Amazon has managed to build its Kindle product to a formidable gadget in the e-book market. A lot of competing e-book reader manufacturers have been pushed to their limit in order to compete with Amazon Kindle. Kindle 2.0 and Kindle DX are very capable devices that have let Amazon target different sets of audiences. The e-book market has ways to go before reaching its full potential, but Amazon is certainly on the right track. Nevertheless, the time has come for Amazon to start innovating and developing strategies to take the Kindle platform to the next level. Many companies have realized that there is money to be earned in the e-book market, which is why they are coming up with their very own readers. These readers are getting better and more powerful, and many of these manufacturers have partnered up with wireless carriers and content providers. So Amazon Kindle doesn’t hold too many advantages over the next generation 3rd party e-book readers.
Amazon has done a wonderful job getting Kindle to this point, but the time has come for Amazon to implement more aggressive strategies to put even more pressure on its competitors. The one thing Amazon can’t do is sit on its lead and hoping for the best. Here are a few areas that Amazon can improve upon:
- Product Distribution: Amazon Kindle is not sold in stores. It’s only available on Amazon.com. That’s certainly a minus if you ask me. Amazon is selling a lot of units through its online store, but imagine how many more it can sell through BestBuy, Walmart, and other top retailers.
- Platform Reach: Amazon’s move to bring Kindle to the iPhone platform was brilliant. Amazon realizes that the future of this business lies in software and not hardware. But will Amazon release Kindle to other popular platforms? It seems Amazon has already gotten started on that.
- Content Distribution: Amazon has a lot of books to sell, so it doesn’t necessary need content partners as much as Sony and Plastic Logic do. At the same time, Kindle owners can’t get enough of good content, so Amazon needs to work on forming partnerships with content producers to bring its customers the best content available anywhere.
- Product Innovation: Kindle 2.0 addressed a lot of issues raised by e-readers’ fans. But the device does need to be improved dramatically to keep its position as the top reader on the market. Introducing color screen, bluetooth capable readers would be a good start.
- App Platform: I still believe this is going to be the strategy that pushes Kindle to the next level. You don’t have to be a genius to figure out that there is a market for 3rd party Kindle apps. So far Amazon wants to control what goes on Kindle. But if Apple can develop an app platform, so can Amazon. It won’t be easy, but Amazon needs to do it before its competitors do.
The good news is Amazon rivals are developing some innovative solutions. So if you are an eb00k fan, you are going to have plenty of options for your next e-book reader in a matter of months. Amazon Kindle is still king, but it needs to stay on the ball and keep innovating to hold its position. Kindle 3.0, which is expected to be released in March 2010, will reveal a bit more about where Amazon’s going with Kindle.
Your take: if you were to develop an e-book reader, how would you go about creating a Kindle killer?