A new Amazon tablet on its way?

As Amazon puts its older tablets on sale, rumors swirl that a new model is coming soon.

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    Amazon's Kindle DX was discounted 29 percent on Friday, prompting many to speculate that the company is attempting to clear out inventory.
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If Gizmodo, PCWorld, and a bevy of other sites are to be believed, it’ll be raining tablets and e-readers pretty soon.

Rumors are flying that, as it aggressively discounts and discontinues older models, Amazon is on the brink of releasing new tablets – just in time for back-to-school season.

Gizmodo led the charge with a story last Friday, “$110 Says All the New Kindles Are Coming Next Week.” When bargain hunters opened their Amazon Deal of the Day email Friday morning, Gizmodo writes, “they were met with a bargain basement Kindle DX. Amazon’s black sheep 10-inch e-ink tablet is $110 off today, a 29% discount. It’s the kind of deal you offer when you want to clear out inventory, fast.”

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Gizmodo continued, “And it’s not just the DX. Every single Lightning Deal today is Kindle-related: cases, speakers docks, sleeves. Sixteen deals in all, a waterfall of discounts. It’s a fire sale, if you’ll pardon the pun.”

What’s more, there’s an unusually hefty wait time on the Kindle Touch, the ad-free version is only available through third party vendors, and the Kindle Touch 3G is currently unavailable. Clearly, Amazon is looking ahead. Eager to get out with the old, in with the new. (Incidentally, Gizmodo said Amazon did the same thing two years ago when it displayed the Kindle 2 as sold-out one morning and began selling the Kindle 3 later that same afternoon.)

So what’s Amazon’s hot new tablet – or tablets – going to be? Rumors point toward a 10-inch Kindle Fire 2, along with one or two other new tablets, better equipped to compete with Apple’s iPad. PC World muses the new larger Fire may have a quad core processor, front-facing camera, micro USB port, “and maybe even an HDMI-out port.” It’s also likely to be lighter and thinner, with a better display and pumped-up design. Tech observers say it’ll be unveiled as early as this week.

And Amazon’s not alone in the tablet bonanza. Barnes and Noble is slashing its prices as well, offering a 16GB Nook Tablet for $199 ($50 less than original price), an 8GB Nook Tablet for $179 (down from $199), and the Nook Color for $149. Barnes and Noble doesn’t want to miss out on back-to-school buying frenzy either. Whether it’s slashing prices simply to better compete with the likes of Amazon or to prepare for new inventory, however, remains to be seen.

The good news: As more players wade into the tablet wars – like Microsoft with its new Surface and Google with its Nexus 7 and perhaps another on the horizon – we’re looking forward to better tablets and lower prices.

Stay tuned for an Amazon announcement soon.

Husna Haq is a Monitor correspondent.

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