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April 22, 2011

The Amazon Tablet Cometh

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Tablets are the hottest thing right now and very few can stand up to the iPad. While Samsung’s Galaxy tablet and Amazon’s Kindle trail the iPad in popularity, the latter company is working on an iPad rival that could change the tablet landscape.

Amazon working on a tablet has yet to be officially confirmed but has been talked about in tech circles. The tablet is purportedly being built by Samsung, destined for a summer launch and will be running a highly customized version of Android instead of version 3.0 Honeycomb. So what else will the tablet pack? Peter Rojas talked about the tablet’s purported specs:

Let’s start with a critical question about this tablet: What version of Android will it run? I think there’s an assumption that any Amazon tablet will run Android 3.0, Google’s tablet-specific version of the OS. However, given Google’s recent moves to tighten how OEMs can use Honeycomb, this might not be so likely. In fact, it’s entirely possible that Amazon’s tablet, like the NOOK Color, will use Android as a base upon which to build a totally customized experience that tightly integrates Amazon services. That integration would let Amazon charge a lot less for its tablet than it would otherwise. The reason Barnes & Noble has been able to price the NOOK Color so aggressively ($250 versus $350 to $450 for comparably-sized and spec’d Android tablets) is because they’re assuming you’re going to buy a bunch of books from them over the course of owning it.

The question is, does the world need another tablet, especially one that aims to go head to head with the iPad? Amazon may be banking on integration with its music and book services to boost revenue in those departments. Apple took the opposite approach of using digital stores to boost sales of the Hardware but since Amazon has an established media store, tablets that leverage those purchases may give it some ammo against other tablets.

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