Rumours that Amazon has been planning to bring out a tablet to challenge the dominance of the iPad have been floating around for some time. Now, for the first time, someone has claimed to have seen and used the device which will cost just $250 when launched this November.
MG Siegler from the technology blog TechCrunch claims he has managed to get his hands on a Design Verification Testing (DVT) version of the 7in tablet which is practically finished, with a few final tweaks being made to the software prior to launch towards the end of November.
And it is that software which is due to set it apart from the plethora of Android tablets we’ve seen to date. Built upon a version of Android before 2.2, the interface looks nothing like what we’ve come to expect from Android tablets.
Amazon has completely re-designed the Android interface and has used blues, black and oranges in the new build. The homescreen is dominated by a carousel similar to Cover Flow in iTunes. Below sits a dock with your most-used/favourite apps while a notification bar sits on top.
There will be no Android Market, with Amazon instead using its own Android Appstore to sell you apps which work well with the Amazon hardware. The device, which will be known simply as a Kindle, will also have Amazon Cloud Player for music and Amazon’s Instant Video player to play all your films
The device won’t have an e-ink screen like its e-reader brethren, but will come bundled with the Kindle app you can currently get for iOS and Android devices. It will be black in colour and looks very like the BlackBerry PlayBook, according to Spiegler.
The capacitive screen is multi-touch but relies on a two-finger version rather than the 10-finger version used in a lot of tablets. The tablet has no physical buttons on the surface but has a power button located strangely on the bottom of the device.
Inside is believed to be a single-core chip and only 6GB of storage, which will mean a lot of your content will need to be stored in Amazon’s cloud. The possibility of expanding the physical storage via SD card is a possibility but Spiegler found no slot on the device he used.
Amazon will launch the 7in device towards the end of November with a price point of just $250 (haf the price of the iPad in the US) for a Wi-Fi only model. Amazon is in discussion with carriers regarding a 3G version which will launch at a later date.
There are also suggestions that a 10in dual-core Amazon tablet will be coming next year, but that could be dependant on how successful the 7in version is.
While this is certainly the most concrete description of the Amazon tablet we have got to date, exact details – especially regarding pricing and availability outside the US – have yet to be confirmed.
With DVT units floating around Amazon, it’s only a matter of time before a blurry image of one shows up on the net and then it will only be left to Amazon to officially launches the device, which will hopefully happen sooner rather than later..