Amazon Could Sell Three To Five Million Tablets In Q4 2011, Forrester Says

Watch out, Apple: The Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN) tablet, widely expected to be released this September or October and to be cheaper than the iPad, will be the “only credible iPad competitor in the market” and will “completely disrupt the status quo,” Forrester says today in a new report. Forrester analysts predict that Amazon will sell three to five million tablets in Q4 2011, if they are priced below $300. (Keep in mind, of course, that Amazon has not officially confirmed that it will release a tablet.)

Why is Forrester so bullish on Amazon? It’s the etailer’s “willingness to sell hardware at a loss combined with the strength of its brand, content, cloud infrastructure, and commerce assets,” Forrester analyst Sarah Rottman Epps writes.

Here are the company’s predictions, from the blog post previewing the report:

Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) to prepare for war. Apple sells software and services, but the lion’s share of Apple’s revenue still comes from hardware, which makes it vulnerable to a company, such as Amazon, that isn’t seeking profit from hardware sales. Amazon and Apple’s relationship, already fraught with Apple’s policy changes on content sales, will become even more strained.

Android OEMs to seek Amazon as a platform partner. We see potential for Amazon not only to launch its own hardware as an “Amazon tablet” but also to be a platform for other OEMs, layering Amazon’s software and services over Android to provide a richer customer experience. In a year from now, we could see a range of “Amazon tablets” made by different hardware manufacturers.

Software, media, retail, banks, and others to scramble to build Android tablet apps. So far, product strategists across industries have invested in iPad apps but have held back from creating Android tablet apps: Apple claims 100,000 custom-built iPad apps, while Google’s Honeycomb platform has attracted fewer than 300 apps. If Amazon’s Android-based tablet sells in the millions, Android will suddenly appear much more attractive to developers who have taken a wait-and-see approach.

The bottom line, Forrester says, is that with a sub-$300 price point, an Amazon tablet would see massive sales and could be the tipping point for Android to become a full-fledged iOS competitor.