Amazon has been rumored to be readying an Android tablet for a while now and it seems that rumor may come true sooner rather than later. A 7 inch, color tablet, is being readied for production by the internet retailer, with a launch data of November this year. It will be called simply the Amazon Kindle.
TechCrunch is reporting that they have seen the Amazon tablet and have gotten some play time with it. That means a good amount of details on both the hardware and software that this device is sporting has been revealed. Hardware wise it will have a full color, 7 inch, capacitive touch screen. It’s likely that the screen will only support two finger multitouch (unlike the iPads 10). There are no physical buttons on the device and no camera. The back is rubberized (think BlackBerry PlayBook). Storage is a bit up in the air, but it’s possible it will only have 6GB of storage. Considering how gung-ho Amazon is about cloud computing, a small local storage number seems likely.
Software wise this will be running a fork of Android. The focus is on Amazon’s apps and Amazon’s services. You can’t pop over to the Google Android Marketplace from this thing and there are no Google apps on it at all. The interface is apparently very much like Apple’s Cover Flow, letting the user scroll through all of their content quickly and easily. The book reader app looks a lot like what Amazon has already released for iOS and Android and the music app will connect right to Amazon’s cloud music service. The device also has an integrated web browser very similar to the one already seen on other Android devices.
The biggest piece of news here besides the November release is the price. This thing is going to come in at $250. The other big rumor is that buyers will get a free, one year subscription to Amazon Prime. That’s a $79 bonus and the added bonus of the ability to access Amazon’s Instant Video service for free, likely from the device itself.
With Amazon having a forked version of Android running on the device, it means they can completely control the device. They control the apps and the experience. Amazon can integrate all of their cloud services directly through the tablet, so storage is kind of a non issue. The other nice touch is instant access to all of Amazon’s marketplace services. Combine all of that with the customer base Amazon has developed and the price of the device and this tablet becomes a very compelling device. It’s priced to compete directly with the Barnes and Noble Nook Color, which is far more restricted and, according to TechCrunch, far less responsive in the UI.
If Amazon does this right, this thing could easily find its way onto my Christmas list. Is anyone else interested in a stripped down Amazon tablet for $250?