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Amazon: How Can a Tablet Supplement an E-Reader?

May 13 2011, 11:51am CDT | by , in Rumors | Tablets

Amazon: How Can a Tablet Supplement an E-Reader?

I have one theory.

The CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, just said some very perplexing things. In an interview with Consumer Reports, the bald-pated executive told readers to "stay tuned" for Amazon's plans for a tablet. He also noted that this potential tablet would be more of a "supplement" to the Kindle. Jeff believes there will always be a place in the market for "purpose-built e-reading device"s.

Amazon's CEO has been more than forthcoming with information about his company's product plans. But he neglected to explain just how a tablet can be expected to supplement an e-reader in any way. By their very nature, a tablet computer is more functional than a dedicated E-Reader. Jeff even noted that Amazon "drew the line" at "adding anything that gets in the way of reading."

I don't see how a tablet PC can supplement the Kindle. Nor can I figure out how the Kindle will supplement the tablet. Is Amazon going to launch a tablet without the ability to act as an E-Reader? Surely not.

It seems clear that Amazon intends to continue pushing the Kindle. And that isn't necessarily a bad idea. There may always be a market for cheap, dedicated readers. The Kindle will always beat a tablet on battery life and weight.

So, if it isn't a "Kindle tablet", what will Amazon's tablet have to make it stand out? Surely they aren't going to come out with another mid-range Android tablet and slap "Amazon" on the cover. Amazon seems likely to use the tablet as a way to push their streaming media services and music player. But beyond that, I'm stumped.

That word "supplement" keeps coming back to my head. I can't help but wonder- what if Amazon releases a tablet built to attach to the Kindle in some way? It could be a small, 5" thing that slides onto the side. Or maybe it attaches via a hinged case. Both devices could connect via Bluetooth, allowing you pull text from one device to the other. Something like the Entourage Edge, but made of two independent gadgets.

Whatever Amazon has planned, we can expect to see it in the very near future. Until then, we'll have to be satisfied with every other tablet in this increasingly crowded market.

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