When Apple launched the iPad last year, other mobile device makers scrambled to pump out a tablet to tap into the new consumer market that Steve Jobs created. But they didn't really take the time to figure out what makes a tablet good or bad or why consumers want them—and, as a result, no tablet has sold units even remotely close to the amount of iPads that have flown off the shelves.
Amazon has been recently rumoured to be eying the tablet space. If true, it's quite a late player in the game. Even Research In Motion, which has been notorious in recent history for product delays and detrimentally slow launches, unleashed its BlackBerry PlayBook across North America earlier this year.
But Amazon has taken a different approach: build the ecosystem first, and launch a complete tablet—nothing "half-baked" like the PlayBook or simply unexciting like the myriad Android drones.
They have an established app store. They have an established online music store. They have an established ebook store. They have cloud technology. They already have one mobile device, their Kindle e-reader, which has been one of their all-time best selling products and a dominator in its market. And it's a brand that everyone is familiar with, and most quite like.
Launching a tablet only makes sense.
The challenge will be to craft an OS (most likely based off Android) that doesn't render Amazon's strong foundations useless. It's vital to create that memorable user experience—anything like than absolutely outstanding will be lost in the chaos of the numerous other tablets launching, each one identical to the last. It doesn't have the resources to develop its own OS, but it has to do more than simply wield Android. It has to make its own Android OS look incredible compared to other Android OS devices.
The rumours suggest that this tablet will launch this year, as early as the fall. My guess would be that Amazon wants to get in ahead of the iPad 3, which is anticipated to hit shelves in late 2011 or very early 2012.
Allegedly, Amazon is aiming for as many 800,000 units sold per month, a lofty and ambitious goal given the brief historical data we have to work with, but nonetheless possible. After all, who thought the iPhone or Androids could claim such a stake in what was once BlackBerry's exclusive domain?
Amazon will use processors developed by Texas Instruments, touch panels by Taiwan's based Wintek, and LCD driver ICs by ILI Technology, all assembled by Quanta Computer, sources behind the rumour indicate.