Amazon Kindle Tablet Hands-on. Details Revealed

September 3, 2011
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While we were waiting for the Amazon 7″ tablet to appear in August according to the initial rumors, and later got pushed to October, it appears it won’t arrive until November this year. Also, the 10″ tablet may or may not come in Q1 2012, while it was initially planned for Q4 2011. But right on the tails of the Nook Color 2 rumors, Amazon wanted the world to know more about its tablet, so they showed it to MG Siegler from TechCrunch so he can write an article about it, although without being allowed to take pictures or videos of it. So let’s see what this 7″ tablet is all about.

The name will be “Amazon Kindle”, which is a bit strange. Why would they name 2 very different devices exactly the same? Won’t that confuse customers? Is that what they really want? If they wanted something recognizable and didn’t want to create a whole new name for it, they should’ve went with “Kindle Tab” or simply “Kindle Tablet”, or even “Kindle Color”, although that sounds too much like they are trying to copy the Nook Color (later we see that they kind of want to do that anyway).

Moving on, the 7″ device looks very much like a Playbook in form factor and style, and it’s black. It has a 2-finger multi-touch LCD display, compared to other high-end tablets today which offer up to 10 finger multi-touch. They did this to lower the cost of the panel, but it’s not that important, especially for a reader tablet. Two-finger multi-touch should be more than enough.

The interface is quite different from the normal Android interface, and just like the Nook Color, they are trying to create one that is not only focused on the reading experience, but also on the Amazon experience – basically they want you to use the Amazon services as much as possible, whether it’s the Kindle app, the Amazon App Store, or the regular Amazon store, which is not much different from Nook Color’s strategy. You also get their Cloud Player app for music, and their Instant Video player. The interface is black, dark blue and with a lot of orange, reminiscent of Amazon’s own website.

Apparently, they haven’t collaborated with Google at all on this. They just took the Android open source code (Android 2.1 it seems), and used it. So there are no Google apps on the devices at all, but you can still find Google search as the default search on their webkit browser.

There will be Android apps such as the Pulse Reader for RSS feeds, and Angry Birds, all of which are on Amazon’s App Store, so this worries me a bit that Amazon may have made it so normal Android apps don’t work, and I’m sure they are also restricting installing apps from “unknown sources”, like we usually can run on Android.

Although the initial rumor said the 7″ tablet will have a dual core Tegra 2, and the 10″ one will have quad core Tegra 3, it appears that plan was ditched, and after the HP TouchPad “success” at a low price, they probably turned around and wanted to make their tablet as cheap as possible, too. However, it doesn’t look like they subsidized it at all. It will cost $250, which is in line when an earlier rumor that it will be “hundreds less than an iPad”, but it will only offer a single core chip, and 6GB of internal storage, so nothing mind-blowing for the price it seems.

Amazon was working on a a tablet with a hybrid display (think Mirasol or some kind of multi-touch color e-ink), but that device is far from being completed, so it probably won’t be the 10″ tablet either.

So what do you think about this Amazon tablet? Was it worth the wait? Did it meet or exceed your expectations? What did they do wrong, and how could they have done it better?

[Via - TechCruch]

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