Amazon's Kindle tablet doesn't need to be an 'iPad killer' to be a winner

Amazon's Kindle tablet doesn't need to be an 'iPad killer' to be a winner

Summary: 'Amazon's Kindle Tablet Will Only Support Two Fingers To The iPad's Ten' hyperventilates Ed Sutherland over on Cult of Mac, missing the point entirely.

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'Amazon's Kindle Tablet Will Only Support Two Fingers To The iPad's Ten' hyperventilates Ed Sutherland over on Cult of Mac, missing the point entirely. Amazon't Kindle tablet doesn't have to be an 'iPad killer' to be a success.

Sutherland goes on to argue that the iPad's 10-finger gesture support is far superior to what Amazon is expected to bring out:

Two fingers are enough for many tasks - a Boy Scout's salute or a Peace Sign - but it may not be enough for tablet users. Unless you are Amazon looking for ways to undercut the iPad price by offering cheap touchscreen displays. The Internet retailer's foray into tablets starts with a device limited to just two fingers - enough to give a one-fingered sign of displeasure.

Now, the 'Cult of Mac' name should offer you a clue as to the site's affiliations. With a name like that you expect there to be gushing praise for anything coming from the Apple mothership and seething hatred for anything not featuring the Apple logo seal of approval.

Note: Actually, Cult of Mac can't get even the basic facts right ... the iPad offers 11 finger support (extra finger sold separately).

OK, back to this Kindle tablet vs iPad argument. There seems to be a feeling within tech pundit circles that technology has to kill other technology in order to succeed (some sort of Highlander 'There can only be one' thing ...). Not true. This s why we have PCs and Macs, Intel CPUs and AMD CPUs, NVIDIA GPUs and AMD GPUs (and Intel GPUs), countless cellphones, tablets, mice, keyboards ... cars, trucks ... yes, there can be more than one.

My take on the Amazon tablet is that despite being a tablet, it will compete in a different market than the iPad. People who want an iPad either already have one or are planning to buy one at some point. These people are unlikely to be swayed by any other tablet no matter who makes it. Apple can easily sell every iPad it makes, and the Amazon Kindle tablet is unlikely to change that.

But the market is larger than that of the iPad. To begin with, there are people out there who, for whatever reason, don't want an iPad and won't buy one. Apple has carved out a niche for itself and has a secure market base (for now at any rate).

But that doesn't mean we should rule out the Kindle tablet. So far all we know about this device is based on superstition rumor but it's a fair bet that Amazon hasn't been resting on its laurels. The company has undoubtedly learned a lot from the Kindle ebook reader and we should be seeing the fruits of this baked into its tablet. Look at how the Kindle ebook reader has improved over several incarnations (not to mention how much the price has come down). Amazon might not be a hardware company, but it's made all the right moves with the Kindle.

Amazon also has a lot of digital services it can integrate into its tablet. Aside from ebooks, Amazon has a music service, a video service, an Android app store, a games and software downloads service, cloud services and audiobooks (Amazon owns Audible.com). Integrating these services into a single device would make a Kindle tablet compelling for hardcore Amazon users ... and in my experience there are a LOT of hardcore Amazon users out there. And it will be this market --  people already in the Amazon ecosystem -- that Amazon will target. Forget about trying to convince people who think that the iPad is great that the Kindle tablet is better; that's too hard. The Kindle is already a #1 bestseller and has the most 5-star reviews of any product on Amazon - and that's despite competing not only against other ebook readers but also the iPad.

Amazon has already managed to get the Kindle down to $114, which shows that the company carries come clout with the component supply chain and assembly folks. Given this, it's not hard to see how it could come out with a very competitive tablet at a very competitive price. And one that will sell - without needing to support 11-finger gestures.

Topics: Laptops, Amazon, Hardware, iPad, Mobility, Tablets

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68 comments
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  • Whoever said it had to be an iPad killer?

    Oh, yeah - the Mac enthusiests.
    Guess OS X has to be a Windows killer to be a success, or is that different to them?
    William Pharaoh
    • RE: Amazon's Kindle tablet doesn't need to be an 'iPad killer' to be a winner

      @William Pharaoh "Mac enthusiasts" is not a pejorative. Admittedly there are 'fan boys' aplenty on both sides of any aisle however sticking out one's tongue and chanting 'na na na' isn't exactly seizing the high ground in a reasonable debate.
      As for OS X's success depending upon Windows' demise, get real. With an ongoing growth of market share Apple could care less about what OS is running on most of the PCs in the world. They can't make Macs fast enough to fulfill the current demand. Also, if you consider iOS to be OS X (arguably it is simply a permutation of that OS) then those numbers change even more so in Apple's favor.
      Microsoft has sat on or lost market share in nearly every venue in which it competes in the past decade. XBox is the bright spot on it's ledger sheet. And no, I'm not predicting doom and gloom for Microsoft. Companies that large don't vanish overnight. Besides, in spite of having a less than stellar CEO, MS employs some of the brightest and innovative engineers in the world, bar none, even Apple. I suspect Microsoft has two issues to overcome to regain some dominance in OSs. Firstly, find someone with a vision on how to shape the future and make that person CEO, so all that talent and resources can be put to good use. Secondly, leave behind in the dust bin of history the whole 'monopoly' business model. While still technically a monopoly in desktop OS they have stagnated and continue to do so both in innovation and market share. With every major PC maker shipping Android or WebOS and that trend rising they will find themselves as cast adrift as they have been in the mobile market.
      Am I a "Mac enthusiast?" Yes, but only when Apple innovates and produces superior products. In the 90's I frankly used a PowerPC clone rather than buy the junk Apple was pushing before SJ returned on a glowing cloud.
      dheady@...
      • RE: Amazon's Kindle tablet doesn't need to be an 'iPad killer' to be a winner

        @dheady@...

        "Microsoft has sat on or lost market share in nearly every venue in which it competes in the past decade."

        Bing has steadily increased market share over the last several years. Get a hold of some real statistics.
        mstrsfty
      • RE: Amazon's Kindle tablet doesn't need to be an 'iPad killer' to be a winner

        @mstrsfty
        Because Its No Good (BING), has only gained marketshare through deals, not on merit. I have compared the Bing maps to Google maps and find Google maps to be more accurate. WP7SOS phones are not stellar performers, and the OS is severely lacking ( I personally think the UI is terrible).
        Rick_K
      • RE: Amazon's Kindle tablet doesn't need to be an 'iPad killer' to be a winner

        @dheady@... "Microsoft has sat on or lost market share in nearly every venue in which it competes in the past decade."

        Correction: Microsoft has sat on or lost market share in nearly every venue in which it has been forced to compete fairly in the past decade. There are certain markets in which Microsoft has gained market share because they were able to cheat.
        LDMartin1959
      • You can step back from that alternate reality now.

        @dheady@...
        Not even worth picking your post apart, we do it all the time, you still post it every time.

        Just not worth it.
        William Farrell
    • "Enthusiast" is not quite the right term...

      @William Pharaoh It's not so much the mac "enthusiasts" as it is the die hard frothing at the mouth worshiping at the altar of Steve Jobs mactards who say that... I personally like the iPad quite a bit - and am a huge iOS proponent... and enthusiast - but my tablet of choice right now is my rooted Nook Color running Gingerbread. I'm interested to see what the Amazon tablet will do and what it's price point will be. Am I allowed to say that being an iOS enthusiast? LOL
      athynz
      • I think you're right. My fault.

        @athynz
        Maybe "Mactards" was the name I should have used, instead of enthusiasts.

        I mentioned I bought my wife the iPhone 4 a couple of weeks ago (some friends and family have them, I see nothing wrong with it, it's a good OS) but I guess I'm still an MS Shill because I still point out the lies posted by the usual anti-MS mactards, or that I'm holding out for the HTC Trophy (WP7) over the iPhone.

        I told my wife if she wants an iPad, I have no objections (she said no, she doesn't see the need right now) so I have nothing against Apple's products like a love/hate relationship or anything.

        Sadly though, If I point out a flaw, issue, or shortcomming with an Apple product, the [i]die hard frothing at the mouth worshiping at the altar of Steve Jobs mactards[/i] descend on my post like Seal Team Six on Bin Laden. :)
        William Farrell
    • RE: Amazon's Kindle tablet doesn't need to be an 'iPad killer' to be a winner

      @William Pharaoh Actually it's always been the Apple haters that claim this or that is the next iWhatever killer.
      non-biased
  • RE: Amazon's Kindle tablet doesn't need to be an 'iPad killer' to be a winner

    I speak to so many people who think that if we have one device that is great there is no need for any competition.
    Think about Intel in the 90's, the market stated to stagnate, the cost of processors was very high, and there was no real innovation until AMD started to push them.
    I know what type of phone I like, and will probably stick with it when I renew my contract. But I also see the importance of having the other competitors to provide diversity and keep pressure for people to innovate, and this includes innovation of product and price. As anyone who thinks that Apple should be the only phone and tablet producer are very short sighted, as (and I know some people will find this hard to believe/swallow) without competition Apple would not release the quality products that we expect from them every year.

    Also, Im sure we used to use a three finger salute in scouts.
    Will T
    • RE: Amazon's Kindle tablet doesn't need to be an 'iPad killer' to be a winner

      @Will T You're correct about the three fingered salute. I also totally agree on the issue of Apple, or any industry leader in any industry needing that still small voice whispering in their ear "Look! Someone else made a shiny!" While I suspect Apple has a tremendous initiative in mobile between the iPod Touch, iPhone, and now iPad a number of features tend to pop up when someone else executes them. Competition is nearly always a good thing.
      dheady@...
      • RE: Amazon's Kindle tablet doesn't need to be an 'iPad killer' to be a winner

        @dheady@... LOL, back in ancient days it wasa 2 finger salute for Cub Scouts and when you were graduated to Boy Scouts, it was a 3 fingered salute.
        sbf95070
    • RE: Amazon's Kindle tablet doesn't need to be an 'iPad killer' to be a winner

      @Will T correct on both counts. Competition breeds competence and quality on the management and product side and we definitely used three fingers. Every old scout knows that one! I recently produced/directed a piece with my university and community college students on the 100th Anniversary of the Boy Scouts in America at Ft. McHenry. Loved it!
      cpodman
  • Just Stupid.

    I think this is just a tactic for when this Amazon tablet fails. It may sell, but it may not sell well, and then Amazon can turn around and say, "we never said it was going to be an iPad killer, blah blah blah".

    If you are getting into the tablet market, you damn well better have a fool-proof game plan and you better be willing to go head to head with the iPad. If your mentality is "it won't be an iPad killer" then you have no chance at making any money. I am sure this tablet won't bring anything new to the table, so why bother if you aren't going to even try to go after the lead dog?

    This is equivalent to Microsoft saying something like "well our X-Box 360 won't be a PS3 killer". So what are you saying? The 360 sucks and I should just avoid it and get a PS3?

    What should I buy... an iPad or something that doesn't need to beat the iPad... well that tablet is selling itself short. Sorry I'll take the arrogant and confident iPad over the sad little 'I'll never be as good as you" Amazon tablet.
    Bates_
    • RE: Amazon's Kindle tablet doesn't need to be an 'iPad killer' to be a winner

      @Bates_ You missed the point, there is plenty of room for additional players in the tablet market. The Kindle tab doesn't have to be better or worse then the iPad, just enough different, andwith some great built-in services is likely to be a success.
      clcrockett
      • No I get the Point.

        @ccrockett@... No I get it, but it is wrong mindset to have in this particular market. No matter how they market this Amazon tab it is going to be compared and in term, beaten by the iPad. I am not trying to play the Apple Fanboy here, but facts are fact.

        No it doesn't have to better then the iPad, but if it wants to see some nice sales figures then it better damn well try to be better. Give it a 7-10' screen, slap a gig of ram in it (1.5 gigs would be different in a good way) with a dual core 1.2ghz CPU, 32GB of on on board storage plus a SD slot, give it a nice set of cameras, some good speakers, micro USB for charging and data transfer, make it slightly thicker then the iPad with just a bit more weight, Android 3.2, a great display and something else unique (maybe 50-75$ in Kindle store credit if you buy one) and we have ourselves an iPad competitor, and it's only going to be a competitor because it is Amazon branded.
        Bates_
      • Opinion masquerading as facts

        @Bates_

        You are entitled to your opinions, but do not insult us claiming them to be facts.
        Economister
      • Nah

        @Bates_@...

        That spec sheet you rolled out is the exact opposite of what Amazon should be doing for a pad.

        What I want from Amazon is a great reader, not an iPad clone. An amazon tablet needs to be very light, inexpensive, easy on the eyes, and have great battery life.

        Two-finger touch is perfect example of this. Two-fingers is all the iPad uses for reading type purposes. Anything more is overkill that would just suck battery and add weight.
        SlithyTove
      • RE: Amazon's Kindle tablet doesn't need to be an 'iPad killer' to be a winner

        @SlithyTove Doesn't Amazon already have what you just described and it's called the Kindle?
        non-biased
    • RE: Amazon's Kindle tablet doesn't need to be an 'iPad killer' to be a winner

      @Bates_

      When the iPad came out, many predicted the demise of the Kindle. The Kindle is doing just fine-thank you. Look at it another way. The iPad is no Kindle killer.
      mstrsfty