The tablet space is a weird little corner of the technology market right now. Apple’s crushing everyone with its iPad 2, clearly. There are several tablets on the horizon, but most of them feel like knock-off iPads.
There is more to a good tablet OS than the cloud, though. People are using tablets for content consumption, and with Android, that’s tricky. Android’s strength is its tie-in with the Google cloud, not with easy ways to purchase music and movies.Honeycomb apps can be counted on both hands.
In short, Android (or WebOS, for that matter) lacks an ecosystem of media and rich apps.
Amazon clearly has the media bit covered. The company currently sales e-books, music and movies online. Starting last week, Amazon also sales Android apps[1. Which may be the biggest signal that there is something big in the works.]
So, the question is this: What is Amazon’s plan when it comes to tablets? Clearly, they could become the media ecosystem for Android and WebOS products. It is the only company other than Apple than can compete is a content provider for mobile devices. If Amazon landed its stores on every Android and WebOS device, it could be a huge boon for the company, both in market share and revenue.
But I think Amazon dreams bigger than being on another company’s devices. Yes, that will continue, but I really think the world may see an Amazon tablet in the future.
Clearly, the company can build and sell hardware. The Kindle is an amazing device, and at $139, it is almost an impulse buy for many. I can see an Android-powered tablet, with a decent interface, all hooked into an Amazon account, just like the iPad is tied to iTunes. Media would be just a click away.
The secondary question is how could Amazon differentiate its tablet if its stores are on other devices already? I think it would be killer to have some deep integration with the company’s S3 service. Imagine if you could to your tablet — apps, data and all — in some sort of online environment that synced via S3.
A world needs a serious iPad competitor. Content is a major part of the picture. And Amazon could do it right.