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Amazon's Next Kindle To Challenge Apple iPad

September 23, 2011 | Hogan Keyser
amazon_kindle.jpg Inc.'s next Kindle device, expected in the coming months, is poised to become the biggest threat to Apple Inc.'s iPad this holiday season.

The latest iteration of its Kindle e-book reader will have an improved interface and double as a tablet computer, with a touch screen in full color, said Anupam Palit, an analyst at GreenCrest Capital Management in New York. The device should arrive by Thanksgiving, he said.

By taking advantage of its ties with media and publishing companies to pack the Kindle tablet with songs, books and videos, Amazon may succeed where companies such as Research In Motion Ltd. and Hewlett-Packard Co. have failed. Amazon Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos will probably set a price that's near the cost of production, Palit said. That way, the company can attract users who balk at the $499 to $829 cost of the iPad.

"You're going to get the first tablet that functions as well as the iPad," Palit said. "You're going to get the first major competitor for the iPad that has a full media and e- commerce platform."

Amazon hasn't discussed its Kindle plans, leaving analysts to try to fill in the gaps. Mary Osako, a spokeswoman for the Seattle-based company, didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Sarah Epps, an analyst at Forrester Research Inc. in Cambridge, Massachusetts, predicts that Amazon will "easily" sell 3 million to 5 million tablets in the fourth quarter. That assumes a price of $299, she said in a report last month.

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