Sources from AllThingsD have confirmed some of the rumors we've been hearing about the next iteration of Kindle Fires which are expected to arrive this year. They've also added a few more details of their own to the rumor bag, suggesting the next offerings from Amazon will be thinner and lighter despite purported improvements.
We've been hearing rumors about the "Kindle Fire 2" for several months now, but nothing very specific until just recently. Last week we shared rumors from industry sources which suggest the next generation of Kindle Fires will feature higher resolution panels and debut in late 2012 with a total of four models ranging from 7 to 8.9 inches. Those models will also include various 4G and camera options. Those sources also further narrowed the target release date from 2H 2012 to a more specific "late in third quarter" launch.
One of the more interesting features expected to be found on the new Kindle is the bump up from 1024x600 to 1280x800 which marks a 67 percent increase in pixel density -- an update which bumps the Kindle Fire's successor to 216 pixels per inch. That's just a few pixels per inch shy of the same PPI offered by Apple's Retina-based Macbook Pro and is expected to provide a noticeable increase in clarity and color.
Pricing for the next-gen Kindle Fire still remains a mystery, but it seems unlikely that Amazon will break away from their successful model of selling a premium tablet. When the original Kindle Fire debuted in 2011, it was one of the best-selling tablets around because of its unique low-cost barrier.
After a tear down of the Kindle Fire, industry analysts discovered that Amazon had actually been selling the tablet below its estimated BOM cost (the cost of parts and assembly). Amazon was banking on the fact users would generate additional revenue by purchasing apps, books and media.
AllThingsD also mentions rumors of the 'iPad Mini', a tablet which would mark the introduction of a smaller (i.e. cheaper) offering to Apple's iPad line-up. Such a product may prove to be tough competition for the Kindle Fire which has thrived in a low-cost market segment avoided by most major manufacturers.