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By 30 August 2011 | Categories: news

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Will the iPad’s biggest rival be Amazon? This is the question asked by technology and market research company Forrester, which believes that the imminent release of Amazon’s tablet as early as October will be a game changer. The reason for this is that Amazon already has a legacy following of Kindle devotees, but unlike most manufacturers who make money from the number of devices they sell, Amazon’s real profitability comes from its online store and related products.

According to Sarah Rotman Epps from Forrester, Amazon’s willingness to sell hardware at a loss, combined with the strength of its brand, content, cloud infrastructure and commerce assets makes it “the only credible iPad competitor in the market”. She added that, if Amazon launched a tablet at a sub-$300 (R2100) price point — assuming it has enough supply to meet demand — Forrester predicted that Amazon would sell three to five million tablets in the fourth quarter of the year alone. As was shown in the recent firesale of the discontinued HP TouchPad, price matters a great deal to users, who will quickly buy a device that they wouldn’t have otherwise considered if they believed they were able to obtain it for a great price.

Epps elaborated that the company further believed that a quick ascension by Amazon in the tablet market would “completely disrupt the status quo.” Additionally, there would be further ramifications, namely that Android manufacturers would seek out Amazon as a platform partner. She elaborated that there was not only potential for Amazon to launch its own hardware as an “Amazon tablet” but also to be a platform for other OEMs, layering Amazon’s software and services over Android to provide a richer customer experience. “In a year from now, we could see a range of ‘Amazon tablets’ made by different hardware manufacturers,” she added.

On tablets though, it’s all about the apps. Epps pointed out that, on the back of a rising popularity of an Amazon tablet, developers and product strategists in the media, retail and bank fields, amongst others, could scramble to build Android tablet apps.“So far, product strategists across industries have invested in iPad apps but have held back from creating Android tablet apps. Apple claims 100 000 custom-built iPad apps, while Google’s Honeycomb platform has attracted fewer than 300 apps. If Amazon’s Android-based tablet sells in the millions, Android will suddenly appear much more attractive to developers who have taken a wait-and-see approach,” she added.

According to the company, which has compiled a new report dedicated to the tablet phenomenon, a year from now, “Amazon” could be synonymous with “Android” on tablets, and a strong second to Apple’s iPad.

In recent news, Samsung has expressed interest in HP’s webOS and announced yet another tablet that will be forthcoming.


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