Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablet was a pretty big deal back in late September 2011. While the specs weren’t too terribly breathtaking, the $199 price tag made it an instant hit. Also, the software + hardware and addition of Amazon integration meant a pretty sweet little package all things considered. Fast forward to summer 2012, however, and the tablet market is a very different beast.
There’s Apple’s top-of-the-line iPad 3 with it’s unmatched Retina Display as well as Google’s upcoming Asus-made Nexus 7 tablet, the latter of which is a much more direct competitor to Amazon. The Nexus 7, as most of you all know, is a similarly sized 7″ device that features the first “pure” Google experience on a tablet free of carrier/manufacturer bloat. The hardware, too, is actually pretty decent; the 7 ” display packs 1280 x 800 and more importantly, a quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 processor under the hood.
And today, we have learned that the 7″ tablet sector is about to get another healthy shot of adrenaline thanks to Amazon.
Citing “sources familiar with Amazon’s plans”, AllThingsD claims the next-gen Kindle Fire, appropriately named “Kindle Fire 2″, will feature some noteworthy enhancements when it drops in the second half of this year, with a strong push to hit the market by the end of Q3.
First and foremost the display is getting an increase in resolution from 1024 x 768 to 1280 x 800. Accompanying the added pixels (~67% more to be exact) is a new aspect ratio from the first gen’s 1.71 to the 2nd gen’s 1.60. If you want an idea of how the new aspect ratio looks, look no further than the new Nexus 7 which features a similar aspect ratio.
The Kindle Fire 2 looks like it will be a worthwhile update designed to entice both current Kindle Fire owners as well as owners of competing tablets to jump over to Amazon’s tablet garden. That said, owners of Apple’s iPad 3 will most likely still find their 9.7″ tablet a much better option.
The only other major hurdle standing in the way of a strong sales quarter for Amazon’s Kindle Fire 2 is, as AllThignsD notes, the rumored “mini-iPad”. While far from confirmed, rumors have once again exploded in frequency, claiming that Apple will finally release a new iPad this fall (September-October) featuring a smaller ~7-inch(ish) display with 1024 x 768 resolution. If Apple does in fact drop the hallowed mini-iPad, look for the 7″ tablet market to get a lot smaller and for Apple to almost certainly steal a huge chunk of said market.
If faced with the decision come fall, which would you choose: Kindle Fire 2 or 7″ iPad?