Will Amazon's tablets be a pair of media consuming powerhouses?

Evan Selleck
Contributing Editor from Arizona
Published: May 24, 2011

A few days ago, we kicked around the idea that the majority of manufacturers out there were positioning our favorite tablet devices as solely media consuming contraptions, with no end to the madness in sight. A few of you agreed with this, while others believe that it’s completely up to how you use your tablet that defines its purpose in life. I feel like a fresh new rumor regarding Amazon’s still unannounced tablets may have just plunged another nail into the idea of a media consuming only tablet world, because you can’t do much more “consuming” without Amazon’s name being dropped somewhere along the ride.

There isn’t a lot known about the Amazon-branded tablets, other than the popular belief that they’ll be running Android when they launch sometime later this year. The newest of the rumors suggests that Amazon is planning on releasing a pair of tablets, one that will fill the 7-inch market, while the other will go for the larger 10-inch range. The former of the pair is tentatively known as the “Coyote,” and is a dual-core Tegra-2 powered device; while the latter is the “Hollywood,” and features a quad-core processor under the hood. Other than that, details are scant.

Pricing was also rumored for the devices as well, which should probably have plenty of people raising their eyebrows in curiosity over. Both tablets are definitely running on the cheap side if these rumored prices are true, with the Coyote priced at $349, and the Hollywood coming in at only $449. If the Hollywood launches with any version of Android’s Honeycomb mobile OS, and does indeed feature NVIDIA’s Kal-El quad-core processor and still manages to come in at under $500, well, that’s remarkably impressive. It's a bold slap in the face to pretty much every other manufacturer out there, too.

The suggestion that Android has begun a new trend of cheaper tablets has already been brought up, and it’s a good suggestion. There’s no doubt that tablets will (eventually) begin to be cheaper, but with Apple setting the price point at $500 for their base model, I don’t see that changing all that much very soon. But, I think in the case of these Amazon-branded tablets, the cheaper price tag may suggest something a bit more nefarious for the end user.

We’ve already seen Amazon launch an ad-supported eReader, so we know that they’re not against taking this kind of route to “save” the customer a few bucks from the initial purchase. But, I’m not suggesting that these tablets will be covered in ads. I am wondering, though, if Amazon has figured out a way to make up the money in other ways, such as an extra cost on all those media-centric things you’ll want to download from the Amazon store right from your tablet. And let’s face it, there’s no doubt that these tablets will have some kind of integration with the Amazon digital storefront, making it easier than ever to get your hands on music, movies, and pretty much anything else your heart desires.

Amazon’s tablets will be a media powerhouse, especially if they pack the power these rumors suggest they will. Of course, there’s a lot more that goes into making a killer tablet, but Amazon knows how to put a stranglehold on a particular market (like eReaders), so if they’ve got the same minds creating a pair of tablets, it wouldn’t be too surprising to see the company do the same to the expanding tablet market as well. But, with the competition as tough as it is, can Amazon break the mold, and really shake things up? We can certainly hope so, especially for those hoping to get their hands on some cheap, powerful tablets.

What do you think of Amazon launching some tablets in the near future? Do you think this is a market the digital reseller should get into? Or should they just stick to what they know? And are the Hollywood or Coyote (or both) tablets something you’re eager to get your hands on, if they’re real? Let me know in the comments what you think.