|I don't think Secret Squirrel is the official name, but the graphic was too cool to resist.|
Of course, Amazon has been watching the success of the iPad with no little degree of envy. There's still plenty of room for Kindle at the bottom of the price range, of course, until Apple feels motivated to introduce a lower-priced iPad (which won't happen for quite a while, until Apple really feels threatened by lower-priced and more effective competition, which isn't anywhere near arriving yet). It makes sense for Amazon to have an answer to Apple at the high end. These two giants are competing quite strongly, selling music and video and books and apps... and Amazon has some distinct advantages in knowing how to really cross-sell items. When you look at something on Amazon, you get a wealth of information: Trustworthy user reviews, "users who looked at this also looked at" information, wish lists... there's a huge array of very helpful info towards making your purchase decision. Compare that to the iTunes store, which is starkly devoid of helpful info when you're looking for an App.
I expect Amazon will have this out in time for the holiday season, if not before. It will be interesting to see just how aggressive they get with price point ($249?) and specs... I'd expect a 7-inch tablet, but they may go for a 10-incher and take on the iPad directly.
Ah, 2011, you are just full of interesting battles...