One of the things we look forward to most when there's a new product launch is the inevitable teardown. Our friends at iFixItare always on the ball, and Amazon'sKindle Fire HD launch is no exception. The product repair site put the Kindle Fire HD (7-inch version) on the operating tablet and tore it open, leaving no part concealed, and discovered that it's not all that difficult to service at home.
Let's face it, Steve Jobs was wrong when he downplayed the market for a 7-inch tablet. Amazon proved it (Kindle Fire), Google reaffirmed it (Nexus 7), Barnes & Noble bought into it (Nook Tablet), and now Toys R Us is jumping on the bandwagon, albeit it's headed towards a different destination. Toys R Us is targeting tots with its specially design 7-inch "tabeo" (lowercase 't') tablet for kids. It's relatively affordable at $150 MSRP, and it comes pre-loaded with 50 kid friendly apps.
We've known for some time that Amazon was going to announce a new family of Kindle devices, and company CEO Jeff Bezos didn't disappoint when he took to the stage today to introduce this year's models. On the less exciting side of the spectrum, this year's vanilla Kindle eReader is slimmer, lighter, and cheaper than last year's entry-level model, selling for $69 instead of $79. As you move up the chain of devices, however, things get exponentially more interesting.
Amazon yesterday announced that it had sold out of its Kindle Fire tablet, ending a nine-month run for the popular 7-inch slate. There were two things of note in the press release. First, company founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos, added fuel to speculation that an upgraded second generation Kindle Fire tablet is en route when he said Amazon has "an amazing roadmap ahead." Second, Amazon made the claim that Kindle Fire had captured 22 percent of tablet sales in the U.S. Exactly how many tablets is that, anyway?
It's incredibly tough to keep a product launch under wraps with the Internet serving as the ultimate spoiler. Samsung can attest to this after seeing its Galaxy Note II plans leaked to the Web ahead of its offical launch. Be that as it may, all a company can do is forge ahead with business as usual, as Samsung did by officially unveiling its second generation Galaxy Note device. There is one surprise, however -- Samsung's skipping a U.S. launch until later this year.
IFA Berlin is in full swing and we're starting to see a number of Windows 8 product announcements emerge. One of them is Toshiba's Satellite U925t convertible tablet, or "tablet meets Ultrabook," as the company describes it. Sleek and slim, the Satellite U925t looks every bit a tablet, but a slide out QWERTY keyboard quickly transforms it into a makeshift Ultrabook with some pretty impressive hardware inside.
We don't know if Acer is still sulking in the corner over having to compete with Microsoft in the Windows 8 tablet arena, but one company that isn't is Asus. Instead, Asus today unveiled its Viva Tab and Viva Tab RT tablets (formerly known as as Asus Tablet 810 and 600, respectively). Both models are dual-purpose tablets built to run Windows 8/RT with a detachable QWERTY keyboard dock.
Rumor has it the iPad Mini -- a smaller, 7.85-inch version of the iPad tablet -- is real and nearly ready to ship. It's the type of device the late Steve Jobs never approved of, having once unaffectionately referred to 7-inch tablets as "tweeners," and slides into a trending category of mobile products currently led by Amazon's Kindle Fire, Google's Nexus 7, and Barnes & Noble's Nook Tablet (not necessarily in that order).
Exactly two weeks from today -- September 6, 2012, if you don't want to consult a calendar -- Amazon will hold a press conference in Santa Monica, California, according to invitations it sent out to members of the press. It's a safe bet Amazon will launch a new wave of Kindle products during that time, and if the e-tailer plans on releasing a full size Kindle Fire tablet, could there be a better time?
If the choice is to go big or go home, Microsoft is opting for the former with its Surface tablet strategy. Much to the chagrin of Acer and other hardware partners who wish Microsoft would bow out of the tablet race completely, the Redmond software giant is reportedly gearing up to the splash the mobile market with more than 3 million Surface devices to be sold through its own retail store locations and other outlets.