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

'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.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor

'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.

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