Over the last year, there has been a lot of talk regarding Amazon's supposed plans for a tablets. The last we heard, Samsung had plans to launch a 7-inch model before the year's end and a larger, 10-inch model in the new year. However, up until this point, this has all been rumor and speculation. Though Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos did advise us to 'stay tuned' when it came to an Amazon tablet, the company has not yet commented on the tablet rumors.
This past weekend, TechCrunch's MG Siegler changed all that with a post detailing time he recently spent playing with an Amazon tablet. The model he had was of the 7-inch variety and is apparently dubbed "Amazon Kindle." Running Android, the device has a 7-inch capacitive touchscreen and resembles the BlackBerry PlayBook (pictured). Siegler says it sports two-finger multitouch and is the first full color, back-lit Kindle. It has no physical buttons and runs a completely customized version of Android that's never been seen before. It's not Gingerbread, or Honeycomb, or Ice Cream Sandwich. Instead, Siegler believes that Amazon has taken a version of Android prior to 2.2 and built its on OS on top. He describes the UI as very responsive and says there are no Google apps anywhere on the device (it even shuns the Android Market in favor of Amazon's own Android app store). The web browser is styled to match the UI and "looks pretty much the same as Android's WebKit browser" with tabs and Google as the default search engine.
The device is thought to be based on a single-core chip (the 10-inch would theoretically be based on a dual-core CPU), and only has about 6GB of internal storage with the idea of pushing this as a "cloud device" storing all your movies and music off-site. Initially, the device will be Wi-Fi only, but Amazon is considering 3G models in collaboration with wireless partners at some point after the launch.
Of all of this news, perhaps the part we find most compelling is price. Siegler reports that this tablet will ring in at $250, well under the current going rate for a tablet. Buyers will also get free Amazon Prime, which is valued at $79 per year. As for die-hard e-ink fans, this new, all color, back-lit Kindle isn't going to bump your lovely e-ink Kindle off the shelves. According to TechCrunch, the e-ink Kindle will co-exist with this new Kindle tablet, acting as the low-end, budget option.
Sadly, there are no pictures of the device but with it expected in time for Holiday 2011, we likely won't have to wait long before leaked pictures, spec sheets and videos start appearing around the web.