We’ve been expecting a 7-inch Amazon tablet to hit this fall with a 10-inch version in the works as well. Being called simply the Amazon Kindle it will display content in color from a 7inch capacitive touch screen. What I found most disappointing about this news from the source article is that the new Kindle will not be the Android tablet your used to. It will be strictly more of a Kindle interface instead of just your normal Android OS. Siegler over at Techcrunch reports to have gotten his hands on one for about an hour. There are no pictures to share here, so we’ll just have to take his word for it. Hit the break for the full story.
Hardware wise the Kindle will be a 7-inch device with a multi-touch capacitive screen that’s also back lit (no e-ink variants here). The report states that it’s believed to be a two-finger multi-touch device instead of using multi-finger gestures like the iPad (he wouldn’t have figured this out after having the device in hand for an hour?). The device is believed to have 6GB of internal storage, no camera, and initially coming in a WiFi only version (Amazon is supposidly working with carriers to bring a 3G version). It’s also looking to be a single core device. The back of the device is said to be “rubbery” and overall, aesthetics wise, is very similar to the Blackberry Playbook. Having no physical buttons on the screen you can bring up a lower navigation menu by tapping on the screen once. The only port found was a micro-USB that’s probably just for charging.
Where it gets interesting to is when details about the OS are revealed. This device is nothing like a Galaxy Tab in that the UI is all Kindle. This Kindle OS seems to be built over the top of a version of Android prior to 2.2, so don’t expect to look for Honeycomb or Ice Cream Sandwich updates. Even if it does, the front end will still probably be all Amazon. This also means there is no Android Market on this device and in turn no Google apps were to be found.
The interface being all Amazon and Kindle is black, dark blue, and orange. The main screen reflects something similar to iTune’s cover flow to show you all the books, apps, and movies you have stored on your device. From Amazon for your media you’ll have the Amazon Cloud player for music, Amazon’s Instant Video player for video, and Amazon’s Android app store for apps. The reader is also similar to what is already offered on Android already. There is also a web browser with tabbing ability styled to match the Kindle interface. Overall, the interface was reported to feel very responsive.
This 7-inch device to supposed to launch in late November ready for the holiday season. With a price tag of $250, and if advertised correctly, this baby is sure sell like crazy for Christmas time. Another perk that will help is if buyers will get a free subscription to Amazon Prime. Valued at $79 a year, this will give owners access to free two-day shipping from Amazon.com and access to their Instant Video Service. This will add good value to the device is buyers understand what they are getting.
With real Android tablets starting to hit the $300 mark more and more everyday, I really don’t see the value in this device, as it seems limited. I would much rather get my hands on an ASUS Transformer, but to the masses, I think the e-reader type interface will still appeal. I’m also sure at some point you’ll be able to throw a real version of Android on here, but again, the masses really aren’t going to do that. They want a device that works for what they are buying it for, and in this case, it will be a direct competitor to the Nook Color rather than regular Android tablets. As long as it’s seen for what it is, there is no reason it shouldn’t fly off the shelves. It would have been nice to see it stick a little more true to Android instead of just using it’s back end.