Amazon Working on Kindle Smartphone?

Here’s the most interesting rumor I’ve heard all week: Amazon is working on an Android smartphone, which it will launch in the fourth quarter of 2012.

The speculation was started by a Citigroup analyst whose research note said that “Based on our supply chain channel checks in Asia led by Kevin Chang, Citi’s Taipei-based hardware research analyst, we believe an Amazon Smartphone will be launched in 4Q12.”

According to the note, FIH will be jointly developing the phone with Amazon, while its components will be manufactured by Hon Hai’s TMS group. It will likely use a TI OMAP 4 processor and Qualcomm’s dual mode baseband chip.

It also says, that Amazon may be willing to lose money on the device, and may price it in the range of $150 to $170, to increase sales.

That strategy has often been used by Amazon, as in the case of the Kindle Fire and the Kindle, and it has seen quite a lot of success with it.

The Kindle Fire has been a huge hit, and Amazon may be planning to launch a more powerful 10 inch Kindle Tablet in 2012. There is no reason why it wouldn’t want to disrupt the smartphone market with a Kindle smartphone too.

The note doesn’t specifically mention Android, but given that Amazon has made a lot of investments in Android already, it’s only logical that it would use it on its own smartphone too.

Amazon’s Kindle Fire Ships One Day Early

Hopefully I am not jumping the gun here, but it appears that Amazon.com is about to exceed customer expectations. Amazon.com just announced that it is shipping the Kindle Fire one day early. Was that a “Woot Woot” I just heard from out there in cyberspace? This is welcome news, for sure, as I personally know several people who were concerned that there would be a backlog on the Kindle Fire.

The Kindle Fire is already Amazon’s #1 seller.  We’re thrilled to be able to ship Kindle Fire to our customers earlier than we expected. Kindle Fire quickly became the bestselling item across all of  Amazon.com, and based on customer response we’re building millions more than we’d planned,said Dave Limp, Vice President,  Amazon  Kindle. Customers are excited about Kindle Fire because it is a premium product at the non-premium price of only  $199.According to their press release, some of the major bragging points for the Kindle Fire are as follows:

  • Over 100,000 movies and TV shows from Amazon Instant Video
  • Over 17,000,000 songs from Amazon MP3
  • Millions of books
  • Over 400 full-color magazines and newspapers
  • 100 exclusive graphic novels from DC Comics, including Watchmen, the best-selling graphic novel of all time
  • Several thousand apps and games, including  Netflix, Pandora,  Hulu  Plus, Rhapsody, and games from  Electronic Arts, Zynga and Rovio
  • A free month of Amazon Prime, which offers two-day shipping and access to nearly 13,000 movies and TV shows available to stream at no additional cost and exclusive access to over 5,000 popular books from the Kindle Owner’sLending Library  to read on any Kindle device at no additional cost and with no due dates
Amazon posted some high resolution pictures of the Kindle Fire. If you click on an image below, it will open the high resolution image so that you can get a nice close-up look at the screen.
Kindle Fire
Straight On View of the Kindle Fire
Kindle Fire
Kindle Fire from Angle
Kindle Fire
Kid Holding Kindle Fire

From many of the early reviews that I am seeing, everyone seems to be amazed at the simplicity of the device. There’s not a bunch of setup. There is only one button to fool with and that is the power button. Everything else is controlled on the screen. There are two external ports. One port is for charging and the other port is a headphone jack. Many people, including myself, believe this is the closest competition the iPad has in the tablet market. It isn’t without its flaws, though. One big one, in my book, is that it doesn’t have a camera on it. From my research, however, the lack of a camera is how they were able to reach the $199 price point. You have to admit, there’s a lot a positives included for such a low price.

Amazon Kindle Fire 2 Coming in Early 2012

Amazon recently launched the Kindle Fire tablet, which is expected to capture the low end of the tablet market. It is priced extremely competitively, at just $199, and will begin shipping soon.

Apparently, Amazon is planning to go after the Apple iPad too, with a high end version of the Kindle Fire, which will be priced higher and will have a 10 inch display, just like the iPad 2.

According to a new report by Digitimes, Foxconn has landed the order from Amazon to manufacture the Kindle Fire 2. It will start production in Q1 2012. Foxconn also manufactures the Apple iPad 2 and some other tablets.

The Kindle Fire is made by Quanta Computer, which recently signed a patent licensing agreement with Microsoft.

We don’t have any specific details about the Kindle 2, except that it will be bigger, better and costlier. With the budget Kindle Fire and the premium Kindle Fire 2, Amazon will attempt to dethrone Apple as the king of tablets.

Rumors suggest that Apple may also be working on a cheaper version of the iPad — the iPad Mini — to capture the low end of the tablet market. Here’s why I think it may be true: Apple to Launch an iPad Mini to Fight Amazon’s Kindle Fire? It’s Quite Possible.

Amazon Kindle Fire

New iPad Mini Rumors Surface. Again.

There has been a very persistent rumor which rears up its ugly head once every few weeks. It’s about the iPad Mini, speculated to be a cheaper 7 inch version of Apple’s iPad. Many analysts believe that Apple may launch a cheaper 7 inch version of the iPad along with the iPad 3 next year.

Steve Jobs had always maintained that Apple would never work on a 7 inch iPad, as they believed that a 10 inch display was the minimum screen size required for a useful tablet.

iPad Mini

However, the success of the new Amazon Kindle Fire tablet has validated that there is a market for cheap tablets. Apple currently dominates the high end of the tablet market, but Amazon seems likely to conquer the low end. If Apple launches a cheaper version of the iPad, it could potentially end up dominating that segment too, effectively ruling the entire tablet universe.

A new rumor, sparked off by a report in Taiwan’s United Daily News, states that Apple has received samples of a 7.85 inch display from AU Optronics and LG Display, implying that Apple could be working on a 7 inch iPad.

However, going by the current trend in the iPhone lineup, Apple wouldn’t go for a 7 inch iPad if it wanted to enter the low end tablet segment. It would rather make the iPad 2 available at a lower price point, while selling the iPad 3 at the current price points. Given Tim Cook’s operational genius, Apple could possibly make a cheaper iPad if it had the same design as the current one.

The iPad may go the way of the iPhone 4S, with the iPad 3 having the same design as the current iPad with more powerful hardware, and the current iPad 2 price being bumped down.

However, at this point, it’s all speculation. Knowing Apple, it’s pointless to speculate about its plans. But like everyone else, we will be tempted to.

U.S Congressman Demands Amazon Answer Privacy Questions Concerning Kindle Fire

Worried about privacy? Well you’re not alone. U.S Congressman Edward Markey has published an open letter to Amazon’s CEO, Jeff Bezos, demanding an answer to privacy issues.

With the recent announcement of the Amazon Kindle Fire, an Android tablet powering Amazon’s content store, the Silk browser came to the forefront as a great leap in browsing. While ‘proxy-browsing’ is nothing new, Skyfire and Opera Mini have been doing it for ages, Silk will be the primary way all Kindle Fire users browse the web. This allows for Amazon to collect a HUGE amount of data that can be used for advertising or other means of monetizing personal information. Imagine that, a company making money off your personal online habits.

What is the Congressman after? Answers about what Amazon is collecting, how they are collecting it and what they plan on doing with it. Markey specifically poses the questions and demands an answer within 3 weeks.

  • What information does Amazon plan to collect about users of the Kindle Fire?
  • Does Amazon plan to sell, rent or otherwise make available this customer information to outside companies?
  • How does Amazon plan to disclose its privacy policy to Fire and Silk users
  • If Amazon plans to collect information about its users’ Internet browsing habits, will customers be able to affirmatively opt in to participate in the data sharing program?
Thank you for your attention to this important matter. Please provide the responses to these questions no later than November 4, 2011.

Amazon has built a huge network of infrastructure to leverage “server-side browsing” and make it completely invisible to the user. Browsing data and purchasing information is constantly being sent to Amazon and there is no known way to opt-out.  You could, of course, purchase one of the 30 other Android tablets on the market, that have unfettered access to the Amazon Kindle service.

While the Congressman does have his heart in the right place with these questions, especially considering he is Co-Chairman of the Congressional Bi-Partisan Privacy Caucus, this seems like a play using a very well known product to raise awareness for his ‘Do Not Track Kids’ legislation which attempts to protect online privacy for children. Won’t somebody think of the children?!

Do you really care if Amazon knows what you’re browsing the internet for? You probably already give that information to numerous other companies like Google or Facebook — what does one more Big Brother matter when you already have 6 looking over your shoulder?

Apple to Launch an iPad Mini to Fight Amazon’s Kindle Fire? It’s Quite Possible

There’s something about Apple and its products which leads even the slightest rumor to spread like wildfire across the blogosphere. Before the “Let’s talk iPhone” event earlier this month, most analysts were speculating that Apple would launch a new iPhone 5, as well as a cheaper variant – iPhone 4S. All of them were wrong.

Now, everyone is speculating that Apple may be working on a new 7 inch iPad, christened the iPad Mini. It will be a cheaper version of the iPad, with a smaller display, and low specifications.

Apparently, the success of Amazon’s Kindle Fire has convinced Apple that there is money to be made even in the low end of the tablet market, even if the gross margins may be lower.

The rumors were sparked off after an analyst made a statement after meeting with several technology supply companies in China, which seemed to indicate that Apple plans to launch a lower priced iPad Mini for the price sensitive consumer segment.

I said earlier that I expect Apple to continue to rule the high end of the tablet segment, while its competitors shoot themselves in the foot. The Amazon Kindle Fire is likely the only other tablet which could be successful at the scale of the iPad. However, if Apple does launch an iPad Mini, it could easily grab significant market share even in the low end of the market.

Whether or not Apple will actually do that, sacrificing its hefty margins is something no one knows yet. Given Apple’s legendary secrecy, we’ll possibly have to wait until Apple reveals it itself.

Foxconn to Make the Amazon Kindle Fire 2

Now that Amazon has launched the Kindle Fire, we have some interesting news about the rumored Amazon Kindle 2, the 10.1 inch premium version of the Kindle Fire which will compete with the iPad.

Production of the Amazon Kindle Fire was outsourced to Quanta, the same company which manufactured RIM’s Blackberry Playbook (which also explains the uncanny similarities in the designs of the two tablets).

Apparently, for the 10.1 inch Kindle Fire 2, Amazon is going with Foxconn Electronics, which also creates Apple’s iPads. According to a report by Digitimes, the Kindle Fire 2 will be available for shipping before the end of 2011, just before the holiday season.

While Amazon is taking a $10 loss on each Kindle Fire that it sells, it will likely be able to sell the Kindle Fire 2 at a profit, by positioning it as a premium product. It is expected to have much better specifications than the Kindle Fire, which is lacking in several departments when it comes to hardware.

Sources say that one of the reasons why Amazon launched the 7 inch tablet first is because of supply constraints related to 10 inch displays.

Amazon Kindle Fire

Amazon Losing $10 On Each Kindle Fire

Amazon announced the Kindle Fire a couple of days ago, and the reaction has been overwhelmingly positive. Most analysts predict that the Amazon’s Kindle Fire will soon come to dominate the low end of the tablet market, while the iPad continues to rule the high end.

Amazon has priced the Kindle Fire at just $199, and its strategy is the polar opposite of Apple’s tablet strategy. While Apple has a hefty gross profit margin on its tablet hardware, Amazon will be selling the Kindle Fire at a loss initially, and hopes to make money by selling content to Kindle Fire users.

An initial estimate by Gene Munster stated that Amazon would be losing up to $50 per Kindle Fire initially. However, some research by iSuppli reveals that a single Kindle Fire unit costs Amazon close to $210. This means that Amazon will be losing close to $10 on every Kindle fire it sells.

In Q4 2011, Amazon may take a huge hit to its overall profit margins, because it is expected to sell close to 5 million Kindle Fire units by the end of 2011. Add in shipping and logistical costs, and Amazon could easily be losing $20 per Kindle Fire, which means a $100 million hit to its bottom line.

If it has to pay Microsoft $5-$10 for each Kindle Fire, that may mean an additional hit of around $25-$50 million. Maybe Amazon should buy Palm from HP, if only for its patents.

Amazon Launches 3 New Kindles, Starting at $79

Amazon has a lot of surprises in store for us today. It has launched not only its new Android tablet – the Amazon Kindle Fire – but also 3 new versions of the Kindle ebook reader.

When the Kindle was originally launched, it was a great deal. Amazon slashed the price over the years and now the new Kindles start at just $79, which makes them irresistible.

Amazon Kindle

Amazon Kindle

This will be the new standard Kindle. It will be priced at $79, and will be the cheapest version available.

Amazon has done away with the keyboard and made it much more compact. It comes with a standard 6 inch e-ink display, with 2 GB of internal storage. It will also support Wi-Fi and sports a 5 way controller for navigation.

Buy Amazon Kindle

Amazon Kindle Touch

Amazon Kindle Touch

This will be the touchscreen version of the Kindle. It will come with a 6 inch e-ink, touchscreen display with no physical controls. It will sport 4 GB of internal storage, and will come with Wi-Fi only. It will retail for $199.

Buy Amazon Kindle Touch

Amazon Kindle Touch 3G

This will be the 3G version of the Amazon Kindle Touch. Exactly identical to the Kindle Touch, except for the price and connectivity options. It will sport Wi-Fi as well as 3G, and will be priced at $149.

Buy Amazon Kindle Touch 3G

Kindle Fire: Amazon’s $199 Android Tablet

Details of Amazon’s new tablet — the Kindle Fire — have been leaked by Bloomberg, just before the official event. It looks very similar to the Blackberry Playbook, with good reason.

It comes with a 7 inch multi-touch display and is an inexpensive, no-frills tablet. It doesn’t have a camera, or 3G connectivity, presumably stripped off to bring down the costs. It will come integrated with Amazon apps like the Amazon Appstore, Kindle Store, Amazon Prime, and Amazon MP3. It will also feature Amazon Cloud Drive support and will offer on-demand video streaming.

Thanks to its Android lineage, it will support thousands of Android apps from the Amazon Appstore. It will also come with 30 days of free Amazon Prime usage. It is priced at just $199, 60% lower than the iPad, and much lower than any Android tablet.

You can buy it here: Amazon Kindle Fire

Reportedly, Amazon will be launching another premium 10-inch tablet soon, which will be priced higher.

Amazon Kindle Fire

Some updates: The Kindle Fire will come with a 7 inch multi-touch IPS display, with a resolution of 1024 x 600 pixels. It’s a bit heavy, at 413 grams. It will have 8 GB of internal storage, and its battery will last for about 8 hours. Amazon has bundled free cloud storage for all content you get through Amazon.

Here’s a list of supported media formats: Kindle (AZW), TXT, PDF, MOBI, PRC, Audible, DOC, DOCX, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, non-DRM AAC, MP3, MIDI, OGG, WAV, MP4, VP8.

Update: The official Kindle Fire page is online – Amazon Kindle Fire