id: 113 View:article
07 Jul 2017
13 Sep 2013
News  Industry

Things are about to get really serious. Whilst we've seen zillions of Android phones and Tablets launched this year, none have the complete package which gives the iPhone/iPad the edge when it comes to providing an integrated content system from the same supplier as the hardware. Until now, that is. And to futher differentiate itself, word is the Amazon Android based Kindle will be sold at a massive subsidy - perhaps even at a loss - to make it half the price of the iPad in order to gain significant market share, where it can then recoup these costs from that scale and charges on content.

It's Android - but not as we know it.

TechCrunch were granted a 1 hour play with a prototype recently on condition no photos were taken, so that's where pretty much every piece of information regarding this comes from. It runs Android, but isn't "with Google", so there's no Android Market, no GMail, Maps etc. This is probably ok - the pure Android system is designed this way and it's only when manufacturers licence the Google features that they are added anyway. Several media players are similarly bare-boned, e.g. Archos, and they save even more by being WiFi-only, and hence not needing to license the 3G/mobile network systems. That's how this new device is described - it's definitely no phone, but is WiFi only (savvy Android users will have a separate handset anyway, and tether it when they need to read War and Peace half way up Mount Everest).

It's a massive move from Amazon. You can almost hear the jigsaw pieces falling into place now - their own Android Market launch last year, for example, and their services such as the Kindle Reader and Cloud Player. When we say this device doesn't come with Google, we really mean it - Google had nothing to do with it. The entire UI has been dramatically rewritten so you'd not recognise it at all. It has no camera, and since it's based on Android 2.2 or 2.3 (see? it's hard to tell) it's definitely not going to run Honeycomb and keep up to date with all the future Android releases.

All ready for Christmas

Named just "Amazon Kindle", you can bet your bottom dollar this is going to get marketed like nothing Amazon has done before. Recently the Amazon website itself got a make-over, and observers reckon it's prepping for an easier and better experience on this device.

Amazon Kindle

 

If the $250 dollar price is correct, and the bundled subscription service is as described, this will change the Android landscape, and the whole digital content media market, forever.

 

Here's a breakdown of what's known so far:

  • Backlit 7" full color capacitive touch screen.
  • No 3G - WiFi only
  • No buttons on front panel (unlike exisiting Kindles)
  • UI is Amazons customisation of a recent Android for smartphones release (not tablets)
  • Bundled with Amazon prime (normally $79/year)
  • Browser is also custom but based on Webkit.
  • Aiming to be released in November
  • Possibly a 10" version next year based on how well this one does

So many questions ... will it be allowed to run regular Android apps? How far will Amazon lock it down? Will there ever be models with 3G, cameras? etc etc.  Guess Santa will have all the answers :-)