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Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) is reportedly looking to expand its Kindle line-up, adding “up to five or six tablets” in different sizes, including a 10-inch tablet to rival Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPad, according to a Reuters report.
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Demos Parneros, president of U.S. Retail for Staples Inc. (NASDAQ:SPLS), which sells Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablet, confirmed to Reuters that Amazon is to introduce up to five or six tablet SKUs, or stock-keeping units. The report didn’t say when the tablets would be released, or whether the tablets being tested would ever see the market, but Parneros’ testimony gives credence to long-running rumors that Amazon was looking to diversity its Kindle offerings.
Amazon saw mild success with the 7-inch Kindle Fire when it was introduced last October, but sales have since fallen off. Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) new Nexus 7 has the potential to run away with the lower-end tablet market, as it matches the $199 price point of the Kindle Fire but offers more hardware features, including a camera.
A new range of tablets would allow Amazon to better compete on multiple levels. And a larger, higher-end tablet might help it steal away some of the iPad’s higher-end market share — after all, Apple is widely rumored to be working on a 7-inch iPad with a significantly lower price point than the current entry-level iPad in a clear attempt to jostle Amazon and Google.
With Google and Apple encroaching on the Kindle Fire’s territory, Amazon must respond with better features or lower prices if it is going to remain relevant.
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