Round up #148: 9.7″ wi-fi EBR, Fire to go worldwide?

Round up #148: 9.7″ wi-fi EBR, Fire to go worldwide?

The ILMK Round ups are short pieces which may or may not be expanded later.

Amazon soon to set the world on Fire…Kindle Fire, that is?

Andrys Basten, of the

A Kindle World blog

spotted something interesting in an article that was really related to app developers.  Take a look at Andrys’ post (and I recommend the blog generally), to get the context of this quotation:

Amazon’s VP in charge of the Kindle noted that they are working hard to launch the Fire lineup worldwide…”

Worldwide, of course, wouldn’t necessarily mean every country in the world (the Middle East is famously underrepresented on Kindles and Kindle content), but could certainly mean South America, much of Africa, large parts of Asia, and so on.

As I’ve mentioned, I think this will be more of a consolidation year in terms of hardware…we might not be blown away by a radically innovative device in the e-reading world, but we could certainly see these sorts of changes, and new software features.

A wi-fi 9.7″ EBR

I had thought that Amazon might release a wi-fi version of the 9.7″ Kindle DX. There certainly may be a market for a large reflective screen (not backlit) device.

Well, if you are interested in one, there is this:

ICARUS eXceL 9.7″ E-ink Ebook Reader

It’s really intended for the European market (I believe you’d need a plug adapter), but you can get it through in the USA (although not directly from Amazon).

It has some nice features. It is the Pearl E Ink screen, it does have wi-fi, and I’ve seen some indications that it handles PDFs quite well. It has a touch screen, and relatively high resolution (1200 x 825). It uses wi-fi, and allows for web-browsing. You can also make handwritten notes, using a stylus.

It can natively read these formats:



I don’t know if you could use the Cloud reader on it to read your Kindle books when using the web browser.

You can’t count on Amazon’s level of support (especially since you are out of the market country), but I think some people might really like it. It’s not inexpensive at $349.95 currently through Amazon, though, but it’s a lot more value than the Kindle DX was when it was comparably priced.

The Guardian: “Ian McEwan: when faith in fiction falters – and how it is restored”

In this

The Guardian piece

Ian McEwan writes nicely about that thing that can happen to some people…when reading all fiction seems silly.

I don’t think that will ever happen to me…as a geek, I can’t imagine imagination 😉 ever seeming insignificant.

It does require a certain mindset to enjoy fiction, though. There are people who are perfectly good readers, and just don’t like fiction.

I’ve seen a couple of people recently suggest, though, that it is as you get older and realize that you don’t have an unlimited chronological distance to the horizon, that you feel like you should read more non-fiction.

That seems odd to me.

I think that with less time left, it becomes decreasingly important to understand things like quantum physics and the origins of the Boer War (just because, at that point, you have a pretty good idea how likely those are to impact your life), than it is to understand people…and understanding people is, to me, what fiction can strongly contribute to your life by helping you see things from another’s perspective (and by making you realize what your own perspective even is).

The Verge: “Best Buy to make internet price matching permanent to prevent ‘showrooming'”


The Verge article

says that Best Buy is going to follow what I think is generally a bad strategy for brick-and-mortar stores (and I’ve managed a couple of different types).

Your expenses are different in a brick-and-mortar than they are for an internet retailer.

You have to pay rent, you have to deal with “shrinkage” (shoplifting, damage, employee theft) in a very different way, you can’t effectively be open twenty-four hours a day, and you have to adjust to changes in the environment (a movie theatre opening or closing near you, schools being consolidated).

You can not stay in business by matching internet retailers on price.

You have to beat them on service and experience. People have to be willing to give your store more money than they would pay online, because they like you.

When a retailer announces this policy (and others have), it suggests to me that they either fundamentally misunderstand the market, or it is a short term strategy…perhaps to drive up the value before a buyout.

Recent Kindle software updates

Thanks to my reader Marvin who let me know about a recent update to the “starter Kindle”, the one I call the Mindle.

It’s version 4.1.1, and it should just download automatically, or you can get it here:

Mindle update

This one appears to just be performance enhancements and bug fixes…no new features.

On the other hand, the

Kindle for iOS Update version 3.6

for the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad does add new features.

You can now have multicolor highlights, you get the same “end matter” we get on the Kindle (so you can tweet or update Facebook that you finished the book), and you can adjust the brightness from within the app. I’m seeing some particularly good responses to that last one. Until we get reflective screen SmartPhones (and I think that something that can switch back and forth between back-illuminated with good color and animation and reflective screen for good reading in bright light, like sunshine, will happen), the ability to control the brightness is important. If you are in bright light, turn the light up on your backlit device all the way. That might seem counterintuitive (why do I need more light when it is brighter?), but your device is competing with the sun…it’s not going to win, but more light does make the score a little more even. 😉

Taking the dog for a walk…er, swim

My Significant Other thought I should share this one. 🙂

When I use my iSpy Cameras app on my Kindle Fire, one of the ones we find most interesting (these are webcams around the world) is a lap pool at a “dog resort” where they walk the dogs in the water. It appears to be modified in some way to have a pool-length ramp for the dogs, and the person can walk alongside.

There’s just something…joyful about it. 🙂

If you don’t have that app, here’s a link for those of you reading this on something with a browser:

Dulles Pool Pet Cam Cybercam


What do you think? Are you anxiously awaiting the Fire in your country? Is Best Buy offering to price match the internet a sign of weakness or strength? Have you used the Icarus eXcel and want to share your opinion? Feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.

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


4 Responses to “Round up #148: 9.7″ wi-fi EBR, Fire to go worldwide?”

  1. Harold Delk Says:

    I think I should get Maddie, my vizsla an Icarus since it can read the EPUP format.

  2. cardinalrobbins Says:

    Best Buy has been in serious trouble financially for several years. I think this is the last gasp of a dying company, which is too bad because we have one here in Burbank and I like the store very much.

    I’ve often found their people to be quite helpful, courteous in general, and happy to have my business. But, when our larger appliances finally bite the big one (TV, washer, dryer, refrigerator), we’re already looking at alternative places to purchase replacements, because we know Best Buy has closed a lot of their locations and we don’t want to be ‘stuck’ if they suddenly close the location here.

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