The rumor mill is turning again. Before its first tablet has even hit shelves, Amazon is rumored to be prepping its next Kindle Fire, which will have an 8.9-inch screen. The first Kindle Fire has a 7-inch screen and is being sold for $200, which is either at cost or losing Amazon money with each unit sold. We imagine that a large screen would mean even higher costs, but it’s hard to know what the online retailer has planned. The Kindle Fire is seen as a loss leader. Amazon may lose money on the hardware, but it plans to make it back by selling apps, games, music, books and other media on the device.
DigiTimes reports that Amazon’s current 7-inch screen suppliers, Chunghwa Picture Tubes (CPT) and LG Display (LGD) have begun preparations to manufacture 8.9-inch displays for a future tablet device. The site also says that after Amazon launches its 8.9-inch tablet, the company may move to a 9.7- or 10.1-inch model in 2012.
Honestly, from our experience with tablets so far, 8.9 inches may be the perfect tablet size, as we noted in our Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 review. It’s small enough to hold and thumb type on, but not so small that it feels like an oversized smartphone. You get the benefit of a full-screen experience without the bulk that comes with larger screens.
If this rumor is true, it would mean that Amazon may announce an 8.9-inch tablet fairly early in 2012. This seems odd as the company usually sticks to a yearly product lifecycle for its Kindle e-reader products. The tablet market is moving quickly, however, so it’s hard to say what will happen come CES in January.