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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  • Larrin - Friday, September 7, 2012 - link

    The Archos 101 XS has the 4470, and showed good performance but poor battery life. If the HD 8.9" only has a few hours of battery life it will be very disappointing. Is there any way that won't be the case? Would it need a massive battery like the iPad 3, or was the Archos just poorly designed?
  • SanX - Friday, September 7, 2012 - link

    James Pikover wrote "The iPad, by comparison, has a 9.7" 2048 x 1536 4:3 display. The Fire HD 8.9 hits a pleasant median between not enough and too much pixel real estate"

    What level of tech education do you have? iPad has only 264PPI, looks like close to the 300DPI of regular printing materials but in fact due to regular placement of its subpixels ipad must have 300*sqrt(2)=424 or 3300x2475. Only then it will approach minimum of "too much pixels" which is absolutely needed for resolving of all small fonts.
  • HisDivineOrder - Saturday, September 8, 2012 - link

    Ads on the lockscreen kill any interest I might have in any Kindle Fire. I'm sorry. No. Just no. If I pay $300 for a tablet, I don't want ads on my lockscreen. Nice try, Amazon. Better luck next time.

    Hopefully, Google will release more Nexus tablets that show Amazon how it's done. Ad-free.
  • Flying Goat - Saturday, September 8, 2012 - link

    Those tablets all look like they have an absolutely huge bezel.
  • Origin64 - Sunday, September 9, 2012 - link

    It's a shame Amazon is walling its hardware off completely from the Google services I want to use, like the Play Store. It'd be a very nice tablet for a very nice price if they'd fix that.
  • Sub Zero - Sunday, September 9, 2012 - link

    The hardware looks like a nice step up. But if you don't actually OWN the content you buy from Amazon, it doesn't seem worth it at all.

    If they stop copy-protecting their Audible books and state in their purchase agreements that the eBooks, Audibooks and Music that you purchase from them is OWNED by you just like Audio CD's and hardcover books are, then maybe it'd be worth investing in their hardware.
  • ol1bit - Sunday, September 9, 2012 - link


    Goggle has ads, but I have used a Kindle Fire. You can't even get it to activate without a CC. Way to much money potential loss. I put in a pay as you go cc just so it would work for my Niece, who's parents don't have a CC!

    Stupid. Doesn't say anywhere I seen CC required for use!

    Get the Goggle Nexus tablet, or as I did the ASUS Transformer prime. Much more open.
  • shunya9010 - Sunday, September 9, 2012 - link

    LV Muffler $ 5.99
    LV Bags $ 19.9
    LV Wallet $ 6.55
    Armani Glasses $ 5.99
    LV Belt $ 6.9
    Dear customers, thank you for your support of our company. Here, there's good news to tell you: The company recently launched a number of new fashion items! ! Fashionable and welcome everyone to come buy. If necessary, please plut:==== ====== We need your support and trust!
  • Wardrop - Monday, September 10, 2012 - link

    Not sure about the name "Paperwhite". Makes me think of "Paperweight" every time I say it. Not a good connotation for a product to carry.
  • svetlyo - Thursday, September 13, 2012 - link

    "The e-readers will be available sooner to over 100 countries. "

    No one seems to know about the ETA of the Kindle Paperwhite for international shipping. The Kindle Touch became available for international customers 4-5 months after its introduction.
    Do you have some information about the situation this year?

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