With nearly 30 million iPads sold, Apple is the undisputed tablet computer champion.
BlackBerry maker Research In Motion, US computer giant Hewlett-Packard, South Korea’s Samsung and scores of other companies with devices powered by Google’s Android software have all taken swings at the iPad and missed.
A contender may finally be here.
Amazon, maker of the Kindle electronic book reader, is expected to unveil an Android-powered tablet at an event in New York this week according to numerous press reports.
The Seattle-based online retail giant is holding a press conference in the Big Apple on Wednesday but has enigmatically declined to say what it was about.
According to the technology blog TechCrunch, the Amazon device will be called the “Kindle Fire” and will feature a seven-inch (17.78-centimeter) screen, smaller than the iPad’s 9.7-inch (24.6-cm) display.
It will ship in the second week of November, TechCrunch said.
Technology analysts are predicting that an Amazon tablet could pose the most serious challenge yet to Apple’s dominance of the fast-growing tablet market.
“More than any other recent tablet introduction, Amazon’s entry is set to shake the still-solidifying market to its very core,” independent technology analyst Carmi Levy told AFP.
“Unlike hardware manufacturers who lack the pockets and the resolve to slug it out with Apple in a protracted war over market share, Amazon has both the resources and the will to stay in the game as long as it needs to,” he said.
Forrester Research analyst Sarah Rotman Epps, in a recent blog post, said Amazon taking on Apple is a “bit like David taking on Goliath.”
But Rotman Epps said Amazon’s “willingness to sell hardware at a loss combined with the strength of its brand, content, cloud infrastructure, and commerce assets makes it the only credible iPad competitor in the market.”
According to technology research firm Gartner, the iPad will account for 68.7 percent of the 69.7 million tablets sold this year and will remain the top-selling device over the next few years.
While Gartner said Android-powered tablets will see their market share rise from 14.2 percent last year to 19.9 percent this year, most of Apple’s tablet rivals are struggling.