No one’s quite sure what Amazon is up to, but the bets are on the release of two full tablets. It is quite possible we will see the shipping of more than 1 million tablet PC’s from Amazon.com in September, which launches it into first place as the largest supplier of tablets that are not iPads. In addition, Amazon is rumored to be ordering 2 million touch-panel displays between August and September.
This certainly comes as a huge surprise. Amazon has no indication on their site of preparing any kind of tablet product, Rather, they have invested their energies into the promotion and sales of their e-readers, the Kindle and Kindle 2.
If Coyote and Hollywood (the code names for the anticipated tablets) are real, they would both have Nvidia brains. BGR tech site suggested the dual-core Tegra 2 would provide the backbone to the Coyote tablet. Meanwhile, Hollywood would be the bigger brother, with a quadcore T30 Kal-El CPU. In effect, it would run 5 times faster than the Coyote. These are still just rumors, of course.
However, the Computex Trade Show in May was graced with the presentation of a quadcore Kal-El processor prototype tablet, proving the concept. As for the Tegra 2, it already powers LG Optimus, Asus Transformer, and Samsung Galaxy Tab.
If indeed Amazon is entering the tablet market, they will face stiff competition. Apple is set to supply 14 or 15 million units, a big jump from last year’s 11 million. Android-based tablets would amount to another 6 to 7 million. Amazon is expected to produce 1.2 million of its product, whatever it will be. By contrast, the Acer Iconia A500 tablet will see only 900,000 units available to begin with.
It is clear something is afoot at Amazon, but another guess is that they are preparing a unit to compete with the Barnes & Noble Nook, which is technically an e-reader mounted with a browser. Along with the presence of Android, the Nook could be classified as a near cousin of the tablet PC. The appeal, though, is that the price comes in at half the price of a tablet, somewhere near $250. The low price point has established the Nook as a clear leader in the e-reader market. A third of all e-readers sold in the first quarter of 2011 were Nooks, out of 3.3 million.
J. Gold Associates’ analyst, Jack Gold indicated Amazon might be swapping out its e-ink on the Kindle for a straight LCD display. They are also likely replacing their proprietary OS with Android. All this aside, though, it is not such a stretch to say that Amazon could handle a shipment of 1.2 million of whatever it is, particularly in light of their past successes with the Kindles.