Amazon calls press conference for next week. Kindle tablet on the way?

Kindle tablet rumors lurch into high gear as Amazon send out invitations.

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    Amazon tablet rumors have been burbling for months. Is the mysterious gadget finally on the way? Here, the Amazon homepage.
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Amazon tablet rumors have burbled out across the web for months. First it was the Amazon tablet that maybe might be a kind of Kindle for movies, and then it was the Amazon tablet that was essentially a next-generation Kindle, with a 7-inch frame and a capacitive touch screen. Next week the rumors may finally be put to rest. Earlier today, Amazon sent out an invitation to a New York press event, scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 28.

The invitation was pretty basic: A date, a time, a JPG of the Amazon logo. But plenty of tech writers are reading between the lines. "At the very least, [the conference] will be about a Kindle," writes Nick Bilton of the New York Times. "First, Amazon press conferences in recent years have been the venue to announce a new Kindle. In addition, Amazon sent its press release to several gadget bloggers, including Engadget and Boy Genius Report."

"I have to figure they are not corralling the troops to announce a new online store for air conditioners," Bilton added. Let's go with a hypothetical here: Amazon is probably going to release a tablet, if not sometime this year, then sometime in 2012. So how will the device stack up? Well, over at the Forrester Research blog, senior analyst Sarah Rotman Epps says Amazon has the ability to majorly disrupt the tablet market.

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"Even though Amazon taking on Apple is a bit like David taking on Goliath," Rottman Epps writes, "Amazon’s willingness to sell hardware at a loss combined with the strength of its brand, content, cloud infrastructure, and commerce assets makes it the only credible iPad competitor in the market. If Amazon launches a tablet at a sub-$300 price point — assuming it has enough supply to meet demand — we see Amazon selling 3 [to] 5 million tablets in Q4 alone."

To put that in perspective, Gartner has estimated that the worldwide tablet sales are on pace to total 63.6 million units by the of the year. And as of now, the vast majority of those are being sold by Apple. The iPad currently accounts for about 73 percent of all tablet sales; Gartner reps have estimated that Apple will command more than 50 percent of the market until 2014. It would take a seriously resourceful company to catch up with Apple.

But as Rotman Epps of Forrester argues, if any company can do it, it's Amazon. Stay tuned for more.

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