Amazon's iPad competitor is a 7-inch Android-forking Kindle tablet... for $250?
M.G. Siegler from TechCrunch claims he's gone hands-on with the future of iPad competition, and the future of Amazon's Kindle line -- a 7-inch full color, touchscreen tablet built on an Android core but entirely Amazon at the interface level. All for $250. If you think it sounds like the Nook Color, you're not wrong, it just trades the B&N brick-and-mortar shelves for Amazon's hugely popular homepage.
The interface is all Amazon and Kindle. It’s black, dark blue, and a bunch of orange. The main screen is a carousel that looks like Cover Flow in iTunes which displays all the content you have on the device. This includes books, apps, movies, etc. Below the main carousel is a dock to pin your favorite items in one easy-to-access place. When you turn the device horizontally, the dock disappears below the fold. [...] But the key for Amazon is just how deeply integrated all of their services are. Amazon’s content store is always just one click away. The book reader is a Kindle app (which looks similar to how it does on Android and iOS now). The music player is Amazon’s Cloud Player. The movie player is Amazon’s Instant Video player. The app store is Amazon’s Android Appstore.
With nary a Google app in sight. Phil Nickinson from Android Central says:
It'll still be interesting to see how a post-Nook Color Amazon tablet will compete. The Kindle's no longer the only game in town, and Barnes & Noble has a pretty good leg up by being a brick-and-mortar organization as well, plus it's got its excellent in-store customer training, which has to take a lot of the scare factor out of using the Nook. (One could argue that a proper tablet UI doesn't need any sort of training, but we digress.)
Everyone and their comment thread seems to be thinking this will be the first real competition to iPad (which is what they said about Xoom, PlayBook, TouchPad... you get the idea.) It well might. It'll be small. It'll be light. Amazon has a great checkout system and a compelling content story in the US (international is, as with every platform, a mixed bag of hurt.) Their hardware has never been great, however, and international sales have become increasingly important to Apple and iPad.
People like cheap, but cost and value aren't always the same thing -- as Apple has proven time and again. (Apple's competition hasn't, however, so maybe they'll be in even more danger from the KindleDroid?)
One thing is for certain -- Android is the new Linux.