updated 02:45 pm EDT, Fri August 26, 2011
Amazon tablet again seen being cheap, due in month
Amazon's repeatedly rumored Android tablet was once again slipped out again with a rumor late in the week. The design's cost-cutting should lead to it costing "hundreds less" than the $499 of Apple's iPad. It should ship sometime in late September or October, the NY Post was told.
The newspaper didn't add to the specifications. Most expect it to carry a nine-inch screen and to omit cameras, turning it more into a competitor to the $249 Barnes & Noble Nook Color than the iPad. Amazon may still focus it on the Kindle reader app but now could use it to showcase the Appstore, Cloud Player, Instant Video, and other services that wouldn't work on the usual Kindle hardware's e-paper screen.
Whether or not it succeeds isn't apparent, although the consciously limited price and focus have reduced the expectations that it will directly compete with Apple. Amazon will be counting both on the price and its exposure as the top online retailer to drive demand.
The tablet is expected to be accompanied by two more conventional Kindles, one of them an e-paper touchscreen. Its multi-device strategy suggests Amazon is still hedging its bets and believes traditional readers will still be important, if not primary, for its bottom line.