Now how much would you pay? The cost of new features

Now how much would you pay? The cost of new features

I’ve been suggesting for a while that Amazon is going to introduce at least one new RSK (Reflective Screen Kindle) and at least two new tablets. My guess is that this will happen before the end of the summer, and my intuition is now that it might be in June. However, if they waited for the holiday season for at least part of it, I could understand that.

One of things I’ve suggested is a version of the Kindle Fire with more features (and probably more expensive), as well as a larger screen version (perhaps both in entry level and more-featured versions).

So, I was thinking…

How much more would you be willing to pay for additional features (presuming you were going to get the new model)?

In the words of the quintain*, here come the polls! ;)

Now, I know I haven’t listed all of the possibilities. :) In the case of Skype, I know that might or might not mean dual cameras…go with your gut. :)

Feel free to make other suggestions…I didn’t include a physical volume button, for example, but I know some of you want that.

* Update: I forgot to include the definition of quintain, for those who don’t know it. It’s basically a jousting dummy, so there would be lots of poles (lances) coming at it…just a silly pun. :)

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

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21 Responses to “Now how much would you pay? The cost of new features”

  1. Lady Galaxy Says:

    If they update the Kindle Keyboard, I wish they’d bring back the number buttons. I don’t like the awkwardness of having to hold down a special key and they try to remember which letter represents which number.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Lady!

      They may update the Kindle Keyboard…although I do think we’ll probably see the built-in light on two versions (3G and not) on the Touch.

  2. Edward Boyhan Says:

    Based on the poll responses I saw, it doesn’t seem like there’s much demand for any of the features you mentioned — which reinforces my belief that there’s not much excitement in new kindles anymore.

    Interestingly, the two features that I would pay more for (larger screen +$100-150), and voice recognition (speech to text +$25-50), you didn’t even mention :D.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Edward!

      I suspect part of it is wanting to reinforce that the choice to buy a device with the current features was the right one. People always suggest you could wait for a more full-featured device, or buy something else. Before the Kindle Touch, many people were saying they wouldn’t want a touchscreen on a Kindle…who are properly happily using it now.

      I deliberately left off some things, to spark comments like yours. :) I think people are going to pay more for the larger screen, and I thought it might be interesting to see how much more…but I do think that will happen regardless and at the lowest price Amazon can do. I went largely for features where I think Amazon needs to decide whether to include it or not. I expect we’ll get TTS at no additional cost.

      Now, as to STT…that surprises me, that you would pay $50 (at the top end) on that. I do use it on my phone a lot, and tried (and stopped using) Dragon on my desktop. It would be an alternative to a physical keyoboard for me, but not a replacement. As to voice navigation, that would make a big difference for the print disabled…

  3. Common Sense Says:

    I think the Kindle Fire is pretty good the way it is. I don’t need phone features, I have a smartphone.

    I don’t need a camera, I have a mediocre one on my phone but I use a real DSLR. I saw a woman using her iPad to film her daughter’s ballet recital, she looked ridiculous holding up such a large device and it couldn’t have been comfortable.

    I think keyboard capability would be nice, not for using a keyboard but for using other USB tools like connecting an external drive for more storage.

    I wouldn’t be willing to pay for a data plan, it’s just not worth it. I can barely stand the speeds I get with my 4G phone. I don’t travel much so I’m happy with downloading a few things to use when I do. I don’t read on my Fire anyway, I prefer my K3. I’m also not a big movie/TV watcher.

    The only improvement I want to see is keeping magazine issues I paid for after I cancel a subscription and not having to specifically keep those issues. Because of that, I try to get most of my subscriptions through Zinio.

    Oh yeah, and add an SD card slot.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Common!

      Well, I think some people would prefer not to carry a Kindle Fire, a K3, a camera, and a SmartPhone…and it sounds like there might be situations where you have all four. There are folks who are willing to have lower quality to have them in a single item. We saw that happen with all-in-ones for printing/fax/copying. They typically didn’t do any of the three as good as the stand-alones…and of course, support people hated them. Why? if your fax went down, you lost your copier and your printer, too.:)

      I’m with you on Zinio…it’s nice to know I’ll always have those issues, stored by someone else, and I do go back to old magazine issues. When you “keep” a magazine issue on a Kindle, it’s just that one local copy. If you have to reset to factory defaults on a Fire, for example, I think you lose all those issues.

      I’m curious: you don’t read on the Fire, you don’t watch movies or TV much…what are your main uses?

  4. vrwl Says:

    All I’m really wanting is Bluetooth so I can wear earphones without the cords. They’re handy for watching web videos and listening to podcasts.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, vrwl!

      I can definitely see Bluetooth for Pandora, for TuneIn Radio, and for Old Time Radio shows. For me, the Fire screen is probably too small to watch so far away that my headphone cable doesn’t reach…but that might be different for you.

      • vrwl Says:

        It’s not so much of a distance issue as it is a tanglement issue. :) I tend to do a lot of blog reading at night in bed before I go to sleep and a lot of blogs have links to videos in them. It would be nice to just have the bluetooth earphones on the bedside table ready to go when I want to watch a video (and not wake my spouse) and not worry about getting tangled up with the cords in the dark. Plus, the whole process of finding the proper plug location in the dark is also a challenge. :)

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, vrwl!

        That makes sense! That’s a great example of different use cases. I don’t watch videos once I’ve gone to bed (I read and usually play a game of Dabble…which I always do with no sound), so that didn’t occur to me.

        I can always see the jack, but that’s likely to due to my superior night vision which is apparently connected to my color vision deficiency (I have some “color blindness”).

  5. skubitwo Says:

    Actually, I’m in the process of ranking features myself. I have the keyboard, 3G+WiFi, WSO, and have been debating on upgrading. I have been intrigued by the Galaxy Tab 2 7.0, which has many of the features in your poll, for about $50 more than the current Fire. I think that the most intriguing feature it has for me, though, is the micro SD slot for external memory. I know Amazon’s reasons for not including one of those, but that’s the feature that might tip me over from being totally immersed in Amazon with a Fire to going “in the doorway”. I’d keep my KKB – I luuuuuurrrrve it – and, it has the free 3G+Wifi, which neither the Tab or the Fire have….the browser, yes, is not so pleasant, but, if I’m really going to be working, I’ll be on my laptop with my non-android teaching software, etc, and I’ll browse on that. :)
    skubitwo

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, skubitwo!

      A Fire and something like the Galaxy Tab are pretty different…and neither is really an upgrade from a reflective screen Kindle (which doesn’t use the same operating system or screen technology).

      If you want to create things, the Galaxy is probably better. If you primarily want to consume things, the Fire makes it easy. I really like my Samsung SmartPhone, though, and the Galaxy is probably a good choice (although I haven’t tried it).

      No question, a big attraction for me with the Fire is that I’m inside the Amazon ecosystem. You can get some of that (including your Kindle books) on the Galaxy as well, of course. If the Fire wasn’t from Amazon, I’d lean more heavily towards the Galaxy…just being honest on that.

      You can get a wi-drive for the Fire, so you can have more memory, if you want. That does, though, drive the price of the Fire close to the Galaxy, without the GPS and two cameras.

      That’s one reason I do think Amazon will offer a tablet with those features in the fairly near future.

  6. Mike Kelly Says:

    I have Kindle Keyboard and Fire. This comment applies only to the Fire.
    Storage, storage, storage, and more storage. Internally and
    /or via SD Card. My biggest gripe is magazines. Most subscriptions on RSKs run from less than 1mb to 3mb daily. A few are larger, but at worst the Sunday NYTimes can run to 16mb via calibre if you get all the pictures etc.
    However, on the Fire, the newer “page plus text view” mags, and the ones only available through “apps” are HUGE by comparison. The New Yorker (the size king) runs on average 90-120 mb per week. Economist about 60. Others run 30, 60, 90mb, etc. Never checked the Zinio mag sizes, but I’m sure they are huge as well (I get Harpers, Three Penny Review, Mental Floss, et al. from them)
    It doesn’t take long for these mags to eat up all your memory. Have to archive back issues and redownload frequently, awkard at times. (Murphy’s Law # 5000, there’s never a wi-fi hotspot there when you most need it.)
    I have now come to use the Fire for most of my reading. (I use and have come to like the “night”/”white on black” as far easier on the eyes). I subscribe to lots of mags. I don’t think Amazon foresaw the need for more storage as so many publishers began opting for the newer (and storage intensive) formats.
    As to losing back issues when you unsubscribe, I heartily agree with the request to be able to keep those in the cloud. I did pay for them. But that doesn’t seem to be a hardware issue. I solve that problem by offloading all back issues into a separate calibre library before unsubscribing. Actually I do it regularly even with ongoing subscriptions. Have never had the need to reload onto Fire; hope it works if I need to!

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Mike!

      My sense is that magazines are a major attraction for people with the Fire, and you are right, the issue sizes are large.

      By the way, you can see the Zinio file sizes. Click on Edit (which is how you remove issues), and they list the sizes there. I read a pretty graphically intense magazine, and it’s 30 megs and up per issue.

      As to the files you backed up: they are likely to only work on the device for which you downloaded them initially. I would guess that if you have to replace the Fire, those files won’t work. You might want to test that by first trying one back on the original Fire, and then (if you have access), trying it on a different Fire.

      I’d be curious to hear how that works for you.

  7. Edward Boyhan Says:

    One feature I’ve been thinking about a lot has to do with collections, which are essentially “tags” in the metadata of media items on RSKs (there is no collections feature on the KF).

    Amazon stores your media items in 3 places on its web sites: the archive (for books bought from Amazon), Amazon Cloud Drive (where Amazon stores music — ACD can also be used to store pretty much anything else, but only the music seems easily accessible from kindles — with the Amazon Music Player), and the personal document service where a variety of document types can be emailed for conversion (optional) and storage somewhere in the AWS bit bucket.

    What you have in these 3 areas can be mostly looked at on various parts of Amazon’s manage my kindle web sites. In addition Amazon provides a “Your Media Library” where your Amazon media (books, video, music, games) can be managed — there is also a facility to add non-Amazon media items (including print books) to this library.

    Currently collections are created on an RSK (or copied from another RSK), and any “collectible” items on the RSK (mostly books) whose collection tags match any of the collections on the RSK will appear as if they are in that collection (placing a new book into a collection or collections is basically a process of adding the collection names to the book’s metadata).

    If you have multiple kindles on an account this can lead to a lot of messiness. A better approach would be to keep the collection names on the manage your kindle web pages, and let the user place things in collections on the web page. Then one could see things globally in terms of collection memberships from the web page, and when a book is downloaded to an RSK kindle, its collections could be carried along. If a new book were placed in a collection on a kindle, that information would be propagated up to Amazon’s manage your kindle web page for the account. This would also simplify adding collections to the KF. On the KF there could be an app that reads the collections info from the web page and displays it on the KF. This would also enable the KF app to present the global collections info in more flexible/useful ways than currently on RSKs. Even non-book, non Amazon stuff (even your print book titles) could be placed into collections. Doing this on the web page may be easier than current practice. It would also provide (through an app or web page), the possibility of seeing all your items no matter where they were stored (archive, ACD, PD, YML) based on their collections membership.

    I’m not sure I would pay for any of this ;-) (well maybe $5-10 for the KF collection viewing app), but it would sure be nice to have for those of us who have multiple devices on a single account :D .

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Edward!

      The problem with this idea (and several others) is that we don’t currently have device-specific archives.

      What you suggest would certainly aid one person with several devices on the account.

      What it doesn’t help is a situation Amazon has tried to encourage (based on ads): more than one person on the same account.

      Let’s say that two people are on the account, and they both have a Collection for “Read”. Obviously, they might have read different books. Since we currently have only one archive, it wouldn’t know which one to use when syncing the Collection.

      Oh, people could set up “Bufo’s Read” and “Edward’s Read” and make your idea work, but I think we may get device-specific archives. If we do, that would also solve the problem of a child on an account who the owners of the account think shouldn’t see books an adult has purchased on it.

      • Edward Boyhan Says:

        I wasn’t totally clear I guess. The list of collections on the account’s website is a master list: the union of all the collection names across all devices on the account. A device user would import that subset of the master list that applied to them (the device collection list could intersect in part with a different subset of collections on another device on the account). All collections across all devices must be registered on the web site. If a user creates a collection on a device, it would be added to the master list on the web site. Anytime an item is transferred to a device, the tags in the item’s metadata would be compared with the list of collections on the device, and if there is a match, it will appear in the collection, if there is no match, the item would be displayed on the device’s home page.

        True device specific collections would not give one the ability to manage items on an account-wide basis.

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, Edward!

        So, you are picturing something that identifies the origin of each Collection at

        http://www.amazon.com/manageyourkindle

        ?

        I’d see something like:

        Edward’s Kindle
        * Read
        * Unread
        * Classics

        Bufo’s Kindle
        * Read
        * Mysteries

        ?

        That could work. It would work particularly well if you could drag titles from one Collection to another, and Collections from one device to another (copying or moving).

        Device specific archives could do this, if the archive was specific on the Kindle, but the master list was available at Manage Your Kindle.

      • Edward Boyhan Says:

        From an Amazon account management/administration viewpoint (and for things like parental controls), it seems obvious that from the account web site one ought to be able to see what the actual contents on every device on the account (whether gotten from Amazon or elsewhere) is — broken down by the collections on each device. Also for items on the account, but not currently physically on any account device, we should be able to see those items from the web site along with any collections-oriented metadata that they may contain. As devices on accounts proliferate (whether with single or multiple users) we need some better way to manage the content across these devices. A device-centric approach falls short IMO. :d

        From my own parochial viewpoint on an RSK, when I finish reading a mass market title, I move it from “ToBeRead” to “AlreadyRead”, but if I’m reading it on multiple devices that info is not globally recorded. So “AlreadyRead” on one device might be different than “AlreadyRead” on another — there’s no easy way to check whether an item has been read on any device (or combination) at all. And on the KF if I read a mass market title what do I do when I finish? There’s no notion of collections there at all. For now I’m removing the item from the KF, pushing it to an RSK and putting it in the “AlreadyRead” collection on that RSK. It’s very inconvenient to do any mass market reading on the KF.

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, Edward!

        I do think we need device-centric in addition to global, with the latter a more restricted access.

        We see complaints in both directions now, dependent (I think) on use case.

        Some people complain that the devices are not separate enough…that their ten-year olds know they purchased fifty Shades of Gray, for example.

        Others complain that they are too separate with insufficient global oversight…that you can’t see and manage Collections on the MYK, for one thing.

        I do think the Your Collection on the Amazon site is under-utilized. Another avenue which I think Amazon is exploring is Shelfari. It’s possible that more information (including tagging) could be stored and centralized there…especially with an app for the Fire to handle that end of it.

  8. Future features #1 | I Love My Kindle Says:

    […] Now how much would you pay? The cost of new features […]

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