In anticipation of the 2013 holiday shopping season, company insiders say that Amazon will refresh its current Kindle Fire tablet lineup. According to BGR, “trusted sources” claim that three new models will launch before the end of the year.
The first new addition will replace the 7-inch Kindle Fire, which currently retails for $159. The size will likely remain the same, but the display panel will be upgraded to 1280 x 800 pixels – the same resolution as the current Kindle Fire HD.
In the middle will be an updated Kindle Fire HD. Again, the size is likely to go unchanged, but the screen resolution will increase the pixel count from 1280 x 800p to 1920 x 1200p.
Amazon’s third Kindle Fire HD will be an overhaul of the 8.9-inch model. At present, the Kindle Fire HD 8.9 has an already impressive 1920 x 1200 pixel display with 254 pixels per inch (a fourth-generation iPad squeezes only 10 more PPI, but costs over $200 more). The new panel will boast an amazing 2560 x 1600 pixels – even more than the most recent iPad’s “Retina” display.
The new Kindles will sport a more squared-off look than predecessors. Following leaked images of the LG G2, Amazon is said to be moving the power and volume buttons to the back of the updated devices. The next iteration will be lighter than previous models, and BGR’s sources also claim that Amazon will try to keep the current price points intact.
The online book store turned world’s-largest Internet retailer has generated huge profits since it began manufacturing hardware. In 2007, Amazon started the E Ink reader craze with the original Kindle. It went on to become a huge disruptor in the tablet market after launching the Android-based Kindle Fire in 2011. In fact, a recent survey found that Amazon is the second most desired tablet maker in the U.S. – ahead of Samsung and behind only Apple.
“This is nothing short of remarkable considering how popular Samsung smartphones are and how well-positioned HP, Dell, Motorola, and HTC were when they entered the tablet market a few years ago,” said BGR. “If the tablet market continues shifting towards the sub-$200 price bracket, Amazon is now best-positioned to benefit from the trend.”
Amazon rival Barnes and Noble took a major hit this week when CEO Leonardo Riggo resigned on Monday, citing poor sales of the company’s own Nook tablet.
“[Barnes and Noble] has been hit hard by Amazon, which has won market share by selling physical books more cheaply online,” said Reuters. “Amazon, the world's largest Internet retailer, inflicted more damage when its Kindle e-reader became a hit and e-book sales took off about five years ago.”
This positions Amazon firmly at the front of the E Ink reader market, which can set consumers up for the migration to a low-end tablet. While Barnes and Noble is trying to decide whether to sell the Nook to another company or to partner with a more established brand, Amazon will only increase its own market share for both E Ink readers and inexpensive tablets.
If Amazon can remain ahead of Samsung, while slowly chipping away at Apple and its more pricey offerings, the online mega retailer may be ringing in the holidays with record sales of the Kindle Fire tablet.