Books & Review
Updated: Sep 05, 2012 11:15 AM EDT

Amazon Allows Customers To Personalize Their Kindle Covers and Skins

(Photo : Reuters)

*This story has been updated*

A big tablet war will soon begin starting later this year, and Amazon's Kindle Fire 2 is the smack dab in the middle.

Many critics are wondering if the new tablet will stand against Apple's rumored, highly anticipated iPad Mini, Google's Nexus 7, and Barnes & Noble's Nook.

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CNN Money reported that without a key differentiator from the iPad, Amazon will have to re-think its strategy for battling Apple.

"So far the customer's choice is deciding between high end, Apple, and low end, Amazon," said Aaron Kessler, senior research analyst at Raymond James & Associates. "If Apple releases a price competitive [iPad] Mini, that could completely change the low-end market."

Amazon is expected to announce the Kindle Fire 2 at a special press conference on Sept. 6. Amazon recently sent out invitations to the media. The conference will be in Santa Monica, Cali.

Amazon has been making some major changes to its services to keep existing users and attract new ones. Here are some reasons why it will stand up against other major tablets.

1. EPIX

According to Gather Technology, Amazon announced a new partnership involving EPIX. The new deal was announced Tuesday.

It will involve a multi-year licensing agreement which will "beef up the company's Prime streaming service." The company notes such movies as "The Avengers," "Iron Man 2," "Thor," "The Hunger Games," and those are just a few of the 25,000 movies or TV episodes available on this service. The Prime Instant Video service currently costs customers a $79 per year fee, but also includes free two-day shipping on most Amazon products.

Amazon's Vice President of Video and Music, Bill Carr, said of the new deal:

"We are investing hundreds of millions of dollars to expand the Prime Instant Video library for our customers. We have now more than doubled this selection of movies and TV episodes to over 25,000 titles in just under a year."

"We are excited to be working with Amazon and to bring our compelling content to Amazon Prime and Kindle Fire customers," said Mark Greenberg, President and CEO of EPIX. "This partnership is yet another great example of EPIX's ability to broaden our reach through a digital platform, underscoring the incredible value of the EPIX content offering."

2. More than one tablet/ New Products

According to ZDNet, Amazon will unveil not one, but two versions of the Kindle Fire 2 at its Santa Monica press conference on Sept. 6.

The Fire may come in 7-inches and 10-inches. One tablet will be supported by advertising to reduce the cost, according to an unconfirmed report in the Wall Street Journal.

Amazon is expected to announce a new line of basic Kindle e-readers and a new Kindle Touch with an illuminating display to rival with Barnes & Noble's launch of the Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight.

3. NBC Content

Amazon also did some recent updates to its Prime service. It added NBC content such as Friday Night Lights," "Parks and Recreations," "Parenthood," "Heroes," to the Amazon Prime library. Members can get access to the new content at no additional cost on Amazon's own Kindle Fire and other supported devices like Mac OS X computers, Windows PCs, Xbox, Playstation and iPad.

4. Scan-and-Match Digital Music Service

Amazon also made recent updates to its Cloud Player digital music app, which is already available on Apple devices, Windows based and Android based devices, and will compete with Apple's iTunes Match and Google Music.

Amazon announced a scan-and-match digital music service, which scans customers' iTunes and Windows Media Player libraries and then matches the songs on their computers to Amazon's song catalog, which includes 20 million tracks and counting.

5. Design and Cost

ZDNet reported that the Kindle Fire 2 will probably cost $199 and an ad-supported Kindle at a lower price, possibly less than $175.

The Kindle Fire 2 is expected to have a new processor, new display touchscreen technology and new build, as well as a new mobile operating system with Amazon's custom build that will not support Google's Play Store and other Google products and services.

Rival Apple will soon launch its iPad Mini reportedly in October. It will have a 7.85-inch display and 1024 x 768 resolution.

The new Kindle will have a 1280 x 800 resolution, different than the current 1024 x 600 display. This will make it sharper and more vibrant. It will be thinner and lighter than the original. This will place it in the category with Google's Nexus 7, which was a huge hit over the summer. [END]

Some think that the new Kindle Fire will not stand against the iPad Mini.

Against Apple, Don Reisinger, a writer for EWeek, said that the iPad Mini will hurt Amazon and other rival Google, which produced the Nexus 7.

"Kindle Fire and other smaller tablets look awfully boring in comparison," he wrote. "The Kindle Fire and Nexus 7 are great for right now, but the iPad Mini might just hurt them in a big way."

Do you think the Kindle Fire 2 has what it takes to dominate? Share your thoughts below! 

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