So, Amazon’s Silk browser is coming. I’m sure it is, technically, slightly different to Opera Mini, but essentially we’re looking at a similar model. A webpage request goes to an Amazon server, from there the Amazon server gets the page, minimises it, and sends it to your device.
There are immediate queries raised about how much value this provides Amazon – as it allows Amazon to catch (anonymously) a huge data set for analysis.
What I wonder (and I’ve wondered this for a while) is why Google aren’t doing this with their Android browser. It would make an inordinate amount of sense to offer a ‘turbo’ browsing mode (eg opt-in) which gives people a faster browsing experience at the cost of handing over more browsing data to Google (which I do anyway with Web History turned on).
On Android there’s no doubt that Opera is much faster at loading web pages than the Android browser. Granted if I’m using Wi-Fi it doesn’t make too much of a difference. I do notice that generally Android browser loads Google’s own properties very quickly, but clicking through to another site can take ages (even just in awaiting a response from the remote server). Google could reduce user-frustration with flaky 3G connectivity by mimicking Opera’s behaviour, and, at the same time, capture even more browsing behaviour for data analysis. Google wins, the customer wins. Who wins more? I’m not sure. Probably Google 😉
Whilst Amazon’s Silk is not exactly breaking a mould here, in so far as Opera has offered this for a long time, Amazon has the advantage that most consumers won’t have a clue what Opera is – unless it’s something about large men and women singing in Italian. What it does mean now, is that if Google do launch an updated Android version with this sort of functionality, it will look as though Google are frantically playing catch-up.
That aside, Google constantly talk about how important speed is to users browsing the web – yet they’re not offering a clear way to vastly improve the speed of a 3G user’s browsing experience. Something’s not adding up here Google.
In other news – price cuts to the e-ink readers
Meanwhile Amazon have pushed the price down massively on their e-ink Kindle models. $99 for a Kindle Touch Wi-Fi?! That’s an incredible value offering in a consumer’s eyes. The previous Kindle with a physical keyboard has dropped to $99 as well, and they’ve got a base model down to the $79 mark.
Well played Amazon.
P.S. I find it amusing to note that nowhere in the Kindle Fire product page is Android even mentioned, nor any mention of what operating system it has. Amazon are selling an all-in-one device. It will just work and the mass consumer doesn’t care what version of what OS it’s running.