This note is from BI Research, a new tech-industry intelligence service. The service is currently in beta and free. To learn more and sign up, please click here.Alongside its new tablet, the Kindle Fire, Amazon has introduced new software: Amazon Silk.
Silk is a new web browser for tablets. It will come pre-loaded on the Kindle Fire.
Amazon Silk has four big advantages:
- It should make web browsing on Kindle much faster, by using Amazon’s cloud infrastructure to preload the sites people visit most often.
- It should help grow Amazon’s commerce business.
- It will give Amazon exceptional insight into what consumers are interested in, how they use the mobile Internet, and what they want to buy
- It makes the Android operating system, the platform upon which the Kindle Fire runs, much less relevant (and, therefore, much less powerful). It is Amazon’s browser that will control the consumer’s interface and data—and search window—not the operating system. Google’s software, in other words, has basically become a device-driver.
This last point is important, and it won’t make Google happy. The whole point of Android, after all, is to give Google control over the mobile point of access—and, with it, some control over the mobile user’s search experience. Amazon’s Silk will default to Google search, for now, but there’s no reason it always has to.
And how will Silk help Amazon’s commerce business?
- Faster browsing means more buying. There is considerable evidence that faster web browsing leads to more engagement on sites, and that removing friction in the online purchase process leads to more sales. This is why Amazon’s “1-Click” buying feature has been such a boon. Simply by making browsing faster, Amazon should drive more sales.
- Amazon will potentially have access to lots of consumer data. Because the browsing by Amazon Silk users goes through Amazon’s cloud servers, Amazon should have amazing data on people’s browsing and buying habits. (All of that data would have to be anonymous and aggregate, obviously, or Amazon will be clobbered by privacy zealots. But it will still be useful.) This could give Amazon great market intelligence and allow it to target offers better.
From a high level, Amazon’s Silk has the potential to be a revolutionary innovation, one that boosts Amazon’s business and disadvantages Google—and one that allows Amazon to compete more effectively with Apple.
And the best way to understand Amazon’s Kindle Fire, meanwhile, is as a mobile store catalogue and data collection tool: As long as their device is available, people will have fast and easy access to Amazon’s media stores and fast and easy access to Amazon.com.
This note was published as part of BI Research, a new industry intelligence service from Business Insider. The service is currently in beta and is free. To learn more and sign up, please click here.