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Amazon to challenge iPad with Android tablets in Q3?

amazon family lineupAbout a month ago, we heard that Amazon tablets codenamed Android ‘Hollywood’ and ‘Coyote’ would hit shelves sometime this year, and now DigiTimes says shipment numbers indicate Amazon could be launching the product sometime in the third quarter.

According to the paper, Amazon is ordering mass quantities of touch panels for this August – as many as 1.2 million of them. These types of tablet component orders for the third quarter would put it behind only Apple (which will far out do all competition by ordering 14 to 15 million iPads). While all that Amazon has said is “stay tuned,” the shipment details certainly make it look as if it has a tablet on the way. And predictions for such a device have been downright bullish: It’s been called the best possibility to challenge the grip of the iOS ecosystem, and one financial firm forecast it could sell 3.5 million units in 2011. The same firm suggested it would fall behind only the iPad and the Samsung Galaxy Tab, arguably the most popular non-Apple tablet on the market as it stands.

The main reason for all the positivity surrounding the launch is that Amazon has one of the most established cloud-based content stores available, which has held back a variety of iPad competitors. If there is any truth behind some of the hardware rumors, it could actually be a pretty powerful machine and pack a quad-core processor. While DigiTimes’ reports can be hit or miss, there have been plenty of accurate assessments from the site, and in this case it would mean Amazon is pretty confident it’s got a viable iPad challenger.

If a third-quarter launch is correct, the Amazon Android tablet (tablets?) will be around in time for the holiday shopping season, a boon for sales. But if Apple launches the iPad 3,  iPad HD or whatever iPad-related product it’s bringing to the table next, it could seriously impact any of its challengers’ sales. Not to mention steal a load of buzz from any other product launch.