Following the recent decisions from mega retailers like Wal-Mart and Target to not carry Kindle tablets, a lot of rumors are saying that Amazon may begin opening its own bricks-and-mortar stores in order to promote as well as showcase its line of Kindle products.
In contrast to competing products like the iPad, arguably the most all-around, multi-functional tablet out there, Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablet has been perceived as more of an entertainment-centric device, one that is useful for media streaming and e-reading, but not for the more hardware-demanding, enterprise related tasks. With the leverage of utilizing competitive prices and a niche market, though, it does not appear that the internet retailing company has had any trouble attracting its own loyal customers. According to Reuters, Amazon’s Kindle readers are still the best selling e-reader products out there, whereas the first version of the Kindle Fire was able to grab about a fifth of the tablet market. The Kindle Fire HD has also garnered positive reviews from review sites like CNET, and is being praised as an ideal product for consumers seeking a simple, affordable tablet.
All things considered, this brings us back to the confounding decision made by Wal-Mart and Target. Seeing how it is reported that the two retail giants have no problem promoting other tablet devices — from Google’s Nexus 7 to Barnes and Noble’s e-reader, Nook, one can’t help but wonder about the rationale behind ditching Amazon’s products. A case could be made that Kindle tablets just aren’t profitable enough, although given Wal-Mart’s pricing scheme, this would be too far-fetched of an excuse to wipe Kindle devices off the shelves. A potential, more plausible explanation revolves around the threats posed by Amazon’s ecosystem to certain business enterprises. As indicated by Sean Portnoy from ZDNet, the fact that Kindle tablets encourage people to shop through Amazon’s website means that traditional retailers like Wal-Mart and Target may experience potentially less business in the future.
If the gossips and rumors of the physical Amazon stores turn out to be true, and if the company is indeed serious about its expanding its repertoire, it would not be unreasonable to expect the introduction of more Amazon hardware products. An actual Amazon hardware store can be a perfect platform for people to see, firsthand, the rumored, although unconfirmed, “Amazon phone,” should it ever get released.