Amazon Looking to Rekindle the Tablet Wars with the Kindle Fire 2

It’s looking more and more like the launch of the Google Nexus 7 tablet is just the start of a firestorm about to hit the affordable tablet market. Appropriately then, Amazon is looking to jump back into the fray by fighting that fire with one of their own.

According to rumors first started by a report in the China Times, Amazon is looking to start production early on the Kindle Fire 2, possibly aiming for a release as soon as this summer. While details are sparse on the upgraded Fire, the word is that Amazon’s Taiwan partner Quanta has received the go ahead to start production on what could possibly be a few different models of the Fire. While all of the models are currently being predicted to retain the original Fire’s 7-inch screen (with the base model retaining the $199 price point), most likely the different units will feature increasingly larger storage capacities and work off an increasing pricing structure similar to the  Nexus 7. There’s even word going around that the most expensive unit of the three will include a built-in camera and 4G capabilities. It’s also hard to imagine that even the base model of the new Fire won’t include a faster processor, better screen resolution, and a longer battery life if it looks to keep up with the standard Nexus 7.

I know a few people that own the original Kindle Fire, and the general consensus that you get from them is that “it does what I need it to do,” That’s a far cry from the original mission statement of the Fire when it was still marketing itself as a rival to the iPad at a much cheaper price. Since then, the smaller, cheaper tablet has established a market of its own with the Kindle Fire being seen as the fore bearer, and even the front-runner, of the new line. Considering, though, that Apple, the company whose iPad helped kick off this new war, is allegedly looking to release their own smaller tablet, the big question is if Amazon would do better holding off and seeing what the industry’s giant is going to bring to the table first before jumping the gun with this 2nd generation Fire. Otherwise, the novelty and name power they launched the Fire with in the first place may not hold up if a rushed product that is only meant to compete with the newest kid on the block eventually turns them into another face in the crowd.


International students can hate the DX too

Kindle DX.Amazon today quietly confirmed that it would start selling the Kindle DX in international markets in the near future. The news isn’t really a shock after the GSM Kindle announcement. As you may recall, the DX is the bigger version designed for textbooks and newspapers. It’s the model that was offered to Princeton students free of charge. The model those same students hated.

According to SlashGear, Amazon has only said “next year” with regard to a date and won’t say anything about pricing. The international Kindle 2 runs $20 above the states-only version. I’d guess the DX will be about the same, giving Princeton the unique opportunity of subsidizing $20 toward even crappier AT&T service for the rest of us. Thanks guys!


Kindle gets another price cut

Jeff Bezos with a Kindle 2.Amazon is cutting the price of the Kindle once more, this time hoping for a holiday rush. When the Kindle 2 launched it was $359. It dropped to $299 in July and has now cut another $40, bringing the world’s most famous e-reader to an almost reasonable $259 ($199 and we’ll talk, Bezos).

With the price cut also came news that wireless download capabilities have been added internationally in 10 different countries. That’s a big update for a feature that was previously only available stateside. The updated wireless also comes with a carrier change, from Sprint to (gasp!) AT&T. Yes, AT&T will be handling wireless communications for the internationally capable device in the US and abroad, which makes me wonder, does AT&T want to bury itself under a mountain of complaints? Of course, there are so few Kindles in the wild compared the newly VoIP over 3G enabled iPhones that this is probably a molecule in the vast ocean of AT&T’s wireless demands.