Amazon Tablet Rumored for August or September

You'd be forgiven for thinking that Amazon had turned into Apple, because for months the rumor mill has been going wild with chatter of an Amazon tablet.

Now, DigiTimes is reporting an August or September release date for these Amazon tablets, citing component makers in Taiwan. Amazon wants to sell at least 4 million of the devices worldwide this year, the sources say, and is timing the launch for the holiday shopping season.

Amazon hasn't released much official information on its tablet plans, although Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos did tell Consumer Reports to "stay tuned" when questioned directly on the matter in May.

Rumor has it that Amazon will launch an entry-level tablet with a dual-core processor and a premium tablet with a quad-core processor. The tablets will likely provide easy access to Amazon's digital stores for e-books, movies, music, and Android apps. Amazon may also throw in free video streaming as promotional offering.

An Amazon tablet would be a big deal because the company already has all the pieces it needs to compete directly with Apple's iPad. Amazon can rely on content sales to generate additional revenue--and thus, lower the cost of hardware--and has built-in promotion and distribution through its online retail store. Amazon could also partner with brick-and-mortar retailers for in-store sales, as it has with the Kindle.

But if Amazon really wants to sell 4 million tablets, it needs to answer the difficult question of why consumers should buy the tablet instead of an iPad in the first place. The answer could be lower pricing, more content, a different shape or size, or better hardware. Hopefully, we'll only have to wait a couple more months to find out.

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