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Amazon tablet follows iPad in Q3 projected shipments

An Amazon tablet may ship in comparatively large numbers in the third quarter, with projected figures putting it behind Apple's iPad, though a distant second at that.

Amazon's tablet is showing signs of arriving in relatively large numbers in the third quarter, according to a speculative report Thursday in Digitimes, which said shipment figures put it behind Apple's iPad.

Shipments may hit between 1 million and 1.2 million units for the Amazon tablet, the Taipei-based technology news site said, citing "conservative" estimates. Orders for Amazon-bound touch panels is higher at up to 2 million units. An earlier report said Amazon monthly order numbers would be between 700,000 and 800,000 units, with the tablet arriving in August.

Any number pales next to Apple's formidable iPad, of course. Even at 1 million-plus Amazon tablets in the quarter, Digitimes also estimates that Apple will ship between 14 million and 15 million iPads in the same quarter, up from approximately 10.5 million in the second quarter.

That said, if the numbers in Thursday's Digitimes are credible, that would put Amazon's tablet ahead of some of the more popular Google Android-based tablets such as the Acer Iconia Tab A500, Asus Eee Pad Transformer, and Samsung Galaxy Tab. Those all fall between 750,000 and 900,000 units in the third quarter, according to Digitimes.

The new tablet is rumored to use E Ink's Fringe Field Switching LCD technology, suggesting it will be a color LCD touch panel, not the traditional black-and-white E-ink display that has been a hallmark of the Kindle's ultralight, ultra-power-efficient design.

Not surprisingly, Amazon has been under the gun to release a tablet to compete with the uber-popular iPad, which is also used as an e-reader. When asked by Consumer Reports in May about the possibility of Amazon selling its own tablet, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said that if Amazon were to do a tablet, it wouldn't replace the Kindle but be sold alongside it.

Digitimes also cited total shipments of all brand-name tablets (excluding white-box products). In the third quarter, these could reach over 21 million, up from the approximately 14 million shipped in the second quarter.

Orders for non-Apple tablets are projected to hit about seven million in the third quarter, a jump from the 3 million to 3.5 million units in the second quarter, the report said.