Amazon is joining forces with Nokia for mapping services in its new line of Kindle Fire tablets.
This may sound a bit strange, since the original Kindle Fire runs an altered version of the Google Android operating system. So naturally, many would expect the Fire to run Google Maps. Fire users are able to access Google Maps via the Web browser, but it was not an integrated app.
Instead, Amazon is looking to team up with Nokia for a native mapping app. Nokia is an ideal choice for a partner, considering it acquired Navteq in 2007 and has become one of the largest mapping companies.
Offering mapping capabilities will surely benefit the Kindle Fire line, allowing it to offer enhanced street maps, local business information, etc.
The new mapping venture comes at a crucial time for Amazon in terms of competition. Its first Kindle Fire, released in November 2011, was the first tablet to give Apple’s iPad a run for its money. Ever since, more credible tablet alternatives have been introduced, upping the competition not only for the iPad, but for the Fire as well.
The original Fire is a 7-inch tablet with 8 GB of internal storage, Wi-Fi connectivity and the Android operating system — all for $199. But tablets like Google’s Nexus 7, which is also a 7-inch device for $199 but more features like added storage and a camera, are putting pressure on Amazon to release a new Kindle Fire with more punch.
Amazon is expected to announce one of the new versions of its Kindle Fire next Thursday. New rumored specs are a camera, external volume controls and 1280×800 resolution.
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