Rumors of a successor to the Amazon Kindle Fire have been swirling around for a while now -- no doubt stoked by the launch of the much more powerful Google Nexus 7 -- but a new, highly credible report says that we're in store for much more than a modest spec bump when the Kindle Fire 2 hits the streets.
Demos Parneros, the president of U.S. Retail for Staples, told Reuters that Amazon plans on introducing five or six different tablet configurations of varying sizes, included a widely rumored ten-inch version.
We'd expect a few of those models to be variants of the same base Fire, however, with differing SKUs based on storage capacity or points of differentiation, such as Wi-Fi or 4G connectivity. Parneros didn't say when the various tablets will be available, or mention anything about the buzzed-about Amazon smartphone.
Reports of an Amazon smartphone surfaced at the beginning of the month, with Foxconn supposedly heading up the actual manufacturing duties. Reuters' Alistair Barr did some digging and found that Amazon's R&D center has grown by over 300 staffers in the past few months, with several recent job listings looking for engineers with cellular experience. The company also hired at least two former Windows Phone managers in 2012.