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As the world waits to see what Apple will offer with the next iPhone, rumors continue to build about another highly anticipated device: The Amazon tablet. Built around Google’s Android, many believe Amazon will be the first successful challenge to the iPad thanks to its famous brand and millions of account holders.
The Guardian is reporting that Amazon will soon introduce a 7-inch tablet powered by Google’s Android operating system, complete with a color touchscreen and competitively priced at $249. Low price aside, the rest sounds fairly standard for an Android tablet, many of which have been pegged as iPad competitors only to be soon forgotten after their release.
So why might Amazon’s offering be different? Three words: Content, content, content.
“Amazon is a conduit to lots of content; and, just as importantly, it already has a way for you to buy content from it,” the report reveals. “Like Apple, it is one of the 10 biggest merchant holders of credit card numbers in the world (along with companies such as eBay, PayPal, Sony through the PlayStation Network and Microsoft through its Xbox Live system).”
On the flip side, Google has “almost no relationship in financial terms with the average person” -- a situation they no doubt hope to change with recent initiatives like Google Shopper and Google Deals.
“By contrast, Apple and Amazon are familiar as transaction handlers: Apple has 200m iTunes accounts, of which a very significant number have credit cards attached,” the report continues. “Amazon isn't quite as big, but for people in North America and Europe, it's a company they trust with their details.”
Of course, an easy payment method isn’t the only “in” for Amazon -- they’ve also been steadily building up an arsenal of content, including Amazon MP3 for music, Appstore for Android apps and Instant Video for movies and TV shows. Instant Video has yet to debut in app form on any device, although it already works pretty well using Adobe Flash on any number of Android-based tablets. The trick will be to get superior apps, which has thus far been a stumbling block for Google’s platform.
“Why are apps so poor on Android?” the report asks. “I think it's the classic problem: users find it hard to pay for apps, because there's no simple payment mechanism (is it credit card? Google Checkout? Carrier payment?), which makes them uneasy. So good developers can't get paid, so they don't develop good stuff, so the Android Market is overrun with rubbish made at the lowest possible cost, because there's no point killing yourself to not get paid.”
Couple a superior buying experience with quality media apps and Amazon may have indeed have a winner -- if and when the mythical tablet is ever released.
Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter