Will the new Amazon tablet really be a tablet at all?
These rumours have been swirling around for an age - that Amazon are going to launch a new tablet that, among other things, will allow customers to stream movies direct from Amazon. Now there are component manufacturers saying it's going to happen in the next three months - and that Amazon expect to shift up to four million of them alone before the end of the year. Crikey.
Sources at the manufacturers have disclosed a full list of companies involved to DigiTimes, which includes processors allegedly supplied by Texas Instruments. The sources also confirmed that Amazon will supply streaming movie services for the new full-colour tablets.
All of it makes sense given Amazon's aspirations for the entertainment market - aside for the numbers. Amazon certainly have the potential to sell four million tablets because they have the reach and market position among consumers to do so. But there are two elements that will counter such explosive sales, assuming the rumours are true; price and quality.
It wasn't until Amazon really hammered down its price that the Kindle found widespread adoption, and so far there hasn't been a tablet manufacturer to beat Apple with a similar offering at a similar price. Whether we'll see another high quality tablet PC in 2011 is questionable - plenty of critics don't think so ("For the general consumer I can't think of a single reason to buy this device").
But then it's also very possible that Amazon will build a tablet that has a single purpose and does it very well - just like the Kindle. If the new tablet is a tablet viewer (rather than what we've come to know as a tablet PC) that streams movies and nothing else, that removes the need for the required hardware and a sophisticated user interface and lowers the price accordingly.