The Far Eastern supply chain rumour mill is now suggesting that Amazon will launch two new tablets in the second half of this year in 7 and 10-inch sizes with suggestions that this could mean a shift away from eReaders towards general low-cost tablets.
Industry sources quoted by the DigiTimes said that the strong sales of the Kindle Fire had "shifted the focus" towards more general computing tablets, of the sort armed with LCD screens rather than the e-ink based Kindle eReaders.
Traditionally there's been a large price gap and a weight penalty in full tablet PCs versus devices such as the Kindle but Amazon have played a role in leading the charge towards low-cost Android tablets. Having shipped just shy of 4 million of them in the last quarter of 2011, they certainly have the supply chain buying power.
Amazon also has greater opportunities to sell content to owners of general tablet PCs, such as music, video and apps in addition to the traditional eBook category. Combine that with the apparent consumer demand for the Kindle Fire and it's entirely believable that Amazon sees an Android and LCD-powered future ahead.
The move is bad news for the innovative non-volatile e-Ink displays with the DigiTimes pointing out that e-Ink display maker E Ink Holdings revenue has fallen considerably and with Amazon lowering orders for further e-Ink displays, it could be that the shine is wearing off the technology.
Once heralded for reading clarity and enabling ultra long battery life given the display only uses power when changing the 'page', the tablet PC market has since made significant inroads into all the specifications that matter to punters. Size, weight, battery life and screen clarity. iPad-mania will also do much to boost the profile of general tablet PCs.
Taiwan-based supply chain sources also said that sales of tablet PCs themselves may even outpace that of desktops in 2013. The industry gossips pointed out that more tablet PC hybrids will arrive which will themselves rival notebook sales. Up to 130 million tablets could be sold in 2013 they said.
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