According to Gigaom, Amazon is going to acquire the 3D mapping company UpNext to compete against Google’s new 3D mapping technology and to a lesser degree against Apple, which have also announced their own 3D maps at WWDC recently. From what I can see the in company’s demo their 3D maps don’t look nearly as good as Google’s and Apple’s 3D maps which are formed from images that they take with airplanes that fly over the buildings.
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It seems Amazon is really feeling the heat from Google. The Kindle Fire got quite a lot of buzz last year because of its low $200 price, and because it was the first tablet that looked like it could give serious competition to Apple, which of course many would’ve liked them to see that happen, including the Android community. In fact, I would say it was the Android community that gave them the most support and spread the word, which in turn got a lot of general tech sites and other media to keep writing stories about it.
Unfortunately for Amazon, the Kindle Fire wasn’t such a great product software-wise (laggy and limited), and most Android users who got it, wanted to put stock Android on it, anyway. Now that the Nexus 7 is out and it seems to be a much better device all-around, with much better and faster software, I can’t think of any reason why an Android user, or anyone else, really, would want a Kindle Fire anymore.
It just has so many disadvantages compared to stock Android, even if the hardware matches up in the next Kindle fire. It has 10x fewer apps, no access to any of Google’s apps, nor to sideloading apps, and it doesn’t seem to get any serious software updates over time, while Google updates Android in a big way every time, and for a longer period, especially since it’s a Nexus device. On the Nexus 7, you also get most of Amazon’s apps as well, such as the Kindle app, their music app, and even their app store (which you have to sideload, following Amazon’s instructions).
The Nexus 7 is a no-compromise tablet experience, both hardware and software wise, that you can get for only $200. You can’t beat that, and I doubt anything that Amazon launches with Kindle Fire 2 will change that.