Amazon has dropped the price of refurbished Kindle ereaders in the US, sparking speculation that a new next-gen Kindle is set to be released soon.

Slashgear reports that Amazon has cut the price of refurbished Kindles in the US to $99 ($129 for the 3G version), although UK pricing and retail models remain untouched.

But it does suggest that Amazon is clearing stock in preparation for an influx of a new, as-yet-unreleased model of the popular ereader; we've put a call in to Amazon for its response to the story but we won't be holding our breath for a response.

Kindling for the fires

Amazon has updated its Kindle e-reader a number of times since the original launch back in 2007 in the US.

The latest Kindle 3 model has proven popular with UK readers, as anybody who regularly uses the London Underground will no doubt already know.

So what might we expect to see in the Kindle 4; A better e-ink screen? Touchscreen control (and dropping that physical keyboard)? An even more competitive price-point? Improved book publisher support? All of the above?

The other possibility is that Amazon is readying its tablet offering, which is expected to incorporate Kindle ebook reading; the timings could fall quite neatly into place, given that the Amazon tablet release date has been pegged as October 2011.

It's all certainly possible, but we wouldn't get too excited until we get word from Amazon itself.

Rumourometer

From Slashgear via TechCrunch