SAN FRANCISCO--Analysts have fueled rumors of an upcoming addition to Amazon’s Kindle Fire family, with the new 9-inch model set to launch later this year.
Pacific Crest analyst Chad Bartley mentioned the upcoming form factor in his shipment forecast on Thursday noting, “We believe there is an upward bias, particularly from the new 7- and 9-inch models, which we expect to launch in mid-2012.”
Bartley predicted that full-year Kindle Fire shipments would total 14.9 million units, up from a previous estimate of 12.7 million, but still lagging far behind Apple’s iPad sales which reached 15 million units in the last quarter alone.
Strategy Analytics recently reported that global tablet shipments had risen to a record 26.8 million units in the last three months of 2011, up from 10.7 million a year earlier, with Apple still dominating the space with 58 percent market share.
Overall global tablet sales totaled 67 million units in 2011, according to Transparency Market Research. Nevertheless, a new tablet from Amazon due out in the summer, not even a year after the release of the 7-inch Kindle Fire, shows Amazon’s commitment to the space, with other reports claiming a 10-inch tablet is also in the works.
The Kindle Fire does seem to be consuming a bit of Amazon’s more traditional Kindle eReader market, however, with Bartley predicting the Seattle e-tailer would only ship some 24 million units, instead of the previously predicted 28.6 million.
Earlier this month, at DesignCon in Santa Clara, we tore down an Amazon Kindle and compared it to Barnes and Noble's Nook Color. You can watch that video below: