It’s getting harder for Amazon.com to sidestep reports that it’s going to release a color tablet device this fall.
Reports seem to surface every few weeks with new details about the devices, including stories about which manufacturers are producing the various components.
Today, the Wall Street Journal weighed in with a story saying that the color, Android-based tablet will go on sale in October with a “roughly” 9-in. diagonal screen.
It also reported that there will be two new Kindles, including a cheaper model and one with a touchscreen like that used on the new Kobo and Nook e-readers.
The Journal cited people familiar with the devices, including people who had seen the lower-priced Kindle. I wonder if the sources were book publishers or people developing news applications for the new hardware in advance of the launch.
Amazon didn’t respond to a request for comment on the Journal story, but the company earlier announced a new ad-supported version of the Kindle with 3G wireless connectivity. AT&T is the device “sponsor.” The “Kindle 3G with Special Offers” will cost $139. An ad-free version of the device will continue to sell for $189.
This follows the April launch of an ad-supported version of the WiFi-only Kindle that sells for $114, compared with the $139 ad-free version.
Amazon needs to do more to refresh the lineup. Barnes & Noble, which has color and touchscren versions of its Nook, overtook Amazon’s Kindle for the first time in the first quarter, according to a recent report by research firm IDC.
IDC’s release said Amazon’s “lack of a color offering has clearly impacted the company’s previous dominance in the eReader market.” The firm expects e-reader sales to grow 24 percent this year to 16.2 million units.