The Amazon tablet rumor is a bit long in the tooth, but this time it could be for real. Fasten your seatbelts, folks – Asian trade publication DigiTimes just quoted supply chain sources claiming that the online retailer commissioned contract manufacturer Quanta Computer to build a tablet PC device:

Taiwan-based notebook maker Quanta Computer has recently received OEM orders from Amazon for its reported tablet PC and the device will also receive full support from Taiwan-based electrophoretic display (EPD) maker E Ink Holdings (EIH) for supplying touch panel as well as providing its Fringe Field Switching (FFS) technology, according to sources from upstream component makers.

Sources shared other tidbits related to the rumored Amazon tablet.

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Rather than replace the Kindle e-book reader, the tablet will be introduced as a new device because as Amazon plans to further cut the Kindle’s price in order to push the device into education and consumer markets. They will promote the tablet PC “using its advantage in software and content resources to challenge iPad 2″, says the publication.

This partially jives with the rumors that the Kindle may somehow go free at some point. Recently, Amazon announced a project where users can borrow Kindle books from 11,000 libraries in the country.

Quanta will produce up to 800,000 tablet units during the peak season, DigiTimes wrote. The report goes on to note that Quanta is expected to ship the tablet by the second half of this year. Quanta Computer is also a manufacturing partner of Research In Motion, Sony, Apple and other established brands. They currently manufacture MacBooks for the Cupertino firm.

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