updated 12:20 pm EDT, Tue March 27, 2012
Amazon may go high and low on 7in, add 8.9in
New rumors have surfaced claiming that Amazon will have a much wider strategy for its next-generation Kindle Fire tablets than thought. Taiwan Economic News claimed that the 8.9-inch version would be joined by two seven-inch models. One would have the 1024x600 display of the original, while a high-end version would get a 1280x800 display; the 8.9-inch version would supposedly have a 1920x1200 screen and thus compete even with the new iPad for pixel density.
The tip, while unverified, also supported talk of Amazon carefully managing suppliers to drive costs down even further. Where the current Kindle Fire had a rigid supply chain, being made by Quanta with an LG screen and a Panasonic touch sensor, it would get extra manufacturing from Foxconn as well as some displays from Chimei Innolux for seven-inch models and 8.9-inch panels from Prime View. Chimei Innolux would be the only company supplying touch layers.
None of the new tablets had release timing, although talk has existed of parts being ordered, which would put a release at least a few months away.
The rumor is very much unconfirmed and mostly gets support from third parties whose stories roughly mesh. Amazon has nonetheless hinted that it would have other screen sizes, and it's likely to want a hedge against possible direct competition from future Barnes & Noble Nook models.
Both higher-end seven-inch and new 8.9-inch tablets would still see Amazon's role shifting. It had at first explicitly claimed it wouldn't hunt the iPad and would stay focused on reading. With the Kindle Fire now its most popular device and expansion on the way, it would be put into more direct competition with Apple and the wider tablet arena.