Round up #289: $25K Amazon sweepstakes, Amazon forgets something…

Round up #289: $25K Amazon sweepstakes, Amazon forgets something…

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

Enter to win a $25,000 Amazon shopping spree

Amazon really wants you to use their shopping app to download apps…even free ones!

To that end, they are doing a

$25,000 Amazon shopping spree sweepstakes (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

You fill out an entry form (it’s simple: just your full name and a phone number, and they already had my e-mail address filled in), meet eligibility requirements (at least 18 years old, only in the USA…), and download an app using the Amazon app.

That’s pretty much it.

You have to do it by April 15th, and it’s one entry per person…so I assume that multiple app purchases won’t increase your odds.

$25,000 at Amazon would be nice, right?🙂 Here are the

Official Rules (at AmazonSmile*)

Let me know if you win!🙂

Um…Amazon? You forgot a SmartPhone…your own😉

Amazon recently sent me an e-mail to do a survey to help them “improve Amazon devices”.

There were some interesting points to the survey: for one thing, they kept identifying EBRs (E-Book Readers) emphatically as “black and white”. Does that mean that they aren’t considering color non-backlit devices? Nah, this is a current state question. Now, I could get pedantic at point that Amazon doesn’t have any black and white devices…grayscale, yes, but not black and white.😉

When they asked me to rank how I use my tablet (I have a Kindle Fire HDX 7″ ((at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping)), the only place they listed “books” was under audio, which audiobooks to me. One of the main things for which I use my tablet is reading books…intriguing.

The most amusing one, to me, was this one:

“Smartphone – (i.e. iPhone, Android, Windows Phone, or BlackBerry) Has all the functions of basic and feature phones and also has the ability to download applications (also known as apps), play videos, navigation, etc.”

That was funny to me, because it didn’t list my

Amazon Fire Phone (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

🙂

Now, yes, I’m probably one of a tiny minority that has Amazon’s SmartPhone, and it is technically a forked version of Android…but it would have been nice to be able to declare that I had an Amazon device in an Amazon survey.

They also used “i.e.” (id est…an explanation) as opposed to “e.g.” (exempli gratia…a set of examples). That suggests that they weren’t just naming a few of them, but defining the term…and they left the Fire Phone out of the definition of Smartphone.

I don’t think they are done with the Fire Phone…I’ve said before that they may tie it into the Amazon Echo (my Echo, according to the estimated delivery date, could be as little as two weeks away).

Of course, if the Fire Phone does succeed, they might have call the new model the “Phoenix”.😉

Meanwhile, at Barnes & Noble

Barnes & Noble recently did a webcast to report their Q3 (third quarter 2015…financial years don’t start in January for most companies) earnings. You can read a Seeking Alpha transcript here:

http://seekingalpha.com/article/2989706-barnes-and-noble-bks-michael-p-huseby-on-q3-2015-results-earnings-call-transcript?part=single

Even though it was arguably good news, with the speed of their slide slowing, investors did not react well, as reported in this

The Motley Fool article by Alex Planes

and other places. It could bounce back pretty quickly…we’ll see.

Better, perhaps, but apparently not good enough.

I like having B&N around as a competitor for Amazon (competition breeds innovation), but they are becoming less of that over time, I think.

One place where they arguably still compete with Amazon is in the EBR market (Kobo may be a more viable…or at least more interesting opponent at this point).

How bad was it for the NOOK this time?

Device sales were down 50.6%!

That’s a slowing of the decline, but losing more than half…what kind of career did Bud Abbott have after Abbott and Costello broke up?😉

Now, you might be hearing that their retail comparable store sales were up 1.7%, and yes, that’s a good thing.

Don’t count on that meaning that p-books (paperbooks) are making a comeback, though…they accomplished that in part by carrying more non-book items, like games.

Overall, the retail business was down, but hey guys, that’s not our fault: we had fewer stores.😉

The shining light of the college business, which they are going to separate?

Comp (comparative) sales were down 1%, although they may be flat overall for the year.

Overall? Not looking good for B&N, at least as we knew it as a bookstore.

 The Wildside Press Megapack series

Wildside Press was founded in 1989 by author John Betancourt and Kim Betancourt.

It’s a respected publishing company…which, honestly, you may not realize at first when you run across one of their “Megapacks” in the Kindle store:

Wildside Press Megapack series (at AmazonSmile*)

After all, the titles are ninety-nine cents, and public domain works are clearly involved.

However, while some independently published books may leave something to desire in terms of design or production quality, I would say that what I’ve seen of the Megapacks is up to traditional  publishing standards in that regard.

One of the fun things with curated collections like these is to see what choices they make, how they group them together.

That’s an area where the Megapacks have some stand-out themes!

There are 185 (!) results for “Wildside Press Megapack” in the USA Kindle store, and certainly, there are things you might expect like The Golden Age of Science Fiction and Noir Mysteries.

However, it’s the more unusual themes I find intriguing, whether they are individual (often somewhat obscure to modern audiences) authors, or themes. For example:

  • Victorian Rogues
  • Katherine Mansfield
  • Lady Sleuths
  • Jack London Science Fiction (and fantasy)
  • Mad Scientist
  • Plague, Pestilence & Apocalypse
  • Penny Dreadfuls
  • Occult Detectives
  • Zanthodon (by Lin Carter)
  • Bobbsey Twins
  • Classic Humor
  • Girl Detective
  • Frederick Douglass
  • Selma Lagerlof

I’m not going to pretend that these are luxury editions (there won’t tend to be lengthy forewords or context articles), but if you want something which is affordable and respects the material, this is a good series.

Housebroken now available

Some of you may remember my interview with The Behrg, who had a novel selected by Kindle Scout:

An ILMK interview with The Behrg, author of the Kindle Scout winner Housebroken

That was back on January 2nd, and the book hadn’t been published yet…now it has been:

Housebroken (at AmazonSmile*)

It’s $3.99, also available as part of Kindle Unlimited.

I have no connection with the author, except for the interview we did and some slight correspondence (The Behrg let me know about the book’s release, for example).

What price story?

Sorry, couldn’t resist the pun relating to the movie(s) and play, What Price Glory?😉

I was speaking with someone about pricing for e-books recently, and thought I’d throw something out to you.

If you see an e-book which is $7.99 in the Kindle store, what do you think about it? How about $4.99? $12.99? What if it was $10.00? You may think the price point doesn’t influence you at all in your pre-opinion of the book, but you would certainly be unusual if that was the case. Does one price make you think the book is likely to be of a higher quality? Traditionally published or independently published? Of course, you get more information after you look at it, but the price is often a first impression. Do you ever search by price? I’d appreciate your feedback.

What do you think? Will Barnes & Noble survive as booksellers? Who was/is your favorite anthology editor? Did you get an e-mail for that Amazon survey? Is there a “micro market” genre you particularly like? I really enjoyed an anthology (Apeman, Spaceman) of anthropological stories years ago…not available for the Kindle (at least legally through Amazon), unfortunately…

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) By the way, it’s been interesting lately to see Amazon remind me to “start at AmazonSmile” if I check a link on the original Amazon site. I do buy from AmazonSmile, but I have a lot of stored links I use to check for things.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

14 Responses to “Round up #289: $25K Amazon sweepstakes, Amazon forgets something…”

  1. Harold Delk Says:

    Yes, I am influenced by ebook pricing to an extent. What I look for are highly-rated or popular books that are discounted for a limited time. The $.99 – $2.99 books I’ve never heard of I’m willing to take a chance if they look interesting. I grab some how-to books as well as others that look like quick reads when we’re traveling in the RV and want something light to amuse me.

    My SO is a writer/editor and is constantly flagging incorrect use of i.e vs e.g. by her writers. Drives her a bit bonkers to say the least. I drive her a bit bonkers too with my misuse of em and en dashes… no spaces please.

    An “event” I’m looking forward to is the arrival of your Echo and your impressions and uses of it. Alexa has made herself at home in our kiitchen (where I spend way too much time) and has become a useful tool and an amusing device/companion/distraction. Set a timer for 10 minutes, 5 tablespoons is how many cups, play some Neil Young, add eggs to the shopping list, what is 1/3 of 5.5 cups and similar conversations with her have made scaling recipes “on thee fly” simple. Conversions from metric are quite useful while using our Dutch and Belgian cookbooks. (Much easier than a slide rule!) We Simon Sez our dog… nothing like training a dog in an artificial voice to become neurotic. Alexa offers her a treat and Maddie walks over to where we hide them and waits for one of us to gget it for her. If Alexa tells her to “turn around” she does so. Yeah, we like the Echo; I’m looking forward to your experiences. What’s the weather? “It is 60 degrees in Cloverdale and raining; the high will be 62 degrees.”

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Harold!

      I appreciate that feedback!

      I’ll be interested to see what other people say. As a former bookstore manager (and other retail), I feel like I have some sense of how prices affect people, but there are a lot of complicating factors now. Certainly, I don’t feel like the publishers had figured it out during the Agency Model the first time it was around for e-books!

      I think people probably won’t read the comments until they’ve thought a bit, so I’ll go ahead and mention some of the scenario.

      New book by a first time author, being traditionally published.

      The publisher clearly wants it to appear to be a “legitimate” title, which is a good thing.

      The first price suggestions I heard were, I thought, too high.

      However, I also heard one I thought was too low.🙂

      My suggestion was introducing it at a somewhat higher price than you may end up. That signals the legitimacy element, and gives you somewhere to go with discounts.

      If a book was $7.99 initially, and sold at that price, fine. If it doesn’t, you can discount it to, say, $4.99…close to a 40% discount. People who had put it on price notification watches (for example, at eReaderIQ), and people who are just looking for a bargain may be influenced by that price drop.

      It’s not a trick: you are genuinely trying to sell it initially at $7.99. It’s just that if you start at $4.99, I don’t think that same “I’m here with the tradpubs” vibe is there…and if you discount it to $2.99, there are a lot of indies there.

      Again, I like indies, but not everybody does and I think it’s harder to establish yourself as a new author that way…particularly if you want to have an impact with old media.

  2. Allie D. Says:

    2 comments, first of all a question and off the top of my head and kind of silly: Is it at all possible that Amazon does not consider its own phone to be a SmartPhone? I.e.😉 do they ever come right out and state that? I haven’t scrutinized the materials so I am kinda throwing that idea out of left field.

    2nd Comment: price points
    I’ve wanted to mention this for a LONG time, but haven’t found the right spot. What you write about price points leads me to point out something rather insidious about Kindle Unlimited system.
    First of all, I LOVE it – for one, I love knowing I have access to so many books at any time – as my mother has often said “Books make me feel RICH” – and it also saves me a decent chunk of cash – one of several ways is that It helps me avoid a habit of buying 4 or more books a month priced at, say, $2.99. These are books where I think “Hmm, I might want to read this sometime, and it’s cheap, so I better buy it!” Now if something is KU and I don’t plan to read it right away, I save it to a Wishlist that I created for the express purpose of cataloging KU books (it is actually now my default wish list), ready for me to browse. I realize there’s no guarantee books will continue to be available via KU, but in many cases that is not a big deal to me.
    So this brings me to something I was concerned would happen when Kindle Unlimited started up. I think you and other readers would like to know… I can give you one egregious problem in the case of Philip K. Dick. I noticed The Man in the High Castle is now priced at $7.99! Well, in 2012 I bought that book in kindle format for $2.99.
    MANY of PKD’s books were free; I went on a spree in 2012🙂 – now I go to the page, see “You bought this book…” and I can click to check my order, and I see direct evidence: I “bought” many of his books for the price of $0.00 and now own them – electronically, at least – but now, you either have to shell out more money, or depend upon them staying available through Kindle Unlimited…And it’s a shame, because sometimes that prices me out, even though I’d like to have my own copy and not “check it out” multiple times. I think many people who read a lot feel the same way. I’m big on re-reading. There are books I re-read quite often, maybe as much as once a year, and others that I re-read less frequently. Those are books that I want to OWN.
    PKD? No, I would not own 15 of his books if I’d had to pay for all of them. Granted, some are short stories and still free, but there is still a notable difference here in this post-KU world.
    (There are also books I must obtain in one form or another for the purposes of academic study – basically, to read through many times in a short period of time, and refer to often, etc – but that is a professional, not personal, issue.)
    So the main thing about pricing, that I keep coming back to, concerns this Kindle Unlimited/ Philip K. Dick phenomenon. I’m sure there are many other authors or books that have been changed in this way by Kindle Unlimited, and it is a trend that I find disturbing, and possibly harmful for the future of electronic books.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Allie!

      First point first: Amazon calls the Fire a SmartPhone.🙂 The first press release was entitled, “Fire, First Smartphone Designed By Amazon, Now Available At AT&T And Amazon”

      Second point:

      While your hypothesis is reasonable about prices going up when the option is to borrow or buy, I’m not sure you have the data to support it with PKD.

      E-book prices fluctuate for a lot of reasons…KU could be a driver of the changes you are seeing, but it might be other things.

      Let’s take The Man in the High Castle as the example.

      I looked at its price history on

      http://www.ereaderIQ.com

      Here’s a selection of that history:

      October 9, 2011: $9.99
      October 7, 2012: there had been some fluctuations, but it dropped to $1.99, then shot right back up $8.51. I would guess it was one of the Kindle Daily Deals
      March 8, 2013: it drops back down to $1.99
      May 8, 2013: it jumps back up pretty rapidly to $8.51
      February 1, 2015: after staying up above $7 (it might have had a couple of very short term price cuts…I can’t tell exactly), it goes down to $2.99 and stays there for the month, then goes back up to $7.61 (I think it was part of the Kindle monthly deal)

      When did Kindle Unlimited start?

      Mid-July, 2014.

      So, honestly, I don’t see the correlation at this point.

      You can see the prices yourself here:

      http://www.ereaderiq.com/drops/?t=all&v=results&s=relevance&q=the+man+in+the+high+castle

      Click or tap the little graph where the price shows.

      It’s not unreasonable to think that, if the market of book purchasers gets significantly smaller, the price for book purchases might rise.

      However, I think it’s also reasonable that Kindle Unlimited might prove to be a significant revenue generator for backlist titles…which might mean traditional publishers could keep the frontlist prices lower to compete with low indie prices.

      • Allie D. Says:

        Bufo –

        Thanks for researching and putting up all the facts and figures! I didn’t know that the prices fluctuated so much. It seems so random – with the $8.51, $7.61… Well it is a mystery.

        Also, I hadn’t thought about the Instant Video factor until after I posted, but now I realize this one particular example could be a bit flawed, what with Amazon producing it as an “Amazon Original Series”.

        Good to know about the smartphone thing – at least we have THAT vital question straightened out! lol

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, Allie!

        I meant to mention the Prime video connection, but thanks for pointing that out! I’m hoping to do a post with a wider analysis of titles.

        Those weird price points may be due to pricing algorithms (or human pricers) matching or beating other stores’ prices. For example, people will set up an automatic re-pricing thing to keep an item 10% lower than a competitor’s price.

  3. Tom Semple Says:

    I do think there will be a new Fire Phone this year. Very few ‘version 1.0’ products achieve ‘success’, and FIre Phone is better than most version 1s. My sense is that Fire Phone would have done better in 2013, but by the time it came out, iPhone 6 was just around the corner and as events have shown, has proven exceptionally popular not just with Appleheads, but has clawed back market share from Android. So I am looking for a 5″ screen, thinner, etc., maybe with Amazon offering its own wireless service plans for Fire Phone and BYOD. Not only was the phone price too high, but AT&T’s plans are not attractive for low-usage people like myself (I bought a Fire Phone for my wife at the $199 price, and we went with no-contract plan with AT&T subsidiary Cricket, which has plans for about half the price of most AT&T plans that include subsidized phones). It would be awesome if they could put a Liquivista screen on there as well (perhaps as a premium option), true readability in sunlight would really set it apart. For reading ebooks, I do like the option for scrolling mode which Fire Phone has (and iBooks and Gerty have on my iPad). I’d like to see that on the Fire (which for me is 90% a reading device, no games, no email). It eliminates the ‘orphans’ and ‘widows’ that otherwise plague ebook reading.

    Sad about the Nook. The latest EBR shipped in 2013, and was a downgrade in several ways from the previous Glo light or whatever it was called: no sculpted back, no page turn buttons, no SD expansion. I doubt we’ll see another one. Nook has no job listings. Kobo seems to be the only credible alternative to Kindle in the EBR space, but they are still virtually invisible in the US, the IBA partnership has been underwhelming (as was the IBA-Google partnership before that).

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Tom!

      I agree with you that more is likely to come with the Fire phone.

      I’m not sure that hardware upgrades are the answer (such as the screen). My guess is that it will have to do with integration with other Amazon hardware. Right now, the odds are to me that the Echo is a market revolutionary. They’ve just added traffic (although you use the app to enter addresses), and they seem to be doing a lot to get it ready for general release.

      People would perhaps buy the Fire phone as basically an accessory to the Echo, if that’s what gave the Echo calling and texting ability.

      Yep, I’d be surprised if we see much more in terms of B&N hardware NOOKs. The NOOK brand, maybe…

      I do more than read on my Fire tablet…I’m thinking I’ll write a “Day in the Life of a Kindleer” post this weekend.🙂 Never quite know, though.

      I have to say, the one thing I really like about Silk on the Fire Phone is the ability to scroll by tipping the phone! It makes it one-hand, which can be, well, handy.😉

  4. Edward Boyhan Says:

    I’m dubious about B&N’s prospects — especially as Amazon has decided to try its hand on the college bookstore front (only at Purdue thus far AFAIK). Your post did get me thinking as to how I used to use college bookstores (Dartmouth, NYU, for example) as proxies for technical pbooks. I used to really like the McGraw Hill Technical bookstore in Rockefeller Center — wondering if they were still around (NOT) led me to this article:
    http://www.math.columbia.edu/~woit/wordpress/?p=6630
    about the worldwide death of technical bookstores (:sadness).

    OTOH I find that most technical books on subjects of interest to me (computer science, economics) are available as ebooks from Amazon, McGraw Hill Technical, or the publishers directly — this is actually preferable — as many technical books have a rather short “timeliness” factor (:grin).

    As to book prices: I don’t search by price, and my purchasing habits are not price sensitive (well for anything under $150 that is :grin). If I see a price above $7.99, I just assume its from a tradpub.

    I don’t think I got the survey from Amazon.

    I haven’t read any anthologies in many years (I still have a Kindle-delivered subscription to Analog — which is the nearest I get to shorter fiction, but I hardly ever read the stories — I do read John G Cramer’s alternate monthly physics reviews, however)

    I am not a KU subscriber — I prefer to have more of an ownership right in my ebooks (even though an ebook right is more limited than a pbook right).

    On pricing in general (and author’s net income in particular), I wonder how an author’s income might evolve, if the price of a title fluctuated in real-time — based on demand: if demand is high, price rises, if demand is low price falls? I get at least two emails a day from Amazon alerting me to various eBook discounts — I assume these are in response to some kind of demand signals? Simon & Schuster has also started to less frequently (once a week?) send out a discount email.

    The high price for PKD’s “The Man in the High Castle” may have something to do with the recent release of the TMITHC pilot episode on Amazon video (:grin). I should also point out that there is possibly a sequel to Blade Runner (starring Harrison Ford — if he can stop with the broken bone thing :grin) in the works.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Edward!

      Well, I’d say an e-book’s ownership right is differently limited than a p-book’s ownership right.😉 With an e-book (at least licensed through the Kindle store), you have the right to have different people read it simultaneously…even continents apart. You have the right to have it available, even if your “copy” is destroyed. You have the right to free updates, if made available by the publisher. I’m not sure one is more limited than the other.

      The Man in the High Castle came out in 1962, and is currently $7.62 in the USA Kindle store. I’m not sure that’s a high price…let me check a few other 1962 books (based on Goodreads most popular):

      One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest: $6.31
      A Wrinkle in Time: $6.99
      A Clockwork Orange: $9.00
      Something Wicked This Way Comes $6.83
      One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich: $9.00

      For the top five, that makes the price $7.62 on average…hey, that makes High Castle exactly average! I didn’t know that when I started the analysis!

      Prices do fluctuate rapidly, and it may be due to demand…and sometimes due to anticipated demand (for example, the price for a novel may rise when a movie is made, before the movie is released actually significantly increasing that demand).

      What happens to the author depends on the deal…and who changes the price.

      For indies (independently published books) going through Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing, they are unaffected if Amazon discounts the price, affected if they do it themselves.

      Let’s say they have a $3.99 book in the Kindle store. At the 70% royalty range, they are getting about $2.79.

      If Amazon makes that a $1.99 special, they still get their $2.79…Amazon loses money on the sale.

      If the publisher (which may be just the author) drops the price to $1.99, the royalty is about $1.93.

      With a tradpub (traditional publisher), the amount the author gets may depend on what the publisher gets for the sale…not what the original price was.

      I agree with you about B&N…hey, I had to agree with you on something in this reply to your comment.😉

  5. Man in the Middle Says:

    On prices:
    1) My impulse price limit for an unknown author is $3. Anything Amazon suggests to me priced above that, I mark as “not interested.” At $1, I’ll try anything whose sample I enjoy. Example from today: I just bought the classic personal finance bestseller “Wealth to Last” for 99 cents, a 90+% discount.
    2) Above that, I only pay for books I already know I want in my permanent Kindle collection, often replacing a printed copy. Even then, $10 is my usual upper limit, and then only if eReaderIQ reports it’s never been on sale for less. An example: I just 5-star pre-reviewed “Rejection PROOF” for Vine. I then checked the predicted Kindle launch price of $11, and instead added it to my eReaderIQ watch list at $10.
    3) I’m still price-sensitive, even when forced to buy a book I really need to read. For example, I bought Adobe Photoshop Elements 13 on a Gold Box sale Monday, which left me needing a manual for it. Of those rated well on Amazon, I picked the least pricey, after enjoying its sample.
    4) I’m starting to get really offended at how high prices are being jacked for Kindle books that might be read in college courses. With a degree in Economics, I like to keep up in the field, but find most such offerings far about my $10 limit, even on books I’ve previously bought on Kindle for much less.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Man!

      I appreciate you giving the rational as well as the ranges!

      It’s interesting that e-books (specifically) would go up when being included for college classes. Certainly, demand is higher, but you don’t have the same issues of the book being resold repeatedly that you do with p-books.

  6. Edward Boyhan Says:

    I agree that a new Fire Phone is coming — probably in the Sept-Oct timeframe for holiday 2015 (as has been Amazon’s wont the last few years).

    I agree with Bufo that Liquavista will not be a part of this. I have lost my enthusiasm for color reflective technologies for device displays — although I have seen some interest at CES and MWC to use these technologies in wall decoration scenarios.

    What then might they do in a new Fire Phone 2 to recover from the less than stellar Fire Phone 1 release?

    To me there are two possible ways to answer this: from my viewpoint; from Amazon’s viewpoint.

    For the latter one has to ask what is Amazon’s ultimate objective with the Fire Phone? I can’t imagine that they ever can hope to become one of the top 3 smartphone ecosystems. I also think that H/W feature superiority won’t help much — at best it might give you a one release cycle advantage over your phone competitors, and that won’t move the needle much.

    One only has to look at their experience with the Fire tablets. The latest Fire HDX tablets have been positively reviewed by many, and even by some as the best tablet out there. Yet the Fire HDX does not often appear in lists of “best” tablets. Often they are sneeringly referred to as a come-on to entice you into the Amazon shopping environment, and therefore not suitable as a general purpose tablet. Much the same has been said of the Fire Phone.

    Perhaps it is not necessary to have the best technical “flagship” phone in the market. Microsoft has recently come to market with a plethora of non-flagship affordable phones that are having some success in creating markets in non-first-world locations.

    Historically, Amazon has had success at selling devices at or below cost — perhaps they ought to price Fire Phone 2 at $99 unlocked (I believe the future will be with no contract unsubsidized unlocked phones — except perhaps in the US — going forward I will only be buying unlocked phones). There is the question of the carriers — the AT&T exclusivity has been faulted with the FP1. OTOH Google has been marketing a series of excellent H/W phones unlocked, yet they seem to have a very small market share. Is market share what Amazon wants (or needs)?

    For myself, I’d like to see some really good integration across all Amazon devices: Echo, Fire TV, Fire tablets, Fire Phone, and the web/AWS. Further, I’d like to see them reach out using AWS to reduce the siloing among ecosystems/devices from non-Amazon sources.

    I’d like to be able to say: “Alexa (or Phone) take a letter”, and have the excellent voice recognition facilities create a document that could go into MS Word, an email body, or a file. That means that FPh2 should perhaps include similar voice recognition H/W to that in the Echo. Similarly, ask Echo/Phone to call someone, or ask Alexa or FPh2 to buy something from one of Amazon’s many stores. Let the FPh2 or Echo put items in non-Amazon Calendars or todo lists.

    Lastly, I wish that Amazon would put some good programmers and designers on their device management web sites (which to me seem to be the province of entry level techs) so that Kindles, Fires, Echos, watches, tablets, Phones have an understandable integrated view into what I own/have bought/ordered from Amazon.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Edward!

      I really agree with this one!

      Trying to have unique hardware was a mistake on the Fire Phone 1. Sure, people think it’s cool when they see dy-per (dynamic perspective), but nobody’s buying a phone for that.

      The successful Amazon phone, in my opinion, would be:

      * Good enough…phone calls work, the calendar works, e-mails work
      * Have exceptional integration (as you suggest) with other Amazon hardware. I think the Echo has a good chance to be a market driver. If the only way to use it to make phone calls or texts was with the Fire Phone (I’d hope it would work with mine as well), people would buy the phone…even if it basically served as an accessory to the Echo
      * Be super well integrated with Amazon’s services…better than the Fire tablet is (although that’s improving)
      * Be at least price competitive

      I’m unconvinced that a Fire Phone 2 is coming, unless it’s a stripped down model, which would be possible. Continued support for the FP1, and big software upgrades? Yes, that I can see. Of course, that might just be wishful thinking.😉 Just kidding, but I doubt I’d trade up on FP models, unless they gave us FP1 folks some big incentive.

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