10-inch Kindle Fire may be delayed

Amazon's event next week may highlight tablets that are smaller than Apple's iPad.

Amazon may hold off on announcing a 10-inch Kindle Fire at a press event next week, instead focusing on tablets that are smaller than Apple's iPad.

Although a 10-inch Kindle Fire has been expected since last year, All Things Digital reports that the tablet is definitely not a done deal, citing several anonymous sources. However, Amazon could still announce a version with an 8-inch or slightly larger screen, in addition to a revamped 7-inch Kindle Fire.

This isn't the first we've heard of a medium-sized Kindle Fire tablet. Last year, Digitimes reported that Amazon was preparing an 8.9-inch Kindle Fire, and last month, Staples US Retail President Demos Parneros said to expect five or six Amazon tablets, which could leave room for something in the 8-inch range.

I'll be a bit disappointed if Amazon doesn't announce a 10-inch Kindle Fire at its press event. Cheap 10-inch tablets are hard to come by unless you're willing to buy last year's hardware. If previous speculation is accurate, a large Kindle Fire would likely be inexpensive, while also offering specs on par with the latest devices, such as a quad-core processor.

But if the device isn't ready, a delayed launch is for the best. After all, the original Kindle Fire suffered from buggy, sluggish software at launch, along with some hardware design quirks, which in turn resulted in lukewarm reviews. If Amazon plans to challenge the iPad head-on, it needs to take the time to get it right.

In the meantime, the company may feel that it can claim some new territory with a slightly smaller Kindle Fire. We've seen a few tablets with 8.9-inch screens over the last year or so, including Samsung's Galaxy Tab 8.9 and LG's T-Mobile G-Slate, but none have proven particularly popular.

One other interesting tidbit from All Things Digital's report: Sources say to expect some sort of mobile broadband connectivity option for Amazon's new tablets, but how that will work is unclear. Amazon already sells e-readers with 3G connectivity, but doesn't allow Web browsing over mobile networks for newer models. Short of some radical new approach to wireless tablet data, we may Amazon go the traditional route and require users to sign up for data plans.

Follow Jared on Twitter, Facebook, or Google+ and follow Today@PCWorld on Twitter for even more tech news and commentary.

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Jared Newman

PC World (US online)

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