Rumors and Speculations

This blog is not the place for speculation on a regular basis. Let’s face it, most of the time speculation is just not worth the effort and I’d probably be wrong anyway. This may just as well apply for the following and it is more likely than not that I’m not even close. On the other hand, why not make an exception ;-).

OK, so here we go. Amazon has managed to make the Kindle a widely accepted and successful product. The Kindle uses a display technology that utilizes so-called e-ink that has a reputation for being extremely power-saving.

Now, there are rumors saying that Amazon is preparing the release of an Android-based tablet computer. There are many reasons why this would make sense and there’s a good chance that the tablet in combination with Amazon’s existing retail network may become a success.

Inevitably, the question how the tablet will be placed in relation to the Kindle comes to mind. Without further ado, what about the option to combine the Kindle with a regular tablet?

Of course, the result could never become a thin as an iPad but maybe Amazon is not planning to attack Apple on the design front anyway. Maybe they have something in mind that none of the existing or hypothetical competitors can come up with.

The Kindle, although focused on the ability to display the pages of a book at a very little power consumption, is in many aspects as close to a tablet as it can get. It consists of a housing (which would also be needed for the tablet), a keyboard (also required in a tablet, although most likely in an emulated form), an e-ink-based display, and the obligatory computer hard- and software.

In other words, it may be possible to merge the Kindle and a regular tablet computer (running Android) to something new. This could be done by having two screens on each side of the tablet. Admittedly, this would require some protection against scratches for the screen that is at any given time not used other than for having direct contact with a table or something worse (in terms of scratches).

Given that this problem could be solved in one or the other way1 the result may be quite attractive for existing customers2 and get Amazon’s rumored tablet a headstart among its pitiable siblings.

The Kindle has become very cheap recently and therefore it is likely that the integration of the Kindle into a tablet comes at a reasonable cost. Given that the expected synergy effects actually apply, the resulting device would much likely be significantly cheaper than the price of one Kindle plus a tablet computer.

Last not least, the combination of the two would give Amazon a unique selling point that even Apple cannot compete with (at the moment). Personally, I’d need more than this unique selling point to buy an Android device3 but nevertheless, the idea of a tablet computer that also can be used as an e-book reader at very little power consumption does make a lot of sense to me.

  1. For example, this could be done by a replaceable back cover that can be applied to the side that is not going to be used. Then, if you’s like to switch from Kindle to tablet you’s just have to unclip the back cover from one side and clip it to the other side.

  2. Kindles may have to be replaced at one point in time and then the alternative to get a new Kindle in combination with a tablet computer may be convincing. That way, a part of the existing user base may just as well become the starting point for selling the tablet in quantities.

  3. At least as long as there is an iOS-powered alternative around. Having said this, if iOS would not exist I still might opt for a Windows Phone 7 before I’d consider buying an Android device. For the record, I’m not hating Android; for various reasons I just like it very little …