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Amazon tablet coming late this year?

e ink displayWe recently heard that Amazon is getting into the tablet business, with an Android device that will push its digital content. Now, a report from DigiTimes suggests the tablet could be here later this year. Component makers are claiming that Quanta has received OEM orders from Amazon, and makes the bold assertion that monthly orders during peak season will reach 700,000 to 800,000 orders.

Amazon is also reportedly working with E Ink Holdings for its tablet’s touch panel and display. E Ink Holdings worked with Barnes & Noble on the Nook and with Amazon on its Kindle, which use the company’s monochrome active matrix display. This technology allows for clear text with far more contrast than many e-readers. And Quanta has a foot in the tablet door as well, manufacturing the BlackBerry PlayBook. The company is rumored to be partnering with Sony on its very unusual tablets that should launch this year. DigiTimes says Quanta will begin shipping parts in the second half of 2011.

The report also claims that while Kindle is selling well stateside, it isn’t as popular internationally. When the tablet is introduced, however, Amazon will cut the Kindle’s price, which would find it some new customers.

It sounds like Amazon is going in the right direction, partnering with an established tablet manufacturer and returning to the display technology that won the Kindle so many devoted users. So why exactly is Amazon poised to take a piece of the tablet market for itself? The Nook has been making strides in this department for some time: The device itself is an Android tablet with a custom UI layer. Upgrades have given it a Nook app store and Flash support, so it’s about spitting distance from a fully-featured tablet. The difference is that Amazon has the digital content and storage to back up such a device. It’s also launched its own app store and now has its own digital locker and music service (albeit one that has some legal issues to work out). But the forecast for such Amazon’s tablet is overwhelmingly positive, so much that some are even saying it could be a viable iPad 2 competitor.