There is an elephant at the door of the Android ecosystem. Nobody quite wants to look at it or acknowledge the whispers, but Amazon may be set to become the leader in Android devices later this year.
Officially, Amazon has said nothing about creating its own Android devices. There has been talk of a tablet in the works for a while now but its specs and ship date is shrouded in mystery. But Amazon may have bigger ambitions than just a tablet. Rumors have come out today that not only is the online retail company looking at a slate, but an entire family of Android devices. If this happens, will the waves topple the balance of power of players in the Android ecosystem?
Taylor Wimberly at AndroidandMe says he has reliable sources that Amazon is coming with not just one tablet but multiple tablets in varying sizes and at least one smartphone. The impact of Amazon throwing its full weight into the market should not be underestimated. Amazon is the Internet supplier to the masses and the Kindle is still a hot selling device and favored e-reader for a lot of people. This is a company that understands how to get products in peoples hands.
Amazon will not sacrifice quality or user experience and will try to drive the price point on its Android devices as low as possible. Really, if there is any company that can compete with Apple's vertical iOS ecosystem head-to-head outside of Google and Microsoft, it is Amazon. The company can afford to sell product cheap while looking to make money through its retail store and Kindle publications. Amazon's approach does not differ all that much from Retail 101 - If you get them in the door, they will eventually spend money. The more eyeballs in the door, the better.
Amazon also has the ability to take on the chaos that is the Android Market. It already the Amazon Appstore for Android and does an infinitely better job of filtering applications it allows there than Google does with the official Android Market. Amazon can streamline Android applications by increasing discoverability and trust while taking a cut of the profits.
Amazon's Ability To Take Over The Market
Take a step outside of the bubble of tech culture and look around. Wait, why is it that none of these people are carrying iPads? Don't they know it is the coolest thing to happen ... well, ever? I mean, gosh. Really, the fact of the matter is that a new tablet computer is a significant investment. The low-end barrier is the 16GB WiFi iPad at $499. It is a nice tool and a cool toy but still in the non-essential group of consumer gadgets. People do not buy tablets on a whim. The e-reader market is different though. Between $150 and $300 (the Nook Color comes in at $249), e-readers are within the price range for gifts and personal accessories. Amazon could bring the tablet down to that level of price and make a killing.
If the rumors are true, look for one Amazon-branded Android smartphone to compete on the level of the Samsung Galaxy and Motorola Droid. If there are indeed two tablets, one could be a seven inch slate in $250 range while the other would be a full blown nine-plus inches to go head-to-head with the iPad.
Is there an Amazon tablet coming for you holiday festivities? The signs are pointing that way and the rest of the technology world should be on notice. When Amazon makes a move, it does not step lightly.