Amazon device announcement imminent?

Amazon device announcement imminent?

You know how, just before a tsunami, all of the water may leave the beach, before it comes crashing back with a fury?

The same sort of thing may be happening right now with Amazon devices. 🙂

Well, at least with the

Amazon Fire TV 2nd generation (at AmazonSmile*)

Without my link, you’d have a tough time even finding it. It’s not on the

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

page any more. When you find it, it says they don’t know when or if it will be back in stock.

I would bet it won’t be. 🙂

We’ve had strong rumors about new Fire TV devices: my guess is we will have the announcement by Tuesday (which is a traditional book announcement day), although it could happen Friday. It might also just appear in the store at midnight middle of the night Thursday with an announcement to follow Friday. The Fire TV has been a very popular item, and no reason to suppose it’s not a big part of the devices strategy. The “missing model” has 4.3 stars out of 5, with a remarkable 34,645 customer reviews. For comparison, the Kindle Voyage has about a third that many reviews (12,998).

The Apple TV was recently refreshed, and streamers are big. We may get a higher end version which includes Alexa with far field microphones, and maybe a refreshing of the inexpensive Fire TV Stick (which wouldn’t have those microphones, I would think).

As to other devices:

  • The entry level Kindle is in stock
  • All versions of the Paperwhite seem to be in stock. One interesting note: they have Kindle Unlimited for three months as an add-on for $1.99
  • The Voyage with both 3G and wi-fi and no special offers is out of stock, expected back October 18th
  • Most of the Kindle Oasis versions are out of stock: only the black version is available (the merlot and walnut are out of stock) and the Wi-Fi only is out of stock
  • The black Amazon Echo tower (my name for the original) is out of stock, expected back September 21st
  • The Echo Dot, Amazon Tap, and Echo Show are in stock. The Echo Look is still by invitation only
  • The Amazon Fire tablets appear to be in stock

My feeling?

At least two new Fire TV family members…one with Alexa, one Stick. The Oasis won’t be announced as gone, but is dwindling. They might keep one version. The Tap is probably fading out. This is likely to be the last big hardware announcement of the year…so auggies (VAM…virtual/augmented/merged/mixed reality headset/glasses) is a possible category. That last one could wait for software announcements…those could come later in the year. Oh, and Amazon could always surprise us with something new, like they did with the wand and the dash buttons.

I’d be surprised if we don’t get an announcement in the next few days, but what do you think? Feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.

Bonus deal: I know this will likely be too late in the day for some of you, but

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl (at AmazonSmile*)

is $2.99 today…at least in the USA.

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

All aboard The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amaz on 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! :) 
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.



18 Responses to “Amazon device announcement imminent?”

  1. Phink Says:

    I wanted the tap when it cam out and I got one. I wanted it so I could attach it to my wheelchair at home and listen while cruising through the house, doing laundry or whatever. I learned in practice my wheelchair is too loud. It does not seem loud until I try to play the tap while operating it. I could turn the tap up for sure but then when I stop it’s so loud it’s irritating and I don’t want to turn the volume up and down. I still found a good use for it though taking it from room to room and sitting it down until “Everywhere groups” were recently developed. In the last week I have rarely touched the tap. For me and how I use Alexa it suddenly feels obsolete.

    • Phink Says:

      I’m sorry. I normally proof read. The last sentence should have read “how I use the tap it suddenly feels obsolete.”

  2. Edward Boyhan Says:

    I was going to comment on some aspects of this on your recent “wedding Presence” with an Echo Show post, but this is a better place for what I have to say.

    First, I think the rumors are pretty conclusive (with photos) of two new Fire TV devices (one with Alexa access — now, they really need to provide us with more wake words!).

    I think we are on the cusp of a big change in how we interact with technology. Two terms that I am hearing with increasing frequency are “ambient” computing, and “always connected” computing. The former includes things like Alexa, Cortana, and Siri; and the latter includes things like tablets and PC’s (and other devices) that contain LTE chips in addition to the usual Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity. These latter devices don’t really exist yet (smartphones don’t count), but Microsoft and Qualcomm are promising to deliver tablet and PC devices before years end that can run full Windows 10 on the ARM 835 SOC.

    To me, this suggests that Amazon might be well advised to deliver an Echo device containing LTE connectivity (that might have simplified your recent wedding experience).

    When thinking about kindle EBR’s, beyond pricing and product positioning issues, the only defect that bothers me is the lack of color. There are books and magazines that I read which are just not suitable on monochrome kindles. I’m sure Amazon would point me to their fire tablets, but the display quality is not really there. The current Fire tablet family is really targeted at family video viewing use cases.

    However, if Amazon wishes to continue in the video consumption space, they are going to have to introduce a 4K video capable tablet. Such a device would probably satisfy my needs (my Fire HDX 8.9 is fine for this, but it has a warped screen, and I don’t know for how much longer it’s going to last).

    I can’t really see Amazon getting into the mixed reality space. I can’t see them offering any value added on the headset front, and the S/W infrastructure necessary for good mixed reality applications is quite complex. So far most mixed reality demos have focused on immersive video and gaming applications. I see the true benefit of mixed reality coming in more vertical market enterprise kinds of things. Also, the current H/W is too clumsy. We have a ways to go before we get to the cyberpunk nirvana of “jacking in” to V-space (:grin).

    BTW this post was the first for me that was helped along with the Grammarly browser extension.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Edward!

      Grammarly appears to have worked well…not that I’ve noticed you needing it in the past. 😉

      There are three main ways for Amazon to get involved in VAM (not just mixed and merged, but Virtual and Augmented:

      * Hardware: this doesn’t seem likely to me, but is possible. The current hardware is clunky, but won’t be within the next few years
      * Software: there are definitely opportunities here. One would be Alexa within VAM…Alexa on the Samsung Gear, Oculus, HTC Vive, that sort of thing. They also are partnering with interesting people who are already experienced in this
      * Content: I’ll be really surprised if I can’t watch Prime Video by the end of the year (or at least have a solid announcement). I want to read my Kindle books in VAM, but that may not happen as quickly…it needs a lot more innovation than simply adding video (Hulu and Netflix are already in VAM)

      Is ambient computing really a tranformation on something like the Echo? That’s an interesting question. Scoble and Israel

      (The Fourth Transformation

      suggests it is augmented reality and artificial intelligence (working together), and I think that’s likely (more than Virtual Reality, which for most people, will be for special occasions and industrial uses). VAM will transform ambient computing, when many people are perhaps not physically jacked into V-space, but also constantly in it. It will be a transformation when we don’t separate having it available and not, which we have now to some extent with our phones but not as much as we will.

      4K seems possible for Amazon…I think we’ll see a higher and lower end video device…and I think it’s likely before Wednesday, but that’s just a guess. 😉

      • Edward Boyhan Says:

        I’ve been sitting on my reply as I wanted to let things marinate a bit.
        First, you might as well give up on your own terminologies. I used the term Mixed Reality because that is what all the major industrial players have decided to call this stuff. For them, MR spans the gamut from full VR to AR. I know that a few players in the past (like Intel e.g.) have used MR to describe a specific set of technologies that fell in the middle between VR and AR, but as things are developing devices are coming to market that can do VR, AR, and all the points in between. The distinguishing characteristics will be determined more by infrastructure and application S/W rather than any specific H/W kit. Players have decided to use the MR moniker to avoid getting into pointless arguments as to whether something is VR, AR, or something else.
        I’m not really concerned with what might be “transformative” in the future a la Scoble et al, I’m just describing what the players are seeing as shorter-term developments (in the next year or so). Clearly, the smartphone is the definitive device that everyone must have, but we are reaching the limits that can be accomplished within that form factor.
        Ambient computing is a kind of device-less thing: you walk into a room (or environment) and start speaking (or gesturing), and the environment responds — no personal device required — the enabling technology is built into the infrastructure of the environment.
        Always connected computing is about putting cellular modems in non-phone form factors. For example, Microsoft will be talking about a 2-in-1 device on 10/31 in London that contains a global LTE modem — it will be able to connect to the net anywhere in the world via any carrier where there is cellular service. It contains a slot for a SIM card, but more importantly, it supports Embedded SIM (eSIM), which means as you travel around the world no longer do you have to buy geographic specific SIM’s (or buy international calling plans). You can go to Amazon, and buy as many eSIM’s as you need — they are enabled on your device via S/W.
        Neither of these are “big picture” transformative, but they are evolutionary attempts to move beyond the smartphone status quo.
        Mixed Reality is at a very early stage — most devices are clumsy kludges and are required to be tethered to provide power and processing (the few that don’t do this — Google Glass comes to mind are severely limited in what they can do).
        I’m not sure that intercepting the human sensorium can be done in any meaningful sense without direct biological interventions (and I won’t be the first to volunteer for that — nor will I be the last :grin).
        IMO MR will in the short term be confined to a few niche spaces like gaming, and certain vertical market applications. For example, the Cleveland Clinic and Case Western Reserve medical school are starting to teach students anatomy without the need of cadavers by using MR technology. Ford Motor Company is doing away with all their traditional modeling stuff for new car designs by using MR to let designers see what new body styles, etc. look like without having to build a life-sized model.
        Now that Amazon’s new devices have all been mostly announced, it’s clear that they are probably not yet ready to move into the 4K space.
        I did receive a new Fire HD10 on Friday, and I’ve (finally) setup my Echo Show. My next step is to compare Alexa on the Show with Alexa on the Fire HD10. I also ordered an Echo Spot which I’ll factor into that, but that’s not arriving till December 19th. I’ll comment on these elsewhere.

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, Edward!

        Well, it wouldn’t be the first time that an inaccurate term became the common one…I very often hear people still wondering if a phone call was “taped”, and people refer to “films”, despite no actual film stock being used. Virtual Reality is by definition not mixed. Mixed Reality is, well, “mixed”. Maybe you are seeing people who refer to Virtual Reality as Mixed Reality…I haven’t seen that much. My guess would be that more people call AR and Mixed or Merged Reality VR than the other way around. Merged, of course, is a flavor of VR.

        I suspect you might be a bit…influenced by how much you follow Microsoft…they use “Mixed Reality”, but Oculus uses it for something quite specific, I don’t think you’ll find HTC Vive using it, and PSVR again uses it as a specific term. I would consider them major players. A Google search found me 164,000,000 results for Virtual Reality…and 34,600,000 for Mixed Reality. Microsoft is certainly a prominent player, and people have started using the term they’ve used.

        I’ll keep making up my own terms, in part, because it’s fun. 🙂 I’m using VAM because it isn’t technology dependent and specific…if it catches on, great, if it doesn’t, I don’t have to be so careful in explaining whether it’s Mixed or Merged. 😉 That’s why you suggest people use the Mixed, but I don’t see the average person recognizing that term at this point, but they know the term Virtual Reality.

        Untethered auggies, besides the one I use every weekday, are about to become a much bigger thing. I agree that gaming may drive the tech, as it often does. There also will be corporate uses, as you mention…I have an experience for surgeries , and I’ve had surgeons tell me that it would be useful if they hadn’t done a particular surgery for a while. We’ll also see other therapeutic uses, including balance rehab. The killer app for me at this point is watching video, but social networking is another element. When AltSpaceVR floundered, Microsoft recently bought it.

        I still expect Amazon to make some big move into VAM, and I don’t think we’ve seen all the device announcements for the year…

        Great thoughts as always! I’m hoping you’ll contribute something to Because of the Kindle!

      • Edward Boyhan Says:

        Oh yes! “Because of the Kindle” is definitely on my todo list — but it’s taking a very long time to jell, and when I finally post it’ll probably be very long.
        A teaser: it will be in two parts: what the Kindle has meant to me personally, and what the Kindle has meant in the much wider sphere

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, Edward!

        Excellent! I’ve been getting some interesting responses, and two like that would be great! I was particularly hoping for your insight.

  3. Edward Boyhan Says:

    One aside that I forgot to mention has to do with cellular carriers.

    It’s not enough to just put an LTE chip in a device, you will need to have some business arrangement with your cellular carrier. Apple made a big deal with their new watch containing an LTE chip so that you don’t need an associated iPhone to get email and messaging notifications, etc. Lost in the noise is that carriers (ATT was mentioned) will be charging you an additional $10/month just to add the watch to your account (before any data usage charges that the watch might incur).

    On the mixed reality front, existing headset manufactures can add Alexa access, if they wish — there’s no need for Amazon to develop an Alexa-enabled headset (OTOH you could put on a Microsoft HoloLens, and ask Cortana to “Open Alexa” :D).

    Thus endeth Edward’s Amazon predictions for holiday 2017 :D.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Edward!

      There will be standalone VAM devices this year (no tether, no phone). Having LTE in the Echo Show would have made things a little better, but getting on the wi-fi was easy enough. The bigger issue was plugging into power…some sort of battery option, even if it only gave a half hour or an hour, would be really welcome. In this case, my sibling could have seen the ceremony, and then be plugged into power for the reception.

  4. Edward Boyhan Says:

    Sorry, one final aside. Most commentators have rightly seen the “always connected” LTE feature as a data play. A few, however, have pointed out that most current LTE chips also include full telephony capabilities. Thus, an Echo Show with an embedded LTE chip would provide calling capabilities beyond the puny ones currently on offer. We may also see tablets and PC’s that are capable of making phone calls.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Boyhan!

      Well, there are two ways to go here: more gadgets can get LTE access, or wi-fi can get better at making calls (which includes being more ubiquitous). We may see a combination of both. The Echo and Echo Show do quite well at making voice and videocalls without LTE…

      • Edward Boyhan Says:

        Historically, It has always been the case that Wi-Fi connections were about 10x faster than cellular connections, while Wi-Fi hotspots didn’t provide the coverage that cellular did. That is changing to the point where traditional cellular carriers like AT&T and Verizon are looking to piggyback on Wi-Fi to improve their cellular speeds and feeds.
        Cellular LTE is not the only way to make phone calls. Voice over IP has been around for years in things like SKYPE, but you have to pay a fee to call regular phones.
        At initial announcement, the Show could only call other Echo devices. With the latest spate of Echo announcements, calling regular (PSTN) phones is enabled — they even announced a device that connects to your landline RJ11 jack (should you still have such a thing :grin) — it turns your echo devices into a landline-connected speakerphone (sounds so 20th century :grin)

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, Edward!

        Yep, the speakerphone thing is going to be a small market…but it’s part of Alexa absolutely everywhere. 😉

      • Phink Says:

        A little company called Republic Wireless has done a great job at making WiFi calls available and overall the quality is good. I was a customer for a few months because at the time it was only $5 a month for WiFi only or $10 a month for WiFi and Cell calls. Those prices are only good on the older phones now. They raised their rates. Anyway, They developed the technology to seamlessly go from WiFi to cell or back without dropping the call, which evidently is hard to do. AT&T, as well as possibly others, are working on that as well. This could save wireless companies a lot of money if they can convince people to talk over WiFi signals.

        I left Republic for one reason only. I found out Cricket has 5 lines for $100 a month tax included so my wife and I went in with our adult son and his family and we each pay $20 a month per line. This is not an advertisement but simply wanted to explain why I left. The world is going to more WiFi calling I think although slowly.

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, Phink!

        Yes, seamless switching would be impressive! Typically, with wi-fi calling, the call can get dropped even when you go from one network to another.

  5. Lady Galaxy Says:

    I wish they’d make a grown ups version of the kid version for those of us vintage adults whose hands have grown clumsy due to age, arthritis, nerve damage, etc. Does anybody know if the kid versions of the Fire are grown up user friendly, or are they too locked down with built in parental controls. If I were to buy a kid version for myself, would I have to create a sock puppet kid and set myself up as the parent?

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Lady!

      You aren’t locked into Freetime on it, from what I understand. I’m sure you could set the levels however you want.

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