As previously reported, Amazon seemingly rushed its Kindle Fire to the market using Quanta's off-the-shelf BlackBerry PlayBook design. The idea was to get the tablet on the market in time for the holiday season, a bet which obviously paid off, as the company sold around six million units in the span of just over two months.
Quanta also decided what would be thrown into the original hardware mix, ultimately costing Amazon $250 per unit to make. That said, while Amazon has taken a $50 loss per tablet, it has clearly made up the difference with software sales including Android apps, digital music, and streaming movies and TV episodes stored in the cloud. Needless to say, that $50 loss wasn't much compared to what console manufacturers lose per unit.
Still, Amazon plans to take over the selection and certification of components for the Kindle Fire 2 to lower the manufacturing costs. Hopefully this will also mean Amazon will make a few adjustments in the spec list to address complaints surrounding the current Kindle Fire including a lack of a microSD card slot, actual volume buttons and Bluetooth. And now that there's no holiday season demand to meet, Amazon can take its time and design the sequel to the Kindle Fire right.
It's really no secret that Amazon planned to release a sequel sometime this half of 2012. As reported last year, the Kindle Fire was slated to serve as a foot in the tablet door, with the meatier "flagship" tablet product to follow in the first half of 2012. The online retailer has supposedly signed on Foxconn as a second OEM to manufacture the Kindle Fire 2 while Quanta continues to pump out the original Kindle Fire tablet.
So far Amazon hasn't locked down a final list of specs for the Kindle Fire 2, but suppliers expect to start component deliveries in March. Thanks to the success of its first tablet, and prospects of larger sales in 2012, Amazon is expected to purchase parts at cheaper prices for the next-generation tablet.
Volume shipments for the Kindle Fire 2 are expected to begin in May or June, sources said.