Demos Parneros, president of U.S. Retail for Staples, said Amazon is gearing up to introduce as many as a half-dozen stock-keeping units, or SKUs, for new Kindle Fire models, according to Reuters. The new models are expected to be available in different sizes, including a larger 10-inch model that would more directly compete with Apple's 9.7-inch iPad.
It's likely that Amazon will not introduce up to six distinct Kindle Fire models. Instead, it's plausible that the models will offer varying levels of capacity, with more storage, or connectivity, with potential features like 3G or 4G LTE wireless.
Since the launch of the 7-inch Kindle Fire last year, there have been reports suggesting Amazon was exploring larger screen sizes of 8.9 inches and 10.1 inches for future models. The new hardware is rumored to debut later this year.
When the new Kindle Fire models debut, the existing model is expected to remain available at a discounted price of $149. That would undercut the new 7-inch Google Nexus 7 by $50.
For now, the Kindle Fire is available in only one model and once screen size at once price: $199. It debuted with a a strong start, but demand quickly collapsed, as customer satisfaction with Amazon's low-priced device was about half that of Apple's third-generation iPad, according to research from ChangeWave.
Amazon also stepped up competition with Apple earlier this month when the retailer announced its new GameCenter social network for Kindle Fire games. The service, compatible with popular titles like "Temple Run" and "Doodle Jump," is very similar to Apple's own Game Center for iOS.