Amazon.com has tapped Taiwan-based notebook maker Quanta Computer to manufacture an Amazon-branded tablet computer, according to a DigiTimes report citing unnamed sources at key parts suppliers. The electronics industry newspaper also reported Tuesday that the anonymous component makers expect Amazon to take delivery of 700,000-800,000 units per month during this year's holiday shopping season.
According to Forrester Research Vice President James McQuivey, a move into the tablet space by Amazon would be no surprise now that rival Barnes & Noble has taken the plunge by releasing a software upgrade for the nook color that gives the e-reader tablet capabilities such as Flash video playback and e-mail access.
"Amazon will work hard to show that its digital-media offerings -- including cloud-based music and digital video streaming -- make its tablet uniquely powerful," McQuivey wrote in a blog.
Laying the Foundation
The new Amazon Cloud Drive that rolled out in March enables users to archive their most frequently accessed music, videos, photos and documents on Amazon's servers in the cloud. The service should prove especially attractive to tablet users with limited storage space.
Providing anytime, anywhere access from browser-equipped computing platforms with a broadband connection, Amazon Cloud Drive comes with 5GB of free storage. Larger capacities are available at prices cheaper than what a user would pay for a USB drive -- all the way to one terabyte.
Even better, Amazon Cloud Drive users don't have to worry about losing the data stored on physical drives. Additionally, songs purchased from Amazon MP3 are stored in the buyer's Cloud Drive free, and MP3 album purchasers receive 20GB of storage free for a year.
Amazon also unleashed an update to its Kindle for Android software in April that adds support for Android-based tablets running Honeycomb. The software upgrade also sports an integrated immersive shopping experience tailored for tablets, together with a new Honeycomb-optimized layout for newspapers and magazines.
Meanwhile, Amazon hopes to continue to grow its customer base by cutting the prices of its latest e-reading devices, which began shipping Tuesday at prices ranging from $114 for the sponsor-supported Kindle with Special Offers to $189 for the Kindle 3G. What's more, Amazon is building its own Android app store, which suggests its forthcoming tablet will be running Honeycomb.
The Content Endgame
As major online retailers of digital content, Amazon and Barnes & Noble have a vested interest in offering their customers e-reading-optimized devices that also integrate many of the capabilities found on today's web tablets.
"The nook color software upgrades make the [device] look more and more like a tablet, [and] at $249, the nook color makes those of us obsessed with books think twice before buying a Kindle," McQuivey said. "If Amazon's smart, it will use the new sponsorship model it is currently testing for the Kindle with Special Offers as a way to offer a larger, more powerful tablet than the nook color but at a price below $400."
Moreover, McQuivey thinks content relationship is the real endgame behind the latest moves by both e-reader vendors because having tablet capabilities on their devices means the content they sell can be books, magazines, newspapers, music, videos or anything else that can be generated in a digital format.
"Whichever company can meet more of your content needs, on a more regular basis, will end up selling you multiple devices and locking you into a digital relationship -- exactly the way Netflix has done on its path to world video domination," McQuivey wrote.
Posted: 2014-12-09 @ 5:33pm PT
I need a screen for my 9" tablet please.