Thursday July 14, 2011 5:21 pm
Amazon tablet should launch before October
The existence of a tablet computer in the offing from Amazon isn't official yet, but The Wall Street Journal has officially thrown its weight behind the pervasive rumors that the Kindle-maker is planning to release a device to compete head-to-head with Apple's iPad before the year is out.
Amazon is planning a third-quarter release of its first tablet, a 9-inch device running Google's Android mobile operating system, the newspaper reported Wednesday, citing unnamed "people familiar with the matter" who said the Amazon tablet will arrive "before October."
That corroborates several reports from Taiwan-based tech journal DigiTimes, which has cited components supplier sources as saying that Amazon plans to release a tablet currently codenamed Hollywood in September.
Amazon is also preparing for a third-quarter release of two updated versions of its Kindle ereader, the Journal reported. One will have a touch screen, while the other won't, but will instead be "an improved and cheaper adaptation of the current Kindle."
Given pricing for the most current version of the Kindle, that reference to an even newer model being "cheaper" could point towards a $99 price tag for a next-generation ereader that a knowledgeable source recently told us would arrive before the end of 2011.
Meanwhile, Amazon on Wednesday offered up an AT&T ad-supported version of its current 3G Kindle that's priced at $139, down from the $164 price tag on the ad-free version of the same device.
Unlike the iPad and many other Android-based tablets currently on the market, the Amazon tablet will not have a camera, according to the Journal. The device is being designed by "an Asian manufacturer," according to the paper's sources.
It's not known how Amazon will bundle access to its huge content resources onto the rumored tablet, but the Journal stated that buyers of the device will be able "to easily watch videos, read electronic books, and listen to digital music they purchase or rent from the online retailer."
Earlier, it was reported that Amazon would be offering free streaming video for "an unspecified period of time" on the rumored tablet to woo new customers, in effect offering them temporary access to its Amazon Prime services.
If the Journal's sources are correct, Amazon may have ironed out deals with reportedly overextended Asian component suppliers to ship the necessary parts for assembly of the tablet. Earlier it had been reported that Taiwanese suppliers were too backlogged with orders from Apple for the iPad 2 to take on Amazon as a new tablet customer.
This article, written by Damon Poeter, originally appeared on PCMag.com and is republished on Gear Live with the permission of Ziff Davis, Inc.
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