One thing that is inevitable in the digital arena is that competitors will more than likely take aim at you with devices of their own. This is especially true of Amazon’s Kindle. Challengers wanting a piece of the pie have announced products designed to compete in the digital reader market.
Amid all this, Amazon softly introduced a 3G variant of their Kindle, bundling it with special deals that display on the Kindle when used. This same bundle is the strategy used to take $25 off the price by using the platform for targeted ads.
6 weeks ago, the Wi-Fi Kindle shipped for $114 and according to Amazon’s sales data, it has become the best selling Kindle version to date. This version featured the same offers and targeted advertising that helped lower the 3G Kindle’s cost.
Is It A Good Move?
Amazon stays ahead of the pack by keeping a price lead on devices that straddle the 3G and Wi-Fi spectrum. This makes it the only e-reader maker that has 2 device type and one of two players that has a 3G product, with the other being Sony’s Reader Daily Edition. Other figures in the market, like Barnes & Noble and Kobo only have Wi-Fi devices in the competition. While these competing devices introduce features such as a touch screen, all of them are still trying to catch up to the Kindle.
The real points of interest are:
- What can Amazon do to keep ahead of competition?
- What can Amazon do to meet the competition head-on?
These are not simple to answer. While Amazon does have controlling power in the niche that is in, its future must be determined by striking new ground with its device maybe starting with a touch screen for example. It has to be more than reducing the Kindle’s form factor and improving on its efficiencies. Planning for the long term, however, Amazon should consider incorporating Android into the Kindle. This will open the Kindle up to much needed apps and equalize its footing with the new devices revealed by rivals like Barnes and Noble.
Whatever path Amazon takes, what is clear to see is that it has to innovate in order to stay ahead and if there is anything Amazon is known for, it is that they are capable of such innovation. Only time will tell what they have up their sleeve.
Yan is the co-founder of www.kcover.net – an Amazon-affiliated ecommerce site that sells Kindle covers for those who have just made the switch from paperback to digital.