The Amazon Kindle Fire is now on sale in the US and is enjoying a supplier-worryingly large number of sales, both thanks to its incredibly low price point and slick overall offering. Now an 8.9-inch Amazon Kindle Fire 2 has been rumoured for a June 2012 launch. Here’s what it’ll need to have to survive the tablet market gauntlet.

1. Larger widescreen display for movies

The rumours point to an 8.9-inch display. That’s far closer than the original Kindle Fire to that of the 9.7-inch iPad – the device that kick-started the current tablet boom and still sits atop the pile in terms of individual sales. While Amazon’s Jeff Bezos sang the praises of the 7-inch Kindle Fire at its launch as being an ultra-portable multimedia viewer, it’s anyone’s guess as to what the focus will be on with the second.

A bigger display means a better widescreen movie watching experience, but it would also open the door for the Kindle Fire 2 to become more of a content creation device than the Fire currently is. If Amazon decides to sell both devices alongside each other to provide a device for each task, I don’t see anyone complaining.

2. A FaceTime chat rival

The Amazon Kindle Fire arguably suffers from some obvious hardware omissions that allows it to maintain its impressively-low $199 (£127) price tag. One of the more glaring is the lack of a front-facing camera. While rear-facing tablet cams rarely get used, the Kindle Fire’s inability to join the video conferencing party through Skype or similar such service is crippling.

Adding a camera will up the price, but then you’d expect a bit of a price-hike anyway with a larger device. Crucial to this for me, though, would be a video chat service that Amazon could call its own. FaceTime may not yet be the monster success that Apple hopes it will be, but it’s well-integrated with Mac and iOS devices. Amazon either needs a similar proprietary service, or it needs to get in bed with Skype and start fluffing the pillows.

3. 3G for streaming on the go

If you design a tablet small enough to be taken almost anywhere it strikes me as an incredibly odd move to then restrict it to the mercy of WiFi networks. Especially if you boast about your groundbreaking cloud-based browser, as Amazon has with its Silk web browser (video below). Since we don’t yet live in a completely connected world in terms of WiFi, an Amazon Kindle Fire 2 should include 3G connectivity as standard.

If Amazon somehow managed to cook the books enough to allow them to run 3G the same way it does for the Amazon Kindle – where 3G data costs are swallowed upon purchase – The Amazon Kindle Fire 2 would be a world-beater. That’s not to mention the extra functionality that could then be tacked on, such as GPS navigation.

4. Accessories aplenty

Bluetooth is another item missing from the Amazon Kindle Fire’s roster for presumably cost-saving reasons. As mentioned, the device is positioned as a content viewer, rather than a content creator, which means that there aren’t many peripherals needed. If that shift changes with the rumoured Kindle Fire 2, the option to add keyboards and other input devices via Bluetooth would be incredibly wise.

A larger-screened Kindle Fire 2 would also benefit from compatibility with wireless game controllers. The current offering of Android games could do with a bit of a boost if Amazon wants to get in on the gaming success shared by iOS.

5. Lovefilm and British video on demand

Netflix and Hulu are prominent fixtures on the Amazon Kindle Fire’s 7-inch display. The tablet and movie streaming services are all US-only at the time of writing, but if the Kindle Fire 2 ever materialises on these shores it’ll need similar on-demand offerings of a more British flavour.

Lovefilm would be a must, as would a deep integration with the BBC iPlayer, ITV Player and 4OD. Amazon may well wish to welcome Sky into its fold, also. Spotify can be put on the Kindle Fire through the Amazon Android App Store, but remember that Amazon has its own music-shifting store and the Amazon Cloud Drive service for streaming music and video, so it’ll have to strike a clever balance between offering choice and seeming totalitarian.

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6. More media boot space

Amazon’s pushing its Amazon Cloud Drive digital locker as the optimum way to access your ebooks, music, photos and videos on the Kindle Fire. Without 3G, and in a WiFi blackspot, that’s goes the way of the chocolate teapot. The 8GB of inbuilt storage – actually 6.54GB of usable space – is a very entry-level amount.

If the Amazon Kindle Fire 2 is larger then it makes sense that more storage can be rammed in, but what would really do the trick is SD or MicroSD card slot on top of that. 32GB cards can be yours for around the £30 mark at the time of writing, and that’s only set to fall.

7. More Android apps and games

Amazon’s tight grip on its app stock is slightly to its detriment. The Amazon Kindle Fire digs its own grave in this respect by presenting such a locked-down, skinned version of Android 2.3.4. Due to this, Amazon needs to vet the apps that can actually be bought or installed through its Amazon Android App store, limiting the number of available apps quite dramatically.

Even then, some reports have suggested that apps intended for newer versions of Android aren’t working. I’d expect to see Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) or 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) on the next Kindle Fire. Preferably something a bit less restrictive than the current skin, while still presenting a slick user experience. That’s a hard line to walk, though.

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8. Rock-bottom price

A recent teardown of the Amazon Kindle Fire revealed that Amazon’s losing around $3 (£1.91) per Kindle Fire sold. The fact that users will be pouring money into Amazon’s various online departments allows the company to get by on a loss. Likewise, the lack of some of the aforementioned hardware is why the tab can maintain such a low price.

Stuffing what’s missing into the Amazon Kindle Fire 2 (and making the display larger) will obviously drive the price up, but if there’s any company with the content infrastructure to be able to do so without too much of a soar in price, it’s Amazon. Well… Amazon and Apple.

9. A Siri slayer

Android’s got Vlingo, but that’s not going to do it for the Kindle. If voice-recognition technology is the future, every company will need a service to rival Apple’s Siri. Good job then, that Amazon’s recently bought up a startup company in that field by the name of Yap.

Yap was initially a Voicemail transcription app, but the company insists that its tech does a whole lot more than that. Is Amazon Yap destined for future Kindle Fire tablets? Almost definitely.

10. A UK release date

I was shocked to find out that the the Kindle Fire was US-only; the low price point and decent smattering of features was enough to have me reaching for my wallet. Services such as Netflix that Amazon has paired with have obviously gotten in the way of a seamless international launch, but we expect this to be remedied by the time the Kindle Fire 2 surfaces.

Some initial reactions to the Amazon Kindle Fire was that it was rushed out for Christmas and ahead of the iPad 3, which kind of fits in line with the theory that a bulkier, more capable Amazon Kindle Fire 2 will be on its way in June 2012. If and when it does, I’d wager that a near-simultaneous UK launch will be inevitable. If it ends up being a far superior product, then I’ll take it as a case of good things coming to those who wait.

  • http://twitter.com/tomegranate Tom

    This is daft. The whole point of the Kindle Fire is that it is much, much cheaper than any other decent Android tablet, by cutting out features not needed to consume Amazon’s content. Adding in more than a couple of the features you mentioned will bump up the price so much that buyers will be wonder whether to buy a compromised device or just spend the extra £100 and get a Galaxy Tab or an iPad. Amazon would be shooting themselves in the foot to not just stick to what they’ve achieved in creating a new  category of tablet. 

  • Bbsbebbed

    Lol,

    1. No one can compete with Siri
    2. No one can compete with Apple
    3. You bought an amazon tablet only to realize everything it lacked, and then wrote an article about everything it should have… Get an iPad lol.

    • http://www.facebook.com/nschiwy Nick Schiwy

      1. Siri can only be found on iPhone 4S and perhaps the new iPad? (without jailbreak, of course) whereas Android’s Voice recognition software (google voice search) which is very good and almost as good as siri is available on ANY android device that has a microphone. I think that adding a mic and at least a front facing camera would be a smart addition to the kindle fire. 
      2. You are simply giving your opinion when you say that Apple is better, personally I believe that if a company had competitive grade hardware paired with Android 4.0 OS it would be much better than Apple. Android is much more easily customized (without root) and in my opinion is more intuitive.
      3. While I agree that it is a bit of a stretch to ask for all of the above upgrades in a future tablet, I think it is reasonable to ask for cameras and a mic and maybe access to certain google apps like google voice search. I realize that it is part of amazon’s business plan to make sure users can only can access their own app store so as to avoid costs from google for using their Play Store and to absorb the $3 loss on each tablet. with an iPad you get iOS, which believe it or not, not EVERYONE prefers, plus the lowest priced iPad is $500 which can not even get close to the amazing $200 price of the kindle fire.

    • http://www.facebook.com/nschiwy Nick Schiwy

      1. Siri can only be found on iPhone 4S and perhaps the new iPad? (without jailbreak, of course) whereas Android’s Voice recognition software (google voice search) which is very good and almost as good as siri is available on ANY android device that has a microphone. I think that adding a mic and at least a front facing camera would be a smart addition to the kindle fire. 
      2. You are simply giving your opinion when you say that Apple is better, personally I believe that if a company had competitive grade hardware paired with Android 4.0 OS it would be much better than Apple. Android is much more easily customized (without root) and in my opinion is more intuitive.
      3. While I agree that it is a bit of a stretch to ask for all of the above upgrades in a future tablet, I think it is reasonable to ask for cameras and a mic and maybe access to certain google apps like google voice search. I realize that it is part of amazon’s business plan to make sure users can only can access their own app store so as to avoid costs from google for using their Play Store and to absorb the $3 loss on each tablet. with an iPad you get iOS, which believe it or not, not EVERYONE prefers, plus the lowest priced iPad is $500 which can not even get close to the amazing $200 price of the kindle fire.

  • Bbsbebbed

    Lol,

    1. No one can compete with Siri
    2. No one can compete with Apple
    3. You bought an amazon tablet only to realize everything it lacked, and then wrote an article about everything it should have… Get an iPad lol.

Hot chat, right here!


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