The Amazon tablet has long been rumored, but now it may be closer to reality than you might think. The guys over at TechCrunch have reportedly gotten their hands on the Amazon tablet and the potential it has can be huge. Dubbed simply the Amazon Kindle, this tablet is unlike any previous Kindle. Gone is the Pearl E-Ink screen and in its place is a full color, seven inch capacitive touchscreen. The editor at TechCrunch who got to handle the Kindle was not allowed to take any pictures, but described it as similar to the BlackBerry PlayBook since both are 7" devices. The Kindle has a 7" touchscreen that is mutli-touch capable, but more on the lines of a maximum of two fingers supported at once. It uses an LCD screen that is backlit, so you can read it in the dark. Previously, there were reports of a 7" and 10" Amazon tablet, but as of now Amazon only has plans to release the 7" device, with the 10" following if the 7" is a hit. The hardware is finalized, just Amazon is tweaking the software it is running. The hardware is expected to be a single-core processor with 6GB of internal storage. Amazon expects you to make use of its cloud services for music and movies.
As for that software, the Amazon Kindle is running a heavily skinned version of Android. By heavily skinned, I mean you would not be able to tell it is an Android tablet just by looking at it. It may be running Android 2.2 or even 2.1, but all markings that make an Android tablet are gone. The color scheme for the interface is black, dark blue, and orange, fitting since those are the colors of Amazon and Kindle. The main screen resembles Cover Flow in iTunes, which displays all the books, music, movies, and apps stored on the device or in the cloud. Below the Cover Flow carousel is a dock where you can pin your favorite items, which disappears when the Kindle is held horizontally. Above that dock is the status bar that also doubles as the notification tray, with the number of notifications being displayed in bright orange.
There are no physical buttons on the Kindle, instead you tap the screen once to bring up a navigation menu that can take you back to the home screen or any of your content. For getting content on the Kindle, the Amazon store is just a click away. The Kindle uses Amazon Cloud Player for music, Amazon Instant Vider player for movies, and apps are handled by Amazon's Appstore. There is even a Web browser on the Kindle, but official Google apps are no where to be found. Whatever apps are in the Amazon Appstore are what you will get. Some apps will be bundled with the device, like Pulse and possibly Angry Birds.
The Amazon Kindle tablet is expected to launch by the end of November, just in time for the holidays. The price is expected to be $250, which puts it right in line with the Barnes & Noble Nook Color. That $250 price will also apparently get you a free year of Amazon Prime, which along with free two-day shipping also gets you access to Amazon's Instant Video service, ideal for watching some movies on your new tablet. The Amazon Kindle will be WiFi-only at first, with 3G devices planned. So, not a bad device for $250, we'll have to see what the reaction will be when it is officially announced by Amazon.