Six months ago, I wrote about the struggle the Android tablet would face against iPad. Google’s marketing initiatives alone couldn’t match iPad. Plus, content lock-in would keep iOS users buying iPads. Why pay twice to transfer music, movies and games when “It would just work” from iPhone to iPad? Google’s assets couldn’t match Apple.
But I never considered a third party Android tablet – a tablet with a forked version of Android running on custom hardware, tied to an independent and overflowing content store, with a patented 1-click payment mechanism. In other words, a copy of Apple’s game plan.
Amazon has copied Apple’s strategy with a forked Android OS and boy is it working! 1M Kindles sold per week. By my math, that’s at least 400,o00 Kindle Fires per week, half the rate of iPads in Apple’s fourth quarter. Not to mention that Amazon is now the dominant Android tablet maker.
Amazon proves once again that content is the killer feature of hardware. The Kindle Fire experience is focussed on content purchasing and consumption, unlike previous tablets launched by Motorola, Samsung and many others.
I’m sure we will see more Android forks in the future as content retailers expand their purchasing relationships with users onto mobile. Google will have to respond aggressively, if they don’t want to become a victim of their own, open-sourced operating systems’ success. Like content retailers, Google depends on controlling the end user experience to drive searches and show ads. I expect to see bold moves in the next 12 months from Google.