The most talked-about Android tablet is one the manufacturer won’t talk about: Amazon’s upcoming device, which our columnist Tim Bajarin profiled recently. Bajarin is right: if done right, this tablet could be really disruptive, and Amazon has the best chance of any company so far to do well. Research firm Forrester says if Amazon succeeds, it could sell millions.
By coming into the tablet market later than some major competitors, Amazon can learn from their experiences. It can borrow from the Barnes & Noble Nook Color, the Kindle, and the best of the other Android tablets out there—while finally, hopefully, adopting a somewhat subsidized (but carrier-free) pricing model that frees it from competing dollar-for-dollar with the iPad.
Here are seven things I think the Amazon tablet really needs to take off.
A $249 price: Android tablets so far haven’t been able to compete with the iPad at the $500 price point, but there have been surprisingly brisk sales of low-priced, low-quality tablets. The $99 HP TouchPad also sold like gangbusters, but that was a fluke; HP lost a lot of money on that sale. If Amazon comes in at $249—the same price as the Nook Color—with a superior product, it will create a new market.
A one-handed design: Amazon’s tablet almost has to be seven inches, because you need to hold it in one hand while reading. The design should be focused on one-handed use—for instance, rather than being flat, the tablet could move its center of gravity towards the side being held in your hand.
A truly great screen for reading:Most tablet screens aren’t optimized for reading. They’re too bright, which is tiring on the eyes; they’re too reflective, which makes them hard to use outdoors; and they’re too power-hungry. Barnes & Noble’s Nook Color, the Amazon Tablet’s major competitor, does a decent job. But what we really need here is something like Pixel Qi, Qualcomm’s Mirasol, or another variety of transflective LCD.
The Honeycomb OS: Google’s Android guru, Andy Rubin, says Android 2.3 isn’t appropriate for tablets, yet low-end tablet manufacturers insist on continuing to put the phone-centric OS on their devices. The Amazon tablet must run Honeycomb, Google’s true tablet OS, out of the gate.
Amazon Appstore for Honeycomb: The way Amazon gets to $249 is by leveraging Amazon services, making tablet owners buy Amazon music and store files on Amazon Cloud Drive and hopefully sign up for Amazon Prime. Fortunately for Amazon, Google’s Android Market for Honeycomb is broken and hard to use. A well-run, Honeycomb-centric Amazon AppStore would not only supercharge Amazon’s tablet, it could be a winner on other Android tablets as well.
WhisperNet: Amazon already has deals with Sprint and AT&T to provide wireless coverage for Kindles. The company can extend Whispernet to its own tablets. Amazon should offer some limited coverage—for instance, using Amazon’s own services—for free, and then a reasonable selection of prepaid service plans. That gives the tablet 3G coverage without the carriers interfering with sales and updates.
Stability, smooth performance and feature completeness: This should go without saying, but it can’t in the frustrating world of Android tablets. The tablet must come with all of the features it’s promised with at launch, unlike the Motorola Xoom. It must be fast enough to perform smoothly, unlike the Pandigital Novel. And it must not crash.
via What the Amazon Tablet Needs to Succeed | News & Opinion | PCMag.com.