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'Millions more' may own a Kindle Fire, Bezos says

Amazon.com could double the number of Android-based tablets in consumers' hands by the end of the year, CEO Jeff Bezos says.

Amazon.com founder and CEO Jeff Bezos told investors today that his company is "building millions more" Kindle Fire tablets than originally planned.

Bezos' boast came during Amazon's conference call with investors to report its third-quarter earnings, which did not thrill the market nearly as much as the Kindle Fire is apparently exciting consumers. The numbers did not live up to Wall Street's expectations, and Amazon's stock price took a big dive in after-hours trading.

CBS Interactive

"September 28th was the biggest order day ever for Kindle--even bigger than previous holiday peak days," Bezos said, referring to the rush of orders that came immediately after Amazon announced four new Kindles, including the Fire--priced at $199, less than half that of an iPad--and a new vanilla-color Kindle with the price slashed to $79. "In the three weeks since launch, orders for electronic-ink Kindles are double the previous launch. And based on what we're seeing with Kindle Fire preorders, we're increasing capacity."

One recent report projected that Amazon could ship as many as 5 million tablets in the fourth quarter of 2011. That's less than half the quarterly amount of iPads that Apple ships, but by some estimates, it is more than a million units higher than the total number of Android Honeycomb tablets currently in the hands of consumers.