Tablet iPad ebook

Tesco is reportedly planning to launch an ‘iPad-like’ tablet

Tesco is reportedly planning to release a tablet computer in time for Christmas.

The Sunday Times reported the “iPad-like” device would come pre-loaded with books, films and music, as the retailer seeks to take on the likes of Apple and Amazon in digital download sales. No price details were given.

A Tesco spokeswoman said today the company had no comment on the reports.

Unnamed sources said the Tesco tablet would take its cues from Amazon’s successful Kindle Fire tablet, which runs a version of Google’s Android operating system and retails for £129 on Amazon’s website.

Tesco has been ramping up its digital presence in recent years, following the purchase of on-demand film and TV service Blinkbox in 2011. In June, Tesco appointed Blinkbox co-founder Michael Comish to the new position of group digital officer.

The retailer also offers Clubcard TV, which offers free, ad-supported films and TV shows to Clubcard members.

Meanwhile, Blinkboxmusic and Blinkboxbooks – for music and ebook downloads respectively – are in development.

In July, Tesco leapfrogged HMV to become the UK’s second largest retailer of entertainment products, a 1.6% share gain, according to Kantar Worldpanel. However, Amazon picked up an additional 3.4% of the market to cement its place as the UK’s number-one entertainment retailer.

Apple’s iTunes store also benefited from HMV’s decline, increasing its market share by 2.4%, to take third place.

Tesco would not be the first of the big four to dabble in tablets: in 2011, Asda launched the 8-inch, £99 Android-powered Arnova tablet, although it is no longer available from Asda Direct.

In 2010, clothing retailer Next launched a 10-inch own-brand tablet computer for £180.