Amazon dropped another bomb this morning, right on both Apple and Google. For a while know, Amazon has been quietly building something. Something involving Android. A tablet? Maybe, but we don’t know yet. I think Bezos has his sights set a little higher. He’s not building yet another Android tablet. At least not yet. What he’s building is iTunes for Android.
One of the things that makes the iPhone and other iOS devices so compelling is their end-to-end integration with Apple, mostly through iTunes. If you have an iOS device, you have one place to go to get apps, music, movies and books. Apple has you covered and it’s all easy to deal with if you’re already used to buying music on iTunes and syncing your iPod.
Until now, Android didn’t really have that. Google offers some stuff, but it’s fragmented and doesn’t all work together. Google Books is still pretty much a beta, and currently Google doesn’t have a music service, though they are rumored to be working on one.
But now thanks to Amazon, anyone with an Android phone has a music store, a book store and an app store. They can also store whatever else they like (documents, movies) in Amazon’s Cloud Storage, and download those to anywhere. And all of this comes with Amazon’s famous commitment to customer satisfaction. For media, they’ve not only beaten Google to the punch, they’ve pretty much edged them out of the picture. I doubt Amazon will launch their own email and organizer service like Google Apps or MobileMe. They don’t have to. They can let Google continue to provide the free stuff, while they set up to take all the money.
Apple was smart with how they rolled out their mobile devices. They already had music and movies available when they released the iPhone. They already had apps available when they rolled out the iPad. Is Amazon doing the same thing, creating the demand before they release their Android tablet, their answer to the Nook Color?
Maybe, but don’t hold your breath. If Jeff Bezos really wants to knock people’s socks off and take a ridiculous lead in this market, he needs to wait. Others have noticed that the price of a new Kindle is dropping linearly, intersecting with $0 this fall. A lot of people have guessed this might be something else they add to Amazon Prime, as they recently did with video streaming. Pay $80/year, and you get free second day shipping, free video streaming, and a free Kindle. But what if that free Kindle, wasn’t the Kindle 3, but rather a 7″ Android tablet preloaded with the Kindle app and Amazon’s Android Appstore?