Amazon tablet: Will it be a 'Kindle for movies'?

Two Amazon tablets will ship by the end of the year, according to one source. But don't expect another e-reader.

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The Amazon tablet. Last time we checked in on this (almost certainly) forthcoming device, the word was that the Amazon tablet would run some version of the Android operating system, and ship by the end of the year. Now comes word that not one but two Amazon tablets are in the works – one "entry level" device, and one full-featured tablet.

This courtesy of Boy Genius Report, a tech blog that rarely gets its facts muddled up. The cheaper of the pair is codenamed "Coyote," and is "based on the NVIDIA Tegra 2 platform," BGR says, quoting anonymous sources at Amazon. "The big boy? That’s codenamed 'Hollywood' and will be based on the NVIDIA T30 'Kal-El' which will bring a screaming quad-core processor with a 500% performance increase over the dual-core Tegra 2."

In other words, this will be much more than a super-sized Kindle – it will be a serious computing machine.

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Over at Computerworld, professional prognosticator Mike Elgan wagers that one of those Amazon tablets won't be centered around reading, or emailing, or Web browsing, or even an app ecosystem. (Although in March, Amazon unveiled its own Android app store, riling up Apple in the process.) Instead, Elgan argues that the Amazon tablet will be a "Kindle for movies," or, if you like, a "movie appliance."

"Netflix dominates movie downloads, but the quality of those downloadable movies is low and the selection is poor," Elgan writes. "Apple movie downloads are high quality but expensive. And Google is trying to turn YouTube into a Netflix alternative. The cable providers have utterly failed to offer customers usable interfaces to access TV and movies on demand. Only Amazon looks ready to give consumers what they really want."

We're not quite willing to concede that first point – the Netflix selection is sizable, and it continues to grow – but it's certainly true that the future of streaming video is very, very bright. Would you buy a "movie appliance" from Amazon? Drop us a line in the comments section. In the meantime, if you haven't already, you should sign up for our free weekly Innovation newsletter.

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