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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