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Amazon Reportedly Working on 3 Refreshed Kindle Fires

By Wesley Fenlon

New Amazon tablets may be in the pipe for this September, sporting higher resolution screens.

According to BGR, Amazon is working on three new Kindle Fire tablets set for release this holiday season. All three tablets are refreshes of the existing 7-inch, 8.9-inch HD and 7-inch HD models. With Apple's next iPad revision likely to release in the fall, competition's going to be fierce for Christmas tablet dollars. BGR writes that Amazon has some big changes in store to put up a good fight.

First, the not-so-big changes: the 7-inch Fire will see a nice but minimal upgrade from its 1024x600 pixels resolution to 1280x800. The 7-inch HD, meanwhile, will jump up to 1920x1200 from 1280x800. The 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HD, however, will join the ludicrously high resolution tablet world at 2560x1600 pixels.

The big changes are coming in design. BGR's sources claim the tablets will be noticeably lighter, though that could change between the current pre-production models and the final products. BGR also writes:

"Whereas the current Kindle Fire HD series features a back that slopes smoothly out toward the edge...our sources say the new models feature a more angular design with a flat slope out to the edges instead of a curved slope, and corners that aren’t as rounded. One source described the new look as 'chiseled.'

Also of note, the power and volume buttons are no longer located on the side of the tablets. Instead, they have been situated on the sloping area on the case-back and they are positioned to avoid accidental button presses when a tablet is placed on its back. We’re told that the new button design is a big improvement; the button placement on current models is something of a pain point for many Kindle Fire HD users."

BGR's story doesn't touch on software, but we'd expect to see a few updates on that front as well. All Things D points out that Amazon has been using the cloud processing of its Silk web browser to test out experimental Flash streaming for the past six months. The service only works with the Flash players of a few dozen sites, but that's already giving them a leg up on other Android and iOS devices, where Flash is a barren wasteland of inaccessible content. A shrinking wasteland, thankfully, as other video solutions like HTML5 have mostly replaced the need for Flash support.

The report also doesn't mention what the Fires will be packing under the hood, but new processors seem likely for an annual refresh. Last year's Kindle Fire models launched in early September, which means Amazon's redesigned tablets may be about two months away from launch. BRG notes Amazon is aiming for the same pricing with these new models; if that pans out, expect them to charge $160 for the Fire, $200 for the Fire HD and $270 for the Fire HD 8.9.