Friday, June 29, 2012 prepping two new Kindle Fire tablets with improved specs, build

Last year, introduced its 7-inch Kindle Fire, but an additional 10-inch tablet that had been rumored never saw the light of day. That 10-inch model could now be nearing production, based on a new report.

While we had already heard rumors that would launch a new Kindle Fire 2 at or near the end of July, it now looks like that device won't be another 7-inch tablet, but the 10-inch model that we were expecting last year - or at least a 10-inch tablet of some sort.

In addition, the new report goes further, and says that this year might do what it couldn't in 2011: release both a 7-inch and 10-inch version of its tablet. Not only has the report's source handled both models, he also provided a number of details on the new tablets. However, it is unclear if both models will be released in July.

For one, build quality on the new devices has been much improved. With Google's Nexus 7 shipping in two to three weeks, priced at the same $199 slot as the original Kindle Fire and with much better specs (a second model with 16GB instead of 8GB is priced at $249), needs to up its game.

The new tablets are said to sport a metal casing in place of the current-generation's soft-touch plastic body. The 10-inch Kindle Fire adds a front-facing camera, but it appears the 7-inch model is still missing that feature, something that the Nexus 7 possesses, and thus something that might want to change its mind on, if it is not too late.

Both models ship with a microUSB port and an additional jack that may - or may not - be an HDMI-out port. The source described the new tablets as being slightly thinner than a first-generation iPad, but added that there are no buttons of any type on the front of either version.

There are still a number of things that are unclear, including the internal specs of the device and the all-important price. Since the Nexus 7 carries a quad-core Tegra 3 processor and a 12-core graphics chip, if's 7-inch tablet's hardware specs pale in comparison, it may lose out.

The 10-inch model, of course, would be cut a little slack, but it can't show up under-powered or - larger screen or not - it will see its sales impacted by the Nexus 7, which many believe will cannibalize market share not from the iPad, but from other Android tablets.

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