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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

May 3, 2011 at 11:05 AM

Report: Amazon tablet PCs coming, to challenge iPad 2

Taiwanese tech publication DigiTimes has a nice scoop today, if true: It’s reporting that Amazon.com has hired a company to start building tablet PCs that will arrive in the second half of 2011.

It said Taiwan-based Quanta Computer will build up to 800,000 units per month for Amazon. Quanta’s also building tablets for RIM and Sony and hoping to build the next “LePad” device for Lenovo.

DigiTimes didn’t name its sources and said Quanta declined to comment. It reported that “Amazon internally plans to reduce Kindle’s market price to attract consumer demand from the education and consumer market, while (it) will push tablet PC using its advantage in software and content resources to challenge iPad2.”

The device will have touchscreens made by E-Ink, DigiTimes reported. E-Ink began showing its new color displays in November.

I’ve asked Amazon to clarify and will update if I get a response, but I’ll bet my lunch money it will be some form of “no comment.”

Perhaps Amazon is preparing to release a tablet based on Google’s “Honeycomb” version of Android, preloaded with Kindle software and linked to Amazon’s new Android application market.

Or maybe the report’s terminology is off and Quanta will merely be building the next vesion of Kindle, which may have a color touchscreen and be more PC-like but still a limited-purpose reader with a screen optimized for reading and not Web apps.

Today Amazon’s Zappos store announced that it now has an Android app, joining its iPhone and iPad apps, but that’s surely a coincidence.

Meanwhile Barnes & Noble’s Nook reader has morphed into an Android tablet and it’s been awhile since we’ve heard about new Kindle hardware, other than the ad-subsidized entry-level model announced a few weeks ago.

Comments | Topics: Amazon.com, Android, Apple

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