Amazon tablet mockup via BGR.

The rumored Amazon tablet isn’t even out yet (the company is sourcing components for manufacturing), but that hasn’t stopped market analysts from estimating its potential. According to Forrester Research, the online retailer could sell up to five million tablets in the fourth quarter of this year. The figure is not to be dismissed easily, especially in light of poor sales of other vendors in the Android tablet space. Heck, the number fares more than favorably versus the 30 million iPads Apple sold since April of last year. Analyst Sarah Rotman Epps wrote in a note to clients:

Thus far, Apple has faced many would-be competitors, but none have gained significant market share. Not only does Amazon have the potential to gain share quickly but its willingness to sell hardware at a loss, as it did with the Kindle, makes Amazon a nasty competitor.

In addition, strong sales of the Amazon tablet is likely to become the key incentive for Android developers who have largely ignored the market for Honeycomb devices.

Nevertheless, popularized by Apple’s iPad, the tablet is on the rise. Amazon on its part is best poised to reap the benefits due to the sheer size of its ecosystem offering the kind of integrated product which can challenge Apple’s vertically integrated approach to gadget making. Also…

…if Amazon successfully creates a product that marries the electronic ink technology of the Kindle reader – which offers unmatched on the go reading experience – with apps, web browsing and computing features found in regular tablets, the company will no doubt have a killer gadget on its hands. The key, as always, will be price. If Amazon prices its tablet competitively and is able to supply the market with enough units, they should steal some thunder from iPad.

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