Customizing Android could be brilliant, or it could end up being Amazon's Achilles heel. Customizing Android enables Amazon to create a tablet experience that is unique to Amazon -- setting it apart from the array of rival Android tablets and putting Amazon in control of updates rather than waiting around for Google. But, the burden will be on Amazon to continue to develop and maintain its custom OS, and splitting off from the Android pack could lead to app compatibility issues -- especially as Android moves to its next-generation operating system, Ice Cream Sandwich, later this year.
The other pitfall is the same one that plagues every tablet on the market -- it's not an iPad. Apple dominates the tablet market with the iPad, and it is a dominant player in the smartphone area with the iPhone. The popularity of iOS is a self-perpetuating cycle. Millions of users are already invested in the Apple iOS ecosystem, and convincing them to break ranks and start over on a new platform is a daunting challenge.
That said, the future seems bright for the Amazon Kindle tablet. Amazon is a respected brand name, and it has established the Kindle as the de facto e-reader. Merging the Amazon brand, the popularity of the Kindle, the functionality of Android, and the vast media and retail distribution ecosystem of Amazon into a single device at a reasonable price point seems like a perfect storm capable of actually putting a dent in Apple's dominance of the tablet market.
We'll have to wait and see.
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