HP lays out the blueprint for Amazon to follow

I’ve been called a “Fandroid” on numerous occasions due to my affinity for the smart phone OS. But that love affair ends on the smart phone, as I will fully admit Apple is the only game in town when it comes to tablets.

But that could change with the latest reports of a pair of Amazon tablets, which include 7-inch and 10-inch models. DigiTimes claims that Amazon will start mass production of a 10.1-inch tablet in the first quarter of 2012, while the smaller 7-inch model will ship as early as this October.

Industry analysts have speculated that Amazon could sell its slate device for less than $300. This is nearly half the price of the low-end iPad offering. The low price point would probably mean Amazon would be barely breaking even on the device, turning to an ad and apps driven profit model.

At this point, this is the only way to compete with the iPad.

If we learned anything from the HP TouchPad, it’s that people will flock to the stores to buy a non-iPad tablet if the price is right. The TouchPad would probably be flying off the shelves at a $200 price point as well, so the closer Amazon can get to that figure, the better.

Like Apple, Amazon can also bring content to the device, including a massive archive of e-books, music, videos and games. I would call this an “Android+” offering and am excited to see more details about the hardware.

Remember, Amazon sold its Kindle below cost and became the de facto standard in the e-reader space. An Amazon tablet has the ability to finally give Android a flagship tablet and cut into Apple’s market dominance.

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