Amazon to release larger Kindle Fire tablets next year?

Faith Merino · November 21, 2011 · Short URL:

Foxconn is reportedly manufacturing 8.9-inch and 10.1-inch Kindle Fire tablets

The Kindle Fire didn’t get the most pleasant early reviews last week, but that’s not stopping Amazon from charging full-steam ahead with some new, larger tablets as early as next year, according to a report from DigiTimes

Sources reportedly told the Chinese digital news source that Foxconn, the same manufacturer that produces Apple’s products, will begin production on a new 8.9-inch Kindle Fire, which will launch at the end of the second quarter of 2012.  Amazon will follow that up with a 10.1-inch Kindle Fire, but the scheduling is tricky as Amazon is trying to avoid competition with other tablet-makers who are pushing out similar sized tablets, the sources say.  That would be the 10.1-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab, HP’s TouchPad, and the iPad (of course), among others.

Amazon revealed the new 7-inch Kindle Fire tablet in September and a report from ChangeWave shows that consumers are already in love, with as many as 22% saying they plan to buy a Kindle Fire compared to 65% who say they plan to buy an iPad.  That’s huge, considering the fact that just nine months ago, Apple enjoyed an 82% market share.

Regardless of the negative reviews it’s already received, the Kindle Fire is poised to be a big hit this holiday season, with analysts predicting that Amazon will sell as many as five million units by the end of the year.  By comparison, Apple sold 11.12 million iPads in the quarter ended September 24, 2011.

Amazon doesn’t release sales figures, but it was rumored last December that the company sold as many as eight million Kindles in 2010.

It will definitely be a holiday hit, but it will have to contend with other rising star tablets, including the Nook Tablet, which retails for $249 but promises to deliver better performance.  Also a potential contender this season: RIM’s PlayBook tablet, which hasn’t had an easy go of the tablet market since it was released earlier this year.  But RIM announced via Twitter Monday that the PlayBook’s price tag will be dropping to $199 for the holidays.  RIM didn’t say when the price cut will go into effect, or for how long (other than to say for a limited time only).  But a $199 price will put the RIM playbook in direct competition with the Kindle Fire this year.


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