Amazon Kindle, tablet lineup will test the water for bigger form factors in 2012

Posted:
in iPad edited January 2014
Amazon is set to release two new Kindle black-and-white e-ink models in addition to an aggressively-priced 7-inch tablet with a color LCD screen on Wednesday, with the company considering expanding to larger 10.1-inch and 8.9-inch tablets next year to compete with Apple's iPad.



Concord Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has detailed three new products expected to be announced at Amazon's media event on Wednesday.



Kuo notes that the most anticipated device, a 7-inch media tablet codenamed "Hollywood," will run on the older OMAP 3 processor from Texas Instruments and feature 512MB of RAM. While a recent report from TechCrunch that claims the device will launch as the "Kindle Fire" in the second week of November, he expects the device to begin shipping in late September with estimated shipments of 3 million units by the end of the year. The analyst also corroborated a recent report that Quanta has been contracted to produce the device.



Amazon appears to be betting heavily on marketing the device as an affordable tablet meant to take advantage of its digital media ecosystem, including magazines, music, video and apps. The device is expected to be fairly spartan, as it will reportedly not include a camera, GPS, cover glass or 3G data functionality. Kuo also noted that the tablet will run an older version of Google's Android mobile operating system.







According to a channel check by Kuo, the bill-of-materials for the device is expected to be $180. Amazon may choose to price the device at an aggressive $199, Kuo said. That's cheaper than the $250 price that an earlier report had suggested.



The analyst doesn't see Amazon's forthcoming 7-inch tablet as aimed at the iPad. Instead, Kuo believes the "Hollywood" project is meant to test the waters for future tablet releases primed for release in 2012. According to him, the retailer is working on a 10.1-inch device, codenamed "Coyote," that will directly compete with Apple's iPad when it arrives in early 2012. The company is also reportedly preparing an 8.9-inch tablet with an "amazing form factor" for release in the second half of 2012, though suppliers are said to be having a tough time meeting Amazon's requirements for the device.



Reports that Amazon was preparing a tablet emerged earlier this year. Some industry watchers have predicted that the device could be the first credible challenge to Apple's iPad ecosystem, which is supported by iTunes, the App Store and the iBookstore.



But, industry insiders recently cast doubt on the upcoming Amazon media tablet, questioning whether the 7-inch form factor is a wise choice. Supply chain sources also doubted whether the company would be able to reach its rumored internal shipment goal of 4 million units in 2011.



In addition to its much-anticipated media tablet, Amazon will also release two new versions of its popular Kindle e-reader, Kuo noted. The low-end version, codenamed Tequila, may cost as little as $99 and will feature a Freescale i.MX515 processor with an integrated controller that should provide "better system design and lower cost."



The high-end Kindle, which is codenamed Whitney, will sport the same processor, while also including features missing on the Tequila, such as touch controls, 3G connectivity and a speaker. According to Kuo, the Whitney will not arrive until early October because of a "more complicated design and assembly."



By the end of 2011, Amazon is expected to ship 8 million of the upcoming low-end Kindles and 4 million Whitney models. Kuo projects total e-book reader shipments will reach 28 million units this year, with Kindle maintaining a dominant 68 percent market share.



The numbers offered by Kuo offer a glimpse into Kindle build plans and projected sales that Amazon itself does not reveal. The online retailer has never disclosed any actual sales figures for its popular line of Kindle e-readers, instead only saying that the e-ink devices are the company's best-selling product across its entire expansive online storefront.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 39
    This just doesn't sound exciting at all.
  • Reply 2 of 39
    It's like watching a train wreck in sloooow motion. You want to look away, but you just can't.
  • Reply 3 of 39
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by GotWake View Post


    It's like watching a train wreck in sloooow motion. You want to look away, but you just can't.



    Yep. iPad killer(s), alright.



    I am wondering, if they're going to price the 7-inch in the mid-200s (as rumored), what will the one closest to the iPad in size (the 10.1-inch) be priced at?
  • Reply 4 of 39
    Amazon can't compete with Apple, sorry... It's not even worth talking about.
  • Reply 5 of 39
    remember when the series 9 was supposed to kill the macbook air? what about when the galaxy s (II) was supposed to kill the iphone? Maybe the touchpad killing the ipad will stir memories. Possibly the sony vaio z came close to killing the macbook pro. Or just about every desktop pc, all in one or tower, was supposed to kill the imac. and dont even start the zune killing the ipod argument.



    I think apple will do just fine
  • Reply 6 of 39
    Amazon has contents (books, music, videos, apps) and controls it own distribution channel (albeit not a bricks and mortar setup). It is the closest thing to a complete ecosystem that's comparable to Apple's. Unlike the likes of Samsung and Motorola, Amazon is not a stickler for maintaining a high margin (look at how the Kindle price kept dropping for a while). So it's going to do fine. Jeff Bezos is also a patient man. As a highly successful founding CEO, he has the same clout as Jobs does in marshaling all corporate resources necessary to make this product successful.



    Remember that Apple has gone to great lengths to say that it's not about hardware specs. Amazon will prove Jobs right. Also remember that this Kindle Fire thingie does not have to *kill* the iPad to succeed.
  • Reply 7 of 39
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,215member
    Who will be next to bring out a tablet I wonder? Walmart, Verizon, Mattel ...? I say this seriously. Why? Because obviously manufacturers are geared up to make this junk even if RIM, HP and some original players drop out. Android is free, so why not! I can imagine there will be OEM version soon small companies can have personalized like pens and tee shirts. The good news for Apple is none of this matters to the iPad market.
  • Reply 8 of 39
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by stelligent View Post


    Amazon has contents (books, music, videos, apps) and controls it own distribution channel (albeit not a bricks and mortar setup). It is the closest thing to a complete ecosystem that's comparable to Apple's.



    Yeah, except it's all of rather poor quality. The whole experience is something that is quite un-Apple-like, meant to appeal to a completely different segment of the market.



    Perhaps that is the point.



    On other issue they'll invetiably have confront: If they are successful with this (and I wish them nothing but success), they'll discover that scaling up will involve management of upstream and downstream hardware supply/retail chain and quality control/service issues the likes of which are not at easy to navigate. Apple has decades of experience doing that.
  • Reply 9 of 39
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by pooman625 View Post


    remember when the series 9 was supposed to kill the macbook air? what about when the galaxy s (II) was supposed to kill the iphone? Maybe the touchpad killing the ipad will stir memories. Possibly the sony vaio z came close to killing the macbook pro. Or just about every desktop pc, all in one or tower, was supposed to kill the imac. and dont even start the zune killing the ipod argument.



    I think apple will do just fine



    Samsung is taking a dent in Apple's iPhone sales. All of these competitors are fighting for limited consumer dollars.



    Amazon should have a good shot. I trust they know what they are doing on build quality, but it doesn't really appeal to me. Pricing it at BOM cost seems like a dangerous strategy.



    All that said, it is time for Apple to change the game again. It will be interesting to see where it goes.
  • Reply 10 of 39
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by stelligent View Post


    Amazon has contents (books, music, videos, apps) and controls it own distribution channel (albeit not a bricks and mortar setup). It is the closest thing to a complete ecosystem that's comparable to Apple's. Unlike the likes of Samsung and Motorola, Amazon is not a stickler for maintaining a high margin (look at how the Kindle price kept dropping for a while). So it's going to do fine. Jeff Bezos is also a patient man. As a highly successful founding CEO, he has the same clout as Jobs does in marshaling all corporate resources necessary to make this product successful.



    Remember that Apple has gone to great lengths to say that it's not about hardware specs. Amazon will prove Jobs right. Also remember that this Kindle Fire thingie does not have to *kill* the iPad to succeed.



    Jobs says it's not about the hardware specs but the experience - unfortunately for Amazon, their experience is truly the anti-Apple. Is there an update for your device? Who knows? Who can tell? And if one version gets it, another may not, because... hey, no real reason, just because Amazon decided not to. I love my Kindle DX for reading, but that's entirely due to the great e-ink screen, NOT thanks to the godawful software and end-user experience that Amazon delivers. Oh, not to mention the awful keyboard. B&N came late to the party and has been doing laps around Amazon. And now Amazon is going to be the mighty Apple challenger? Seriously?
  • Reply 11 of 39
    sennensennen Posts: 1,465member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by stelligent View Post


    Amazon has contents (books, music, videos, apps) and controls it own distribution channel (albeit not a bricks and mortar setup). It is the closest thing to a complete ecosystem that's comparable to Apple's. Unlike the likes of Samsung and Motorola, Amazon is not a stickler for maintaining a high margin (look at how the Kindle price kept dropping for a while). So it's going to do fine.



    Remember that Apple has gone to great lengths to say that it's not about hardware specs. Amazon will prove Jobs right. Also remember that this Kindle Fire thingie does not have to *kill* the iPad to succeed.



    Pretty well agree with that. I don't people will expect an 'Apple-like' experience from an Amazon product, but it should sell pretty well.
  • Reply 12 of 39
    dunksdunks Posts: 1,240member
    I think Amazon will do ok with this. If they can make the interface light and nimble it doesn?t really matter what limitations the revision 1 device has compared to the iPad. Although not so well established in international markets, their ecosystem is probably integrated well enough to establish a user base in the US.



    The primary failure of android tablets has been the inability to compete with the iPad on price. $250 is a lot more gift-able than $500 so this entry point addresses at least some of those concerns.



    As an iPad owner I?m primarily interested in the touch screen eInk model for bedtime reading and travel use, particularly if it retains the free international 3G access. It would depend on whether the form factor and software keyboard are sensible and if they retain the excellent physical page turn buttons on the existing model.
  • Reply 13 of 39
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dunks View Post


    The primary failure of android tablets has been the inability to compete with the iPad on price. $250 is a lot more gift-able than $500 so this entry point addresses at least some of those concerns.




    Not only does $250 make it the gift that $500 isn't, but while people like us fret about how acceptable such a thing will deliver under own own scrutiny, hence the non purchase, I for one don't think twice about if my brother in law will have any reaction other than pure joy when if he receives one, and I'd leave it up to him to figure out/not figure out that there are better gadgets out there, hence more gift purchase incentive, because I wipe my hands of any of my own doubts and for better or worse he could care less about the details.



    Plus, people have to start understanding that for a whole gagillion people world out there, Amazon is to them what Apple is to us. Regardless of how much better we insist an Apple experience is, they order from Amazon every week and are thrilled with them. Playbook, Shmaybook, their niche market is far removed from comments about why it'll suck. They don't know and they don't care, and they don't care that they don't know and they're right. They buy based on price and category, not details.



    The only way they won't sell a lot of these in December is if they screw it up.
  • Reply 14 of 39
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by stelligent View Post


    Amazon has contents (books, music, videos, apps) and controls it own distribution channel (albeit not a bricks and mortar setup).



    Yeah, and they have no expertise or track record in operating systems and associated software. You know, that part is kinda important.



    I'm not writing off Amazon, BTW, but just having your own content distribution channels does not make you an Apple competitor.
  • Reply 15 of 39
    So the Fire is a $250 Christmas gift. Ok, what about the other 95% of the year that isn't Christmas? Who's gonna rush out and but it? And even if they sell half a million, how many people return it and get the iPad with a $250 down payment? A lot. This thing will be about as potent as the existing Kindle or even less. I think the the press that this thing has been receiving is hilarious. iPad killer? Yeah. And the people that do buy this new Kindle would never have bought the iPad anyway, its just different breed people... Sucka's!



    Alright maybe I'm being too harsh, but come on, this is silly. Could you imagine the look on the poor kids face that asked for an iPad and rips open the wrapping paper and see's the Kindle Fire? It's a sad thing I'll tells ya.... What does the word Kindle even mean?!
  • Reply 16 of 39
    shenshen Posts: 434member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by aaarrrgggh View Post


    Samsung is taking a dent in Apple's iPhone sales. All of these competitors are fighting for limited consumer dollars.



    No, they haven't. If you look at the sales they have made a dent in windows and RIM. Apple is still pretty much selling phones as fast as they can make them. The dollars maybe limited, but it is not Apple or any Android seller that is hurting on sales.



    ...now profits, well Android is hurting there, but then that isn't why Android was made, to net profit. Not for phone makers anyway.
  • Reply 17 of 39
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post


    Yep. iPad killer(s), alright ...



    who said the Kindle Fire is intended and marketed as a direct competitor to the Apple iPad?
  • Reply 18 of 39
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by stelligent View Post


    Also remember that this Kindle Fire thingie does not have to *kill* the iPad to succeed.



    amazing. this is (and probably will be) the most sensible comment in this thread.
  • Reply 19 of 39
    I would not be surprised if Amazon sells more new Kindles and Tablets than Apple sells iPads in the 4th Qtr. Yes, I know they are more low-end and smaller screened than the iPad at least RIGHT NOW. But two larger, more powerful Amazon tablets, 8.9-inch and 10.1-inch tablet sizes, will be introduced early in 2012 at least according to the analyst's report. So once they are, if they are, Amazon will have an impressive 5 tablet lineup starting with a low end 6-inch Kindle up to a 10.1-inch tablet that may very well prove to be a credible, formidable adversary to Apple's iPad lineup.



    Amazon is the only company that I hold in equal high esteem to Apple. Amazon also has the entire Eco-system as does Apple in providing a vast array of services that are highly integrated with their hardware. Also their customers, including me, love Amazon's vast selection of everything with accompanying helpful customer reviews, very low prices, free shipping AND truly great customer service.



    I do agree with others who think Amazon will be the 1st true competitor to Apple giving many consumers a genuine choice in selecting the right tablet or tablets for themselves and their families. In fact, I'll go one step further by stating I will be very surprised if Amazon's tablet lineup doesn't battle Apple with successful forays and advances in the personal and home market starting much sooner than we may now think. Anyway, an Apple, Amazon confrontation will certainly be good for the consumer and the vast worldwide market is certainly big enough for both companies to succeed.
  • Reply 20 of 39
    irelandireland Posts: 17,584member
    I wouldn't be so quit to diss Amazon, guys. You haven't even seen their tablet yet. Ye all sound like a bunch of defensive Apple fanboys. I absolutely love Apple product and software, and the world of CE would be terrible without Apple's innovation, but I can also step back from those feelings too and pinch myself to get some perspective.



    It's as much about the ecosystem as the product, as well as the price. Amazon aren't going to kill the iPad, but even if their product isn't that amazing, if they have a decent ecosystem and the price is cheap each potential sale is a lost iPad sale. Which is why I believe Apple may consider dropping the entry iPad to $399 this fall.



    Go on, tell me I'm wrong about this, but let's wait and see what happens.
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