Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Kindle News: Kindle Fire 2 and lighted Kindle Touch may be announced 7/31, per CNet's Carnoy

CNET's David Carnoy cites "a credible source" who has told CNET that Amazon will unveil a 2nd generation Kindle Fire this summer

The source also said, Carnoy reports, that Amazon is targeting July 31 for a launch event.

  This is being told CNET while headlines have a rumored $200 Google Nexus 7" tablet (made by Asus) with Google's latest Android operating system of course (v4.1 "Jelly Bean"), due out any day, which I don't think is coincidental.

  I haven't considered Google's tablet a threat to Amazon because of Google's non-reputation for direct customer support, while customer service is a huge strength of Amazon.

  But Google's Nexus tablet will also have, per specs leaked online, "a 1.3Ghz quad-core Tegra 3 processor, a GeForce 12-core graphics processor, front-facing camera, and 1GB of RAM.  The IPS (in-plane switching) display will offer a 178-degree viewing angle with a resolution of 1,280x800 pixels.  The entry-level 8GB model will reportedly retail for $199."

Carnoy says they can't confirm the Amazon launch date of course.  Then he cites DigiTimes's recent article quoted by one and all (despite what Carnoy rightly calls a reputation for being 'pretty spotty on the rumor front' and which I said had about 60% accuracy in their past predictions) that was ultra vague about sourcing but expected a tablet with a higher resolution, 1280 by 800 pixel display "at the beginning of the third quarter."  That would be July, which I said was too early for any to be ready.

CNET's sources didn't mention a higher resolution display but "did say that the new tablet would have a camera and physical volume-control buttons."   Also not mentioned:  Bluetooth capability,  processor type, memory, expansion capabilities or Amazon's rumored ad-supported Kindle Fire Special Offers version.
  Skype capability would be welcomed by many.

With all the current Amazon activity overseas, including requests that app developers from other countries submit Android apps for Amazon's Appstore, it's no surprise that a new Kindle Fire would be likely by Fall.  Digital rights contracts overseas have been mentioned lately too (finally).  If the launch IS July 31, they would likely not deliver until late August or September the way these things go.

  The current Kindle Fire is expected to be kept, with a price reduction to $150 for those who don't need one with more features.

E-Ink Kindle with built-in front lighting
  B&N's Glowlight has lit a fire under Amazon's development group too, but Amazon did buy technology for this (also leaked at an opportune time - just before B&N's announcement) and have been working on it.

  Also, a front-lit e-reader is required by the State Dept's coming Mobile Learning Initiative project, in its negotiations with Amazon for a no-bid contract, currently stalled by the National Federation for the Blind.

  This model should really be due even sooner, I'd think.  Any concerns Amazon development team have about lessened contrast would be alleviated by the fact that this has been true for the Nook Glowlight, and people who buy them don't care that much although reviewers mention it and hope that the fonts can be darkened later.

But there is very strong competitive pressure to release both an updated Kindle Fire and an E-Ink type reader with built-in 'front' lighting, which needs to be under a 2nd, higher layer, as E-Ink devices can't be backlit -- or, to at least announce them.

Controlled leaks will come when it's more crucial to deal with the competition than to worry about customers waiting on future models before buying a current one.  While there is always a 30-day full refund policy on Kindles, a July 31 launch indicates a late August delivery or later.

   When the last set of Kindles was announced (Sept. 28 last year), the Kindle Fire delivery date was November 15, which would make the updated Kindle Fire delivery date probably more like Sept. 15, close to when Fall school sessions begin.  But I have a hunch that Amazon will try for an earlier date.

Current Kindle Models for reference, plus free-ebook search links
Kindle Fire  7" tablet - $199
Kindle NoTouch ("Kindle") - $79/$109
Kindle Touch, WiFi
- $99/$139
Kindle Touch, 3G/WiFi - $149/$189
Kindle Keybd 3G - $189, Free, slow web
Kindle DX - $379, Free, slow web
Kindle Basic, NoTouch - £89
Kindle Touch WiFi, UK - £109
Kindle Touch 3G/WiFi, UK - £169
Kindle Keyboard 3G, UK - £149
  Keybd: w/ Free, slow 3G WEB
OTHER International
Kindle NoTouch Basic - $109
Kindle Touch WiFi - $139
Kindle Touch 3G/WiFi - $189
Kindle Keybd 3G - $189
  Keybd: w/ Free, slow 3G WEB

Check often: Temporarily-free recently published Kindle books
  Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.  Top 100 free bestsellers.  Liked-books under $1
UK-Only: recently published free books, bestsellers, or £5 Max ones
    Also, UK customers should see the UK store's Top 100 free bestsellers.

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  1. I hope the front-lit Kindle is less fragile than Nook GlowLight appears to be. I'm not planning to get one in any case.

    Also I think the future of the 'eReader LCD tablet' (Fire/NookColor/Vox) is dim, given Google's entry (not to mention rumored 7" iPad). Why get a 'crippled' device when you can get a better spec device (with full Google Play access, Android update path etc.) for just a little more? Fire 2 will match some of the features and price of course but I don't see much advantage to getting one and having to side-load apps that Amazon won't let you have, and never getting an Android update to run newer apps. Prime Instant Video is not enough.

    We've already passed 'Peak e-Ink" (I like the sound of that phase) and I think the days of the 7" color 'reading tablet' are numbered as well. Display and power management technology will continue to improve, and provide a better platform for all apps, not just reading apps.

    1. I remember the Gizmodo report and The Digital Reader's drop tests after that but had seen nothing else since, but have not been doig the B&N forums as I did when heavily using the NookColor last year. Have there been other reports of easy damage to the led light functions?

      I would agree on the eReader LCD tablet except that I think the pure Android tablet is not your average consumer's cup of tea. And with Google, it is impossible to get a human when you have a problem. Forum responses from volunteers helping Google are very hit and miss and there is nothing to match Amazon's hand-holding, which would be MUCH more necessary for a pure Android device.

      You're also talking to the wrong person about Prime Instant Video as I love the documentaries :-) I still don't have HuluPlus on my Samsung 10" Tab although the KFire had it to start, practically (and now with Apple and that judge who gave in today, BANNING Samsung Galaxy 10.1 Tab 1's in the USA due to a 'design' similarity (rounded corners of a rectangular flat-screened tablet, etc), Samsung Galaxy 10 Tab 1's may never get it) but I assume Google Nexus will have first dibs on any app's readiness.

      Actually I'm one for whom Prime features are important. I use it constantly, for shipping, and for video watching and I do like the Lending Library capability being thrown in.

      Kindle Fire has been better $-wise for Android developers than the other Android devices, whose owners want everything for free, they say, and so a lot has been ready for Kindle Fire even before the other Android devices. It's such an odd world. But for the latest greatest Android system? Google will always be first of course.

      My mind is set on the Surface Pro if it is well designed and works as expected and a 7" is mainly for convenience, and I do use the KFire much more than I use my 10" Samsung though the latter is of course easier for getting GooglePlay apps. At any rate I back up any app I can get, and my KFire can then have it.

      I don't do enough book reading these days but when I do, the Kindle Touch's screen is a wonder for me. Still is. It helps that mine has a background that usually looks whitish. And my 7" goes everywhere with me and I love that so many of my books are on it. I'm as apt to read a book outdoors than to read a newspaper or magazine actually. It's so convenient (and for average consumers so very easy to use or learn, vs Android device interfaces) that I really don't think Amazon's is in danger.

      I do think the Nook Tablet is though, for many reasons, including the ridiculously closed system for non-B&N apps, not letting us see our purchased books now hidden in system areas, and no real ecosystem to speak of.

      But many like you WILL leave the idea of consumption-based devices that are easy to use because you, in no way, need it or even like it (you like challenges, which is why it's so great to read you).

  2. I do hope the Fire 2 has a faster processor and SD card slot. Amazon has done a wonderful job of hooking me into the "Amazon Experience," for books and music, and I use my Fire everyday, not only for reading but to surf the net and watch a video on Amazon. I actually prefer my Kindle 3 for reading as it's better in direct sunlight. Clearly Google and Barnes & Noble are going to push Amazon to produce a better equipped Fire, which will benefit us all. Amazon does have the advantage, however, with reasonably priced music, books, and Amazon Prime, which gives you access to so many television shows and movies. I think if the Kindle 2 is available with a faster processor, more on-board memory or an SD slot, Amazon will hold its own against the Google Nexus and even a 7" iPad, should one ever be manufactured.

    1. Unknown, I agree. But it's not so much an 'or' an SD slot, as the faster processor and more on-board memory will be a must-do or they'll lose the battle almost immediately, but the SD slot, if they put one in, will put them quite a bit in the lead on 7" devices, I'm sure.


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