updated 06:25 pm EDT, Thu July 28, 2011
Amazon tablet downplayed as color e-reader
Amazon's upcoming Android tablet may just be a competitor to the Nook Color rather than an iPad rival. Insiders added Thursday that it would really just be an "advanced e-reader" that, like Barnes & Noble's hardware, had a color screen and some apps. The focus, SAI heard, was on filling a hole where the Kindle was "most vulnerable."
Most rumors surrounding the tablet have it carrying a roughly nine-inch screen. Amazon has reportedly been keen to keep the price low by foregoing the camera and using simple two-point touch. Android would get at least some modifications, though these may be to preload Amazon's services, like the Appstore, Amazon MP3, and Kindle.
Amazon has long been rumored envious of the iPad's success and its potential to undermine Amazon's book, music, and video services. In the short term, though, many believe it has been alarmed by the rise of the Nook Color. The company may have had good motive, as it lost the lead in e-readers after almost four years of dominance.
Using Android could be a costly sacrifice for Amazon. Although it has a patent deal with Microsoft for Linux, it might not have the same for Android and could be made to pay royalties as part of Microsoft's shakedown campaign. The rates could be steep as well given Barnes & Noble's revelation of very steep royalty rates that make Windows Phone cheaper to use than a competitor like Android.