Amazon has been rumored for months to be working on its own multipurpose tablet computer, but this report by the Wall Street Journal this afternoon is probably as close as we’re going to get to actual confirmation from the company for the time being.
Here are the details, according to the paper’s sources: Amazon’s tablet will come out by October, it will run Android (as expected), it will have a nine-inch screen, and it won’t have a camera. It will be designed for easy viewing of videos, electronic books and digital music purchased from Amazon.
[Previously on GeekWire: Jeff Bezos explains why Amazon is so big on tablets]
Amazon also is planning to release a touch-screen Kindle, in addition to “an improved and cheaper adaptation of the current Kindle,” without a touch screen, the WSJ says.
Depending on the details, that “cheaper” part could be notable. Amazon currently offers an ad-supported, wifi-only version of the Kindle for $114, not far away from the magic price point of $99 that could push the e-reader further into the mainstream.
The move by Amazon into the tablet market will intensify the company’s simmering competition with iPad maker Apple and potentially put Amazon in more direct competition with Microsoft, which is counting on Windows 8 to revive its fortunes in the tablet market.