Amazon expected to make Kindle Fire announcement today

By Peter Gothard
06 Sep 2012 View Comments
kindle app

Amazon is expected to announce one or more new models in its Kindle Fire range later today, at an event in Santa Monica, California.

The conference will start at 10.30am PST (6.30pm UK time), and while Amazon has not directly admitted what it will be unveiling, a continuation of the Kindle range is widely expected.

Further reading

The Kindle Fire 7in tablet has seen remarkable success in the US, and while Amazon does not publish its sales figures, it has been estimated that six million units were sold in the US in the fourth quarter of 2011, when it launched.

While that compares to a massive 15.43 million iPads sold by Apple in the same period, it is still a hugely encouraging indicator for Amazon that its range has a bright future.

Amazon's share of the tablet market – including sales of the rest of its e-reader range – stood at 17 per cent at the end of December 2011. However, the company announced a 96 per cent drop in second-quarter profits at the end of July, so it obviously needs to build on its tablet success.

But in order to broaden the range, Amazon has several choices. The first, and perhaps most obvious, is to follow the template it has laid out with versions of the original Kindle 3G, and offer the Fire at a lower purchase price, but with built-in advertising that users must engage with in order to use the device.

This helped Amazon take $25 (£15.70) off the Kindle's purchase price in the US, and may prove a good way to get the more powerful Kindle Fire into the hands of budget-conscious buyers.

Needless to say, offering a Kindle Fire in territories outside the US would also help Amazon play catch-up, most obviously with Google, whose global Nexus 7 push has faltered since July with production and supply problems.

E-reader rival Kobo has also just announced a colour screen, 7in, Android 4.0-powered tablet, which rivals the Nexus 7 for price and specification.

Rumours have also been circulating this week that Google may soon announce a 3G version of the Nexus 7 – a key feature of the Kindle range already.

Securing a solid lead in the 7in tablet market could be of paramount importance for Amazon, as Apple's highly anticipated press event on 12 September is rumoured to feature not only a new iPhone, but also news of a 7in "iPad Mini".

Another option for Amazon is to directly take on its rivals in the full-sized tablet market, perhaps producing a Kindle Fire-like device with a screen size of about 10in.

This would help it to break into the iPad market, perhaps getting a foot in the door before the launch of Microsoft's Windows 8-based Surface in October.

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