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Amazon’s highly competitive, $199 tablet / e-reader Kindle Fire has only been available for a few months and already users are speculating about its successor.
The Kindle Fire is the first of Amazon’s Kindle product line to feature a full-featured implementation of Google’s Android OS as well as a full color touchscreen. It sells for an astonishingly competitive price of $199 USD. And for that not-so-hefty chunk of change, you get a decent set of hardware. The current model clocks in at 1GHz via the very power efficient TI OMAP 4 processor, and the 512 MB of RAM put it right on par with some of the higher end tablets. All this leads the curious consumer to wonder, “How much more can we expect from the ‘budget’ tablet computer?”
A similar entry into this market is, of course, the Nook Tablet by Barnes & Noble, the successor to its decently successful Nook Color. the Nook Tablet uses the same processor as the Kindle Fire, has a comparable screen and form factor, comes equipped with twice the internal storage (16 GB), and can be expanded even further (the Kindle Fire has no expansion capabilities) and costs only $49 USD more.
Prior to the introduction of these two devices, the best tablet experience users could be offered in this price range were often poorly made Chinese knockoffs; things like the ePad which featured grossly underpowered and obscure processors, very little RAM, and unresponsive, resistive touch panels. so, given this evolution of the budget tablet market, what can we expect to see in the Kindle Fire 2?
One of the biggest problems users of the Kindle Fire have reported has been the speakers. despite being among the few tablets to have stereo speakers, at times the sound coming from the Fire is almost inaudible. with the thicker than average girth of the device, users can certainly expect to see some improvements in this area.
Just recently, Amazon released a software update to address some issues users were experiencing with the user interface. Reportedly, those with “fat fingers” found navigating the heavily modified interface Amazon placed on top of the standard Android interface somewhat difficult. Users can expect that future software revisions will further improve the user experience and continue to correct bugs.
The Kindle Fire is one of the few tablets to be comfortable seated in the increasingly popular 7″ tablet market. the “big players” like the iPad, Xoom, and Transformer all play on the 10″+ field. It is conceivable, given how much Amazon has begun pushing its digital media delivery services, that a larger Kindle tablet may show up to either replace, or to complement the existing 7″ model.
Finally, the most painfully obvious inclusion we will undoubtedly see in future revisions is increased storage options. currently, the Fire houses just 8GB of internal flash storage (only 6GB available to the user) which, when compared to the other similarly priced options, is inexcusably small. Additionally, Amazon, certainly in order to keep costs down, did not include any way to expand that storage further by way of a microSD card slot. In order to remain competitive at all, Amazon certainly must either include a substantially increased amount of on-board storage, or provide a external media expansion slot.
With your powers combined!
The naming for Amazon’s Kindle Fire going forward has also lead to some creative debating. Apple have their many cats (Lion, Leopard, Tiger, Panther, etc.), Google have their desserts (Cupcake, Donut Froyo, Gingerbread, etc.), Microsoft has their… indecisive naming scheme. And now, apparently, Amazon has adopted an elemental naming scheme. will the next version of the Kindle Fire be the Kindle Fire 2? Or will it be the Kindle Water? Earth? Wind? Water? Heart (for some reason)? And is this all a build up to a iPad-killing Kindle Planet?
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