Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos didn’t spill the beans on any of the company’s reported plans to develop its own Android-based tablets during Amazon’s annual shareholder meeting this morning. But one of his comments, in response to a shareholder question about the future of technology, helped explain why the company would have such a deep interest in tablets.
“Most of our customers shop with us from desktop or laptop computers, but people have a different posture with tablets,” he said. They “lean back on their sofa. People leaning back on their sofa, buying things from Amazon, is another tailwind for our business, so I’m very excited about that.”
So question becomes: What could Amazon accomplish with a tablet that other companies haven’t? There again, it’s possible to read the tea leaves from one of Bezos comments, starting with his statement that the experience of browsing on mobile devices continues to be “a marginal experience in many cases.” He continued …
If you have good WiFi connection, and a very good smartphone or tablet, it’s now getting to be a good situation. But with the average phone that people have and the average cellular connection that people have, the mobile browsing experience is still a pretty marginal one. That is going to change. Pervasive wireless bandwidth is going to continue to increase and the form factors of the phones, the displays, the battery life. Smartphones are going to get smarter, they’re going to get better. They’re going to be unbelievably good at web browsing, and that is a huge tailwind for Amazon in our retail business. And so we’re very excited about that. I feel the same way about tablets.
We’ll exercise some restraint and avoid speculating on the possibility of an Amazon phone.
Here’s the interesting part: An Amazon tablet might have seemed like an extension of its Kindle product line. But assuming the company is actually developing a tablet, the project is now looking more like a bridge between the Kindle and the company’s traditional e-commerce business.