Amazon execs haven’t officially come out and said that the company is working on an Android tablet. But there’s growing evidence that a line of Amazon tablets could launch later this year. CEO Jeff Bezos told Consumer Reports to “stay tuned” for more details recently, which is pretty far from a denial. Last week Boy Genius Report, which has some pretty reliable tipsters, reported that Amazon could be working on two tablets — at least one of which would use an NVIDIA T30 Kal-El quad-core processor. And now PC Magazine has even more details… or rumors.

According to PC Mag, Amazon will offer 10 and 7 inch tablets in time for the holidays. At least one will have NVIDIA”s quad-core chip. Both will run Google Android. And according to the rumor, the 10 inch model may have a dual mode display which lets you toggle between full color mode and high contrast black and white mode. The advantages to the high contrast mode would presumably be lower power consumption and better outdoor visibility.

There are a couple of companies working on sunlight readable displays at the moment, but the description of a dual-mode LCD based screen sure sounds a lot like Pixel Qi technology. PC Magazine’s sources also say the primary reason Amazon is going with a 10 inch screen is because the technology to mass produce a 7 inch model won’t be available for another year or two. While Pixel Qi is already showing off a 7 inch, 1024 x 600 pixel display, it’s not clear what kind of quantities they can be produced in… although maybe this means Amazon isn’t using Pixel Qi.

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7 replies on “Amazon tablets could have quad-core chips, dual mode (color and monochrome) displays”

  1.  Give me quad core, 20h battery life, sub 300gr weight, retina display and build in 3G+phone functionality with outdoor readable transflective/equivalent screen and all for 200$ and Im buying it. Till then, sorry, not going to spend more than 100$ for overblown phone given the current specs of tablets in the market today. I want to see those ARM on steroids CPU’s that are in the works.

    1. You’re in for a long wait then…  You’ve got several mutually exclusive requirements listed for the current generation of hardware.

      20h battery life + high energy use display + high energy use processor != 1/5 the weight of most modern tablets at half the price.  

      Sorry, reality gets in the way of these things sometimes, but maybe in 5-6 years process shrinks and nano-cable batteries will make some of that possible.

      That said, bravo for putting up an impossible to meet straw man for your target.  Also keep in mind those ARM on steroids CPU’s that are in the works, come with higher peak and probably idle power consumption than current generations, even on smaller silicon, just given the way silicon works when you increase the power and frequency clock, and battery tech probably isn’t going to make another huge leap forward any time soon.  So your battery life requirements may be a lot longer off than you might otherwise expect.

      Creating artificial lists of artificially high requirements, and looking forward to future process tech, is something of a loosing game anyway, since there will always be something impressive just around the corner living as vaporware that might some day become real.  Basing purchasing decisions on something you could conceivably use now based on what will be available in the future is hence always a zero sum game where you can never win, unless you don’t intend to ever purchase anything and want to justify that decision somehow.

      I’m not singling you out, but I see this attitude a lot in tech reviews.  The whole ‘wait until the next generation, that’ll let you play games and give you a bag of chips to boot!’ argument fails more often than not.

      I don’t see any way that portable devices like these will ever be anything but a trade off between portability, weight, longevity, and price.  Finding the balance you can live with is always going to be the trick of it.

      1. Mostly true, we’re quite a long way away from seeing a system with all those specs, but there are some improvements to be expected.

        Like using lower clock cores for handling menial tasks and the higher clock cores are basically off until needed, new thinner LCD’s also use less power and with some claiming up to 40% improvement.   Among other things they are improving.

        Though the increased performance can easily counter the power savings and it will depend how the end user winds up using the system and whether the software is properly optimized to run efficiently on the system.  But we can expect a bit more than the older systems provided under the same battery capacity.

  2. Quad-core for a book reader is overkill, but what a good book reader needs is:

    – MATTE display! None of the current tablets have this. This is a major letdown for reading text over any longer length o ftime

    – Higher resolution for showing bigger books, graphs and photos without constant zooming in and zooming out. 1280×800 barely cuts it and 1024×600 is just way too low for any real book content. Even typography looks really ugly at that resolution if the size is 7″ or more.

    I hope Amazon gets these factors right. The display is the computer on a text reading oriented tablet.

    1.  Yeah, this isn’t necessarily just a book reader though.  It’s a full on Android tablet that happens to read Kindel books.

      I agree with the matte display.  It would be particularly nice if it was oleophobic so it didn’t pick up as many greasy fingerprints as well.

      I don’t necessarily agree with the higher resolution.  You’re limited by the physical screen size.  At a certain point all resolution does is make text appear crisper and put more load on the processor and increase the size of asset files putting more load on the storage system.  You’re maybe a bit more likely to hold a screen up to your face with a tablet than a notebook, but realistically the the ability to go high contrast is more important to me than jamming in 20% more pixels.  So I guess my point is that Retna like displays are great, but not essential to me.

      More important to me, is something that I would argue that Apple has it right with the 4:3 screen.  The 16:10 and worse 16:9 aren’t really optimal for reading, the Golden rule dominated for a long time in screen resolutions for a reason.  The fact that it dominates paper publishing should indicate something as well.  Just because it’s cheaper to make wide and short screens doesn’t mean they’re better for anything but watching movies…  Which you’re pretty much arguing you don’t need with your first sentence.

      Just some thoughts…

      1. There are exceptions to the rule though.  Wide is good for two page layouts for example.  While long is also something applicable to ledger type layouts.  The 4:3 is just good for normal single page viewing.

        There is also some mobility practicality in that a thinner device is more easily put into a pocket for example.

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