Amazon Is Preparing for a Lot More Than Tablets

While the headlines have Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN  ) aiming for Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) and, to a lesser extent, Research In Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM  ) and Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) with a forthcoming tablet, the truth may very well be that CEO Jeff Bezos wants to fundamentally change the way we find and consume content.

Tablets? Sure, they matter, but not nearly so much as having content and e-commerce services that can be found and consumed, saved, and shared from anywhere. Or at least that's the message I'm getting from an Amazon site redesign. Here's a closer look of the redesign spotted by The Wall Street Journal:

Think broadly about what Amazon is suggesting with this look. Not only is it cleaner, but with less clutter it's likely to be easier to navigate. Pointers are always better off with pages that make it simple to find and activate an icon by touch.

Yet clean screens are also portable. Think of that display showing up on your TV, accompanied by embedded videos. It it really so difficult? Yes, I realize that Web browsers are becoming platforms that embed virtual machines for running software that in years past would have been installed on a PC. Browsers are nevertheless a presentation layer first -- a way to render text and images together.

Deliver a TV-sized Amazon experience to the right box and you have an instant challenger to HSN's (Nasdaq: HSNI  ) home-shopping empire. You may as well call this effort Amazon Everywhere, and in many ways it copies a certain video-streaming specialist whose service is available on just about any device that's connected to the Web.

It's a smart strategy, and one that Amazon has waited for far too long to embrace. Do you agree? Disagree? Please weigh in using the comments box below. You can also keep tabs on the e-commerce market by adding each of these stocks to your Foolish watchlist:

Fool contributorTim Beyers is a member of theMotley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team. He owned shares of Apple, Google, and Oracle at the time of publication. Check out Tim'sportfolio holdings andFoolish writings, or connect with him onGoogle+ or Twitter, where he goes by@milehighfool. You can also get his insightsdelivered directly to your RSS reader.

The Motley Fool owns shares of Research In Motion, Microsoft, and Apple.Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Microsoft, Amazon.com, and Apple and bull call spread positions in Microsoft and Apple. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy.


Read/Post Comments (5) | Recommend This Article (7)

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 September 13, 2011, at 10:00 PM, sglider wrote:

    I'm thinking they will be expanding their services to take on eBay. Just a guess.

  • Report this Comment On September 13, 2011, at 11:04 PM, spectechinvest wrote:

    I totally agree with this article and actually two weeks ago I wrote a piece on how Amazon may be not be trying to directly build a tablet per-say but actually a mobile store front. http://thespeculativetechinvestor.blogspot.com/2011/08/amazo... One that has an extremely easy to use UI and makes anyone who thinks about shopping automatically go to their "amazon portal" thats sitting on their coffee table or desk.

    It's pretty clear that as we get more technology savvy as a culture we get more and more lazy to drive to the store. If amazon can offer an experience thats better than the store in your living room... dare i say ALL commerce will head online this way???

  • Report this Comment On September 14, 2011, at 3:19 AM, Andyjenk wrote:

    An area which I hope Amazon addresses is one woefully lacking. Currently if you sort items alphabetically and want to start at "P", say, you have to go a page at a time through potentially hundreds of pages to get to "P".

    Another is to restrict a search to a particular column. For example, if I'm looking for an MP3 track beginning "brother" then I DON'T want to see Artists or Albums with "brother" in the name - and preferably only those tracks with "brother" as the first word. Surely wildcards would help.

  • Report this Comment On September 14, 2011, at 8:34 AM, megoogler wrote:

    Nook Color tablet/ereader from Barnes & Noble has been on the market for a year and sold millions of units at $250. Gives Flash, apps, videos, web, eBooks and magazines subscriptions with video inserts, and the best anti-glare coated screen on the market. Technology "leader" Amazon finally decided to catch up with the book store company by copying it's device.

    Kindle only supports eBooks in its proprietary AZW format. Nook, on the other hand, supports both DRM-protected and DRM-free ebooks in ePub format thus it supports ebooks from B&N store, from any other DRM-free source on the web, and from public libraries. 

    When you walk in with the Nook to Barnes & Noble store, you’re allowed to read any available eBook for free while in the store via free provided in the store Wi-Fi. 

  • Report this Comment On September 14, 2011, at 8:48 AM, EGTalbot wrote:

    Actually, Kindle supports both DRM and DRM free books in multiple formats - just not epub. It definitely helps people take the valid part of your criticism - that Amazon is more proprietary - more seriously if you leave out the inaccurate info and spin.

    The Nook Color is a very successful device. My suspicion is that by copying it, Amazon with its larger customer base and better online buying experience will do even better.

    As for the Amazon Everywhere concept, that definitely sounds like what they are shooting for it. Don't know how I feel about it as a consumer, but my gut says it is the right direction for them to go from a business standpoint.

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