Amazon could sell 5 million tablets next quarter

If its tablet costs less than $300, Amazon could sell 3 million to 5 million units in the fourth quarter, according to a Forrester analyst.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
3 min read

At the right price, an Amazon tablet could hit unit sales as high as 5 million in the fourth quarter alone, says an analyst from Forrester Research.

Screenshot by CNET

Sharing her thoughts in a blog post yesterday, Forrester analyst Sarah Rotman Epps said that if Amazon can launch a tablet below $300 and provide enough supply to meet demand, it could sell anywhere from 3 million to 5 million tablets in the next quarter.

Earlier this month, Taiwanese news outlet CENS cited information that claimed Amazon was already planning to order anywhere from 800,000 to 1 million tablets per month from August through October from supplier Quanta Computer. An Amazon tablet could launch as early as October, according to Epps.

Some sources believe Amazon may launch a 9-inch LCD touch-screen tablet for as low as $299, says Epps. industry analyst Tim Bajarin thinks the price could go as low as $249. Other reports have suggested that Amazon might even unveil both a 7-inch and a 10-inch tablet.

Whatever device surfaces, a price point under $300 means Amazon would sell the tablet at a loss. But the goal would be to turn a healthy profit from all the digital books, music, videos, and apps sold to tablet users rather than from the hardware itself.

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And what of Apple? Though the iPad would retain its dominant market share, an Amazon tablet could strike a blow as the first credible competitor to Apple's popular tablet, says Epps.

Since most of its tablet revenue comes from the hardware rather than software and services, Apple could be vulnerable to Amazon, which would be less concerned about hardware revenue. As such, an Amazon tablet could turn the retail giant into a "nasty competitor" and force Apple to "prepare for war," as the iPad maker finally meets a tablet rival that it must take seriously, Epps added.

An Amazon tablet might also shake up the Android marketplace. Many companies and developers that have climbed onto the iOS bandwagon have been hesitant to devote resources to building Android apps, according to Epps. But an Amazon tablet that sells in the millions would make Android app development more appealing to major developers who've so far waited on the sidelines.

Claiming that a year from now, "Amazon will be synonymous with Android on tablets," Epps says that the retailer would offer the very features that other Android tablet vendors lack, namely a competitive price, a good shopping experience for apps, a wide selection of content, and convenient e-commerce. At the right price, Amazon could sell more tablets than Samsung, Motorola, and all the other Android vendors combined, says Epps.

On the flip side, an Amazon tablet may stir up interest among other Android tablet makers, who may then seek out Amazon as a partner. Epps believes that an Amazon tablet could prove to be an effective platform for other Android vendors, who may then choose to buy Amazon's software and services to add to their own devices, in essence creating their own "Amazon tablets."

Of course, Amazon itself continues to remain silent about any specific tablet plans, though in a May interview with Consumer Reports, CEO Jeff Bezos advised people to "stay tuned."