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Amazon CEO: if just building a tablet, you won't succeed

updated 02:35 pm EDT, Thu September 29, 2011

Amazon CEO says ecosystem key to tablets, more

Most of those who have failed at tablets and other home electronics were too focused on the hardware alone, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said in an interview following the launch of the Kindle Fire tablet. He explained to TechCrunch that Amazon would do well with the Kindle Fire because it treated the Android slate as an "end-to-end service," not just an isolated design. It was the software and the content that defined a tablet, and those who didn't create a complete effect have struggled.

"In the modern era of consumer electronics devices, if you are just building a device you are unlikely to succeed," Bezos said. "Today it is about the software, the software on the device and the software in the cloud. It is a seamless service -- this is Kindle greeting you by name when you pull it out of the box. Some of the companies building tablets didn't build services, they just built tablets."

Amazon has been frank in describing the Kindle Fire as a portal to all of its content. Along with the Kindle bookstore, they can stream Instant Video or music from the Cloud Player. Even its normally business-only EC2 cloud services play a role by pre-fetching and optimizing web content in the Silk web browser to speed up load times.

Apple is so far the only other major tablet maker to have a fully integrated services setup and is expanding it with iOS 5. Every iPad has access to the App Store, iTunes music and videos, and the iBookstore. The iOS 5 update will add iCloud for syncing personal info and media across devices.

Android by its nature has some cloud services but has usually been lacking in content. Google only just added its own video rental store in mid-year and doesn't have its own music store. Companies like HTC and Samsung have filled in the gaps with services like Watch and Media Hub, but these are either inconsistently available or don't cover as wide a spectrum of content.

Bezos wouldn't say whether he thought the Kindle Fire would outperform regular Kindles, but he maintained that the Android tablet was in line with a previously promised focus on reading. Both would be popular, and there were always situations where an E Ink reader would be better, such as "by the pool" on a bright, sunny day. People did more than read books, however, and the Kindle Fire wouldn't just fill this gap but lead some to prefer one device or the other.

"From my own experience, I think people will tend to gravitate towards one or the other -- time will tell," he said.

By Electronista Staff


  1. Jeronimo2000

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001


    He "gets it"

    From what he said here, it seems that he's one of the few in the business who understands what customers want. I expect this Kindle tablet to be wildly more popular than any of those Android things.

  1. Athens

    Addicted to MacNN

    Joined: Jan 2003



    Some one gets it, watch out the Kindle Fire is going to do well.

  1. lvavila

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2011



    Like the comments above, we finally found a CEO that "gets it". And Mr CEO one more thing, don't try to compete with the iPad just yet, leverage the service "you" can provide and make THAT shine.

    Damn, I should be CEO. Im buying Google but I better pay off some of my credit card first..

  1. ferdchet

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Feb 2011


    I can't disagree

    I'm actually excited about the Fire. I have a Samsung Galaxy Tab for work (along with my iPad, of course), and the Galaxy is not great. Poor UX, no real focus to the experience. My kids won't even play with it. The Fire is much different. Amazon actually planned how users could experience the device, kind of an Apple-like thinking to the design. Plus, at only $200 I think it will do well.

  1. SockRolid

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Jan 2010


    Good for Amazon

    I've been saying since last year that an Amazon tablet that leveraged their existing digital content would do well. They have most of the infrastructure in place that Apple has. And you can't just mash that up overnight. It takes years. Many years.

    Amazon will soon completely own the low-end iPad clone market. Apple already owns the high end with the real iPad. There is now nowhere for the other cloners to go. Game over.

  1. slapppy

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Mar 2008



    Duh! After watching failure after failure all does in the end is copy Apple business model. He's just another cloner.

  1. FrankMtl

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: May 2002


    Haven't heard all

    of his speech but I agree with the above. From the bit we could read I'll assume he has not dissed the iPad/Apple unlike competitors (failed) who need to belittle Apple to prop up their attempt.
    His untempered "time will tell" may seem like hedging but, imo, has class.

  1. 11211

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2008


    I don't know

    Tablets are already so limited compared to computers, and this offers even less than the most basic Android tablet. I can see this killing off the Nook, but I can't see most folks wanting one of these. The ipad is safe for now.

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