In many ways, the new Amazon Kindle ebook reader which was launched on Friday at a cost of only £109, can already be considered as a tablet on its own, albeit one with some significant limitations.
Technewsworld explores the possibilities of Amazon preempting the combined threat of the iPad and cheap Android tablets by converting the Kindle into a proper tablet down the road.
Looking at the Kindle more closely, one can see the similarities with existing tablets on the market; Freescale ARM-11 CPU running at 532 MHz, 4GB internal memory, Wi-Fi and running a Linux-based OS. The only things missing are a decent colour touchscreen and a clear commitment from Amazon to proceed further.
Pocket-lint has already mentioned that a colour Kindle might be coming by the end of the year albeit with Qualcomm's Mirasol technology, one which is not touchscreen friendly yet. The company, which incidentally makes ARM-based chips as well, is apparently working on touchscreen models that will come on the market by 2013.
Then there are the gradual and timid improvements done by Amazon; built-in Wi-Fi, free web browsing thanks to a Web-kit based browser, the same as on Android and iPhone handsets and the release of a Kindle development kit earlier this year prove that the Kindle is being viewed as a platform, not as a mere medium for ebooks.
In other words, Amazon is taking the opposite route Apple is taking with the iPad, which is an all singing, all dancing polyvalent device and being turned, amongst other things, into an ebook reader.
The Kindle may well turned out to be a media platform with Audible, eBooks and Amazon Video (yep, Amazon has a video on demand service as well).