Amazon's New Tablet, Pournelle on Space and Ron White's Secret Weapon.

Sources say Amazon's new tablet will rely on the same Whispernet and Whispersync service that its Kindles use, but for video, music and photos with Cloud Drive

Gina Smith, Contributor

July 22, 2011

3 Min Read

Expect to see it in a cubicle near you. Amazon's upcoming tablet could well join Apple's iPad as the bringalong device in business. Amazon is planning, sources say, a contract-free, Cloud Drive enabled iPad killer with its unannounced Android-based tablet.

The explosive consumerization of IT trend isn't going away. IT can't just shut it down the way NASA did its 30-year-old space shuttle program.

Speaking of the shuttle program, check out this NASA photo. The International Space Station Expedition 28 crew shot it -- it shows Atlantis making its final trip down to Earth.

BYTE's taking a miles-high view, too. Our own Jerry Pournelle, an expert in aeronautics, political science, physics and technology, offered his point of view to Glenn Reynolds on PJTV.

Against the backdrop of the principles that drove the long-term success of the US space program, Pournelle openly wonders how, at bare minimum, the US is going to service all those satellites that are currently orbiting the Earth. He questions the ability of private industry to rise to the challenge and highlights the national security risk of Plan B: relying on Russia or China's active manned space programs. What do you think? I think Pournelle makes some fascinating points. Don't miss his interview below.

BYTE's Amazon tablet exclusive:
The shuttle program appears to be history, but there are Amazon tablets are in our future. We'll be posting our exclusive on what sources tell us about Amazon's plans.Until then, here are some highlights:

Sources say Amazon's new tablet, due in October, is a direct shot at the iPad and a huge improvement over any of the me-too tablets that have tried and failed to gain any traction against Apple this year.

The new tablet, sources say, will be a nine-inche Android device that, like Amazon's Kindle, will include contract-free, cell-based 3G connectivity and synchronization capabilities. The service driving it won't stop at books. It'll serve as the broad-scale distribution endpoint for the downloading and syncing of videos, music, photos and books. Amazon is integrating that technology with email, e-reading, the Amazon Store and all the Cloud Drive features. This is a direct hit to the iPad and, in particular, to Apple's iCloud, sources say.

Check out our breaking coverage of Amazon's new tablet – and how it relies on its existing Whispersync synching service and WIFI free Whispernet cellular-based network. .

"Free, cellular-based, contract-free connections will give the new Amazon tablet an unusual feature that will appeal to a lot of people. They can just look at the [Amazon Tablet] and say, Yep, I've got a signal," an analyst told BYTE. "Tablet users will be able to buy stuff with no monthly charges and with everything integrated with Cloud Drive, Amazon's Store and other features. It's a simplicity thing."

Also on BYTE today, Jerry Pournelle shares his thoughts on Apple OS X 10.7 Lion and Ron White tells you exactly what to do with companies that won't answer their phones or post email addresses. Hint: The Feds have published a resource with all the contact information that those companies would rather you not have. We'll also be posting tons of more deep technical coverage on Apple OS X Lion (see our complete Lion coverage), Google+ and more.

Before I forget, happy PI Approximation Day. Seven divided by 22 is approximately PI, of course.

I'd love to hear about what you think about our already deep collection of how to galleries, and what you'd like to see BYTE cover in news, reviews, views and tips.

Gina Smith is editor-in-chief at BYTE. Email her at [email protected]. News, tips, comments, queries and complaints -- all welcome.

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