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Summary:

Given that a press invite from Amazon just hit my Inbox for next Wednesday, it’s a safe bet that the long wait for Amazon’s tablet entry is about to end. It’s not meant to compete with the iPad, but at $250, it ought to sell well.

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Given that a press invite from Amazon just hit my inbox for next Wednesday in New York City, I’d say it’s a safe bet that the long wait for Amazon’s tablet entry is about to end. The invite doesn’t offer any details, but all signs have hinted at a fall release for the device. And given the reported amount of Amazon tablets that were ordered from third-party hardware manufacturers — upwards of 800,000 per month — such a product launch would certainly warrant a huge press event.

Earlier this month, a prototype of the device, expected to be called the Amazon Kindle tablet, got a once-over from MG Siegler, who shared his initial impressions after using the device for a short time. Much of what he said then confirmed some of my prior thoughts and expectations of the device. It will likely be a 7-inch slate based on Google Android, but like the Barnes & Noble Nook Color, Android will be hidden under a custom interface. Siegler mentioned a cover-flow type of interface for Kindle books, music and video, which makes sense. In fact, the latest version of the Kindle app for Android devices moved in this direction as well; possibly offering a preview of what to expect.

We won’t know the tablet cost for sure until the product actually launches, but my thought was a top price around $250 with possible subsidies offset by Amazon Offers or Amazon Prime, which could further lower the cost in the sub-$200 range. Siegler confirmed the $250 price tag after using the device although Amazon could have since changed their position or could announce special deals to further reduce the price.

One “missing” feature that Siegler didn’t see (but I expect to be part of the device) is the Amazon AppStore, which is composed of curated Android applications. It’s clear the tablet will focus on Amazon’s media offerings — books, MP3s and videos — and it will have a web browser. Amazon has invested a fair amount of time and effort to create its Amazon AppStore, and I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t incorporate that into its tablet. Given that the device isn’t expected to have any Google apps at all, it seems likely to me that some basic third-party software options would be welcome. We’ll find out for sure as early as next week.

  1. Nook Color Clone Friday, September 23, 2011

    Nook Color Android-based tablet/eReader from Barnes & Noble has been on the market for over a year and sold millions of units at $250. Gives Flash, apps, videos, color magazines and ebooks with video inserts, and the best anti-glare coated screen on the market. Technology “leader” Amazon is finally catching up with the book store company by copying their device.
    Kindle only supports eBooks in its proprietary AZW format. Nook, on the other hand, supports both DRM-protected and DRM-free ebooks in ePub format thus it supports ebooks from B&N store, from any other DRM-free source on the web, and from public libraries.
    If you walk in with the Nook to Barnes & Noble store, you’re allowed to read any available eBook for free while in the store via free provided in the store Wi-Fi.
    Nook Color has several apps that already come with the device (Pandora Internet radio, QuickOffice, etc.) and hundreds of other apps are available for download. Also, you can use the Social Settings screen to link your NOOK Color to your Facebook account and your Twitter account. You can also import all your contacts from your Google Gmail account. Once you have linked to Facebook and Twitter and set up email contacts, you can lend and borrow books, recommend books, and share favorite quotes with your friends. Nook store has over 2 million of paid books and about the same number of free public domain books.

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  2. hmmm, will they allow the kobo bookstore on the tablet?

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  3. Original article does talk about Amazon App store. I guess it’s not missing feature in that case.
    I hope Amazon adds some good App deals so I don’t have to repurchase the apps I bought on iTunes.

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