Video streaming service.
This isn’t genius, but it’s survival. It’s a no-brainer and it needs to be done. Last rumors had it that Samsung is building it.
My guess, after flying home from Google I/O in San Francisco with a custom Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 in my luggage, is that the Amazon slate will be a customized Tab,.
Then again, Samsung is proving to be so prolific with hardware — whether it’s tablets or Android smartphones that it wouldn’t surprise me if it was an entirely new device. Samsung really is that good.
Moreover, imagine if Amazon undercut Apple’s and other Android tablets with the ad-supported model it just started with the Kindle. Such a machine would sell like proverbial hotcakes.
If this is the case, my hats off to Amazon for leveraging the same Android platform Google used to disrupt the market, and for providing a device that could be more lucrative than even the iPad on price alone.
Of course, we have yet to see the hardware, but I won’t bet against Amazon. Ever.