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Kindle Fire 2 rumor roundup: at least three versions, one with 4G LTE support

July 9, 2012

Now that Google has made its Kindle Fire killer official, the pressure is back on Amazon, as we expect the giant retailer to counterattack with its own next-gen Kindle Fire tablets. In fact, the web is filled with various Kindle Fire 2 rumors, and not all of them are on the same page.

A few days ago we heard that two Kindle Fire 2 models will be available in stores this summer, sporting metal casings and “sophisticated looks.” That particular report suggested that Amazon will unveil a 7- and a 10-inch tablet at some point in the near future, with sleek iPad-like looks, and contradicted previous rumors that claimed Amazon will also have an 8.9-inch Kindle Fire 2 model right alongside the 7- and 10-inch versions.

To further confuse us, we now have another story out there mentioning four Kindle Fire 2 models instead of two or three. This time around, we’re looking at three 7-inch models and one 8.9-inch tablet. The news comes from NPD DisplaySearch analyst Richard Shim, who sees the following Kindle Fire 2 models:

  • 7-inch Kindle Fire 2:1,024 x 600 display, no camera; August production.
  • 7-inch Kindle Fire 2: 1280 x 800 display with camera; August production.
  • 7-inch Kindle Fire 2: 1280 x 800 display with camera and 4G; September production.
  • 8.9-inch Kindle Fire 2: With 1920 x 1200 display; Q4 production.

Shim got these specs from “supply chain” sources, but that doesn’t necessarily mean Amazon will indeed launch four Kindle Fire 2 tablets this summer.

However, the report seems to confirm the higher resolution Kindle Fire 2 we mentioned earlier today, and also the August launch we reported on a few days ago, at least for some models.

The 10-inch model is obviously gone and Shim seems to believe such a version is not in the making, while the 4G LTE support may be a new piece from the Kindle Fire 2 puzzle. We already have an idea of what Amazon should do to beat the Nexus 7, and while 4G wasn’t on that list, it would certainly be a nice feature that some tablet users may appreciate – both the original Kindle Fire and the Google Nexus 7 come with support only for Wi-Fi.

Shim’s report also notes that the Kindle Fire 2 will have displays sporting 216 pixels per inch (PPI) density, just like the Nexus 7. And while he didn’t mention what processors the Kindle Fire 2 would use, CNET speculates that they will be made either by Texas Instruments or NVIDIA.

The competition between Amazon and Google is certainly one to be followed, as it’s very important for the (Android) tablet ecosystem. Both companies are selling cheap tablets in hope to attract more buyers and, more importantly, more customers for their digital content stores. Amazon has a slight edge on Google when it comes to digital content catalog (except for apps where Google has an impressive collection compared to Amazon’s) but also when it comes to distribution chain.

Nevertheless, it’s worth remembering that Amazon is yet to sell the Kindle Fire outside the U.S., even though that may change once the Kindle Fire 2 is launched – at least if some other rumors are to be believed. Also important is the fact that Amazon is reportedly in talks with developers to make more Kindle Fire-friendly content, namely games.

This Amazon vs Google fight will also make some unwanted collateral victims (at least from Google’s point of view) – the other Android tablet makers that can’t leverage their digital content stores to sell cheap but powerful Android tablets.

Their inability to deliver cheaper tablets may further be taken advantage of by another expected member to the cheap 7-inch tablet party, the iPad mini, a device that would probably sell like hot cakes just like its bigger brother. Moreover, the iPad mini could also be seen as an unwanted collateral outcome – the Amazon vs Google competition in the 7-inch tablet business is possible thanks to the apparently huge interest for affordable yet powerful 7-inch tablets. And Apple could very well take advantage of that interest by coming out with its own 7.85-inch tablet later this year – let’s not forget that the company also has a very impressive digital content store, that’s available in a lot more markets than Google Play or Amazon’s own digital stores, and which would help it sell a cheaper, smaller tablet.

Anyone excited about the Kindle Fire 2?