updated 11:25 pm EDT, Thu September 29, 2011
Amazon 10in Kindle Fire taken on by Foxconn early
Amazon's 10-inch version of the Kindle Fire could already be shipping from factories in late 2011 if supply chain reports from late Thursday are correct. Foxconn is purportedly taking on production of the larger model before the end of the year for "holiday-season demand," Digitimes said. It's unclear exactly when the tablet would go on sale.
A very late 2011 launch would be unusual given that the seven-inch Kindle Fire will only be shipping November 15. Shipment at the end of 2011 might not lead to real sales until the more widely rumored early 2012 date. The 10-inch tablet is understood to be Amazon's real centerpiece and could have a quad-core TI OMAP or NVIDIA Tegra 3 chip inside with more of an emphasis on video.
Regardless of plans for the larger model, Apple may have disrupted some of Amazon's production plans. Even as Quanta lent its experience with the BlackBerry PlayBook to make the Kindle Fire, it may have come after Amazon was denied a chance at manufacturing from Foxconn. The contract manufacturer was said to have had its capacity booked making iPads for Apple. If true, it's possible Apple's surge of iPad demand may have ultimately dictated the Kindle Fire's design as well as its production limits, giving Amazon a lower ceiling than it would have at the world's largest contract manufacturer.
The seven-inch slate is so far considered Android's best hope at getting significant market share in a climate dominated by iPads. Part of its appeal has been the deliberate decision to get away from conventional Android tablet design and focus on a completely original interface along with a well-established ecosystem already waiting to supply books, music, and videos. Its $199 price may also clinch the deal, although it's speculated Amazon might be selling at a loss just to build market share early on.