Three Amazon Things for You This Morning

1. TechCrunch’s MG Siegler got a hands on with the new Amazon tablet:

Again, the device is a 7-inch tablet with a capacitive touch screen. It is multi-touch, but from what I saw, I believe the reports that it relies on a two-finger multi-touch (instead of 10-finger, like the iPad uses) are accurate. This will be the first Kindle with a full-color screen. And yes, it is back-lit. There is no e-ink to be found anywhere on this device.

Earlier this week, reports suggested that a 7-inch Amazon tablet could be released in October, with a larger, 10-inch version to follow next year. That’s somewhat accurate. As of right now, Amazon’s only definitive plan is to release this 7-inch Kindle tablet and they’re targeting the end of November to do that. The version I saw was a DVT (Design Verification Testing) unit. These have started floating around the company. It’s ready, they’re just tweaking the software now. If it’s not in production yet, it will be very soon.

Originally, Amazon had planned to launch a 7-inch and a 10-inch tablet at the same time. But that plan changed this summer. Now they’re betting everything on the 7-inch. If it’s a hit, they will release the more expensive 10-inch tablet in Q1 2012.

So how much will the 7-inch Kindle cost? $250.

Yes, Amazon has been able to trim the cost of the device to half of the entry-level iPad. And it will be the same price as Barnes & Noble’s Nook Color, which this will very obviously compete with directly. Both have 7-inch color touch screens. Both run Android.

2. Tim Carmody, writing for Wired, says that this new device has unlimited potential and ultimately indicates Amazon’s future.

The Kindle isn’t a book. It’s a bookstore. The Kindle tablet extends that principle further, by making it a retail portal and showcase for everything Amazon sells, whether physical or virtual.

It’s a mistake to underestimate where Amazon could take this, or to try to put the company in a box. Even though I’ve been pretty bullish on Amazon over the last few months, I’ve been guilty myself of underestimating what it might do.

3. Alexis Madrigal, writing for The Atlantic, takes a look at Amazon and sales tax. Not tablet-related, but still interesting.

Amazon’s fight with the state of California over paying sales tax is ridiculous. Whatever arguments might get ginned up, the basic fact is that the company sells stuff in California and companies that sell stuff in California have to pay sales tax, therefore Amazon has to pay sales tax. Perhaps it made sense to foster online commerce by exempting them from sales tax laws, but we’re not talking a baby industry here. Amazon has a $95 billion market cap and is steamrolling everyone in sight.

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