Five Things to expect from the Amazon Android Kindle tablet

Five Things to expect from the Amazon Android Kindle tablet

Summary: While Amazon still hasn't officially announced it, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that the Android Linux Kindle tablet is on its way. Here's what to expect from it.


I wish Amazon would stop being coy about its plans for an Android Linux-based Kindle tablet and just announce it already. While Amazon still won't tell me that they're building one, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that Amazon is planning releasing an iPad Rival.

OK, enough is enough. While I don't have any hard facts that anyone from Amazon will officially tell me, here's what my sources have been telling me to expect. What I'm telling you here is from people both inside Amazon and from Amazon's partners. Some of it may be wrong. I'm sure though that the broad picture is correct.

1. The Kindle Tablet Specifications.

The Kindle Tablet is going to be made by Quanta Computers. It will run Android Honeycomb 3.1. On the hardware side it will have dual-core OMAP 4 (ARM Cortex A9) processors running at 1.5GHz. It will have a solid-state drive (SSD) for local storage. The device will have a 9-inch display.

There will be two versions. The first will support Wi-Fi only while the other will also include 3G support. The 3G model may come at a subsidized price with support from a major telecommunications carrier.

2. The Cloud-based Kindle Tablet

The SSD isn't going to be that big. I expect it to start at a mere 16GBs. That will largely be because Amazon is going to strongly encourage you to use Amazon Cloud Drive to store your music. Video? They'll want you to rent your favorite TV shows and movies from Amazon Instant Video.

With the Kindle Tablet, they're going to want you to keep your goodies on the Amazon cloud, not on the device itself.

3. The Amazon Business Kindle Tablet

Don't think for a second that the Kindle Tablet is going to be somewhat like the Barnes & Noble Color Nook was at its start: an e-reader that could also be used as a tablet. This will be a full tablet from moment one.

The Kindle Tablet, besides having the usual collection of Android application via the Amazon AppStore for Android, will also have serious business applications. I've been told by big-time independent software vendors (ISV)s that they've been approached by Amazon to create business applications to the Kindle Tablet.

I'm not talking mini office software suites such as QuickOffice or ThinkFree. No, I'm talking about interfaces to enterprise-level applications. Which ones? That would be telling stories out of school, suffice it to say you know the names.

4. Amazon will target Apple's iPad

Don't think though that just because Amazon is taking a surprising interest in the business space that they're ignoring the 800-pound gorilla of tablet computing: the Apple iPad 2. They're not. There will be a lot of well-tested entertainment applications and games for the Kindle Tablet.

Unlike so many other Android tablets, I expect Amazon to price its tablet very aggressively.

5. Get ready to say good-bye to the dedicated e-reader.

I've said it before; I'll say it again the dedicated e-book is on its way to history's trashcan. You'll still be able to buy e-book readers from major vendors for this coming holiday season. Christmas 2012 though? I doubt it. There will be inexpensive e-book readers, but I expect Amazon and Barnes & Noble to only be offering tablets like the Kindle Tablet 2 and the successor to the Barnes & Noble Nook Color.

How close am I? Well, we'll see in October 2011 when the first Amazon Kindle Tablets will arrive. Personally, I'm looking forward to it. While Android tablets are finally making in-roads in the tablet market, we still haven't had a big Android tablet release, a tablet that made people actually pause before buying an Apple iPad 2. The Amazon Kindle Tablet will do exactly that.

Related Stories:

Amazon tablet drumbeat picks up; likely to land by October

Amazon reportedly preps tablet orders: Volume points to subsidized devices

E-Books readers sales rise, but are tablets really lagging?

Review: Barnes & Nobles' Nook Color goes Android Tablet

Topics: Amazon, Hardware, Laptops, Mobility, Tablets

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  • Looking Forward to It - I think...

    I love my Kindle. It is great for reading books where ever and when ever. But an LCD display tablet to replace it? No more e-ink, right? So, just another tablet with the limitations that go along with them? Amazon has done a good job with its hardware so far - I guess we will have to see what this turns out to be.
  • RE: Five Things to expect from the Amazon Android Kindle tablet

    A business-oriented tablet with enterprise apps is not really surprising given that Amazon EC2 is geared towards business. Amazon is a big cloud player for business too. This will allow them to participate on the client side.<br><br>Regarding consumer-oriented tablets, as you have blogged before, both Amazon and Barnes & Noble have very substantial media offerings with which they can use to subsidize the sales price a bit. This should enable them to significantly undercut other Android-based tablet mfrs. As well as HP-Palm's WebOS tablets and RIM's Playbook.<br><br>Also, from your time at CW, Amazon has apparently already reached an agreement with Microsoft regarding Linux, including Android, and Microsoft's supposed patents. (Their EC2 server offerings include Linux.) Thus, it is possible that some portion of the tablet's sales price, say $5 to $15, may go to Microsoft. Unless, perhaps, Amazon has reached some sort of trade deal with Microsoft such as providing special access to it's media (especially books and other print media) offerings.
    Rabid Howler Monkey
  • RE: Five Things to expect from the Amazon Android Kindle tablet

    Nobody other than SJVN calls Android as Android Linux.
    • Give that that is exactly what it is

      @mm71 I have no clue why you are b!tch!ng about it.
    • But since Android uses the Linux kernel...

      ..the term is accurate and appropriate.
      John L. Ries
  • Top thing to expect:


    Unless Amazon creates their own completely separate distro of Android that fixes all the issues that Google continues to ignore, it is doomed for failure ... just like all other Android tablets in the market today.

    One thing they are going to have that others won't .... an app store that is is not full of trojans and rebranded pirated apps.
    • RE: Five Things to expect from the Amazon Android Kindle tablet

      @wackoae talk about making a mountain out of a molehill. Android is more than good enough, and the few bad apps there are a drop in the ocean which a user of amazon tablet can avoid completely if they use the amazon app store.
    • I agree

      Will it fail to dethrone the iPad? Of course it will.

      Will it fail to make a profit? That is the more interesting question. While there is no doubt that Amazon will make no money (or even lose money) on the sale of the hardware, their play here is to make it up in content sales.

      My question is: why bother subsidizing your own hardware? Your content is already available on cheap Android tablets (that aren't selling BTW) and it is already available on iPads and iPods and iPhones and slates and netbooks and laptops and PCs. Unless Amazon actually thinks they are going to single handedly increase the number of Amazon customers by releasing yet another cheap Android tablet, this is a waste of time and money (since I see this as never making a profit). Remember, if I'm already an Amazon customer and I buy an Amazon tablet to replace my iPad, Amazon has done nothing other than lose money on the hardware sale.

      This has FAILURE written all over it. They'll sell a couple hundred thousand units and it will be gone a year later.
    • RE: Five Things to expect from the Amazon Android Kindle tablet

      @wackoae - fortunately, Android _is_ open source, and producers of devices are encouraged to contribute back. Whatever Amazon does, they have a strategic advantage at this point: readability, relative stability, good distribution framework, and great battery life. If they expand the playing field they're in, this will not likely fail, not on an open system, with a cooperative attitude... it's not "someone's proprietary" o/s that you cannot make changes to, like WinFon-7 (for example).
      • RE: Five Things to expect from the Amazon Android Kindle tablet

        @yarkot *Technically* open source. Try getting the the 3.x source sometime.
    • Who cares if it doesn't dethrone the ipad?


      So what??? I have an iphone and ipad from work and they stay there. I bought an asus transformer because I like the keyboard, connectivity options (SD, uSD, hdmi). It works great and I plop films in and browse the net very well.

      And to all the zealots.... I can honestly say I've never taken the keyboard off yet. Internet and everything benefits from the keyboard not using half the screen. Open your eyes and mind to other options. I have and I'm happy with my options.

      You may mention the 3g/moby connection but thats really not an issue. I share my kit with a myfi or tether to my android handset if required (rarely). A myfi and 1 service charge is he future as far as I'm concerned.

      There are plenty of good-enough kit available, and loads of cheap devices for the kids/in-car use. Nobody needs to spend all the dosh on an ipad. They will though, and often simply because they dont know any better and think it makes them look cool. It doesn't... makes many look like fools!
  • RE: Five Things to expect from the Amazon Android Kindle tablet

    "I?ll say it again the dedicated e-book is on its way to history?s trashcan."

    I'll say it once, tablets with a simple phone OS are on their way to the trashcan. The only way Google and Apple will survive Win 8 (outside their fanbois) is putting real Linux and Unix on their tablets. The toy is attractive enough, but it's time to move on to functionality and productivity.
    • You seem to be overlooking one very real possibility:

      @tonymcs@... One obvious and often-mentioned reason for the success of Apple's iPad is that it's NOT what you're proposing: It's NOT a full-fledged PC repackaged into a tablet.

      Apart from IT people (like those of us reading ZDNet), most consumers don't want to have to worry about DLL files, registry errors, de-fragging a hard drive, malware or any number of other aspects of PC-dom that average folks consider to be annoying.

      And CEOs seem to be growing tired of the immense sums of money they approve each year to maintain technology that really shouldn't require nearly as much maintenance. And as financial pressures continue to force them to look for savings, IT expenditures will only become even more closely scrutinized. Devices that can save a business more money will wind up getting the nod.

      So, while I expect Win8 to be very, very cool, I don't expect it to run the iPad out of town. Not any time soon, anyway. Lots of people like the iPad _because_ it's not a Windows PC.
  • RE: Five Things to expect from the Amazon Android Kindle tablet

    There is room for both...

    I have an iPad and an Amazon Kindle; I use them for completely different reasons.
    The iPad is mainly used by my three year old to watch cartoons, via the WIFI connection to my home broadband.

    The Kindle is used by me to read books in bed.
    I can hold it in one hand and turn the pages with the button on the side. Its very light and the battery last so long, when I take it on holiday I don?t bother bringing the charger.

    There is a market for both devices.
    • RE: Five Things to expect from the Amazon Android Kindle tablet

      @grahamc2 I agree, if the e-ink readers fall in price (they're not really expensive anyway), they will make great companions with a tablet. Personally when I read I don't want notifications and other stuff interuppting me...
    • RE: Five Things to expect from the Amazon Android Kindle tablet


      I totally agree. I have an iPad and a kindle and love them both. The ereader screen is SSS loop much easier on the eyes. I think every writer who says this stuff should actually use the devices a bit before they prognosticate. He's clueless on this one.
  • RE: Five Things to expect from the Amazon Android Kindle tablet

    Since its a tablet, and one running android at that, I don't expect much from it.
  • Disagree on trashcan

    When tablets first came out I thought the same thing - that dedicated E-readers were dead. Now that I actually own one, I have totally changed opinion. For pure reading (books, newspapers, docs, etc), an E-Ink E-reader blows away any device table or otherwise that has an LCD screen. Readability in sunlight, power consumption, lack of glare - there is simply no comparison. In fact, I would love to see an E-Ink tablet. I'd trade in the color, video, etc, for the long batter life and readability any day of the week.

    The E-ink E-reader is here to stay until a display technology comes along that can match its readability.
    • RE: Five Things to expect from the Amazon Android Kindle tablet I wonder if the author owns an ebook reader or reads books. LCD tablets are a completely different experience. I also don't see the need for elaborate non-reading functionality in an ebook reader. Those are just distractions.

      All ebook readers need to remain relevant is continually lowering prices.
  • Translation:

    Please, Amazon, please, be the one to finally justify my non-rational dislike for all things Apple.