I was inspired by the discussion Marco Arment and Ryan Irelan had on the latest episode of Build and Analyze about the rumored “Kindle Tablet.” It got me thinking about the kind of device I would love for Amazon to make — one that I would actually consider buying over an iPad.
Few consider the current iteration of the Kindle a tablet, and comparing it to an iPad is apples to oranges, but it does hold some clear advantages over the iPad:
Marco and Ryan speculated on the Kindle Tablet, and it seemed like a forgone conclusion that it would have an iPad style, full color display, and it would use a skinned version of Android as the OS. I think this would be a huge mistake for Amazon, and I’d imagine that tablet would suffer the same fate as every other competitor to the iPad. By switching to a screen-like display, it loses nearly every advantage it has over the iPad:
For the life of me, I can not think of one good reason why Amazon would ditch all of the benefits of their e-ink display in favor of competing directly with Apple with a full-fledged tablet device. It would seem destined to suffer the same fate as all other iPad competitors. Yes, Amazon has a leg up on these competitors by having digital media distribution platforms already in place (Amazon Cloud et al), but is it really enough to compete with Apple?
Shawn Blanc had an excellent write up on reading on the iPad, and his use of the iPad is nearly identical to mine: I use the iPad primarily for reading, with Instapaper and Reeder being my most frequently used apps. He points out three pros of using an iPad for reading: it carries all of his reading material, the battery lasts forever, and it is connected to the internet. He also lists three cons: it’s a bit heavy to hold for an extended period of time, you can’t read it outside on a sunny day, and the display is not print quality. Notice, the Kindle shares those pros, and has none of the cons.
I want Amazon to build an improved Kindle device, optimized for reading. Something like this:
The above is a crude mock up of what that device could look like. It’s displaying the Flipboard app, as an example.
This is by no means an “iPad Killer.” It wouldn’t play video, or graphically complex games. That’s not the point though. The point is to create a wonderful reading device, for ALL reading, not just books. It creates an interesting alternative for people who use an iPad primarily for reading. And I’d imagine many people would be happy to buy this new Kindle in addition to an iPad, as many already do with the current Kindle.
Amazon has the opportunity to make an awesome device for reading. I see it as a natural evolution of the Kindle. Why throw the baby out with the bathwater? If they created a device like I am suggesting above, I would be first in line to buy one.
August 26, 2011 / 114 notes