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Amazon stepping up the Tablet (and smartphone?) war

Today at 1pm PST, Amazon is supposedly announcing their new versions of the Kindle tablets and readers.  The new Kindle Fire is said to step up the hardware specs, possibly introduce a new form factor (10" screen), and what is most exciting: potentially an Amazon branded smartphone.
Amazon will certainly need to step up the hardware specs on Kindle Fire considering that Google's Nexus 7 tablet is doing so well and has fantastic specs.  In addition, rumors of a 7" Apple iPad "mini" based on the iPad 2 are looming. 

At minimum, we should see Amazon address a few key flaws in their first hardware version, namely the missing microphone and camera, performance (sluggish UI) and battery life.  Without these, the tablet would be obsolete before it ships.  Amazon usually does a reasonable amount of learning from its mistakes, so it will be good to see what they "fix" and how they "lead" with new capability.

The really interesting item to listen for is whether Amazon announces a smartphone.  The Kindle Fire proved a concept to Amazon that they can subsidize the cost of the device hardware over time based on users buying from Amazon's app and media stores.  A phone handled in this way *COULD* be a game changer.   For example, a low cost, factory unlocked phone that is low up front cost would be a HUGE hit.  Will they do this? Who knows, but it sure would be fantastic!

More updates on the way once we hear that Amazon announces!

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