Supposed upstream supply sources have released information that may pertain to the upcoming announcement of the Kindle Fire 2. This info, coming through NPD DisplaySearch Analyst Richard Shim, indicates slightly different production emphases than the recent BGR article talked about, but is otherwise mostly consistent. While this must be taken with a great deal of caution, upstream supply chain sources being notoriously unreliable and often interpreted poorly, the implications are worth exploring.
The report in question talks about four upcoming Kindle Fire models:
- 7” Kindle Fire 2 w/ 1024 x 600 Display
- 7” Kindle Fire 2 w/ 1280 x 800 Display and Camera
- 7” Kindle Fire 2 w/ 1280 x 800 Display, Camera, and 4G Internet Access
- 8.9” Kindle Fire 2 w/ 1920 x 1200 Display
Of these, according to Shim, the two basic 7” models are scheduled to begin production in August while the 7” Kindle Fire 2 w/ 4G Internet Access will have to wait until September. The larger model will not be available until it’s time for holiday sales.
Along with this information, we get notice of an upgrade to the pixel density of the Kindle Fire 2’s screen. Like the Nexus 7 from Google, it will now be a 216 PPI display. For context, the existing Kindle Fire has a 1024 x 600 display with 170 pixels per inch.
There are two vital pieces of information to take from this, as well as one fairly interesting point that may be useful later this year.
First, while there will still be a lower resolution Kindle Fire model made available for under $199, this information would indicate that there have been hardware changes. The most inexpensive Kindle Fire model available after the new hardware is announced will not simply be backstocked units of Amazon’s current tablet.
Second, the Kindle Fire 2 will likely be able to beat Google’s Nexus 7 to 4G connectivity. If Amazon can pull that off, it will be a huge boost to their reputation in the tablet market and would lead to increased sales. We are certainly not looking at the potential for unlimited free cellular transfer as in the Kindle eReader line, due to the volume of data involved in media streaming and app downloads, but just having the option available will open doors.
This report also points to the larger Kindle Fire 2 being an 8.9” device rather than the 10.1” device that many have been hoping for. Since we are looking at slightly more distant production there will be more room for variation and this is in direct conflict with other equally “reliable” sources. Nonetheless, going with a slightly smaller size might be a productive choice if Amazon is looking to both keep the costs down on their own device and avoid too many direct comparisons with the industry-leading 9.7” iPad. Clearer size differences mean fewer side by side comparisons.
Either way, keep an eye out for highly discounted Kindle Fire offers. If we’re moving into a new generation of devices, Amazon’s likely to have “refurbished” units on sale.