Amazon To Launch 10-Inch Kindle Fire Tablet In Q3, Will It Impact The Sales Of Apple's iPads?

19 May 2012, 4:19 am EDT

The Cupertino-based tech giant Apple Inc has been long rumored that it would minimize the sizes and prices of their hot-selling iPad models and launch a new tablet Apple iPad Mini with a 7-inch display, in an attempt to get a strong grip of the market share in the segment where Amazon Kindle and Barnes & Noble's Nook Tablet still hold dominance. At the same time, retail major Amazon has something else in mind and is prepping up to take action which is completely in contrast, according to a new reports.

Recently DigiTimes came up with a latest report on the low-priced tablet manufacturer, about how Amazon is planning to launch a 10.1-inch Kindle Fire in the third quarter of the year. Meanwhile, the Kindle Fire currently has a 7-inch screen.

Reports have further noted that Amazon is reportedly looking to simplify its product lineup and launch the 10.1-inch Kindle Fire tablet to compete with Apple's New iPad, which has a 9.7-inch screen. Further ahead, Amazon is also apparently putting on hold, for the moment, its plans to launch a speculated 8.9-inch model, which it was reportedly developing to battle against Samsung's Galaxy Tab tablets.

Amazon tablet orders are expected to ramp up at the end of this quarter or in the early third quarter, DigiTimes' sources said. Moreover, Amazon is expected to ship 30 to 40 million tablets this year.

Meanwhile, rumors about Apple's iPad Mini first cropped up back in December, when Apple reportedly purchased 7.85-inch panels from LG Display and AU Optronics. Last week, the website iMore claimed to have a "reliable" source who said Apple is planning to release a smaller version of its coveted tablet in October for $200 to $250. Further, Apple is looking to price its mini version aggressively to "leave absolutely no space for competitors," the site also reported.

As for the likelihood of this coming to pass, Time columnist Harry McCracken recently fact-checked 25 of Digitimes' tech stories. "By my count, 16 of these 25 stories turned out to be mostly or completely off-base. Five are largely or entirely correct. And four involve predictions that might yet come true," McCracken said.

However at the same time, BGR exclusively reported something similar more than a year ago, which noted that Amazon was developing two tablets, a 7-inch "Coyote" with a dual-core processor that launched as the Kindle Fire and a 10-inch "Hollywood" tablet that is powered by a quad-core processor.

Also, earlier reports were cited by Taiwan Economic News that Amazon is looking to launch three new tablets this year, ranging from low- to high-end models in terms of price brackets and specifications. Their report said that the three models will come as a low-end 7-inch model with a resolution of 1024× 600 screen display, a medium-end 7-inch version with resolution of 1280 × 800 screen and an 8.9-inch version with resolution of 1920 × 1200 pixels display. 

Further the report also mentioned that Amazon is opting to use Taiwanese factories for production to reduce costs. It was reportedly found out that Amazon had signed agreements with Taiwan-based assemblers Quanta and Hon Hai, with Quanta responsible for the assembly of the mid-range (1280 x 800) 7-inch model and Hon Hai will assemble the lower-end (1024 x 600) 7-inch model. Prime View and Chimei Innolux will provide the flat-panel displays while the latter will also provide 7-inch touch sensors.

Kindle's Market Share

Going back to last year, the original Kindle Fire hit the retail channel on Nov. 15, 2011. It was assembled by Quanta and was based on the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet's core design. Amazon reportedly went with the "stock" design, in order to raid the market with its own tablet before the 2011 holiday season. The gamble worked with sales of over 4.7 million units by the end of the fourth quarter of 2011 and a 16.8 percent tablet marketshare.

Amazon certainly caused a few ripples in the tablet pool with its $199 Android-based gadget. And now, with all these rumored reports hinting at Amazon Kindle launches lined up for 2012, one wonders what the company could increase that percentage to.  While they may not be as cool to own as Apple, in a lot of people's minds, the original Kindle Fire obviously met the needs of some consumers, so these options, in theory, should triple their chances.

So if these rumors somehow turn out to be true, the giants of the tablet market may have a tough challenge in 2012. At the same time, consumers may have a hard time choosing from the tablet storm thats likely to hit later this year. So does Apple actually have something to worry about now as far as its dominance in the tablet market is concerned? Let us know your opinions in the comments section below.

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