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Analyst: Amazon prepping a 9-inch Kindle Fire

An analyst has predicted a larger version of Amazon's tablet will launch by the middle of this year.

Amazon is working on a larger Kindle Fire -- at least, that's what one analyst reckons, CNET reports.

Pacific Crest analyst Chad Bartley told investors this week that a 9-inch Kindle Fire could launch by the middle of the year. (The current Fire has a 7-inch screen.) And what does Bartley cite as his evidence? Well, he carried out his own checks with Amazon component suppliers. Not definitive by any stretch of the imagination, but it comes off the back of a number of other rumours concerning a larger Fire.

DigiTimes reported at the end of last year that an 8.9-inch version of the Fire was due this summer, which would square with Chad's prediction. (It cited companies like LG and Samsung heavily discounting 8.9-inch panels, making them a tempting prospect for Amazon.) Then a 10.1-inch model could follow.

A larger Kindle Fire would mount an effective challenge to the iPad -- something Amazon is aiming to do, judging from its recent advert. The ad, posted to YouTube this week, points out you can buy three Kindles for less than the price of an iPad. And that the standard Kindle's e-ink screen is easier to see in bright sunlight.

Last year rumours broke of a Kindle-branded smart phone too, though we haven't heard anything else since then.

Last weekend Amazon started shipping the Kindle Touch internationally, though it still isn't available in the UK. The Kindle Fire still isn't shipping to these shores, although late last year came word we wouldn't have much longer to wait.

We're still keen to see the standard Fire, let alone a bigger version. Do you think a 9-inch model is likely? And will we ever see either version in the UK? Let us know in the comments below, or over on our Facebook page.