Amazon’s $200 tablet, the Kindle Fire, is about the only thing we can genuinely call a competitor to Apple’s iPad. According to DigiTimes, nearly 4 million of them were sold in Q4 2011, which pales in comparison to Apple’s 15 million iPads, but you have to remember that the Kindle Fire went on sale in mid-November and it’s only available in one country: the United States. Now we’ve been hearing rumors that Amazon is going to refresh their Kindle for a while now, specifically that they’re going to launch a model with an 8.9 inch screen. Today though the story has changed. Sources say that Amazon is going to come out with not just one, but two Kindle Fire tablets this year. Both in the second half, one with a 7 inch screen, the other with a 10 inch screen. We don’t yet know if either of these models will be sold outside the United States, but something tells us that Amazon wants to curb iPad sales.
The bigger question here is what’s Amazon going to sell these things for? The iPad 2 is now just $399, while the Kindle Fire remains $199. Will this new 7 inch Fire be able to maintain that price tag while also offering a 10 inch version for $299? Another question is what about the iPad mini that keeps getting talked about? We’ve been covering rumors about a 7.85 inch iPad for months now, and most recently we got confirmation from The Wall Street Journal that it indeed exists. How’s that going to impact Amazon’s sales?
Anyway, for those of you who like the original Kindle, as in the one with electronic ink, you’ll be a bit disappointed to hear that Amazon has “reduced its orders for e-paper products to E Ink Holdings (EIH)”. Does that mean eInk is going to die? Too soon to tell, but we wouldn’t be surprised if became a niche technology.