updated 09:57 am EDT, Mon July 23, 2012
Various sizes said to include 10'' model
Adding to the rumors surrounding an expanded Kindle lineup, a Staples executive suggests Amazon is preparing to launch five to six new tablets. In an interview with Reuters, Staples' US retail president, Demos Parneros, claims the upcoming offerings will include several different sizes, including a 10-inch variant.
The comments corroborate other reports, including a recent NPD analysis that points to three new seven-inch tablets alongside larger variants. The seven-inch devices are said to include options for 1024x600 or 1280x800 resolution, along with a camera and 4G radio on the top model. A midsize model is rumored to integrate an 8.9-inch display with 1920x800 resolution, though some sources have claimed the 10.1-inch edition may arrive first.
Amazon's current Kindle Fire achieved brisk sales when it first arrived on the market, as a cheaper alternative to competing Android tablets and the iPad, however sales are believed to have sharply declined after the initial surge. Google's Nexus 7 tablet now serves as a direct competitor, matching the Fire's $199 price but stepping up to a quad-core chipset and the latest Android build.
Expanding the Kindle Fire range with larger sizes and improved hardware is viewed as a natural progression for the company, which differentiates its hardware by deeply integrating digital content such as e-books, television programs, movies and music. Although the new tablets have yet to be officially confirmed, the company has announced plans to open a development center that will focus on "digital media projects," with UI experts and developers working to improve Amazon services on smartphones and other devices.
Some sources suggest at least one of the next-generation Kindle Fire tablets are set to be unveiled as early as next week, though other reports point to the fourth quarter.