I’m : a programmer, writer, podcaster, geek, and coffee enthusiast.

What does the Amazon tablet need to do?

Ben Brooks responded to my Amazon tablet speculation, suggesting that a product like the one I describe would sell very poorly. I disagree.

One important part of his argument is that Amazon would probably design the core productivity apps badly:

The core OS apps are the apps that should be provided on any serious tablet from day one. Those apps include (at a minimum):

  • Web browser
  • Email client
  • Calendar
  • Maps
  • Music/media player
  • App Store, or some way of getting more apps.

I agree that Amazon would probably design these poorly. But I don’t think these priorities reflect actual usage of iPads today or the future theoretical Amazon tablet.1

I see normal people using iPads all the time, and I hardly ever see them using Safari, Calendar, Maps, or Music. Anecdotally, the list consistently looks like this:

This is a very different list, and the media apps can get away with very little UI chrome. This is how the e-ink Kindle gets away with relatively poor interface design: most of the time, you’re seeing almost none of it.

I agree with Dan Provost that a web browser isn’t even necessary.

If Amazon can deliver a $249 tablet that does a serviceable job for reading books, browsing some top newspapers and magazines, watching movies and TV shows, and playing some casual games, that’s going to be very attractive to a lot of people.

  1. If so, we’d see a lot more people trying to use the Kindle’s web browser (which, with the Kindle 3, does use WebKit but still sucks). ↩︎