Report: Amazon to Enter Tablet Market, Places Order in Taiwan

Amazon is ready to take on Apple’s iPad head-to-head, and has placed orders for full tablet devices, according to Taiwan newspaper DigiTimes. Amazon has worked a deal with Quanta to manufacture the devices, which will feature touch panels with Fringe Field Switching (FFS) technology made by E Ink Holdings.

Amazon could begin shipping the device as early as the second half of 2011, and DigiTimes said orders during the “peak season” (i.e. Christmas) could reach as many as 700,000-800,000 units per month. If so, that would make Amazon’s entry into the iPad-defined market the second most popular tablet, as no iPad competitor is known to have sold even 300,000 units in total, let alone in a month.

The report, which was attributed to unspecified upstream component makers, does not specify which operating systems Amazon’s device would run, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to tie this news to the launch of Amazon’s Android Appstore, which was announced in March (followed by a swift lawsuit from Apple over its “App Store” trademark). The company began trying to recruit developers from the ranks of iOS developers in March, as well.

Amazon was an early leader in the tablet form factor as a media device with its Kindle reader, a device that is well suited to reading books, magazines, and other text, but little else. It seems a safe assumption that Amazon is bringing a touch panel device to market in an attempt to offer the kind of overall experience Apple brings to market with the iPad, including the ability to run apps, play videos, view images, and more.

So far, no iPad competitor has gained any traction in the market, but Amazon brings a couple of weapons to bear on this market enjoyed by no other competitor, even Google. For one thing, Amazon has existing deals in place to sell music, ebooks, and stream TV shows and movies. The company also has millions of existing customers around the world who regularly visit the company’s Web site to buy things.

If the DigiTimes report is accurate, Amazon’s aggressive ordering plans for its tablet could indicate that it sees potential success that other Android makers haven’t found.