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. 

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.

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." 

"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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