Amazon is planning to release three new models of its massively popular Kindle Fire, according to a recent report from the China Economic News Service. The report claims that Amazon will be releasing the following new Kindle Fire models, each with a different resolution: a low-end 7-inch model (1204x600 resolution), a mid-tier 7-inch model (1280x800 resolution) and a high-end 8.9-inch (1920x1200 resolution).
The report also says that in order to cut costs -- a key differentiating point between the Kindle Fire and the Apple iPad -- Amazon is going to working with more Taiwanese suppliers than it has in previous iterations of its popular tablet device.
Last year, the Kindle Fire was assembled by Quanta, but Hon Hai (trading as Foxconn) will reportedly join the fray of ODMs, assembling the low-end 1,204x600-resolution tablet. Quanta will manufacture the others tablets according to the report.
The flat panel display, the front-facing part of the device that consumers touch to operate the machine, was formerly supplied by LGD and Panasonic. Chimei Innolux will supply the 7-inch FDPs and Prime View will supply the 8.9-inch displays.
PC Mag reports that there's ample reason to believe the rumors about three new Amazon Kindle Fire tablets because the tight-knit Taiwanese network of suppliers can leak information while one supplier talks to another about doing business. PC Mag also reports that reducing the cost of production of its tablet devices could mean that Amazon begins making a profit off of sales of the device.
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It's long been assumed that Amazon is producing the Kindle Fire at a loss in order to keep costs low. Since most of the media on the Kindle Fire is sold through Amazon, most assumed any profit would come from sales from the device that are charged to Amazon's website.
While Amazon sold huge quantities of the Kindle Fire in the fourth quarter of 2011, the Apple iPad has remained the king of the tablet world -- especially since the new iPad broke sales records. Worldwide tablet shipments rose by 56.1 percent on a sequential basis in the fourth quarter of 2011 to 28.2 million units worldwide according to an IDC report. Amazon shipped 4.7 million Kindle Fires in the fourth quarter of 2011; meanwhile, Apple shipped .15.3 million units.
Amazon's widely-reported entry into the media tablet market with a $199, 7-inch product seemed to raise consumers' awareness of the category worldwide despite the fact that the Fire shipped almost exclusively in the U.S. in the fourth quarter, said Tom Mainelli, research director, Mobile Connected Devices in an IDC report. As a result, products across the pricing spectrum sold well, including everything from Apple's premium-priced iPads (which start at $499) to Pandigital's line of Android-based, entry-level tablets (which start at $120). The success of market leader Apple was particularly noteworthy, as the company's shipment total for the quarter represents an increase of 110.5% from 4Q10.