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What will Amazon unveil Wednesday? Here are four clues.

The Kindle Fire tablet will likely be unveiled at an Amazon press conference in New York on Wednesday, tech insiders say.

By Matthew Shaer / September 27, 2011

An Amazon warehouse in Germany. Amazon has planned a major press conference for Wednesday, and a tablet computer called the Fire could be on deck.

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Amazon has scheduled a major press event tomorrow in New York City. The invitation was vague, at best, and included only the Amazon logo and a date. So what does Amazon have in store?

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A tablet, probably. And according to MG Siegler of TechCrunch, the device already has a name. On Wednesday, Siegler writes, "Amazon will unveil the Kindle Fire. Yes, this is the name Amazon has settled on, to help differentiate the product from the e-ink Kindles, which will still be very much alive and for sale. And while Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos will show off the Fire on stage, it won’t be ready to ship until the second week of November, we’ve learned."

"Fire" isn't just a snazzy name – it also has a strong branding connection to Kindle (you "kindle" a fire, after all). As for the shape of the thing, Horizons readers will remember that previous rumors had the Amazon tablet as debuting with a 7-inch frame, and a capacitive touch-screen. Ryan Block of GDGT speculates that the Kindle Fire will actually resemble the BlackBerry PlayBook, the tablet computer released earlier this year by RIM.

And for good reason: both allegedly relied on a company called Quanta, "a company that builds, and sometimes helps design, hardware for name brands." Quanta, Block writes, helped Amazon "shortcut the development process by using the PlayBook as their hardware template. Of course, it's never quite that simple, and as I'm told Amazon ran into trouble, and eventually sacrifices were made (like using a slower processor)."

Over at All Things D, Peter Kafka says that Amazon is likely to launch the Kindle with the backing of Hearst, Conde Nast, and Meredith, three of the largest magazine publishers in the US. "The notable standout, for now, is Time Warner’s giant Time Inc., which has yet to come to terms with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos," Kafka writes. "A person familiar with negotiations suggests that a deal won’t get done in the next two days, either."

Lastly, Amazon will also tout a newly-inked deal with Fox, which will allow Prime members access to a bunch of shows, including 24, Arrested Development, The X-Files, Ally McBeal, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Amazon Prime memberships go for $79 a year.

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