Siegler said he’s seen the device and spent an hour fiddling with it. Great, except he’s not allowed to show us any photos, so he settled for a 1,500-word narration.
The tablet, which will be branded as part of Amazon’s popular Kindle family, will be running on Android. Amazon’s Android to be specific. In Siegler’s words, “Amazon has forked Android to build their own version of the Kindle.”
“Google’s Android Market is nowhere to be found. In fact, no Google app is anywhere to be found,” said Siegler.
Instead of bundling the usual apps, Amazon is throwing in its home-brewed Android App Store, Cloud Player and Kindle App.
Even the look and feel doesn’t come close to the conventional Android. Seigler said it’s “all Amazon and Kindle,” with a mix of black, dark blue and orange within the interface, with your home screen dominated by contents such as books, apps and movies.
As part of the deal, buyers will be given free Amazon Prime subscriptions (duration unknown though), a $79 per year premium club that comes with perks like unlimited, free two-day shipping, no minimum purchase and unlimited instant streaming of a collection of free movies and TV shows. The deep integration of all-things Amazon is a huge benefit for purchasers.
The 7-inch, full-color screen tablet, which is slated for release by the end of November, features a capacitive touch screen that supports two-finger multi-touch, instead of 10 like the iPad. It’s said to be powered by a single-core chip and comes with only 6GB onboard memory, which isn’t a problem if it’s expandable by SD card, but Siegler can’t confirm that.
Video-chat junkies and those who fancy capturing photos with an oversized camera may be disappointed by the lack of camera in the tablet.
At launch, Amazon will be offering only the Wi-Fi version of the tablet, but Siegler says that the Seattle-based online retail giant is in talks with carriers to bring 3G versions to market.
The Future of Kindle
If the sales of the 7-inch tablets hit Amazon’s expectation, it will release a higher-end, probably dual-core, 10-inch model during first quarter 2012.
Though the tablet uses the Kindle brand, existing e-ink based Kindles are here to stay. In fact, Amazon is said to be working on a “multi-touch screen/e-ink hybrid tablet device,” but it’s “nowhere near completion.”