Rumors have popped up that Amazon, the online retail giant that’s responsible for the Kindle (and perhaps even the eReader sensation as a whole), is working on a new Kindle. One that foregoes the simple platform it currently exists on, in favor of one that’s seeing a ridiculous adoption rate in just about every other market out there: Android. We already know that Amazon’s looking at Android as an obviously lucrative idea, as the retailer is getting ready to launch the Appstore for Android. But, if these rumors are true, then Amazon is ready to put a lot more chips in the Android circle. But is that the way Amazon should go? It all depends on the device.
There are plenty of Android-powered devices out there that act as eReaders. But, if you’re looking for an Android-based eReader, then Barnes & Noble’s NOOK and NOOKcolor are the premiere devices. The latter is a 7-inch, all-touchscreen device that some have adopted as their personal tablet. While the NOOK is the standard eReader, featuring a color touchscreen “strip” at the bottom of the e-Ink display. The Kindle has an e-Ink display in both of its versions, the Kindle and Kindle DX. There’s a full hardware keyboard underneath the display as well.
As of right now, not many people look at the Kindle, or the Kindle DX, as anything other than an eReader. While it’s possible to play games on them, that’s seen as nothing more than an extra, and not an actual feature. That’s because Amazon has done wonders selling the Kindle for exactly what it is, and nothing more. It’s an eReader, and many would say that it’s the best on the market. The reason for that is because the Kindle isn’t flashy or over-the-top, nor does it focus on its operating system to sell the show. It has a ridiculous number of books at its disposal, and it will let you read them on the go, for a cheap up-front cost.
Amazon would change all of that if they decided to go the Android route and create a device that shows off the operating system and features, and whatever else the company believes would be good for whatever device they may be working on. Will it be a tablet? It’s possible. The tablet market is saturated, sure, but there’s always room for more high-end, stand-out devices. Or would Amazon be foolish enough to create an eReader with Android on board, and go directly for Barnes and Noble? It wouldn’t be a bad thing if Amazon created a tablet that had integrated access to the Android Market, as well as Amazon’s huge online retail shop. But I think if they make an eReader, they’ll be going after only one throat: their own.
Many would say that Amazon won’t be able to make an Android-based device, say an eReader or tablet (reminiscent of the NOOKcolor) for as cheap as Barnes and Noble have done it, and still provide specifications that people want. That probably wouldn’t be the case, as I’m sure Amazon could easily find a way to make a cost-effective product, but one that has (most) everything that people want. The big question is: what will it be?
As of right now, this is just a rumor, but I can honestly say that I hope it isn’t an eReader. The Kindle really is the premiere e-reading device, and there’s no reason for Amazon to change that. But obviously Android is a powerhouse that many people want to take advantage of, so anything is possible at this point.
What do you think Amazon is working on? A piece of hardware? Or maybe the online retail juggernaut is looking more on the software side of things. Let me know in the comments below.