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Kindle Fire 2 arrives this summer: report

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(Read caption) Rumors put the launch of the Kindle Fire 2 at June or sooner. Here, the Amazon Kindle Fire.

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Late last year, Amazon introduced the Kindle Fire, a tablet computer with a Web browser and plenty of multimedia capability – not to mention a price that undercut the cheapest Apple iPad 2 by a couple hundred bucks. Unsurprisingly, the Fire sold well. According to a recent report by Pew, between mid-December and early January, tablet ownership in the US jumped from 10 percent to 19 percent of American adults. 

Much of that growth was attributed to the Fire, which attracted a whole new set of budget-minded consumers. Now comes a report, from the China Times, that Amazon is already preparing a sequel to the Fire, possibly called the Kindle Fire 2. The China Times alleges that Foxconn – one of the chief manufacturers of Apple iPads, Sony PlayStation 3s, and many other gadgets – has been tapped to build the product; launch date could arrive as soon as April. 

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Obviously, Amazon has not yet responded to the scuttlebutt. And yet the China Times dispatch does sync with earlier reports from outlets such as the Taiwanese paper DigiTimes, which also predicted the launch of a new Kindle Fire tablet – or possibly two, with screen sizes of 8.9- and 10-inches – sometime this year. 

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Of course, if Amazon does release a Fire 2 in April, the device will almost certainly be up against the Apple iPad 3. Most analysts expect the iPad 3 to be unveiled early next month, and officially launch shortly thereafter. Among the niceties on the new Apple tablet?

A better screen, more powerful innards, and maybe even a 4G antenna, for connection with AT&T and Verizon LTE networks. 

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