Hugh Pickens writes "Christopher Williams writes that the success of HP's fire sale in unloading hundreds of thousands of TouchPads at heavily discounted prices may provide clues to other Apple competitors hoping to loosen the iPad's stranglehold on the tablet computing market. The main Google Android tablets, made by Samsung and Motorola, are pitched at around the same price point as the iPad but, put together with all the other Android tablets, it's estimated the iPad outsells them eight to one so 'the problem becomes circular: the user base is too small for app developers to invest in,' writes Williams, 'so users buy an iPad because there are more apps and the user base gets even smaller relative to Apple's.' According to Williams, Android tablet makers must find a way of breaking the cycle to avoid the TouchPad's fate. 'No doubt acutely aware of this is Amazon, which is rumored to be preparing to release an Android tablet this autumn,' writes Williams, adding that Amazon must price their 'iPad killer' at break-even or a loss to succeed. 'Its online retail empire and the Kindle brand mean Amazon has the marketing clout to take on the iPad, but on the evidence of HP's successful TouchPad sell off, the question is whether it has the courage to put its money on the line. '"