July 23, 2012

A 10″ Kindle Fire And Amazon Smartphone Next Week?

Michael Harper for - Your Universe Online

Rumors have been flying for a while about a new Kindle Fire offering from Amazon. Today, Reuters is quoting Demos Parneros, Staples´ president, saying Amazon could actually release multiple mobile devices as soon as next week. According to Parneros, Amazon has introduced 5 or 6 tablet SKUs in preparation of an imminent launch.

Amazon has been rumored before to release a 10-inch version of their Fire tablet, which could put it in direct competition with Apple´s iPad. Not surprisingly, Amazon has refused to comment on Parneros´  comments.

After reading the Reuters story, some websites have taken “5 or 6 tablet SKUs” to mean Amazon could release multiple tablets. As Business Insider Astutely points out, 5 or 6 SKUs could simply mean different size options for an existing 7-inch Fire and a new, 10-inch version.

Amazon uses their Kindle e-readers and Kindle Fire tablets as more than media consumption devices; They´re direct portals to the Amazon store, allowing these users to purchase ebooks, movies and music directly on their device. So far, their business model has been to sell these devices at an incredibly low price point, hoping to make up the cost in sales of this digital media.

With more than 100 million credit cards stored in their databanks, Amazon is a major competitor in the platform wars between Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft.

Niccolo de Masi, chief executive of mobile game developer Glu Mobile, who develops games for the Fire, told Reuters he expects the 7-inch tablet to stick around for a while, despite the ongoing platform wars.

“You´re seeing the Apple play book recreated by everyone else who wants to play in the mobile device ecosystem. Amazon is the latest entrant,” said Masi.

“The Kindle Fire is off to a great start,” he added. “We will be supporting all new devices that have promise. They are trying to build on the foundations they have.”

With nearly a year´s worth of information about the way Fire users spend on their tablets, Amazon could very well have every reason to continue a strong push into this market with more tablet options, such as larger sizes and more capacity. Analysts have also told Reuters that they still expect Amazon to release a smartphone in the near future.

As Giordano Contestabile– executive at PopCap Games– sees it, Amazon will continue to push for new offerings in the future.

“Amazon will keep working on this path of providing mobile devices and tablet devices,” said Contestabile, speaking to Reuters.

“We´re all waiting.”

Amazon hasn´t said exactly how well their Fire tablets have been selling, saying only that they´re “very pleased with what´s happening.”

Some have taken a recent employment surge at Amazon´s device division, Lab126, to signal a new smartphone option from the world´s number one internet reseller. According to The Telegraph, Lab126 listed just over 500 employees last September on LinkedIn. Now, that number has grown to 865. When The Telegraph reached out to one of these lab126 employees who recently moved from Microsoft´s Windows Phone division, the employee didn´t have much to say.

"I can't really say much about some of the things on which I am working," said Brandon Watson, a mobile phone engineer.

"I can say that the goals of some of the teams are huge. Huge."