Friday, September 2, 2011 at 6:15 pm.

Has Amazon made the 7-inch tablet that people actually want to buy?

TechCrunch’s MG Siegler got his hands on an early version of Amazon’s Kindle tablet and says it looks like a BlackBerry PlayBook: 7 inches, color touchscreen, no e-ink. It’s $250, runs Android but no official Google services, and apps from Amazon’s Appstore. This is exactly what was expected.

Good question from Matt Buchanan of Gizmodo, via Twitter: “I’m curious to see if Amazon’s the first one to actually nail a 7-inch tablet. Nobody’s succeeded yet.”

He’s right. The only tablet that’s a big success so far is Apple’s 10-inch iPad. There are some 7-inchers on the market, such as RIM’s BlackBerry PlayBook, Samsung’s Galaxy Tab and Barnes & Noble’s Nook Color, but they aren’t runaway hits.

Has Amazon built a user interface and a content ecosystem — books, music, magazines, video, and a few apps — that make a 7-inch tablet great? You probably wouldn’t want to do word processing or heavy-duty web browsing on a 7-inch tablet. But Amazon doesn’t want you doing those sorts of things, anyway.

At $250, it seems like Amazon could sell a bunch of these. I don’t think this is going to do much to dent the iPad’s rise as the future of personal computing. But I think that some people who were contemplating an iPad mostly for entertainment purposes might buy one of these instead. And I wonder — if it’s successful — if it will force Apple to eventually make a 7-inch iPad.

Related: There’s no way Amazon is going to sell 5 million tablets in Q4