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Amazon tablet seen as worthy iPad rival
by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) Aug 29, 2011

With Amazon reportedly poised to launch a tablet computer, technology research firm Forrester is predicting the device could be the first legitimate challenger to Apple's iPad.

Forrester Research analyst Sarah Rotman Epps, in a blog post accompanying a report released Monday, 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."

"If Amazon launches a tablet at a sub-$300 price point -- assuming it has enough supply to meet demand -- we see Amazon selling 3-5 million tablets in the fourth quarter alone," she said.

The Seattle, Washington-based Amazon, maker of the Kindle electronic book reader, is capable of "disrupting not only Apple's product strategy but other tablet manufacturers' as well," the Forrester Research analyst said.

Apple sold 9.25 million iPads last quarter and dominates the market for the multi-media devices, which are also being produced by South Korea's Samsung, Blackberry maker Research In Motion and scores of other companies.

But none of the iPad's rivals has managed to put a scare so far into the California-based gadget-maker whose legendary co-founder Steve Jobs stepped down as chief executive last week.

Citing disappointing sales, US computer giant Hewlett-Packard killed its iPad competitor, the TouchPad, last week after just seven weeks on the market.

According to technology research firm Gartner, the iPad will account for 68.7 percent of the 69.7 million tablets to be sold this year and will remain the top-selling device over the next few years.

Amazon has not publicly announced plans to produce a tablet but numerous press reports have said the online retail giant will come out with one this year.

The Wall Street Journal reported last month that Amazon plans to unveil a tablet computer powered by Google's Android operating system before October.

The New York Post, citing a "a source with knowledge of the plans," said last week that Amazon will enter the tablet fray in late September or October with a device that costs "hundreds less than the entry-point $499 iPad."

Like with the low-priced Kindle, Amazon would not be looking to make a profit on the hardware but from digital content such as books, music, movies and games and applications sold for the device.

Forrester's Rotman Epps said the arrival of an Amazon tablet could also encourage Android software developers to create more programs.

Apple's App Store currently boasts more than 100,000 applications for the iPad while just a few hundred have been created for tablets running a version of Android called Honeycomb.

"If Amazons Android-based tablet sells in the millions, Android will suddenly appear much more attractive to developers who have taken a wait-and-see approach," Rotman Epps said.

"The bottom line: A year from now, 'Amazon' will be synonymous with 'Android' on tablets, a strong second to Apple's iPad," she predicted.

Amazon shares were up 3.04 percent in early afternoon trading on Wall Street at $205.33 while Apple shares gained 1.54 percent to $389.48.

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Samsung, Apple tablet row heats up in Australia
Sydney (AFP) Aug 29, 2011 - Electronics giant Samsung Monday said it would launch a counter claim against US firm Apple in Australia as part of a dispute between the rival companies over tablet computers.

The American company launched legal action against South Korea's Samsung Electronics in Sydney earlier this month, accusing it of infringing its patents with its Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet.

Samsung said Monday it had agreed to delay the product's launch in Australia pending a decision by the Federal Court due in the week beginning September 26, but would defend the case.

"Samsung will continue to actively defend its right to launch the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Australia in order to ensure that consumers have a wider selection of innovative products to choose from," it said in a statement.

Apple is seeking to permanently ban the sale or promotion of the latest Galaxy, which would compete with its iPad, in Australia, saying it infringes Apple patents.

Samsung disputes this.

It said it intended to file a claim against Apple Australia and Apple Inc "regarding the invalidity of the patents previously asserted by Apple and also a cross claim against Apple regarding violation of patents held by Samsung by selling its iPhones and iPads".

The companies are already embroiled in a patent dispute over smartphones and tablet computers in the United States, with both sides filing infringement claims against the other.

Legal action is also ongoing in Germany and South Korea.

Samsung has so far released its touchscreen Galaxy Tab 10.1, which it says is the world's thinnest tablet at just 8.6 millimetres, in at least five overseas countries, including the United States.

It had planned to launch its modified version in Australia in mid-September.

"Samsung will continue to pursue all possible measures including legal action to defend its intellectual property rights and ensure its innovative products remain available to consumers throughout the world," it said.

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Steve Jobs a product wizard: Wozniak
San Francisco (AFP) Aug 25, 2011
Steve Wozniak on Thursday praised fellow Apple co-founder Steve Jobs as a technology genius who blessed the world with amazing gadgets. During a Piers Morgan television talk show interview on CNN, Wozniak described Jobs's legacy as "giving mankind the most useful, helpful tools we've ever had... the ones we not only use but we have come to love." Jobs stepped down on Wednesday as chief e ... read more

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