Rumors have been circulating for months that Amazon plans to release a new version of its Kindle Fire tablet this year, but recent reports indicate the specs may have changed to a bigger model.
Just what Amazon plans next is a tightly-guarded secret with no information forthcoming from the company. But Digitimes, a Taiwan-based publication that tracks supply chain manufacturers who build and provide components to computer makers, says Amazon plan to release a 10.1-inch model of the Kindle Fire that would compete more directly (at least from a size perspective) with Apple’s iPad that sports a 9.7-inch display.
Earlier reports had Amazon releasing an 8.9-inch Kindle Fire that would still be a step up from the current 7-inch model. Digitimes’ sources say release of the 8.9-inch, designed to take on Samsung’s Galaxy Tab, is “suspended.” The report says the 10.1-inch Kindle Fire will be released this summer.
Another report by Reuters surfaced last week that Amazon’ plans to release a Kindle Fire with a front-lit display for making it easier to read at night without, for example, disturbing a spouse while in bed.
Whatever Amazon has planned is sure to be watched closely by its many competitors. The Kindle Fire, priced at a market-shakeup price of $199, burst on the scene last November selling millions of units over the holiday season, establishing a new low-end benchmark price for an Android tablet.
Unlike its competitors, Amazon can afford to sell the Kindle Fire at a slight loss because the device serves as a vehicle for the company to sell more products and services via its popular online storefront.
Google is expected to match or possibly beat the Kindle Fire’s price with a new line of branded tablets due out later this year.