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Rumors of a new Kindle Fire have been around since the start of the year, but now that Google has entered the tablet market, the pressure is on Amazon to sell a slate that's either cheaper or better built than the Nexus 7. If the rumor mill is to be believed, then Amazon may accomplish both of these objectives as soon as July 31, when the Kindle Fire 2 is finally announced.
For those interested in purchasing a discounted tablet, it will be prime shopping season, because for every Amazon Kindle announcement we've seen in the past, there's been a generous Kindle discount to match. But just how low can the Kindle Fire 2 go, and what kind of discount will the original Kindle Fire receive? We analyzed the Kindle landscape to find out.
That said, we don't expect to see a significant price reduction on the Kindle Fire 2. $199 was an impressive price point a year ago when Amazon's main competitor was Barnes & Noble, and it remains a pretty aggressive price point today. (Sure, you can find Android tablets for less, but not from major manufacturers.) Moreover, the new model will likely feature some premium upgrades, like a thinner profile and a camera. But while the retail price of the new Fire will likely remain $199, our research shows that we could still see deals within the first two months of the Kindle Fire 2's release; look for offers that slash up to $20 off the retail price, most likely courtesy of an Amazon Local deal or via a bundled credit sold directly through Amazon.
We do, however, expect to see a price cut on the 2011 Kindle Fire upon the Kindle Fire 2's debut. Amazon will likely keep the original Fire around — much like Apple has kept its iPad 2 in the market — to compete with low-cost tablets. In this case, the original Fire will stick around to further compete with the $199 Nexus 7. Amazon has also historically kept past Kindle eBook models in rotation as new ones are released, but, again, at a lower price point. Combined, that means the 2011 Kindle Fire could become one of the first mainstream tablets to sell for well under $199 once the Fire 2 debuts.
So how low could it go? We took a look at our deals and noticed that just last month, the 2011 Kindle Fire hit an all-time low of $169 (bundled with a $5 Amazon MP3 credit). It's no stretch then to predict that the original Fire could drop to at least a $169 starting price upon release of the Fire 2. The original Amazon tablet will be just a year old in September, making this a very good value if you don't care for the extras in the latest version.
Regardless which Kindle Fire you choose (the 2011 model or the 2012), this fall is shaping up to be a tablet buyer's market, and that's something we can all look forward to.