Last night, TechCrunch writer MG Siegler began teasing us on his Twitter about a big scoop he’d be writing about today. He is reporting that not only does the rumored Amazon Kindle tablet exist, but he has seen one with his own eyes and played with it.
According to the report, the device will target Barnes and Noble’s Nook Color more than anything else. The name will just be “Amazon Kindle,” though it will not be like the Kindle we are currently familiar with. It has a 7-inch full-color multi-touch display, which consumes the entire front side of the device. There are no hardware buttons in sight — a first for Amazon.
The big news here is the software. It runs Android, but it’s been completely skinned by Amazon to the point that it doesn’t even look like Android. The Nook Color takes this approach. Siegler writes:
“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 favorite 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.”
Amazon is also going all-out with integration of its popular services. To read books, pop into the Kindle app. Amazon’s Cloud Player serves as the music player, Instant Video Player serves to play movies, and Amazon’s Android Appstore (which has already been released) serves as the marketplace for third-party apps. A web browser is included as well. Supposedly, Amazon plans on including a free subscription to its Prime service, which offers streaming video access and premium shipping options for $79 per year.
Siegler believes the Kindle tablet only includes 6 GB of internal storage, and he could not find an SD cart slot anywhere on the device. He did find a micro-USB port, however. And like the Nook Color, this device does not sport a camera.
Amazon will release the Kindle tablet this year, the report says. It will sell for $250 — the same price as the Nook Color. A larger 10-inch device is said to be in the works, but we probably will not hear about that until next year.