ZDNet

July 9, 2012

Kindle Fire 2 rumored for August launch

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Amazon is preparing to “counterattack” Google and its newly-released Nexus 7 by unveiling the Kindle Fire 2 tablet on August 7, according to a report by the China Times.

According to the report, the updated 7-inch tablet will still be built by Taiwanese ODM Quanta, but the plastic case will be replaced with a more durable metal chassis and the battery will be manufactured by an unnamed Chinese company.

Sister site CNET reported that Amazon may be planning a Kindle Fire 2 announcement for July 31, which would fit in well with an August 7 release date. CNET goes on to report that NPD DisplaySearch analyst Richard Shim predicts that as many as four new tablet models are in the works at Amazon, based on supply chain data.

Shim claims that supply chain data points to a 7-inch Kindle Fire 2 with a 1,024×600 display and no camera, and another featuring a 1,280×800 display and a camera, both of which would be ready for August. He claims that another 7-inch Kindle Fire 2 tablet featuring a 1,280×800 display, camera and 4G will begin production in September, followed by larger 8.9-inch Kindle Fire 2 variant kitted out with a 1,920×1,200 display, which Shim claims is set for production later in the year.

According to Shim, the new Kindle Fire 2 tablets will have displays that feature a pixel density of 216 pixels per inch (PPI), identical to that of the Nexus 7 but lower than the 264 PPI found on the iPad 3.

The original Kindle Fire had a screen density in the region of 170 PPI.

So far there’s been no word on what processor will power the new Kindle Fire 2 tablets, although a Texas Instruments OMAP CPU or an quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 chip are the likely candidates.

In the space of just a few months, the Kindle Fire became the most popular Android tablet, capturing 54 percent of the market – hammering the competition into the ground. The original Kindle Fire is now a year old and ready for an update, but I do find it a little bewildering that Amazon could be preparing to launch as many as four tablets. Throwing in a couple of different screen resolutions and a camera don’t seem like enough to differentiate between the different models.

There has been speculation that Amazon could slash the price of the existing Kindle Fire to $149 once the Kindle Fire 2 is released, further putting pressure on other tablet makers to follow suit.

Rumors continue to circulate that Apple is also preparing launch a 7-inch tablet, although it is hard to come up with a compelling case why the 9.7-inch iPad needs to be complimented with a smaller model.

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