Rumors about Amazon’s forthcoming tablet just became a little more reliable–or at least more energized–after the Wall Street Journal cited “people familiar with the matter” (planted leaks?) in yesterday’s spill-the-beans article “Amazon Plans iPad Rival”. The article says that most everything about this launch device is being outsourced and that it won’t have a camera, but that Amazon is also working internally on a second model slated to be released in 2012.

Amazon still won’t make any official announcement, probably to avoid damping sales of its existing Kindle in the coming weeks, but people have been speculating for a while now about the specs. ZDNet has put together a new list of their best guesses or leaks about the mystery device. According to ZDNet’s sources, the tablet will:

  • be made by Quanta Computers;
  • run Android Honeycomb 3.1;
  • feature dual-core OMAP 4 (ARM Cortex A9) processors running at 1.5GHZ;
  • use SSD storage;
  • launch as Wi-Fi only at first, with a possible 3G model later, and the 3G model may be subsidized similar to yesterday’s announcement of the Kindle 3G with Special Offers;
  • will likely push users to rely on the cloud for most digital media storage; and
  • will push business applications as well as entertainment.

[Update: An hour after this post, eBookNewser reported a rumor that Quanta is already shipping a 7 inch tablet to Amazon, and that Foxconn Electronics is working on a 10.1 tablet expected to ship in 2012.]

While the obvious point of comparison for any tablet these days is the iPad, Techcrunch’s MG Siegler thinks it’s Google that should feel threatened most by Amazon:

Back in March, when Amazon released their own Android Appstore, I made the case for why Amazon now had to release their own Android-powered devices. Simply put, the process to install the Android appstore is way too complicated, Amazon needs devices they can ship with the store pre-installed. And more importantly, their stores pre-installed. As in, any device they ship is going to be filled with Amazon to the brim. That includes the ability to sign in to your Amazon Prime account the buy things with one click.

When that happens, Amazon will have an Android tablet that is more compelling than any other Android tablet on the market on day one. There are plenty of whispers of Google planning their own “Nexus” tablet for later this year when the Ice Cream Sandwich variety of Android is ready to go, but the consumer ease-of-use that Amazon can offer will likely trump anything Google puts out there.

As for the Kindle part of the story, the WSJ just says that two models are expected in the third quarter, with one of them featuring touchscreen technology to compete with the new Nook and Kobo touchscreen devices.

“Amazon to Battle Apple iPad With Tablet” [Wall Street Journal]


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