Could Amazon produce an iPad killer?

One analyst sparks a flurry of debate by predicting that a cheap (and unannounced) Amazon tablet could prove a real threat to Apple

The iPad has essentially crushed its many competitors, but one analyst predicts that Amazon could be the company to take Apple down a peg.
(Image credit: Ian Gavan/Getty Images)

Ever since the iPad's acclaimed debut last year, the search has been on for a worthy challenger to Apple's tablet juggernaut, which has sold some 29 million units to date. The wait may at last be over. On Monday, analyst Sarah Rotman Epps suggested that Amazon could soon shake up the tablet market and end Apple's dominance by releasing a not-yet-announced tablet for under $300. Such a tablet could sell as many as 5 million units in the fourth quarter, Epps predicts. Really?

Nope. This is unfounded speculation: This is "yet another round of tech headlines so clearly penned by Apple-hating geeks who will do and say and write anything in the hopes of creating a self-fulfilling prophecy," says Timmy Falcon at Beatweek Magazine. The Amazon tablet doesn't even exist yet, and there's no real evidence that it could be a serious challenger to the iPad. Sure, Amazon could afford to sell tablets at a loss, what with all its Kindle book sales, but it would have to practically give its tablets away to topple Apple.

"Supposed Amazon tablet rivals HP TouchPad in misplaced anti-iPad hype"

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And this sounds familiar...: "How can just another tablet — one that Amazon has not confirmed even exists — prompt such an optimistic, multimillion-sales forecast?" asks Carolyn Kellogg in the Los Angeles Times. From all the hype we've heard about it, you'd think it could "mix up a mean gazpacho" and babysit, too. In truth, this rumored tablet sounds a lot like Barnes & Noble's Nook. That gadget has been a modest success — but it's hardly revolutionized the industry.

"The hypothetical Amazon tablet will take over the universe"

Watch out — Amazon could really succeed: "If done right, this tablet could be really disruptive, and Amazon has the best chance of any company so far to do well," says Sasha Segan at PC Mag. Coming to the game late, Amazon can learn from others' mistakes. If Amazon prices a tablet at $249, makes it small enough to hold in one hand, chooses Google's Android Honeycomb operating system, and gives it a screen uniquely suited to reading, this sucker would be a force to be reckoned with. "A well-run, Honeycomb-centric Amazon AppStore would not only supercharge Amazon's tablet," it could also bring users of other Android tablets into the Amazon fold.

"What the Amazon tablet needs to succeed"

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