If reports are to be believed then eretail giant Amazon is about to plunge head-first into the ever expanding world of Android - with not just a new piece of kit on the horizon, but a new Android app store as well.

TechCrunch is stating that Amazon is lining up an Android-based tablet, which would coincide with earlier reports that the Seattle-based company is looking beyond the Kindle for its hardware offerings, and that it will also offer its Android device users an alternative to the official Android Marketplace, hosted on Amazon.com.

TC's sources have apparently been asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement by Amazon regarding the app store, and the site has also listed some details of how the service may operate including:

- A 70/30, or 80/20, royalty split depending on the purchase price and list price.

- A $99 subscription fee for developers.

- DRM tagging by Amazon to keep the apps on its approved devices.

- Amazon can pull any app it likes from the store.

- Free apps will be available.

It's all fascinating stuff, and with more and more manufacturers jumping on board the seemingly unstoppable Android express train, is this the first big indication that the Android app offerings may become tailored for specific devices and brands, and that Google could have rivals within its own system?

What is for sure is that Amazon, if these reports prove to be correct, definitely sees itself as a tech device player, and not just an online shop.

And, with the huge success of its ereader, the Kindle, who can blame it?

Can Amazon become a big tech player? Let us know what you think using the comments below.