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Is Amazon about to unveil its Kindle tablet?

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(Read caption) Amazon's press conference Wednesday is expected to confirm details of a rumored Kindle tablet device.

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Various media outlets got a mysterious invitation on Friday: an announcement that Amazon is holding a press conference on Wednesday, with no further details.

And to many, its purpose is a foregone conclusion: Newspapers and websites are assuming that the Kindle tablet – the device that could provide the first serious competition to the iPad – will be officially announced. Headlines along the lines of: “Amazon to announce tablet Wednesday” and “Amazon due to change the tablet world on Wednesday" are already popping up. And those who parse the business world are confident. “Wednesday is tablet day,” BGC partners analyst Colin Gillis told Reuters in an article.

Of course, Amazon has yet to even confirm the existence of a tablet made by their company. Nevertheless, more and more details seem to be emerging: besides the clues that the tablet would have a nine-inch screen and run on a Google Android platform, a blogger for the website TechCrunch says he's confirmed that the gadget will cost $250.

In addition, sharp-eyed techies have been noticing other details. A blogger who titles his blog The Digital Reader noticed that there's code listed on Amazon's "Manage your Kindle" page that includes the text “Pdocs_Archival_Support,” which could reference “personal documents,” implying that there would be a Kindle device that would have a place to store personal documents. This Kindle tablet has been widely predicted to have cloud drive storage.

PC Magazine also suggests that to boost the numbers of people who are Amazon Prime members, Amazon might make Prime membership automatic with the purchase of their Kindle tablet. Amazon Prime gives members free two-day shipping on anything they order as well as offering access to streaming video, including a whole new slate of TV shows and movies that were announced today. As gadget website Slashgear noted, if the tablet device uses cloud storage rather than hardware data storage, it would cost less to make the device – and that would mean Amazon can sell it for less, which many assume will be a necessity in the face of the iPad’s massive success.

Also spotted by The Digital Reader: code on one of Amazon’s web pages that talks about “Prime e-books” with the possibility of returning them, which fans the flames of the discussion about a possible e-book rental program.

Of course, Amazon hasn’t commented on any of this. But that may be changing on Wednesday.

Molly Driscoll is a Monitor correspondent.

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