Gadgets for humans

Amazon’s 7″ tablet said to run $250, arrive in November, with fully-custom Android

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If there was ever a chance to give a true competitor to the iPad, it is in the hands of Amazon. According to what we’re seeing about Amazon’s upcoming 7-inch tablet, it could be just the thing to do that.

TechCrunch reports that the 7-inch tablet will launch in November, running a fully custom version of Android. In fact, it’s reported that it’s obvious that Amazon is “not working with Google on this. At all.”

So a 7-inch, Android-powered tablet, put out by somewhere that sells books. Sound familiar? It should. This isn’t Amazon’s iPad competitor, it’s the company’s Nook-killer.

Siegler reports that Google is nowhere to be found on the device, except as the default search provider. If you want to buy an application, you’ll be doing so via Amazon’s Android store. Of course the Kindle application is deeply ingrained, as well. A main carousel will be your starting point, where you’ll be able to choose from books, apps, movies and the like. There’s also a docking area where you can place your favorite items for easy access.

It’s also interesting to note that the tablet doesn’t have any physical buttons, instead a tap on the home screen will bring up your interface, and another tap takes you back to the carousel.

If the initial run with the 7-inch tablet goes well, Amazon is said to be planning a dual-core, 10-inch version in the first quarter of next year.

It’s said to have only 6 GB of internal memory, leading to the idea that it is intended to be much more of a cloud-based device than one for storing everything locally. Given Amazon’s Kindle service, its cloud-based music locker and app store, all of this makes sense for how the device would operate.

Siegler relays that the device is slated to get a buying push from bundling a subscription to Amazon Prime with its purchase. Instead of having to pay the $79 annual fee, you’ll get Prime for (we’d think) 1 year, which also gives you access to Amazon’s video on demand service.

As for the look and feel of the device, we’re reading that it is very similar to a Motorola Xoom, though obviously smaller than the 10-inch device.

That’s all that we have for now, but it sure does look like Amazon is on the brink of shipping something out just in time for the holiday shopping binge. By aiming directly at the Nook, instead of the iPad, it should be creating a niche that needs to be filled, instead of trying to fill one that isn’t necessarily lacking.

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Published September 2, 2011 — 20:41 UTC