Archive for September, 2011

Chain stores to get Kindle Fire, other new Kindles

September 30, 2011

Chain stores to get Kindle Fire, other new Kindles

One of my readers in a private e-mail alerted me to this:

Washington Post article

Not a big surprise, but I’ve seen people asking.

Brick-and-mortar chain stores will carry the new Kindle Fire tablet, and the other new Kindles as well.

I haven’t updated the

ILMK E-Books Timeline

yet, but this is what it is looking like so far:

Now: Best Buy is taking pre-orders for “all the new Kindles”, and they’l be in the stores for the holidays:

Best Buy Kindle pre-orders

October 6: price drop at Staples for the Kindle Keyboard (aka the Kindle 3)

October 8: Staples starts carrying the Mindle (my nickname for the $79 Kindle)

“By the holidays”: everything will be in the stores. I’d expect the stores not to have the before the release dates (the Fire not before November 15, for example). We may also see shortages…

I would also guess that other stores will get it, including airport stores. Both the Mindle and the Fire might be a good fit for Toys R Us this season…

All of this is USA only, as far as I know.

People also ask: I’d suggest you get it at Amazon. Their service is so good if you have to return something. It’s honestly not going to be harder to get a replacement from Amazon than to wait in a huge line at a brick-and-mortar store. You might get it a day or so faster at that store…but it’s going to be a lot more effort. Just my opinion on that, though.

This post by Bufo Calvin first appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog

Today’s Kindle Daily Deal: Breakfast of Champions by Vonnegut for $0.99

September 30, 2011

Today’s Kindle Daily Deal: Breakfast of Champions by Vonnegut for $0.99

Amazon does a Daily Deal…um…daily. :) I don’t want to do a post every day on them, and I’ve considered sort of tagging it on to other posts. You can see what it is each day here:

Kindle Daily Deal

I just keep that as a tab in my Google Chrome, so whenever I open it, I can check today’s.

This one, though, I thought was worth a specific call-out:

Breakfast of Champions

While not, I would guess, the Kurt Vonnegut book that is best-known or most assigned in school, it’s certainly got its own following. :)

This post by Bufo Calvin appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog

Personal documents are “in with the in cloud”

September 29, 2011

Personal documents are “in with the in cloud”

Well, I told you I saw this in the source code for the Manage Your Kindle page and I mentioned it was on the product page for the Kindle Keyboard (the Kindle formerly known as the K3).

I’ve been able to test it now…it works. :)

What is it?

It’s the ability to store personal documents in your Cloud Drive. Not just put them there, but Amazon will sync them between eligible devices, sync your annotations, and so on.

I haven’t seen an announcement yet…no press release…but after all, they’ve been busy the last day or two.

Is this a big deal?

I think it is.

I’ve already had personal documents in my Amazon Cloud drive, but this is different from just uploading them…thanks to the syncing above.

Not only that, but it appears to be an additional 5GB of Cloud Drive storage.

What happens is that, when you send a personal document to your Kindle using wi-fi, it’s automatically added to your Cloud Drive storage.

As I said, I’ve done it now. It shows up on that

http://www.amazon.com/manageyourkindle

page.

There’s also a

Help Page

There’s nothing much complicated to it, though.

The default setting is that this is active…you can turn it off at Manage Your Kindle, under Personal Document Settings.

It only works with the Mindle (that’s what I’m calling the new $79 Kindle), the Kindle Touch line (not shipped yet), and the Kindle Keyboard (the former K3s).

It doesn’t go to the reader apps.

I can imagine some really interesting uses for this.

For example, somebody could send a story out to other people on the account. The readers could add notes, and sync to the server. That way, the author gets all the notes…right from the Kindle.

It was interesting: I expected to see all kinds of warnings about not uploading copyrighted material if we didn’t own the rights, but I didn’t see anything. Since Amazon is allowing you to make copies, I’m not quite sure why we aren’t warned. Maybe it’s somewhere else…I think it’s in the main Cloud Drive agreement, but I’m guessing this isn’t covered by that. I’m sure Amazon’s thought that part through, though.

I’ll have to play around with this more. I deleted the document I sent to my K3…and it told me I was permanently deleting it. It’s still in my MYK page, but it hasn’t shown up in my Archived Items on that K3 yet. My guess is that it will, but I need to test that.

Still, another step forward into Stratos (five trivia points for that one…I think it’s easy. Remember, trivia points are void if you look up the answer. You have to just know it offhand. Also, trivia points aren’t worth anything…except a sense of geeky self-worth).

Update: I got this e-mail from Amazon when I sent the personal document:

“Dear Kindle Customer, 


As you have recently received personal document(s) on your Kindle, we would like to share information with you about new exciting features related to Kindle Personal Documents service. 

Your personal documents will be stored in your Kindle library. You can download your archived personal documents to your Kindle device(s) conveniently anywhere at any time. Your personal documents will remain in your Kindle library until you delete them. If you don’t want your documents to be stored in your Kindle library you can change your personal documents settings through Manage Your Kindle. 

You can also create notes, highlights and bookmarks on your personal documents and they will be automatically synced along with last page read across various Kindle devices using Amazon’s Whispersync technology. “

This post by Bufo Calvin appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog

Up for air…casual talk about the new Kindle line

September 29, 2011

Up for air…casual talk about the new Kindle line

Yesterday was a crazy day! It was an intense day at work, and we had a family situation that required attention.

Still, I’ve had time since then (hello, 4:30 in the morning!) to do some analysis and deeper digging on the new Amazon line. I just sent out a post that compares the different models.

I just wanted to take a few minutes before I head out to just talk about it a bit…without all the facts and figures. I haven’t had a chance to respond to all the comments, and I hope to do that later today…I always appreciate them, but this may help answer some questions in the mean time.

I was pretty happy that my predictions weren’t that far off…although I overestimated the prices (I’m happy to make that mistake any time). Some people were laughing at me, I think, for saying that Amazon would probably reassert their faith in the E Ink Kindle line, while introducing a backlit Kindle. My predictions aren’t always right (I thought publishers would embrace text-to-speech), and I usually present them more as scenarios…still I was in the ballpark.

What have I ordered?

I pre-ordered a Kindle Fire (with one day shipping). That’s the $199 tablet…and I do think it’s a “starter model”. I’m guessing I’ll buy the next model of Kindle tablet as well. Still, it sounds like fun, and I want to write about it for you.

I also decided today to get the Kindle Touch wi-fi only with Special Offers for $99 (again, with one-day shipping).  I really consider the Kindle Touch line the Kindle 4s. I’m intrigued by the “X-Ray” feature (which gives in-depth information about the topics in a book), and I can’t test that out without using it on books I’m actually reading. I want to write about that one, too. I haven’t had a wi-fi only device personally, and I haven’t had a Special Offers (my Significant Other does). My SO doesn’t connect to wireless that often on the Kindle, and we simply miss a lot of the special offers. If I have that, we can hopefully pay for the purchase of the Kindle Touch with savings. :)

Speaking of the money, I really wish the California Associates program had been restored by yesterday….a lot of people (including me) probably lost quite a bit of money by not being able to use those kinds of links. I still linked, of course, because I’m going to send you to Amazon to look at these devices (if you want) regardless. Still, the compensation would have been nice. :) There’s a prediction where I was wrong…I thought they might have restored the California Associates before the announcements.

They have posted the User’s Guides for some of the models, but not for the Fire yet. They are linking them on the product pages, which is nice. They also have videos for all of them, I think…you’ll see it called a “Quick Tour” at the top of the page.

I do have some questions…

Will the Kindle Fire have text-to-speech? I would hope so.

The product page for the Kindle Keyboard (the Kindle Formerly Known as the Kindle 3…with apologies to Prince) says:

“Your personal documents will be stored in your Kindle library on Amazon and ready to download conveniently anywhere at any time. You can add notes, highlights and bookmarks, which are automatically synchronized across devices along with the last page you read using our Whispersync technology.”

That would be new and a really big change. They never backed up our personal documents before. I wanted to see how that would work…how do they get to the Archives? Does it only happen when we e-mail a document to the device? i assume it’s not going to periodically survey my Kindle to see what’s on it! I checked the User’s Guide…it contradicts that, still saying:

“Amazon does not store copies of your personal documents, periodical issues older than the past seven issues, MP3, and Audible files, so make your own backup copies of those files”

I’m guessing they may have put that on the product page before it was really supposed to be there…I’ll be looking for more information on that.

Some of the new Kindles do not come with power adapters (what you plug into the wall): they can only be charged via USB…unless you buy another adapter. The obvious question for me: does the same Kindle adapter I already have for my K3 work on all these new devices?

When will they release a 3G version of the Fire, and how will data plans work?

When will the new devices be available in other countries?

We can already see a change in the Amazon electronics bestseller list…I think it will settle down to something like:

Fire

The Mindle*

Touch wi-fi ad-supported

Touch 3g ad-supported

Keyboard wi-fi ad-supported

Keyboard 3G ad-supported

Touch wi-fi non-ad-supported

Touch 3g non-ad-supported

Keyboard wi-fi non-ad-supported

Keyboard 3G non-ad-supported

DX (which I’m guessing they’ll retire soon)

I’m not quite sure if ad-supported or touchscreen will be more important to people…that might shuffle these.

Overall? Amazon blew it out of the water…they are now a more diversified hardware company. They kept the keyboard and ad-free options, and did both reflective and backlit.

Oh, and the Fire…not an iPad killer. :) There’s a lot of room in the market…

Feel free to let me know what you think. I’ll try to catch up on the comments later today. I’ll also try to get a post in about something else before tomorrow morning. :)

* Thanks to regular reader and commenter Tuxgirl for pointing out that I’d left the Mindle off this list. It’s actually a tough call for me. I can see it beating the Fire in unit sales…that would be a headline, huh? :) I see it really extending the market, especially with those near teens. People will probably think of the Touch line as the Kindle, and the Fire as the superstar…but in a less splashy way, I think we may see a lot of Mindles sold this year.

This post by Bufo Calvin appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog

Which Kindle should you get (Fall 2011)?

September 29, 2011

Which Kindle should you get (Fall 2011)?

Yesterday, September 28, Amazon introduced several new devices including a tablet with the Kindle name (the Kindle Fire).

That more than doubles the number of choices for people who want to read e-books on Amazon hardware.

While it’s important to note that many of these have not been in the hands of the public yet (so we don’t have user feedback), Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has told us to pre-order them…suggesting they some may sell-out during this holiday season.

Since that’s the case, I’m going to give you a profile of each of the Kindle-brand products available new (or for pre-order) from Amazon. Note: these are not all available outside the USA at this time.

All of the Kindles

All Kindles have some things in common. They all come with the what I call the “Kindle Service”. That’s the matrix of services and features Amazon gives all Kindle users…even those people who use free Kindle reading apps on non-Amazon hardware.

  • Amazon stores your Kindle store purchases for you, and you download them again, even to other devices on your account, for free
  • Amazon Allows you to “return” Kindle store books within seven days of purchase for a refund…something neither Barnes & Noble nor Sony allows at any time, last time I checked
  • Amazon has a huge selection of in-copyright titles (averaging about a thousand added a day in the USA), and compatibility with formats that give you access to millions of free public domain titles (including from other sources). There are about 40,000 free books available directly from the Kindle store.
  • You can borrow books from public libraries
  • You get Amazon’s highly-rated Customer Service, which gets great response from their customers, both for people and for policies. For example, you have a thirty-day return period for the Kindle hardware
  • You can get free samples of books
  • You can use Amazon’s free Cloud Reader to read your books in a web browser
  • Amazon backs up your notes and other annotations on Kindle store books*
  • You can use Whispersync to start reading a book on one device and continue it on another device from the same place
  • There is no limit to the number of devices that can be registered to your account (although publishers limit the number of devices for which a book can be licensed at the same time…that number is usually six)

Big Decision #1: Ad-supported or not

All of the Kindles, except the Kindle DX and the Kindle Fire, come in two “flavors”. You can get one (at a discount) that is ad-supported and comes with special offers, or you can get one without advertising.

The ads appear as the sleep mode pictures (“screensavers”) and as a small banner ad on the homescreen where you select the book you want to read…it takes the place of one title. Ads do not appear while you are reading a book. The advertisers presumably  pay Amazon, and Amazon reduces the purchase price of the device for their customers.

When the idea was initially announced, there was a lot of resistance…people didn’t want advertising with their book reading. However, the ad-supported Kindles have been more popular than their non-ad-supported equivalents. When I polled my readers who had bought an ad-supported Kindle

How do you feel about owning your KSO?

no one regretted the decision.

One reason for that is the special offers. Those are often related to books, but could be many different things. People like the special offers: some of my readers reported having saved more than the cost of the device.

Amazon is also adding AmazonLocal to the Kindles with Special Offers, which gives you local discount coupons.

If you don’t want advertising, that’s your choice. Choosing a device with ads/special offers saves you between thirty and fifty dollars, depending on the device.

Big decision #2: 3G or not 3G

There are two ways a Kindle device connects wireleassly to the internet: wi-fi and/or 3G. In the Kindle Touch and Kindle Keyboard lines, you can choose a device that has just wi-fi (for less money) or one that has both wi-fi and 3G.

Adding 3G access makes the device more expensive initially, although there is no monthly charge for using 3G, or for using it to go to websites. 3G is easier to connect: wi-fi often requires a password, and isn’t available in as many places. Connecting with 3G is like using a cellphone…wi-fi is a short range form of wireless. Many people have wi-fi in their homes (they may use it with laptops, SmartPhones, printers, Tivos, Rokus, and so on). Some businesses also offer free wi-fi (like many Starbucks, McDonalds, some restaurants, and so on). You can find free wi-fi hotspots using

http://www.openwifispots.com

Essentially, when you have a choice between wi-fi or wi-fi and 3G, you pay fifty dollars more (currently)initially to have both options, but you are able to connect in more places more easily.

The Kindle ($79 with Special Offers/$109 without)

Kindle

I’m nicknaming this one the “Mindle” (for mini- or minimum- Kindle).

This is the entry-level Kindle for people who want to read e-books. It doesn’t play music or audiobooks (or have text-to-speech). It doesn’t have a keyboard or a touchscreen…if you need to enter a word, you do it with a hunt-and-peck method like you do on your Tivo (thanks to Andrys Basten of A Kindle World for pointing this out). That means “over-over-over-up-up-click, over-over-down-click”, and so on to select letters. You don’t have to type too often on a Kindle, but you use it for search and shopping.

It’s the smallest Kindle (it doesn’t need room for speakers, for one thing). You have access to the Kindle store, including the games which don’t play on the oldest Kindles. It’s grayscale  (not color) like all of the Kindles except the Kindle Fire.

It does have the same web browser as the Kindle 3s, the ability to increase the text size (with the same options as the Kindle 3), and will display your personal documents in a way similar to the Kindle 3s.

This is going to be a good choice for an entry-level device. For people who pretty much just want to read, the same E-Ink screen as the Kindle 3s makes this attractive. It doesn’t have as much on-board memory as the other Kindles, but that’s not a huge factor for many, since Amazon stores your books for you anyway.

It is only available in a wi-fi only configuration. That makes it a bit harder to use for non-techies: they may need help getting it on a home wi-fi network, and it may not be able to download books in a park or at the beach.

I think this is going to be very popular. People who have been saving for a Kindle can go for it. I also think a lot of kids in the 8-11 year old age group will get them. Those kids don’t need color in the way a six-year old might, and more limited web access may even be more attractive to the legal guardians. As a gift for a kid whose a reader (or who you want to encourage to read), this is a good choice.

The Kindle Touch ($99 ad-supported wi-fi only; $139 non-ad-supported wi-fi only; $149 ad-supported 3G and wi-fi; $189 non-ad-supported 3G and wi-fi)

Kinde Touch

Kindle Touch 3G

This is really the new standard Kindle (Amazon calls it the “top-of-the-line e-reader”). It’s the first Kindle with a touchscreen. That appears to add some weight, and may contribute to the lower user-available memory compared to the K3 (3,000 books estimated as opposed to 3,500 with the same size drive).

If you want a full-function, new generation Kindle, this is the line. I use the text-to-speech for hours a week in the car (I’m unusual in that, I think), and that would eliminate the Mindle for me. If you want music and audiobooks (and audiobooks are available from many public libraries), you start here.

If somebody just wants a Kindle, this is the one. It also adds a new feature called “X-Ray”.  It’s supposed to intelligently add information about key phrases in a book. This may be essential for students, say, in high school and college. It’s a little hard to tell until we see it work, but this is really an innovative feature.

I would say for somebody who likes being up-to-date but wants something where they can comfortable read for hours, the Touch is your choice.

The Kindle Keyboard ($99 ad-supported wi-fi only; $139 non-ad-supported wi-fi only; $139 ad-supported 3G and wi-fi; $189 non-ad-supported 3G and wi-fi)

Kindle Keyboard

Kindle Keyboard 3G

This is the rebranded Kindle 3 (the product page tells me I have previously purchased it, confirming that Amazon considers it the same device). The pricing is interesting here, with it basically the same as the Kindle Touch, except that the non-ad-supported wi-fi only model is ten dollars more for a touchscreen. My guess is that may change in the future.

For people who prefer a physical keyboard, this is going to be the choice. That may be more comfortable for people who are less techie. However, this doesn’t have the X-Ray feature that the Touch line has.

I think many people are going to pay $10 more to get the touchscreen (people who use SmartPhones or an iPad are used to those). It looks to me like the K3 covers won’t fit the Touch line (which I really consider the K4…the Mindle and the Fire seem like different lines to me).

I’ll keep my eye on the rankings, but my guess is these take a backseat to the Touch line at the current price points.

Kindle DX ($379, 3G only)

Kindle DX

I was surprised Amazon didn’t retire this one with the reformulation of the line. It’s much more expensive, and doesn’t have the latest software. The plus for it is the size: the screen, at 9.7″, is much bigger. It’s already the least popular Kindle, and has dropped to number 28 in the Electronics bestselling rankings at Amazon. I don’t know how long it can stick around, especially at this price. You could get a Kindle Fire, a Touch, and a Mindle for the same amount of money.

The Kindle Fire ($199, wi-fi only)

Kindle Fire

Since Amazon is calling this a Kindle, I’m going to call it that…but it’s really a very different device from the others.

This is a media delivery system, in my opinion. It’s not just (or primarily) for readers: it’s got movies, TV shows, apps, games, music, the web…and e-books. It’s a backlit device: that means a much shorter battery charge life (measured in hours rather than weeks).

It’s all your entertainment in one place.

It’s not a work device…it’s not designed for you to do your spreadsheet for the quarterly sales, for example.

The fact that it is wi-fi only is going to be a negative.

They don’t list text-to-speech on the product page…hopefully, that will be included.

I’ve ordered one, and I think I’ll enjoy it…but I’ll mostly read on my reflective screen Kindle 3, I think.

I would also expect that Amazon will release another version, with 3G, a camera, and so on within the next year. That one will cost more money, and do more (I’m speculating here), and that one may really fit some of my needs more. This one is for fun…a later version may be more for work.

People are going to compare this to the iPad, but the iPad has more capabilities, and does serve many people as a professional tool…and costs a lot more. At $199, the Kindle Fire is going to be a great choice for fun, easy web access (it even has a brand-new browser Amazon has invented).

I would say, however, you are an early adopter with this one. That doesn’t mean I expect a lot of problems, just that people who get a later one will have more.

No question, though, this is going to be a hot gift this holiday season…I would guess it will sell out. Then, when the next one is released, many people who already bought this one will buy that one…and this will become a (very welcome) hand-me-down.

Comparison table:

Kindle Touch Touch 3g Keyboard Keyboard 3g KDX
Price* 79/109 99/139 149/189 99/139 139/189 379
Release 9/28/11 11/21/11 11/21/11 8/25/10 8/25/10 5/6/09
Screen 6 6 6 6 6 9.7
Height 6.5 6.8 6.8 7.5 7.5 10.4
Width 4.5 4.7 4.7 4.8 4.8 7.2
Depth 0.34 0.4 0.4 0.34 0.34 0.38
Weight 5.98 7.5 7.8 8.5 8.7 18.9
Books 1400 3000 3000 3500 3500 3500
Storage 2gb 4gb 4gb 4gb 4gb 4gb
Available 1.25gb 3gb 3gb 3gb 3gb 3.3gb
Battery 1m 2m 2m 2m 2m 3w
To charge 3h 4h 4h 4.5h 4.5m 4.5h
Adaptor No No No Yes Yes Yes
Wi-Fi Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
3G No No Yes No Yes Yes
Interface 5-way Touch Touch Keys Keys Keys
X-ray No Yes Yes No No No
TTS No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
MP3s No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

I may revise this post later, but this should give you a pretty good feel for which one would be the right one for you (or for a gift).

If you have any comments, please feel free to let me know.

This post by Bufo Calvin appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog

3 new Kindles and a tablet

September 28, 2011

3 new Kindles and a tablet

Well, I have to say, I was pretty close in my predictions. :)

I still have to go through these thoroughly, but here are the new devices announced by Amazon today:

Kindle ($79) (without special offers: $109)

Amazon has done their normal thing of calling the latest 6″ Kindle just the Kindle. This one does not have a touchscreen, has less memory than the Kindle 3…it’s entry level. It doesn’t appear to have audio capability, but I need to check that more later.

Kinde Touch ($99) (without special offers: $139) (wi-fi)

Kindle Touch 3G ($149) (without special offers: $189) (wi-fi &3G)

Kindle Fire ($199)

This is the tablet…movies, Angry Birds, and more. I’ve ordered mine…it’s being released November 15…I did one day shipping, so I should have it November 16.

Oh, and your Kindle 3? It’s now called the “Kindle Keyboard”. :)

Update:

I’ve prepared a table with some comparisons. I dont have the Kindle Fire on this…but I’ll add data about that.

Kindle Touch Touch 3g Keyboard Keyboard 3g KDX
Price* 79/109 99/139 149/189 99/139 139/189 379
Release 9/28/11 11/21/11 11/21/11 8/25/10 8/25/10 5/6/09
Screen 6 6 6 6 6 9.7
Height 6.5 6.8 6.8 7.5 7.5 10.4
Width 4.5 4.7 4.7 4.8 4.8 7.2
Depth 0.34 0.4 0.4 0.34 0.34 0.38
Weight 5.98 7.5 7.8 8.5 8.7 18.9
Books 1400 3000 3000 3500 3500 3500
Storage 2gb 4gb 4gb 4gb 4gb 4gb
Available 1.25gb 3gb 3gb 3gb 3gb 3.3gb
Battery 1m 2m 2m 2m 2m 3w
To charge 3h 4h 4h 4.5h 4.5m 4.5h
Adaptor No No No Yes Yes Yes
Wi-Fi Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
3G No No Yes No Yes Yes
Interface 5-way Touch Touch Keys Keys Keys
X-ray No Yes Yes No No No
TTS No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
MP3s No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

Update: the above table was updated when we had inadvertently indicated that the Kindle Keyboard line had the new X-Ray feature. Thanks to the readers who pointed that out…I had copied the answer too far over.

This post by Bufo Calvin appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog

Liveblogging the live blogs :)

September 28, 2011

Liveblogging the live blogs :)

I have to hit the road in fifteen minutes, but I’ll break what news  I can with you first about Amazon’s big announcement(s).

I’m mainly following Len Edgerly and Steve Windwalker at

http://bit.ly/LEN-LIVE-FROM-NY-ON-KTAB

The3 just posted a picture of what appears to be the AmTab from Engadget.

It shows options for

  • Newsstand
  • Books
  • Music
  • Videos
  • Docs
  • Apps
  • Web

It claims a $199 price, but that’s not official yet.

I’ll update this before I leave…

Update: Engadget

http://www.engadget.com/2011/09/28/live-from-amazons-tablet-event-in-nyc/

is also announcing a $79 reflective screen Kindle.

Jeff Bezos is onstage.

Sounds like he is pushing books first…that’s good.

I’m bouncing back and forth between a few things: Amazon press release page (they may update that before the presentation ends); Engadget; the front page of Amazon; Len and Steve. Just have minutes left before I have to go…

The Kindle Touch has been introduced…hm, if it’s really $79, maybe I should get it so I can test it out for you. If they restore the Associates, I can totally justify the cost. :)

Now there’s a picture of the Kindle Touch on Engadget…looks like it is almost all screen…that’s nice looking. Like a portal into a book, rather than a computer.

Gotta run…I’ll update this as soon as I can.

This post by Bufo Calvin appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog

Len Edgerly will liveblog the Amazon Announcement tomorrow

September 28, 2011

Len Edgerly will liveblog the Amazon Announcement tomorrow

Gee, did you hear that Amazon is having a press event tomorrow? ;)

10:00 AM EDT in New York (7:00 AM where I am), Amazon is announcing something.

My guess is that it may be several things.

  • A Kindle backlit tablet (which might be called the Amazon Kindle Fire, but we’ll see). I would guess they’ll announce a low-priced one (on the order of $200…maybe $189, to take the price point of the currently most expensive Kindle that isn’t the DX) and maybe another one with free Prime for maybe $239 (to underprice the NOOKColor by $10…they like that)
  • Two new reflective Kindles, one an entry level ($129?) which is stripped down (I don’t know if they can do that with a touchscreen, but maybe), and one that is touchscreen and more expensive…maybe even a larger screen (time to bench the DX)
  • Prime E-Book Lending, so Amazon Prime members can read very select e-books for free (again, I think that would be included with the tablet…maybe with a more expensive flavor, as I indicated above)
  • Price drops on existing Kindles (including the K3 wi-fi only ad-supported going under $100)
  • Maybe a separate announcement of the reinstatement of the California Associates (in time for us to get in on pre-orders)
  • A suggestion of more tablets to come in the future

I do not think they’ll drop either reflective screen devices or non-ad-supported models…which might make more than one model of the Kindles above.

Whew!

There’s still a possibility that the AmTab (I don’t want to call it the Fire yet) will be able to switch between backlit and reflective, but I’d be surprised. One analyst suggested that the AmTab would have screens provided both by E Ink and by LG Display (LGD for short). LGD has shown both reflective and backlit, including color reflective, and for that matter, flexible reflective screens. I think we’ll get a flexible screen eventually…pretty unbreakable that way (although not completely), and you could take a newspaper size display and roll it up and tuck it under your arm, or maybe even fold it up. That’s off in the future, though, in my opinion.

We will find out for sure tomorrow…at this point, it better be big! :)

Actually, I may not find out when it is first announced…depending on how quick they are. I need to be on the road around that time…I’ll be able to pay attention for about fifteen minutes, I’d say.

For you, there is good news!

Len Edgerly, of The Kindle Chronicles podcast (I’ve been on the show) is going to Liveblog the event, in conjunction with Steven Windwalker.

I read about it from Andrys Basten of A Kindle World.

Those are three powerful Kindle bloggers, and I’ve written about them before.

Len is already blogging the event here:

http://bit.ly/LEN-LIVE-FROM-NY-ON-KTAB

You can normally found Len here:

http://www.thekindlechronicles.com/

You can read Steve here:

http://kindlenationdaily.com/

You can read Andrys here:

http://kindleworld.blogspot.com/

What am I expecting to do tomorrow?

Buy the Amazon tablet as soon as I can and have it shipped in an expedited fashion.

Interestingly, I don’t think I’d buy one of the reflective screen Kindles right away. I’m happy with my Kindle 3…and I can’t think of anybody right off in my family who needs my used one. I could get the latest model and donate my K3, of course, but I’m not a person who needs the next thing right away.

Except for the tablet. :)

I don’t have a tablet, but I’m a good candidate for one.

By the way, I can see some other things that might be announced. One might be personal documents being archived for us. Since we can upload personal documents to the Cloud Drive, this doesn’t seem like a higher bar for copyright issues. That would let them back up our personal notes and enable Whispersync for personal docs. There could clearly be more integration with Shelfari (which Amazon owns) to up the social networking factor. I have to say, I’ve written to Shelfari Help twice now with no response…that doesn’t encourage me. Hopefully, Amazon would take that over and we’d get the great Customer Service we get with the Kindle.

I expect the AmTab to do videos, music, games, apps, and e-books. I don’t think it needs a camera and that sort of thing…not this first one. I see it as a media delivery system…with the internet, of course, so you can do e-mail. They can do a more expensive one next year that lets you do your business stuff (spreadsheets, presentations), edit movies,videoconferencing,  that kind of thing.

I’m just guessing, though…this is going to be a long twelve hours… ;)

Feel free to speculate and let me know.

This post by Bufo Calvin appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog

Freebie flash! Love, Life, Vook Classics, and more

September 27, 2011

Freebie flash! Love, Life, Vook Classics, and more

As usual, I don’t vouch for these books, and none of them block text-to-speech access. As promotional titles, they may not be free for long. Note: these books are free in the USA: prices in other countries may vary.

Love Wins Companion: A Study Guide for Those Who Want to Go Deeper
by Rob Bell
published by HarperCollins
size: unvailable, but print length is 224 pages
categories: religion & spirituality; Christian living

Pre-order for November 15, 2011

Age Smart: Discovering the Fountain of Youth at Midlife and Beyond
by Jeffrey Rosensweig (Author), Betty Liu (Author)
published by FT Press
size: 488kb
categories: nonfiction; health, mind, & body

The Other Side of Wall Street: In Business It Pays to Be an Animal, In Life It Pays to Be Yourself
by Todd Harrison
published by FT Press
size: 320kb
categories: business & investing; memoirs; contemporary fiction

Yep, it’s listed in all those categories…I don’t know, if your memoirs are fiction, you better be a TV character. ;)

Evolution: A View from the 21st Century (FT Press Science)
by James A. Shapiro
published by FT Press
size: 2009kb
categories: professional science; biology

Picturesque California: Vook Classics
by John Muir
published by Vook
size: 1166kb
categories: nonfiction, travel

I think this is the first time I’ve seen “Vook Classics” in the freebies. This book would be in the public domain in the USA. Publishers who use Kindle Direct Publishing are required to add material to their books, and I don’t think they can add a book which is offered free in the Kindle store. However, Vook probably doesn’t go through that channel, and may not be subject to the same restrictions. I did take a look at the preview of the book: it did include an illustration.

My First Summer in the Sierra by John Muir: Vook Classics
by John Muir
published by Vook
size: 1197kb
categories: nonfiction; travel

Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens: Vook Classics
by Charles Dickens
published by Vook
size: 1794kb
categories: fiction; horror

Yes, they have this listed as horror: it’s not how I would classify it, but I suppose I can see why someone else might…

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott: Vook Classics
by Louisa May Alcott
published by Vook
size: 1647kb
categories: fiction classics

Peter Pan (Peter and Wendy) by J.M. Barrie: Vook Classics
by J.M. Barrie
published by Vook
size: 882kb
categories: fiction classics

Classic Sherlock Holmes Mysteries: Vook Classics
by Arthur Conan Doyle
published by Vook
size: 813kb
categories: fiction classics

This contains the first six stories published in the book The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes:

  • A Scandal in Bohemia
  • The Adventure of the Red-Headed League
  • A Case of Identity
  • The Boscombe Valley Mystery
  • The Five Orange Pips
  • The Man with the Twisted Lip

Even More Classic Sherlock Holmes Mysteries by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: Vook Classics
by Arthur Conan Doyle
published by Vook
size: 847kb
categories: mysteries & thrillers

This one has the other six:

  • The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle
  •  The Adventure of the Speckled Band
  •  The Adventure of the Engineer’s Thumb
  •  The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor
  •  The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet
  •  The Adventure of the Copper Beeches

Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne: Vook Classics
by Jules Verne
published by Vook
size: 1285kb
categories: fiction classics

The Poems of Walt Whitman: Vook Classics
by Walt Whitman
published by Vook
size: 863kb
categories: poetry

Even More Poems by Walt Whitman: Vook Classics
by Walt Whitman
published by Vook
size: 869kb
categories: poetry

Paradise Lost by John Milton: Vook Classics
by John Milton
published by Vook
size: 1836kb
categories: fiction classics

On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin: Vook Classics
by Charles Darwin
published by Vook
size: 1442kb
categories: nonfiction; science

This post by Bufo Calvin appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog

Is it just me, or does a color picture of Charles Darwin seem like a weird idea?

Straight from the source (code)

September 27, 2011

Straight from the source (code)

This post reveals something that may be announced by Amazon on Wednesday. If you’d rather not know ahead of time, I’ll see you at the next post. :)

SPOILER ALERT

Every once in a while, you see something and say, “I wish I’d thought of that!”

In this case, nick541 on mobileread (an important source of information on EBRs…E-Book Readers, among other things) did something on the Amazon website I never thought to do. It was posted here:

http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=150994

What nick541 did was go to

http://www.amazon.com/manageyourkindle

I’ve been there lots of times, and sent you there, too.

The next step, though, was different.

nick541 looked at the source code for the site.  That’s right…”source code” isn’t just a Jake Gyllenhaal movie. ;)

It’s not a tricky thing to do…there’s not reverse engineering or anything tricky. In Google Chrome, you click the wrench, choose Tools, and choose View Source. In Internet Explorer 9, you click the gear, then go to Developer Tools, then you’ll View Source.

I went specifically to the Manage Your Devices section, then checked the source. Based on a cue from Nick541 (I want to make sure I am giving enough credit), I searched for the word Prime.

I found this:

PRIME_EBOOKS_COMPATIBLE

That was one part of a line of code.

What are Prime e-books?

Nothing…yet. :) At least, not for us.

However, you know about Prime, a service that normally costs you $79 a year? It often gets you free shipping, and cheaper expedited shipping. Prime subscribers also get free streaming video…Amazon just struck a deal with Fox, which will add The X-Files, Buffy, and a whole lot more to the library “later this fall”.

Here’s another interesting piece of the source code:

itemData.lendingType; // should be Prime or Library right now

There you go…there is evidence that Prime is going to include lending e-books. I’m guess those won’t be from Agency Model publishers, but it could be. I don’t know how it will work…maybe you can borrow a book for a week? Which books? We may find out Wednesday, when Amazon seems likely to announce a tablet. The new rumor is that the AmTab will be called the Kindle Fire. At first brush, I don’t like the name…Kindle managed to avoid sounding like they were burning paperbooks by making a big deal about “kindling imagination” or “kindling passions”. “Fire” just puts that right out there. Hnmm…maybe it isn’t the Kindle 4, but the Kindle 451. ;)

Also, where do you go from there? Is the next one the Kindle Conflagration? :)

I think of an Amazon backlit tablet as another line of hardware, rather than as  Kindle, but that’s up to them. Do I think there will be another generation of the reflective screen Kindles? Yep, and I think Amazon would make a point about that at the same time the introduce a backlit device…maybe even announce the next gen reflective at the same time.

I won’t pretend to have read all the code yet…there may be more interesting things, but I feel a bit like I’m x-raying the packages before my birthday. ;) I like surprises, but I knew that this was out there already. Oh, I want to credit Yahoo News for sending me the heads-up on this

Electronista article

There, I think I’ve thanked enough people…they are starting to play the music to get me off stage. ;)

I’m getting more excited for Wednesday (and how often do you say that?)! I feel like I should be in a Kindle costume waiting outside a movie theatre for three days…

This post by Bufo Calvin appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog


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