Amazon Announces Media Event, Android Tablet Expected

Amazon began sending out invitations to a media event to be held next week in New York City, and analysts are speculating that the company will announce a long-expected Android tablet.  Following in Apple’s footsteps (in many different ways), Amazon has offered no official clues as to what will take place at this media event, but the clear consensus is that the company is about to go head to head with Apple’s genre-defining iPad.

 Amazon Media Event Invite

Media event invitation Amazon has sent out to many media outlets

Amazon has been rumored for months to be working on an Android tablet. In May, DigiTimes reported in May that Amazon had begun placing orders for an unannounced tablet. The company also launched its own Android app store earlier this year, a move that was seen as an effort to put in infrastructure ahead of Amazon-branded tablet release.

Earlier in September, TechCrunch reported that it had spent some quality time with Amazon’s tablet, which would be released this fall with a US$250 price tag. The device was described as being based on an old, forked version of Android that has been reworked to offer a completely Amazon-centric experience.

Amazon shopping, Amazon Kindle ebooks, Amazon streaming movies and TV shows, and Amazon Cloud Player for managing and playing digital music were all features of the tablet snuck out to the site. On September 12th, word leaked out that Amazon was working to secure newspapers and magazines to offer their content on the device, too.

All of these data points are why it is assumed this media event will center around a new tablet.

Interestingly, many mainstream analysts and pundits have been toeing the line that this reporter offered up back in May, that Amazon has unique assets that would allow it to create an ecosystem that could make an Amazon-branded tablet appealing to consumers, one of only two companies that could hope to compete with iPad. Today, some of those analysts have caught up to that opinion.

Android NewspapersFor instance, Sarah Rotman Epps of Forrester Research told AFP that “[Amazon’s] willingness to sell hardware at a loss combined with the strength of its brand, content, cloud infrastructure, and commerce assets makes it the only credible iPad competitor in the market.”

Writing for BusinessWeek, Danielle Kucera wrote, “By taking advantage of its ties with media and publishing companies to pack the Kindle tablet with songs, books and videos, Amazon may succeed where companies such as Research In Motion Ltd. and Hewlett-Packard Co. have failed.”

Commenting for that same piece, Anupam Palit of GreenCrest Capital Management said,  “You’re going to get the first tablet that functions as well as the iPad. You’re going to get the first major competitor for the iPad that has a full media and e- commerce platform.” 

Colin Sebastian, an analyst at Robert W. Baird & Co., added that Amazon’s tablet, “has a pretty good chance at emerging as a leader. Amazon is likely the only one that’s going to produce something that’s close to the iPad that you would get with Android.”

It looks like we’ll find out if this is true, if Apple finally has a legit competitor for the iPad.