updated 03:25 pm EDT, Mon August 29, 2011
Forrester believes Amazon could blow out tablet
Forrester analyst Sarah Rotman Epps on Monday estimated that Amazon could "easily" ship three million to five million of its anticipated Android tablet. She saw Amazon having the first real competitor to Apple's iPad provided it could ship at $299 or less and didn't have problems keeping up supply. Amazon's willingness to price dump, or sell at a loss to gain market share, could make that possible, Epps said.
She added that Amazon might want to ultimately distance itself from from Google if it wanted a chance at success. It would be best to create a unique experience, the analyst said, as Android and Google were now increasingly liability in tablets. Just nine percent of tablet buyers were actively considering Android, while 16 percent wanted an iPad and an unusually high 46 percent were looking at Windows, even if very few actually chose Microsoft's OS.
"Product strategists that we've spoken with at OEMs have voiced frustration about the limits of Android -- its lack of polish, the terrible shopping experience in the Android Market, the rules that Google has set for Honeycomb use that limit differentiation, and the fragmentation of earlier versions of the OS," Epps wrote. "It does need to differentiate its flavor of Android from all the rest, and that may come from emphasizing the Amazon experience over the Google one."
The company may be taking up that strategy. Rumors so far have pointed to Amazon using cheap components, such as two-finger multi-touch and dropping cameras, in order to get the price down. Amazon might use a heavily customized version of Android 2.3 rather than a truly tablet-optimized OS like 3.2. Its focus may swing more heavily to competing with Barnes & Noble's Nook Color than the iPad.
If successful, Amazon could do what Google and other major partners like Motorola and Samsung hadn't, stimulating demand for Android tablets and an app community. Only a few thousand Android 3-native apps exist at best where Apple had more than 100,000 iPad apps in just over a year. Google currently makes the exact tablet app count difficult to track because there is no way to limit Android Market to show just tablet versions.