Posted by:Shyam Sundar September 6th, 2011

Apple has dominated the tablet market since the launch of the first gen iPad in January, 2010. When the device released as a fit between PCs and netbooks, many laughed and called it a gimmicky device. Steve Jobs proved them wrong and sold 15 million units of the iOS tablet before iPad 2 came out in March 2011. Till date, Apple has moved 9 million iPad 2 units and forecasts put iPad 2 sales at 22 million for the holiday season alone.

Though may tabs have come out this year, iPad 2 has swept the board. While some Androidtabs have made a splash – ASUS Eee Pad Transformer, Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 – none have come close to iPad 2’s success rate. It’s time for another behemoth to enter the arena. Who better than Amazon?

Amazon is growing exponentially every year, expanding services, entering new markets, breaking geographical boundaries, and launching hardware devices – Kindle eReader. Kindle is the top selling digital reader today. It proves Amazon’s capacity to produce quality hardware and software for a great price. Amazon offered amazing discounts on Kindle and Kindel media lately to compete with Barnes & Noble’s NOOK lineup. This proves Amazon can take a hit in profits to beat competition, making it a ‘nasty’ competitor.

Amazon has been working on its Android tablets since some months. One tab is to be a 10 incher with a quad-core Kal-El processor from NVIDIA. The other a 7 incher with a single core processor and could be a color, touch enabled, enhanced Kindle. The intriguing part is that Amazon plans to sell both at a price that undercuts the iPad by hundreds of dollars. That would bring the tabs in the $250-$300 range.

Amazon will ride on the success of the Kindle reader and why shouldn’t it? Both tabs will be heavily overlaid (on embedded Android) with Amazon’s own UI. Amazon has it all – Android app store, digital books, instant video services, MP3s, shopping apps, Amazon’s Cloud Player, Amazon’s Instant Movie Player, and loads more. It can skip Google apps altogether. If Amazon can instead provide its own streamlined apps, there shouldn’t be any complaints.

According to rumors, Amazon is working with low cost hardware components and doing away with frills that don’t add to the Kindle experience, such as cameras. Cloud services will control prices and Amazon can focus on a responsive and optimized user interface to hook users. For the lower-end market, the combination would be ideal.

According to Forrester, if Amazon launches a tablet for less than $300, it could sell 3-5 million units in Q4 alone. That may not be close to the iPad 2 but it would be the closest yet.

Amazon is expected to launch its tablet in October. It can’t afford to be later than that. WithiPad 3 coming out next year, Apple could slash iPad 2 prices to compete and then the mid range market will suddenly find the best tab in market within their reach. That would level the playing field yet again, wouldn’t it?

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