Roger Cheng and Steve Musli:
Despite speculation that Amazon was preparing a larger 8.9 or 10-inch version, the company will only unveil a new 7-inch Kindle Fire and a slightly revamped version of the original tablet in an event scheduled for next week, according to a person who has seen the products.
As I reported a year ago, Amazon has been thinking about and testing a 10-inch tablet for a long time. They initially planned to release it alongside the Kindle Fire, but the plan quickly changed to early 2012. Then they pushed it again. Now they’re balking again, apparently.
Hard to know for sure, but my guess would be that Amazon more than has their hands full just trying to compete in the 7-inch tablet space. Google is now their main competitor there, and Apple will enter soon. No point in launching a new offensive against a deeply entrenched product (the 9.7-inch iPad) and a soon-to-be huge challenger (Microsoft, with the Surface) when you’re playing defense on the other front.
Put another way: try to win one war before you find yourself in the middle of two (or three, with a smartphone).
The Kindle Fire is not nearly as good as the Nexus 7 — it’s just not even close, really. The updated one? We’ll see. But if Apple is entering the space as well, you know they have to believe they have a winner too.
So instead, it appears Amazon is going to take a different approach — the approach they know well: discount, discount, discount. A $150 ad-supported Kindle Fire would be very attractive this holiday seasons for two reasons:
If successful, it could force Google’s hand to further eat costs with the Nexus 7. And the race to the bottom will be on. (Apple, of course, won’t play that game — I’m still betting the iPad mini comes in closer to $249 or even $299.)