On July 9th, I tweeted but did not blog: " Latest (highly implausible) rumor, this time a dual-screen Amazon #tablet. Site-friend is playing the site? http://bit.ly/notlikely "
That link leads to a story by zatznotfunny.com's Dave Zatz, whose sources included someone on a flight described (by the flyer himself, it seems) as a "highly placed Amazon employee."
Amazon doesn't have a rep for loose-lipped managers, however. He described a tablet with "two displays: e-Ink on one side, color LCD on the other ... front and back..." versus stacked displays that we've seen with Pixel Qi and even the first e-Ink/LCD Nook. What he described, most of us felt, sounded - as Zatz himself put it - "far fetched" and for several reasons it would seem impractical. So I didn't see a reason to blog it. At least not from what was said.
Zatz said to remember what they wrote if this turns out to be true. Well, that hasn't happened yet, but BYTE's Gina Smith reports today that
"... several sources independently confirmed" dual screen technology, glass-on-glass, that would allow switching between an e-reading mode using e-Ink and a back-lit touch display, Android 3.1-based. "Several sources added" that "It will be optimized for video streaming." 'They are fairly serious about this report, offering more details and a discussion of this in the current week's episode of BYTE Wireless Radio, which is playable in the center of the page. They have a rep to sustain, so this is pretty interesting. I've no idea about the quality of their sources.
UPDATE1 To get more control of the radio start-stop sections, go to Episode BWR 021 - "Amazon tablets - iPad Pro - iOS and Windows Phone 7 Usability", download the mp3, and you can start the Amazon tablets discussion section at 6:10 into the broadcast.
Per the broadcast, Smith called Amazon on August 10 to get a comment and they say Amazon did not deny any of the rumors -- but then they don't do that as a rule, neither confirming or denying. Smith mentions they have five sources for this story. Also mentioned is a description of a device similar to the one described earlier, a 2-sided screen sharing the same frame, in which one side of the screen is e-Ink and when you turn it over, you access a color LCD screen (and would, I imagine require a sliding cover). I'll still be shocked if these sources are right.
Also, one of the panel members said he talked to his source at Amazon about 2 months ago re a device with the quad core processor and was told they were going ahead with that. The panelist even mentioned a possible target date, "Black Friday" after Thanksgiving and a hoped-for price of $350 on that device. [End of Update1]
Smith mentions the 'Coyote' and 'Hollywood' code names again and says that the 7" tablet will cost less than $250 but that the 10.1" dual-screen model will be priced "under $400" and although originally planned for early 2012, it is now "purportedly pushed up for release this year."
With all the Cloud services being released in advance of expectations, I'm pretty sure SOMEthing will be released.
Smith talked with analysts about expectations for any new tablets (she did not seem to talk with them about any dual-screened technology), how well these new tablets might work, and they agreed it's not just about specs, it's "the experience" (something Steve Jobs has emphasized, actually).
Frank Gillett of Forrester Research said "People are going to stop thinking about individual gadgets and more about relationships -- Amazon is one of the strongest here -- it can link services, content and hardware together, even take it all the way to contacts, calendar, email."
BYTE has long had a good rep - what are your thoughts about THIS latest ?
UPDATE2 - Other (non-Amazon) tablet entries of possible interest
Costco's 8" Vizio tablet
Commenter Tom Semple in this blog entry's thread mentions Costco's 8" Vizio tablet selling for $285, with same resolution as the 10" iPad) with HDMI output, univeral remote control functionality and, so far, decent reviews. I've not seen them but haven't been looking.
Lenovo's IdeaPad Tablet
I was intrigued yesterday to read Office Depot's press release on this Lenovo model, which is optimized for the web and supports the latest Adobe Flash content and complete DRM (for movies in every available format).
This 10.1" tablet features a 1280 x 800 resolution display, HDMI out support, the Nvidia's Tegra 2 CPU, WiFi b/g/n connectivy and is the "the industry's first Android-powered tablet certified to deliver Netflix video streaming. It's 1.63 lbs, with integrated front (2MP ) and rear (5MP) cameras and offers instant sync'g of photos, music videos with dedicated online storage space. The press release doesn't mention USB or SD slots
This will have full accss to both the Lenova App Shop and the Android Market, with 250,000~ apps and games. Preloaded apps: Netflix, Amazon, Adobe, Electronic arts, Rovio, Zinio, Dataviz and others including of course Angry Birds and Kindle reading app. At $499.99 it'll come with double the basic storage of the iPad. [End of Update2]
Also see the ongoing List of stronger Amazon tablet rumors with dates, titles, and links to the Kindleworld blog articles and sources.
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