Second-gen Kindle Fire reportedly launching July 31

Yesterday, details leaked out about an upcoming 7" tablet from Google—one that’s supposed to come out later this week toting a $199 price tag, the latest version of Android, and better specs than Amazon’s Kindle Fire.

Well, guess what: Amazon isn’t resting on its laurels, and CNet News claims to have it on good authority that a new, better Kindle Fire will be released next month. The site quotes a "credible source" who says Amazon expects to stage the second-gen Fire’s launch on July 31. Reportedly, the second-gen device will feature a camera and physical volume-control buttons, two features absent from the existing device.

According to CNet News, the source’s tip corroborates a DigiTimes story from June 15, which predicted an early third-quarter launch for a new 7" Amazon tablet with a higher-resolution 1280×800 display and a $199 price tag. That same story said the existing Kindle Fire would fall to $149 once the new device arrived.

You know, I haven’t been terribly impressed with the current crop of 7" tablets; their displays tend to feel cramped and pixelated, and their hardware never seems quite fast enough to make interactions smooth. It’ll be interesting to see if the new devices from Google and Amazon—if they are indeed coming—are any better. $199 is definitely a great price for a smaller tablet, and it’d be great if at least one company offered a killer device.

Comments closed
    • derFunkenstein
    • 7 years ago

    OK the gloves are off. The Nexus 7 running Jelly Bean looks spectacular.

    [url<]http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2012/06/google-officially-reveals-7-quad-core-nexus7-tablet-with-android-4-1/[/url<]

    • gerryg
    • 7 years ago

    How do these compare to Samsung Galaxy Tab 2.0? I seem to recall the 7″ reviewed well, and Costco is selling a version of it for $249. Samsung also has Galaxy Tab 7.7 and 8.9 models? The 8.9 is 1280×800, not sure about the other models. I think it’s wi-fi only and 7.7 is 4G. Galaxy Tab 2.0 7″ is I believe wi-fi only also, but maybe the “plus” model has cellular.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 7 years ago

      The Galaxy Tab 7.0 is 1024×600, but it does at least appear to have a high-quality screen. My local WalMart has versions on display and viewing angles are great, just like the fire or any other IPS tablet I’ve seen.

      Also, according to the product page, no ICS yet either. Just Honeycomb. [url<]http://www.samsung.com/global/microsite/galaxytab/7.0/spec.html?type=find[/url<]

    • derFunkenstein
    • 7 years ago

    1280×800 10.1″ tablets have a lower DPI than 1024×600 tablets. So if the current crop of 7″ tablets feel pixelated, what about larger tablets?

    Now that 1920×1200 is here in the 10″, though, it definitely makes sense for higher-res 7″ tablets, too. I’m sure I sound like a broken record but I’d love a higher-DPI display.

    • hiro_pro
    • 7 years ago

    my co-worker has a 7″ android tablet and absolutely no computer sense. i think it is a dell from verizon. i have to do everything for her from organizing media to downloading games, etc… i am sure we all have that same co-worker. anyhow, i have come back with one clear impression of her tablet: I HATE IT! it just doesn’t work that well.

    but, people i know who have the kindle fire love it. did amazon clean up the interface? is raw android just not that refined? or did verizon poison the android?

    That said, i love the size. 7″ seems to be the minimum for working with email and docs for work or watching movies. i definitely want something. anyone with similar experience?

      • Chrispy_
      • 7 years ago

      Probably a combination fo Amazon polish and Verizon poison.

      Raw android (ICS at least) is pretty decent but like all platforms it’s not without its quirks. My complaint on behalf of tablet newbies is that there’s no native ebook reader, you have to download an app for it like Google Play Books. The two primary uses for a tablet are for reading and games. Installing games is easy. Reading purchased ebooks requires one extra step that can confuse those that really have no IT literacy.

        • superjawes
        • 7 years ago

        From what I understand, Kindle Fire is running a tailored version of Android (Gingerbread, I think?), and I don’t think it has all the full functionality of other tablets out there because it’s tied to Amazon for purchases, etc.

          • derFunkenstein
          • 7 years ago

          It runs 2.3.4 and there are definitely some limitations. The biggest one is the lack of the Google Play store. On the other hand, the way that the various Amazon shops (App store, MP3, books, videos) are woven into the fabric of the respective players is pretty slick. If only they’d get rid of the stupid bookshelf motif, it’d be great even without Play. You can use custom launchers like Go Launcher EX if you download them and side-load them, but they’re generally not geared towards tablets.

            • BobbinThreadbare
            • 7 years ago

            Weird that they chose the phone version instead of the tablet version.

            • derFunkenstein
            • 7 years ago

            Well Honeycomb didn’t get the source released, and ICS launched just days before the Fire. Gingerbread was all that was available to non-partners at the time of development. It’s reasonable to assume that, based on how heavily the Fire interface is modded and that so much of regular Gingerbread isn’t in it, that Amazon is not a partner. They’re just grabbing the source of whatever they can get their hands on.

            There have been significant inroads made to get it working with ICS over on XDA. It’s pretty much feature complete with 2 exceptions:

            1.) the OS doesn’t know when it’s charging. The battery % rises but CM9 doesn’t know why.
            2.) Probably a bigger deal, this one – USB file transfer is limited to USB 1.1 speeds. Reboot into recovery and you get 4x the speed (because the flash memory in the fire doesn’t have particularly fast write speeds anyway).

            • BobbinThreadbare
            • 7 years ago

            I didn’t know the source for any 3.X was never released. Makes more sense now.

            • derFunkenstein
            • 7 years ago

            Ya. Source: [url<]http://www.geek.com/articles/mobile/from-io-2011-confirmed-honeycomb-source-will-never-exist-on-its-own-20110510/[/url<]

            • Washer
            • 7 years ago

            Being limited to Amazon’s app store was a huge, massive limitation while I owned a Fire. Apps on the Amazon store were regularly outdated compared to the Google store, numerous apps were just out right missing, and then those dreaded “Kindle Fire Edition” apps that usually meant “Stay away!”

            Not to mention I thought the Amazon interface was worse than the stock Android interface. As well there was just odd touch issues for most of the life I owned the Fire. Those seemed to be slowly being fixed but were often annoying.

            Yeah… I regret getting a Fire. Besides books, which a regular Kindle does much better just based on the screen tech, I could never figure out where a 7″ touch device was suppose to fit between a smartphone and laptop. Three computing devices is more than enough. Smartphone, small laptop (mine’s 11.6″) and desktop. All bases covered.

    • Omniman
    • 7 years ago

    Sounds like some great improvements! The current size of the Kindle Fire though makes my hand cramp as I’m trying to hold it and I think it needs some breathing holes as it gets pretty toasty.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 7 years ago

      Indeed it does get a bit warm, though my guess is that most people will put it in a case. That would negate the ventilation, however warranted.

    • willmore
    • 7 years ago

    Hmm, a generic Android tablet from Google or a locked down one from Amazon. That’s not a hard choice.

      • OneArmedScissor
      • 7 years ago

      Couldn’t you wipe it? Assuming the screens aren’t a world apart, I think I’d take whichever’s battery lasts longer.

      • gmskking
      • 7 years ago

      lol, I was just thinking the exact same thing.

      • superjawes
      • 7 years ago

      Unless you’re actually after Amazon’s service. I’ve seen several free books pop up on Woot’s community deals for Kindle. If that’s what you want, it’s easy to choose the Kindle. If you’re after a more general tablet, go with the Google one of course.

        • Hattig
        • 7 years ago

        But isn’t there a Kindle App for Android that would work just as fine?

          • BobbinThreadbare
          • 7 years ago

          There is an app, it doesn’t work just as fine.

            • poulpy
            • 7 years ago

            Out of curiosity what are the major drawbacks of the Android Kindle Reader against the one used on the Kindle Fire? Given the number of platforms they’ve ported their reader and the fact that both of these are really running on Android I’d have thought they would be little to no difference?

            I’ve got a Kindle Touch on which I do most of my reading but occasionally fire up the Android version on my phone. It has both the books I bought and the ones I imported manually, all are synched as per my last reading on the Kindle Touch. I read a few pages here and there and didn’t feel let down.

            • BobbinThreadbare
            • 7 years ago

            It’s not bad, it’s just not as good as Amazon’s integration.

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