Amazon Working on 'Five or Six' New Tablets, Says Staples Exec
Amazon has big tablet plans in the works, which it, no doubt, hopes will help it to outperform Samsung, as the pair contends for the No. 2 spot behind Apples iPad.
Amazon plans to introduce up to five or six tablet options, Demos Parneros, president of U.S. Retail for Staples told Reuters, according to a July 23 report, apparently spilling some beans.
Amazon offered no comment on the report.
On Nov. 15, 2011, Amazon began shipping the Kindle Fire, a $199, 7-inch, long-anticipated tablet to follow up on its e-reader success. Some wondered if the late date would hurt holiday sales, but the device sold tremendously, grabbing 17 percent of the global tablet market share during the quarter on sales of 4.8 million units. As a partial consequence, Samsungs tablet shipments during the fourth quarter bumped to 5.8 percent, from 5.5 percent the quarter before.
Amazon took a loss on the hardware side with the Fire, betting that it would encourage sales of its digital offerings, from MP3s and movies to apps and games. And indeed, Flurry reported in January that the Fire had already driven downloads of 2.5 times more paid apps than the Samsung Galaxy Tab, despite there being at least twice as many Galaxy Tabs in users hands.
The Fire also boosted market share for tablets running the Android OS to 39 percent during the quarter, up from 29 percent a year earlier, according to Strategy Analytics.
IDC reported in March that the Fire also had the effect of raising consumers awareness of the category worldwide, despite the fact that it had shipped almost exclusively in the United States in the fourth quarter, research director Tom Mainelli said in a March report.
As a result, products across the pricing spectrum sold well, including everything from Apples premium-priced iPads (which start at $499) to Pandigitals line of Android-based, entry-level tablets (which start at $120), Mainelli continued.
Into the quieter, early months of 2012, however, the Fire failed to spark consumers interest, and its first-quarter market share fell to just over 4 percent, allowing Samsung to resume the No. 2 position. Lenovo managed to grab the No. 4 spot, followed by Barnes & Noble with its Nook.
Apple, meanwhile, reasserted its dominance, IDC reported, shipping 11.8 million iPads for a 68 percent share of the tablet market.
IDCs Mainelli, in a May report, wrote that Android vendors were finally figuring out what Amazon, B&N and Pandigital realized long ago: that competing against the iPad means keeping prices low. He added that IDC expected a larger-screened tablet from Amazon, with an aggressive price point, and an Asus-made tablet from Google.
Google introduced the 7-inch Nexus 7 at its I/O developer conference June 27. Priced at $199, its the first device to run Android 4.1, known as Jelly Bean, and is said to be notably light and easy on the eyes.
There have been reports of Amazon working on additional Fire sizes since within days of the tablets November 2011 launch; DigiTimes immediately reported that 8.9- and 10.1-inch models were in development.
More recently, a July 15 New York Times report said that Amazon is working on a new version of the Kindle Fire, with a larger display, that could compete more directly with the iPad ¦
Amazon shouldnt be too tough on Staples Parneros. If he did spill some beans, there couldnt have been very many left in the jar.