For a while now the big issue in predicting the ongoing success of the Kindle Fire has been the anticipated iPad 3. It was going to be a small scale device, roughly comparable in size to the Fire, and be priced closely enough that Amazon would have no choice but to step up in a huge way or give up entirely. So said the rumors, at least. Now that we know better, there is still the issue of what to expect in future releases from Amazon.
Clearly their tablet interests are an ongoing sort of thing. We already have fairly substantial rumors about the second generation of Kindle Fire being planned for this summer. If we take the original Kindle eReader as any indication, the first offering may have been little more than a probe into the market to see what potential there was for profit. Despite its popularity, the original Kindle didn’t hold a candle to the Kindle 2 even given the lack of substantial competition in the early days of the line and this has many wondering if the same level of improvement is in store for the Kindle Fire 2.
The most recent semi-reliable rumors seem to center around a 10” Kindle Fire being in the works. This would be a simultaneous release alongside an update to the 7” version, of course, but it would indicate a serious change of approach by Amazon in drawing direct parallels with the market-leading iPad. This is not out of character in any way, looking at past ads that highlight both the Kindle eReader’s greater suitability for reading in sunlight and the Kindle Fire’s dramatically lower pricing, but drawing increased attention to direct hardware comparisons is a bold move.
To support this, Amazon will clearly have to have a lot of improvements waiting for us. What can be expected? Here are some of my predictions for later this year:
- Cameras – both front and rear facing cameras suitable for video chat, probably VGA quality.
- Bluetooth – Kindle accessories are a big deal and this would open the door to everything from keyboards to wireless headsets. Essential for getting the most out of the tablet as a video player.
- 16GB+ Onboard Storage – The complaint about local disk space might be slightly over-emphasized for many users, but it’s hard to imagine not occasionally butting up against an 8GB limit. Cloud storage is great, but 16GB is not too much to ask.
- Android 4.0 – While this one is hard to say for sure, given potential complications with updating the Kindle Fire’s custom OS fork to take advantage of newer versions of Google’s product, the fact that it was designed with tablets in mind and offers a lot of new features means that an update must at least be in consideration at the moment.
There will not be major changes of philosophy. Users will not be seeing slots for expandable memory, for example. There will also obviously be no chance of an open system that connects easily to Google Play. The new Kindle Fire 2, when it comes out, will be more of what we expect from the first generation in most ways. It will just take what is already an impressive experience and build on it to do the job better.