Amazon chief Bezos strongly hints at tablet plans

Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos strongly hinted that his company will release a tablet based on Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android platform, the latest indication that Amazon intends to branch off from its Kindle ereader and into other mobile device categories. 

In an interview with Consumer Reports, Bezos said to "stay tuned" on the company's plans for a multipurpose tablet product. He suggested that such a device would supplement but not replace the popular Kindle. "We will always be very mindful that we will want a dedicated reading device," he said. "In terms of any other product introductions, I shouldn't answer."

Speculation has been building for months that Amazon could launch a tablet device to compete with the likes of Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), Hewlett-Packard, HTC, LG, Motorola Mobility (NYSE:MMI), Research in Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM), Samsung and others in the crowded tablet market.

In a March research report, Forrester Research analyst Sarah Rotman Epps said Amazon could be the best positioned to compete with Apple's iPad and create a compelling Android or Linux-based tablet that would incorporate the Amazon storefront and other signature Amazon features such as one-click purchasing and Amazon's recommendation engine. Further, she wrote, Amazon could develop a pricing model similar to the Kindle, in which it sells a tablet below price and makes up the loss by selling content.

Amazon has been steadily launching service elements that might be combined in a tablet offering. Amazon formally launched its Amazon Appstore for Android in late March, offering consumers a new channel to download applications optimized for Android smartphones and tablets. Shortly after the Appstore launched, Amazon unveiled a cloud-based music service called Cloud Drive.

For more:
- see this Consumer Reports article
- see this AllThingsD article

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