Amazon officially announced its next-generation Kindle Fire on Thursday, unveiling a brand new tablet with improved specs and battery, HD visuals and 4G LTE connectivity. However, there is one characteristic no critic or analyst had predicted: the tablet's name.
Endless news reports referred to the mystery device as Amazon's Kindle Fire 2 in recent weeks, predicting the Internet retailer would number its succeeding Kindle Fire devices. But Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos threw audiences for a curveball when the Kindle Fire 2 was in fact not the Kindle Fire 2, but the "Kindle Fire HD."
Apple was in a familiar scenario back in March when it unveiled its next-generation iPad, which was widely expected to be called the iPad 3. As tech journalists and Apple junkies sat on the edge of their seats, waiting for the name of the world's first Retina Display tablet to be revealed, CEO Tim Cook simply referred to the device as the "new iPad."
Preceding the launch of "new iPad 3," a rumor circulated that the name of the tablet could be the iPad HD, since speculations about the latest iPad's stunning display had been widely discussed way before the device's launch.
Some believed the new iPad was Cook's attempt to herald in a new era of post-PC dominance in the tech industry, in which tablets could act as a user's primary device. The "new" iPad also signified a new stepping stone for Apple-the first tablet to boast Retina Display quality on a screen of that size.
But what about Amazon? Why has the company decided to stray from the traditional numbering technique when naming its next-generation Kindle Fire? Below are three reasons why the Kindle Fire 2 doesn't exist, but the Kindle Fire HD does.
1.An emphasis on services. Bezos made it clear that Amazon is marketing its new line of Kindle Fire tablets differently than its Android or iOS counterparts. In fact, he even went as far as to take a jab at Android before unveiling the Kindle Fire HD. "Customers are smart," he said at the keynote. "Last year, there were more than two dozen Android tablets launched into the marketplace, and nobody bought them. Why? Because they're gadgets, and people don't want gadgets anymore. They want services that improve over time. They want services that improve every day, every week, and every month." If this is the case, it would only make sense for Amazon to highlight one of the Kindle Fire's key features, its HD display, which would enhance the user experience when utilizing these services. Amazon is attempting to lure more users into its Amazon Prime, e-book selection, or other services.
2. Amazon is being the anti-Apple. It's clear that Amazon intends to make a profit from its services rather than its hardware, which is a strategy not practiced by competitor Apple. "We want to make money when people use our devices, not when they buy our devices," he also said at the press event on Thursday. Just as Apple named its flagship tablet after its brag-worth display, Amazon is making a similar move, skipping the second-generation '2' labeling that the iPad endured.
3. Amazon is all about the visuals. Amazon's introduction to the mobile tech world came with its original Kindle E-reader. Not a smartphone, not a tablet or any type of PC. The Kindle was the device that made electronic books mainstream, with Barnes and Noble soon following suit with its Nook. Amazon's mobile brand was born in a medium that stresses the visuals. Since its tablet does not run on an Android or iOS operating system, fans of e-books and those who enjoy streaming content are sure to be a large portion of buyers. It makes sense for Amazon to make sure the Kindle Fire HD display looks good.
The Amazon Kindle Fire HD will launch in a 7-inch and 8.9-inch version. The release date for the 7-inch edition is Sept. 14, while the 8.9-inch variant ships on Nov. 20. The pricing for the 7-inch 16GB device will be $199 while the 8.9-inch costs $299. For a 32GB 4G LTE model, users will pay $499 for the device and then $50 per year to use 250GB per month, 20GB of cloud storage and $10 in the app store.
Lisa Eadicicco is a reporter covering mobile technology and video games for The International Business Times. Lisa joined the editorial team at IBT in January 2012, and has...