Amazon’s first-generation Kindle Fire could get slashed to $150 with the arrival of a new, $200 Fire 2 tablet. Photo: Jon Snyder/Wired
The growing war for the low end of the tablet market is about to get more intense.
Amazon is eying a July 31 unveiling for a new Kindle Fire tablet, according to a CNET report. Such an announcement would place the Kindle Fire 2, as it’s being unofficially called, hot on the heels of a Google Nexus 7 tablet, built by Asus, which is expected to debut at Google’s I/O developer conference this week.
The original Kindle Fire, which went on sale last November, has risen to become Amazon’s best-selling item, with millions of Fire tablets now in consumers’ hands. Industry analysts have pointed to the Fire as the lone current threat to the Apple iPad’s dominance of the tablet market. And so far, the Fire has also been a threat to Google too, capturing more than 50 percent of the Android tablet market.
A new Fire tablet would be detrimental to Google — though it technically runs Google’s Android operating system, the Fire runs a version of Android that has been radically changed, and stripped of all Google’s built-in services. Essentially, Amazon hijacked Android and transformed it into its own Fire operating system.
According to CNET’s report, the Fire 2 would maintain the $200 price tag of the first-generation Fire, while adding a higher-resolution 1280×800 7-inch display and a rear camera. CNET also points to a Digitimes report that states the current Fire could see a $50 price drop, down to $150, in a bid to expand Amazon’s tablet market share even further.
Google’s own rumored Nexus 7 tablet is said to feature a $200 price tag and a 1280×800 7-inch touchscreen, as well as a quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 processor and 1GB of RAM — high-end specs for a low-end price.
There are no details yet on what sort of internals Amazon would pack into the Fire 2, but it’s worth keeping in mind that the first Fire had a sluggish CPU, lower resolution 1024×600 display and overall poor performance for just about anything outside of streaming video. Amazon has been rumored to be working on a 10-inch Fire tablet too, suggesting Amazon may bring multiple weapons to the tablet battle.