Google's Nexus 7 May Force Amazon to Release the Kindle Fire 2 in August
Though nothing official has been announced, the online retail giant was not expected to release a new tablet until October or November. But according to a DigiTimes report published this morning, the company is planning to release the second-generation Kindle Fire in August.
According to DigiTimes, "The new Kindle Fire will be thinner than the current version because it adopts full lamination to get rid of the air gap between the LCD and touch panels."
Unfortunately for Amazon, the "full lamination process" could increase production costs by $10 per unit. DigiTimes' sources believe that the added expense could make it difficult for Amazon to maintain the $199 price point.
That said, Amazon has yet to announce how much it costs to produce each Kindle Fire. Last September, famed Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster estimated that the company lost as much as $50 per unit. Other reports suggested that the company's loss was less than $2 per unit.
Another report claimed that Amazon actually earned $56 per unit sold.
Whatever the case, DigiTimes also reported that Amazon shipped only 750,000 Kindle Fires in the first quarter of 2012, compared to nearly five million units shipped in the fourth quarter of last year.
Yesterday afternoon, Google unveiled its first branded tablet, the Nexus 7. Referred to by critics as the ultimate Kindle Fire-killer, the $199 device ships in July.
Huffington Post tech columnist Jason Gilbert summed up yesterday's announcement in one simple paragraph. "Somewhere, [Amazon CEO] Jeff Bezos just punched a wall with his bare fist," he wrote. "The Amazon CEO is angry, frustrated, bloodied -- he must be! -- because his company's Kindle Fire just got totally upstaged and outshined by Google and its inspired new Nexus 7 tablet."
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