We had earlier heard rumors about Amazon entering the tablet market, and now TechCrunch’s MG Siegler says that the device is indeed real and is being tested at Amazon’s Seattle HQ. In fact, Seigler even got a hands on with the tablet, unfortunately he wasn’t permitted to click pictures. The device is simply called the ‘Amazon Kindle’, and features a 7-inch capacitive screen.
A bit more insight into the specifics of the Amazon Kindle tablet – it runs a custom Android build, has no physical buttons or a camera, resembles the BlackBerry PlayBook, costs $250, and looks nothing like the Android versions you’re used to seeing on present devices. Based on Siegler’s description, TechCrunch has created a mockup which you can see below:
This is what Siegler had to say about Amazon’s Android-based OS:
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.
Amazon presently is in the best position to compete with Apple in terms of the diversity of content these companies provide their customers. The Kindle tablet integrates this aspect deeply in addition to having the Kindle app (obviously), Amazon’s Cloud Player, Amazon’s Instant Video player and of course the Amazon App Store. A layman would in fact find no traces of Google at all on this device, unless he chooses to read through those End User Agreements, and Legal Documentation.
Baidu, a Chinese search engine which directly competes with Google, has also launched its on Android-based mobile OS. These events indicate that Android is moving on to become the new Linux, with multiple distributions.
Would a $250 tablet with bare essential features compete effectively with the iPad or would it create an new segment altogether? Can the Kindle tablet and iPad exist peacefully in two separate categories without eating each other’s lunch? What’s your take?