updated 02:05 pm EDT, Thu May 12, 2011
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos hints at tablet coming
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos in an interview later on Wednesday effectively confirmed plans for an Amazon-branded tablet. When asked, he used cautious language and said customers should "stay tuned" on what Amazon would do. He explained to Consumer Reports that the company would be "mindful" of keeping devices like the Kindle but couldn't confirm or deny what was coming down the pipeline.
"In terms of any other product introductions, I shouldn't answer," Bezos said.
Recent leaks have had a tablet well into development with Quanta as the contract manufacturer producing the hardware for a second-half 2011 release. It may have been designed by Samsung with Amazon mostly providing feedback and the software side. Android would be a virtual certainty given Amazon's exclusive apps, such as Amazon MP3 and the Amazon Appstore.
The entry into tablets would be a self-contradiction for Amazon, which has more than once jabbed the iPad its relatively unsuitability to reading. Without a major improvement in touchscreen anti-glare technology or color e-paper, Amazon would be introducing the same issues. Amazon has also usually tried to portray itself as focused on books.
Circumstances may have forced Amazon's hand. Although the Kindle app is often more popular than Apple's own iBooks on the iPad, Amazon has been missing out on some device sales as more start reading on iPads. Barnes & Noble has also been thriving with the Nook Color and left Amazon without a real option for color magazines and newspapers.