Round up #64: Firestorm #3

Round up #64: Firestorm #3

Reports blame iPad 3 for cut in Kindle Fire orders…

…but they’re wrong. 🙂

One of the fairly reliable sources we have is


It’s an Asian news source, plugged into the supply side of electronics.

They’ve recently reported that orders from Amazon for the Kindle Fire for the first quarter of 2012 are half of what they were in the last quarter of 2011 (going down to about three million):

Digitimes article

Several news sources headlined this story as the cuts being made in front of the rumored iPad 3 launch from Apple.

Chronologically correct, but it would have been a big shock if Amazon didn’t sell twice as many Fires during the holiday season as they did the quarter following.

This doesn’t at all suggest that sales were disappointing, and it’s important to note that the report doesn’t say that Amazon canceled orders…just that they placed fewer orders.

Unfortunately, if it’s unrelated to an iPad 3, it’s also unrelated to a Kindle Fire 2 (whatever it might be called…I like the “Phoenix”, personally). I’m looking forward to the next models (I think there may be at least two in the fairly near future…larger screen option and/or more features ((including cameras for video chat and GPS…and I do think they would be more money).

The Kindle Fire is now part of my life

Honestly, it took much longer for me to embrace the Kindle Fire than it did for me to integrate my Kindle 1 into my life.

In part, I think that’s because there was no question that reading was going to be part of my daily life. The Kindle simply stepped into an existing activity, and  did it better than the technology I had at the time (paperbooks).

The Fire, on the other hand, is having me do new things, or old things in new ways, at new times, and in new places. Not surprisingly, that’s more of an adjustment.

I’ve written before about a “Day in the Life of a Kindleer”.

I thought I’d give you a similar idea about how I use the Kindle Fire.

In the morning, I’m checking my blogs and newsfeeds using the Pulse app. I keep up with Kindle Nation Daily, A Kindle World, iReaderReview and more, all on one page.

I also check my consolidated e-mail using the e-mail app. It’s easier than on a netbook! Writing e-mails would be harder, though, but this lets me deal with the accounts I don’t use very often. It’s mostly just getting rid of things I don’t want.

In the car on the way to work, I’m listening to a free audiobook I downloaded. How I wish this was text-to-speech! Not only would I rather be listening to something I’m currently sight-reading, but unlike most people, I greatly prefer the streaming text-to-speech to the recording of an audiobook. I’m a former actor, and I find it distracting questioning the actor’s choices. On the other hand, I have far greater respect for Lou Diamond Phillips after listening to him read Dead or Alive by Tom Clancy (and Grant Blackwood). It’s very difficult to play tens of characters over the course of many hours. I was impressed with him being able to do different voices with Arabic accents, and Russian accents. He did reasonably well with female characters, not making them into cartoons or trying too hard. I was amused that the accent with which he seemed to have the most difficulty was…British. Many Americans find that relatively easy. Still, it’s better than talk radio. 🙂 I’m still holding out hope for text-to-speech on the Fire this year.

At work, I may use it for documents I’ve put on there…I teach, so I may have curricula on it, for example. However, I also spend a lot of time in clinics walking around helping people. I use the Kindle Fire there to take notes about who I helped with what. I do it in ColorNote Notepad Notes.

At lunch, I’m reading. It might be a book, but it might also be a magazine. My Significant Other (SO) got me Fortean Times for our anniversary. That’s not available in the Kindle store, so we got it from Unfortunately, the Zinio reader is not currently approved for the Kindle Fire (or at least, it ‘s not in the Amazon Appstore for the Fire…Zinio says it has been approved). So, for the first time, I did install a third-party app on  my Fire.

I must say, that was a snap! I really like that Amazon sets it up in such a way that you can stay with the apps that they’ve tested (by getting them from the Amazon appstore), or install apps from “unknown sources’. They do warn you, properly in my opinion, that you are responsible for whatever those outside apps might do to the Fire.

To install that outside app, you just have to do

Settings Gear – More – Device, Allow Installation of Apps from Unknown Sources

I did that, followed Zinio’s instructions to install it, then turned that setting back off. I was curious if that would prevent it from working, but it didn’t. Turn the setting on, install an app, and you can turn it back off.

The Zinio app works pretty well, by the way. It remembers where I was in the magazine (the Kindle store magazines haven’t been doing that). I do end up doing “pan and scan” (sliding around the screen like a camera panning, since not enough words fit on the screen at once), because I have to increase the size of the text to read it comfortably. I can get about a column in there at a time comfortably, not the full page. Still, that’s easy enough.

I also have a subscription for National Geographic Magazine, which looks great. I read it in the “text mode”, rather than having it simulate the print edition. It still has those famous pictures that way. For $1.99 a month, I think it’s a great deal…the same as many blogs in the Kindle store, by the way.

The other magazine I’ve read regularly on it has been Entertainment Weekly: I get a Fire edition free with my print subscription.

I had tried the Wired app…since I couldn’t increase the text size, it didn’t work for me, unfortunately.

When I’m home at night or on the weekend, I may use the Fire for video. For example, the other day, I had one of the political debates going on my Fire while I was working on a netbook. The YouTube recording looked just fine. I use this case

Elsse (TM) Premium Folio Case for Kindle Fire Cover – Black (Extreme Value Buy)

and it holds it at a good angle for viewing. Why wasn’t I watching it on the TV? I had forgotten to record it, and I couldn’t find it on demand. Watching it on YouTube on my Fire worked very well for me.

Those are my main uses for the Fire. My Significant Other uses it many nights to play apps, I think mostly

Those are our typical uses…it’s enough to make it so a day would seem abnormal without the Fire in it.

How do you use your Kindle Fire poll results?

But enough about me. 😉

Not too long ago, I polled my readers about how often they use the various features of the Kindle Fire.

I don’t cut off the polls so the results are never final, but what I have so far is interesting!

Here are the features in order of most ranked as being used regularly:

  1. Apps 66.01%
  2. The Web 61.81%
  3. Books 47.33%
  4. Video 19.68%
  5. The Newsstand 16.84%
  6. Music 8.08%
  7. Docs 6.07%

Here are the rankings for the least used features, based on the percentage of respondents choosing “Never”:

  1. Docs 49.39%
  2. The Newsstand 42.46%
  3. Music 34.62%
  4. Video 14.46%
  5. Books 5.32%
  6. Apps 2.77%
  7. Web 1.97%

So, almost everybody uses the web on a Fire, although people use apps more regularly. Even the least used feature (Docs) is used by more than half the people.

For more details, see the post I linked. Thanks to everyone who took the poll(s)!

RBC Capital analyst: Kindle Fire more profitable than expected

According to this

Forbes Article

and many other sources, Russ Sandler, an analyst for RBC Capital, has come up with some figures for how a Kindle Fire profits Amazon.

There was a lot of reporting that they cost more to make than Amazon gets when they sell one. The idea was that they’d make it up on sales of content.

Well, the article certainly seems to indicate that is the case. I haven’t seen the full analysis (it may not be available for free), but the Forbes article has some interesting figures on purchases related to the Fire. Just to give you one, he Sandler estimates (based on surveys) that people buy five e-books a quarter. At about $10 ASP (Average Sales Price) (their estimate, not mine), that would be about $15 in revenue for books under the Agency model (Amazon gets 30% of the revenue under that system).

The Forbes article doesn’t mention the sale of Kindle Fire accessories, like covers, and it doesn’t mention new Prime converts. It will take a while before we see the impact of that, but I think that Amazon thinks that’s the real money maker with the Fire…enticing people to become Prime members by letting them borrow books and watch free streaming videos. Prime is to get you to buy physical goods with the free shipping, which is where the profit really is in e-tailing, I think. As I like to say, “it’s about diapers and windshield wipers.”

Feel free to comment on any of these stories. I’m particularly interested in other ways you might use your Fire.

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

14 Responses to “Round up #64: Firestorm #3”

  1. Man in the Middle Says:

    I don’t have a Fire, but do have Amazon Prime, and can confirm that the “windshield wipers and diapers” strategy works, as I found myself placing six different orders via Amazon today for various things I needed, ranging from almonds to a new cabin air filter for our car.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Man!

      Yep. My Significant Other was just given an iPhone for work. However, it didn’t come with a cover. We went to the AT&T store, but the representative really turned us off to purchasing there. I’ve written about that before: people spend more money in a brick-and-mortar store when they like the employees/owner. In this case, we were told that we wouldn’t pay sales tax if we paid in cash. I’m a former brick-and-mortar bookstore manager: that doesn’t make sense to me, and seems suspicious. Yes, stores will do big “we’ll pay the sales tax” promotions, but there was no promotion being advertised. My SO asked why we wouldn’t pay sales tax, and the response was “Because I can give you the discount.” What discount is going to be the same as the sales tax rate, unless it’s designed to be that?

      We also weren’t greeted when we went in the (tiny) store, and had to ask for help.

      We didn’t want my SO without a cover, and might have gone around to other stores…except for Prime. Getting it by Tuesday seemed okay (my SO doesn’t need to use the iPhone immediately). Oh, and it was $20 cheaper, too. 🙂

      Thanks for sharing! We get all kinds of things. For us, it’s dried edamame rather than almonds, but it’s the same idea. 🙂

  2. Sherri Says:

    I use my Fire to read magazines and articles I’ve saved with Instapaper, and play games. I subscribe to the print edition of Sports Illustrated, so I get access to the tablet edition for free, and I read SI on my Fire now instead in print. I also took advantage of the free 90 day preview to check out the New Yorker and Vanity Fair, and I’m going to keep the New Yorker subscription when it comes time to pay for it. The Vanity Fair app has a major bug in it: it doesn’t reliably update with the latest edition! I had to contact Kindle CS to get the January issue downloaded (and it took the second level support to make it happen. There are several complaints about this issue on the app page for VF, and it seems their iPad app suffers from the same problem to judge from the reviews there, too.

    I also play games on the Fire, and have taken full advantage of Amazon’s free app of the day to pick up lots of games! One I paid for and really liked is Quell, a puzzle solving game that is very pretty.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Sherri!

      It’s interesting to me that the magazine implementations seem so different. I’m not a person that wants everything standardized, but you would think they all would, you know, work. 😉 I know “working” is going to be defined by different people different ways, but I think everyone would include the ability to be able to read the current issue. If you can’t easily get that issue, and for me, if you can’t enlarge the text, an e-mag fails that test.

      I’d say Dabble is our favorite game on the Fire. Haven’t tried Quell, though…

  3. Barbara Wood Gray Says:

    Speaking of National Geographic … my husband gets it free on his iPad. What gives? We are print subscribers/supporters….why should we pay on Kindle?

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Barbara!

      I presume that’s a rhetorical question. 🙂 The entity to ask is the publisher..they are likely determining the price and availability for the e-version of the periodical.

  4. Mary Says:

    My favorite app on my fire is Evernote because I also have an Android phone. When you buy an app from Amazon you are buying it for your phone and for your Fire. Evernote works on nearly all platforms including PC ‘s and it’s sort of an “all my non-Amazon stuff in the cloud” thing, complementing Fire content. I may never bookmark a website again because with Evernote you can wrote a note that will pick up the URL along with any note you want to make, then add multiple tags and keep in a folder. It’s there on my phone & PC from the cloud. Works with Pulse,

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Mary!

      No question, I need to look at Evernote. I’ve had several recommendations for it…

  5. jean boggs Says:

    The fire has become part of my life also even at 70. I read the paper, pulse and ILMK with my breakfast. If you haven’t tried it, the USA Today app is free and has the most wonderful pictures of the day in news and sports. I finally am able to play words with friends, as I don’t have a Smart phone. I wonder why you need your magazine print edition once you have it on the fire. I just used my SI edition as filler in a pkg I was mailing. I also read with it quite a bit, but need the Kindle for dr appts, etc altho my Eye Dr has wireless available in that office. I have signed up to continue Prime and I always have ordered a lot from Amazon, but this week I even subscribed for my vitamins.Am catching up on original episodes of Downton Abby, and rented Moneyball over the weekend, which was a really good movie by the way. Over the holidays my grandsons loved the Where’s My Water app, but the went to so many levels I can’t play it anymore, lol.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, jean!

      You know, I did take a look at the USA Today app, but I don’t really see an advantage for me over the USA Today feed in Pulse. If I read it in Pulse, I don’t have to go to another place, and that works for me. Am I missing an advantage? I haven’t looked at it much.

      I’ve never played Words with Friends…as a writer, I think it would take away from Words with Myself too much. 😉

      Well, at this point, I don’t think I can get the digital version of Entertainment Weekly without being a paper subscriber. My Significant Other (SO) also likes to read parts of it…and there is only one Fire in our house (until the new model is released…or models, as I suspect).

      We also subscribe to vitamins…very handy!

      I’m curious about your comment about wireless at your Eye doctor’s…you don’t need the wi-fi to read in the waiting room. I do read on my Fire outside of wi-fi.

      I enjoyed Moneyball as well! Oscar nominations are on Tuesday…you’ll hear a few for that one. It should be a contender for adapted screenplay.

      When you go into Where’s My Water? you can tap Settings and then tap Reset Game. You’ll go right back to the beginning, if you want…thanks for the opportunity to answer a question I wasn’t expecting to get! 🙂

  6. Alison Says:

    I find your poll interesting since the Docs feature was one that my SO and I both take advantage of in different ways. He send PDFs and other machinery docs, plus work documents he wants to have on hand to his kindle/mindle. I use Readability ( to send blogs, articles, recipes and other items I want to save and read or refer to later to my Fire. It has been a great way to capture recipes I find onlline and have it on a convenient and portable device. I can have it at the grocery and in the kitchen. It’s great! I haven’t taken advantage of the newsstand yet but I do use most other features. I just wanted others to know how handy the Docs feature can be – especially for a foodie, I guess. Thanks for all the great information. I read your blog regularly now that I have found it.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Alison!

      Thanks for the kind words! Glad to have you on board. 🙂

      I’ve used SendToReader for the website thing. I’ve heard of Readability, but i really like the product from SendToReader.

      • Alison Says:

        I have heard of SendToReader as well but haven’t yet checked it out. Maybe it’s time to compare!

  7. Edward Boyhan Says:

    I was glad of this post for two reasons: one it got me thinking hard about whether the iPad3/KF2 are “real”, and when they might appear; second my brother informed me yesterday that he had received a Kindle Fire as a Christmas present, and stated proudly: “he had bought his first book with it” (note to self as he’s saying this: make some time to show him all the ways the KF is NOT an EBR (I hardly ever read mass market books on it — I do read other stuff tho). Perhaps this part of my comment belongs over on the kindle fire “kindle” naming thread :D.

    Some have suggested that the pending iPad3/KF2 announcements will act as a drag on current sales — maybe so, but I expect the effect will be minimal and affect the iPad2 (whose customer base is more technically inclined) more than the KF. The effect, if any, was IMO probably more pronounced in the 4Q2011. BTW if Amazon can sell “only” 3MM KF’s in the first quarter, the deadest of the year, that will be truly amazing.

    As to the KF2/iPad3 stuff, I have no idea (nor much opinion for once :-)) about what features these devices might contain. Rather I was struck by the reference to Digitimes as “evidence” of the imminence of their arrival. Digitimes has had a decidedly mixed record here — nevertheless it seems like every couple of weeks or so the technology press is back (breathlessly) with the latest revelation of the products to come mere weeks or months down the road. I could write a long treatise on the vagaries and complexities of supply chains, and the contracts that underlie them, but I’ll spare you and your readers the pleasure :-).

    Instead I’ll comment on the timings of any iPad3/KF2 announcements. To answer that I asked myself why they would announce a new product, and given their reasons, what might the logical timings be?

    That question is easier to answer for the iPad3. I focus on 3 things: timing/expectations, “fit and finish”, and customer base, expansion/competition. It’s been about a year since the iPad2 announcement, and to my mind the expectation of this market segment is that there should be a product refresh every year or so. The technical press has been full of things/features of the iPad2 that could be “improved”. The most talked about is the provision of a “retina” display for the iPad3. That, to me is merely (literally) eye candy. I have no idea what else they might add to a “fit and finish” release. While very successful, Apple may decide that they would like to do something more aggressive and increase the user base.

    The iPad is a great consumption device, so so at content creation, and mediocre at doing heads-down “useful” work. I don’t see the legions of Android tablets as competitive worries for the iPad. OTOH the coming of Ivy Bridge powered ultrabooks in the March/April time-frame (none of which were publicly shown at CES) might be. These will be only a little bit larger and heavier than the iPad, but will come with a much much beefier CPU and a keyboard. They will be admirably suited to doing “useful” work. The big market here is in the enterprise — not a notable Apple stronghold. It will be interesting to see whether Apple will decide to take the iPad boldly where it hasn’t gone before. If yes, this would argue for a later announcement: in any event I think we’ll see the iPad3 sometime in the March-June period.

    Amazon is much harder to predict. Historically Amazon has seemed to alter “fit and finish” releases with more radical fare. I think it unlikely that we’ll see anything in the first quarter of 2012 (why would they want to cannibalize the sales and “buzz” created by the KF?). Instead I think we’ll see a variety of firmware and app releases that improve the functionality, and sand down the rough edges of their existing product line.

    Physically, the KF is a bit clunky — so if they go the “fit and finish” route there’s quite a lot they could do there on the size and weight front. They could do something along those lines in 2Q, but I think that too is unlikely, and besides what’s the rush? IMV the next meaningful deadline for Amazon is the “back to school” selling season in the July/August time-frame. Here we might see more interesting stuff like larger screens, and some nice new software and apps. I suspect that Amazon will choose to go after Apple in the announcement dance, and to wait as long as possible to get as much S/W development done as they can.

    Bezos has always been one to cleverly identify underserved markets while avoiding direct competition with the likes of Apple. He’s also had a way with a turn of phrase (“buy once read anywhere”; “premium products for non-premium prices”). I wonder whether he has identified any new market segment opportunities, and coined the slogan to go after it with? My guess is we shouldn’t expect any major product announcements before 3Q. Of course, as always, I hope I’m wrong :-)!

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