Kindle Tablet is coming, what it means to consumers

Kindle Tablet is coming, what it means to consumers

Summary: It appears Amazon is getting ready to unleash the Kindle Tablet on the world this week. Here's what it means to consumers like you.


The Amazon tablet has been the topic of rumors for months, including a hands-on look by TechCrunch. Amazon is expected to release the Kindle Tablet into the world this week at a press event to be held on Wednesday. The tech world is understandably buzzing about how this tablet from Amazon will compete with the top selling iPad, but the reality is Amazon doesn't care about competing with any tablet on the market.

What we think we know about the Kindle Tablet

It will be a 7-inch multitouch tablet, running a special Amazon-produced interface that sits on an Android kernel. This interface will not look like Android, nor will it run like Android tablets. It will be an Amazon effort through and through, with the kernel the only thing in common with Android.

The Kindle Tablet will be deeply integrated with Amazon's content sales, with ebooks, music, and videos easily purchased and consumed on the tablet. It will be focused on this objective, not on becoming yet another Android tablet. Techies may not like this locked-down system, but they are not the intended audience.

The Kindle Tablet will sell for $250, much cheaper than competing tablets. It will come with an Amazon Prime membership which provides free shipping on some Amazon purchases, a $79 value. Amazon will likely tie other purchase incentives to the Tablet, and will likely integrate Amazon's Kindle library book service.

What this means

While those of us involved in the tech space understandably look to the Kindle Tablet to compete with Android tablets and the iPad, Amazon has no intention to do so. The Kindle Tablet is designed by Amazon to appeal to mainstream consumers, the Kindle market, and to facilitate selling that market goods from the Amazon store.

While the initial objective of the Kindle Tablet will be to sell consumers digital goods from the Amazon store, it will quickly branch out from that to include all retail goods. Incentives will make this easy for Amazon, with discounts offered for purchases made from the Kindle Tablet, to free shipping on such purchases.

Make no mistake, Amazon doesn't want to sell you a tablet, it wants to sell you more stuff. The Kindle Tablet will make this easy to do, and easy to enjoy the digital goods purchased on the tablet. Competing with Apple and Android tablets will be a natural side effect of the Kindle Tablet, but it's not Amazon's objective.

It wants to expose millions of buyers to the benefits of buying stuff from the Amazon store. Don't overlook the fact that the bulk of Amazon's digital content for sale can already be used on both the iPad and Android tablets. They are in fact vehicles driving Amazon sales, not strictly tablet competitors.


Topics: Laptops, Hardware, Mobility, Tablets

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • RE: Kindle Tablet is coming, what it means to consumers

    It's like Apple and Amazon are friends. They are selling the same thing, but still largely not competing and they'll both make billions while others stutter.
    • RE: Kindle Tablet is coming, what it means to consumers

      @regsrini OK Great but shows us the tablet first! Nook has been around for a while with no damage to Apple..
      • RE: Kindle Tablet is coming, what it means to consumers

        @Hasam1991 <br>I never said Apple is in trouble. Read again. I stress that Apple and Amazon will both win in this case, because they are targeting somewhat different audiences. One group wants to simply enjoy the Apple experience with whatever perks you get. The other wants to just consume content in the cheapest and easiest possible manner, which Amazon can provide. It is the others including Google (as opposed to Amazon) Android and Windows that are threatened here.
      • RE: Kindle Tablet is coming, what it means to consumers

        @Hasam1991 Excuse me? Barnes and Noble sells only BOOKS. Amazon sells the world. The damage to Apple is NOT going to be in iPad sales, but the fact that billions of dollars in Apple's revenue comes from sales ON the iPad and iPhone. Amazon will bite into THAT, not on device sales. That is the point of the article and a correct one.
    • RE: Kindle Tablet is coming, what it means to consumers

      Well, you need to look at Amazon's balance sheet for one thing. They SELL billions, but make about a billion in profit. They are a store...margins on a store are about 3-7%.

      To call Amazon and Apple friends is interesting given how vitriolic the relationship is and how Amazon pulled any direct selling on the iPad off the app because Apple charges 30% of any sale as a fee! Given those fore mentioned 7% margins, it is not worth it for Amazon to sell via an iPad app...thus you have to use the browser on the iPad. On the Amazon tablet, it will be a custom shopping experience...similar to what you COULD have gotten on the iPad, if Apple did not want to get so greedy. So, Apple and Amazon are HARDLY friends.
    • RE: Kindle Tablet is coming, what it means to consumers

      Perhaps Amazon is the only company to actually learn why the iPad sells well. If they offered just another Android tablet, it would garner just as many 'yawns and ho-hums' as what Android tablets are known for.

      Without seeing the Amazon tablet, I'm giving them a pat on the back for it's promised potential.
      • Your have a problem.....


        The 1st problem, as we know, is that there are too many poor pieces of kit running various flavours of Android. And there is no 'single Android' experience unlike the iPad.

        The 2nd problem is folk like you who can't see the good ones OR appreciate that even a poor one might only be poor compared to the iPad. a) My personal Asus Transformer is used daily unlike my work ipad. b) I dont have specifics but there must be some decent ??150 Androids out there that will do a job in my car and the occasional holiday. ??150 compared to ??500.... who in their right mind expects it to be as good? Of course it wont be BUT it can still be value for whatever job you plan to use it. I wont be buying two expensive solutions.... I might buy one plus two cheap ones though!
  • RE: Kindle Tablet is coming, what it means to consumers

    It's a really interesting move - unlike Android tablets aimed directly at the iPad like the Galaxy, there is no need for this to be any more powerful than required to serve content, or have significant local storage - so they can presumably keep costs down, along with being able to sell at near cost. That???s still going to be powerful enough for casual browsing and Angry Birds / Farmville style casual gaming too.

    I can easily see it selling to the same households that already have an iPad ??? family households have room for more than one personal screen. I???m already weighing it up as an option for my father-in-law ??? who would benefit from some kind of media oriented tablet. Just depends how locked down it is to Amazon-only content.

    The other interesting thing is how much the market is aligning into verticals - i.e. Amazon is also becoming a rival to Google and Microsoft in the cloud services side. We tend to still think of them as a retailer, but they???re becoming a huge IT player. But unlike Google/Motorola, and Microsoft/Nokia they have (like Apple) a successful relationship with content firms.

    By successful I don???t mean happy ??? retailers and publishers by definition will not agree - but they are at least on the same page, the arguments are about percentages and details, not fundamental principles.
    • RE: Kindle Tablet is coming, what it means to consumers

      @JulesLt3 They can sell *below* cost. This is critical.
      x I'm tc
    • RE: Kindle Tablet is coming, what it means to consumers

      @JulesLt3 did you really ???? And in the wrong places need so many question marks ??????????? Made trying to read your post a little irritating!
      Matthew Mackenzie
  • Makes Sense.

    but any word on if the new Kindle will keep or be able to replicate the same display (at least for reading)?

    To abandon it would be careless, i think; especially after marketing it for as long as they have.
    • It's a different market niche.

      @chmod 777

      Just like the iPod line wasn't replaced, rather augmented by iPod Touch, Kindle Tablet will sit beside the e-ink display Kindle Reader as a separate product built for a different audience. Amazon are being really smart with this move.

      First, it cements their place in the e-reader market and keeps their product line up to date. Second, it builds an incentive for app developers to build for the Amazon app store. It's an ingenious way to build the ecosystem. Once the Kindle Tablet becomes a "thing" in its own right, they will build a larger version that might compete more directly with iPad but with much more powerful ammunition than the me-too approach all of the current Android tablets have failed with so miserably.
    • Kindle Tablet Display(s)

      Couldn't agree more!

      I'm eagerly awaiting development of 'flip-pad': LCD touch-screen on one side & e-paper on opposite. It's obvious the already-installed "guts" could drive both screens.

      Next 'obvious' development - given media-centric focus - will be a dedicated video-goggle port (fullsize HD, with surround sound, anyone?).
    • RE: Kindle Tablet is coming, what it means to consumers

      @chmod 777 I think the place where Kindle is hurting is jumping in to the magazine and newspaper market. I love my kindle and try to read New York Times online but some of the links in the NYT want to open up a seperate browser and Kindle can't handle it and you of course are missing nice color images. Would greatly welcome a Kindle for magazines and newspapers. Still want a Kindle of old, and would buy a new one if my current one broke.
  • RE: Kindle Tablet is coming, what it means to consumers

    This is almost as much about the Nook as it is about the iPad. The Kindle e-ink reader is great for the paperback experience, but magazines, video, and audio all suck. On the other hand, NatGeo and other magazines are entertaining on the Nook; so the "Color Kindle" will be the media device of choice for Kindle fans. The fact that it trespasses into the iTunes space as well is gravy. <br><br>I read a commentator today who claims the Kindle tablet and iPad are two totally different functions - Kindle fuels content sales while iTunes content sales fuel Apple hardware sales - I think that's just two sides of the same coin...the coin they are both lifting from your pocket via your credit card. Perhaps that is a new metaphor for the success of Amazon and Apple - they are merely pickpockets.
  • Its a defensive move.

    Its a defensive move: keep people buying from amazon, make it harder for anyone to compete with amazon.
    Similar to Google's android/etc. strategy: Get more people using google, keep people away from other searches.
    • Vendor lock-in works.

      @antijingoist Microsoft & Apple prove it, why shouldn't Amazon?
  • Something wrong somewhere?

    Nah, can't be true ... a company wanting to REDUCE the cost of purchases in general ... instead of adding 30% on like Apple and M$.

    AMAZON have got something wrong somewhere ... I think we should give it a miss, it doesn't sound right ;-)
  • RE: Kindle Tablet is coming, what it means to consumers

    The strategy as described is amazingly similar to the highly successful Barnes and Noble Nook Color. I anticipate a very controlled and limited app market, and a focus, as you have indicated, on getting customers to buy content. Not so much an iPad killer as carving out a niche to facilitate content sales, hence the $250 price tag which is the same as the NC ($249).
  • RE: Kindle Tablet is coming, what it means to consumers

    Love it. I've had a Kindle since the first week they were out --I'm on my 6th -- the road is hard on Kindles and I've lost a few, too. I have a Xoom but it's not exciting. Can't wait to try the Kindle Tablet -- I buy half of my on-line purchases through Amazon. If it's easier this way that will be great.