Would a branded Tablet give the Amazon Appstore too much clout?
Lots of gossip yesterday concerning a possible Amazon Android tablet to arrive sometime in the second half of this year. Such a device has been talked about for quite some time, but an article in Digitimes heated things up. Apparently Quanta Computer will be manufacturing the device (at a rate of 700-800,000/month) and they're due to start shipping "as soon as" the 2nd half of 2011. Of course that can mean July 1st and it can mean December 31st, right?
The device is going to use "Fringe Field Switching" technology from E Ink Holdings. I had to look this up. According to Wikipedia, Fringe Field Switching is "is a technology similar to IPS or S-IPS offering superior performance and colour gamut with high luminosity." Some sources have confused the involvement of E Ink Holdings to mean the tablet will have an E Ink (electrophoretic) display but that doesn't seem to be the case from what I can tell.
For more details on the tablet itself, check out Ian Paul's Amazon tablet may be close to launch.
Now let's daydream a little about an Amazon tablet. I think it's pretty safe to assume that such a device would run Android and would feature the Amazon Appstore prominently. The bigger question is, would it also offer the Android Market, or would it ship in a locked form with no support for apps coming from anywhere but their store? I'll hope for the best and fear the worst. I worry that Amazon will market this as the Amazon Tablet, and not an Android Tablet, if that makes sense. They'll expect users to access Kindle books for reading, Amazon MP3's for music, and Amazon Video-on-Demand for viewing.
And you know, most of Amazon's customers probably wouldn't notice a difference, given the diversity of apps available in the Appstore. My concern is that an Amazon tablet could grab a significant portion of Android tablet marketshare, and Amazon never really addressed the issues that the IGDA had with its terms of service. Although Amazon did respond to the IGDA's concerns, the organization was not mollified, saying:
We are not impressed with Amazon’s recent gesture, nor is this matter the result of a misunderstanding. We believe that Amazon’s terms, as they currently stand, represent a threat to game developers.
I've been disappointed that Amazon hasn't addressed this situation further, and that in turn makes me wary of it getting too much 'clout' in the Android space. I think that's a very real possibility if it can start to convert Kindle owners into Amazon Tablet owners.
Perhaps I'm making a mountain out of a molehill, though. I'd love to hear the thoughts of some Android devs. Do Amazon's terms make you feel like you have less control over the pricing of your apps?