Archive for the ‘New models’ Category

New Fire tablet announced: and Alexa is coming to some older model Fires

September 9, 2016

New Fire tablet announced: and Alexa is coming to some older model Fires

Apple may not have announced a new iPad this week, but Amazon announced a new

All-New Fire HD 8 Tablet, 8″ HD Display, Wi-Fi, 16 GB – Includes Special Offers, Black (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

It can be pre-ordered now for release on September 21st.

It is new and improved…

  • The battery now lasts up to 12 hours
  • It has twice the storage…it comes in 16GB and 32GB models, and you can add an SD card for up to 200GB more
  • It has 1.5GB of RAM…50% more
  • It comes in your choice of four colors: black; tangerine; magenta; and blue
  • “Blue Shade”, which shifts the color spectrum of the Fire so it won’t tend to keep you awake at night, will now be able to automatically activate and deactivate based on local sunrise and sunset

Most importantly to me, Alexa is coming to this device…and some older Fire tablets! That’s the “parse-onality” of the Amazon Echo. I use Alexa every day on a variety of devices. It gives me information, plays music, and controls the lights in our house.

In this

press release

it says that Alexa will be coming to the following Fire models in the coming months:

all-new Fire HD 8, Fire HD 10, Fire and last year’s Fire HD 8 tablets

Where it says just “Fire” there, that’s the least expensive model.

This new model is $89.99 in the least expensive configuration (16GB, ad-supported). The “Fire” is $49.99.

I had said I thought Amazon would likely introduce new hardware…here it is. 🙂 There may be more coming…

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

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project! Do you have what it takes to be a Timeblazer?

* 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.

September is coming: what devices have been around the longest?

August 11, 2016

September is coming: what devices have been around the longest?

Next month,  September, is when Amazon has been doing a big hardware announcement.

There are often surprises, but I thought that taking a look at how long currently available new models have been available might give us a clue about what might be due for a refresh.

Entry level Kindle

All-New Kindle E-reader – Black, 6″ Glare-Free Touchscreen Display, Wi-Fi – Includes Special Offers (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

This was actually just updated this June (the big addition was Bluetooth audio…which I think is great). That makes it seem unlikely that we’ll get a new entry level Kindle EBR (E-Book Reader) in September…but you never know. 😉

Kindle Oasis

This came out in April of this year, and seems soon for a new model…unless they were to do a different size, which seems unlikely. I’m not linking to it because you still can’t buy it without an animal leather cover. Oh, and they could update it with Bluetooth audio.

Kindle Paperwhite

The 3rd

All-New Kindle Paperwhite, 6″ High-Resolution Display (300 ppi) with Built-in Light, Wi-Fi – Includes Special Offers (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

It’s been over a year since this was announced in June of 2015…and a refresh with Bluetooth seems likely to me.

Kindle Voyage

Kindle Voyage (any configuration) (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

came out in 2014…but I feel like it’s been replaced as the top of the line by the Oasis. I have one and I like it, but it feels a bit like the fifth wheel. I think entry level, Paperwhite, and Oasis is a good lineup.

Fire tablets

I’m addressing these a group…and there was an  update in fall of 2015. I expect an update of the Fire line…the least expensive one has been a big hit

Fire, 7″ Display, Wi-Fi, 8 GB – Includes Special Offers, Black (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

I think this is where we’ll see some real innovation. I think the iPad has lost some of its luster…there are a lot of tablets out there still, and the tablet isn’t an exploding market…but I think that benefits Amazon, which is sometimes seen as a utility player for hardware, when they enter existing markets.

Echo family

The

Echo Dot (at AmazonSmile*)

and

Amazon Tap (at AmazonSmile*)

were introduced in March of 2016…and I use both of mine every workday (and the Tap on weekends). Probably too soon to refresh those.

On the other hand, the original

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

has never been updated since it rolled out in 2014. It’s due.

Fire TV family

The

Fire TV Stick with Voice Remote (at AmazonSmile*)

Amazon Fire TV (at AmazonSmile*)

2nd generation was released at the end of last year, but I think we’ll see an update…this is a vibrant growing market, and Apple TV has challenged it with its most recent version.

Could we see something brand new? Sure!

My intuition is something new in home automation, connecting to the Alexa voice service. For example, I’d love it if Amazon introduced a widely compatible SmartHub. They could also do “AmazonBasics” for home automation lights, that kind of thing.

Could they do a watch? A Virtual Reality headset? A fitness tracker? Maybe…none of those feel really likely to me. I like the idea of a wearable audio player (for Prime Music, audiobooks, and text-to-speech) with no visual display, but that might just be me.

What do you think? Will we see new hardware announcements from Amazon in September 2016 ? If so, what do you think we’ll see? Feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.

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

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project! Do you have what it takes to be a Timeblazer?

* 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.

New Kindle with Bluetooth audio: first impressions

July 8, 2016

New Kindle with Bluetooth audio: first impressions

Wow!

That’s my first impression of the

All-New Kindle E-reader – Black, 6″ Glare-Free Touchscreen Display, Wi-Fi – Includes Special Offers (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

which was just released and arrived today.

It’s $79.99 right now with ad-support. I like the feel of it, even though the bevel (the area around the reading area) is going to seem big to some people.

The thing I wanted to know about right away, and tested, was the Bluetooth connectivity.

I connected it via Bluetooth to our

Amazon Tap (at AmazonSmile*)

The process was easy, even if not that intuitive (you had to hold the power button in for just so long, then put two fingers spread out on the screen).

Once it was set up (paired), voila!

It read a book to me, using text-to-speech.

Now, it’s important to note that this is working with “Voice View”…it’s also going to read out to you each button you touch, since it’s designed for those with print challenges. You hold and press a button for it to recognize it and tell you what it is, and then typically you double tap to make it happen. So, yes, it is more contacts for each action.

TTS on an EBR (or, um, from an EBR to a speaker), though? A very welcome return!

Once it was paired, it was very simple: any time I turn on Voice View, my Tap connects immediately and starts working. Turn it off, and the Tap disconnects. Note that the Voice View option is under Device Options in Settings, not under Reading Options (since it’s not just about reading, but all the menus).

The new Page Flip feature also works well.

This device doesn’t have a light, so that doesn’t match up to the Paperwhite…and when the Paperwhite gets Bluetooth (as I’m sure it will), that will overshadow (so to speak) this one.

This, though, is a great first hour!

I haven’t been able to test the TTS with an e-book where the publisher has blocked access…I don’t want to buy one of those, and the sample I tried for one didn’t have the access blocked, so I’m not sure.

I have more testing to do later (Is there a way to play an audiobook/music? Does it do immersion reading, where it lights up the words as I reads them?), but I wanted to share this with you right away.

I will say that the screen doesn’t seem as responsive as my Paperwhite or Voyage…but I did really like the package graphic. 🙂

Let me know if you have specific questions…I expect to explore it more this weekend.

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

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project! Do you have what it takes to be a Timeblazer?

* 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.

Good E-Reader: Amazon releasing color EBR perhaps this year

July 6, 2016

Good E-Reader: Amazon releasing color EBR perhaps this year

I am going to put this in the “strong rumor” category, even though it seems to come from one source:

Good E-Reader post by Michael Kozlowski

That’s because it’s a source I like who is writing with confidence.

According to the post, Amazon will likely release an 8″ color Kindle EBR (E-Book Reader…not a backlit tablet, like a Fire) utilizing Liquavista for the holidays this years.

There have been rumors about this almost since the Kindle was announced in November of 2007, and they picked up more when Amazon bought

Liquavista

in 2013 as related in this

Reuters article by Alistair Barr

So, does all this pent-up demand for a color Kindle mean guaranteed success?

Nope. 🙂

You see, since the Kindle was released, Amazon has also started selling

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

You can get a full color Fire tablet for less than the least expensive grayscale Kindle…about $30 less.

In fact, on the

Amazon devices bestseller list at time of writing (at AmazonSmile*)

the most popular Fire tablet is more popular than the most popular Kindle EBR, which is the

All-New Kindle Paperwhite, 6″ High-Resolution Display (300 ppi) with Built-in Light, Wi-Fi – Includes Special Offers (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

Those are both behind the

Fire TV Stick with Voice Remote (at AmazonSmile*) (#1)

and the

Amazon Echo (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) (#2)

The obvious question: why introduce a color EBR when you already have a color reading device?

Well, EBRs usually have some real advantages over backlit tablets, the two biggest ones being perhaps the much, much longer battery charge life and the ability to read it in bright sunlight. An EBR with equivalent colors to a backlit tablet, but with the performance capabilities of a Kindle, would be a big hit…provided the price was acceptable to consumers.

Aye, there’s the rub!

The ability to produce some sort of color EBR has been around for years, but nobody has done it successfully in the market.

I would buy it, partially to be able to write about it for you…but I’d also be curious about it myself!  I’m looking forward to getting the

All-New Kindle E-reader – Black, 6″ Glare-Free Touchscreen Display, Wi-Fi – Includes Special Offers (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

which has audio via Bluetooth, restoring text-to-speech to a current model Amazon EBR. I’m expecting to write about it before Monday (should be in my hands Friday). I’m assuming new models will have that capability as well.

I haven’t bought the Oasis, because you can’t buy it without an animal leather cover at this point, as I wrote about here:

My biggest disappointment with Amazon to date

I would otherwise, despite the relatively high cost.

The Oasis is number #41 on the Amazon devices list…it had done well initially, but it looks like demand might have slackened. It’s possible that the market for a nearly $300 EBR just wasn’t that big.

That’s going to be the key for a new color Kindle, if Amazon does introduce one: the price.

If the color Kindle is close to an equivalent grayscale Kindle, I think people will pay the difference for the most part. If not…

What is “close to” specifically? I thought I’d get a sense of that from you. In this poll, assume everything else is pretty much the same (including battery charge life, which would be quite a technical accomplishment).

Again, this is only a rumor. However, Good E-Reader is more tied into the European market than I am, and Liquavista was a Dutch company, so they could have good sources on this. My intuition is that they are probably right, although not necessarily this year (even though that would be good timing, and seems more probable than waiting for next year).

What do you think? Would you care about a color EBR? What makes that attractive to you? What if the color was muted compared to a Fire tablet? What if it cut battery charge life down to, oh, a week (at an hour reading a day)? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

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

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project! Do you have what it takes to be a Timeblazer?

* 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.

 

New Kindle EBR with text-to-speech via Bluetooth!

June 23, 2016

New Kindle EBR with text-to-speech via Bluetooth!

Big, big news!

Amazon has introduced a new EBR (E-Book Reader…not a backlit tablet) which can do TTS (text-to-speech) via Bluetooth!

All-New Kindle E-reader – Black, 6″ Glare-Free Touchscreen Display, Wi-Fi – Includes Special Offers (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

This is extraordinarily good news, as far as I am concerned.

Text-to-speech (software which reads a book out loud to you) has been a big part of my life since it was introduced to the Kindle line with the Kindle 2. I typically listen to it for hours in a week in the car. I actually prefer it to audiobooks (recorded versions of a book, usually read by an actor or the author)…I don’t like the narrator interpreting the characters for me, unless I’ve already read the book, in which case it is like seeing a movie.

This is the new “entry level” Kindle: $79.99 with Special Offers, $99.99 without them.

Yes, you’ll need a Bluetooth speaker of some kind to hear the audio (which also includes navigation audio), but I have plenty of those…even in the car.

It’s a game changer.

Well, honestly, I’ll probably still be using my now discontinued Kindle Fire HDX in the car…I use it for other things, and I don’t want to carry an EBR and a tablet with me to work (although I do bring my Amazon Tap Echo device in my laptop case).

Other stats are also good on this: it’s thinner, lighter, and comes in black or white.

It does not have the frontlighting of the Paperwhite, Voyage, or Oasis.

The screen sharpness isn’t as good as those other models either, but this is a good workhorse: great for a guest Kindle, for example.

I would have bought an Oasis, but Amazon will not sell it without an animal leather cover (at least, that was the case the last time I asked them), and I don’t use leather.

It’s possible this Bluetooth TTS will come to the Oasis, by the way.

I think this will be a popular model, although if you don’t care about the text-to-speech, I wouldn’t say that you need to upgrade from the previous version.

Here’s the

User Guide

You can pre-order now for July 7th delivery (I have). 🙂

Nice to see Amazon still innovating on EBRs! They are also answering a concern people have had who want a non-backlit reading device and TTS: thanks, Amazon!

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

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

* 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.

Kindle Oasis is available for preorder for April 27

April 13, 2016

Kindle Oasis is available for preorder for April 27

Update: I posted this earlier today in a somewhat fragmentary manner, due to some technical issues (dead Fire Phone, flat tire in one car, and the other car was already in the shop). I’m going to clean it up, and add a bit more.

First, here is a link to the User’s Guide:

https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/customerdocumentation/EW/Kindle+Oasis+Users+Guide+-+en_US.pdf

I haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but that will answer a lot of questions.

Second, I generally would be surprised if this is a big hit and becomes the most popular Kindle EBR (E-Book Reader) model. Amazon doesn’t have a great track record with luxury versions. The Fire Phone was a flop (although I had one for some time), and was introduced at about $200. The original large screen Kindle was never the most popular, although that had some other factors. The Voyage hasn’t been as popular as the Paperwhite.

If you want 3G+Wi-Fi, no ads, and a wall charger (which is not included), it costs just about $400! That’s a lot of money for an EBR…and you can get an entry level Fire each for all nine members of a baseball team for that price! Oh, I’m assuming you can still get the six-pack for $250 when I say that.

I’m sure some people will buy it and be happy with it…but I don’t see revolutionary features.

Sorry this will not be a very fancy post at this point. I am sitting in my car with a flat tire. 🙂 My Fire Phone also died yesterday, so that is complicating things.

I wanted you to know though that the Kindle oasis has been released for pre-order today. Here is the press release

http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20160413005921/en/

It does appear to be what was leaked yesterday. If the only choice is to get it with a leather cover, I will not be getting it.

Update:

I did get a response from Kindle customer service quite quickly, which I appreciate. Due to this situation, I will not be ordering the Kindle Oasis. I have informed Amazon of that fact.

Hello,
Thank you for you interest in purchasing a Kindle Oasis.
I’ve researched and see the Kindle Oasis device comes with leather cover. I’d like to inform you that we have included leather charging cover to boosts battery to last months. Unfortunately, we are unable to ship Kindle Oasis device without the leather cover.
As you don’t use animal leather, I’d suggest you to order the Kindle Oasis device and remove the leather cover once you receive the device.

Please visit the below link to order Kindle Oasis:
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00REQKWGA

I’ve checked and see at this time, the option to purchase Kindle Oasis without leather cover isn’t currently available. Although this option isn’t available, I’m forwarding your comments as a feedback to our Kindle team who’ll review your comments very carefully as we continue to plan further improvements to your Kindle experience.
I’ve let the Kindle team know that you don’t use animal leather and always prefer to order Kindle device without leather cover. I have requested the Kindle team to offer this Kindle device without leather cover. They are looking for ways to improve our service and maybe able to introduce this feature soon in future.

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

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

*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.

“Leaked” new Kindle?

April 12, 2016

“Leaked” new Kindle?

In a very unusual move last week, Jeff Bezos tweeted that a new Kindle was coming this week. How rare? It was only the Amazon CEO’s (Chief Executive Officer’s) 32nd tweet since joining Twitter…in 2008 (the year following the end of the year release of the first Kindle). I wrote about it here:

Jeff Bezos tweets: 8th gen Kindle being announced next week

Now, according to this

Business Insider post with pictures by Eugene Kim

the Kindle has been leaked on Amazon’s Chinese-localized website (and then was removed).

This

Reddit thread

has supposed translations…and says that the Amazon Canadian site also leaked it in a comparison table.

First, do I think this is real?

I think that’s very likely. It’s not unbelievable that something gets released early…that happens sometimes, especially when international datelines and time zones can be involved in a global company.

I figure we’ll know for sure today or tomorrow. When I managed a brick-and-mortar bookstore, Tuesday was the big release day. Hypothetically, the stores would get messed up over the weekend (which you would have to straighten), and you’d get a bunch of deliveries on Monday (since they couldn’t be delivered on Sunday), so you’d be too busy to pay much attention to new releases.

If these images and translations are reasonably accurate…

The biggest change for most people would be the shape of the device…it’s a wedge, thicker on one side than the other. While people are reporting this as revolutionary, it would be of a return to the 1st gen model, which was also a wedge. I do think having a thicker side to sit in the middle of your palm makes it easier to hold.

It reportedly has Voyage-level pixels.

It reportedly has both a touchscreen and buttons.

Interestingly for me as an ambidexter (“both handed”, rather than right or left), it supposedly rotates the image 180 degrees, so you could flip it (it’s supposed to do it automatically, like a tablet) to use the buttons on either side.

It also is supposed to have more frontlights, which would make the screen perhaps more evenly lit.

Looks like both Wi-Fi and 3G, although it’s possible there would be a Wi-Fi only model as well (the “leak” only shows one model…there could be several).

The big talk is about the “rechargeable” cover. It would attach with magnets, and could give you months of battery life.

If the cover is the big draw, and if the “leak” is correct, I’ll be disappointed. Supposedly, there are three colors of cover…but they are all “real” leather.

Like some other people (admittedly, a small minority), I don’t use leather. I wouldn’t buy a leather cover, so that would let me out of that benefit.

Here are some things which are NOT mentioned (although even if this is real, that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t happen):

  • No mention of water resistance
  • No mention of audio…so no text-to-speech
  • No mention of processor speed or more/expandable on-board storage
  • No mention of solar-charging (which was rumored)
  • No price (well, the Canadian site reportedly said $999.99, but that would likely be just a placeholder price)

This would be buzzy, but I think price would have lot to do with how much it would sell.

One more thing: I saw a date of April 14th mentioned. That could make it Wednesday in the USA for pre-orders…which could possibly mean an announcement today.

Oh, and the name I’m seeing mentioned is the “Kindle Oasis”…although it’s unclear to me if that’s the name for the device or the cover. It makes sense for the case…it would be a way to get a “drink of battery charge” in possibly a charging desert, such as when camping.

I’m likely to buy one, to have one to write about for you. Again, though, I wouldn’t buy the cover if it is leather.

What if you don’t buy one?

A new hardware model often means new service enhancements. It could be that the enhancements don’t come to older models right away, but often come to at least the most recent models within a few months.

I’ll be interested to see what actually gets announced, and I expect to write about it when it does. 🙂

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

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

*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.

 

Jeff Bezos tweets: 8th gen Kindle being announced next week

April 5, 2016

Jeff Bezos tweets: 8th gen Kindle being announced next week

As I reported yesterday, Amazon is offering Prime members big discounts on their current Kindle EBRs (Kindle E-Book Readers):

Those are great prices! The Voyage, in particular, has rarely been discounted. This says it is for a limited time.

One of my regular readers, Robert Anderson, speculated that it might mean new models were coming.

I was ready to write a reply explaining that, while discounts can precede a new model release, the majority of the time they don’t. Amazon isn’t likely to need to clear out warehouse space for a new model, and it can be just as effective for them to discount it after a new model is released. I would have been technically correct…but Robert’s intuition was born out with this

Jeff Bezos tweet

It says that a new, top of the line Kindle is, “almost ready”.

It was amusing to me that people immediately responded to the Amazon CEO (Chief Executive Officer) with features they would like to see…I’m afraid that the design and development process takes more than a few days. 🙂

Hopefully, people have regularly been suggesting to Amazon what they would like to see in later Kindle models. You can e-mail

kindle-feedback@amazon.com

That said, there’s nothing wrong with speculating about what we might see or what you would want to see. 🙂

For me, the biggest thing is not what we might see, but what  we might hear. 😉 Regular readers won’t be surprised to learn that I’m talking about text-to-speech (TTS). TTS is software which reads a book (or other item with text) out loud to you.

I use it for hours a week in the car, although I currently do it with my now discontinued Kindle Fire HDX. Amazon killed all audio in EBRs some time back…and I regularly see comments from people who miss it.

So, I do think that’s a possibility. I’ve seen a speculation that the new device might have Bluetooth…what would the purpose of Bluetooth (short range paired wireless connection between devices) do on an EBR if not connect audio? I suppose it could be for file transfer  between devices, but that would really upend the current model of keying a file for a specific device.

There are a couple of other features which I would see as possible.

In my annual predictive/speculative post

The Year Ahead 2016

I figured that a water resistant Kindle was likely, since that is playing catch up with competitors. That seems probable. By the way, I also suggested that the Supreme Court would decline to hear the Apple case, resulting in an effective loss, and that Amazon would shutter Shelfari…both have happened. 🙂 Knock virtual wood, no guarantee for anything else I said in that post.

The other big thing (and there is speculation about that), is that Amazon would finally introduce a Liquivista screen. Amazon announced they were buying the company back in 2013. It would be a way for us to have color on non-backlit screen.

Interestingly,

Liquavista

is hiring right now, which suggests a business expansion.

Generally, Amazon has done better with affordable models rather than top of the line…but a color EBR might be considered a new type of device, and Amazon has made that work (the Kindle wasn’t the first EBR in the USA, but was different enough ((especially with its wireless connection)) to perhaps be considered a different device). The Amazon Echo (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) appears to be an  unqualified success, for example, and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed my first day out with my new Alexa Tap (at AmazonSmile*) yesterday (I’ll write about that in my The Measured Circle blog within the next few days).

Could this mean more than just a top of the line model? Could the entire line be refreshed?

Yes, that’s possible.

As I noted in

Kindle and Fire Generations

“generations” are different from models.

All three of the current Kindle EBRs are 7th generation…the 3rd Paperwhite, the touch screen least expensive version, and the current Voyage all have basically the same software.

Generations are based on software, not just hardware, really.

That also means we could see improvements to the Kindle service.

We just had a big interface update to Kindle EBRs, so I’m not sure how much we’ll see on the devices themselves. We might see a lot more at the Manage Your Content and Devices page…I’m hoping we would get much better content management (being able to see which book is currently on which device, for example).

The Alexa Voice Service doesn’t need direct connection to individual devices, generally. It can read a book to me based on the Cloud, not on where it is on my Voyage or Paperwhite. I suppose it could have better knowledge and purchasing. For example, I might be able to say, “Alexa, how much time is left in The Martian on Proteus?”

We’ll have a better idea on all of this next week. 😉

One more thing: some of the first comments to Jeff came from people upset because they just bought a Kindle EBR.

I never quite understand that.

If your device was a good buy before, it’s a good buy now. 🙂 Just because someone else might get something with more features, that doesn’t affect what features you have.

If you are within thirty days of purchase from Amazon, typically, you can return your Kindle for a refund. If it was performing as advertised, you would be expected to pay the return shipping, which should be no more than a couple of dollars.

What do you think? Are you ready for a new model? What features would you like to see? What  would be enough to induce you to upgrade? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

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

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

*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.

New! Fire HD 8 Reader’s Edition (available for pre-order)

December 7, 2015

New! Fire HD 8 Reader’s Edition (available for pre-order)

Amazon just announced a new choice (shipping December 9th):

Fire HD 8 Reader’s Edition (Fire HD 8 Reader’s Edition)

They sent me this

press release

They list it as part of a bundle, but it’s not a bundle I would buy (it includes a leather cover, and I don’t use leather). However, I tested it: I put the bundle into my cart, and then I could delete the cover from the cart.

The tablet is $149.99.

A year’s membership in

Kindle Unlimited (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

(Amazon’s subser…subscription service. I’ve been a happy member since it started) is listed at $119.88.

That leather cover is listed at $79.99.

The total of those is $349.86.

The bundle is $249.99, so that’s just about a $100 savings.

The big new feature they mention is “Blue Shade” (no relation to Zoolander’s “Blue Steel”,  I assume). 😉 We had a big discussion about this recently, in the comments to this post:

Scientific study compares bedtime reading risk from iPad, iPhone, PW1

One of my readers, Dr. Alan Church, was  kind enough to share expertise on the impact of blue light on sleep.

This new feature claims (in what I considerable to be plausible terms) to switch out the blue, so that your device won’t tend to disrupt your sleep patterns.

That feature by itself will get some people to buy this model.

I think, based on a careful reading of the press release, that it will come to all of the Fire OS 5 Fire tablets (and possibly the now discontinued Fire Phone, which is my daily use personal phone). The press release says:

“…an exclusive Fire OS “Bellini” feature…”

There’s no Amazon Help Page on it yet, but my guess is that it will come to the other models (running Fire OS 5…and that list will increase with updates to some older models) pretty quickly…perhaps after the first flush of sales for the “Reader’s Edition”, maybe even sooner.

I checked my

Fire, 7″ Display, Wi-Fi, 8 GB – Includes Special Offers, Black (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

It’s not on there yet. 🙂

As I mentioned, they list this tablet at $149.99…and the current version of the

Fire HD 8, 8″ HD Display, Wi-Fi, 8 GB – Includes Special Offers, Black (at AmazonSmile*)

is $20 less than that right now at $129.99.

That’s not necessarily because of the new model: there are other Amazon devices on sale right now for the holidays:

It’s definitely a time of year to get good deals!

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! :) 

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.

 

 

A brand new (May)day…a big change for Amazon’s “greatest feature”

October 2, 2015

A brand new (May)day…a big change for Amazon’s “greatest feature”

I have repeatedly lauded Amazon’s Mayday feature, introduced with the 2013 Kindle Fire tablets. For example, I said:

“There has never been an easier way to get Customer Service…”

I know something about that.

I was a manager of a brick-and-mortar bookstore, and of course, there is a lot of Customer Service involved in the success or failure of a physical store.

More relevant here is that, in my job, I take phone calls from users on a help line (I do that maybe one day a week). I can remote into their computers so I can see what they are doing, and I can (with their permission) take over the computer so I can do things for them.

I do it with PC Anywhere, although we are testing another choice.

It can also be done to some extent with Webex, and I have done that.

I’m primarily a trainer, and sure, most of the time I want to train somebody how to do something themselves. However, in some cases it’s just a configuration thing which has to be changed only once, so it doesn’t make sense to teach the caller how to do it when they are in the middle of a mission critical operation. It’s better to just fix it in a case like that.

Sometimes, also, I don’t know what the answer is right away. I may need to do some trial and error to find the solution. Directing someone to perform the steps which fail is counterproductive for them learning how to do something. It’s better that I figure it out, and then either fix it or explain it to them.

Amazon made an amazing step forward with almost instant onscreen help at the touch of a button…and they promoted it heavily. There were many commercials, and Amazon CEO (Chief Executive Officer) Jeff Bezos called it the “…greatest feature we’ve ever made…” in this

The Verge post by Joshua Topolsky

Check out the original Mayday

press release

I have said that it is the reason to buy a Fire tablet rather than another company’s tablet…even if the other tablet might have better specs. That’s especially true for people who aren’t techies. You could give a Fire tablet to someone who doesn’t know how to send an e-mail. That person could just tap a button (it’s not hard to do), and a helpful rep could appear on the screen…and even start the e-mail.

I’ve used it several times: even being very techie, I’ve found it useful. I joked about it here:

“Mayday? I’m bored…”

Well…

Karen, one of my regular readers and commenters, recently got one of the newest generation of Fire tablets, which I wrote about here:

Amazon hardware announcements! $50 tablet, 10″ tablet, Fire TV 2

I’ve ordered one, but it’s not here yet.

Karen is an experienced Fire tablet user, and looked for Mayday…and couldn’t find it.

Usually, you just swipe down from the top, and there it is.

Karen went to an earlier gen Fire tablet, and asked the Mayday function on that tablet where it was on the new one. 🙂

Karen reported being told basically that it wasn’t on the new tablet.

Yet, the tablet’s Amazon product page

Fire HD 8, 8″ HD Display, Wi-Fi, 8 GB – Includes Special Offers, Black (at AmazonSmile:benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

says it does have Mayday**.

So, I asked Amazon.

I was told that it’s different on the new tablets. You don’t evoke Mayday directly from the tablet (so in that sense, the Mayday rep on the older tablet was right).

I was told that when customers call Kindle Support, then they can have screen sharing assistance.

That sounds like something I wrote about earlier this year:

Amazon experimenting with “co-pilot” help function

I thought co-pilot was going to be an option for people on a computer…an enhancement to doing a typical Kindle Support call (which are already great, in my opinion).

That is a very, very different  experience from what we have had on Mayday.

If I’m understanding this correctly (and I’ve asked for clarification), these are the two scenarios:

Previous generation Mayday: puzzled customer swipes down from the top on the tablet, taps the Mayday button, gives permission with a tap, and a live person appears in a video window on the tablet to help.

New generation:  puzzled customer looks for help on the tablet. Puzzled customer finds a link to help on the tablet. Puzzled customer then gets SmartPhone (or landline phone) and calls Kindle Service. Now, communicating on the phone, representative somehow gets permission to screenshare. I’m guessing that whole process is not going to make the fifteen second response time goal set originally for Mayday. 😉

I’ve asked Amazon these questions:

Can the representative control the device, or is the customer just sharing the screen?

How does the customer give permission for the sharing? I know Amazon had been testing a “co-pilot” type option before.

Does the representative have any “presence” on the device? Is there a video window? Is there audio on the device of the representative? Or is the human to human communication all done over the phone?

Will Mayday as we know it, with the video window, still be available on the older models which have it for now?

I’ll let you know what I hear back, and I do expect to hear back. I think, and surveys tend to bear it out, that Amazon has terrific Customer Service.

If it does turn out that initiating Mayday from the tablets is gone in the new gen, that feels like a big step backwards for customers. It might have been essentially unavoidable: Mayday always seemed like it had to be quite expensive. Yes, access to the device could save some real time (it does in my job), but having live people available 24/7 to  do that isn’t cheap.

Some Customer Service reps on Mayday did seem a bit uncomfortable being on screen, and there were some technical issues (especially with hearing the person).

Regardless, it was amazing…but perhaps too good to last?

I’ll keep you informed.

Thanks, Karen!

UPDATE: I did hear back from Amazon…they are really good at that. 🙂 I was given permission to share this response:

” A Mayday Screen Sharing session does not include any video chat. We can see only your screen, unless the camera is activated for troubleshooting purposes. 

– The associate can remotely access the Fire or Fire HD to provide tech support. 

– Associates will always ask for permission before they view areas of devices that contain personal information (email, photos, or personal videos). Agents only see what’s displayed on the screen.

– The Mayday button where a Customer Service associate appears on your screen is only available on Kindle Fire HDX (3rd Generation), Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 (3rd Generation), Fire Phone, and Fire HDX 8.9 (4th Generation) devices.”

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! :) 

** What it says specifically is that is has “…On-device Mayday Screen Sharing”. I may be significant that “Screen Sharing” is capitalized…making it a named variant to what we’ve known before as simply “Mayday”

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.


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