Amazon has slashed the price on the Kindle Fire HD 7″ to $159, the same price as for a first-generation, non-HD Fire for a limited time. Amazon’s not saying when the price will go back up to $199, but there are also many reports online of a Kindle Fire 2 rollout that’s expected to happen in another month or two. So should you grab the Kindle Fire HD 7″ right now, on sale, or should you wait for the newer models?
Well, it all depends on how badly you want the (rumored) upgrades, versus how important the cost savings is to you. Tech site Boy Genius Report (BGR), whose predictions were right on target for the Kindle Fire HD line ahead of its debut, is reporting detailed specifications for the new Kindle Fire tablets. As per usual Amazon is neither confirming nor denying BGR’s report, but many other tech sites like CNET and TechRadar are using BGR as a source in their own reports so it’s about as reliable as the information is likely to get ahead of the actual rollout.
Anticipated Upgrades In The Kindle Fire 2 Line
BGR says the new Kindle Fire, which is positioned to replace the first-generation, non-HD Kindle Fire 7″ tablet, will get an upgraded display that boasts 1,280 x 800 pixels. The current, non-HD Kindle Fire has a screen resolution of 1,024 x 600 pixels.
BGR reports the Kindle Fire HD 7″ will also get a display upgrade, from its current resolution of 1,280 x 800 pixels to 1,920 x 1,200 pixels.
As for the Kindle Fire HD 8.9″, BGR says its display will be upgraded as well, from its current 1,920 x 1,200 pixels to 2,560 x 1,600 pixels. This upgrade would make the Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ 2 exceed the latest iPad retina display in terms of resolution, color fidelity and brightness.
While BGR is saying that the diagonal screen measurements, and therefore overall sizes, of the Kindle Fire 2 models will not differ from those currently available, the outer casing will be slightly redesigned with more of a “chiseled” look and the bezel (the darkened border that surrounds the lit display) will be slightly smaller as well, resulting in a slightly larger display.
The Fire HD models are reportedly getting a processor upgrade to the quad core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 system, with a processing speed of up to 2.3GHz per core (as compared to the current models’ dual-core, 1.2 – 1.5GHz processor speeds).
BGR goes on to report:
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.
If this is true, then any cases you own for current-model Fire tablets aren’t likely to fit the Kindle Fire 2 models.
The new 7-inch Kindle Fire HD set to launch later this year also includes an upgrade to 2GB of RAM, a front-facing camera, Wi-Fi and available cellular connectivity. It will ship with either 16GB, 32GB or 64GB of internal storage according to our sources, and internal test units are currently running Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean with Amazon’s heavy customizations. Considering how close we are to Amazon’s target launch timeframe, this will likely be the device’s operating system version at launch.
The larger 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HD model Amazon is planning to release this fall features specs similar to the 7-inch model behind its 2,560 x 1,600-pixel high-definition display. Sources state that the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 chipset will power the tablet and it will also feature the same front-facing camera, optional cellular data support, internal storage sizes and 2GB of RAM. The 8.9-inch model will also feature an 8-megapixel rear camera though, while the 7-inch model will not include a rear camera.
Lastly, the new tablets are said to be noticeably lighter than the models they will be replacing, though it is unclear if the launch versions of Amazon’s new tablets will be identical to the pre-production models currently being tested.
What Will The New Fires Sell For?
BGR says their sources report Amazon is trying very hard to toe the line on its current Fire pricing in order to better compete with the new Nexus 7 tablet and any new iPad that might come along. From BGR:
Pricing for the new tablets has apparently not been finalized at this point, though one source informed us that Amazon is working hard to hit the same price points covered by the current Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD tablets.
What To Do?
Again, it’s important to remember that these BGR reports are just that: reports. Amazon is known for playing details close to the vest before any actual product launch, so while BGR is a very reliable and respected source, there’s no guarantee that what they’re reporting will turn out to be true.
However, if any of the reported upgrades are of critical importance to you, such as maybe the additional camera on the 8.9″ model, the cell data support on the new models, or the zippier processors or upgraded displays, then it may be worth waiting to find out what these new tablets have to offer. It’s likely that the new models will be released in time for holiday shopping, so you shouldn’t have to wait too long to find out.
On the other hand, if you’re pretty happy with the Kindle Fire HD just as it is and have been thinking of buying another for your household, or have been looking to upgrade from a first-generation Kindle Fire 7″ to the HD model but have been waiting for a sale, you may want to consider taking advantage of the limited-time $159 pricetag on the Kindle Fire HD 7″.