Online retailer and maker of the popular 7-inch Kindle Fire tablet, Amazon, has ordered 2 million units of the forthcoming next-generation version of the device from Quanta Computer, a Taiwan-based manufacturer of notebook computers and other electronic hardware, according to a report in the China Times that was picked up by the technology blog UnwiredView. According to the Chinese paper, Amazon has already ordered 2 million 7-inch Kindle Fire 2s from Quanta, for early August delivery, the blog post stated.
The report comes on the heels of tablet announcements by Microsoft and Google. The latters tablet, called the Nexus 7, is the same size as the Kindle Fire and is aimed squarely at the low-end tablet market, retailing for $199the same price as the Kindle Fire. The Nexus 7 runs Googles Android operating system, Jelly Bean, a brand-new version with a vastly improved touch screen user interface.
While it was expected that Google would take aim at the Apple iPadwhich during the first quarter of 2012 grabbed a 68 percent slice of the market, according to figures by IDC, the Nexus 7 poses an even greater threat to the Kindle Fire. Google has focused much of the Nexus 7 user experience around its media content center, Play, much the same way Amazon does with its own content portal.
The market for tablets has become increasingly competitive in the last few months, with the Nexus 7 and forthcoming tablets running Microsofts latest operating system, Windows 8, recently announced. While Microsoft is concentrating more on enterprise and small business users, the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire are aimed at the consumer market. All are looking to make a dent in the sales of Apples renowned iPad, a much more expensive, sophisticated 10-inch tablet that has cornered the market with roughly 70 percent market share.
Led by the iPad, tablets are expected to be a bright spot of the PC market, with shipments exceeding those of laptops by 2016, according to a report by NPD. The analytics firm expects tablet shipments in mature markets to reach 110 million by 2013, exceed 150,000 by 2014 and reach 254 million units by 2017, with shipments in emerging markets rising each year as well, on track to reach 162 million by 2017.