Amazon’s Kindle Fire 2 – 3 Kindle Fire 2 Futures

Amazon has hit a new high (or low) in the Kindle Fire 2 Buzz Creation Cycle – It issued a Press Release to let everyone know Kindle Fire is out of stock.

In the last 9 days we have had 6 Kindle Fire 2 and Amazon Prime related Press Releases from Amazon –

  1. 21st – ESPN 30 for 30 Film Series Deal for Prime Instant Video.
  2. 22nd – India Kindle Store.
  3. 24th – Prime Video agreement with NBC.
  4. 27th – Prime Milestone of more items being shipped via Prime than via Free Supersaver Shipping.
  5. 30th – Amazon App Store launches in Europe. Suggesting very strongly that Kindle Fire 2 will be available in Europe at launch.
  6. 30th – Kindle Fire sold out.

Amazon’s external PR department today revealed an image of what is, supposedly, a rather unsexy looking Kindle Fire 2. It does have a front facing camera so you can take a photo of yourself and add instant sex appeal.

Update: Another source claims this is NOT the new Kindle Fire 2. Let’s hope not. It looks like Darth Vader rounded out the edges of a cereal box with a saber. Poor Darth Vader is going to get sued for billions – should have stuck with the safe old square corners.

Exciting Kindle Fire 2 Rumors – Including Dual eInk and LCD screens on OPPOSITE Sides

Here are various sites and blogs speculating about Kindle Fire 2 –

  1. The Next Web thinks Kindle Fire selling out means Kindle Fire 2 will be released on September 6th, and mentions rumors of a Kindle Phone.
  2. Reuters has an exclusive – Amazon is dropping Google Maps and going with Nokia Maps on Kindle Fire 2.
  3. PocketNow unveils an Amazon Patent for Dual Screens (filed on February 25th, 2011) – eInk Screen on one side and LCD screen on the other. So now you can show people you’re reading ‘The Cloud Atlas’ while reading ’50 Shades of Boring’.
  4. PocketLint says the new eInk Kindle, Kindle 5, will come with a Lighted Display called ‘Paperwhite’. Somebody smack the designer – he forgot to put page turn buttons on it. And what’s with all that fancy French writing. C’est tout simplement horrible – the lack of page buttons, not ze French.
  5. Apple Bloggers are all in various states of outrage – How dare someone ramp up a product launch using meaningless things like leaked product prototype images. Guess who forgot to get a patent on that marketing strategy.

Venture Beat points out Jeff Bezos’ mention of ‘an exciting roadmap ahead’

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos wasn’t coy on what the move means. “Kindle Fire is sold out, but we have an exciting roadmap ahead—we will continue to offer our customers the best hardware, the best prices, the best customer service, the best cross-platform interoperability, and the best content ecosystem,” he said in a statement today.

Surely, that translates to ‘Kindle Fire 2, Lades & Gentlemen. Just around the Patented Rounded Corner’.

Well, let’s explore the three possible Kindle Fire 2 Futures.

Kindle Fire 2 Future 1: Kindle Fire 2 really is something SPECIAL

Has Amazon managed to make a Kindle Fire 2 that is THE BEST TABLET AVAILABLE? Perhaps with some exciting new technology that sets the world on fire. Dual Screens. Mirasol Screen Technology. Free with Subscriptions. Magic LCD Screen. Grilled Cheese Sandwich Making Add-on. 27-Core Processor that still can’t boot in 5 seconds. SD Card. Volume Buttons. A Color other than Orange dominating the UI. Folders. No Carousel.

A shiny new screen technology seems the most likely. It’ll be Revolutionary.

That, by the way, is the most over-used word ever (with regards to tech devices). Everything’s revolutionary. George Washington and Simon Bolivar are pirouetting in their graves whilst every single gadget maker throws around the word revolutionary.

While a bit unlikely, it’s not completely impossible that Amazon has come up with something quite amazing. That Kindle Fire 2 is worth the hype and that Amazon’s inane Press Releases are half-justified. That Apple really has moved out the iPad Mini release to October to figure out how to counter the new and magical grilled cheese sandwich making Kindle Fire 2.

What happens if Kindle Fire 2 is really, really good?

Well, it starts taking up market share in US and Europe. Things become tougher for companies like B&N and Microsoft. Apple’s iPad Mini becomes less of a slam dunk.

Amazon keeps adding more and more mini-Amazon stores to users’ hands and wallets. Another step towards Total Amazonian World Domination – with Jeff Bezos laughing his crazy laugh while wearing a Pirate Eye Patch and standing on a giant Ark.

Probability: 30%.

Kindle Fire 2 Future 2: Kindle Fire 2 is Good but not Great

Unfortunately, the most likely possibility is that Amazon has analyzed product launches and figured out that 50% of what makes a great product launch is the buzz. You keep everyone involved and then its human nature to think – It must be good. Surely, I’m not an idiot and only an idiot would have waited 2 months for THIS.

Amazon thinks – we have a good Kindle Fire 2. Let’s hype it up and get everyone excited. Then, when it comes out and doesn’t make breakfast, people will think it must be amazing – it not making breakfast isn’t really a big deal.

Over the years you can see a definite pattern in how Amazon is modeling companies like Apple and Nintendo in creating demand and buzz. With the Kindle Fire 2 it’s almost doing too much. A Press Release to announce Kindle Fire 1 is sold out. Kindle Fire 2 better have a booster rocket that lets you fly to the Moon on weekends.

What happens if Kindle Fire 2 is good and not very extraordinary?

Everyone is a bit disappointed. Then they satisfice and say – It’s actually quite good. Look it has volume buttons. It even has a new shiny screen made with new shiny LCD technology. And no more of that horrendous shade of Orange everywhere.

Kindle Fire 2 sells very well.

Why? Because it’s hard to turn your back on a good product if you’ve built a vision in your head of it being great. It’s much easier to take the qualities it does have and satisfice.

Amazon would actually increase its market share of the Tablet Space and it would justify all the hype. Proving that anticipation does indeed turn a good product into a great sales success.

Probability: 66%.

Kindle Fire 2 Future 3: Kindle Fire 2 is a Disaster

The downside of hyping up a product release so much is that if, and let’s hope this is not the case, Kindle Fire 2 is unimpressive – Well, then a LOT of people are going to be very upset.

This is very unlikely. Amazon isn’t crazy enough to hype up a product that isn’t good. Perhaps Amazon’s a bit nervous about iPad Mini. Perhaps it’s wondering what happened to the 1 million a week Kindle Fire sales from last holiday season.

Unless Amazon is stupid and desperate (and the first is highly unlikely) it would not hype up a mediocre product.

What happens if Kindle Fire 2 is a Disaster?

The end of Amazon’s chances in the Tablet Space. That might happen even with a good Kindle Fire 2 (iPad Mini and/or 7″ Android Tablets and/or 7″ Windows 8 Tablets might be amazing and take over). However, if Amazon releases a terrible Kindle Fire 2, then it’s guaranteed that its Tablet hopes will remain just hopes.

Probability: 4%.

Conclusion: Amazon has features that it thinks makes Kindle Fire 2 an Absolute Winner

That’s my conclusion.

I’m not convinced Kindle Fire 2 is a total winner. If we look at the eInk Kindles of the past and the Kindle Fire – Well, Amazon has NEVER shown that it can make the best hardware.

However, it seems very clear that Amazon thinks it has cracked the code and made a really special Tablet this time. All the craziness and controlled leaks suggest that Amazon thinks this is THE ONE.

Will it be?

Well, we’re talking about a company that removed page turn buttons from eInk Kindles. A company that removed volume buttons from the Kindle Fire and came up with the ‘Carousel of Endless Confusion’ and took two years to add Folders to the eInk Kindle. What Amazon thinks is the Best Tablet Ever is a bit unlikely to be what customers would consider the Best Tablet Ever.

However, Amazon seems completely convinced that it has a huge winner on its hands. It is certainly proceeding as such.

Kindle Fire 2 seems to be the Tablet that Amazon wanted to ship all along. On September 6th we’ll find out if the Kindle Fire 2 hype is justified. While for one week there will be absolutely zero Kindle Fires sold.

8 thoughts on “Amazon’s Kindle Fire 2 – 3 Kindle Fire 2 Futures”

  1. Sounds like you’re getting discouraged. If someone wants a color ebook reader, Kindle Fire can full the bill. If you want a full featured 7 inch Android tablet, I challenge anyone to find a better product than the Samsung Galaxy 2 7.0.
    Samsung’s marketing and promotion is horrible, but their product runs rings around anything else in the competitive area. Check it out, if you haven’t done so yet.

    1. Discouraged? More like Bemused.

      It’s very strange, even by Amazon’s hand-waving standards, to release a Press Release to say Kindle Fire is sold out and it’s the Bestselling Device based on some phantom criteria.

      It’s like dating the Girl who thinks she’s the Most Amazing Thing Ever Born except you can’t figure out why.

  2. What will be the way to get quick feedback on what is happening at the press conference on 9/6? Will it be streamed live for us to watch on the internet?

    1. There will be tech blogs doing live blogs. I’m also going to be doing updates – however, it might be best to check a site like The Verge or TechCrunch or Engadget or Wired.

  3. A foldable version would give it a feature that no one else has–and that many consumers would dig. At a minimum it would differentiate the Fire from the crowd and give Amazon talking points.

    The description on Andrys B’s site of the patent and the previous rumor about it seem pretty detailed–and make sense in terms of the added functionality. One screen would be an LCD and one would be e-ink. These would usually give views of different places in the document. Microsoft described such a concept years ago. I think this is what Amazon will reveal.

    I think any type of foldability will hit the sweet spot with many people. They’ll no longer need a cover to protect the screen, for instance. They’ll have a touch-sensitive keyboard on the LCD screen. And pundits will say, “Of course—How’d we miss such an obvious idea?” (Actually, they won’t say the latter phrase.)

    But I like my vision (posted here a few times in years gone by) better. It would unfold to give a full-size, full-page view of websites. It could unfold by 270 degrees so that it would form an easel stand, allowing the lower half to be read and scrolled through in landscape mode, while the upper half was inactive. A keyboard would either be a third foldable component, or there’d be a key-chord keyboard on the back. Both halves would use the same display technology. Oh well, maybe next year.

  4. Bag the SD slot, it’s too limited. All you can do is stick an SD card in it. Give me a USB port that I could plug a jump drive, keyboard, camera, or printer into. Now that would be a compelling feature.

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