Rumor: Amazon Tablet to Challenge New iPad in Third Quarter

Rumor: Amazon Tablet to Challenge New iPad This Quarter
Amazon's tablet may soon arrive in mass quantities, perhaps just in time to take on the rumored iPad HD.

According to DigiTimes' unnamed sources, Amazon plans to ship at least one million tablets in the third quarter. If the report is accurate, that means Amazon has the most ambitious tablet plans of any iPad rival right now.

Amazon hasn't confirmed any tablet plans, but has alluded to the idea, with CEO Jeff Bezos saying to "stay tuned" when questioned directly on the matter by Consumer Reports.

So far, the tablet market has been tough to crack for anyone but Apple. Other tablet makers, including Research in Motion and Acer, have lowered their expectations for the tablet business, after finding that most consumers are more interested in getting an iPad. In the third quarter, Amazon is the only company that DigiTimes' sources expect to ship more than one million tablets. Meanwhile, iPad shipments could reach 15 million this quarter, DigiTimes' sources say.

In addition to the iPad 2, Apple is rumored to be preparing a high-end version of the tablet, called the iPad 2 Plus or iPad HD. According to This Is My Next, this model would have double the screen resolution of an iPad 2 (2048 by 1536 pixels) and may include some professional software, such as an iPad version of Final Cut Pro or Aperture. If this rumor pans out, it'll certainly distract from efforts by Amazon or other rivals.

Still, an Amazon tablet is likely to make a splash for a few reasons: Amazon already has its own digital content stores, which could help drive down the price of the tablet; it has a promotion and distribution channel in the form of Amazon's retail Website; and it may have some powerful hardware, including a quad-core processor according to one rumor. If any iPad competitor is going to make a big bet on a first-generation product, it should be Amazon.

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