|Sun Sept 25 2011 22:06:24|
New Amazon Tablet Could Impact Mobile Shopping
By: Ina Steiner
After months of speculation that Amazon would launch a tablet with capabilities somewhere between Barnes & Noble's Nook and Apple's iPad, the waiting may be over this week. Amazon is holding a press conference in New York on Wednesday where it's widely believed the company will introduce a touch-screen tablet.
Pundits say the device will help Amazon dominate in the sale of books and movies. The New York Times wrote on Sunday about the effect of Amazon's tablet on Apple's iPad:
"Apple sells movies, music and books in order to sell devices. Amazon sells devices in order to sell books, movies and music."
But why would Amazon stop at sales of digital media when it could build in a shopping interface? The company has already trained users to make purchases on the Kindle with zero friction. When using the tablet to browse Amazon for more books and movies to consume, why not shop for other items as well?
eBay has made the case for mobile shopping; it expects to double its mobile GMV to $4 billion this year, and PayPal expects to process $3 billion in Mobile Total Payments Volume this year. But while eBay has created many mobile apps for smart phones, tablets and Apple's iPad, it has had to design its shopping interface around the device, with no input into the design of the device.
Amazon has had the opportunity to build a mobile device with hardware and software specifically designed for shopping on its marketplace. The Times expects the new tablet to come in at about $250, half the price of the basic iPad, and said Amazon has shown its willingness to sell the Kindle at a loss.
I'm reminded of when Microsoft bundled its Internet Explorer web browser with its operating system, which severely impacted Netscape and helped it win the browser wars. If Amazon's tablet is as popular as the Kindle and restricts users to shopping only on Amazon.com, the tablet could give Amazon a competitive advantage over other marketplaces.
Amazon's first generation tablet is unlikely to be the holy grail of mobile shopping devices, but if it optimizes its tablet for online shopping in the long run, it would give online retailers yet another reason to sell (or continue to sell) on the Amazon marketplace.
Let us know if you think Amazon's tablet should let users shop on its site, and if you'd be more likely to shop on an Amazon tablet than another mobile device.