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Amazon Kindle tablet coming before Christmas

Amazon's Kindle tablet could launch before the end of year. The 7-inch device is rumoured to run a heavily modified version of Android.

It looks as though there was truth to the rumours of an Amazon tablet after all -- TechCrunch says it's seen the device, which is simply called the Amazon Kindle, and that it's a 7-inch tablet headed for shops at the end of November.

The Kindle tablet will apparently be very cheap too -- Amazon plans on selling it for $250, which equates to about £150. That's about the same price as the exisiting e-Ink Kindle 3G.

While there aren't any pictures, the report says in terms of design, the Kindle tablet looks much like the BlackBerry PlayBook, and has a rubbery texture on the back, presumably to stop it slipping out of your hand. There's no camera, no 3G (at least to start with), and no physical buttons on the front. The screen is a full-colour touchscreen -- there's none of that fancy e-Ink in here.

The Kindle tablet will be running on Android, but not any version we're used to -- Amazon has apparently gone to town with the modifications, creating a dark blue and orange interface, with the main screen showing all your books, apps, movies and such in a carousel.

There's no Android Market, but you will get Amazon's own Android Appstore and all the apps within. There's access to all of Amazon's services -- the Kindle app (of course) for books, Amazon's Cloud Player handles music, and Amazon's Instant Video player takes care of movies. There's a tabbed Web browser too, apparently.

An Amazon tablet might sound crazy, but for Amazon it actually makes a scary amount of sense. That's because the once-books-now-everything seller is already well placed to deliver all the actual content for the tablet, including books, music, movies and apps. Amazon also has the power to advertise its products on its own hugely popular website.

A 10-inch tablet could be in the works for next year if the 7-inch version is a success.

We're excited to see what Amazon can serve up, though we're still not convinced that backlit screens are perfect for reading books -- the Kindle 3G's e-Ink display is easy on the eyes and offers great battery life, so we don't much like the idea of going back to power-guzzling backlit displays.

What do you think? Would you buy a cheap Kindle tablet? Let us know in the comments section below, or on our Facebook page.