We’ve been hearing rumours of a Kindle Fire 2 tablet for some time now, but the whispers just got considerably louder. Over the weekend, Amazon caused a stir when it quietly removed two of its Kindle models from sale completely, while another remains available only on a three to five day delay.
It’s almost certainly gearing up for a refresh including the Kindle Fire 2 – and it’s got a plan to make sure it’s the de facto iPad rival, not Asus’s well received Google Nexus 7 tablet…
Two can play that game
Here’s why Asus and Google should be scared: they may have the most lusted after tablet right now after Apple’s iPad, but Amazon might have two Kindle Fire models to take them on. Inside sources have hinted that alongside a 7-inch Kindle Fire 2, a much larger 10.1-inch version could be in the works, meaning Amazon will have the whole market covered, and all tastes catered for.
A low pricetag
The Google Nexus 7, made by Asus, can be had for an astonishingly low £159, but Amazon could go even lower if it wanted to. You see, Asus is a hardware manufacturer, and still needs to make a profit off the gizmos it sells. Amazon however designed the Kindle Fire to be a source for all its digital entertainment, from books to movies, and it can make much more money on these, selling the tablet at a loss. The Kindle Fire only costs $199, or £126 – it’s possible the Kindle Fire 2 could go even cheaper if Amazon subsidises its production.
Google’s been working hard to improve the situation with multimedia on the Google Play Store – there are more films than before and you can now download them onto your Android phone or tablet. But there are still plenty missing: this is where Amazon’s seamless, cloud backed Kindle store, stuffed with books, films and even TV shows, comes into its own. Amazon Video on Demand isn’t available in the UK yet, but you can bet the company will launch it alongside an international Kindle Fire 2.
Everyone knows what a Kindle is, even if most people think of them as e-readers with black and white screens right now. Amazon’s quite secretive with sales figures, but we know it sold more than three million globally last Christmas, while estimates put the number of Brits that picked one up last year at one in forty. The Kindle brand had serious leverage and recognition, whereas Google Nexus Android devices are far from hosuehold names. A Kindle Fire 2 could sell by the truckload because everyone already understands how a Kindle works – and that’s half the battle with gadgets. Which brings us to…
Shop shelves everywhere
Many people already have an Amazon account, making ordering a Kindle Fire 2 something dangerously close to an impulse buy. But Amazon also has an extra advantage: high street stores are falling over themselves to stock the Kindle – even Waterstones. There’s no telling how many Kindle Fire 2 units Amazon could shift if it gets them on Tesco shelves as it has its eInk models.