Amazon said to have big plans for its Android slates

Rumor has it that Amazon is on the verge of introducing some Android tablets. And according to the guys at DigiTimes, the online bookshop turned e-tail giant has set an ambitious shipment target for the devices. Amazon reportedly expects to ship a whopping four million tablets by year's end.

To put that figure in perspective, another, older DigiTimes piece suggests Asus' Eee Pad Transformer is second in popularity to the iPad... with 400,000 units shipped in the first half of this year. Apple, meanwhile, shipped 9.25 million iPads in its last fiscal quarter.

The Wall Street Journal broke the story about Amazon's tablet plans earlier this month, saying we'd see a launch by October. DigiTimes now says Amazon will introduce 7- and 10-inch devices later this quarter. These tablets will reportedly be manufactured by Quanta with processors from Nvidia (likely of the Tegra 2 variety). DigiTimes goes on to point out that Amazon's chip orders make it the second-biggest IC buyer behind Apple in the "tablet sector."

How does Amazon plan to carve itself such a big slice of the tablet market? Nobody knows just yet, although I'm sure the company's large e-tail presence will play a part. There's also been some speculation that the Amazon slates could be sold at a loss with prices starting around $300. That might sound a little far-fetched, but we're talking about Amazon—a company with well-established video, music, and e-book distribution services. The firm could be desperate to curb the iPad's breakneck growth and to avoid losing ground to iTunes.

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