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What I Want in the Next Amazon Kindle Fire

Kindle Fire Sales Drop - Buy Me Please

When Google took the stage, alongside Asus, in June to announce the Google Nexus 7, we fell in love with the $200 tablet. It was everything we wanted to see from a tablet, let alone an Android tablet. It was $199 dollars (less than half the price of an iPad). Its 7-inch display was perfect for e-reading, and sufficient enough for movies and casual YouTube viewing, it’s form factor was great for traveling, battery life was great, the design was inviting, sleek, not intimidating and had NFC integration (especially with Nexus Q [even though the Nexus Q has yet to be a useful device]). It was by all accounts targeting square between Amazon Kindle Fire’s figurative eyes. Have you had enough of my love letter to the Nexus 7?

My Offer

So Amazon, Mr. Bezos, here’s the deal:  I will tell you what I loved and hated about your Kindle Fire. You fix those shortcomings (plus make it better than the Nexus 7), then we’ve got a deal. I will buy your Kindle Fire. Just don’t tell my wife I bought another thing from Amazon. Sure by this time next Thursday, we’ll have been introduced to the new Kindle Fire 2, but you should have thought of these things instead of blogger like me telling me how to run your business.

Kindle Fire Loves

  • I loved the price, when in a market that was used to $400-$500 tablets as a standard, you made it more economical.
  • I love, that your screen isn’t too large. I thought, it was a nice take on the e-reader format and it was perfect for “couch” or “lazy Sunday” reading. A legitimate option to the standard “larger is better” mantra.
  • I love how you attached this device to an expansive ecosystem. You’ve got your Amazon App Store, Kindle Store, Amazon Store, Amazon Prime, Amazon Music and Amazon streaming. All great stuff. You have an advantage that others do not have.
  • I love your speakers, they sound pretty good and play well even at loud volumes.
  • I love the build quality enough, heck for $249/$199, I thought it was well built.

Kindle Fire Dislikes

  • Amazon Kindle Falls short. The Price was very appealing, that is, until I saw what the Kindle Fire actually did (or in most cases, didn’t do) and so my immediate response was “well, you get what you pay for.” When better tablets are out on the market (sure you pay a premium) but you can do significantly more, sometimes (not always) its better to bite the bullet and pay a little more for the extra perks. So I bought an iPad, and I loved it.
  • It’s heavy. Make it light.
  • Your bastardized operating system always perplexed me. I figured it was a method to get people attached, engrained or stuck in the Amazon ecosystem. You’ve eliminated “having” to go outside this ecosystem. But it deters you from doing more with the Amazon Kindle Fire. Sure you have a hacker community ready to root the device and run a real version of Android. But why? Was it Android fragmentation you were trying to avoid? If it is, I get it, you were trying to make a solution for an otherwise unfortunate consequence for multitude of hardware options.
  • It’s laggy, I don’t know if it is the OS or the hardware. But nonetheless, this user was not happy.
  • Why are your Amazon apps better on competing Android OS and iOS? Why? Your own apps have betrayed you.
  • Way to set yourself apart from the competition by designing the Kindle Fire to look just like the BlackBerry Playbook. Another roaring success (Editor, what is the proper way to notate sarcasm?)
  • No always present physical or softkeys to go back, home, search?  Sure they pop up on screen, in an app, but it just doesn’t feel right.

OK, I’ll stop being a Negative Nancy. Do people still use that term?

So Amazon, your goal, is to fix the above and to beat every bit of what Nexus 7 is and do it better. This time around, “you get what you pay for” won’t work, since Asus has delivered a solid device at an even lower price point than the Kindle Fire. This means matching if not beating specs the Nexus 7 touts, but keeping things economical. Kindle Fire 2 has to be a better deal than Nexus 7 or people will write it off.

What I Want

  • Keep the price low, at $199 or cheaper.
  • Don’t throw on a sub-par rear camera. Only add one, if you know it will be good and it won’t raise the price beyond the sub $200 point.
  • I wouldn’t try to trump the front-facing camera of the Nexus 7, its sufficient enough and it’s not a deal breaker its not a key feature that people must have when looking for a tablet.
  • Keep battery comparable or better than the Nexus 7, but it’s not the most important factor to hone in to. The Nexus 7 meets most users battery expectations. If there are improvements, once again, you’re playing on price.
  • Don’t pack a sub-par Android OS, give us Jelly Bean. You can put a skin on it, like a lot of mobile devices already do, but don’t taint Jelly Bean. It is just so feature-rich, why mess with it?
  • Throw in expandable storage or additional Amazon Cloud capacity.
  • Give me quad-core processing, Nexus 7 blew me away with its quickness, and it sealed the deal with its small factor and low price.
  • Give me Android soft keys. I don’t like yours.
  • Give me the option of wireless data. The Nexus 7 is cool, but I would love to be able to use it away from a Wi-Fi hotspot.
  • Design it better, your last attempt was too boxy and too heavy. It just didn’t work for me.
  • Throw in a little extra. Google gave us a $25 dollar credit and a copy of “Transformers” for purchasing a Nexus 7. Amazon should do something comparable. Sure you can get Amazon Prime trial for a month, but anyone can get that? Give us something exclusive, six-month Prime membership? Exclusive content? Roswell alien photos? Something.

When Google announced the Nexus 7, it was met with, “what a great bargain” statements across the Internet. The value was incredible, a great tablet, great price and all these free add-ons. Yet to be announced Apple’s iPad Mini will likely deliver a high quality experience as well. It is that much more imperative that Amazon is able to delivery a sound product to compete in the same market segment. Amazon has all these tools available to them and it has always been a place where people know they can get a great or fair deal, it’s a just a matter of how they execute and launch the Kindle Fire 2.

Join us Thursday at Amazon’s event as we will likely see the Kindle Fire 2.

Correction: Referred to a front-facing camera on the original Kindle Fire, it did not have one. Reference removed.


Roy Choi

Roy Choi is a Southern California native. He has been infatuated with technology reviews ever since he bought his first crummy laptop in the summer...

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