As Kindle Fire 2 Release Date Approaches, Kindle Fire, Touch ‘Sold Out’
With seemingly every technology company being rumored to release new products in the coming weeks, we can now safely add Amazon to the list. The new Amazon Kindle Fire 2 release date could be happening September 6 as previous rumors suggesting that a press conference being held on that day was for the unveiling of the new device, have seemingly been confirmed. And if so, that's big news for Apple: The date beats the Cupertino company's rumored new iPhone/iPad-Mini release date by a whole day.
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And with rumored release dates for both the Kindle Fire 2 and the iPad-Mini, everyone looks to be clamoring to get their hands on the original Kindle Fire. Amazon.com announced today its first tablet computer is now "sold out."
The Internet retailer has a major press conference scheduled for next Thursday in Santa Monica, California. It's widely expected to reveal a new model of the Fire there, so the announcement that the first model is "sold out" suggests that Amazon halted production a while ago to retool for a new model.
Seattle-based Amazon launched the $199 tablet last November. It was the first Kindle with a color screen and the ability to run third-party applications, placing it in competition with Apple's iPad, at half the price of the cheapest iPad.
Amazon doesn't say how many Fires it has sold, but says it captured 22 percent of U.S. tablet sales over nine months. That would make it the second-most popular tablet, after the iPad. Based on iPad sales reported by Apple, Fire sales can be estimated at somewhere around 5 million units.
Separately, ABI Research said Thursday that sales of dedicated e-readers, like the non-Fire, black-and-white Kindles, peaked last year. It expects worldwide sales of e-readers at 11 million in 2012, down from 15 million in 2011.
The research firm expects tablets to outsell e-readers nine to one this year, despite costing four or five time as much. Still, e-readers won't go away completely, ABI analyst Joshua Flood said.
"We believe there will always be a niche market for the dedicated reading device for voracious readers, business travelers, and educational segments, particularly ones that are low-priced," Flood said.
Amazon could update the rest of its Kindle line at next week's event, too. The current models were launched a year ago. In the intervening time, competitor Barnes & Noble Inc. has launched a Nook e-reader with a built-in screen illuminator for reading in the dark.
Amazon itself was the main outlet for the Kindle Fire. However, Staples stores recently sold it for $179.
With the Kindle Fire currently the only tablet model available from Amazon, other companies are looking to muscle in on their territory. That includes Apple, as well as lesser known companies, meaning it just makes sense for Amazon to introduce a newer model soon if it wants to continue gaining a commanding share of the tablet market.
This second generation of the device will be Amazon's attempt to compete against the Apple iPad-Mini that may be arriving to the market.
Rumors have been rife about what devices will be unveiled at the press conference being held in Los Angeles. At the moment insiders have suggested that the Kindle Fire 2 is definite, as well as a new first smartphone for Amazon.
The original Kindle Fire was released nearly one year ago, and initially many were uncertain about how well it would do, and whether it would have any kind of impact on a market hugely dominated by Apple. However, Amazon's Kindle Fire slotted perfectly into a gap in the market for cheaper, smaller tablets and sales were higher than most anticipated prior to the launch.
Some experts are suggesting that Amazon wants to get their new improved second generation Kindle Fire out before Apple launches its rumored iPad-Mini, which will go in direct competition with the Kindle Fire at the lower end of the tablet market.
Also given the success of Google's Nexus 7 tablet, Amazon may be anxious to get its updated product out and on the market to compete. Google's Nexus 7 had a hugely successful launch, selling out across the globe in most retailers.
However, a seven inch upgraded Kindle Fire may not be the only tablet in store for Amazon fans. According to some sources Amazon may also be looking to expand into the larger tablet market and go in direct competition with the iPad.
"Amazon is working on a new version of the Kindle Fire, with a larger display, that could compete more directly with the iPad, according to a developer briefed on Amazon's plans who did not want to be identified talking about unannounced products," a New York Times report alleged last month.
However, how success a larger Amazon Kindle Fire tablet would be against the massive market leader - the iPad - remains to be seen. It is likely that to be able to compete with the iPad, Amazon would have to price its product significantly cheaper than the iPad. Numerous other tablets have attempted to compete with the Apple iPad throughout the past few years, but if they are priced similarly to the iPad most consumers opt for the superior Apple brand product.
As for Kindle Fire 2 specs, it's looking like the device could improve on its Silk web browser, possibly add some storage space (or a card slot), and add either 3G or 4G to make the item connect better. The current rumors suggest that there will be both a 7-inch and a 9-inch version of the new tablet from Amazon, with prices of $249 and $299 respectively.
The bottom lines here are that Amazon needs to keep up with the demands of tech-savvy customers, and seriously needs to get at least some version of the Kindle Fire overseas. Otherwise, it will continue to pale in comparison to the iPad which has dominated the market.