How the Kindle Is Showing the Path for Android

Amazon is going to be bringing out a tablet soon, and TechCrunch got the scoop on the details. We’ll go over the specs in a moment, but what’s important is that it’s a 7″ Kindle successor that runs a heavily modified port of Android – without the Market. But, honestly, that doesn’t matter. What does matter is that this Kindle tablet will not equal the iPad’s price, nor surpass it. It will cost just $250.

The Kindle is an extremely popular device, even if not in sales numbers. While I don’t personally own a Kindle, I know people who do and they love their device when it comes to its primary purpose: e-reading. And it’s became very evident that Android’s chance at success is not trying to “kill” the iPad, but trying to target specific markets, like the Kindle does.

I think Android is failing in the tablet market, and I don’t think they are going to improve fast enough to turn a profit. However, I also think there’s a massive potential for Android to move into brand new markets and take over the world.

A 7-Inch Color Kindle

TechCrunch’s report says that Amazon’s tablet will be focused very heavily on the Kindle, rather than being a general, jack-of-all-trades Android tablet. Instead of having the usual 10-inch screen size, the Amazon tablet will feature a 7-inch screen, with Amazon opting for a colour touchscreen over e-ink. This makes it an inch bigger than the current Kindle; that’s a pretty appropriate size for a tablet aimed primarily at e-readers, because it’s roughly the size of a regular book.

The Kindle tablet will run Android (we wouldn’t be writing about it here if it weren’t), although, apparently, it won’t be like anything you’ve seen before. This is because Amazon is not trying to create a tablet, they’re trying to create an e-reader. Because of the categorisation of the device, Amazon has left out the Android Market, meaning that you can’t easily install third-party apps. This is purely speculation, but since Amazon are still said to be refining the software still, I’d think the final model would somehow work with the Amazon Appstore.

The Kindle would act like the Barnes and Noble Nook Colour: it’d be an e-reader, but the Android architecture would be evident.

The current Kindle.

But It’s No iPad Killer

The Amazon tablet is not trying to be an iPad killer, which is the sole reason it might succeed. When we take a look at all the other tablets competing for market share (the HP TouchPad, the Samsung Galaxy Tab, the HTC Flyer and so on), they are all trying to steal customers away from Apple and not succeeding in doing so. They’re not pricing their products competitively enough to attract buyers, and aren’t really providing a good enough argument for anyone but an Android fanboy to buy their product (why buy some Android tablet that does the same stuff as the iPad your friends and family use and love?). If I had to give one piece of advice to these companies, i’d suggest they give up on this market, immediately.

However, Amazon is coming at this with a completely different approach. They’re not building an Android tablet, they’re trying to use Android to power a more niche and unique product. Android has an opportunity to target different markets, but not the general tablet one because Apple is leading and will be for some time, meaning there’s really no point in Android trying to catch up with the tablet.

You can't argue with the figures.

Final Thoughts

I bet the Kindle tablet will succeed because it’s not trying to kill the iPad. Instead, it’s rejuvenating a completely different product. iOS is the tablet operating system, and, with Amazon’s help, Android might be the e-reader’s operating system. Plus, being open-source, Android might become the the OS for a whole range of different markets and industries.

Aside from phones, I reckon Android will succeed in completely new markets that we haven’t thought about pushing Android into yet. It will not work for tablets (right now, at least). That little display on your fridge might one day be powered by Android, and maybe the self check-in at the airport will be too, or the kiosk at the museum. Those might be more optimistic visions, but it’s my expectation (nay, hope) that open-source Android will be favoured by a lot more markets as they modernise.

Agree with me? Disagree? Let me know in the comments!