This is hardly a surprise, but DealNews is reporting that Amazon’s Kindle Fire will experience a price drop to $169 after the new Kindle Fire 2 launches later this year. Amazon has a history of keeping older kindles around, at lower price points, when newer ones are released. According to DealNews, the Kindle Fire 2 will slide into the $199 price point.
This tactic is similar to how Apple positions its older iPads and iPhones when new versions come out. The strategy allows one manufacturer to cover multiple price levels, increasing their potential audience.
Of course, Amazon is now forced to compete with Google’s popular Nexus 7 tablet, which is leaps and bounds ahead of the original Kindle Fire spec-wise but still costs just $199. Sales forecasts for the original Fire have already been cut due to the Nexus 7′s success. Reducing the original Fire to $169 and launching the Fire 2 at $199 would essentially allow Amazon to compete with the Nexus 7 on two fronts.
Looks like the era of low-cost and genuinely usable tablets is here, folks. This is the kind of competition that helps drive innovation. Even big bully and litigious Apple will be getting in the smaller tablet game with their rumored iPad Mini, but I doubt theirs will be under two bills.
Remember last year when Amazon unveiled the Kindle Fire at $199 and everyone expected it to sell like hotcakes? Well it was quite successful actually, but I think it could have been more successful if it wasn’t a forked version of Android. Either way it was a game changer because they changed the pricing model forever and for the better. Google wanted to make a splash with the Nexus 7 and boy did they. Priced the same as the Kindle Fire with way better specs, the Nexus 7 has to have Amazon a little nervous.
Well it’s not only Amazon that’s nervous because one Cowen analyst is thinking the same thing. Kevin Kopelman just cut his forecast for Amazon’s revenue as well as sales of the Kindle Fire and Kinde e-reader. He originally expected Amazon to sell 14 million Kindle Fire’s, but is thinking it will be more like 12 million.
Amazon just unveiled GameCircle for the Kindle Fire, which should add to the overall gaming experience. By far the biggest feature is Cloud Syncing, which is something Android desperately needs. What it does is save in-game progress to the cloud so that players can continue where they left off even if they deleted the game or switch devices. Other features include Achievements and Leaderboards. With Achievements, players can track all earned trophies, treasures, and other awards. They can even do it while playing a game by simply pausing it, checking out what they still need to earn, then returning to gameplay. With Leaderboards, players can easily see how they rank against other players.
With this announcement, Amazon released a series of GameCircle APIs so developers can easily add it to their games. They can be found at the source link below and hit the break for a short introduction video.
Sure the Amazon Kindle Fire might not be at full fledged Android tablet, but that shouldn’t stop you from having the full experience including Jelly Bean 4.1.1. XDA member Hashcode just posted an AOSP based Jelly Bean ROM. This is a beta so there are some issues like the HD codecs (YouTube and Netflix). The good news is this will be fixed shortly as Texas Instruments is updating the libion code. Other oddities is the screen over rotates and the dev is having an issue turning on UMS. These are all issues that will be fixed shortly.
Amazon is reportedly briefing developers on specifications for the forthcoming update to the Kindle Fire unit. A major change includes the display used in the unit. Currently running at 1024 by 600 resolution on a screen with a 1.71 aspect ratio, the unit supposedly will run at 1280 x 800 resolution with a 1.60 aspect ratio. This change will make the unit a little shorter and wider compared to the current model and give it specifications similar to units like the Nexus 7 tablet from Google.
Along with the upgrades to the display, the new Kindle Fire will be lighter, thinner, have a built-in camera, and possibly a faster chip to go with an update to Amazon’s fork of the Android operating system. Despite all these changes, battery life should not be significantly impacted. These improvements are in addition to the previously reported body combining a metal frame with a plastic body.
Is an upgraded Amazon Kindle Fire a tablet you would be interested in?
While most of the buzz around Amazon is that they will produce a larger version of their Kindle Fire (presumably a 10 inch version), Bloomberg’s “people with knowledge of the matter” claim that a smartphone is actually in the works. The rumor centers around a supposed chase for wireless patents so that Amazon won’t have the same problems that other companies like Samsung is having now. There are no details about the device nor a timetable of when it will be released, but we do know that Amazon has partnered up with Foxconn to aid them in the manufacturing process.
What do you guys think about an Amazon manufactured phone? I can see this as a win for consumers as we can never get enough of good and affordable devices.
Even though HBO GO was made available for the Kindle Fire last month, full Android tablet support was still lacking. For a streaming video app, this was nearly inexcusable. But the latest update has changed all that. Any Android tablet running any version of Android up to 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich should be able to install and run the latest HBO GO.
Interestingly, the app will not run on Android 4.1 Jelly Bean yet, but considering there aren’t many tablets that are officially running the days-old version of Android, there’s still time to catch up. To be able to use the app, you need to already have a subscription to HBO with your cable company. If you do, and you also have an Android tablet, grab the update from the download link below and start streaming.
Play Store Download Link
Our buddies over at CNET received an anonymous tip stating that Amazon is intending to release its successor to the Kindle Fire in a little over a month. Nothing official has come from Amazon at this time but rumors of the next Kindle Fire have been floating around the net for quite some time already. Everything from screen size changes, competitive price points and new standout features have been the talk of the e-reader community. If this rumor pans out, we wont have to wait too much longer to see what Amazon has in store for us.
Earlier this month we reported that the Amazon Appstore may finally expand itself past American shores. Well we can finally confirm that it will indeed find its way to several European countries this summer. I know it has been frustrating for many European Android users to not be able to use the Amazon Appstore and take advantage for what it has to offer. But with the emergence of the Kindle Fire it would be a huge mistake if Amazon were to not take advantage of expanding it. Amazon is currently eyeing the UK, Germany, France, Italy, and Spain as the first to use their appstore with more “in the near future.” Any of our European readers out there excited for this? Or bothered that it took this long?
Full press release after the break:
Could it be that Amazon’s ultra-cheap Android tablet is about to get even cheaper? With strong rumours that Amazon is planning to launch a refreshed 7″ Kindle Fire as well as brand new 8.9″ and 10.1″ models, it would make sense that the current model will see a reduction for a final push before it becomes yesterday’s news. Recent reports had already suggested that the once fast-selling tablet has seen a sharp decline in sales with rival budget models such as B&N’s Nook overtaking it in recent weeks. With the Google I/O around the corner where there’s a high expectation we’ll see Asus launch an aggressively priced Nexus tablet it would appear that Amazon’s window for additional Kindle Fire sales is closing fast.
The question is, will a $50 drop to $150 be enough to convince you to jump on-board the Kindle Fire bandwagon at this late stage? Personally I’ll be waiting to see what Amazon has in store for us and what Google has up it’s sleeve before considering a new tablet purchase. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.