updated 04:30 pm EDT, Wed July 13, 2011
Leak details Amazon tablet and new Kindles
A potentially far-reaching leak Wednesday has given many of the details of Amazon's tablet plans. The Android slate should have about a nine-inch screen but won't, however, have cameras. Design was being outsourced to an "Asian manufacturer" and would have it ship sometime before October if WSJ sources are accurate.
Many of its internals weren't discussed, though a dual-core Tegra 2 processor and the use of Android 3 are considered strong candidates. Samsung has been rumored the actual designer.
The device would be accompanied by not one but two new Kindles. One would just be a refined and lower-cost version of the third-generation Kindle, but the other would be a touchscreen e-paper model, much like the new touchscreen Nook. Both would be available before the end of the summer; Amazon has historically favored August for new Kindle hardware.
For Amazon, the tablet would be there both to head off competition from the Nook Color as well as the iPad. Amazon has focused heavily on reading with its hardware but has had to watch as Apple sapped away the audience for other forms of mobile media, including movies and color magazines. The online retailer now has many of the backend ingredients in place to offer an alternative, including not just direct services such as Instant Video and the Kindle app but its Cloud Drive for remote storage and the Appstore for its own, Apple-like curated app portal.
The Kindle has also lost its absolute lead in the US e-reader market. IDC data has shown the Nook Color usurping the lead, and Barnes & Noble's complete overhaul of the base Nook has led to an upset in product rankings. Many e-readers are now price competitive with the Kindle and led Amazon to just today discount the Kindle 3G to keep its price edge.