Amazon’s Loss

It’s been 2+ years the first Kindle got released by Amazon in 2007. After that we have seen Amazon releasing Kindle 2 and Kindle DX. I admire Amazon as a company and use it to purchase books and have used it’s amazing Amazon Web Services. But I have to admit that – Amazon utterly failed, both in imagination and execution when it came to Kindle.

Kindle as such is a great piece of hardware. The text rendering is beautiful. But it’s just that – a extra piece of hardware that replaces almost all of your books (not all yet). But other than reading books on it I can’t do anything with it. In the past 2 years Amazon can ONLY think of making the text look better and releasing a bigger version. That’s all. Apart from the gaffe where Amazon rescinded the already sold book, ironically 1984 and Jeff Bezos apologizing it later, there hasn’t been anything interesting in Kindle world.

I think Amazon missed the boat on building a dedicated developer base for Kindle. It could have virtually created a new developer platform and organize a keen developer community around it. Developers would have loved to build apps for Kindle. Here are some default things that Amazon could have achieved if they enabled apps for Kindle

  1. Kindle uses cell network to let you purchase books. It’s always ON. Can you imagine the possibilities with that?
  2. Game players would have loved to play games on it as compared to PSP

Here are some creative things that come to mind when I think hard about the possibilities:

  1. Tie the Kindle with AWS and you got yourself a AWS management console
  2. Tie Kindle with Amazon Mechanical Turk services and you got a workforce on demand
  3. Tie Kindle with sampling and surveying Amazon products? You got an amazing and varying test customer base

These are just on top of my head. If we brainstorm I could think of so many things that Amazon could have done.

Too sad that in another day Apple will be releasing it’s rumored Tablet and literally stealing the show. My guess, Apple will release a Tablet + WiFi connectivity capable + built in cell connection/data plan (Hint: Both Verizon & AT&T dropped their recent data plan rates) + A clean and working developer platform (for which they will charge the developer fee). Another Cocoa based framework that will be an extension of iPhone based design and help developers who already know Objective-C & Cocoa to transfer their skills to build those apps. I am sure they will also come up with some kind of app translator which would convert the existing iPhone app compatible with Tablet.

Yes, I know that Kindle is targeted to a different market. But do you think that in another year or two Amazon won’t be launching a full color and video capable Kindle? They have already announced a platform for developers on Kindle. Too sad it’s a bit late. It’s going to be a loss for Amazon both capital wise and vision wise.

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