I hate to rely on Techcrunch, but here goes: According to a report from that august and respectable publication, Amazon is indeed planning to release an Android-based, Kindle-branded tablet this November. It features a full-color, backlit, 7-inch capacitive multi-touch screen and could be followed up with a 10-inch brother in 2012 if the first one sells as well as expected. And I think it will: This new Kindle will be priced at just $250, half the cost of the cheapest iPad, and about one-third the cost of a typical iPad.
Originally, Amazon planned both 7- and 10-inch versions of this Kindle tablet, apparently. I'd imagine their success with the e-ink based Kindles on the market today changed things, as perhaps did the failure of every single non-iPad 10-inch tablet that shipped this year. Plus, a 7-inch color Kindle gives Amazon a direct answer to the B&N Nook Color, which also costs $250.
Intriguingly, the UI on the Kindle tablet allegedly looks nothing like existing Android UIs, which I consider a plus. It's got a black, blue, and orange Kindle-like UI instead, with a carousel similar to iTunes' Cover Flow for selecting content on the device. And the Kindle tablet is very much a consumption device, like the iPad, a way to enjoy music, movies, TV shows, audiobooks, Kindle eBooks, and other content you've acquired from Amazon.com. There are of course apps as well, including those for all of Amazon's related services.
The UI also features a "dock" at the bottom of the screen, which auto-hides when not needed. This dock lets you pin your favorite items for quick access, similar to how the iPhone/iPad dock works. But this dock also contains notification and status information such as the time, battery life, and alerts about newly available subscription content. It also includes a WebKit-based web browser with tabs.
There are no physical buttons on the tablet, the report notes. Instead, you trigger navigation by tapping the screen, and tapping in the center of the screen brings up a lower navigation menu. There's no camera. The back of the device is rubbery, for a nice grippy feel, and there's a micro-USB port, as with current Kindle devices, for charging and syncing.
Speaking of which, the storage allotment on this could be small, as low as 6 GB. Apparently, Amazon sees it as more of a cloud-connected device than a capacious, local storage kind of thing. Supposedly it will be Wi-Fi only at the start, which I find suspicious, with 3G coming later. That goes against how Amazon markets current Kindles.
So, can we trust this report? Probably not, given the source. But I'm starved for info about Amazon's Kindle tablet. And this type of device is exactly what I've been looking for.