Justin Williams speculates about an Android-powered Amazon tablet:
It is entirely possible that Amazon is building their own, full-featured tablet platform but cutting Google out of the equation entirely, save for it being powered by Android at its core. The question is with Amazon handling movies, music, books and apps, would Google be willing to an Android powered Amazon tablet to run the Google apps such as. My first inclination is to say yes given that 96% of Google’s present revenue is from advertising, though they have been wanting to make inroads into selling more content with YouTube, the forthcoming Google Music, and its own bookstore.
It makes sense that this is what Amazon wants to do: make their own end-to-end platform. They have the most successful ebook store, a fantastic music store, and an increasingly good video store, too. The only other company in as good a position to build a complete mobile platform is Apple. The only kind of content they are missing right now for a potential mobile platform is applications, and they’re certainly working on that with their App Store—err, Appstore.
There are many good reasons for Amazon to enter the mobile market. Currently, Amazon is a content supplier for other people’s platforms—ebooks and music—an important and lucrative role, but also quite risky and unexciting. Apple and Google are defining the future of mobile devices are, what they do and what they look like, while Amazon’s selling books and music on their devices. Not only could Google or Apple—especially Apple—cut them out of their platform and ruin their business, but worse, Amazon’s just a bit player. They’re not defining the future of computing devices, they’re just selling wares.
Amazon has greater ambitions than merely selling stuff. They want to fill that same role, and it makes good business sense for them to do so. Since Apple and Google are defining the future of mobile devices, making it in their image, they are also inherently carving out a role for themselves. Apple isn’t just selling great mobile devices; they’re saying software, and the experience created by the integration of fantastic software and hardware, are what’s important for these new kinds of devices. Conveniently, Apple’s unique talent, that no other company has been able to match, is an obsession with making incredibly well-designed hardware and software that fit together beautifully. If that’s what consumers expect from mobile devices, Apple has a significant opportunity to sell a lot of devices. And make a lot of money.
That’s why being the industry innovator—the company that defines what the industry is—is so important. And Amazon wants to fill that role, and they have the opportunity to do so. Think about it; they have the media no one else besides Apple has, they have good industrial designers, and they have a ready-built operating system, Android, to power their devices. They would be crazy not to enter the mobile devices market: they have the potential to use Google’s own operating system to marginalize them.
Google, of course, wouldn’t be powerless; they would still control Android, but they would almost certainly be in a lesser position than they would like to be. Google wants to build Android into a full platform, with as much media choices as iOS, but Amazon may beat them to it.