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Report: Amazon.com to enter tablet market

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The Wall Street Journal reported July 13 that Amazon.com is planning to offer a tablet computer allowing users to read Kindle-format eBooks, listen to music stored on Amazon’s cloud-based service, and potentially run other applications. Is this a good idea, or just a stunt?

It’s a little difficult to say, since Amazon isn’t commenting officially on the rumors and reports. But, as the Journal correctly noted, it would follow earlier statements by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos that the firm would move its electronic product line in that direction. Amazon already produces the popular Kindle e-readers.

I’m certainly game for anyone coming into the market, but I wonder if there wouldn’t have to be something extraordinary about an Amazon tablet to make sales take off. After all, if a consumer wants an Amazon-branded e-reader, the Kindle is already there. If they want mobile computing capabilities, the Apple, Inc. iPad 2 (which also runs a very good Kindle app) dominates the market — and that’s according to several industry analyst firms, including International Data Corp. and Ticonderoga Securities — and not just this writer. (A hat tip to the AppleInsider Website for the latter two reports.)

But the world seems tab-happy, so anything is possible. If — and, frankly, it’s a big if — Amazon comes up with something at an astounding price point with great connectivity (unlimited 3G, anyone?), they might be serious contenders.

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