Amazon to launch forked Android tablet next week?

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If all of the rumors are true, Amazon has a 7-inch “media tablet” that runs a forked version of Android and will connect to all of Amazon’s services, including its Appstore, Movies, TV, Music and of course eBooks. It won’t be true multi-touch but the rumored price is half of the iPad’s (just like the screen) at $250.  Who is making this for Amazon?  Foxconn of course.

Yes, it sounds just like a Nook (which is getting an interesting update soon) with a better backend store.

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DigiTimes: Success of Amazon’s seven inch tablet anything but given


A seven-inch Amazon tablet priced at $250 or less will compete against inexpensive Android tablets such as Lenovo’s $199 IdeaPad A1 (pictured above) or the $249 Nook color

Amazon is reportedly launching its inaugural Android tablet in the fourth quarter of this year. If the back office chatter is true, the online retailer will first out a seven-incher followed by a larger form-factor device(s) early next year. The latest news has the seven-inch Kindle Tablet costing $250 or less. However, market sources polled by DigiTimes warn of a lack of differentiation between Amazon’s dedicated Kindle e-readers and a seven-inch Android tablet:

Market observers are showing concerns as to how Amazon will differentiate its e-book reader market from that of its tablet while making profits for both after the company’s launch of the 7-inch tablet in fourth-quarter 2011. [...] The sources also pointed out that Amazon may run a risk by releasing a 7-inch tablet when 10-inch models have mostly outperformed 7-inch competition over the past six months.

Shipping estimates have been revised and now call for a million units by the end of this month, “but the sources remain skeptical whether Amazon can meet its shipment goal of four million units in 2011″.

Now, about that differentiation comment. TechCrunch’s MG Siegler who saw prototypes described a seven-inch device without cameras. He said the screen used is a regular LCD as opposed to a color display utilizing electronic ink technology many people have been hoping for.

The fact Amazon could be marketing this thing under the Kindle moniker won’t help either, if true. On the flipside, there’s no reason as to why an Amazon-branded Android tablet tied to their all-encompassing cloud and shopping services would ever be confused with a family of dedicated and inexpensive Kindle e-readers.

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Asian suppliers up 10.1-inch cover glass output to ten million units a month


10.1-inch form factor has been adopted by Android tablets, but not Apple’s iPad. A major ramp up in 10.1-inch cover glass manufacturing could indicate high demand for Android tablets.

Touch panel makers TPK Holding, G-Tech and Wintek – all major Apple suppliers – are reportedly ramping up 10.1-inch cover glass manufacturing to ten million units per month, reports DigiTimes, a trade publication specialized in Asian supply chain. Such a substantial increase is eyebrow raising knowing that the market-leading iPad sports a 9.7-inch display while the 10.1-inch form factor is mostly an Android play.

9to5Google learned that Samsung’s Tabs are selling very well, measured in millions. We also know Amazon is close to launching its tablet and if market sources are correct, the online retailer is eager to ship millions of units in the run-up to Christmas. However, Amazon’s inaugural tablet PC will be a seven-incher, with both TechCrunch and DigiTimes reporting that a 10.1-inch Amazon tablet won’t be out until early 2012.

In any case, that’s a lot of cover glass units for non-iPad devices. Market watchers say Fuji Crystal and Lens Technology supply Apple with an estimated 70 percent of the cover glass, mainly for iPhones. G-Tech and Wintek supply to iPads and TPK Holding is said to provide cover glass to both iPhone and iPad.

Either touch panel makers have overestimated demand (which we doubt), or Apple is switching to 10.1-inch form factor for iPad 3 (highly unlikely, but possible given the hints of four-inch iPhone) or Android makers have decided to blanket the market this holiday season with millions of 10.1-inch tablets, which is the most reasonable assumption.

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WSJ: $79 a year Amazon Prime subscription to include Kindle books?

Amazon is in talks with books publishers about a new service that could enable customers to subscribe to Kindle books in bulk for an annual subscription fee, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal.

Amazon has told publishers it is considering creating a digital-book library featuring older titles, people familiar with the talks said. The content would be available to customers of Amazon Prime, who currently pay the retailer $79 a year for unlimited two-day shipping and for access to a digital library of movies and TV shows. Amazon would offer book publishers a substantial fee for participating in the program, people familiar with the proposal said. Some of these people said that Amazon would limit the amount of books that Amazon Prime customers could read for free every month.

However, the deal is anything but certain because print die-hards are not entirely sold on the initiative, fearing the idea might “downgrade” the value of books.

Several publishing executives said they aren’t enthusiastic about the idea because they believe it could lower the value of books and because it could strain their relationships with other retailers that sell their books, they said.

It is also unclear whether enough people would buy into the idea of subscribing to a vast library of digital books. The service would, however, provide value to e-reading aficionados who buy a lot of individual e-books on a regular basis. Of course, if Amazon can work out fair usage terms and keep the prices low, the general public could take the bait, too. If anything, the initiative could be seen as another way to upsell customers to the Amazon Prime subscription package.

That being said, the very idea of subscription-based access to Amazon’s vast books library raises the question whether Amazon is attempting to kill the library per se. It may seem a stretch, but let’s not forget that Kindle books are now outselling hardcover and paperback editions combined. Also, the service could take off if coupled with the forthcoming Amazon tablet, which will probably be the case.

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Report: Amazon’s Kindle Tablet to cost $250, more details leak

TechCrunch’s MG Siegler has come up with quite the exclusive this afternoon, which includes almost all of the details on Amazon’s new Kindle Tablet. TechCrunch wasn’t able to post pictures, but they reassure us they played with it — and they said it’s quite the delight, calling it “solid“. Citing the report, the 7-inch version will be released sometime by the end of the year for $250, and if it’s a success, the 10-inch will launch sometime in Q1. As for the operating system, it will be running Android, but not the kind you and I are used to.

The specs for this device are reported as follows: a 7-inch screen, single-core chip, modified Android, no physical buttons, no camera, and 6GB of internal storage (MG notes some of this is speculation). Did you read that no camera part? Wow.

Google’s Android Market is nowhere to be found. In fact, no Google app is anywhere to be found. This is Android fully forked. My understanding is that the Kindle OS was built on top of some version of Android prior to 2.2. And Amazon will keep building on top of that of that over time. In other words, this won’t be getting “Honeycomb” or “Ice Cream Sandwich” — or if it does, users will never know it because that will only be the underpinnings of the OS. Any visual changes will be all Amazon.

Continue after the break:

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Amazon also working on a 10.1-inch tablet, due early next year

Trade publication DigiTimes quoted market sources this morning who heard that the online retail giant, Amazon, is gearing up for mass production of another tablet, a 10.1-inch device, for the first quarter of next year. The world’s largest contract manufacturer, Foxconn, will take care of manufacturing, the report notes. Foxconn is also Apple’s long-time manufacturing partner and they make gadgets and computers for a number of Western brands.

While the report doesn’t cast more light on the device, the screen size suggests a Honeycomb-class tablet. The story does corroborate an AndroidMe claim back in May that Amazon has been working on a family of mobile devices powered by the Android software.

Amazon is also in the process of tweaking its web shopping site to mobile access, apparently in preparation for its inaugural tablet launch next month. That device is said to be a seven-inch slate tightly integrated with Amazon’s cloud and content services.

DigiTimes’ report also notes Amazon placed an order for up to eighteen million Kindle units for the entire year, confirming their lead in the e-reader market with an estimated 60-70 percent share of global e-book reader shipments in 2011.

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