Amazon sold out of Kindle Fires


Amazon sold out of Kindle Fires

NEW YORK

Amazon.com Inc. says it has sold out of its Kindle Fire tablet computer amid expectations of a new model for the holiday season.

The Internet retailer has a major press conference scheduled for next Thursday in Santa Monica, Calif. It’s widely expected to reveal a new model of the Fire there, so Thursday’s announcement that the first model is “sold out” suggests that Amazon halted production a while ago to retool for a new model.

Amazon launched the $199 tablet last November. It was the first Kindle with a color screen and the ability to run third-party applications, placing it in competition with Apple Inc.’s iPad, at half the price of the cheapest iPad.

Amazon doesn’t say how many Fires it has sold but says it captured 22 percent of U.S. tablet sales over nine months. That would make it the second-most popular tablet, after the iPad. Tom Mainelli at research firm IDC said that figure matches his estimate of 6.7 million Fires sold, all in the U.S.

The Fire, which is about half the size of the iPad, could face a tougher challenge this holiday season. Many analysts expect Apple to introduce a smaller, cheaper iPad to take on the threat of the Kindle Fire and reach buyers who can’t afford a full-sized iPad. In addition, Google just launched its own Kindle-sized tablet, the Nexus 7, and is selling it for $199.

Rate on 30-year mortgage falls

WASHINGTON

Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages fell this week and are just slightly above record lows reached earlier this year. The low rates have contributed to a modest housing recovery.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the rate on the 30-year loan declined to 3.59 percent, down from 3.66 percent last week. Five weeks ago, the rate fell to 3.49 percent, the lowest since long-term mortgages began in the 1950s.

The average on the 15-year fixed mortgage, a popular refinancing option, slipped to 2.86 percent. That’s down from 2.89 percent last week and from the record low of 2.80 percent five weeks ago.

Cheap mortgages are a key reason the housing market finally is starting to rebound five years after the bubble burst.

Report: Foreclosure sales fall sharply

LOS ANGELES

Sales of bank-owned homes and those already on the foreclosure path fell sharply in the second quarter, reflecting a thinner slate of properties for sale in many cities as banks take a measured approach to placing homes on the market.

Even so, foreclosure sales’ share of all U.S. home purchases grew in the April-to-June period, foreclosure listing firm RealtyTrac Inc. said Thursday.

The combination of fewer bank-owned homes for sale and stronger demand during the traditional spring home-buying season also pushed sale prices higher. Bank-owned homes and those in some stage of foreclosure posted the biggest annual increase in average sales price since 2006, before the housing bubble burst, the firm said.

Associated Press

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