February 11, 2012
Rumor: Amazon Releasing 9-Inch Kindle Fire In Mid-2012
With rumors of a March launch for the iPad 3 persisting, reports surfaced on Friday that Amazon may be set to counter with a new, larger version of their Kindle Fire tablet computer.
According to Kate O'Flaherty of The Inquirer, the online retailer is expected to launch both an enhanced 7 inch and a new, larger 9 inch version of the Kindle Fire sometime "in the middle of 2012."
All Things Digital's John Paczkowski first broke the news. Paczkowski spoke with Pacific Crest analyst Chad Bartley, who explained that his firm had upped their 2012 Kindle Fire sales estimates from 12.7 million to 14.9 million because "we believe there is an upward bias, particularly from the new 7- and 9-inch models, which we expect to launch in mid-2012.”
"Amazon has tasted success with the Kindle Fire," PCMag.com's Leslie Horn observed on Friday. "While it might not be the iPad-killer some predicted it would be, it has handily secured the number two spot in the tablet market“¦ But in order to keep riding that momentum, Amazon will have to update."
The rumors of a larger Kindle Fire have dated back to just prior to the device's launch, according to Will Shanklin of Geek.com. In fact, he said that initial leaked reports showed a pair of tablets coming from the online retailer -- "One, dubbed 'Coyote,' was an entry-level tablet with a dual-core processor. Obviously that´s the one that released in 2011. But the other tablet, codenamed 'Hollywood,' largely went forgotten. It was supposed to be the real star, and would feature a quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3."
Thus, the two new models set to come out within the next few months would be an upgraded version of the existing 7-inch Kindle Fire, as well as a larger 9-inch model much like the "Hollywood" one described by Geek.com.
Obviously, no official pricing information was available. That said, Shanklin wrote that Amazon "will probably manage to undercut the iPad´s starting $500 price, but many speculate that Apple will keep the iPad 2 around at a lower price ($400?) in 2012. This strategy of selling previous years´ devices at lower prices has worked well for the iPhone, and it would be a formidable foe (to say the least) for any Amazon tablets released this year."
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