Amazon Kindle

Amazon is rumored to be working on a line of tablets that will be bundled with the company’s Kindle eBook service, Amazon MP3 music service, and the Amazon Appstore. Last we’d heard Amazon was preparing to launch a 7 inch tablet in October, with a 10 inch model set to follow early next year.

Now TechCrunch’s MG Seigler reports that at least the 7 inch tablet is real — and he’s already played with it, although he wasn’t permitted to take any pictures.

Here’s what he has to say about the tablet:

  • It will be called the Kindle.
  • It has a 7 inch capacitive multitouch display (although it might only support two-finger input).
  • There’s a full-color, backlit screen and it’s not E Ink.
  • The tablet is due out by the end of November.
  • Amazon will decide whether to launch the 10 inch model next year after seeing how the 7 inch tablet is received.
  • The tablet will be priced at $250 — about the same price as the Barnes & Noble NOOK Color.
  • Customers will get free subscriptions to Amazon Prime.

Like the NOOK Color, Siegler says the Amazon Kindle won’t look like other Android tablets. The operating system has been customized with a special user interface to highlight books, movies, music, and apps.

If you were hoping the Kindle would be the first budget tablet with Google’s Honeycomb user interface, it looks like you’re out of luck. The software is based on an earlier build of Android. But I suspect we’ll see custom ROMs for the tablet in no time.

That said, I’m surprised how frequently I hear about people rooting their Barnes & Noble NOOK Color devices or installing a custom ROM and dual-booting into the B&N interface and a full Android desktop… only to find that they use the default NOOK Color UI far more often than the Android version.

There’s something to be said for a well thought-out user experience that’s purpose designed for the device you’re holding in your hand. One of the things that probably makes Apple iPad fans love the tablet so much is the fact that the hardware and software were designed by the same people, and designed to work together (just like the iPhone, MacBook, and other Apple products). That’s something few Android devices really offer, although Samsung, HTC, and other companies definitely try to slap their own experience on top of Android. So far only Barnes & Noble has truly made Android its own, and it looks like Amazon is next.

The difference is that while the NOOK Color is designed first and foremost as an eReader, Amazon stopped just being a book store a long time ago. It’s tablet will be aimed at apps, music, movies, and books… pretty much everything you’re likely to want to use a tablet for.

Siegler doesn’t have all the hardware specs at the moment, but for now it looks like the tablet will have a single core processor, around 6GB of storage, and WiFi. There’s no camera, and currently no 3G version, but that could change.


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10 replies on “Amazon Kindle tablet to have 7 inch display, launch soon?”

  1. Nook Color Android-based tablet/eReader from Barnes & Noble has been on the market for over a year and sold millions of units at $250. Gives Flash, apps, videos, color magazines and ebooks with video inserts, and the best anti-glare coated screen on the market. Technology “giant” Amazon is finally catching up with the book store company by copying their device.

  2. Even though it runs Android, if I’m honest I don’t think it stands to beat, or even come close to the iPad. The iPad just has something no other tablet has. The lower price point might appeal to some people, but to be honest it’s still not cheap. I’d have to see it properly though, and in a few months time I might have to completely eat my words!

  3. Did you actually read the review?!  I was shocked to read that this NOT an Android Tablet at all!  Check out the details that he provided!

    He says that it is a FORK from an early version of Android, perhaps even 1.6, and moving off in to an entirely different direction.

    As such, this is NOT Android, in the same way that Android is NOT Linux. 

    At best this new Amazon tablet is a fork of Android, creating what is essentially an entirely new O.S.  I am sure that Amazon is doing this to prevent compatibility with true Android tablets, to cut out all competition, so that they can be the only way to order books, musics, videos, etc.

    But if I were Google and Motorola, I’d sue for false advertising if Amazon markets this as an Android Tablet.  It’s not. 

  4. Overall, I’m fairly underwhelmed by the specs, if what’s reported is true. Single-core SoC, 6GB, no cam.. it’s no better than the current NC, which is already a year old (and reportedly soon to be superceded by a newer model). Ditto for OS, ie it’s running on a custom Android 2.x. If you’re into Amazon content, it’s probably a good buy for the free one-year Prime subscription. But if not, I don’t see why one would buy this over the current NC.

  5. According to Siegler, launch date is “late November”. It’ll be interesting to compare this to the Nook Color 2 when it comes out.

  6. I giggle at the unfounded speculation concerning this tablet. NOT!!!!!

    Wouldn’t it be smarter if and Barnes and Noble just left the microSD card slot off the device to make it more difficult to modify them with these ROMs.   

    Regarding “although it might only support two-finger input”, I take it that is a different way of saying no pinch-to-zoom?

    1. Nope, it only takes two fingers yo pinch. It means you don’t get 10 finger support for typing and drawing and playing games like you do on some other tablets.

      1. Yeah, I just read that techcrunch article and he referred to the Apple IPAD as being 10 finger. I don’t even really know what that means since I have never really played with one other than briefly at the store.


        The techcrunch author said “I’m not sure what the battery life is like (I only played with it for about an hour), but I imagine it is very good and in line with other tablets — 10 hours or so”

        That statement seemed dubious to me, because it seems like most 7″ tablets get up to 6 hourss, while only the 10″ tablets get up to 10 hours.

  7. I’m among those who went back to the Nook Color factory ROM after installing cyanogenmod. The NC is a bit too underpowered to be a full-blown Android tablet.

    Much happier with the ASUS Transformer.

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