All of the rumors seemed to indicate that July 31st would be the day we finally heard solid details about the new Kindle Fire release. Obviously that didn’t happen. That’s not necessarily a bad sign though. While things might be taking slightly longer than fans, speculators, and analysts had expected, there are plenty of signs that Amazon has something big planned right around the corner.
The update to Amazon’s music management is a strong indication that something is going on. Amazon’s emphasis on media service integration with their devices is well known. They might not have the most powerful hardware on the market but Kindle Fires are the easiest way to get at any of the digital content the company sells that can be reasonably run on a small, modestly powered tablet. The existing model isn’t exactly at its best with music playback thanks to the speaker configuration, but the interface makes use simple enough.
Now that you can import existing music selections rather than uploading them individually, including files downloaded through other services, the appeal of that option should be increased for any interested user. As far as Kindle Fire specifics, though, it wouldn’t be at all surprising to find out that Amazon has been working on docking stations for their next tablet, which reports indicate will have a very distinct form compared to its predecessor.
The recent release of the Amazon Instant Video app for iPads is also, paradoxically, a fair indication that the Kindle Fire 2 is nearly ready. Even if a larger model of Amazon’s tablet is ready right away, there is no way that they want to be entering into head to head competition with Apple at this stage. Plenty of rumors say that Apple ‘s already taking things in that direction with an impending iPad Mini, but that rumor has been cropping up repeatedly for two years now and the reasoning doesn’t seem to have improved much in the meantime.
By creating a convenient way for Apple’s customers to access their Amazon video purchases, the need for confrontation is somewhat negated. It’s important to remember that Amazon gains very little by way of income for selling the Kindle Fire. They’d be just as happy to have an iPad user locked into using Amazon services thanks to the closed ecosystem being developed, since content is where the money is anyway. The app release here might look like a lack of confidence in the Kindle Fire, but it’s really just paving the way for a deliberately niche product.
Most importantly, and most obviously, Amazon has started selling off refurbished Kindles at ridiculously low prices. This has happened before. People who use an Amazon.com Rewards Visa can pick up a basic Kindle eReader for just $47 now through August 15th using the coupon code KINDLE40. It’s pretty obvious that something is on the way to replace that Kindle.
That doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re looking at an August 15th release date. In fact, people have largely stopped trying to guess at when Amazon will be ready. It will be here when it’s ready, but it’s safe to say that time is not far off.