Lest you thought that those rumors about an Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN) tablet might be drying up, here is another: it will be launched sometime in August-September, and has some ambitious sales targets for the rest of 2011: four million units.
These latest predictions — possibly the first that have tied this would-be tablet to a specific launch month — come from the Taiwanese tech publication Digitimes, which naturally quotes unnamed sources — in its case, sources from within large component manufacturing industry in Taiwan.
The publication notes that the release is timed to coincide with holiday shopping, and will be optimised for Amazon’s own media streaming services — something that has regularly been mentioned as an obvious service for the company if it were to ever actually launch a tablet. Its sources say that shipments of the tablet are expected to be between 700,000 and 800,000 units per month.
As a point of comparison against the tablet market leader, the Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) iPad reportedly sold one million units in its first month; and the iPad 2 sold 2.8 million units in its debut month.
The Digitimes story does not specify Android, although this is the OS that people in the past have suggested would be the basis of an Amazon tablet. The retailer already operates its own app storefront, the creatively named “appstore”, where it distributes apps for the Android platform.
Some technical aspects are also detailed in the story, which to me gives it slightly more credibility: the tablets will feature processors from Texas Instruments; Wintek will supply touch panels; ILI Technology will supply “LCD driver ICs”. Quanta Computer will oversee the assembly of the tablets.
So are we to believe this? The Amazon tablet rumors have been very persistent, including previous rumors from Digitimes; and other reports that there are not one, but two, tablets on the cards; and their CEO even refusing to totally rule them out with his oblique “stay tuned” comment in May.
Amazon seems to have so much in place to make a tablet work: the retail/distribution operation; the media services; the embedded user base and so on. But given how slow sales have been for all the non-iPad tablet makers, even with all that, Amazon could face a challenge.