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WSJ: Amazon planning tablet for October, touchscreen & cheaper Kindles

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Amazon is planning to release its long-rumored tablet before October, in addition to two new Kindle models (one touchscreen, one cheaper than the current Kindle), the Wall Street Journal reports.

That’s bad news for those expecting an Amazon tablet or revamped Kindle this summer. But for Amazon, it will likely pay off more to spend time developing its new devices so that they’re truly different from the competition, like the iPad and Barnes & Noble’s new touchscreen Nook, instead of just quickly churning them out.

Sources who have seen the devices say that Amazon’s Android tablet features a screen around 9-inches and doesn’t have a camera. Naturally, it’s being positioned as an easy way for consumers to tap into Amazon’s media marketplace, which includes streaming and downloadable movies and television shows, as well as its MP3 and e-book store.

The lack of a camera is disappointing, but it may be a sign that Amazon is positioning its tablet as more of a competitor to Barnes & Noble’s wildly successful Nook Color, a hybrid tablet/ereader that retails for just $250. It would make more sense for Amazon to strip out uneccessary hardware and features from its tablet to make it as cheap as possible — especially since it will serve as a conduit to Amazon’s own media services.

The revamped Kindle news isn’t very surprising, since both Kobo and Barnes & Noble have already released touchscreen ereaders. Last year’s $139 Kindle model also proved very popular for Amazon, so it makes sense for the company to release a lower-priced model. The sources said the new Kindles will continue to use e-Ink technology and are slated for release some time in the third quarter (so there’s still a chance it may land in the summer).