Second-gen Kindle Fire reportedly launching July 31

Yesterday, details leaked out about an upcoming 7" tablet from Google—one that's supposed to come out later this week toting a $199 price tag, the latest version of Android, and better specs than Amazon's Kindle Fire.

Well, guess what: Amazon isn't resting on its laurels, and CNet News claims to have it on good authority that a new, better Kindle Fire will be released next month. The site quotes a "credible source" who says Amazon expects to stage the second-gen Fire's launch on July 31. Reportedly, the second-gen device will feature a camera and physical volume-control buttons, two features absent from the existing device.

According to CNet News, the source's tip corroborates a DigiTimes story from June 15, which predicted an early third-quarter launch for a new 7" Amazon tablet with a higher-resolution 1280x800 display and a $199 price tag. That same story said the existing Kindle Fire would fall to $149 once the new device arrived.

You know, I haven't been terribly impressed with the current crop of 7" tablets; their displays tend to feel cramped and pixelated, and their hardware never seems quite fast enough to make interactions smooth. It'll be interesting to see if the new devices from Google and Amazon—if they are indeed coming—are any better. $199 is definitely a great price for a smaller tablet, and it'd be great if at least one company offered a killer device.

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