Nick Bilton flags a surge of job openings at Amazon, all for the Kindle team. Word is that Amazon's working on a touchscreen color Kindle, and if anything, this hiring spree shows that they're not screwing around: They're gathering software engineers, new QA staff and apparently talking to game publishers about games for the platform. This wouldn't be a Kindle 3, it'd be a Kindle tablet.

An interesting omission from the listings is hardware engineers, which, along with the nature of the software hires (lots of testing staff) faintly suggests that the project might be further along than most people had thought. In other words, the first direct challenge to the iPad might not come from Microsoft or Google, but Amazon. (Note to Amazon: You're wading in over your head.) [NYT]