Just what is Amazon up to?

Just what is Amazon up to?You've probably noticed it too: the big daddy of online retail is casting increasingly longing gazes at the near-endless riches offered by the world of mobile devices.

Today saw another move towards that goal with the launch of Amazon's new cloud-based music streaming service, which sees the retail giant beat both Apple and Google to the market, a notable achievement. So what's next on Amazon's roadmap to mobile domination?

We already know the answer, or we think we do, and our confidence on the subject is growing with each passing week. We're talking of course about the idea of an Amazon tablet, which was first talked up as a concept by an analyst recently but now looks increasingly to be a matter of fact rather than speculation.

The analyst in question, Forrester Research's Sarah Rotman Epps, said at the time that Amazon was in the best position of all to provide a disruptive alternative to the existing Apple/Google tablet power-play, especially with its growing familiarity with Android.

The big moves have largely already been made. Amazon now has an app store, or an Appstore we should say, which is the first of any third-party Android app vendors to really bring existing market presence to the table.

Now today we have the Amazon Cloud Player and Cloud Drive, which springboards off the Amazon MP3 service to give the company instant clout in the music-streaming game.

Surely a tablet is in the works, though what form it will take is another matter. Amazon has spent a lot of time talking down tablets in a bid to push the Kindle eReader – a plan that seems to be working considering the Kindle pretty much lives at the top of Amazon's sales charts.

So could we be looking at a high-end version of the Kindle that beefs up the spec for some tablet-spoiling fun? Or does Amazon have other plans for the next evolution of the Kindle itself? At this stage we just don't know.

But right now is the time to make a move. The Android tablet market is all over the place at the moment, the dust is just settling on the iPad 2's big day out, and nobody else has anything in the immediate pipelines at all.

The only other likely hardware players we're really missing from the tablet scene now are Nokia and Sony, and the former is getting things sorted out with new buddy Microsoft, while the latter seems to have tablet plans for later in the year, but nothing in the immediate future.

Amazon has a great window of opportunity here. From nowhere it can catapult itself to the status of mobile giant, and give a market increasingly starved of unique products a whole new take on the tablet genre.

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JanSt / MOD  Apr. 11, 2011 at 22:08

Amazon won't ship mobile phones to Ireland. But a Kindle 3G - no prob... ;)

designaw  Apr. 12, 2011 at 14:33

An interesting aspect of Amazon's cloud service is that being first to market it appears they may not have fully agreed terms of service for the cloud model with the copyright holders of the material they are distributing through it... I expect this one to run and run and quite a few Lawyers to get very wealthy in the process, this possibly explains why Amazon were so quick and why Apple and Google are still looking on.


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