The Rumor: Is Amazon working on a new Kindle Fire 3G? A recent tip has mentioned that the company is internally toying around with the idea.
The Rational: Amazon has a long established track record during the last four years of providing free 3G internet access with their e-ink readers. They are always more expensive then their WIFI counterparts, but allow more freedom to purchase content while outside wireless areas. The drawback of their existing WIFI model of the Fire is that it limits the amount of impulse purchases that you may make when on vacation or during your daily commute. Amazon frequently offers the hardware at cutthroat prices and makes the money back selling you content. With a WIFI only edition right now, they are shooting themselves in the foot by limiting the amount of things you can buy. The 3G model would in essence allow more flexibility for people on the go. You will not have to pay anything extra for the 3G internet access, but the internal debate at the company is centered on what you can do while on 3G access.
The Amazon networks and S3 cloud servers maintain most of the content delivery networks on the internet. Some of the largest websites in the world use Amazons services to handle their bandwidth and server networks. I would imagine that the Kindle Fire 3G will not let you do high bandwidth tasks like streaming video or audio. Amazon wants people to buy books, newspapers, apps, audiobooks, and other low-bandwidth content while on the go. This has been a staple of their e-ink models with free 3G and it is good to have different models based on the needs of the customer.
If Amazon was really developing a 3G Kindle Fire it would probably limit the number of things you can do. There is no way the company could offer free 3G and let everyone watch Netflix or Amazon Prime movies while on the go. Likely you would receive a nag screen saying you need to be on a wireless network for this content. This would provide the solution for super high-bandwidth problems that plague the entire telecommunications industry. In essence, the 3G would let you buy books and other things that don’t take much room at all.
There is no dispute that the Amazon Kindle Fire has been very popular and currently controls 54% of the entire Android tablet market. There has been rumors for awhile that the company is working on an e-reader similar to the Barnes and Noble Glowlight and a 10 inch version of the Kindle Fire.
Although there is no concrete evidence that the company is developing a tablet with 3G functionality, but this is one rumor that actually makes a ton of sense. Amazon makes its money with content and sells hardware at near loss. It would make total sense to give people more freedom to buy content on the go, then be relegated to a WIFI zone.
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times.