Behold the Amazon Kindle! A full colour 7-inch tablet that is basically a front to all their books, music, movies and products, just like we imagined. TechCrunch has a nice description, so we made a nice mock-up. Here's what we're told the Android-powered tablet's specs will be...
This is what it will have, according to TechCrunch:
Hardware • Full-colour 7-inch touchscreen. • Unlike the iPad, it will probably only support two finger multitouch, not 10 fingers. • It apparently has one single-core processor. • Maybe only 6GB of storage -- possibly more cloud oriented • No physical buttons on the front • No camera • Rubberised back, like the BlackBerry PlayBook.
Software • It's built on a forked version of Android (apparently older than 2.2), but there are no visible Google apps of any kind -- you'll be able to get Android apps through Amazon's appstore • It has Apple Cover Flow-ish user interface, with all the content—books, movies and music—showing in a carousel. The UI is "very responsive", unlike the Nook Color. • In portrait mode, it has a dock where users can add their favorites. It hides in landscape mode. • The book reader app is much like the iOS and Android Kindle app. • The music app connects to Amazon Cloud. • Logically, the Amazon Kindle will provide a storefront for the whole of Amazon (I imagine this looks a lot like the Amazon Window Shopping application on the iPad).
Apparently the tablet is not in production yet, but they are very close, with a release in November. And the big deal? It will only cost $US250. And, it might come with a free Amazon Prime subscription, which is normally $US79 a year.
The first true iPad competitor
I like their idea a lot. And it may be underpowered compared to the iPad 2, but that doesn't matter one bit if the thing runs as fast as TechCrunch says it does. And it doesn't matter for a huge majority of consumers who don't play hardcore, hardware-intensive games but want just content and casual gaming.
In fact, this may very well be the first true iPad competitor because of four key factors:
First, Amazon will be the first company to have the complete ecosystem. Like Apple's closed garden, but plugging into all of Amazon's products and services.
Then, they count with the customer base. They can attack their customers from their store and offer them this device as a simple, quite inexpensive tablet that acts as an extension to their content and services.
The third factor, and perhaps the most important, is that the Amazon Kindle will offer a super simple user interface that is centered around the content itself. If what you want is give consumers access to stuff to consume, that seems like the best option. Anyone would be able to use it. Their approach is a lot better than replicating Apple's app-oriented iOS interface, like every other iPad-clone maker does.
And finally, their tablet will plug directly into a very strong cloud solution. Unlike Apple -- who is now only about to deploy the unproven iCloud after multiple previous failures -- Amazon has a lot of experience in cloud services for serving content. If they manage to offer the same experience as in the desktop—and there's no reason to think otherwise—Apple will have a formidable enemy. Not an iPad killer, but certainly a real enemy that could damage them. [TechCrunch]