Amazon is all set to announce its much anticipated tablet on Wednesday. Although the invite that they sent out last Friday didn't mention anything specific, industry experts believe it couldn't be anything but launch of their 'Kindle' tablets.
As per MG Siegler from TechCrunch, Amazon is likely to call their tablet 'Kindle Fire'. The Kindle branding could eventually help Amazon as it can pitch its Android based Fire tablets as an enhancement to its highly sold e-ink based Kindle readers.
The Kindle Fire tablets are expected to sport a 7-inch backlit display. It has been designed by the same company that worked on BlackBerry's PlayBook, Quanta. Being of the same form factor, the two devices might look similar at first glance. The tablet is expected to be powered by a T1 dual-core OMAP chip. The clock-speed of the CPU is still unclear. The device could have a very limited on-board memory of up to 6 GB. Initially there should be a WiFi version only and looks like Amazon is currently negotiating with mobile carriers so you can expect a 3G version as well. There's still nothing confirmed whether there will be a 4G version or not.
Editor’s note:Since Amazon’s tablet is expected to house only 6GB of storage space, it’ll be quite a disappointment if the tablet is launched without at least 3G connectivity.]
Apart from the hardware specifications, it's very clear that the Kindle Fire would be running Google's Android mobile operating system. Amazon has forked it completely. It seems users would have to download and use applications directly from Amazon's own AppStore instead of the Google Android Market. Users won’t be able to make out whether their Kindle Fire tablets are on Gingerbread or Honeycomb, that’s how deep Amazon has gone into customizing Android for its tablets.
Amazon will work towards integrating almost all of its services with their new tablet. This would include Amazon's cloud based MP3 service, Kindle app for book reading and the Instant Video Player. It would be great to see how Amazon ties the Kindle reading app with extra social sharing capabilities on the tablet, like it did for the
. The tighter these integrations work the better ecosystem Amazon would be able to build here. These cloud based services could easily explain why Amazon decided to keep the internal memory to a bare minimum.
Amazon will also have to look out for the upcoming Nook Colour 2 that would launch next month. Although the Kindle Fire isn't expected to hit the stores until end of November, Amazon is eager to make the announcement for obvious reasons. Nook Colour 2 is expected to feature a 1.2 GHz OMAP chip. It is expected that the new Nook device would focus more on streaming content and new applications. Since Nook Colour 2 would be built on top of Android Gingerbread, it'll be interesting to see how it would compete with Amazon's tablet which is rumoured to be based on Android 2.1. Nook Colour 2 is expected to sell at anywhere near $200-250 when it launches.
What remains to be seen is how Amazon would price its tablets? The word on the street is that they will take the tablet market head-on with an aggressive pricing strategy. According to a
, the bill-of-materials for Amazon's upcoming tablet could be anywhere around $180. Amazon could either sell it for a $199 or the much expected price tag of $250. Tonight is when all the mystery will unfold, and I've got all my fingers crossed!