Amazon is in the process of updating its Kindle Fire line of media tablets in time for the holidays. Citing unnamed sources, BGR reported that Amazon is planning on upping the specs and introducing new industrial design concepts to its tablets.
Amazon's 2012 Kindle Fire Family (Kindle Fire HD 8.9", Kindle Fire HD, Kindle Fire)
On the design front, Amazon is reportedly looking to being a "chiseled" design to its tablets. Rather than a curved sloped edge on the back of the device, Amazon is working on a more flat slope leading to corners that are less rounded. No word on materials, but we expect the next generation of Kindle Fire devices to continue with a plastic back.
Amazon will also be moving volume and power buttons for its tablets to the back on this new flat slope. The current buttons are on the side, and BGR's sources say the change is to avoid accidental touches by users. The product line will also be noticeably lighter than current models.
Amazon will keep its low-end, entry-level Kindle Fire, but the company is bumping the resolution on the device to 1200 x 800, up from 1024 x 600 in the current model. It's also the same resolution as the current Kindle Fire HD, and should make the Kindle Fire much more usable and attractive to users.
To that end, the resolution on the 7-inch Kindle Fire HD is being jacked way higher to 1920 x 1200, a significant boost that will put it within striking distance of the resolution on Apple's industry leading 9.7-inch iPad 4 (2048 x 1536).
Amazon's largest tablet, the 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HD will also get a resolution bump to 2560 x 1600. That's not only far higher than Apple's current iPad 4, it will make it one of the highest pixel density tablets on the market.
BGR didn't offer any details on the types of displays. Resolution is just one aspect of a display's quality. While upping the pixel density will improve Amazon's tablet line, it would be a mistake to assume that this alone will make its displays offer the same quality experience as Apple's iPad, Samsung's high end tablets, or even Google's Nexus tablets.
Prices haven't been set, but Amazon's goal is to hit the same price points as current Kindle Fire models. The Kindle Fire is $159, the Kindle Fire HD starts at $199 (on sale now for $169 for Amazon Prime members), and the Kindle Fire 8.9" is $269 for Amazon Prime members.
Amazon's Kindle Fire line is a loss-leader. It uses a forked version of Android with an interface designed for shopping at Amazon. There are few native apps for the device, and no one who owns one uses it for surfing or apps.
That could change with the new devices. A higher resolution isn't a cure-all, but it will make viewing webpages a more enjoyable activity. It will also make reading Kindle ebooks more enjoyable, which should help the company maintain or gain share in that business.
We look forward to seeing what Amazon brings to market.