Amazon’s tablet production plans could be constrained by Apple’s existing touch panel demands, and the two giants spar for component supplies. According to DigiTimes‘ sources, Amazon is looking for 1.5-2m touch panels for its first batch of tablets – the “Hollywood” and “Coyote” expected to offer ereading and media streaming as well as internet services – expected in September, with four million devices to ship before the year is out. However, some suppliers have expressed doubts that they could accommodate the scale of Amazon’s demand.
Wintek, which already provides touch panels to Apple for use in its iPad, has apparently warned that its production schedule is closing up for the latter half of 2011, and that it “may be difficult” to satisfy potential Amazon sales as well. Other sources, such as TPK – also a current iPad supplier – have supposedly been reluctant to commit to Amazon’s supply contracts, again based on capacity headaches. TPK declined to comment on the leaks.
One possibility is that other suppliers could look to changing their production to suit the glass-type touch panels Amazon and other manufacturers are looking for. J Touch is likely to do just that, with sources pointing to the company as likely to end up providing components for the Amazon tablets.
This isn’t the first time we’ve heard that Apple’s voracious supply demands have impacted on the production plans of rival firms. RIM’s PlayBook release was reportedly delayed by around a month over touchscreen shortages, while analysts have suggested that Apple holds around 60-percent of the touch panel supply. More recently, the Cupertino company is believed to have used that dominance to demand a 10-percent reduction in costs.