Amazon’s Tablet Test Starts Now
But here’s the most important thing to think about: Will it help Amazon sell more stuff?
Because that’s the thing that’s truly going to separate this tablet from every other one on the market, including the iPad — it comes to us from a retailer, not a hardware company.
That heritage gives the tablet the best chance to offer Apple credible competition, and also its reason for being.
Think of all of those potential customers who have been buying stuff from Amazon for years. And all of those vendors who have been selling their stuff via Amazon for years.
We’ve seen this work once before, of course. In 2007, Amazon introduced the Kindle and essentially created the e-book market. Fast forward to last May, when Jeff Bezos announced that his company was selling more digital books than ink-and-paper versions.
And this one should be designed to help Bezos move more inventory, too.
There doesn’t have to be a direct analog to the Kindle and books. It’s possible, for instance, that the new tablet’s killer feature won’t be access to digital goods, but a free subscription to Amazon Prime, the service that gives subscribers faster access to the physical stuff they order.
But if there isn’t something about the new gadget that makes buying more music or movies or … something more attractive, then something will have gone wrong.
Meanwhile, here’s what we do know:
- It’s going to have a seven-inch screen — considerably smaller than the iPad’s 10 inches, though everyone expects a bigger model next year.
- It will run on a modified version of Google’s Android operating system.
- It’s going to have support from the content companies from the get-go: Amazon has at least three big magazine publishers signed on to port their titles to the device. And the company has been steadily accumulating a virtual warehouse full of video titles — not as many as Netflix, but getting closer — it will be able to stream to the tablet, too.
More shortly! Amazon’s unveiling kicks off at 10 am in New York, and I’ll be there for the blow-by-blow. Check back before then for a link to a liveblog. While you’re waiting you can read Ina Fried’s piece on potential patent issues for the Amazon tablet. UPDATE: Here you go, with the relevant details, via Bloomberg: $200, wifi-only, 30 days free Amazon Prime.