NYT: Amazon Developing Larger Kindle Fire Whilst Apple Plans 7.85-Inch iPad


Nick Wingfield and Nick Bilton:

This summer, Microsoft announced that it would create its own tablet, Surface. And Amazon is working on a new version of the Kindle Fire, with a larger display, that could compete more directly with the iPad, according to a developer briefed on Amazon’s plans who did not want to be identified talking about unannounced products. Analysts also believe that Amazon is updating the Kindle Fire. Drew Herdener, an Amazon spokesman, declined to comment.

But Apple is hardly about to cede ground.

The company is developing a new tablet with a 7.85-inch screen that is likely to sell for significantly less than the latest $499 iPad, with its 9.7-inch display, according to several people with knowledge of the project who declined to be named discussing confidential plans. The product is expected to be announced this year.

In the past, pundits have been all-too-quick to deem minor market playground scuffles as being evidence of a “tablet war.” Such a pronouncement, particularly given Apple’s undisputed dominance in the space, has been repeatedly met with exacerbated cries of hyperbole.

Today, however, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and Apple are all re-invigorating the tablet landscape in a truly fascinating manner. The Nexus 7 is receiving outstanding plaudits from even the most staunch of Apple advocates, the Surface continues to make headlines despite the relative dearth of information, and Apple’s well-oiled rumor mill is beginning to turn into ready action with steadily loudening whispers of a 7.85-inch iPad. Amidst the rumblings of these larger entities, however, Amazon is also receiving plenty of attention for its presumably impending re-entry into the tablet space. Given the retailer’s propensity toward aggressive price-cuts and progressive hardware revisions, there is a distinct tone of optimism surrounding the company’s future Kindle Fire update.

Regardless of any specific feelings for each of these devices, it’s encouraging to behold such diversity within a historically uninspiring space. Since the arrival of the iPad, Apple has governed the state of innovation within the tablet sphere, and all others have contributed little to the proverbial discussion. By the end of this year, however, four of the world’s biggest technology companies will have contributed multiple unique takes on the perennial tablet question.

Competition is certainly not a bad thing.