Amazon May Release New Kindle Fire as Soon as July

Amazon may be launching the successor to its Kindle Fire tablet as early as July, and it’s expected to offer some new features that customers have been asking for.

According to CNET, the new Kindle Fire will have two main features that many original Fire owners wished they had: physical volume buttons and a camera. The original Kindle Fire didn’t have a camera and possessed on-screen volume controls only.

However, these seem to be the only two features that are certain about the upcoming tablet. Other options that are still up in the air include Bluetooth capabilities, the type of processor used, and the amount of memory. The original Kindle Fire does not have Bluetooth, and it has a Texas Instruments OMAP 4430 processor (a dual-core ARM A9 part clocked at 1 GHz) and 8 GB of built-in memory with no expansion.

Screen size and price also remain a mystery, but CNET gave a possible launch date of July 31, 2012.

Earlier this month, DigiTimes reported that Amazon might launch two new Kindle Fire models this year, including a new 7-inch tablet for $199 that would be released during the third quarter of the fiscal year and a 10-inch tablet that would launch during the fourth quarter of 2012 or the first quarter of 2013. The new tablets were also rumored to have a 1280×800 screen resolution, which would be an upgrade from the current Fire’s 1024×600 resolution.

DigiTimes also mentioned that the original Kindle Fire’s price would be cut from $199 to $150 after the release of the new 7-inch tablet. However, all of DigiTimes’ predictions are just rumors for now.

The first Kindle Fire was released during the holiday season last November, and Amazon managed to move 4.7 million units total in Q4 2011. This was nearly one-third of the volume of Apple, which shipped 15.4 million tablets in Q4 2011. This was a huge accomplishment, considering Apple has been king of the tablets since the iPad’s initial release in 2010.

Amazon isn’t the only tech giant with tablet fever, though. ASUS is expected to announce a 7-inch Nexus Tablet, which will be the first to feature Google’s Android 4.1 Jelly Bean mobile operating system. The other specs include a 1.3 GHz quad-core Tegra 3 processor, a GeForce 12-core graphics processor, 1 GB of RAM and a resolution of 1280×800. The 8 GB model will launch for $199, putting it in the same category as Amazon’s Kindle Fire.

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