Do We Finally Have an iPad Killer?

Proclaiming any product to be an "iPad killer" is a lot like the boy who cried wolf: Lots of noise and scurrying about, but ultimately no devouring takes place.

We've seen initial Galaxy Tab numbers proved flawed. Motorola Mobility's (NYSE: MMI  ) Xoom hasn't lived up to the buzz as the first gadget built on Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) tablet-friendly Android 3.0 Honeycomb. Research In Motion's (Nasdaq: RIMM  ) PlayBook stumbled out of the gate.

Game over, Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) wins?

Not so fast.

One of the worst kept secrets is that Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN  ) is working on a tablet. "Stay tuned," CEO Jeff Bezos teased when asked about it in an interview last week.

It gets better. A tipster is telling connected tech blog BGR.com that Amazon will be coming at Apple from both ends, rolling out both entry-level and a high-end options later this year. Both tablets will be powered by NVIDIA (Nasdaq: NVDA  ) chips, though the pricier model will be a quad-core processor beast.

Why should Apple worry about Amazon if it has already vanquished seasoned hardware, smartphone, and software giants?

Well, what makes an iPad special? Steve Jobs doesn't sprinkle pixie dust on every tablet. Consumers flock to the iPad because it has the rich apps ecosystem and easy access to multimedia.

Amazon is no slouch. Kindle is the top dog in digital books. Amazon sells digital music, movies, and games. Some of its more recent moves also make a lot more sense with an Amazon-branded tablet in the bigger picture. The cloud-based music service and the growing digital video library available to Prime members at no additional costs find Amazon actually ahead of Apple in features that will add material value to a stand-alone tablet.

Apple may be selling more than a million iPads a month, but it can't get too cocky. Things are about to get interesting in the tablet market. For once, reality's aftertaste may be tastier than the pre-release hype.

Can Amazon really take on Apple in tablets after so many giants have faltered? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.

Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended Apple, NVIDIA, Amazon.com, and Google. The Motley Fool owns shares of Google and Apple. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended writing puts in NVIDIA. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a bull call spread position in Apple. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is starting to see more Apple products creep into his home lately. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.


Read/Post Comments (7) | Recommend This Article (3)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On May 17, 2011, at 1:07 PM, rfaramir wrote:

    "Can Amazon really take on Apple in tablets after so many giants have faltered?"

    No.

    But any attempt at competition is welcome. Don't let Apple get complacent.

    (Long AAPL)

  • Report this Comment On May 17, 2011, at 1:26 PM, bugnuts wrote:

    Congrats! You're the one-millionth person to slap the "i-Pad/Phone/iPod-killer" label on an unreleased product.

    I'm guessing you think it'll stick this time.

    LOL

  • Report this Comment On May 17, 2011, at 1:46 PM, EvenSteppinWolf wrote:

    the only thing an amazon tablet is going to finally kill is amazon's unfair sales tax advantage--something it's gotten a ton of mileage out of since its inception.

    it's never been fair for it to have this advantage over big box stores--walmart, sears, best buy etc.

    but trust me on this one, aapl hpq dell etc. etc. are not going to sit by and let amazon unfairly get a 10% (in my city, seattle, home of amazon that's our sales tax) free ride just 'cuz amazon is an e-tailer.

    amzn will gain a dime and lose a dollar. and at less than 3% gross margins last quarter, i'm not sure if they have a lot of wiggle room!

    i never short, but to me, this is an impetus to do just that when amazon rolls out the its tablet...

  • Report this Comment On May 17, 2011, at 1:58 PM, DivingDan wrote:

    I'm just surprised that people will pay $800 for what a $400 laptop can do... and the laptop can do more. (I don't get it I guess) I looked at an iPad and couldn't find a USB port. Doesn't play flash. Anything you want to do you have to pay for the app. Ummm.. all ready paid $800.. why do I have to keep paying more to make it marginally useful? JMTC

  • Report this Comment On May 17, 2011, at 5:35 PM, kernc wrote:

    you can hold a netbook in one hand while skating to work, and with linux suspended to RAM, it "boots up" quite nicely in under 5 seconds. ;-)

  • Report this Comment On May 17, 2011, at 7:36 PM, moteltan wrote:

    Do we think AAPL could have rolled-out iPad 2 w/ a quad core? How about with a 5 or 8 MP camera, or a screen with more resolution? Do we think AAPL, with it fame for secrecy, is a mere 14 or 24 months ahead of everyone else in tablet, or perhaps they have been working on tablet for years before we heard about it? iPad 2 is what it is because that's all it had to be. AAPL is sitting on the incremental advances so as to maximize lifecycle revenues. When iPad has a legitimate competitor, AAPL will flip a switch and trump them. Amazon makes the best e-Reader on the market, but don't confuse that with the table space. Apple pretty much owns each arena in which it's tried to compete, and Amazon should be quick to the think of Zune before it steps into the ring. You can't go through AAPL, can't go under them, or over them. Your only bet is to out-flank them, and I just don't see it happening from an online version of Wal-Mart.

  • Report this Comment On May 17, 2011, at 10:18 PM, jbonefish wrote:

    I didn't understand the hype either but when faced with replacing my laptop or buying a tablet I bought an iPad. I can honestly say I take it everywhere, use it at work, home, travel, etc, and it plays flash ... You just need the right app. The key to tablet appeal is mobility and instant satisfaction which is provided by apps. Apps are essentially an overlay to make the internet more user-friendly & productive. I don't begrudge any opposing opinion and welcome opposing views; however, i can honestly say I love my iPad, my iPhone, and iPod (Apple TV could use some tweaks) and any other manufacturer has a very high hurdle to jump for me to consider an environment outside of the Apple comfort zone I have become accustomed to. Long AAPL and considering a Mac book for the tasks requiring additional horsepower. I read a question from someone on SA that resonated with me: Do you know anyone who has switched off of an apple product to a competitor? I myself do not - although i'm sure a few people have.

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