Amazon Tablet: Apps or Not?

Was just listening to B&A covering the new Amazon tablet. According to their speculation, it will be a different kind of Android for several reasons:

  • It will not present itself as Android any more than OSX presents itself as Unix. Androidness is abstracted away.
  • For this reason, it may be a fork, not a customisation. If that’s so, we’ll get the usual divergence over time and devs will have to choose which to target.
  • Amazon will benefit from a massive collection of pay-ready user accounts. No signup wall. This was the same for Apple when it built the App Store after 4 years of gathering accounts via iTunes store.
  • Amazon wants to have a hand in app descriptions and pricing. While Marco says this “crosses a line”, he’s coming from a very different place than most developers, who would probably benefit from Amazon’s experience in this area.
  • Amazon’s record of developer experience on Kindle has not been sterling. Very low level and few apps. However, e-ink is not ideal for apps, and their ambivalence may be because they’re gearing up for the tablet instead.

The big question is binary: Does Amazon see the tablet as an app machine or not? If so, history (books, every other physical product, global expansion, Kindle, EC2 AWS) indicates they will do what it takes to make it a success.

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