Amazon tablet could offer best reading experience

Though it will have to compete with the massive success of the iPad, a rumored Amazon tablet could be cheaper and offer a better ebook reading experience.

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    According to reports cited in PCMag, the tablet Amazon is rumored to be releasing this fall will offer the best reading experience of any tablet available, keeping Amazon somewhat true to its focus on books.
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Ask many readers for their reaction to reports that Amazon will be releasing a tablet device and you're most likely to hear: “Another one?”

Since the massive success of the iPad, other tablets like the BlackBerry PlayBook and the Samsung Galaxy Tab have been springing up seemingly everywhere, with several other companies announcing releases for their own tablets over the next several months.

And the Amazon tablet is just rumors so far – executives still haven’t confirmed it even exists except for instructions to “stay tuned.”

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Since there haven’t been any official announcements, there are only rumors to go on, but in The Wall Street Journal is reporting that, “[P]eople familiar with the device” said the tablet would have a nine-inch screen and will run on Google’s Android platform. It can be assumed that, like many other tablets, the Amazon version will have access to music, movies and, of course, books – though the online book giant would have to figure out how to avoid cutting into Kindle sales.

Having a tablet would be a step forward for the company in terms of the movies, TV shows, and music that have been offered on their website for quite some time but had no device to match up to it. And according to reports cited in PCMag, the Amazon tablet will be offering the best reading experience of any tablet available, so Amazon would be staying somewhat true to its focus on books.

Amazon’s tablet could also disrupt the tablet business if, as PCMag suggests, Amazon sells it for as much as 20 to 25 percent below cost – giving an immediate answer to the vital question of why anyone would buy the Amazon tablet over the extremely popular Apple tablet (or another Android-based model, for that matter.)

In addition, the Wall Street Journal released another article today, again citing “people familiar with the matter,” stating that Amazon is currently looking for newspapers and magazines that would be willing to strike a deal for content for the tablet. According to the Journal, the company is seeking information on prices for subscriptions and one-time newspaper or magazine access. The same sources predict that Amazon executives would offer newspaper and magazine companies a better deal than Apple does for iPad media content, suggesting that price-gouging may be Amazon’s leading strategy for standing out in a crowded market.

Rumors have it that the Amazon tablet will be released in October or November, and that the company is working on another similar device to be released sometime next year.

So if you've been wanting to read books and watch movies in the same place – but have been hoping for a cheaper device – you may want to do as Amazon suggests and "stay tuned."

Molly Driscoll is a Monitor contributor.

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