The runaway success of the Kindle Fire has made Amazon eager to refresh its tablet lineup, but it seems the online retailer is having problem deciding on the right size.
An anonymous source recently tipped Reuters that Amazon is preparing to release an 8.9-inch Kindle Fire during the lucrative holiday season this year. If you believe the latest report from DigiTimes, however, the 8.9-inch model has been apparently suspended in favor of a bigger tablet.
Instead of coming out with an 8.9-inch Kindle Fire, Amazon is now planning to release a 10.1-inch Kindle Fire. Why the change of mind? According to industry sources, the 10.1-inch version of the Kindle Fire is part of Amazon’s strategy to simplify its product lineup and to take on the reigning tablet champ, Apple iPad, whereas the 8.9-inch model was prepared to fight off Samsung Galaxy Note tablets. This last tidbit sounds odd though, because Samsung has no Note tablet in the 8.9-inch range. I suspect that this is a misunderstanding, and the source actually meant to say Galaxy Tabs here.
Market rumors now point to a third quarter release of the 10.1-inch Kindle Fire, with production to ramp up in the second quarter or early third quarter of 2012. All in all, the sources said Amazon is hoping to ship 30-40 million tablets this year. Aside from the 10.1-inch model, an improved 7-inch Kindle Fire will also be released to the market.
While Amazon is busy pondering the release of a bigger Kindle Fire, Apple is reportedly planning to launch an iPad Mini in the second half of the year. The latest rumors come from a Taiwanese newspaper that said the miniaturized iPad could start appearing in stores at the end of the third quarter, with Apple setting a goal to ship out 6 million iPad Minis this year.