Amazon Analysis: Will It Empower or Destroy the Android Ecosystem?
The iPad killer. That's what the industry called Motorola Xoom, Hewlett-Packard's TouchPad, BlackBerry Playbook, Samsung Galaxy Tab and just about any other newly launched tablet that doesn't bear the Apple logo. Now, they're calling Amazon's yet-to-be-released tablet exactly that, even before a single photograph is leaked. Charles Arthur of Guardian says that Amazon is "the only company that people think could pose a serious threat to Apple in the tablet space." Amazon is "a conduit to lots of content," and on a tablet, content is king. He also notes that it's easier to buy content from Amazon than Google's Android Market, which has no simple payment mechanism. No wonder industry insiders are calling Amazon's tablet the most viable competitor to the iPad (wait, didn't everyone say the same thing about HP's TouchPad?). Sure, Amazon is not introducing its own operating system. But the Android running on its tablet is being tweaked so much, it's beyond recognition. Instead of running Google's stock Android apps, it comes loaded with Amazon-branded apps, including its own Amazon Appstore. And this is a key differentiator for the tablet -- and one that could dramatically enhance its value. Will Amazon's Appstore Empower or Destroy the Android Ecosystem? If the key to selling more apps is a simple and straightforward payment method, as suggested by Arthur, Amazon's Appstore may be the incentive for developers to build higher-quality apps for Android. With better apps, especially tablets-optimized ones, Android will be in a much better position to compete with Apple. The reverse is true if developers are releasing their apps exclusively on Amazon's Appstore, for any reason. What does this mean to other Android tablet makers when they'll not only have to compete with the iPad, but Amazon's tablet, which has a more appealing store? If that happens, they may have to consider pre-installing Amazon's Appstore on their own tablets in order to bring the best experience to their users. On the other hand, Google will be put in an awkward position with Amazon powering the de facto appstore on Android, and Motorola, which will mostly likely fit the standard Android on its future tablets, will be losing out. Back to Reality Does Amazon really have what it takes to shake up the Android ecosystem? As of now, no. Before even thinking of overtaking the market, let alone the iPad, it has to first clean up its act. The least Amazon could do is prevent bad press like this. Also, stop annoying developers with lengthy review periods and give them more control over app prices and descriptions. Photo credit: Kominyetska