We’ve been tracking Amazon Tablet rumors all year long. And if you’ve followed the coverage, you know that I – nay, we, The Buffalos – think Amazon is uniquely positioned to make a dent in the tablet market unlike anyone else this side of Apple and, arguably, Barnes and Noble. The dime a dozen Android tablets hold strong appeal to FanDroids and spec freaks, but the mass market has yelled loud and clear: “iPad or bust!” Amazon, however, has a shot at disruption mainly because they’re a digital retailer, not a technology company. Where others have tried and failed to out-iPad Apple on their own terms (specs, pricing, user experience), Amazon has an out-of-the-box card up their sleeves. They sell a ton of stuff both digital and physical, and can leverage their vast inventory of stuff to entice tablet-buyers into “Buy our computer, get all kinds of discounts and freebies on our other goods” deals.

Nobody else can do that. Barnes and Noble can do it a little, but mainly on books with a bit of DVDs and music thrown in on the side. The rest of the tablet makers? Trying to out-iPad Apple in vain. But Amazon can pull an end around here, and we think they will.

With that background we give you the latest made-up stuff – that is, industry intelligence – regarding the Amazon Tablet rumors. Forrester Research is predicting sales of up to five million Amazon tablets during the fourth quarter of this year. Should Amazon ship a tablet and reach Forrester’s estimates of 3-5M units moved in Q4, they would take second with a bullet in the tablet wars. Forrester sees an Amazon slate selling for less than $300, which makes sense given the value in the e-tailer moving hardware as a loss leader to pump up revenues on sales of digital and physical goods, not to mention the value in Amazon’s playing the hardware/retailer card in order to achieve solid dominance as the number one Android app seller in the land. A full-blown Android tablet with the value-add of Amazon’s software, services, and exclusive deal coupons would certainly be attractive at $299. So yeah, I’m with Forrester:

The bottom line: A year from now, “Amazon” will be synonymous with “Android” on tablets, a strong second to Apple’s iPad. If you haven’t yet contemplated how Apple-Amazon tablet domination will change your product strategy, now is the time to plan and act.

And you? Can you see it? Does it ring true? Will you buy your ice cream sandwiches from Amazon at this time next year?

[Source: Forrester Blogs]