We'd been expecting new Kindles to be unveiled almost any day, and now that day has been set -- Amazon has sent out invites for a press conference in Santa Monica, Calif., on the morning of September 6.
While it's unclear just what Amazon will roll out, it's a good bet we'll see a new Kindle Fire (or maybe even multiple Fires) and an e-ink Kindle with a built-in lighting option.
New Kindles: What to expect
Back in late June, a source told CNET that the next Kindle Fire would have a camera and physical volume-control buttons (many users complained that the Kindle Fire only has onscreen volume controls). No word on whether Bluetooth will be included, what processor will power the device, but rumors strongly suggest the device will have a higher-resolution display (1,280x800 pixels) and we think that Amazon will offer different memory options (8GB and 16GB) as Google has with its
Another thing to look out for is whether Amazon, as rumored, will attempt to subsidize the cost of the new Kindle Fire with an ad-supported Special Offers version. It could also leave the
Whether Amazon will introduce a larger 10-inch tablet that would compete directly with the iPad remains a possibility. Also, a to be in the works, but the chances of such a device making its debut on September 6 seem small.
As for its e-ink e-readers, it seems likely that Amazon will follow a similar product upgrade map to Apple's, adding features along with design and performance improvements but maintaining the similar price points. For instance, we don't expect that Amazon will put out an e-ink e-reader for less than $79 (the
Currently, Barnes & Noble's
Amazon set-top box?
We're not sure yet about the significance of Amazon doing its presser in Santa Monica, but it would be easy to speculate that Hollywood studios and Amazon Instant Video will be front and center at the event. We've run into a few folks who say Amazon may have its own alternative to the
It's worth noting that many had thought Amazon would do its Kindle(in late July or August) rather than September in order to catch back-to-school sales and to get a jump on Apple, which is expected to have its own major event in September (the ). In the next few weeks, Apple is expected to announce and quite possibly a smaller iPad. If indeed it does unveil an , the Kindle Fire 2 -- or whatever it's called -- will certainly face daunting competition, which already includes the well-received Google Nexus 7. This fall Barnes & Noble is also expected to unveil a new version of its Nook Tablet that has, according to a reliable source, .
Editors' note: This story has been significantly expanded since its original publication to include additional details about our expectations of the announcement.