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9/23/2011
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5 Things We Know About Amazon's Kindle Tablet

Amazon is holding a press conference in New York on September 28, and will likely introduce the Amazon Kindle tablet. Here's what we know.

Signs have been pointing all year towards a fall debut for a tablet from Amazon. In July, we learned that it will run Android, and will be smaller and less expensive than Apple's iPad (and most other competing tablets). Several weeks ago, TechCrunch' writer M.G. Siegler spent an hour with the device and wrote a lengthy summary of it. InformationWeek has been able to independently confirm the details of TechCrunch's report.

This is what we know about the Amazon Kindle tablet, which will likely be announced at the press conference that Amazon has scheduled for September 28 in New York City.

1. It Runs Android: The Wall Street Journal, TechCrunch, and InformationWeek's sources all confirm that the tablet runs Google's Android platform, though which version is still unknown.

It won't look like anything we've already seen on an Android device, however. It will have its own user interface, its own menus, and its own app store from which to download applications. Amazon is not collaborating with Google on this version of Android, it is Amazon's own variant.

[ Who else matters in the tablet wars? See 9 Markets Google Wants To Rule.]

2. It will have a small screen: Don't expect Amazon to field a 10-inch monster tablet. It won't. The device to be introduced on September 28 will have a 7-inch capacitive touch display. It will be back-lit, full-color, and will not use the e-ink technology used in Amazon's Kindle e-readers.

3. It will have simple hardware features: Don't expect the Kindle tablet to be a powerful mobile computer. The tablet won't have a camera, it won't have a lot of on-board storage (probably limited to 6GB), and it will not have a top-of-the-line processor. It will have Wi-Fi at launch, but no 3G (which is expected to come later.)

4. It will rely on Amazon's cloud services: As part of the operating system--and the real reason for Amazon to bring such a product to market--the Kindle tablet will rely heavily on Amazon's online content. This means e-books, MP3 Store and Cloud Drive, Amazon Prime movie streaming, etc. The Kindle tablet will be a media consumption device. It will be a way for Amazon to sell content to consumers--one that doesn't require stand-alone PC.

5. It'll be cheap: While Apple may have set the tone for tablet pricing with its $499 iPad entry fee, Amazon is going to undercut that price point as much as possible. In July, the Wall Street Journal posited that the Kindle tablet would be "half as much" as the iPad. TechCrunch says the price will be $250. This low price point will be the real killer feature of the Kindle tablet. A $250 price point is a much easier sell than a $499 one, let alone the $800+ price point that some tablets have earned.

Offering an inexpensive media consumption device to consumers that has just the right amount of features could help fuel an explosive holiday quarter for Amazon.

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