Amazon Plans iPad Rival
Amazon.com Inc. plans to introduce a tablet computer before October, said people familiar with the matter, in a move that will heighten the online retailers rivalry with Apple Inc.
The Seattle-based company will also release two updated versions of its popular Kindle electronic reader in the third quarter of the year, the people said. One will be a touch-screen device. The other wont have a touch screen, but will be an improved and cheaper adaptation of the current Kindle, said people who have seen the device.
An Amazon spokesman didnt return requests for comment. The companys chief executive, Jeff Bezos, has hinted about a forthcoming tablet in recent media appearances.
The new tablet will intensify a growing clash between Amazon and Apple. The two tech-industry titans are already fighting for customers for their respective digital book, music and video businesses. Now Amazon will have a device that will compete closely against Apples popular iPad, as well as other tablets such as Samsung Electronic Co.s Galaxy Tab.
The Amazon tablet will have a roughly nine-inch screen, people familiar with the product said, and will run on Google Inc.s Android operating system. The online retailer isnt designing the device itself, but is outsourcing production to an Asian manufacturer, these people said.
The device will not have a camera, said one person familiar with it.
The tablet will allow Amazon customers to easily watch videos, read electronic books and listen to digital music they purchase or rent from the online retailer.
The two new black-and-white Kindle electronic readers will use the same technology as in the previous Kindles, in which the screens mimic the appearance of ink on paper. The touch-screen version will compete against similar devices that two other e-reader makers, Barnes Noble Inc. and Kobo Inc., released in May.
Amazon on Wednesday also lowered the price of its current Kindle. The version with 3G Internet access now costs $139, down from $164, but it comes with ads sponsored by ATT Inc. The cost of the ad-free version remains at $189.
Amazon has said the Kindle is its best-selling product of all time, but it hasnt released sales figures. Forrester Research analyst James McQuivey said there are about 7.5 million Kindles in the U.S., which gives Amazon a two-thirds share of the $1 billion digital-book market.