New tablets incoming: Kindle Fire 2 and iPad Mini

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I've been on a tech news semi-blackout for the past two weeks while I've packed up my apartment, moved a few states over and started the Herculean task of unpacking. Tablets have helped me keep up to date on what's been happening but they aren't ideal for writing posts; finally last night I got an Internet connection up and running and a desk set up. So let's get back to it.

As I said, tablets were my salvation over the past two weeks and I kept the Nexus 7 at hand for whenever I had a few minutes of downtime. The iPad got some use too, but I'm really coming to prefer the smaller form factor of the Nexus 7.

This in turn has me really interested to see what Amazon has in store for us with its next generation of Kindles. Next Thursday (September 6th) the company will be holding a press conference and while they haven't offered any details, pretty much everyone is expecting that this is a Kindle event. This speculation is supported by the fact that Amazon is showing the current Kindle Touch as "currently unavailable" with no indication of when they'll have more.

So a new Kindle e-reader is almost a certainty; a new Kindle Fire is slightly less so but still seems like a safe bet given how long we've been hearing rumors of this 10" "Hollywood" tablet for over a year. As nice as a quad-core 10" Kindle Fire would be, I think Amazon would be wiser to iterate on the 7" Fire, offering a lighter, thinner, faster version of that device. Maybe they'll offer both? All I know is that the Kindle Fire doesn't compare well with the Nexus 7; the N7 makes the Fire feel positively dated.

Once we hear the news on the Kindle it'll be time to wait around for Apple to wow us with it's iPad Mini. Apple is holding an event on September 12th but according to AllThingsD this will be an event dedicated to just the new iPhone, with the iPad Mini getting its own press conference at some unspecified time in October.

However the exact dates shake out, by this holiday season gift givers should have a nice selection of smaller, less expensive tablets that pack plenty of power. The Nexus 7 will offer a pure Android experience, the Kindle Fire (hopefully a new, slimmer model) will offer a curated Android experience, good for people who aren't normally drawn to gadgetry, and Apple will be offering a sub-8" iPad Mini running the latest version of iOS. I guess all that is missing is a 7" Windows 8 RT tablet!

Read more of Peter Smith's TechnoFile blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Peter on Twitter at @pasmith. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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