There has been a lot of buzz around the soon to be released Amazon Kindle tablets that were rumoured to arrive within the next month in 7″ and 10″ models. Now TechCrunch is claiming an exclusive with a hands on (but no photos) with the Kindle tablet and is suggesting that only the 7″ will be available at launch with Amazon not trying to compete directly with the iPad, but more the current Kindle and Nook Color, whilst at the same time offering much of what a tablet does for just $250.
As expected the Kindle tablet will run Android, but what is more interesting is that it will look nothing like the Android we currently see. Instead it os more a fork of Gingerbread to provide very close tie-ins with Amazon’s books, music and film digital stores, as well as Amazon’s Android Marketplace. It will, in essence, become AmazonOS – a fully integrated part of Amazon’s own ecosystem.
Personally I’m a little sad that the 10″ model will be delayed until Amazon can gauge the market reaction to its 7″ model, but from a business perspective it makes perfect sense. The 7″ model is more compact, lighter, and notably cheaper than any of the leading 10″ tablets on the market today – it is a step up from people who want a reading device, but also want to be able to play movies, listen to music, browse the web or use email. It isn’t supposed to be an all-singing all-dancing direct iPad competitor – it is more asking the question of consumer what they are actually buying an iPad for. For travel, sitting on the sofa browsing the web, or reading in bed – the Amazon Kindle is smaller, lighter, and cheaper than the iPad. If you want a powerful device that has hundreds of thousands of apps and games, with a bigger screen and add-ons like a camera – then the iPad is for you.
Yes the Kindle tablet will galvanise much of the current Kindle market, but I would imagine they will start stealing a good portion of the iPad’s 80% market share soon too. Apple created a market for the iPad from nothing, and no manufacturer has managed to make a dent there so far, but Amazon also created an e-reader market from no-where and now will have created a half-way house between the two.