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Kindle Fire 2 coming in July, new report says

June 26, 2012

Google I/O 2012 is going to kick off tomorrow, with the rumored Google Nexus 7 tablet quite possibly being the star of the show. Made by Asus, the Nexus 7 is a 7-inch device, as the name suggests, and we already have a pretty good idea of what the tablet will have to offer thanks to a few recent leaks.

But the Nexus 7 is not going to be the only 7-inch affordable tablet coming this summer. CNET has it that the main Nexus 7 rival, and the actual reason Google has decided to enter the tablet business with a low-cost Android tablet rather than a full-blown iPad rival, will also be unveiled this summer.

Amazon is rumored to hold a special event on July 31 to unveil the Kindle Fire 2, which will reportedly be also a 7-inch device. Worth noting is that the electronics retailer is said to launch at least one bigger Kindle Fire version this year, a model that would compete directly against the iPad.

The original Kindle Fire was unveiled in September 2011 alongside three new Kindle e-readers and hit stores in time for last year’s Christmas shopping season. Sporting a highly customized Android version, which excluded all Google online services that are usually found on Android devices including Android Market (that’s what the Google Play app store was called at the time), the Kindle Fire pleasantly surprised consumers and quickly became one of the best-sold Android tablets of the season.

Since the device ran Android, even if highly modified and incompatible with Google’s approved Android versions equipping other similar devices, Google had to swallow the pill and act in a politically correct manner. The Search giant complimented without too much fuss the fact that at the end of the day the Kindle Fire is an Android device.

On the other hand, Amazon made little-to-no reference to the fact that the Kindle Fire is running Android. In fact, to this day the Amazon website hardly mentions Android on the Kindle Fire sales page.

The Kindle Fire outpaced more prominent Android tablet makers when it comes to the total number of tablets sold so far, prompting Samsung and Google executives to admit at the Mobile World Congress in late February that their strategy in the tablet business needs more polishing.

The Kindle Fire 2 is expected to come with the same $199 price tag, if not cheaper, and it will be quite interesting to see whether Amazon can outdo Google when it comes to the overall tablet performance. That doesn’t necessarily mean beating Google when it comes to hardware alone, although that’s also something we’re very interested in when it comes to the insides of the Kindle Fire 2.

Despite being rumored to sell for $199 to $249, the Nexus 7 will pack quite a punch under the hood. The tablet will sport a 7-inch touchscreen IPS display with 1280 x 800 resolution, 1.3GHz quad-core Tegra 3 processor, GeForce 12-core graphics processor, 1GB of RAM, 8GB of storage, front-facing camera and the all new Android 4.1 Jelly Bean OS under the hood. That’s what the Kindle Fire 2 has to somehow beat in order to remain one of the best-sold 7-inch tablets.

So far, the Kindle Fire 2 is said to come with a higher resolution, a camera and volume buttons, although the main hardware details are missing in action at this time.

In case the Kindle Fire 2 does indeed become official on July 31, we’ll probably see it in stores in the following weeks or months, as Amazon probably wants to go head to head against Google this summer when it comes to selling affordable tablets. Not to mention that Apple is rumored to unveil its own cheaper 7-inch iPad mini model later this year, an extra reason to have the Kindle Fire 2 in stores as soon as possible.

Anyone excited about the Kindle Fire 2 or will you rather get the Google Nexus 7 instead?