Kindle Fire (2012)

Like cars and, now, the iPad, Amazon is naming their latest Kindle Fire exactly that (just Kindle Fire), though this is definitely a second generation tablet. The differences are slim but noticeable; a slightly faster 1.2GHz clock speed, up from 1GHz, and double the RAM at 1GB. Users also get significantly less storage space, down to 5.5GB from 6.5GB, with no option to expand memory. The majority of changes made to the Fire aren't hardware-based though; it's in the software.

That said, current Fire owners - myself included - can expect some of the software upgrades to be implemented on last  year's model, but Amazon is not revealing what updates will come to the 1st generation units. We'll have to wait until next week, when the new Fire releases, to see what changes are implemented to the original Fire, if they even release simultaneously. 

I spent some time with the Fire, which was almost forgotten in lieu of the newer HD models. It's quite speedy, even considering the lower-end OMAP 4430 powering the device. While both the Fire HD units stuttered occasionally in demos, the Fire did not. It consistently ran smoothly, whether I started playing video, opened a magazine or app, or played in the web browser.

The sense I got from the newer Fire is that it's both meant to replace last year's model while simultaneously acting as a bridge for users skeptical about a tablet from Amazon. Or, for users who just want to watch Prime videos anywhere in their own home and don't need the upgraded display, additional horsepower, or thinner size. As the only Fire tablet not displaying video at HD quality, this model would best serve older people who want to watch, well, older videos available on Prime that don't have HD versions. The thicker build is certainly easier to grip two-handed, and it feels more stable than either of the HD models.

Yet because of the speed of the device, likely thanks to no HD visuals, anyone who won't nitpick about not having video and pictures HD-crisp may have a better experience with the lower-end and less expensive Kindle Fire than the Kindle Fire HD models. Even though they are more powerful devices, it's unclear if they have the increased bandwidth to offer the same speed and fluidity in everyday use that I experienced in ten minutes playing with the standard Fire. 

Kindle Paperwhite: a direct competitor to the Nook Touch Glowlight Kindle Fire HD 7" and 8.9": Competing against Google and Apple
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  • seapeople - Saturday, September 8, 2012 - link

    I'm with ya bro. I absolutely refuse to buy any Intel processors because they suck at gaming. When I buy a $300+ processor, I don't expect to have to buy an additional $200 graphics card to correct it's gaming shortcomings. Why do computer companies put such horrible graphics units on their CPU processors? Do they think they're Apple or something?
  • Impulses - Friday, September 7, 2012 - link

    ASUS' first tablet had side firing speakers, they're in the holes used for the docking mechanism clips... Of course that muffles them a lot docked. Honestly I don't see what the big is, they're tablet speakers... As long as sound actually comes out I don't expect a whole lot. Most phones have rear facing speakers and if you cup your hand around it you'll do a decent job of reflecting the sound.
  • doubledeej - Friday, September 7, 2012 - link

    But why should we have to do that? Shouldn't the person actually using a device get louder and better sound than everyone else in the room? It's crazy, and nearly every manufacturer is guilty.
  • Belard - Friday, September 7, 2012 - link

    My 4 year old SONY dumb phone has stereo speakers in the front.... my 2yr old Galaxy (like all other Samsung phones and most others period) have the speaker in the back...

    Guess which one is my Alarm clock that will actually WAKE ME UP?!
  • coder543 - Thursday, September 6, 2012 - link

    Maybe I just misread, but you seem convinced previous kindles had microSD card slots. The original was the only one that ever did.
  • Jamezrp - Thursday, September 6, 2012 - link

    You're right, only the original Kindle e-reader had expandable memory. But I'll wait until Amazon openly confirms it before stating that none of the newer Kindle devices don't have it. But I wouldn't be surprised if they didn't.
  • Arbie - Friday, September 7, 2012 - link

    Wouldn't they have been visible to you if they exist? SD cards are a must for me. No SD, no deal.
  • Jamezrp - Sunday, September 9, 2012 - link

    Not necessarily, especially with cables sticking out and SD cards nowadays tucked behind back covers. But considering how slow SD cards are and how so many companies would rather avoid them altogether...probably none of the Kindles will support expandable memory.
  • satai - Friday, September 7, 2012 - link

    Are there any new fonts in paperwhite?
  • Jamezrp - Friday, September 7, 2012 - link

    I could be mistaken, but I seem to recall (I was busy writing/taking photos at the time) that there will be a ton of new fonts available.

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