Ina Fried

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Bezos Says Stay Tuned for That Amazon Tablet We All Know Is Coming

It’s always hard to identify the worst kept secret in technology, since there are so many poorly guarded ones, but Amazon’s Android tablet is certainly creeping up the ranks.

It climbed another notch this week as Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos told Consumer Reports to “stay tuned” for word on the company’s tablet.

“We will always be very mindful that we will want a dedicated reading device,” Bezos told the magazine. “In terms of any other product introductions, I shouldn’t answer.”

His comments suggest that any tablet would be kept distinct from the company’s Kindle e-reader, which uses a grayscale E Ink screen well suited to reading but not so hot for things such as video and advanced gaming.

Although this was Amazon’s most official comment yet on the long-rumored tablet, there has been no shortage of signs that the company is headed that way. In addition to reports of manufacturing plans, there are the steps Amazon has taken to pave the way for such a product, including the launch of its Android App Store as well as a tablet version of Kindle Reader (though admittedly Amazon has apps for nearly every mobile platform out there).

Rival Barnes & Noble has been inching toward all-purpose tablet status itself, though with a different approach. The company’s Nook Color has always been Android-based. However, it has been getting additional tablet features over time. Last month, the Nook Color gained an email program as well as access to a Barnes & Noble-curated store of approved apps.

Meanwhile, dedicated e-readers have come under fierce competition from general purpose tablets like the iPad that have e-book apps, including Amazon’s Kindle and Barnes & Noble’s Nook, but can also do everything from play movies to surf the Web and do 3-D gaming.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work