Amazon refreshes the Fire tablet line…but the big announcement is yet to come

Amazon refreshes the Fire tablet line…but the big announcement is yet to come

Ah, September! Back to school, the new TV season, and the return of NFL football games!

Well, those may be pretty fuzzy times now…new TV shows debut almost all year long, back to school sales certainly start before September, and…well, I don’t pay that much attention to the NFL**. 😉 Hm…I think I’m safe to say that September is when Halloween decorations appear in the stores (I’ve seen ’em), but that may start in August or earlier.

As far as this blog is concerned, though, September is also when we typically get new hardware announcements from Amazon. Last year, for example, I wrote this on September 28:

Wowsers! Amazon just blew the doors off with new devices and features!

We have had an announcement already, the new

Fire HD 8 Tablet (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

You can also get it with the charging dock:

All-New Fire HD 8 Tablet with Alexa, 8” HD Display, 16 GB, Black – with Special Offers + All-New Show Mode Charging Dock (at AmazonSmile*)

Pre-order right now for October 4th release, and at time of writing, you can get the tablet and the dock for $94.99 at time of writing. Without the dock, it’s $79.99…the same price as the entry-level Kindle!

I’m really tempted, although for me, it would be a bit redundant.

Redundant with what?

Our

Echo Show (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*).

You can buy the Show right now for $129.99…$100 off.

Honestly, it seems to me like the Fire HD8 is going to be better for most people. While the camera on the Show is considerably better, and the microphones to hear you are probably better, the ability to make an unplugged video call on a tablet sized device could be really big.

It’s also worth noting that the new HD8 has expandable memory: up to 400GB with a micro SD slot.

While the tablets have had Alexa before, this joins the Fire HD10 with hands-free Alexa.

I do think it’s a significant update…but I think the big announcement is yet to come.

First, the Show may simply disappear…it’s certainly being de-emphasized on the website currently. I would expect the

Echo Spot (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

to stick around. I love having one on my desk at work…it’s an unobtrusive videoscreen (about the size of a Magic 8 Ball). Maybe new features and a lower price, but still there.

Audio only Echo devices should also be around, although I’m not sure we’ll see a new version of the tower. The Dot is another powerful and small device…but could it get even smaller? Could, for example, we get an Alexa capable device able to be literally stuck to a wall or mirror? The

Amazon Dash Wand

is sort of like that, at least if you stick it magnetically to a refrigerator, but because it has a scanner also, it’s bigger than what I’m thinking. I’m picturing something a centimeter/half an inch thick at most, and not always listening. You tap it to interact with Alexa…if you want hands-free, you could yell to one of your other devices. Use in the bathroom could be part of the marketing…I don’t have an Echo device there (although I do have a waterproof Bluetooth speaker I like a lot, pairing it with an Echo Dot in the bedroom…my model is no longer available).

I mentioned something quite small last year…a key fob sort of thing, but some sort of wearable (headphones or otherwise) also seems like a possibility.

Alexa in the car will also become more available (mostly through integration with the car manufacturers), but I can still see an add-on device (like GPS used to be) for all cars.

I’m having a hard time seeing something revolutionary in the EBR (E-Book Reader) line…the Kindle. More waterproof models? Sure. Color? Seems unlikely…I’m not sure why. Could a Kindle go under $50? Yes, but there is some advantage in having it seen as a luxury item, even at the lowest price. They have an inexpensive way for you to read e-books…the Fire tablets, which are now cheaper than Kindles.

We really may hear about a revolutionary home robot product from Amazon. It might not be released until 2019, but pre-orders could get it into this holiday shopping season, and it might be limited to Prime members at first.

Otherwise, what we are seeing is Amazon spreading its presence (particularly through Alexa) deeper into other people’s hardware. Amazon doesn’t need to make phones or TVs if they can be on them and let somebody else take the risk on the hardware.

Am I backing off an XR (Augmented/Virtual/Mixed/Merged Reality) device? Something at some point seems necessary (even though I can now see Amazon Prime Video in XR), but it may be a question of an Alexa experience in XR, and again, piggybacking on other people’s devices.

Those are a few ideas. What do you think? What new hardware/announcements would you expect to see from Amazon this year? What things would you like to see? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

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* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

** That’s not to say that I pay no attention to football. I used to follow it quite closely. I’ve had debates with other geeks in which my postulate is that American football is the most intellectual of the big sports in the USA. It’s the only one where they stop every few seconds to decide what they are going to do next. While some people think of it as just big people crashing into each other, Monday morning quarterbacks don’t say, “We lost because they were bigger than us,” they say, “They shouldn’t have gone for it on third down.” The criticism is about the intellectual part of the game, not as much the physical (if we leave officiating out of it). However, I have heard good arguments for baseball also being a stream of decisions

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

 

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8 Responses to “Amazon refreshes the Fire tablet line…but the big announcement is yet to come”

  1. Tonino Says:

    Eink Kindle Color for god’s sake…
    Been waiting for that for years. And NO, Kindle Fire is not the same.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Tonino!

      No, it’s not the same. Backlighting will never be the same as a reflective device. Color e-ink has been created, but it is relatively expensive and slow, from what I understand (haven’t looked in detail in a few years). The question for manufacturers, I think, is how much of a market there is for it. Kindles are already more expensive than Fire tablets (at the low end, any way)…there would be some market, but would it be worth it from a business standpoint? I suspect the technology will get better and cheaper, and then maybe we’ll see a mass market item.

  2. Joan Huston Says:

    I would like to see a smaller, lighter EBR of the Oasis caliber, but 6” and smaller than the Oasis 1. Or at least a smaller 6” version of the Oasis 2.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Joan!

      Well, if they’d release an Oasis that didn’t require buying an animal-leather cover, I’d be interested in it…I’ve heard good things about it from people who use it.

      • Joan Huston Says:

        Yes, no battery in the cover, and lots of different covers!

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, Joan!

        Sounds like you are describing the Oasis. 🙂 I’d love an all manmade materials cover myself. As to the battery in the cover…I think they want to keep the official weight down of the “naked” unit, so I’m not sure that will change.

      • Joan Huston Says:

        The new 7” Oasis isn’t heavy and if they made a smaller 6” version, it should be as light as the old oasis, but have the features of the new Oasis.

  3. Heads up! Amazon announcement coming today (20 September) at 10:00 AM Pacific | I Love My Kindle Says:

    […] Amazon refreshes the Fire tablet line…but the big announcement is yet to come […]

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