Amazon gears up for new device launch

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Amazon paved the way for its expected launch of new hardware devices next week by announcing that it had sold out of the Kindle Fire tablet, its first challenge to Apple’s iPad.

The online retailer is likely to unveil an improved version of the Fire and a new Kindle ereader at an event in Los Angeles next week, according to technology watchers.

Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s founder and chief executive, said on Thursday: “Kindle Fire is sold out but we have an exciting road map ahead.”

Michael Kozlowski of the Good e-Reader blog said he expects Amazon to unveil a Kindle Fire 2 with a built-in camera and a docking station, as well as a new Kindle ereader with a backlit display.

Amazon said that in the nine months since its launch the Kindle Fire had captured 22 per cent of tablet sales in the US but did not provide a source for the number.

In the second quarter of this year, the Kindle Fire accounted for just 5 per cent of the global tablet market while the iPad was 68 per cent, according to IDC, a research group.

Mr Kozlowski wondered whether Amazon’s stock of old Kindle Fires was truly exhausted.

“I think they’re pulling them off the shelves in order to build up demand [for new devices] because no one will have been able to buy anything for many weeks,” he said.

Amazon’s choice of a location close to Hollywood for next week’s event has sparked speculation about further deals with film and music producers whose content can be played on Amazon devices.

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