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Staples retail chief outs 'five or six' Amazon tablets

The president of U.S. retail for Staples says that the tablets will come in different sizes, including one with a 10-inch display.

Amazon's Kindle Fire.
Amazon's Kindle Fire.

Amazon is planning to launch several new tablets, according to comments made by one of its retail partners.

Speaking to Reuters in an interview published today, Demos Parneros, president of U.S. retail for Staples, said that Amazon is currently working on "up to five or six" tablets that will come in all different sizes. One of the versions will include a 10-inch display, according to Parneros. He did not say when the devices might launch.

Reports have been swirling for months that Amazon would be launching new tablets sometime this year. Last month, a credible source told CNET that the second-generation Kindle Fire, sporting a 7-inch screen, could launch at the end of July. Other reports have suggested that a 10-inch model will be available in the coming months.

For its part, Amazon has stayed tight-lipped on the topic. However, the company's Kindle Fire, which posted a strong opening, has been suffering from flagging sales, indicating that a reboot might be in order. That so many tablets might replace the single slate Amazon offers now, though, is a surprise.

Moving beyond tablets, Reuters reported today that Amazon might also be working on a smartphone. The news service found that Amazon's research and design center in Silicon Valley, Lab126, has grown its employee count from about 500 employees back in September to nearly 900 now.

"They are there to develop other devices," Robert Brunner, founder of Ammunition, a product design company, told Reuters. "Knowing what I know about Jeff Bezos and Amazon, it's likely they are doing a smartphone."

As with the tablets, rumors have been swirling that Amazon is considering launching a smartphone. The company has so far not said that's the case.

CNET has contacted Amazon for comment on the Reuters report. We will update this story when we have more information.