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Amazon Kindle Fire Android tablet ignites tomorrow

The Amazon tablet, to be revealed tomorrow, is called the Kindle Fire. Word is it'll run a heavily customised version of Android.

The Amazon tablet is the Kindle Fire. The online seller of books and just about everything else is set to unveil a new tablet tomorrow, and details have started to emerge of what we can expect from the people behind the Kindle ebook reader.

The Kindle Fire will be ignited in a press conference tomorrow at 3pm, so check back tomorrow when you're in your mid-afternoon slump and CNET UK will have all the news and first impressions to perk you up.

The Fire has much to do to measure up against the iPads and Galaxy Tabs of this world. TechCrunch has nabbed a go on one and reports it's nothing special -- except for the software and content Amazon has prepared.

The tablet is being built for Apple by the same company that built the BlackBerry PlayBook. It's reported to pack a Texas Instruments dual-core OMAP processor and runs a custom version of Android.

It's the software and content that fires our interest. Amazon has built a custom version of Android that looks unlike current smart phones and tablets. Amazon has made deals to get films, videos and music on the tablet, but because of the usual licensing malarkey they'll probably be just for the US, at least at first.

The Fire connects to Amazon's own app store instead of the grown-up Google Android Market, so the choice of apps will probably be limited. And one of the apps you'll need to download is an email app, because -- like the PlayBook -- the Kindle Fire does't have an email client built-in. That baffles us -- how hard is it to make an email app?

Word on the street is that the Kindle Fire is being rushed out to head off rival tablets. In 2010, Amazon sold as many Kindles as Apple sold iPads, but there's now more competition in the ebook reader market. US bookshop Barnes and Noble has a second version of its Nook Colour device in the pipeline, which will be based on Android 2.3.

Meanwhile British high-street bookseller Waterstone's is planning its own ebook reader to rival the Kindle.