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Can Amazon dethrone the iPad?

Amazon.com hasn’t even announced its tablet computer. But that’s not stopping the big research firms from projecting what the device will do to the market, which up until now has been dominated by Apple’s iPad.

And, at least according to one analyst, Amazon is likely to “disrupt the status quo” when it releases the device in the coming weeks.

Forrester analyst Sarah Rotman Epps writes today that Amazon.com could sell between three to five million tablet computers during the fourth quarter alone. (That is if the device sells below $300).

It is a battle of David versus Goliath, but she thinks that Amazon has a fighting chance to become a “strong second to Apple’s iPad.”

“Even though Amazon taking on Apple is a bit like David taking on Goliath (compare the market cap, profits, and cash position of the two companies), 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 Reuters, Apple has sold 30 million iPads since its debut in April 2010. And while competitors like HP — which just axed the TouchPad — have failed to gain ground, Rotman Epps thinks Amazon will pose a serious challenge.

Previously on GeekWire:  Amazon vs. Apple: Emergence of the next great tech rivalry?

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