Record tablet shipments in Q4 2012

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Feb 022013
 

Worldwide tablet shipments set another record in the last quarter of 2012. According to IDC, 52.5 million tablets were shipped over the quarter, an impressive 75.3% increase over the same quarter a year ago and a 74.3% increase over the previous quarter. Apple continued to dominate but its overall market share fell again as Android tablets continued to make gains.

“We expected a very strong fourth quarter, and the market didn’t disappoint,” said Tom Mainelli, research director, Tablets, at IDC. “New product launches from the category’s top vendors, as well as new entrant Microsoft, led to a surge in consumer interest and very robust shipments totals during the holiday season. The record-breaking quarter stands in stark contrast to the PC market, which saw shipments decline during the quarter for the first time in more than five years.”

Vendor 4Q12 Unit Shipments 4Q12 Market Share 4Q11 Unit Shipments 4Q11 Market Share Year-over-year Change
Apple 22.9 43.6% 15.5 51.7% 48.1%
Samsung 7.9 15.1% 2.2 7.3% 263.0%
Amazon.com Inc. 6.0 11.5% 4.7 15.9% 26.8%
ASUS 3.1 5.8% 0.6 2.0% 402.3%
Barnes & Noble 1.0 1.9% 1.4 4.6% -27.7%
Others 11.6 22.1% 5.5 18.5% 108.9%
Total 52.5 100% 29.9 100% 75.3%
Source: IDC Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker, January 31, 2013 (preliminary data)

Microsoft’s entry into the tablet space with the Surface RT did not crack the top five. IDC estimated that just under 900,000 units were shipped and that Microsoft could expect the market to remain challenging.

“There is no question that Microsoft is in this tablet race to compete for the long haul. However, devices based upon its new Windows 8 and Windows RT operating systems failed to gain much ground during their launch quarter, and reaction to the company’s Surface with Windows RT tablet was muted at best,” said Ryan Reith, program manager, Mobile Device Trackers at IDC. “We believe that Microsoft and its partners need to quickly adjust to the market realities of smaller screens and lower prices. In the long run, consumers may grow to believe that high-end computing tablets with desktop operating systems are worth a higher premium than other tablets, but until then ASPs on Windows 8 and Windows RT devices need to come down to drive higher volumes.”

Overall, the tablet landscape appears much as the smartphone one does: Apple and Samsung dominating with everyone else scrambling to make a dent.

Read more: IDC

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite and Kindle now available in Canada

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Jan 252013
 

Amazon Kindle PaperwhiteWhen Amazon launched Kindle book sales in Canada last December, the move was widely seen as a sign that Amazon’s e-readers were not far behind. And that’s exactly what happened with Amazon yesterday announcing that the Kindle Paperwhite (3G or Wi-Fi-only) as well as the Kindle are now available directly from Amazon.ca.

“We’re excited to make the best-selling and most advanced e-readers in the world available to our Amazon.ca customers for the first time, making it easier and more affordable than ever for Canadian readers to own a Kindle,” said Dave Limp, Vice President, Amazon Kindle. “With a Kindle in their hands, Canadian customers can now directly access the Kindle Store with the largest selection of the books people want to read, including the largest selection of best sellers and over 250,000 titles that are exclusive to the Kindle Store.”

Much as in the U.S., the Kindle Paperwhite Wi-Fi + 3G offers a free 3G connection to Amazon’s WhisperNet to shop for and download Digital Content.

The Canada Kindle Store offers over 1.5 million Kindle books including 50,000 French ones, most best sellers from the Globe and Mail and Le Devoir best seller lists, winners of the Giller prize, and a broad selection of works from leading Canadian publishers and authors, including Margaret Atwood, Alice Munro and Yann Martel.

Amazon is offering the Kindle for CA$89, the Kindle Paperwhite for CA$139 and the Kindle Paperwhite Wi-Fi + 3G for CA$199.

Read more: Amazon.ca [Affiliate link]

Amazon smartphone to launch in Q2 or Q3 2013?

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Dec 172012
 

AmazonAnother report is indicating that Amazon will launch its rumoured smartphone in Q2 or Q3 2013. It could sell for as little as between US$100 and US$200.

Supporting earlier reports, Foxconn is identified as the device manufacturer. It is expected to ship up to five million units by the end of 2013.

Little is known about the Amazon smartphone. Foxconn is allegedly working with touch panel makers J Touch and Young Fast Optoelectronics without giving specific details. Like the Kindle Fire, it is expected to run on a modified version of Google Android.

The report also indicates that Amazon is already developing the next-generation Kindle Fire tablet. It is set to launch in Q3 2013 and will be manufactured by Quanta Computer Inc. and Compal Electronics Inc.

Read more: Taiwan Economic News (Source: BGR)

Amazon launches Kindle book sales in Canada

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Dec 072012
 

AmazonAmazon today began selling Kindle Books on its Canadian store. The new site features Canadian pricing and a spotlight on Canadian fiction. Unfortunately, Amazon’s Kindle e-readers and Fire tablets are not yet on sale on the site.

The move does suggest that Amazon will eventually launch Kindle hardware in Canada. Whether it will happen before Christmas so that Canadians can buy a few Kindles for the holidays remains to be seen. It might well start with its Kindle e-readers with the Kindle Fire to launch when Amazon can line up additional content such as TV shows, movies, and music.

For now, Canadians will need to rely on the Kindle apps to get their reading fix but at least ebook buying is a bit easier. The Kindle app is available for Android, iOS, Mac OS, and Windows devices.

Read more: Amazon.ca

Foxconn to manufacture Amazon and Microsoft smartphones for mid-2013 launches?

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Nov 272012
 

The evidence continues to grow that both Amazon and Microsoft will launch smartphones next year. The latest comes from Digitimes. Citing “sources from the upstream supply chain,” it reports that Foxconn has received handset orders from both companies. Both are expected to have “limited” shipment volumes initially.

Unsurprisingly, Microsoft’s mobile phone will be powered by Windows Phone 8 but there were no details given about the Amazon device. Earlier reports suggested that the Microsoft Surface smartphone was already at the prototype stage and would sport a display between 4- and 5-inches. The Amazon smartphone could be more of an entry-level device priced between US$150 and US$170, possibly with a TI OMAP4 processor, a 4-inch touchscreen display, HSPA+/EVDO connectivity and an 8MP camera.

Both mobile phones look set to launch in mid-2013.

Read more: Digitimes

Amazon announces 7- and 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HD tablets

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Sep 062012
 

Amazon today announced a refreshed Kindle Fire lineup that replaces the original Kindle Fire tablet with an upgraded model and introduces the Kindle Fire HD family of tablets. At the high end is the 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HD 4G with 4G LTE connectivity and 32GB of onboard storage. Below are the 16GB 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HD without LTE connectivity, and a 7-inch Kindle Fire HD. At the entry-level point will be the upgraded standard definition Kindle Fire.

“We’re taking on the most popular price point for a tablet, $499, but doubling the storage and incredibly, adding ultra-fast 4G LTE wireless,” said Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com Founder and CEO. “Kindle Fire HD is not only the most-advanced hardware, it’s also a service. When combined with our enormous content ecosystem, unmatched cross-platform interoperability and standard-setting customer service, we hope people will agree that Kindle Fire HD is the best high-end tablet anywhere, at any price.”

Amazon Kindle Fire HD

The 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HD models will feature a WUXGA (1920×1200) IPS screen with 254ppi and a TI OMAP4 4470 processor with Imagination SGX544 GPU. The 7-inch model will offer a WXGA (1280×800) resolution. All will use Gorilla Glass and a touch sensor laminated onto the the LCD to reduce glare. They will also come with dual stereo speakers with Dolby Digital Plus and a front-facing HD camera.

The Kindle HD models will also sport dual-band (2.4GHz/5GHz) Wi-Fi, dual antennas, and support for Multiple In/Multiple Out (MIMO). According to Amazon, together these should offer 40% faster throughput than the latest generation iPad.

The 4G Kindle Fire HD will be paired with a 4G data plan. For a cost of US$49.99, customers will get a 12-month plan with 250MB per month, 20GB of Amazon Cloud storage, and a US$10 credit in the Amazon Appstore.

The original Kindle Fire has been replaced with an upgrade model still called the Kindle Fire. It will come with a faster processor promising 40% faster performance and twice the memory.

The new Kindle Fire HD 7″ and Kindle Fire will sell for US$199 and US$159 respectively. They will begin shipping on September 14th. The Kindle Fire HD 8.9” 4G and Kindle Fire HD 8.9′ will start to ship on November 20th and will cost US$499 and US$299 respectively.

Read more: Amazon

Amazon to show off smartphone at tomorrow’s Kindle announcement?

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Sep 052012
 

AmazonTomorrow’s Amazon announcement could have one very interesting surprise. Multiple sources have told The Verge that the online retailer could show off its rumoured Amazon smartphone at the event.

The device is still in development but is expected to be powered by a forked version of Android 4.0, much like the new Kindle Fire tablet will. Nokia Maps could also be announced as the location solution given that Amazon cannot use Google Maps. Nokia today hinted that a “major” new partner could be added at its own event today.

The event is expected to see the announcement of a new Kindle Fire tablet and new e-ink readers, including one backlit model.

Read more: The Verge

Is this the new Amazon Kindle Fire?

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Aug 302012
 

An image obtained by The Verge purportedly shows the second generation Kindle Fire tablet. It reveals little although the image does appear to confirm the presence of a front-facing camera and an updated keyboard interface. The shape is also different from that of the original.

Rumoured Amazon Kindle Fire 2

A second image, which it was asked not to publish, apparently shows a more streamlined user interface with less “chrome.”

The leak comes on the same day that Amazon announced that the Kindle Fire, Amazon’s best-selling product since it launched, is now sold out. Amazon added that in the nine months it was available, the Kindle Fire managed to grab 22% of the U.S. tablet sales.

Amazon has scheduled a press conference for September 6th. It is expected to unveil its new Kindle lineup at that time. It may unveil one or more 7-inch models (one with an improved display) and perhaps a 10.1-inch model.

Read more: The Verge and Amazon

Amazon to hold press conference on September 6th

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Aug 262012
 

Early September is shaping up to be quite busy for press conferences! Following the September 5th Nokia and Microsoft and Motorola and Verizon events, you can now add one for Amazon on September 6th. The invitation reveals little about what Amazon has planned but the expectation is that it will refresh it Kindle device lineup, including a follow-up to its Kindle Fire tablet.

Amazon September 2012 press invitation

Rumours have swirled for some time that Amazon was working on different-sized tablets, including 8.9 and 10.1 inch ones. The original 7-inch Kindle is also likely to be replaced with a new thinner and lighter model with a WXGA (1280×800) display. Its Kindle eReader lineup is also likely to be refreshed with new models with some possibly sporting backlit and perhaps even colour e-ink displays.

Could we also see an Amazon smartphone? It appears unlikely but you never know.

Read more: AllThingsD

More details on improved display for new Amazon Kindle Fire tablet

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Jul 082012
 

AmazonAllThingsD is the latest to report that Amazon will launch a new Kindle Fire tablet in the second half of this year, possibly in late Q3. It sources, “familiar with Amazon’s plans.” indicate that Amazon is already talking to developers to bring them up to speed on the changes coming with the new tablet, notably with the display.

The report supports earlier rumours that the display resolution will be bumped up to WXGA (1280×800). That will translate to a 67 percent increase in total pixels and 216 pixels per inch (PPI), making the display sharper and more vibrant. It will also mean that developers will have to deal with a new aspect ratio, as it will change from 1.71 in portrait mode to 1.60.

The new Kindle Fire will be both thinner and lighter than the original. A camera will be also be added (something we’ve heard before). AllThingsD also expects that it will come with a faster processor and an updated version of its heavily modified Android operating system.

There is no mention in this report of a second 7-inch Kindle Fire, a possible refresh with specifications more inline with those of the original version, to be sold at a lower price.

With the Google Nexus 7 and rumoured Apple iPad mini also entering the fray, the 7-inch tablet segment appears to be headed for some interesting competition in the upcoming months.

Read more: AllThingsD

Amazon smartphone rumours resurface

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Jul 062012
 

AmazonRumours that Amazon is working on a smartphone have resurfaced. Citing “two people with knowledge of the matter,” Bloomberg reports that it is developing the device with Foxconn. Much as it already does with its Kindle Fire, Amazon is apparently looking to take on Apple and Google and drive more mobile users to its own content ecosystem.

The report sheds no light on the device itself. It remains to be seen if Amazon will use a heavily customized version of Android like it does with the Kindle Fire or if it will strike off in a different direction (Mozilla’s own Firefox smartphone platform perhaps?).

The report provides no timelines as to when Amazon could release its smartphone.

Bloomberg added that Amazon is also looking to acquire wireless technology patents that would help it defend itself against any infringement allegations. It is currently setting up briefings with sellers. Given past rumours about Amazon buying RIM, could the beleaguered smartphone manufacturer be among those?

Rumours of an Amazon smartphone first surfaced last November. They suggested an entry-level device priced between US$150 and US$170 that would be powered by a TI OMAP4 processor and possibly Windows Phone. It would also come with a 4-inch touchscreen display, HSPA+/EVDO connectivity and an 8MP camera.

Read more: Bloomberg

Rumour: Amazon to launch next-generation Kindle Fire 2 on July 31st

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Jun 262012
 

AmazonAmazon could launch a successor to its Kindle Fire tablet as early as July 31st according to CNET, possibly as the Kindle Fire 2. The original Kindle Fire was announced last September and began to ship last November. The earlier announcement would likely allow Amazon to have its new tablet available in time for the back-to-school and holiday shopping seasons. The rumoured timeline lines up with a similar one suggested earlier this month.

The report adds that the new tablet will sport a camera and physical volume-control buttons. It did not provide any information on other specifications. Past rumours have suggested that the new Kindle Fire will come with a WXGA (1280×800) display.

Amazon could also adopt a strategy similar to Apple’s whereby the original Kindle Fire (or a slightly revised version) would continue to be offered albeit at a reduced price. The new Kindle Fire would be offered at the same price as the current one is today (US$199).

CNET‘s source added that Amazon will likely announce new e-ink Kindles with integrated lighting at the same event.

Read more: CNET

New 7-inch Kindle Fire tablets coming in Q3?

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Jun 162012
 

AmazonAmazon could launch its rumoured new 7-inch Kindle Fire tablets in early Q3, according to Digitimes. With these new models coming, Digitimes is reporting that Amazon will drop the price of its current Kindle Fire to US$149.

In Q3, the current model will make way for an equally priced new model offering a similar WSVGA (1024×600) display as well as a new US$199 model sporting a WXGA (1280×800) display. The lower priced model would be aimed at growing Amazon’s market share in the lower price segment.

The report adds that both 7-inch models will be followed by a 10.1-inch Kindle Fire model either in the fourth quarter of 2012 or the first quarter of 2013.

Initial demand for the Kindle Fire was very strong when it first launched but fell quickly in early 2012. Sales fell from an estimated 4.5 to 5 million units in the fourth quarter of 2011 to between 700,000 and 800,000 in the first quarter of 2012.

Amazon could also launch its first colour e-ink Kindle later this year.

Read more: Digitimes

Amazon to drop rumoured 8.9-inch Kindle Fire in favour of 10.1-inch model?

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May 192012
 

AmazonRumours have resurfaced that Amazon has suspended development of its rumoured 8.9-inch Kindle Fire tablet to focus on its larger sibling, a 10.1-inch model set to launch in the third quarter. Rumours about Amazon’s 8.9-inch tablet have often contradicted themselves. Originally rumoured to launch in Q2, it was then axed before being resurrected along with two new 7-inch models. It now looks like it has used up another life.

With a number of tablets apparently in development, it appears that Amazon is streamlining its future lineup to focus on a few models. The 8.9 model had been intended to compete against Samsung’s tablets while the larger one is set to face off against the Apple iPad.

Digitimes adds that the 10.1-inch Kindle Fire will launch in the Q3 timeframe rather than Q2 as it had suggested in the past.

Amazon is expected to ship 30 to 40 million tablets this year.

Read more: Digitimes

Rumour: Amazon to launch colour e-ink Kindle this year

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May 112012
 

AmazonAmazon may launch its first colour e-ink Kindle by the end the year. The Digitimes report suggests Amazon will use electronic paper displays (EPD) provided by E Ink Holdings (EIH) and multi-touch capacitive touch panels from TPK Holding instead of the infrared one used for the Kindle Touch.

To meet the target of a launch later this year, suppliers are expected to begin shipping the necessary compoents this month.

EIH will reportedly formally announce its colour EPD products in the near future.

A similar Digitimes report in February suggested that EIH was to begin supplying Amazon with the colour e-ink displays in March.

Read more: Digitimes