Archive for the ‘New models’ Category

Echo Show: first impressions

June 29, 2017

Echo Show: first impressions

Well, our

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

is here!

There’s no question that when you set it up, it’s a cool…thing. 🙂 I say that, because it isn’t really obvious what it is at first. It’s sort of like the first Kindle back in 2007, or I suppose a television set in 1948. It does something for sure, and it’s clear that something is futuristic and pretty unprecedented…but just how you’ll use it, and how it will fit into your life, is a bit of a mystery. You have no doubt that it will fit into it, even become important…but for now, the right reaction seems to be a half smile and bemusement.

Let’s back up a little, and talk about unboxing it and setting it up.

I had been very impressed when our Dash Wand arrived…the packaging was great! I was hoping for a repeat of that, but it take me some effort to get it out of the box. There was a slip cover that didn’t want to slip off (and I didn’t want to tear it), and several pieces of tape to remove. No big deal, but not the exemplary experience of the Wand.

Out of the box, it was simple. Just plug it in, and follow the instructions. It does have a touchscreen and as far as I could tell, I did have to use it…Alexa does most of her processing in the cloud, so I’m sure it needs to be connected before it can carry on a conversation. I did have to enter my wi-fi password: nowadays, Amazon devices generally already know mine, so I don’t have to do that…I think it may not have known who I was until we were into the set up, but then I feel like it should have been able to do my password. Oh, and it needed to update the software before it would work…that took maybe fifteen minutes.

It’s shape is kind of a wedge…not entirely unlike the original Kindle, but it makes sense for this to be able to stand up easily. Unfortunately, that does mean that when you turn on the video monitor, it may not show you someone sitting on the couch, for example, depending on where it is…you might see the above them instead.

The video display area is about the size of a 7″ tablet, like a Kindle Fire…then there are maybe four inches of non-display below that. The whole thing would be about the right size to be a trivet for a salad plate. It’s not very deep, but you couldn’t really hang it on a wall.

The screen quality looked great to me! The colors in the introductory video were nicely muted, but vibrant colors were clearly possible. The sound is good, and can get quite loud.

The screen has a background picture, and then rotates through useful information, like what is on my calendar and the weather, as well as some news.

It understood me pretty much like an original Echo. I did ask it to show me “otter videos” and it came up with “odd or videos”, which believe me, weren’t the same thing. 😉

The only “ad” I saw was a suggestion that I get Amazon’s unlimited music package, which I don’t want at this point.

When I asked it who an actor was, it did show me a picture of the actor. I asked for Brussels sprouts recipes, and it could show me a video. When selecting from choices, you can say a number.

I asked it to take a picture, and it did, and then uploaded it to Prime videos. There were several modes for that.

I did the “drop in” thing from the Alexa app on my phone to the Show in the same room. Unfortunately, that created quite a bit of feedback…and I had to say a few different things to get it to stop. Drop in is just a way to initiate a call (a videocall, in this case), and have no action necessary on the other end for it to start. I could have stopped the video, if I wanted to do that. However, if I want to see our dogs during the day (and if I can get it to show them how low they will be), that would work well.

It could control our lights, shows us the weather, and so on, just like our Echo, Echo Dot, and Echo Tap.

I’ve been trying it for about an hour or so, and my first impression? Clearly, it’s going to be important. It’s also going to get a lot better than it is now, but it’s already a good thing. It’s a bit like being told you have a super power, but not knowing how to use it. 😉

I’ll work with it more tomorrow, so I’ll have more to say. In the mean time, here’s the

Amazon Echo Show help pages (at AmazonSmile*)

This is what’s there:

LEARN MORE

Let me and my readers know if you have specific questions, or tips and tricks (or just thoughts) you want to share by commenting on this post.

Important update: I’ve add a new

Things to do and things to know about the Amazon Echo Show page

and yes, that’s intended to be a little rhyme. 😉

I’m just going to throw factoids in there, and encourage you to comment on it with things you would suggest should be added (and once I’ve approved them, they can be seen as comments whether or not I add them to the page. I will review them, because I do get spam comments on this blog). I’ve barely started it, but my guess is that I’ll have more than 100 in there before the end of the weekend. Probably most useful when searched, however you are able to search a webpage on your device.

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 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! :) 

Amazon Dash Wand: first impressions

June 17, 2017

Amazon Dash Wand: first impressions

Well, that got here quickly!

I just wrote yesterday about the

Least expensive Alexa hardware so far: Amazon Dash Wand…free (sort of) for Prime members

and it arrived today!

It feels fully baked…I was impressed with the execution! Some Amazon hardware has seemed like it was rushed to market, but not the ADW.

The packaging was great: elegant, and clear. They don’t tell you this on the product page (that could have used work), but it comes with the batteries you need.

Putting the batteries in was simple. Setting it up was really simple! I didn’t need to download an app, just go to a website on my phone. I didn’t even have to enter a wi-fi password, since Amazon is storing those for me. I also didn’t have to put in a username and password (my phone already knows that…maybe this works because I have the Amazon shopping app on my phone).

I checked: it wouldn’t read me a Kindle book. It did answer weather questions and the time…and it does sound much better than our

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

You hold down a button to talk to it, or to scan.

Interestingly, it didn’t find something when we asked for it…it even told us that Amazon didn’t have the one we had ordered before (which impressed me…that it said we had ordered it before).

However, when I scanned it, it did show up in our cart!

At this point, there is a tweak I would make. It didn’t tell me that something had been successfully scanned…it wouldn’t have to do that with words, just a reassuring tone would work.

The magnet to put it on the fridge seemed to have the right amount of strength. It also comes with a hook, so you could hang it.

This would work well as a guest device…our Tap could work for that, too, but this is quite elegant. They could pick up the wand and ask Alexa to turn on the light. 🙂 That did work, by the way. I should say that it seemed to take longer to think than our Echo devices, but it wasn’t bad.

My verdict at this point: I think it’s a winner! 😉

One other quick note: Amazon may be buying Whole Foods…

What do you think? 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 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! :) 

 

Least expensive Alexa hardware so far: Amazon Dash Wand…free (sort of) for Prime members

June 15, 2017

Least expensive Alexa hardware so far: Amazon Dash Wand…free (sort of) for Prime members

I want Alexa everywhere!

Amazon’s digital assistant is like Iron Man’s Jarvis…and it does more and better than the original Star Trek’s computer on the Enterprise.

Well, on the latter, the computer’s abilities weren’t always the same…but it took quite a while to look up something (and we could hear relays closing), and it couldn’t interact with the ship much. If it could, Kirk would be saying, “Computer, fire photon torpedoes”…or perhaps, “Computer, open ‘Battle Time’ skill!” and letting it manage everything. Oh, wait, they tried that…right, Dr. Daystrom? 😉

I have it on our Echoes (Dot and original). I have it on my Tap I take to work. I have it on our Fire TV and Fire TV Stick. I have it on my Galaxy S7 (as part of the Amazon shopping app) and my work iPhone (again, through the app).

When I don’t have Alexa available, I know it…sometimes, I really want to ask Alexa something, even when that’s not an option.

You can get Alexa for free (if you own a compatible SmartPhone with that shopping app), but the least expensive hardware option from Amazon to date has been the

Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote | Streaming Media Player (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

for $39.99, although the

Echo Dot (at AmazonSmile*)

currently matches that price, because of a

Big sale on some Kindles and Echoes

Amazon just introducde a $20 option…and

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

members get a limited $20 credit when they purchase some things, so it’s cost neutral. Details on that here:

For a limited time, receive a $20 promotional credit when you register your Amazon Dash Wand with your Amazon Prime account (at AmazonSmile*)

Now, this isn’t part of the Echo family: it explicitly says it won’t play music.

I’m checking to see if it will read text-to-speech enabled Kindle books: I can see it as a handy bedside item.

That’s not what it’s designed to do, though: it’s designed for shopping. You can magnetically stick it to your refrigerator (the Echo voice remote used to (and may still…I’ll have to check) come with a magnetic cradle, but this is magnetic itself).

You can ask it to order things for you…and it can also scan barcodes to order things. That’s one of the big things for Artificial Intelligence in the future: how can it sense the world? For years, we’ve been the sensory apparatus for our computers…we would have to tell them what was going on in the real world, from punch cards to keyboards to mice to touch. That’s sort of like our relationship to dogs. 😉 Dogs have better sensory apparatus, and we do more of the cognitive work. AI/computers can do some specific types of “mental activity” better than we can (recall of specific data, but increasingly, predictive tasks and other things…an AI just got a perfect score on Ms. Pac-Man, something no human had done before), but most are pretty limited on the kinds of generalized perception humans can do. While we can’t smell things like a dog or use echolocation like a dolphin (although some humans have shown they can use it to some extent), we actually see and hear pretty well…and process the data very efficiently (if imperfectly).

The ADW (Amazon Dash Wand) has an “eye” for scanning.

It will do some Alexa tasks: it will answer questions and control your smart home. By the way, if it really sounds like it does in the video on the product page, it’s much better than the Dot.

Now, I do have to say: the product page is sorely lacking. I’m asking questions, but for example, it doesn’t list what powers it. Is it a replaceable battery? Do you charge it? On another topic, can it Bluetooth (I don’t think so)?

You also get 3 months of a normally $14.99 a month Amazon Fresh membership…I’ll have to see if that is automatic renewal or not.

Overall, it’s a very intriguing item, and I am ordering one.

Update: here is the direct link Amazon Dash Wand (a href=”https://smile.amazon.com/Amazon-Dash-Wand-With-Alexa/dp/B01MQMJFDK/ref=sr_1_3_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1497534770&sr=8-3&keywords=amazon+dash+wand”>at AmazonSmile*)

What do you think? Are you going to get one? If you are not a Prime member, would you pay for it? 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 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! :) 

Just breaking: Fire tablet line revamped with Alexa, and 20% off mix and match 3 pack

May 17, 2017

Just breaking: Fire tablet line revamped with Alexa, and 20% off mix and match 3 pack

Amazon just sent me a press release announcing a revamp of the

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

and an introductory deal.

press release

The deal is by using the code

FIRE3PACK

for any three…you could get two of the kids’ editions and an 8″, for example, and get 20% off. You could get three of the entry level $49.99, and instead of paying $149.97, you’d pay $119.98 (based on my rounding and without tax and possible shipping and in the USA buying from Amazon.com).

The deal ends June 6th, and here are the details on the discount:

Terms and Conditions (at AmazonSmile*)

Oh, and here’s a press release with multimedia:

http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20170517005706/en/

I need to look over the product details more, but thinner, lighter, better battery life and wi-fi connectivity, better screen, yada yada 😉 and the same price point for the least expensive model.

The 10″ is not mentioned.

Here’s something I think is key:

Amazon is now making Alexa not just a way to get to content, but a way to manage our lives and to connect with human beings.

It seems quite likely we’ll be able to do videocalls through Alexa Calling on these devices (even if not right away).

Frequently Asked Kindle Questions: Alexa Calling edition

If that’s the case, and if that’s how we routinely communicate with loved ones (Significant Others, grandkids, grandparents, and so on), having an inexpensive, portable way to do that becomes very important.

If Alexa runs my car, feeds by pets, does my shopping lists, manages my calendar…I’ll want access to it everywhere, which will increase considerably the demand for tablets. Videocalling, I think, is one of those things that can push people (especially those with even minor vision challenges) to tablets over phones (besides the cost difference, of course).

Virtual/Augmented reality headsets, especially ones you can almost forget you are wearing, have a few years (probably five) before they overtake phones even for the technically comfortable, so there is time to do this with tablets. I do still expect Amazon to make a big VAM (Virtual/Augmented/Mixed/Merged Reality) play this year, though. 😉

What do you think? Some of my readers are really good at parsing these press releases and tech specs…feel free to let me and my readers know what you’ve found or what questions you have by commenting on this post.


My current Amazon Giveaways

LAST DAY TO ENTER!

One Murder More (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

the award-winning, highly-rated mystery by my sibling, Kris Calvin!

Giveaway: https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/398897583537603c

  • Winner:Randomly selected after Giveaway has ended, up to 1 winners.
  • Requirements for participation:
  • Resident of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia
  • 18+ years of age (or legal age)
  • Follow Kris Calvin on Amazon (to my knowledge, all that you’ll get is a notification when Kris publishes a new book in the Kindle store, although I don’t know that for sure…that’s all I’ve ever seen for authors I follow, I think. Kris is working on the second book in the Maren Kane mystery series.

Start:May 10, 2017 7:44 AM PDT
End:May 17, 2017 11:59 PM PDT

Thanks to the hundreds of people who have entered my previous giveaways for a chance to win Kris’ book! I don’t benefit directly from Kris’ book, although we have had a lot of conversations about it. 🙂

Join thousands of readers an

Amazon Giveaway for And Then There Were None!

https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/3e6a60b4814649a3

Winner:Randomly selected after Giveaway has ended, up to 1 winner.
Requirements for participation:
Resident of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia
Follow @TMCGTT on twitter
18+ years of age (or legal age)

Start:May 12, 2017 6:24 PM PDT
End:Jun 11, 2017 11:59 PM PDT

===

Star Wars Day through 40 years of Star Wars!
Giveaway by Bufo Calvin
  • Winner:Randomly selected after Giveaway has ended, up to 1 winners.
  • Requirements for participation:
    • Resident of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia
    • Follow @TMCGTT on twitter
    • 18+ years of age (or legal age)

Giveaway:
https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/0ce7b24b32a4a670

Start:May 4, 2017 6:32 AM PDT
End:Jun 3, 2017 11:59 PM PDT

It’s going on that long in part so that it covers the actual 40th anniversary of Star Wars (of the release in the USA) on May 25th 2017. Also, this book, which has good reviews and is new, is $14.99 in the Kindle edition…which is a lot for me for a giveaway. 🙂

Good luck, and may the Force be with you!

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! :) 

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.

It’s available for pre-order! Amazon Echo Show available for pre-order

May 9, 2017

It’s available for pre-order! Amazon Echo Show available for pre-order

I wrote about it as a rumor yesterday, but you can pre-order (for June 28th at time of writing) now!

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

As expected, it is a new device…I would even say a new class of device.

You can buy two of them for $100 off with the code SHOW2PACK.

I’m going to publish this right now, because pre-order dates often get pushed back…and they may run out of stock. Then, I’ll update this later.

I’ve already ordered mine. 🙂

Update:

I think the biggest piece  of this is the calling and messaging, and I’ve had a chance to read over more information on it. Here is the (quite thorough) subpage

Alexa Calling and Messaging (at AmazonSmile*)

Note that this is not going to be just for the Echo Show: you’ll be able to call and message people with other devices…for free. That was always the promise of VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol), but this could actually have an impact…especially if it works internationally, but that’s not necessary.

The message, by the way, is a voice message…not a text message. It’s like leaving a voicemail.

It will work with all of the Echo devices…and the Alexa app, which people can download to a SmartPhone (iPhone or Android) even if they have no Echo device at all.

More later, but I’ll mention a few quick things:

  • You can see some wi-fi videostreams on your voice…for example, from your Ring doorbell
  • You can see lyrics with some songs…we have that in some places already, but this could make for nice sing-alongs 😉
  • You can watch YouTube videos…presumably, those could be entire movies, many of which are on YouTube (quite a few older, public domain movies and TV shows, but that’s not all)
  • Flash briefings can now be video, including well-known services

As you find things, feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post!


My current Amazon Giveaway

Star Wars Day through 40 years of Star Wars!
Giveaway by Bufo Calvin
  • Winner:Randomly selected after Giveaway has ended, up to 1 winners.
  • Requirements for participation:
    • Resident of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia
    • Follow @TMCGTT on twitter
    • 18+ years of age (or legal age)

Giveaway:
https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/0ce7b24b32a4a670

Start:May 4, 2017 6:32 AM PDT
End:Jun 3, 2017 11:59 PM PDT

It’s going on that long in part so that it covers the actual 40th anniversary of Star Wars (of the release in the USA) on May 25th 2017. Also, this book, which has good reviews and is new, is $14.99 in the Kindle edition…which is a lot for me for a giveaway. 🙂

Good luck, and may the Force be with you!

Congratulations to Patty B, who won a copy of my sibling’s mystery

One Murder More (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

in the giveaway which finished yesterday!

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! :) 

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.

 

Rumor: Amazon releasing new hardware as soon as Tuesday

May 9, 2017

Rumor: Amazon releasing new  hardware as soon as Tuesday

We’ve talked before about a possible

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

with a screen.

Today, there is a flurry of rumors about Amazon introducing a new device…as soon as tomorrow local time (Tuesday, May 9th).

My sense on this is that this could really happen…a leak before a release is not unprecedented.

The rumors (and there are more than one) include that it will be capable of making phone calls.

We need to know more about the implementation, but there are some interesting possibilities.

One obvious question: does it need to use your phone?

If it’s working over wi-fi, no. It could use VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol). That doesn’t mean it’s free, necessarily.

If it is using your phone, then it wouldn’t cost any more to you.

So, why would somebody need this? What’s the advantage over a tablet or laptop?

Alexa is about voice, so you’d have to guess that would be part of it. “Alexa, call my veterinarian’s office”. How is that better than your phone?

I would use it, sure. I don’t walk around my house with my phone, although many people do. I could do a lot of what I do with our Echos on my phone…hey, I can use Alexa on my phone, for that matter (using the Amazon shopping app).

It’s just easier to just “talk to the air” and have stuff happen. 🙂

The biggest advantage for me would be for it to a super speakerphone…making calls is one thing, but receiving them and having the voice heard easily by multiple people in the room…that’s another whole level.

None of that requires a screen.

The screen could do videocalls…that might be nice.

The screen, though, could also show us information.

Alexa currently sends “cards” to my phone and can send them to a tablet…it can show information on our Fire TVs, too.

The screen might be a better form factor…larger, without being too large.

My guess is that the device will also have a camera. That camera could be for videocalls…but it could also be for augmented reality. 🙂 I know I’ve been harping on that for Amazon, and I wouldn’t really expect it at launch, but it could happen in the not too distant future.

For example, it could do a “magic mirror” thing, like the Face app or PhotoLab. It could morph you into an older version of yourself, or give you cat ears.

It could show you an Amazon product and combine it with your actual room. That would get us towards my 2016 April Fool’s Day post:

AFD News: Amazon introduces ‘Narcissus’, augmented reality mirror

🙂

If we are getting a hardware announcement, we could see some other changes…I have to believe that there is a water-resistant Kindle in our future. 🙂

Here’s a search that will get you the rumors…I’ll be interested to see what happens, if anything, in the next few days.

https://www.bing.com/news/search?q=amazon+echo+new+phone+capable&FORM=HDRSC6

Update: thanks to regular reader alanchurch for a comment on this post which resulted in a change.


My current Amazon Giveaway

Star Wars Day through 40 years of Star Wars!
Giveaway by Bufo Calvin
  • Winner:Randomly selected after Giveaway has ended, up to 1 winners.
  • Requirements for participation:
    • Resident of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia
    • Follow @TMCGTT on twitter
    • 18+ years of age (or legal age)

Giveaway:
https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/0ce7b24b32a4a670

Start:May 4, 2017 6:32 AM PDT
End:Jun 3, 2017 11:59 PM PDT

It’s going on that long in part so that it covers the actual 40th anniversary of Star Wars (of the release in the USA) on May 25th 2017. Also, this book, which has good reviews and is new, is $14.99 in the Kindle edition…which is a lot for me for a giveaway. 🙂

Good luck, and may the Force be with you!

Congratulations to Patty B, who won a copy of my sibling’s mystery

One Murder More (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

in the giveaway which finished yesterday!

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.

 


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