Blogger spills the beans on Amazon's Android tablet

Unless you've been living under a rock for the past few months, you've probably heard that Amazon is not-so-quietly cooking up an Android tablet to supplement its e-book readers. We've been treated to many a rumor from the Far East, but now, TechCrunch blogger MG Siegler claims to have had a first-hand look at the device. While he wasn't allowed to take pictures, he's spilled all kinds of details.

Siegler says Amazon's first tablet is dubbed simply the "Amazon Kindle," just like the e-book reader. It has a 7", full-color, backlit display with two-finger multi-touch input. Amazon reportedly intends to price the Wi-Fi-only device at a scant $249, which would make it a good 100 bucks cheaper than Samsung's 7-inch Galaxy Tab. (The contract-free Tab retails for $349.99 at Amazon today.)

The Kindle tablet will differentiate itself on the software side, too, with a forked version of Google's mobile operating system that looks "nothing like the Android you’re used to seeing." Users can look forward to an interface with black and orange hues, a Cover Flow-style home screen, and Amazon software and services that replace the Google equivalents. The Android Market is "nowhere to be found," Siegler says, and neither are familiar Google apps. Amazon, it seems, will be playing by its own rules.

Siegler expects the device to be a hit—not just because Amazon will promote it heavily, but also because the company plans to sell it with a free subscription to its (normally $79-a-year) Amazon Prime service. The subscription will entitle users to free shipping and access to its Instant Video service, which offers "unlimited, commercial-free, instant streaming." Unlimited video access anywhere with Wi-Fi does sound like a pretty solid deal for $249.

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