KEVIN MARKS WRITES ABOUT an interesting licensing scenario that may follow Amazon's launch of its Android Tablet.
Marks speculates that Amazon may be setting up to license their tablet code base. This makes senses when you consider how the Android experience on phones is often forked up. I use the phrase "forked up" because in several cases Android presents itself at least two separate ways. You can get a phone containing the Open Source core of Android or a phone with all the Google applications (like the App Market, Maps, Gmail, Talk, Contacts, Listen). It's that first kind of phone that drives application developers crazy since they cannot write their code base once and have it work elegantly with the standard Google application set.
Kevin Marks takes the idea further and speculates that "if Amazon offered an alternative to Google's top half of Android" they could be in a better position to control the revenue stream coming to them through the new tablet. That's what happened with Amazon and Apple when Apple demanded a greater cut of the revenue from every Amazon in-app purchase. If Amazon releases their own seven-inch tablet with an Open Source or lightly licensed version of the Android stack to other hardware developers they could offer the hardware developers a referral fee for anything bought via the Amazon store as an incentive for device manufacturers to ship it. This is just like the model used by PC manufacturers when they burn crapware onto new laptops and desktops.
I like Kevin Marks' analysis because it fits in well with Amazon's clear focus on helping potential customers search for media on attractive portable devices. "Amazon is in the shopping business," writes Marks, "Migrating from physical goods to media, with Kindle a way to drive this. A tablet that they can sell audio and video to as well as eBooks makes more sense to them if it as widely distributed as Kindle playback apps are now."
I plan to get an Amazon tablet but now realise it might not be made by Amazon. That's alright with me.
Kevin Marks -- "'With Amazon' Replacing 'With Google' on Android?", September 26, 2011.