Amazon has released it’s annual press release giving statistics of its Christmas sales and record breakers. The headline on the release, “for the first time ever, customers purchased more Kindle books than physical books”. Impressive and evidently a push for bloggers and journalists to reflect the fact in our posts, articles and reports.
Amazon and Bezos well deserve the success the device has received so far. I don’t own the device myself but reports from articles, friends and colleagues, have been remarkably positive. That said, is The Kindle going to be one of the most prominent rise and falls in gadget history? Bear with me, but I’m revisiting Apple’s upcoming tablet release (rumored to be called iSlate or Magic Slate).
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If Apple, once again, does what it’s done for the phone and audio player but for tablets, which here I am proposing it will, how The Kindle can possibly succeed is beyond me. An Apple employee is reported as saying “You will be very surprised how you interact with the new tablet.” which of course could mean anything, but let’s assume that being a tablet created by Apple it will be slick, easy to use and closer to a multimedia magazine/newspaper than any device has come before.
Therefore, turning pages rather then scrolling down, thinner and lighter than the Kindle, multitouch, and just as easy to purchase, download & read ebooks and documents. It should be a snappier, faster and smoother experience than the Kindle with a rich colorful UI to boot, and above all else a do-it-all device which incorporates a computer, e-reader, media player and portable television all in one.
At this point, I’d like to reiterate the fact these are assumptions and based on Apple’s disruptive track history, in many respects the Google of the gadget world, venturing into markets many have thought dead or too established to enter, and transforming them. But based on these, Apple’s tablet should put an end – or at least a large dent – to The Kindle’s successes.
While Amazon may never admit to regretting its venture into e-publishing gadgetry, I’m convinced that before long the online behemoth will have wished they’d rather partnered with the likes of Apple (and other future tablet manufacturers) to ensure built in purchasing/downloading of its books rather than creating a gadget of their own for it, something that they can of course still.
Another avenue to consider is what if Amazon itself decided to turn the Kindle into a its own tablet computer? It’s unlikely, but with Bezos as CEO, it’s difficult to put past them and frankly, many might consider it Amazon’s only option if it wants its Kindle to survive. That said, if Amazon manages to drop the price of the Kindle to something less than 100$ mark then its a different product altogether. At its current price $259, is anyone in their right mind going to buy a Kindle over a full fledged tablet. At less than a $100 however, it’s almost disposable, and Amazon might make a loss on the hardware but should sell enough to easily be able to recoup the loss via worldwide e-book sales.
In the end, the ball is in Apple’s court, we could all (including myself) be left red faced at yet another failed attempt to create a usable Tablet, with Apple’s recent successes however, I sincerely doubt it.