Seems like we already knew this from prior reports, but AllThingsD has learned that Amazon is changing the aspect ratio of its next Kindle Fire (HD) from 1.71 (tall and narrow in its standard Portrait mode) to 1.60. The online retailer is also supposedly telling Android app developers to design around a 1280 x 800 resolution. Thus, the display will not only be sharper, but offer a new width-to-height ratio.
Unnamed sources also said that the new tablet will be thinner and lighter than original, backing up prior claims that the chassis will ditch the hard plastic design for one based on metal. The sources also said it will have a built-in camera -- again, no surprise there.
As for the actual launch, these sources claim Amazon is shooting for a 3Q12 release. At this point, it's all mere speculation, as prior reports have indicated that Amazon may actually launch the new tablet by the end of the month to tackle Google's Nexus 7. Amazon will supposedly schedule an official showing of its plans on July 31, and the general consensus seems to believe that a late 3Q12 release is the likely scenario.
That said, Amazon may have quite a showing later this month. In addition to the Kindle Fire HD, the company will also supposedly introduce a revamped 1st-generation Kindle Fire with a lower price tag, and possibly a 10-inch version of the Kindle Fire HD slated for a 4Q12 release. There has also been talk about the non-tablet Kindle devices having a front-lit color screen, ditching the monochrome graphics.
The original will still rely on E Ink technology claims unnamed sources, but the integrated front-lit lighting will eliminate the need for an external 3rd-party peripheral.
In addition to the revamped models, Amazon may even introduce an ad-based Special Offers version that will be drastically reduced in price for those who won't have the $149 up front. As seen with other Kindle units, these may display full-screen ads -- aka sponsored screensavers -- when users power the device down into "sleep" mode.
The latest news surrounding the Kindle Fire HD (2) stems from developers who claim that the company has brought them up to speed with the new hardware. DisplayMate President Raymond Soneira said that the display's increase in resolution is a definite improvement even though it doesn't sound like a huge graphics leap (the original is 1024 x 600).
"That’s a 67-percent increase in total pixels, and it is visually significant," he said. "It gives the display a PPI (pixels per inch) of 216."
Will Amazon have the hardware to tackle Apple's rumored 7-inch iPad Mini tablet that's expected to launch in 3Q12? We already know what Google had under its sleeve...