Amazon is expected to launch its Kindle Tablet this week in New York and it's a bit fuzzy whether the device is about targeting Apple's iPad or defending against Barnes & Noble's Nook.
The strategic positioning probably lies somewhere in the middle.
As for the offensive part of the Kindle Tablet launch, the moving parts go like this:
- Amazon can subsidize a tablet via its Prime subscription service and media sales.
- Movie, music and e-book services can be bundled into one comprehensive offering.
- Amazon is one of the few companies that can provide integration similar to what Apple offers.
But Amazon's Kindle Tablet is also about defense. The reality is that Barnes & Noble's Nook is one popular Android tablet. While other companies have tried to launch direct iPad rivals, Barnes & Noble went the hybrid route. The color Nook is a handy Android tablet/e-reader.
Amazon has to answer that tablet/e-reader bell.
Stifel Nicolaus analyst David Schick said in a research note that the Kindle Tablet is a chance to "return serve with refreshed devices." It's unclear whether Barnes & Noble can ultimately compete with Apple and Amazon, but it has fared well with its Nook color. The biggest threat to Barnes & Noble will come if Amazon aggressively subsidizes its Kindle Tablet to hit the sub-$200 mark.
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