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.