Earlier this year, Kevin Kopelman, an analyst with Cowen, estimated that Amazon would sell 14 million Kindle Fire tablets. Last week, he slashed that forecast to 12 million. The reason? Well, as Roger Cheng of CNET notes, the initial appeal of the Kindle Fire was that it undercut the iPad on price – the Fire was an accessible tablet for price-conscious shoppers.
But since the Kindle Fire launch, an array of cheap tablets have hit the market.
Chief among them: Google's Nexus 7 tablet, which apparently has proved so popular that Google has halted sales of the 16GB model while it catches up to demand. Of course, that's not to say that Amazon is getting nudged out of the race altogether. According to Reuters, Amazon is poised to release five or six new Fire tablet computers in the next few months, including a 10-inch model.
It's worth noting that Amazon has not confirmed the existence of a new tablet – let alone five or six of them. That information comes via Demos Parneros, president of US Retail for Staples, Inc., the office supplies retail chain. Still, assuming Parneros is correct, the rationale for Amazon would be pretty clear: Every new tablet offers a new way for Amazon to sell customers online Amazon content, from e-books to MP3s.
"Having its own devices sitting atop a software platform that offers digital content to more than 100 million, credit-card-wielding customers already programmed to buy, could help Amazon become a major mobile platform player, challenging Apple, Google, Microsoft and Facebook," Reuters writes.
The current Kindle Fire measures 7.5 inches by 4.7 inches – smaller than the iPad, which measures 9.5 inches by 7.31 inches. Amazon advertised the Fire as a tablet that fit the hand, as opposed to the iPad, a full-featured machine that typically requires two hands to use. With a 10-inch Kindle Fire model, Amazon would be attempting to make inroads into terrain currently dominated by Apple.