Amazon claims that the Kindle Fire is “sold out,” despite the tablet’s continual presence on the company’s bestseller lists. That adds some extra weight to the rumors that Amazon plans on rolling out an updated version of the 7-inch tablet. “Kindle Fire is sold out, but we have an exciting roadmap ahead,” Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos wrote in an Aug. 30 statement. Amazon has sent invitations to media for a Sept. 6 event in Santa Monica, Calif., but refused to disclose much more than a venue and time. The blogosphere is betting heavily that the online retailer will use the gathering to whip the curtain back from the next version of the Kindle Fire. For some time, tech publications have openly speculated about the features that could appear in the next-generation Kindle Fire. In June, Boy Genius Report “confirmed” through an unnamed source that Amazon would offer a pair of 7-inch and 10-inch tablets; it also predicted that those tablets would feature a metal casing instead of the current generation’s plastic shell. Still other reports have suggested the next-generation Kindle Fire will have an 8.9-inch screen. The original Kindle Fire runs a heavily modified version of Android, designed for facilitated access to Amazon streaming content and e-books. Amazon also offers its own Appstore for Android, along with a Cloud Player for music. If Amazon uses the Sept. 6 event to debut a new Kindle Fire, that device could end up facing some hearty competition in the fall from Apple, which is heavily rumored to have a smaller iPad in the works. In addition, Google’s Nexus 7 tablet has drawn a fair amount of buzz since its late June debut (Google advertising the device on its main search page for a few days couldn’t have hurt sales, either). Microsoft’s upcoming Surface tablet, which runs Windows 8, will also make the touch-screen arena a much more competitive space over the next few months. A recent study by comScore’s new TabLens service found that the Kindle Fire ranked high among tablet buyers for price, app selection, and media capabilities.   Image: Amazon