By Alexandra Burlacu | Sep 01, 2012 01:47 PM EDT
Amazon is joining forces with Nokia to offer mapping services in its new Kindle Fire lineup, according to an exclusive Reuters report citing "two people familiar with the situation." The partnership may surprise consumers, considering that the original Kindle Fire runs on a customized version of Google's Android, and many expected the tablet to run Google Maps. However, while Kindle Fire users can access Google Maps via the Web browser, it is not an integrated app.
Amazon is now looking to join forces with Nokia for a native mapping app. Nokia acquired Navteq in 2007 and has become one of the largest mapping companies, which makes it a powerful partner. Meanwhile, the Kindle Fire line will definitely be more exciting if it offers mapping capabilities as well.
In terms of competition, the new mapping deal comes at a crucial time for the retail giant. Amazon's original Kindle Fire, launched in 2011, was the first tablet to challenge Apple's market-leading iPad. On the other hand, the tablet market had few contenders at the time, but it has become quite crowded over the last year. More tablet alternatives have emerged since, upping the competition for both the iPad and the Kindle Fire.
Passing on Google Maps could be a decision by Amazon not to promote a competitor's brand on its own device. Google has recently launched its Nexus 7 tablet, which goes head to head with the Kindle Fire with comparable specifications in the same price range. Both tablets have 7-inch displays and run on Android, but the Nexus 7 is exclusively running the latest version of the software, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.
Still, Amazon is not the only one ditching Google's mapping service. Apple also announced recently that it would drop Google Maps and provide its own mapping service. Apple and Google have competing mobile operating systems, iOS and Android, respectively, and the launch of the Nexus 7 tablet also puts Google in direct competition with Apple's iPad.
According to Reuters, Amazon will add location services as well, though it remains unclear whether the retail giant will rely on a GPS chip or Wi-Fi triangulation. On the other hand, although the Kindle Fire does not have an integrated mapping app, this has not affected its success. On the contrary, Amazon has recently announced that its popular tablet is now "sold out."
Amazon is holding a press event next Thursday, Sept. 6, and is expected to unveil at least one new Kindle Fire tablet. Rumored specs include a camera, external volume controls, and a 1280 x 800 resolution, but nothing is official yet.
© 2013 Mobile & Apps All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.