Amazon prepping a 7-inch tablet for October?

The company will reportedly ship its 7-inch version later this year and start production on the 10.1-inch option in the first quarter of 2012.

What will the Amazon tablet look like?
What will the Amazon tablet look like? Screenshot by CNET

Amazon could have a 7-inch tablet ready for customers in a couple of months, according to a new report from DigiTimes.

Citing anonymous sources at component suppliers, DigiTimes said today that Amazon will start shipping a 7-inch tablet in October. The company will then follow that up with a 10.1-inch tablet that it will begin producing in the first quarter of 2012.

DigiTimes' report seems to fall in line with what the latest rumors on the possible Android-based Amazon tablet have been suggesting for months now. In July, for example, a few reports cropped up suggesting Amazon will either offer a device with a 9-inch display or deliver two tablets with 7- and 10-inch options . In either case, those tablets were expected to be made available later this year.

If and when Amazon offers up its first tablet, the device could be priced quite cheaply compared to some of its competitors. Earlier this month, industry analyst Tim Bajarin said that Amazon could sell its slate for as little as $249. At that price, Bajarin said, Amazon would likely lose some money on each device it sold--he pegged the shortfall at about $51--but the deal would help the company quickly attract customers looking for a device that isn't as expensive as some of its competitors, like the iPad 2, which starts at $499.

Related stories:
• Amazon tablet to hit market later this year?
• Bezos hints at Amazon tablet in interview
• Amazon reportedly ramping up 7- and 10-inch tablets

Forrester Research analyst Sarah Rotman Epps echoed that sentiment, saying that Amazon could sell as many as 5 million units of its tablets during the next quarter if it prices its device below $300.

Epps is especially bullish on Amazon's chances of success in the tablet space. In a blog post recently, she said that in just one year, "Amazon will be synonymous with Android on tablets," thanks to expected competitive pricing and a wide selection of content.

For its part, Amazon hasn't confirmed that it's planning on launching a tablet. However, CEO Jeff Bezos said in May that folks should " stay tuned " when he was asked about the possibility of Amazon launching a tablet.

 

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