Following up on analyst speculation a week ago, China Times is now reporting that Amazon is indeed exploring alternative size and manufacturing options for the next wave of Kindle Fire tablets set for release sometime this summer.
Although the specifications haven’t been finalized according to the report, a 10-inch prototype tablet from Foxconn could be under consideration. Supply chains are said to be shipping sample parts next month with mass production to start in May or June. Such a schedule could set Amazon up for a launch sometime this summer or in the fall.
Based on an iSuppli teardown of the Kindle Fire a few months ago, we know that Amazon is selling their current tablet at a small loss. As such, profit from the iPad rival comes via Amazon’s vast content library which is something that the company would like to address with their next release. In contrast, Apple’s iPad 2 has an estimated total bill of materials of $323.25 for a 32GB CDMA model which the company sells for $729.
China Times says that in an effort to reduce manufacturing costs, Amazon will be hand-selecting and approving components for the Kindle Fire’s successor(s). Engadget notes that this task was previously done by Quanta, one of several part suppliers that Amazon utilizes. It’s unlikely that Amazon would use cheaper quality or slower components in their next device, but perhaps they can negotiate better supplier pricing or find equally as good components for less.
Amazon sent a wave crashing through the mobile industry when it announced its Kindle Fire would land with a price of $199. This is likely the best value in a tablet on the market, and will make tablet computing accessible to many people that either couldn't afford an iPad or couldn't tolerate Honeycomb tablets.
The iPad 2 improves on the original in many ways, including a significantly faster dual-core CPU, improved graphics and a thinner footprint. The iPad 2 also manages to shave off 0.2 pounds for a total weight of 1.33 pounds on the Wi-Fi only model. Apple has included two cameras on the iPad 2 – a VGA-quality front facing lens for FaceTime and a rear-facing camera capable of recording 720p video.
The Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime sports a very high-resolution 1920 x 1200 pixel 10.1-inch Full HD display, it is powered by either a quad-core NVIDIA Tegra 3 or dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processors depending on configuration. It runs Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and has an optional keyboard dock like the other Transformer tablets from Asus.
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