What the New Kindle Fire Needs to Beat the Nexus 7
Its looking quite likely that Amazon plans to announced some new Kindles, including an update to their once popular but now floundering Kindle Fire color tablet. The will make these announcements at an event next week on September 6th.
So what will Amazon try to do to make the Kindle Fire a leader in the 7-inch tablet market and will they try to push their way into the larger tablet with a 10-inch model?
With current generation Kindle Fire tablets sold out and leaks of a possible new Kindle Fire showing up online, let me get my claim in for what I hope to see in an updated Kindle Fire 2.0 or whatever Amazon plans to call it.
I want to see a faster, more powerful tablet with a smoother interface. Amazon can do this with quad-core processor instead of a dual-core and 1GB of memory. The new iPad and Nexus 7 both offer as much.
The screen on the Kindle Fire needs an upgrade. Amazon wants us to read books and periodicals on this device. The current Fire only offers 1024×600 resolution. The Nexus 7 looks better with a higher 1280×800 resolution and 216 ppi. The latest gen iPad beats them both, but also costs much more so I’m realistically not expecting Amazon to match Apple, but they must match Google’s Nexus 7 to compete as a book reader.
While I prefer the 7-inch form factor, I know some people who want a 10-inch Kindle Fire that will make their text books and magazines look great. And it must offer a high-resolution screen comparable to the new iPad even if the larger Fire costs as much. The only way it competes while offering a lower res screen is if it costs much less.
Finally, I’d like a thinner and lighter Kindle Fire. At only .47 inches thick it’s not that bad, but Nexus 7 and the new iPad are thinner. The Fire weights 3 ounces more than the Nexus 7, which seems like nothing, but the longer I hold them both the more I notice the added weight.
Google released Jelly Bean this summer, but the Kindle Fire runs Android 2.3 Gingerbread, now two generations old. It feels like it. Amazon skinned the Kindle Fire so much that users can’t even tell they’re using Android except for a few hints hidden deep under the Amazon Kindle Fire interface.
I don’t expect them to peal off their overlaid skin, but I would like to see a faster system with an improved Silk Browser. The Kindle Fire Silk browser really disappointed me especially after Amazon made a big deal out it.
Fix the magazine interface! They look horrible on the Kindle Fire and should look better on it than any other device since Amazon focuses this device on eReading. Make them look feature rich with dynamic interfaces like the Newstand offerings on the iPad.
I’d like to see them fix the Carousel. Most people I talk to don’t want everything showing up in the Carousel. Why not offer different Carousels for the different screens – books, apps and media. A fourth on the main screen should only show the apps, books and media I actively place there.
Here’s my list of pipe dreams – thinks I’m sure we won’t see.
First, give me an option to see Android 4.1 Jelly Bean with the real Google Play Store. I’m not asking them to turn it on by default or even to make it easy to find for the average user who just wants books, videos and an occasional apps or two. Put it deep in the Settings app.
Next, give us a truly retina quality display equal to the Iphone 4/4S and new iPad. Text looks impressive on those screens and an eReader deserves such a display even if it costs a little more.
I want a 5MP rear camera so I can “scan documents” into the Amazon Kindle version of Evernote or post via Instagram. Add a lower quality front-facing camera for video conferencing so I can Skype with it too.
Give me a kickstand that folds out on the back so I can prop up the Kindle Fire as I watch movies at my desk.
Finally, make downloading books and apps on a 4G capable Whispernet for free. I’m not asking to surf the web or stream videos for free. That’s cost prohibitive.