Last week, Amazon announced the Kindle Fire. The event was peppered with little surprise announcements that revealed quite a lot about Amazon's future direction.
It runs on Android OS. (Yay, Team Droid) But not Honeycomb or Ice Cream Sandwich; it runs on a customized version of Android 2.3. Effectively, a pseudo-custom OS.
The main browser is Silk. A proprietary Amazon browser.
The "technical specs" on their site are very generic, and probably the least technical thing I've read all week. So Amazon's target audience is the general public. People who want easy-to-use tech.
The main store is Amazon's own platform. Not Android Market.
The hardware is identical to the Blackberry playbook. It's smaller than the iPad which means it's cheaper too. (In fact, PC World estimates they are losing $50 per tablet which they will likely make up on app, book and other product sales on their website.)
And they never mentioned privacy. Not one word. But they will own everything you do on that browser. Every search, every click. And in their store, you'll shop, give them your credit card. They'll manage your history, build up that referral engine people love so much ("you might also like") and hey, maybe even track suggestions you make to your friends on social media. They'll have quite the profile on you (and your friends).
Pure, raw consumer data. That users will give them. Willingly.
(Facebook would be crucified if they released hardware with so much proprietary access to personal information.)
Incidentally, you know what I think is next? Search.
What if they partnered with Google or Bing or worse yet, Facebook? They could have all of your online behaviour, and they could influence the results suggested back to you when you search. A shopping engine. On a personal shopping device.
So what do you think? Does Amazon have delusions of grandeur or is this approach — owning the entire consumer experience — the logical next step in the online user experience?
Your entire web experience could be driven by companies' collective bottom line. (Ok, it probably already is, but still it's worth considering. BTW, you might want to log out of Amazon when you surf... ;)
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