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We've been patiently sitting back and watching the rumors surrounding Amazon's supposed Android tablet, because, frankly, that's all they've been. Rumor and conjecture. But TechCrunch's MG Siegler this afternoon has penned a first-person opus, detailing time with a test unit. We'll not attempt to steal any thunder here -- definitely go read the full post linked below. But here are the big strokes:

  • It's a 7-inch tablet-style device.
  • It's running Android, insofar as that's what's under the hood. But much like the Nook Color, it doesn't look like Android in the least.
  • Don't bother looking for Google apps, or the Android Market. They're not there. That's hardly a surprise, that Amazon has the Amazon Appstore, which will purchase and load Android apps just fine. Amazon Cloud Player and Amazon Instant Video will be deeply integrated. The Kindle app is the default reader, natch.
  • And because it's off the reservation, don't bother looking for Honeycomb or Ice Cream Sandwich updates. This thing's totally on its own.
  • Cost will be $250, same as the Nook Color.
  • And expect Amazon to market the hell out of it online.

Really, none of that's unexpected in an Android tablet, right? Makes sense. A custom, separate version of Android -- which is exactly what an embedded OS is supposed to be able to do -- chock full of Amazon features and services.

It'll still be interesting to see how a post-Nook Color Amazon tablet will compete. The Kindle's no longer the only game in town, and Barnes & Noble has a pretty good leg up by being a brick-and-mortar organization as well, plus it's got its excellent in-store customer training, which has to take a lot of the scare factor out of using the Nook. (One could argue that a proper tablet UI doesn't need any sort of training, but we digress.)

Matching the price of the Nook Color is a must. And Siegler's description of the custom UI makes it sound like it'll definitely be less tablet and more e-reader -- another must for Amazon here.

And the muddied waters remain muddied here. Will an Amazon tablet encroach on the e-reader space? Or the tablet space? Or both? And will it appeal to the hacker masses like the Nook Color? News at 11, folks.

Read: Amazon’s Kindle Tablet Is Very Real


Reader comments

Amazon's Kindle tablet said to be all Amazon atop Android, with nary a Google app in sight


7inch Tegra 2 underwhelming? Just like the NOOK, the value here won't be in stock software, but what the community will do with it. Looking forward to details on their 10in version before I decide on this one though.

Where do you get that it will have a Tegra 2? The TC article says single core, which as I stated, would make it underwhelming at that price point.

Well every rumor for the past few months have been 7in Tegra 2 and 10in Tegra 3(Kal-El)tablets for amazon. If they went back on that plan then it will be a shame. But final judgement is reserved until we see the hardware.

That's a shame then. Of course, if the community gets into it and can re-google it and load up Ice Cream Sandwich, that'd be interesting. I have no interest in a tablet without Gmail and the android market. I can understand why they'd want to lock it to their services, especially if they sell it at a loss, but there are apps I've already paid for on the android market, and others that aren't even there.

Hopefully they wont sign the bootloader.

Very good read and it sounds interesting. Will be nice to see what the finished product looks like with more hands on to see if it's worth it. Currently I use my phone as a kindle reader averaging 4 books a month.

This is the iPad killer. you can't be serious. I have no doubt that Amazon will sell a ton of these because they've done well with the kindle but this thing better be thin/fast and be loaded with apps.

When these things are discussed like the Amazon tablet\Blackberry Playbook people talk about fragmentation but without Google's participation this is really isn't an Android product. Neither is the NookColor, which I love. Can you put in the work to make it run most Android apps? Sure, does that make it Android, NO.

Um... yes, both ARE android. B&N and Amazon simply have skins on top of android, no different than Motorola has on phones (BLUR) or HTC with Sense.

The fact that the operating system IS android makes it definitely android.
It might not look like your generic android device, but it definitely is.

I agree here. The fact is the Nook Color and the Amazon Tablet are not marketed towards the same people as the Ipad. The Nook and the Amazon tablet are marketed towards readers and customers of their shop, while the Ipad is marketed towards everyone in general. While the online Android community will enjoy this thing and turn it into a "near-full tablet" the primary consumer will use it for it's intended purpose.

While I like Android as a whole, to think that anything can be an iphone/ipad killer is pretty much crazy talk, Apple has got themselves in the public mindset as a whole and it is going to take quite a bit to get that changed. Android is growing, but Apple and the iphone aren't going anywhere.

Besides, competition is good, where is the desire to improve if you have no competition.

They had better get to work with serious tab specific apps then. 300 is nice but this thing will never get ICS so it will have those lovely stretched out apps like we have now. Thought they would have done better than another kindle.

"I also believe 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. The storage is meant for storing books and apps There were a few references to an SD card expansion, but I couldn’t find a slot on the hardware itself."

Fail, even with the speculated free subscription to Amazon Prime.

I think if Amazon do this they have entirely missed the point. Sure they will lock in many users to their services but they will put many off too. They have already lost all my book purchases because they only back their own lock in book format. If they thought more along the lines they did with DRM free music and opted for a more open approach I think it would pay much bigger dividends. Something about a company looking for lock ins rather than competing through excellence shows a lack of confidence and is the first sign that things are not quite right. Amazon should embrace the wider Android platform and look to the opportunities inherent rather than building another walled garden. People who love walled gardens are well catered for after all.

To be frank I am most thoroughly put off this device before I have even seen it. The TC article makes it clear this is not the Android I like and want. Add to that the growing variety of GOOD alternatives which we will see in the next 4-6 months and the Amazon 7" tablet is dead to me, may it soon fossilise and end up in some museum.

So basically, an Amazon Nook Color?

Just get the Nook color, it will probably have less vendor lock-in (knowing Amazon), and you'll be supporting an actual brick-and-mortar book company...