updated 04:40 pm EDT, Tue June 26, 2012
New model to sport camera, physical volume control
Amazon is said to be working on a refresh of its low-cost Kindle Fire, one that would address multiple user complaints about the first version of the tablet. Sources familiar with the tablet's development tell CNet that the new tablet will debut this summer, and that Amazon will drop the price on the current Kindle Fire to make way for the new version.
The second-generation model is said to feature a camera, though the source gave no details on resolution. Physical volume controls are expected to be available, instead of the on-screen volume controls seen in the original version, addressing a common complaint about the device. The source revealed no information on internal memory, processor specs, or connectivity options.
The Kindle Fire launched late last year to considerable sales and quickly became the number-one Android tablet. After the holiday season, though, sales are said to have dropped off dramatically.
In the time since the Kindle Fire's launch, rumors have abounded that Amazon was working on a successor. Some have said the company is looking to produce a 10.1-inch model to compete directly with Apple's iPad, while others claim a range of sizes, including a nine-inch model, will serve as replacements.
Apple doesn't view the Kindle Fire as a threat, but a new Fire tablet will still encounter stiff competition should it debut this summer. The coming months will likely see a range of low-cost tablet introductions, many powered by Nvidia's Kai platform, which enables higher processing power with better battery life at a lower price point. Chief among these potential competitors: Google's rumored Nexus tablet, which may debut as early as this week.