Amazon’s bigger Kindle Fire plans starting to take shape

by David Needle

February 10 2012

Will Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos (above) unveil a new, bigger Kindle Fire later this year?
Will Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos (above) unveil a new, bigger Kindle Fire later this year?

What will Amazon do for an encore to its hot-selling Kindle Fire? One Wall Street analyst is raising his sales estimates for sales of Amazon’s tablets based on his expectation that the online retail giant will introduce new models later this year.

Pacific Crest analyst Chad Bartley said his company is raising its 2012 sales forecasts for the Fire to 14.9 million from 12.7 million, according to a report in All Things D quoting from a note to clients by Bartley. “But we believe there is an upward bias, particularly from the new 7- and 9-inch models, which we expect to launch in mid-2012," he said.

If Amazon goes upstream to a bigger model it will compete more directly with Apple which is expected to introduce a new version of the iPad next month. A 9-inch display model could still be an interesting counter to the iPad, particularlyi if it's priced quite a bit lower. At the recent CES show a number of companies showed low cost 8- and 9-inch Android tablets. 

Analyst Roger Kay says Amazon was smart to enter the market with a 7-inch model that was distinct from the market-leading iPad. 

"If Amazon came out with a 10-inch tablet like the other ones out there, they would have been immediately compared to the iPad, and that’s not what the wanted, they wanted people to think of it, the Kindle Fire, as a different thing,” said Kay, who heads Endpoint Technologies Associates. “The Kindle Fire was a good way for Amazon to prove there was a market for something different than the iPad, priced much lower, and now they can move up to other models. I think Amazon’s got a very prudent business strategy.” 

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