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Kindle Fire forecast cut by analyst amid Nexus 7 concern

Analyst firm Cowen says its previous forecast for sales of Kindle e-readers 'is proving unrealistic.'

Amazon's Kindle Fire.
David Carnoy/CNET

Amazon's Kindle Fire may be cooling down.

That's according to Cowen analyst Kevin Kopelman, who today cut his forecast on the company's revenue, as well as sales of its Kindle e-reader and Kindle Fire tablet.

The forecast comes ahead of an expected refresh of Amazon's tablet, which made a splash late last year with its $200 price point. Since then, however, several other lower priced entrants have come out, most notably Google's own Nexus 7, which is selling at the same price, and a widely anticipated iPad Mini from Apple. As such, analysts are beginning to wonder how Amazon will continue to fare in the hyper-competitive market.

Amazon, for its part, continues to tout its Kindle line-up regularly, and places the Kindle Fire prominently on its homepage.

Cowen's Kopelman believes the Kindle Fire could be hurt by the Nexus 7. He lowered his full-year estimate on Kindle Fire sales to 12 million units from a prior forecast of 14 million. He had Amazon selling 4 million Kindle Fire units in 2011, when it launched late in the year.

Kopelman also cut his growth forecast for the Kindle reader to 3 percent from a prior estimate of 30 percent, now calling the estimate "unrealistic." The Kindle has been hurt by Amazon's focus on the Kindle Fire, a decline in reviews on Amazon's website, Target's removal of the device from its stores in May, delays in the launch of its front-lit Kindle, and the difficult comparisons from the previous two years due to price cuts and advertising subsidies.

He expects Amazon to sell 16.3 million units for the year, up slightly from the 15.9 million it sold in 2011.

As a result of the reduced sales, as well as the recent weakening of the euro and other currencies against the dollar, he cut his revenue estimate by 2 percent this year and 3 percent next year.

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