Amazon’s high-definition Kindle Fire HD tablets stole the spotlight last fall, but the company’s entry-level Kindle Fire might have been the real star of the show. At just $159, Amazon’s tiny tablet continued the company’s original tablet strategy and steered clear of Apple’s iPad in favor of affordability and mass-market appeal. The second-generation Kindle Fire was better, faster and cheaper than the original model but it was still a bit buggy and left plenty of room for improvement. Fortunately, big improvements are exactly what we can expect from Amazon’s third-generation Kindle Fire model set to debut this coming fall.
BGR already published exclusive details on Amazon’s complete tablet lineup for 2013, and we followed up our original report with full specs for both the 7-inch and 8.9-inch versions of the upcoming Kindle Fire HD. Now, trusted sources have provided us with complete specs for Amazon’s next-generation entry-level Kindle Fire tablet.
Where the new HD models have moved on to bigger and better things with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 800 chipset, the new Kindle Fire is apparently having some trouble letting go of the past.
Our sources say Amazon’s 2013 Kindle Fire model will utilize a 1.5GHz dual-core Texas Instruments OMAP4 4470 processor with PowerVR SGX544 graphics — the same chipset that currently powers both versions of the first-generation Kindle Fire HD. This is a nice bump from the old 1.2GHz OMAP4 4430 chipset in Amazon’s current Kindle Fire, and benchmark tests performed on a prototype yielded scores that were about two times better than the current model.
The new Kindle Fire will likely be the last Amazon device to utilize TI processors. According to a recent report from Taiwan-based Economic Daily, next year’s entry-level Kindle Fire tablet will be powered by a quad-core MediaTek 8135 chipset.
Back to this year’s model, we’re told the third-generation Kindle Fire will also stick with 1GB of RAM instead of getting a boost to 2GB alongside the new HD models, but it will be powered by Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean just like Amazon’s upcoming high-end tablets. As noted in our earlier exclusive report, the new entry-level Kindle Fire tablet will feature a high-definition display with a resolution of 1,280 x 800 pixels.
Essentially, Amazon’s next-generation base Kindle Fire tablet model will feature specs that align with the current-generation 7-inch Kindle Fire HD.
Amazon did not respond to a request for comment.
In terms of styling, we’re told that the new design identity of Amazon’s next-generation Kindle Fire HD tablets is also found on the new low-end model, including the sharper angles on the case-back design we described earlier.
The new entry-level Kindle Fire might not be as impressive as Amazon’s next-generation Kindle Fire HD lineup, but it packs significantly more punch than the current base model and our sources say that Amazon will likely offer it at the same price point: just $159 for the 8GB version. Amazon will also offer two new versions of the tablet, we’re told — one with 16GB of storage and one with 32GB — though pricing is unknown at this point.
Amazon’s three new tablets are expected to be unveiled this fall, possibly as soon as late next month.