updated 05:25 pm EDT, Fri September 2, 2011
Amazon Kindle tablet to be 7in, ship November
Amazon's by now virtually certain Android tablet has supposedly not only been nine inches, TechCrunch understood it to be seven inches and resemble the BlackBerry PlayBook. True to the budget focus, it would only use two-finger multi-touch to cut costs and wouldn't have cameras.
It may run on a modest single-core processor and carry just 6GB of storage, although that might be free space.
Android on the Kindle tablet is supposedly very heavily customized and uses the black, blue, and orange theming associated with the Kindle app. Its home screen purportedly uses a Cover Flow-style gallery of content that wouldn't be limited to books. Owners would have an iPad-style 'dock' at the bottom of the screen in portrait mode to pin favorite content.
All regular navigation is handled through touch, with navigation appearing thruogh a single tap, the tip said. Despite the customization and tablet-native interface, the underlying OS is Android 2.1, and any updates will be behind the scenes. Amazon is said to have added its own browser tabs without running Android 3.2. All of Amazon's core services, including the Appstore, Cloud Player and Instant Video, are built in.
Pricing as expected will be the key, according to the early access: it would cost the same $249 as the Nook Color and half as much as an iPad. No signs exist of a major revamp of the Kindles, and the third-generation models may stay as budget models. A hybrid with e-paper and multi-touch is believed in the works, but it's possibly not due for some time.
While the hardware again won't be in the same class as the iPad, Amazon is expected to rely on its marketing influence to spike interest. It will have its own advantage through ads on its store, but it should also use Amazon Prime as a perk. By paying the $79 yearly fee for sped-up shipping and other perks, Amazon customers already get unlimited Instant Video and would have a ready-made source of content for a tablet.
Amazon may still lose an opportunity to seriously challenge the iPad or Barnes & Noble's Nook Color during the holidays. In spite of October rumors, the tablet would still fit into Amazon's frequently preferred November window. Apple will have had unfettered iPad 2 sales, and a Nook Color 2 may show in September. A 10-inch model that might more directly compete isn't anticipated until early 2012.