Saturday, September 1, 2012

Kindle News: CNet says, Amzn told them, two 7" tablets to be announced. UPDATE.

Last week, All Things D's Tricia Duryee wrote that they had word that a 10" tablet was not ready yet, so CNet's title about the lack of one would jibe with that  [Picture is from Verve's earlier images.]

  Duryee had said that "...a larger Kindle Fire 2 -- which would be equal in size to Apple's iPad -- is most definitely not a done deal.  According to several sources, even though a larger cousin of the seven-inch Kindle Fire is definitely in the works, it's not clear if Amazon is ready to roll one out quite yet  There might, though, be a slightly larger version, perhaps around eight inches or slightly more."

Duryee added, re "Connectivity" that while the device formerly known as Kindle Fire shipped with Wi-Fi ... "Expect that to change, but how it will work is anyone's guess."

  My own guess is that Amazon has always had the clout to get good 3G deals and might have an optional package for customers eventually, if 3G is a 'go' on this.
  I'd more likely opt to just use, as usual, my existing phone tethering plan which allows me to let my Samsung smartphone give my other devices some of its 3G as needed (though it is battery-intensive for the phone to do that).

  Free WiFi is not THAT easy to find and some of us don't like to sit at Starbucks, McDonald's, or Safeway, etc. to do something with Wireless (and then there are the security concerns on these free and easily-sharable public WiFi spots).

  To remain grounded, one should remember that Apple charges $130 add'l for an iPad model that offers 3G/4G cellular network access *capability* and then a paid data plan follows on top of that.

CNet and The Verge, and Amazon sources
CNet, upon seeing The Verge images, wrote they'd be contacting Amazon.  They've been among the favored in earlier times when it comes to leaks (TechCruch too when the older crew was there).

  Amazon responded to CNet's inquiry, and the latter reported Friday that "Kindle Fire won't go big to take on iPad," adding that (emphases mine):
' Amazon next week will announce two 7-inch Kindle Fire models, one with new hardware and the other an updated version of the original, CNET has learned. '

  The article was written by Roger Cheng and Steven Musil and they are adamant that "Amazon will stick with the two 7-inch tablets.

  As expected by one and all, the "slightly upgraded version of the [current] Kindle Fire, which includes a new user interface" will almost certainly be priced lower.

The usual features mentioned
  For the new 7-inch Kindle Fire, we've now heard about the same coming features, repeated almost daily by news sites (and how will Amazon surprise anyone at the press conference now if all this goes as described?).

  The oft-mentioned features, for those who haven't read the earlier articles, are a "faster processor, a front-facing camera (the better to Skype with), physical volume controls (Yes!) and an HDMI port" plus "larger storage capacity..."

  Alas and alack (of an SD slot), CNet says "it will still not be expandable."

  If so, they'll have missed the one sure advantage that would have sent their tablet sales and market share booming well ahead of even the Nexus.  I suppose the added customer support required for syncing content on removable storage was one concern + worries that too many would use swappable SD cards of content rather than focus on digital content from Amazon, which Amazon relies on to justify the lower device pricing.

Kindle Fire and Google Nexus
  Without an SD card expansion capability, though, and if Amazon doesn't announce outstanding features beyond what the Nexus offers, Amazon would still be working hard to keep up with it, as Google offers direct access, of course, to its own Google Play store, and vendors building systems on top of Google's Android will always be a software upgrade behind Google, unable to make use of the latest features of Android until Google provides the upgrade, once they already have it on their Nexus.

Consumer-oriented tablets vs Google's Nexus
  An upside will always be that a consumer-oriented interface means a simpler one, which means more consumers will tend to gravitate toward that (if they know it's easier).

  Some customers will definitely be more comfortable with Amazon's user interface, as it's far more direct for average consumer needs --"Show me this, that, or that" -- while the Android interface can be a disjointed experience for those not used to having to go get all the basic apps on their own and mix and match, mostly in experimental mode, and have it all work well enough together so that anyone can just point, click and get what they want.  Those who enjoy tweaking their systems and customizing their tablet interface will go more for non-consumer-oriented basic Android devices.
  Apple's success has largely been based on not only excellent hardware but a very company-controlled, consistent user interface, and walled garden of only what Apple has approved to run on its devices.

  The Kindle Fire has been successful as a consumer-oriented device for consumption of entertainment, most of it usually (although not necessarily) purchased from Amazon.

  While B&N restricts its customers to installing apps received only from the company store, Amazon does not restrict its customers to that.
  (B&N mgmt is much more restrictive in essence than Amazon here, as Amazon has the more open policy of allowing installation of Android apps from 'unknown sources' and many of us make good use of that.)

The possibility of connector kits
  The iPad and the Samsung 10" tablet I have (refurbished) don't have built-in SD slots either, but they both have a type of connector that takes an adapter kit that allows use of external USB devices and SD cards.
  The Nexus doesn't have this, and I wouldn't bet that Amazon went for this either, though it's important for many of us when traveling and wanting to offload or back up photos as we go.

CNet awaiting more word from Amazon
The CNet article was written before the Verge's 2nd posting of multiple images apparently.  Now CNet is waiting on Amazon to update them on whether the two 7" versions will have different names. (Me: Why do people care about things like that before the general announcement ?)   Bits and pieces of info with no real quotations is not the way to get these things.

  We'll know by the afternoon of Sept 6 what's actually in store for customers, and the dropping of unquoted tidbits at, first this site, and then that one, may serve to dampen overly high expectations that have occurred, but it's also not pleasant to try to figure out just who really knows what when no quoting is allowed.  Paraphrasing what's heard or read is too often incorrect, for one thing.

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