Amazon's $249 tablet could shake up pay TV business

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Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN) may soon begin marketing a $249 tablet computer--a product that could threaten Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL) iPad, and provide a jolt for pay TV distributors looking to distribute multiplatform to subscribers.

It's important to note that Amazon still hasn't officially confirmed that it will sell its own tablet. But countless reports, including a review of the product from a technology blogger, suggest that it will soon begin selling a tablet based on Google's Android platform which will feature a 7-inch color display.

Analysts at Forrester Research are already estimating that Amazon could sell up to 5 million tablets during the fourth quarter. The top online retailer is also testing a redesign for its website which appears to be focused on delivering content to tablet computers.

Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA), DirecTV (Nasdaq: DTV), Cablevision (NYSE: CVC), Verizon (NYSE: VZ) and other pay TV providers have already created apps for Apple's iPad which allow subscribers to use the devices as remote control, and to watch video on the tablets. With the prospect of Amazon marketing a tablet that costs half the price of the iPad, it's likely that tablet computers could make their way into the homes of millions of pay TV subscribers. Turning the tablet computer into a mass market product opens up a new distribution outlet for content owners, and could also create new advertising and subscription revenue streams for pay TV distributors.

For more:
- CNET has this story
- Forbes has sales projections for Amazon's tablet
- The Wall Street Journal has this story about Amazon.com's redesign (sub. req.)
- TechCrunch has this Kindle Tablet review

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