Gdgt just posted an excellent article claiming that Amazon is getting Samsung to build them an Android tablet, which may run Android 3.0 (codenamed Honeycomb) or even a custom operating system based on Google's Android platform. It could be released by the end of this summer.
Furthermore, author Peter Rojas, co-founder of Gizmodo and Engadget, argues that the biggest competitor to Apple in the tablet space is actually Amazon:
It's something of an open secret that Amazon is working on an Android tablet and I am 99% certain they are having Samsung build one for them. Does the world really need yet another tablet? If it were anyone else, I'd say no, but I think Amazon is uniquely positioned to layer in a set of products and services that would differentiate its tablet from the flood of Android tablets hitting the market this year.
The article is a great read and reminds me of other whispers that the company is building a tablet that builds on the Kindle. From everything I've read, I would say there are three main reasons why Amazon will likely move further into the tablet space.
The first reason is exactly because of the Kindle. It is the best-selling product on Amazon and the company has surely learned a lot from it. The company has built a brand that consumers recognize and appreciate even if they do not own the device or use the mobile app on their phones. In short, it's a very solid base to expand from.
The second reason is sheer retail size. Amazon is huge. One of Apple's biggest advantages over other tablet makers is its retail stores, and while Amazon doesn't have this, its online presence is massive enough to make sure it sells millions of whatever it features on its website, like it has with the Kindle.
The third reason is Amazon's recently launched services. In addition to the Kindle ecosystem, there's the Amazon Android App Store and the Cloud Drive. If that doesn't scream tablet, we don't know what does.
There are still many unanswered questions like exact timing and pricing. I would be seriously surprised if it didn't arrive this year, and if it was more than $500.