If you’ve been following the rumours, you’ll know that Amazon is poised to release an Android-based tablet to take on the iPad and others in the next couple of months.
Up until now, the rumours have really only been coming from Far East manufacturers who have supposedly been given the contracts to build the reported 7-inch device; Thereby people speculating that those rumours deciding they make a lot of sense.
Now one of the editors, MG Siegler, for industry start-up tech site TechCrunch, has managed to get his hands on one of the prototype devices; spilling the beans before a big official announcement from Amazon.
According to the report on the site, the new tablet will simply be called the Amazon Kindle, come with a 7-inch colour touchscreen; offer Wi-Fi connectivity, with a 3G model expected in due course; and run a variation of Android customised by Amazon.
"How do I know all of this? Well, not only have I heard about the device, I’ve seen it and used it. And I’m happy to report that it’s going to be a big deal. Huge, potentially," says Siegler excitedly.
Unable to take pictures, Siegler explains that Amazon has ditched the E-Ink technology for a back-lit screen on this model.
Further details, in the rather rambling post about the device, explain that although the new Amazon Kindle will be powered by Android; it isn’t going to be an experience Android users would be used to, with Amazon using the Google OS as a base for its own very customised experience:
"The interface is all Amazon and Kindle. It’s black, dark blue, and a bunch of orange. The main screen is a carousel that looks like Cover Flow in iTunes which displays all the content you have on the device. This includes books, apps, movies, etc. Below the main carousel is a dock to pin your favourite items in one easy-to-access place. When you turn the device horizontally, the dock disappears below the fold.
"Above the dock is the status bar (time, battery, etc) and this doubles as a notification tray. When apps have updates, or when new subscriptions are ready for you to view, they appear here. The top bar shows 'YOUR NAME’s Kindle' and then the number of notifications you have in bright orange. It looks quite nice."
There are no physical buttons on the surface of the device, a camera or SD or microSD expansion slots explains Siegler; and the tablet is rather BlackBerry PlayBook in its styling, including the rubberised feel.
"Google’s Android Market is nowhere to be found. In fact, no Google app is anywhere to be found." Although he goes on to say that the device does come with Amazon’s Android App Store.
Other gems include an end-of-November launch date and a $250 (£150) price tag with a strong possibility that users who opt to buy the new tablet will also get Amazon Prime thrown in for free.
What do you think? Something you’ll want or best to stick with a proper Android tablet or the iPad 2? Let us know in the comments below.