At next week’s press event in Los Angeles, Amazon will introduce new versions of the Kindle Fire tablet and Kindle e-reader. What can we expect from the event? Here’s a rumor roundup.Front-lit Kindle Touch
Since Barnes & Noble introduced the front-lit Nook with GlowLight in April, we’ve been waiting for a response from Amazon. The Verge has leaked images of the “Kindle Paperwhite,” which appears to be a front-lit Kindle Touch with a whiter, brighter and higher-resolution screen. The text on the images is in French and promises eight hours of battery life even with the light on. It also looks as if Amazon has revamped the Kindle Store on the device, adding an option to see (and possibly download) the ebooks you’ve stored in the cloud.
Also at The Verge are a couple pictures of a Kindle Fire with what appears to be a front-facing camera (the old Kindle Fire has no camera) and video chat.
Reuters reports the new Kindle Fire will also have mapping capabilities, citing unidentified sources: “Amazon will also add location capabilities to the new Kindle Fire, which requires either a GPS chip or a process known as Wi-Fi triangulation.” As my colleague Ki Mae Heussner reported in July, Amazon bought 3D mapping startup UpNext; Reuters says Nokia is providing the mapping technology.New content deals for Amazon Prime Instant Video
In an effort to compete with Netflix and HBO Go, Amazon is actively building its free streaming video offerings, which are free to Amazon Prime members (who pay $79 a year for unlimited two-day shipping and other perks). The company recently signed a deal with NBCUniversal for shows like “Parks and Recreation” and “Battlestar Galactica,” bringing the total number of movies and TV episodes it offers to over 22,000. And it launched an instant video iPad app in early August.
The press conference’s Los Angeles location could suggest new movie or TV partnerships, and the NYT‘s David Pogue said in this week’s column that “an imminent Amazon deal will bring thousands more movies to its catalog, I hear.”