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Amazon to produce 5 million Kindle Fire tablets this year, report says

Amazon Kindle Fire

Amazon's Kindle Fire tablet arrives to consumers next week. It looks almost exactly the same as Research in Motion's BlackBerry PlayBook and it sells for $199.

The hype is huge, and sales are expected to be huge as well -- about 3 million to 5 million before the year is up, according to analyst estimates.

With all the momentum, the Seattle-based online retail giant is looking to its hardware manufacturers to raise production numbers to meet demand, according to a report from the Taiwanese news and rumor website DigiTimes.

"Amazon has recently increased its Kindle Fire orders to more than 5 million units before the end of 2011 as pre-orders for the machine remain strong, according to sources from upstream component suppliers," Yenting Chen and Rebecca Kuo of DigiTimes said in the report. "Amazon already raised its order volume once in the middle of the third quarter, up from 3.5 million units originally to 4 million units."

If Amazon is producing 5 million Kindle Fire tablets this year, it may intend to sell that many, which would put the new 7-inch touch-screen device on the high end of analyst estimates.

It may also give Amazon the first substantial tablet blockbuster outside of Apple's iPad. But even if Amazon sells 5 million Kindle Fire tablets before the year is up, it still may fail to match the iPad's sales.

Apple sold 11.12 million iPads during the quarter that ended Oct. 18, and 9.25 million iPads the quarter before.

The Kindle Fire, although ranking low in price against many tablets on the market, also features many lower-end specs, such as 8 gigabytes of built-in storage, no microSD card slot or cameras and a stripped-down version of Google's Android operating system.

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-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles

twitter.com/nateog

Photo: The Amazon Kindle Fire tablet. Credit: Emmanuel Dunand / AFP/Getty Images

 
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