Less than a year after the introduction of the original Kindle Fire, Amazon is looking to move onwards and upwards in the tablet world, with a second Fire reportedly to debut in California later today (September 6).
If rumors are to be believed, the tablet will be thinner, lighter, have a better display (1280 x 800 resolution vs. 1024 x 600 resolution on the original model) and include a camera.
It's not clear if the heavily-skinned Android operating system will be upgraded to Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) or if Amazon will continue to refine its custom version of the earlier Android OS. There are also reports that the tablet could be ad-supported, and tie-in with Nokia Maps.
So, how will Amazon's next tablet impact consumers and the tablet market as a whole? It could become the latest “game-changer” in the industry, according to one market observer.
"The swing factor in the expectation on the upcoming Kindle Fire could be on how much lower pricing can go," So Young Lee, an analyst at SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, told Reuters.
“Introducing a tablet below the $150 mark could be compelling and another game changer in the industry where the $199 price point is no longer unique.”
Another analyst told TabTimes that far from shaking things up in the tablet space, the Kindle Fire 2 will just consolidate things for Amazon.
“The original Kindle Fire was a bold move by Amazon,” said Julian Jest of Informa Telecoms & Media. “The Fire does provide a simple way to consume media, but to maintain the initial market share it enjoyed with the Fire, Amazon needs to do more with the hardware; such as improving the screen quality and adding a camera to support video calling.
“Along with increasing the number of apps in its store and stronger marketing to promote the device’s all round ability, Amazon should consolidate its position as the most popular Android tablet vendor, especially if the new Kindle Fire is launched to a larger, international market.”
Another researcher reckons a bigger game may be afoot, and ponders whether Amazon's second Kindle Fire will have the legs to challenge Apple's iPad or incoming iPad Mini.
“The launch of the second generation Kindle Fire will shake-up the tablet industry in the same way the first one did”, said Context’s Salman Chaudhry.
“The expectation of at least two variants one with a larger screen and high-end specs and another with a 7-inch screen means that Amazon intends to go toe-to-toe with Apple, challenging the incumbent iPad and striking an early blow to soon to be released iPad Mini.
“Google’s Nexus 7, however, should be seen as the biggest challenger to the new Kindle Fire," he added. "With similar price points, OS infrastructure and target customer in mind, we can expect the Kindle Fire to eat into the early success of the Nexus 7, whilst the iPad Mini targets and wins in the high-end middle market segment.”