Larger Kindle Fire tablets set to hit in 2012: report

The Kindle Fire was launched this month by Amazon. But according to one tech site, Amazon is already prepping a pair of successors. 

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    A big-screen Kindle Fire is reportedly on the way. Here, reporters crowd around the new Kindle Fire during the launch of the Amazon Kindle Fire.
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The Kindle Fire, the new tablet released by Amazon this month, ships with a 7-inch touchscreen – a couple inches smaller than the 9.7-inch display on the Apple iPad 2. But according to a new report, Amazon is poised to play catch-up. In an article published this week, DigiTimes, an extremely well-sourced Taiwanese tech publication, says Amazon is prepping two new Kindle Fires, one with a 10.1-inch screen, and the other with an 8.9-inch display. 

DigiTimes sources the report to "supply chain makers for Amazon," and forecasts that the 8.9-inch Kindle Fire could hit as soon as the second quarter of 2012. That makes sense: Amazon is known for rapidly refining and rejiggering its devices. The big-screen Kindle DX, for instance, launched just a couple of months after the Kindle 2. 

In related news, this week the research firm ChangeWave called the Amazon Kindle Fire a "a shot across the bow at Apple," until recently the undisputed champ of the tablet market. ChangeWave reps said they had conducted a survey of 3,043 North American consumers – a survey which demonstrated "an extraordinary level of initial demand for the Amazon tablet." 

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"But the Amazon surge may also contain a silver lining for Apple, by damaging the tablet market hopes of the remaining competitors in the field," reps for ChangeWave wrote in a press release. "The most immediate impact of the Amazon device is on the rest of the competition, where the survey shows it wreaking a devastating blow to a range of second-tier tablet manufacturers, including Motorola, RIM, Dell, HTC, H-P and Toshiba." 

The Kindle Fire, which was released in the same general time frame as the Barnes and Noble Nook Tablet, has been received warmly by critics; sales reportedly remain strong.

Sarah Rotman Epps, an analyst at Forrester, recently told CNN that Amazon could unload between 3 and 5 million Fire units before the end of 2011. "Amazon as a company appeals to a wider, more diverse customer base," she said. "Our studies show a lot of iPad owners live within driving distance of Apple stores – meaning they're concentrated on the coast. This could be a red state/blue state thing."

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