Amazon's Kindle Tablet: An Android fork with disruptive pricing

Amazon's Kindle Tablet reportedly features a souped up, but dated version of Android.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

Amazon's 7-inch Kindle Tablet has been rumored for what feels like an eternity, but now demo models are making the rounds. The upshot: The Kindle Tablet features a fork of an earlier version of Android, integration with Amazon services and a price that will garner more than a few orders.

TechCrunch's MG Siegler says he has played with this Kindle Tablet. The details go like this:

  • 7-inch touchscreen;
  • $250;
  • 6GB built-in storage;
  • Runs a version of "prior" to Android 2.2, but is so customized you won't care;
  • The UI is a Kindle interface similar to its iPad and iOS apps;
  • And Amazon's app marketplace is the lead market.

Add it up and this Kindle Tablet is going to be extremely disruptive. As noted before the HP TouchPad $99 or bust experiment, pricing will be king. Amazon can subsidize this tablet because it will make money elsewhere on e-books, music and Prime subscriptions.

A few thoughts based on Siegler's report:

  • Price: $250 is a solid price that will garner interest. The rub: I thought $250 was a magic price until I realized you can get a TouchPad for $99. Now I'm sure Amazon will have its act together more than HP, but consumers may get greedy.
  • Android tablet forks ahead: If Amazon can take an old, stable version of Android and make it sing, what does that say about Android 3.0?
  • No work with Google at all. A subset of that Android fork question is whether Amazon's tablet will make the search giant cringe at all. After all, it's not like Google has been able to piece together the music, video and e-commerce parts yet.
  • And can this Kindle Tablet compete with Apple's iPad? If Amazon's tablet lives up to what Siegler is saying it's likely to squash rivals to Apple. Amazon isn't going to dent the iPad, but the race to the bottom will be vicious for all the other tablets in the market. You just know after millions of these tablets get rolling, Amazon will move the price down to $199 or so. That price will seriously hurt RIM, Motorola, HTC, Samsung and other challengers.

Bottom line: Amazon's Kindle Tablet may be among the worst kept secrets ever.


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