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Could an 'iPad mini' stamp out the Kindle Fire?

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Jeff Orr, group director of consumer research at ABI Research, said smaller tablets are poised to become more popular than their larger predecessors. He told PCWorld that “customers in emerging markets were more likely to buy low-cost tablets with screen sizes between 7 inches and 9 inches than Apple’s iPad.” (The iPad has a 9.7-inch screen.)

While Apple effectively created the tablet market with the release of the first generation iPad, the company made a conscious decision to stick to a single model. Beyond the three storage sizes, the original iPad came in only black, with 3G through only AT&T, and only a 9.7-inche screen. Apple eventually opened up to a white frame and Verizon service. But if you want a smaller screen, you’ll have to look elsewhere. Good thing that there’s been a second wave of mid-size, cheaper tablets – including the very well reviewed Kindle Fire and Barnes & Noble Nook Color.

Analyst Shaw Wu of the brokerage firm Sterne Agee said he doesn’t think Apple will release another iPad model anytime soon, but that the popularity of mini-tablets should be addressed.

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