Rumors of Amazon making a full-fledged tablet device have persisted for a while but MG Siegler from TechCrunch.com is saying that has actually seen it.
It’s called the “Amazon Kindle” and he thinks it’s going to be a big deal.
He says the device looks very similar to a Blackberry Playbook.
According to his report:
- The device is a 7-inch tablet with a capacitive touch screen.
- It’s got a full-color back-lit screen – no e-ink.
- It is multi-touch, but two-finger multi-touch instead of 10-finger, like the iPad.
- A 7-inch Amazon tablet could be released in October, with a larger, 10-inch version to follow next year.
- It uses a slightly different version of Android software.
- The device only has 6 GB of internal storage. The idea is that this will be more of a “cloud device” for things like music and movies.
- This initial version of the device will be WiFi-only.
- It has no camera.
- Amazon plan to bundle it with a free subscription to Amazon Prime.
- It should be available by this Christmas.
Oh, It will cost around $250 – now this is an interesting price point because our survey seems to agree that this is the sweet spot for consumers.
This is the way he describes the device:
The interface is all Amazon and Kindle. It’s black, dark blue, and a bunch of orange. The main screen is a carousel that looks like Cover Flow in iTunes which displays all the content you have on the device. This includes books, apps, movies, etc. Below the main carousel is a dock to pin your favorite items in one easy-to-access place. When you turn the device horizontally, the dock disappears below the fold.
Above the dock is the status bar (time, battery, etc) and this doubles as a notification tray. When apps have updates, or when new subscriptions are ready for you to view, they appear here. The top bar shows “YOUR NAME’s Kindle” and then the number of notifications you have in bright orange. It looks quite nice.
There are no physical buttons on the surface of the device. You bring up a lower navigation menu by tapping the screen once. This can take you back home, etc.
Here’s another interesting point:
Google’s Android Market is nowhere to be found. In fact, no Google app is anywhere to be found. This is Android fully forked. My understanding is that the Kindle OS was built on top of some version of Android prior to 2.2. And Amazon will keep building on top of that of that over time. In other words, this won’t be getting “Honeycomb” or “Ice Cream Sandwich” — or if it does, users will never know it because that will only be the underpinnings of the OS. Any visual changes will be all Amazon.
Amazon are going all the way with this and are pretty much declaring war on the Ipad.
It’s going to be a lot of fun watching this 4 way battle for the hearts of the consumer over the next 24 months.
At the end of the day, we can be sure of the following three things:
- Tablets are here to stay
- Lower prices are the way to go
- The consumer will benefit from all the innovation being unleashed during this battle
It’s a great time to write about technology.