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Amazon tablet in the works: report

An Amazon tablet with Android OS is almost certainly forthcoming, says one tech insider.

By Matthew Shaer / April 21, 2011

An Amazon tablet could be forthcoming. And like the Amazon Kindle, pictured here, an Amazon tablet would exist for one purpose only – to increase the speed at which Amazon customers consume Amazon products.

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An Amazon tablet is in the works –– and it will likely run a version of the Android operating system. That's the word from Gdgt's Peter Rojas, who says the Amazon tablet is "something of an open secret" in the tech industry, and claims he is "99 percent certain [Amazon is] having Samsung build one for them." Rojas did not mention a release date; he did say the Amazon tablet would likely be cheaper than the iPad.

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"[I]t's entirely possible that Amazon's tablet, like the NOOK Color, will use Android as a base upon which to build a totally customized experience that tightly integrates Amazon services. That integration would let Amazon charge a lot less for its tablet than it would otherwise," Rojas writes. So is he right? Probably. Amazon's Kindle remains incredibly popular, but the sweeping success of the Apple iPad has demonstrated the demand for full-featured tablets.

RELATED: Amazon App Store: Not so fast, says Apple

"First up, I agree with Peter that a tablet from Amazon is inevitable," notes James Kendrick of ZDNet. "The company has been carefully building up a retail ecosystem on the Android platform, and the recent opening of the Amazon Appstore was the final piece of the pre-tablet puzzle. The system is so well fleshed out that Amazon would be remiss in not producing its own tablet."

But as Kendrick points out, consumers should see the inevitable Amazon tablet for what it is: a "nice mobile method" to consume Amazon products. The Amazon tablet "won’t be designed to just sell you digital products for the tablet, oh no," Kendrick adds. "Amazon will integrate it into the entire retail operation, which will make it possible to sell the tablet for a ridiculously low price." And don't forget the Amazon Android App Store.

This makes sense, of course: Amazon makes much more from e-books than it does from the sale of plastic e-readers. Back in March, tech guru Kevin Kelly even suggested that the Kindle could be free as soon as November of this year, as Amazon does its best to rope in e-reading holdouts. More on that here. In the meantime, if you haven't already, you should sign up for our (also free) weekly Innovation newsletter.

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