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) --


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tablet will likely make its eagerly anticipated debut during the next few hours, with the e-commerce giant expected to launch its Kindle Fire.

The Internet giant is expected to

at a New York press conference

which kicks off at 10 a.m. ET, and will be live-blogged by



The rumored "Kindle Fire" has been hyped as a challenger to


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phenomenally successful iPad.


, for example,


that the Android- based Amazon tablet could be priced a $250, significantly undercutting the $499 Apple tablet.

Sarah Rotman Epps, an analyst at Forrester Research believes that Amazon will be a strong No. 2 in the tablet market behind Apple. "There hasn't been strong demand in the U.S. for Android-based tablets before Amazon," she told


during an interview before market open on Wednesday. "Amazon brings a lot of assets to bear here - they sell video, games, apps and music -- what Amazon is expected to do is lead with their content and services."

Apple, which reinvented the tablet market when it launched its iPad last year, has already sold more than 28 million of the devices. The gadget maker sold a record 9.2 million iPads during its recent fiscal third-quarter results, a massive hike of 183% compared to the prior year's quarter.

Amazon shares were up $7, or 3.12%, to $231.21 shortly after market open on Wednesday, easily outpacing the Nasdaq, which was up 0.29%. Apple enjoyed a modest rise, gaining $3, or 0.75%, to reach $402.26.

--Written by James Rogers in New York

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