Amazon tablet could add to market explosion

Amazon tablet could add to market explosion

Summary: An Amazon tablet -- which is, admittedly, not known to exist -- could help fuel a nine-fold increase in the demand for dynamic random access memory (DRAM) in 2011, according to US-based market tracker iSuppli. With the Kindle generating an estimated (by Caris & Co) $5.

TOPICS: Tech Industry

An Amazon tablet -- which is, admittedly, not known to exist -- could help fuel a nine-fold increase in the demand for dynamic random access memory (DRAM) in 2011, according to US-based market tracker iSuppli. With the Kindle generating an estimated (by Caris & Co) $5.5 billion in revenues this year, the internet's leading bookseller certainly has the incentive to try its luck. Indeed, Amazon already has an Android Appstore, and its Kindle ebook reader faces competition from Barnes & Noble's Android-based tablet, the Nook Color.

In a news release, Tablet DRAM Demand Explodes in 2011 as Market Expands Beyond iPad, iSuppli says: "Tablet shipments this year are projected to reach 63.2 million units, up from 17.5 million in 2010, and will hit 113.9 million units next year." Most of these will be Apple iPads, but products such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab, Motorola Xoom, RIM PlayBook, HP TouchPad, Asus Eee Pad and Transformer, plus dozens of "white box" products, will all add to the demand for memory chips. And as iSuppli analyst Mike Howard adds: "Unofficial reports of a new tablet device being readied by Amazon to go head to head with the iPad bodes nothing but good news for the dynamic random access memory (DRAM) market." I assume this means "prices could go up"….

Amazon would have some advantages entering the highly competitive tablet market. It already has the marketing and direct supply capabilities, along with hundreds of millions of established customers. It has access to vast amounts of content, including digital music, TV shows and movies, Android apps, a cloud player and a cloud drive. It can match or beat Apple on customer service and price. It has a Kindle user base to upgrade. No wonder many observers, including PCWorld, consider an Amazon tablet inevitable.

Indeed, one blog, Boy Genius Report, has gone further, in tipping two tablets, codenamed Coyote and Hollywood. In a brief post, Jonathan S. Geller writes:

"We received word from a tipster that Amazon, practically confirmed to be entering the tablet market in the near future, isn't planning just one device, but is planning on releasing at least two before the end of the year. Information is light, but we have been told that the 'entry' level tablet, codenamed 'Coyote' will be based on the Nvidia Tegra 2 platform. The big boy? That’s codenamed 'Hollywood' and will be based on the Nvidia T30 'Kal-El' which will bring a screaming quad-core processor with a 500% performance increase over the dual-core Tegra 2."

It seems unlikely that Amazon would want to compete on specifications by shipping a cutting edge Kal-El chip (see my earlier post) when it can compete instead on content, convenience and customer service, but stranger things have happened.

Best guess seem to be that Amazon will ship its hypothetical tablet(s) in the second half of this year. That starts only three weeks from now, but don't hold your breath. I suspect Amazon wants to see further improvements made to Google Android 3 (the tablet version, code-named Honeycomb, lacks polish), and that the breakpoint in its schedule is that it must ship in time for the Christmas market. It will certainly want to ship inside the tablet bubble, because no one knows when that's going to burst.


Topic: Tech Industry

Jack Schofield

About Jack Schofield

Jack Schofield spent the 1970s editing photography magazines before becoming editor of an early UK computer magazine, Practical Computing. In 1983, he started writing a weekly computer column for the Guardian, and joined the staff to launch the newspaper's weekly computer supplement in 1985. This section launched the Guardian’s first website and, in 2001, its first real blog. When the printed section was dropped after 25 years and a couple of reincarnations, he felt it was a time for a change....

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  • Interesting idea - more electronic doorstops - but it would, almost inevitably put a crimp in Kindle sales. Mind you, for me, at least, the extra weight and size of a tablet would negate its use as an ereader. Won't fit in my pocket for a start.

    I don't even see the need for colour in an ereader, as in the Barnes & Noble offering - after all, how many books are anything but black text on white(ish) paper? True, some, like cookery books, have colour images, but not having them detracts but little from the experience, the dishes being so ponced up by food stylists you just know you'll never match them.
  • @ronwgraves

    Amazon will release an Android Based e-ink Reader, as an incremental upgrade to the Kindle. Whatever they do - you can bet the screen visibility,weight and battery life will be the important factors, on which to run Kindle software. The Kindle currently has no real competition because it defines its role perfectly.

    Amazon aren't going to produce an Android device (and call it a Kindle) that can't be read in direct sunlight - that's for sure. This is about using Android to provide a touch interface to a Kindle, nothing more.

    Agree with Jack, can't see them going for a top spec'd chip to start with - there is no need. The chip they use depends on whether they see Flash as essential or not (if they extend the interface to other tasks), i.e newer breed of Arm processors.
  • Thanks for the comments.

    > almost inevitably put a crimp in Kindle sales.

    True, but so could the iPad and another two dozen Android/WebOS/QNX/etc tablets. In this day and age, you can't protect markets.

    > Amazon will release an Android Based e-ink Reader

    I don't know, obviously, but I can image Amazon having a Kindle for books and a companion tablet aimed at movies, music and web browsing (with an e-reader thrown in as well). I can also imagine it offering both devices for the price of an iPad, or probably less.

    Although the iPad is nothing like as good as a Kindle for reading novels, especially out of doors, people do read books on it (and even on their PDAs and phones). I'm also sure that Amazon knows what the different platforms are worth, because it already sells e-books to iPad, PC and other users. I assume it can see from its iPad app sales whether or not it's worth doing its own tablet.

    There's also the strategic issue. Having its own tablet would to some extent free Amazon from Apple's soviet-style "command and control" approach to its iOS ecosystem.
    Jack Schofield
  • Whoops, sorry @SoapyTablet -- second part of that is a reply to you, not @ronwgraves
    Jack Schofield
  • The Kindle is undoubtedly the perfect device for reading books (I would consider an upgrade if it keeps to it's key attributes; screen visibility, weight and battery life).

    However where as two years ago I needed a small lightweight laptop to run my business applications on, so I purchased a netbook for when I couldn't carry a full size laptop. Now all of my key applications are web based and most have optimized UIs for tablets, so I would seriously consider packing both a Kindle and Amazon Tab for work instead of a laptop/netbook.
  • @TwoPlus1
    It's very difficult to keep the Kindle's key attributes and extend its abilities to a tablet type device.

    One possible Kindle Tablet device - A dual screen device e-ink rear side, tft-front side, where you select the book, via the Android touch interface, then flip the device over to the e-ink screen to read the book (this switches off the tft-display), but allows your fingers to swipe the back of the device (the tft screen), to turn pages, but this compromises two key attributes, weight and battery. It's is an interesting concept.

    Added advantage: It avoids overlaying the e-ink screen with a touch digitiser, which may impact visibility of the e-ink display.
  • Tablets are very much in the market and it’s a new gadget for most. And Amazon tablet is new to everyone and its better if we try it first and know what its features are. It may be new but maybe it has a good quality.
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