March 27, 2012, 4:11 PM

Amazon may be readying for a tablet war

Three more Kindle tablets could spell trouble for Apple.

Lead Photo

There are new reports, based on information coming from Taiwanese electronics manufacturers, that Amazon.com Inc. may be building three new Kindle tablets that would debut later this year. They would compliment Amazon’s breakout first tablet, the Kindle Fire. Amazon reports it has sold millions of Kindle Fire tablets.

The device is the first real competitor to Apple Inc.’s market-dominating iPad. Like Apple, Amazon.com has created a mobile ecosystem around its tablet. The Fire comes connected to a user’s Amazon account and, with a few taps, can buy a nearly endless supply of digital content from Amazon. The Kindle Fire and the iPad are designed for media consumption, and they come enmeshed in vast media empires.

This is where other tablet manufacturers have failed. None of their devices have come with a world all their own. And none of them have had retail and m-commerce powerhouses like Apple and Amazon behind them.

I believe three new Kindle tablets could score a direct hit on Apple because they would offer different sizes and prices and would live in the successful Amazon ecosystem. Reports say that one of the new Amazon tablets will have a high-resolution screen nearly nine inches in size. That comes very close to the iPad’s 9.7-inch screen. If anyone can give Apple a run for its money, it’s Amazon. And if reports are true, Amazon plans to do just that.

Just this morning I was talking with the director of marketing at e-retailer Gilt Groupe. He passed along a surprise: The company has built a Kindle Fire app. That’s amazing news, as few retailers, so far, have focused on the Fire. All attention is on the iPad. But that soon may change if Amazon floods the market in 2012 with a load of new tablets.

Keep your eye on the Kindle Fire. It’s become very popular. And keep your ear to the ground for rumblings of new tablets from Amazon. Just like Apple, it seems like anything Amazon touches turns to gold. So be prepared for a tablet war—and be ready to build two tablet apps, not just one.

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