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Amazon ups Kindle Fire production...

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Demand for Amazon's 7in tablet, the Kindle Fire, is sufficiently strong to prompt the online retailer to increase its production orders by 42 per cent, it has been claimed.

Amazon originally asked to be sent 3.5m Fires from Taiwanese factories before 2011 is out. Now it wants 5m of the devices, say component makers, according to Digitimes.

Kindle Fire is set to begin shipping next week, on 15 November, in the US only. There has been talk of Amazon discussing resale deals with French retailers, but so far there has been no comment from Amazon itself about its plans to make the $199 (£125) Fire available outside the US.

Even if Amazon sells 5m Fires by the end of the year, it's unlikely to dent Apple's iPad shipments overly. But it is having an effect.

Apple CEO Tim Cook was recently reported to have said he views the Fire's pricing as a challenge. He should - Amazon's brand carries almost as much weight as Apple's does.

Incidentally, Apple comment about Android fragmentation being increased by the Fire is FUD: many Fire purchasers will be buying into the Amazon brand not Android, so the notion that Fire's Android won't be quite the same as, say, Samsung's Android isn't going to hinder sales.

Meanwhile, data from market watcher ChangeWave shows pre-release interest in the Fire - as measured by survey respondents saying they will or are very likely to buy one - running higher than it was for the iPad, though only slightly. Don't forget too that, nearly two years on from the iPad launch, consumer awareness of the tablet as a product category is very much higher than it was back then.

Punters have a notion now of what a tablet can do for them, not least thanks to all the marketing Apple has done.

Crucially, ChangeWave's data shows that more than a quarter - 26 per cent - of punters planning to pick up a Fire will buy the Amazon tablet instead of the iPad they had been intending to buy. A further 12 per cent are getting a Fire instead of another brand of tablet. Nine per cent will get a Fire but not a Kindle e-book reader.

Speaking of which, one estimate we've seen, from Digitimes, has 28.9m e-book readers shipping in 2011, up 31.4 per cent on 2010's total. Most of them will be sold in the US. ®

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