Archive for the ‘Updates’ Category

Big new update coming to current Kindle EBRs in February

February 3, 2016

Big new update coming to current Kindle EBRs in February

Amazon sent me an e-mail yesterday announcing a major update for the current Kindle EBRs (E-Book Readers), and I appreciate that reader Jay Howard gave me a heads-up as well! Letting me know about stories, especially linking to them, is always welcome, even if I’m already aware of it. It helps me judge interest, and sometimes links me to a different perspective on it.

You can see the high-level announced features here:

February 2016 EBR Update Amazon page (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

This is a major redesign to the User Interface (UI)…one of the biggest changes we’ve had.

Since the first Kindle in 2007, the homepage has looked pretty much the same…a listing of books (and some other items, like blogs, newspapers, and while they were around, active content games and apps). We did get the ability to display them with thumbnails (small pictures) of the covers, but the only other big change really was the presence of ads if you bought one of the more popular ad-supported models.

This changes that.

You get a look that’s more like a tablet, with different sections.

This is customizable, but you might have one section with the covers of a few recent books, another section with your lists (Amazon Wish Lists, samples you’ve downloaded, your Goodreads “Want to read” list), another one with recommendations…it looks pretty configurable.

Now, it’s worth noting that all three of those “Reading Lists” can really be more “Shopping Lists”. They can be used for different purposes, but most people use Amazon Wish Lists for things they would like to get, at least hypothetically (that’s why they are called “wish” lists). A sample is intended to help you make up your mind about whether you want to buy a book or not. You might have a lot of Goodreads shelves, but it’s the one that is aspirational that it says it will list.

That’s fine with me, and not a surprise…we’ll see how configurable it all is, but it looks like the main point is to make it easier for you to get another book from Amazon.

In fact, almost all of the features on this page can have a positive impact on sales.

They talk about a recommendation engine (you say what you like, it recommends books for you).

That helps inform what happens at the bottom of your screen, but they want to use a number of approaches. The page says, “…show you personalized book recommendations, books your Goodreads friends are reading, best-selling titles, and more.”

Don’t worry, it’s not all about you buying books…it’s about you selling them, too. ;)

How do you sell books for Amazon?

You do it by sharing the information about them with other people…and they are making that quite easy. Right from the book, you’ll be able to share a quotation to Goodreads, Twitter, or Facebook, and Amazon will link a preview of the book, which can be used in a browser. The preview will, I’m sure, have a link to buy the book.

They are also simplifying the settings: Airplane mode, for example, will be available with one toolbar tap.

Now, lest this post sound cynical, I think people will like the update. It will make things more visually interesting, more controllable, and I think we readers will find it to be simpler.

Remember also that we want Amazon to sell books! We want them to make money…that encourages them to continue to support EBRs, and to do new development. We also don’t want Amazon to go out of business…ever. :) That would be a serious problem for our Kindle libraries.

The update will happen over the air during February for your device.

Update: if you’d prefer to download it yourself (so you don’t have to wait), you can do so here:

Kindle Software Updates (at AmazonSmile*)

I think Amazon’s instructions are pretty good on this one.

This update is coming to the current Kindles:

I don’t think this homescreen redesign will come to the earlier generations, although that doesn’t mean they won’t ever get another update.

I might have written about this yesterday, but I was being recorded by Len Edgerly for Friday’s

The Kindle Chronicles podcast

and that took up what would otherwise have been writing time, perhaps. :)

It was a great experience, and I look forward to hearing the finished show! A question from one of my readers was included by Len, which I appreciated!

So, what do you think about the upgrade? Is it exciting to see Amazon updating the EBRs? Do you worry that they’ll eventually drop them in favor of backlit devices…or will there be, perhaps, a technological merging of the two? Do these features look exciting to you, or do you question whether it helps Amazon more than it helps you? When you buy an EBR, do you accept that it won’t always have all of the cutting edge features? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

Updated update on the update: I updated! ;) I left my Paperwhite on wi-fi all day today, came home, and it had updated. I also left it plugged in, by the way. Over the next couple of days I’ll go through it thoroughly. I plan to produce a “menu map” before Sunday. In the mean time, I really appreciate the comments my readers are making to this post, giving their first impressions. Thanks, readers!

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

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

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

Remarkable change in Fire OS 5

October 21, 2015

Remarkable change in Fire OS 5

I’m currently exploring my new

Fire, 7″ Display, Wi-Fi, 8 GB – Includes Special Offers, Black(at AmazonSmile*) $49.99

I plan to write about my first impressions and do a menu map before Monday.

There are a few things I wanted to mention right now, though, about the new Operating System, which will, I think, come to some older Fire tablets before the end of the year. My guess would be devices running OS 4x…which goes back to the third generation.

The Carousel is gone

Generally, people have not liked the Carousel, based on comments  on the forums…a presentation line of 30 (it used to be possibly hundreds) of recently used (or downloaded or updated) items.

Now, and this is much easier, there is a square at the bottom of the screen that bring them up as cards: sort of similar to double-tapping the home button on an iPhone. You can easily switch to items there, and remove them from the list with an x. You can also just swipe to your right from the homescreen to see them: nice!

Customizable wallpaper…even your own pictures!

People have wanted this one since the very first Kindle in 2007! You can easily change the wallpaper to a picture in your camera roll. I have one of our dogs as our wallpaper. :) Now, I do have an ad-supported device (which lowers the purchase price in exchange for seeing ads), so that’s what I see on the lockscreen. I assume, though, that the wallpaper doesn’t appear on the lockscreen.

Amazon can remember your wi-fi passwords

This sounds to me like it’s an option that means I won’t have to enter the wi-fi password when I get a new Amazon device registered to my account! If this is really the case, it’s a remarkable improvement. That’s been a big barrier in setting up a new gadget. I can remember my (complex) wi-fi password, but generally, it’s been the biggest thing that has kept setting up new things from simply being turning them on and using them. No, I’m not worried about Amazon having my wi-fi password…I don’t think Jeff Bezos gets into my neighborhood much. ;)

That’s just three…I’m sure I’ll find more intriguing things when I do the menu map.

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.

Software update for Voyage, Paperwhites, and Mindle Touch brings new features

August 14, 2015

Software update for Voyage, Paperwhites, and Mindle Touch brings new features

All of the current Kindle EBRs (E-Book Readers) are getting an update!

You can update your device manually from

http://www.amazon.com/kindlesoftwareupdates (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

or you can wait and it should happen automatically eventually.

This update (for all of these models) brings them to 5.6.5.

The new features include:

  • Enhanced “SmartCards” when you do look-ups (by “long pressing”)
  • The Bookerly font
  • Better lay-out (including improvements to “…hyphenation, justification, ligatures, and kerning, as well as pop-up footnotes, endnotes and chapter notes.”). These aren’t available for every book yet, but for many of them, including in multiple languages: English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Portuguese, and Dutch
  • You’ll now be able to get to author pages and personal recommendations from Goodreads

This is yet another example of Amazon giving us something more after we’ve already spent the money.

The affected models include:

  • Kindle Voyage, Kindle Paperwhite 3, and Mindle Touch (all 7th generation models)
  • Kindle Paperwhite 2 (6th generation)

The Kindle Paperwhite 1 and early generations of other models don’t get this one…at least at this point.

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

Fire OS 4.5.1 update available

November 25, 2014

Fire OS 4.5.1 update available

More later, but my

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

just updated to 4.5.1.

They list the following key features:

  • Family Library: this is the new feature that lets you share certain content with some people, even when they aren’t on the same account
  • Lock Screen Media Controls: you can play music and audiobooks directly from the lock screen
  • If you have a rear-facing camera, you can launch the camera app from the lock screen
  • Prime Music Stations: Prime members now have ad-free stations of music
  • Emoji: little pictures for your e-mail (and other places)
  • Camera for Kids: interesting! Gimmicky camera features for children using Amazon FreeTime (that’s a new branding, I think) and they can’t post to social media

You can update your device manually from

http://www.amazon.com/kindlesoftwareupdates (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

or you can wait and it should happen automatically eventually.

The last major update was recent…I wrote about it on November 7th, so this is the second one in a month!

Join hundreds 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

Hands on with the new EBR features

November 16, 2014

Hands on with the new EBR features

I recently wrote about the 5.61 update for the current Kindle EBRs (E-Book Readers…non-Fires). It brings some significant new features to the

I’ve now manually updated our PW2 (it had not yet updated), and can give you some more information about these features.

First, after doing the manual update by getting the file from

http://www.amazon.com/kindlesoftwareupdates (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

the first thing I noticed was a message box on the home page pointing to the filter choice

“We’ve added new ways to see and use collections on your Kindle and in the Cloud. Tap on the filter above and choose Collections to see them.”

Before I did that, another box appeared:

“Restart Required: An update if available for the following fonts: (Chinese). Do you want to restart now to complete the update?”

I had a choice of “Later” or “Now” and went with “Later”, so I could explore a bit more.

Changing the filter to Collections, I got another message box. I must say, kudos to Amazon for providing information to the user about changes! They haven’t always done that effectively in the past. I’m glad I’m doing this before my Significant Other is awake, though. This is the device my SO uses, and all of these message boxes, which I really like, would be seen as intrusions.

The new box said:

“All your collections are synced to the Cloud.

Tap Cloud in the upper left to see all collections, including those created on other Kindle devices and apps.

Tap On Device to see collections that are on this Kindle.

Tap and hold a collection to add or remove it from this Kindle.

When in Cloud view, collections on this Kindle are marked with a star.”

Here’s a nice switch, which people have wanted! When I’m on “On Device”, the count is the number of items from the Collection on this device (actually on this Kindle). When I’m on Cloud, the count is all of the items in that Collection, whether or not they are on this device.

Also, when I’m on On Device, it mentions that there are 5 more (in my case) Collections in the Cloud.

When I open a Collection on the On Device, it only displays the items which are on the device, and then tells me how many more are in the Cloud. Future improvement: I’d like to be able to tap that count and be taken to the Collection in the Cloud. As it is now, I tap on Cloud and that shows me that Collection in the Cloud. Definitely not a biggie…what I call a “tweekquest”.

I consider this a considerable improvement.

Also on the home page was a document telling me that “Your Kindle is updated!”

This mentions the features I mentioned in that previous post (I’ll go through them in this one), plus a couple of other things.

  • Get Next in Series: again, something people have wanted. When you are done reading a book in a series, you can easily get the next book in that series
  • They also mention the Collections view change, and that “Newspapers and magazines are now automatically organized by name to make it easier to find and access back issues in your Collections”
  • Russian and Dutch are now supported as interface languages. Amazon just opened a Dutch Kindle store, so that makes sense
  • Kindle Unlimited is mentioned, including the free 30 day trial
  • You can also download the “Kindle Paperwhite User’s Guide 3rd Edition” from the Cloud

Okay, the next thing is for me to check the Settings menu.

There is now a Registration and Household section, to  accommodate  Family Library.

Reading Options lets you set “Language Learning” options. Word Wise, which will display definitions of “unfamiliar words” is off by default. I’m going to turn that on and test it, although my SO will want it off…so don’t let me forget to reset it. ;) You also have an option there to turn off the crowdsourcing part of “Show Multiple-Choice Hints”. When that’s on, you can contribute to the helping Amazon get the most useful definitions for Word Wise. Yes, it is now a learning system…

My SO was reading

Top Secret Twenty-One: A Stephanie Plum Novel (at AmazonSmile*)

which I’ve already finished. I checked the Amazon product page: yes, Word Wise is enabled.

It took a few seconds for it to appear, but there they were: definitions of words in superscript.

There was also a box saying “Tap on Word Wise and use the slider to adjust how many hints you see.”

With the default, it defined the following:

  • neatly: not dirty
  • laundry: clothes that have to be washed
  • hanger: curved object to hang clothes
  • cleaners: one who tends to a mess
  • queens: a woman who rules a country

Yes, my SO would want to throw the Kindle across the room at this point. ;)

Tapping “cleaners” (I wouldn’t really define it this way”, I got a definition (including the part of speech), a way to mark if that was useful or not, and “Other Meanings”. Other meanings included:

  • substance used for washing
  • a device used for washing
  • shop to remove dirt from clothes

Each choice had an arrow, and I tapped the third one (that matches the context). I could then recommend that they “Use This Meaning”, which I did.

The new choice of definition now appeared in the book…and I assume, that will be part of an aggregating algorithm  for other readers of this same book. That doesn’t mean that just because I changed it changes for everybody, but I would assume if a certain percentage or number of people pick a choice, it becomes the default.

Clicking on Word Wise in my bottom right to get to the slider, it had defaulted to the highest possibility of “More Hints”. Sliding it down to the bottom out of five, they all disappeared. On the second level, only the definition for hanger remained. On the middle level, it was the definitions for neatly, laundry, hanger, and cleaners. The fourth level (in this case) didn’t make any difference.

I don’t see a way at

Manage Your Kindle (now called Manage Your Content and Devices)

to tell which ones were enabled.

Okay, turning it off…thanks for the reminder. ;)

I’m going to hold off on writing about the Family Library in this post…I still need to explore that more. That’s the one that lets you share books across accounts…certain books, with restrictions about set up.

Expanded X-Ray

This is nicely improved!

X-Ray is a feature (not available on all books) which shows you information about what is in the book…characters, terms, and so on.

They now have a “timeline” feature. That gives you a much better sense of where you are in the book than page numbers ever did.

There are “clips” throughout the timeline (short snippets), and it’s much easier to get to information about people. For example, when I tapped Joe Morelli in the X-Ray, I could see where Morelli appeared in the book (up to the point to which my SO had read), and tap the dots to see a clip of that spot. It was smart enough to recognize that “Joe” mean “Joe Morelli”, which impressed me. Serious homework helper! I cold toggle between “Notable Clips” and “All Mentions”…the latter went past what had been indicated as having been read so far.

There was a settings gear which also let me toggle between showing unread clips and not…great for the spoiler averse, like me.

Yes, I would also consider this to be a big improvement! The image browser wasn’t useful in this book, but would be in others. I could particularly see it where I’ve listened to parts of the book with text-to-speech (which is common for me), but I might want to look at the images later.

Deeper Goodreads Integration

From within the book, I could tap the “g” for Goodreads (by first tapping towards the top middle of the book to display the toolbar).

From here, I could update my status, see ratings from my Goodreads friends (I liked it the least out of the people I saw…I like the series, but wasn’t crazy about this one).

I could also go right from there to read my general Goodreads Updates (not limited to this book).

They have now made this really valuable, for Goodreads users.

From the homescreen, when I tap the g, I can see the updates…and conveniently, tap something that I see a friend has done something with, and bounce from there to the store. That would then let me purchase books, or add them to a wish list or try a sample. Again, nice!

When I “long-pressed” Top Secret Twenty-One on the homescreen, I got a choice to View on Goodreads and Add to Goodreads Shelf.

Amazon has finally figured out how to effectively leverage their purchase of Goodreads.

Enhanced Search

I searched for Doc Savage from the homescreen, first letting it search everywhere. By default, it showed me books I owned at the top, then offered to search the store. Actually, it offered to search either for e-books or, I think, any books (I don’t think it was searching non-book items). Bam! It lets me refine by Kindle Unlimited! That’s a very nice touch.

About This Book

I didn’t see something right away about “About This Book” from the homescreen, where I thought it might be particularly useful (before I opened it). After I opened it, it was in the menu for the book. Oh, it also says that it “…shows you additional information about the book the first time you open it”, so I assume it pops up. You can, however, turn that off in the Settings (which are in the About This Book menu choice from within the book, and in general Settings menu under Reading Options – Notes & About This Book. That’s on by default: I’ve turned it off for my SO (again, my SO will want pure reading, no friction).

I think many people will like it, though: it shows you where the book is in the series, has a link to the previous book, gives you a bit about the author and lets you sign up for e-mails for new releases, and gives you links to more books by the author.

My feelings about this update overall? It’s one of the best ones we’ve had. Amazon is now making things works which people have wanted, which is a sign both of their inventiveness and their customer focus. I haven’t checked out the Family Library yet, but ignoring means it hasn’t changed anything in the reading experience…so it doesn’t hurt. I like that they are putting settings right within activities, and letting you turn off features.

Unless the update comes to the PW1, which is possible, I would say there is now a good reason to upgrade.

What do you think? Do you have questions? Feel free to tell me and my readers by commenting on this post.

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

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

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

 

Updates bring new features to some Kindle EBRs

November 14, 2014

Updates bring new features to some Kindle EBRs

Amazon had told us they were coming, and in this

press release

they announce that new features are available for the current Kindle EBRs (E-Book Readers…non-Fires).

They will come automatically over-the-air, or you can get them by going to

http://www.amazon.com/kindlesoftwareupdates (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

If you do it manually, be careful to pick the update for the right model of Kindle.

Here are the specific models they have announced have the new updates. This doesn’t mean that older models absolutely won’t get them, although that is possible.

What are these new features?

  • Word Wise (at AmazonSmile*) (click links for screenshots): definitions of “difficult words” automatically appear above the words. You can then tap to see more information. You can control how many of these appear by using a slider. This may be particularly useful for children and for those learning English as a second language. It’s not going to be available on every book, but some popular books already have it. I’m sure you’ll be able to turn this off, in case you find it vexatious (annoying) ;)
  • Family Library (at AmazonSmile*): this allows you to share books from one account with a set number of people from another account. This will also only be certain books. This is a huge change, and we’ll have to see how the implementation is
  • Kindle FreeTime Unlimited: this is the subser (“subscription service”. You pay $2.99 a month, and your child gets access to curated content at no additional cost
  • Expanded X-Ray for Books (at AmazonSmile*): X-Ray gives you information about the characters, terms, concepts and more in the book which you are reading. Now you’ll be able to browse the pictures in a book and the meaningful passages as well.
  • Deeper Goodreads Integration (at AmazonSmile*): Amazon owns the immensely popular social reading site. Looking at this, it appears that this will have more of an impact when you are in the Goodreads app/function on your device than when you are reading a book. For example, it doesn’t appear to me that your reading status will automatically update as you read the book (I’d like to see that feature…with an ability to mask it, of course), but you will be able to buy books (not quite yet) directly from the Goodreads function
  • Enhanced Search (at AmazonSmile*): when you search for something, you’ll get results from your library, from the Kindle Store, and from Goodreads
  • About This Book (at AmazonSmile*): it’s unclear to me yet if this will work when you aren’t connected to wi-fi, but it definitely has some things people have talked about since the Kindle 1 in 2007. It will give you series information, author information (and in the screenshot, it shows a way to sign up to be notified when new books by that author are released), “mentioned in this book” (that looks like other books), and contrary to what I said above :) gives you a way to at least update Goodreads with the fact that you are currently reading it

I’ll install this on our Paperwhite 2 and test it out.

One interesting note: the links above for each of the features also include links to the Fires. That doesn’t necessarily mean that every Fire gets every one of these features, or even that any of them do…they may just link to all products on the “Press Resource” pages.

Note that this is Amazon, as they often do, giving us more at no additional cost…thanks, Amazon!

If you’ve checked these out or have questions about them, feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this page. Which of these do you think you’ll use? What do you wish they had done which they didn’t (I figured I’d ask the question before people volunteered, as they always do ;) )?

 

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

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

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

Profiles are here for the KFHDX

November 7, 2014

Profiles are here for the KFHDX

This morning, my Significant Other brought me their

Kindle Fire HDX 7″ (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

unable to get into it.

It had updated the system software, with what turned out to be a significant update…and wanted a password to get into the device, which hadn’t been true before for my SO.

I think, from looking at it, that occurred because I have set up Kindle FreeTime profiles on the account…it appeared to be intended to keep children out of the device. I actually set them up for our dogs, just testing it out for my readers. :)

Fortunately, I knew that password…and it worked.

The look of the interface is different (I’d say it is…crisper, easier to read. That also goes for the icons: the e-mail icon no longer has that gray background, for example), and there are some feature changes.

They list:

  • A personalized experience with profiles (for the US, UK, and Germany): it allows for individual e-mail, game levels, movie locations, pages in books, Facebook and Twitter accounts. This is clearly the big change, and I’ll have to explore it more. I don’t know yet if this has anything to do with the Family Library, which will allow (some) sharing of e-books between accounts
  • Office Document: I already have a Microsoft Office app on my Fire I like (OfficeSuite Professional 7 (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*), but this apparently also backs up Office files automatically to your Amazon Cloud Drive…allowing access on other devices
  • Longer battery life: this uses Smart Suspend to prolong battery life while it sleeps
  • New weather app
  • Full screen immersive mode: apps and games will now fill the entire screen (you’ll swipe for controls)
  • Backup and restore: this sounds nice! You have to turn it on, but it will store your configuration (bookmarks, even wi-fi configurations) to the Cloud for free making it easier to set up a new device

Since mine hasn’t updated yet (I’ll see if I can update it manually…these updates can roll out over weeks), I’ll do a quick comparison of the two devices:

  • When you are unlocking them, the lockscreen has just a chevron (an arrow without a stick) on the new one…the old one had a padlock
  • The lockscreen entry has a more transparent background
  • The lockscreen entry says “Go” rather than “OK”
  • On the homescreen, the clock is on your right, rather than in the middle
  • As mentioned, there are some icon changes
  • On the new one, it appears I needed to reenter the password for the AOL account…I’m guessing we’ll need to do that on mine as well when it updates, since we can now have separately protected e-mails
  • Swiping down from the top has the same choices…although weirdly, autorotate now looks like it goes anticlockwise, rather than clockwise…what was the point of that change? Feels like it is just change for change’s sake
  • Settings has some significant differences. There is a new category for “Household Profiles”. You can add a new adult or child (you have up to four child accounts, and two adult accounts, which will be, I believe, the same thing for the Family Library). When you go to add an adult, it sys, “Pass the device to new user: We’ll need  the preson you are adding to this household to login using their Amazon account. Please make sure they are available to take the tablet for the next step”. So, this is for the Family Library! Let me jump out of the bullet points for this

When you add the Adult Profile, it says, “If you share an account, you must set up a new Amazon account to share the customized experience”. Interesting…does it benefit Amazon for you to have multiple accounts? Sure! Some things are only good per account, and it looks good when they are selling services to other businesses, which I think is increasingly becoming their main business. I’ve commented on that in regards to the Amazon Echo
: I think what people aren’t getting about it is that Amazon never needs to make money by selling things to people if they can make money by charging other companies to use Amazon to sell things to people.

I know this is a sidestep here, but I think it’s important. Amazon is becoming our retail infrastructure. Let’s say I want to buy something from, oh, Target (from their website). If I can just ask my hypothetical Amazon Echo to do that for me, I would. If Amazon then charges Target for me having done it, they can make money with very little cost to them. If they actually do the fulfillment for Target (the shipping…via drone, or as recently was announced as a trial, taxi…and maybe the same day) they can charge Target and make more money.

This doesn’t need to be just physical products: it can be digital content as well…even, possibly, your internet.

The Amazon Echo isn’t a store…it’s the road that takes you to the store (and everywhere else).

Imagine if you owned the roads fifty years ago…and could charge every store (and doctor’s office and movie theatre and…) when people used them.

Of course, they won’t monopolize the internet…it will simply be a choice consumers make, for the convenience…no monopoly there, right?

Okay, back to the update…

  • The new one says “Wireless & VPN”, rather than just “Wireless”: the old one does have VPN options
  • “Device” has been relabeled “Device Options”: those have more choices…including the ability to change the name of the device from the device itself. That’s also where you’ll find “Backup & Restore”. It will backup automatically once a day
  • Enable ADB is no longer available…that was something that could “Enable Kindle developers to debug over USB”…not something people used much, if at all
  • I was guessing that the Shopping might have changed, and there is a new category for “Fire Accessories”, but otherwise, it looks pretty similar. Looking at the Bookstore, it also looks similar

I’m guessing mine will update soon, but I think that’s enough of a comparison for right now. If you have specific things for me to check on the new on this morning, let me know…I might get to check a few yet this morning.

Oh, one more big thing! They’ve really changed the system software numbering system! My old one is 13.3.2.6…the new one says “Fire OS 4.1.1”.

If you want to update it manually, here’s the page:

Kindle Fire HDX update page (at AmazonSmile*)

 

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

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

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

Round up #272: Fire update coming, Mindle Touch questions?

October 4, 2014

Round up #272: Fire update coming, Mindle Touch questions?

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

I have a Mindle Touch

I plan to write a review by Monday, but I wanted to let you know that Amazon has loaned me a

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

for review.

That’s the new $79 model. I called the old “entry level” model a “Mindle” (for minimum Kindle), and this one has a touchscreen, so…Mindle Touch.

Interestingly, Amazon refers to it in a few places as a 7th generation Kindle.

I’m guessing they are counting it this way:

  1. Kindle 1
  2. Kindle 2
  3. Kindle 3 (AKA Kindle Keyboard)
  4. Mindle
  5. Kindle Touch
  6. Kindle Paperwhite
  7. Mindle Touch

That would make sense to me: the Kindle DX was basically the same software as the Kindle 2…same generation, even though it was a different size.

Anyway, I thought I’d mention it in case you have any questions before I send it back. I’ve never asked them for review copies before, but really, I’m quite satisfied with our Kindle Paperwhite 2 (at AmazonSmile*) and our Kindle Fire HDX (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) at this point…just didn’t want to buy new ones. After all, I’m apparently one of the very few people to pay close to $200 for the Amazon Fire Phone (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) recently…that’s a chunk of budget. :)

I’ve also asked for a Kindle Voyage (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) for review…if I get one, I’ll let you know.

Amazon announces Fire OS 4…on my device

I got a letter from Jeff Bezos on my KFHDX7 this morning…I’m assuming many other people did, too. :)

It’s alerting me that the devices will be updated (for free) to Fire OS (Operating System) 4 in “the coming weeks”. That will be on the new generation of Fires, but I’m sure won’t be on the first generation.

What is it bringing?

  • Profiles (to the USA, UK, and Germany): every “family member” (Amazon usually doesn’t require proof…you know, like DNA sequencing) ;) can have a profile, including “individual email, Facebook and Twitter accounts, page in the book, spot in a movie, and game levels”. This ties in, in a way, with the Family Library which is coming, which will let us share books with people not on our accounts (we don’t know exactly what limitations that will have yet)
  • Office Documents: we’ll get WPS Office, so we can edit Microsoft Office documents (including creating new ones). It’s going to integrate with the Cloud Drive
  • Longer Battery Life: better battery management when sleeping
  • New Weather and Calculator Apps
  • Full-Screen Immersive Mode: apps and games will full the full screen in “immersive mode”
  • Backup & Restore: it will be interesting to see exactly what this done. It doesn’t look to me like it will mirror your entire device (your personal documents, which books you’ve already downloaded from your Amazon account), but can do “device settings, email and wireless configuration, notes, bookmarks, and more…” I never find the transition to a new device very difficult (I don’t keep a lot of content actually on my devices), but this may make it easier. It would be nice to get a new device and already have it on my network without having to enter a password, for example

Did you notice that Family Library wasn’t on the list? I assume that’s because that isn’t part of Fire OS 4, and that it will work with a much wider range of devices. This update could also affect the Fire Phone…and possibly, in some way, Fire TV.

Why send this announcement now, ahead of time? I think, in part, Amazon’s trying to patch its reputation going into the holiday season…and caring for customers with devices already helps them decide to buy newer devices.

Amazon sends more info on their crowd-sourced publishing program

I also got an e-mail from Amazon this week about their upcoming program. It explains it pretty well (and I’ve mentioned it previously). The basic idea is that authors can put up a sample of a complete but unpublished novel, readers “vote” on them, and Amazon will select some for publishing…paying at least a $1,500 advance. We could use a few more details, but I think this may work very well for Amazon…although it isn’t without risk (the main one being that it is seen as being fair). Here’s that e-mail:

Dear Author,

Thanks for subscribing to receive updates on Amazon’s new publishing program! We’re excited to announce that we’ll be opening for submissions in a couple weeks.

We’ll be welcoming submissions for English-language books in Romance, Mystery & Thriller, and Science Fiction & Fantasy genres. Any adult with a valid U.S. bank account and U.S. social security number or tax identification number is eligible.

It only takes 15 minutes to complete a submission. Here are the things that you should prepare to successfully submit your book:

  • Complete, never-before-published manuscript & book cover image – We’re looking for 50,000 words or more in Word format and a book cover image that reflects the essence and uniqueness of your book. Make sure your work is ready for others to read. Only the first pages will be posted to the website (approx. 3,000 words).
  • Book one-liner – A very short pitch (no longer than 45 characters) for your book that will be used on the homepage and throughout the website. Think of examples like “Space opera meets the Middle Ages” or “How far will one woman go to save her family?”
  • Book description- Help readers understand the content and quality of your book. Keep the description to 500 characters or less.
  • Your bio & picture – Give readers a chance to learn more about you. You will also have a chance to answer relevant questions regarding your book and personal story in a short Q&A section.

We’ll also ask you to review and accept our submission and publishing agreement that grants us a 45-day exclusivity period to post your excerpt and tally nominations. If chosen for publication, you will receive a $1,500 advance, 5-year renewable term, 50% eBook royalty rate, easy rights reversions, and Amazon-featured marketing. If not, you automatically get all your rights back at the end of the 45-day exclusivity period.
We’ll send you an email as soon as we’re open for submissions. Looking forward to hearing from you!

I don’t have a book written already that will fit this. I suspect it will have somewhat of a soft start: my guess is that people will write books specifically to try them for this program. Some folks have books sitting around…but how many of them won’t have independently published them already before they heard about this program?

You can contact Amazon about it here:

newpublishingprogram@amazon.com

Put in the subject “Question about Amazon’s new publishing program”.

Amazon still working on the KOLL/KU problem

Amazon’s been getting more information from me about the issue with being both a

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

member and a Prime member eligible to use the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library (KOLL).

If you are both (which I am), at least some people (including me) are finding it very difficult to impossible to borrow a KOLL book. All of the books which are in both the KOLL and KU only seem to want me to borrow them through KU. If a book is in the KOLL and not in KU (a quite small number, from what I can tell), then I could do it…but that’s not much of a benefit. It doesn’t bother me that much…I’m not a Prime member because of the KOLL, it’s just a nice perk. Still, it doesn’t seem to be working the way Amazon wants it to work…and it does feel like a bit of a takeaway.

I’ve given them information about my experiences with it…I’ll let you know if they let me know that they’ve figured anything out.

Seeking Alpha round-up

I continue to be impressed with the quality of stories about Amazon at Seeking Alpha. Here are some recent ones:

Update: Fire Phone And Kindle Voyage Developments by Paulo Santos

Santos sees both the Fire Phone and the Kindle Voyage as underperforming, and indicative of Amazon’s customers not being able to be brought to profitable price points.

2 Reasons Why Amazon Will Never Make Money by Shock Exchange

The two reasons? They don’t know how, and they don’t wanna. ;) They recommend selling the stock.

How Amazon.com Got Into Yet Another Fight, This Time With Greenpeace by Paulo Santos

Santos starts out by apologizing for writing about Amazon so much. :) This one did interest me, though: Amazon has had a rep as being an environmentally conscious company…not someone you would expect Greenpeace to actively target.

However, Santos noticed a massive drop in ratings for the Fire Phone…and thinks it is due to an active 1-star campaign by the non-profit.

I generally like Greenpeace, but this raises an interesting question for me: should you go after a company by rating one of their products at 1-star? What does their policy (with which you disagree…details on that in the article) have to do with the quality of the device? I don’t rate books as 1-star because the publisher chooses to block text-to-speech access…I don’t buy the book, but it doesn’t feel…honest to rate the book 1-star on that basis.

What do you think? What do you want me to check on the Mindle Touch? Is rating a product 1-star because of a policy something with which agree? Does it make a difference that this is an Amazon product, rather rating, say, an e-book not from Amazon 1-star because the price it too high or it isn’t available in your country? Feel free to let me and my readers know what you think by commenting on this post.

 Join hundreds 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.

Round up #270: “Amazon Idol”, Unlimited Finds #1

September 25, 2014

Round up #270: “Amazon Idol”, Unlimited Finds #1

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

Unlimited Finds #1

I do think that

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

has the potential to reshape the bestseller lists (at the Kindle store) by next year, and, along with other subsers (subscription services), really change people’s reading habits.

I’ve seen people make what I think is a mistake, and dismiss it as being “just independently published titles” (not that there would be anything wrong with that, in my opinion).

It’s much more than that.

I recently ran across a book in KU

The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat: And Other Clinical Tales (at AmazonSmile*)

of which I had sold many copies when I managed a brick and mortar bookstore.  I wasn’t the only one: it was a New York Times bestseller.

If you are a KU member, I’d certainly consider this one…it’s non-fiction, and I knew people who loved it. I add KU books to a wish list I have for that purpose…I’ll probably borrow this one at some point.

If you aren’t a KU member? $8.63 at time of writing.

I’ve seen somebody recently say that you would “never” see New York Times bestsellers in KU. Well, okay, that might have been ones on the current list.

That doesn’t really work either. The #1 NYT bestselling non-fiction hardback is in KU right now:

What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions (at AmazonSmile*)

It wouldn’t surprise me if it’s that high in part because it is in KU. That gets it more exposure at Amazon, and more reviews…this one had a lot of other coverage, but I would guess it contributed.

I took a quick look, and it might be true that there aren’t any current NYT adult fiction bestsellers in KU…but I do think that will change by holiday season of 2015. Partially that’s because I expect KU to start driving those lists…

Wish with Tweets

Amazon’s Wish List feature is becoming more and more robust.

In this

press release

today, they announced “Wish with Tweets”.

If you reply to a tweet (on Twitter) that has an Amazon product link in it, and you include the hashtag

#AmazonWishList

it will automatically add it to your wish list (presumably, the default one).

You do have to do a little set up, but it isn’t hard…and you might have already done it to take advantage of

#AmazonCart

so you can add something to your cart to buy it yourself.

Here are some other features of Amazon Wish Lists that they, well, listed in the press release:

  • NEW Save-A-Photo: With the new Save-A-Photo feature, customers can snap a picture of anything from anywhere and save it to their Amazon Wish List.
  • Universal Wish List Add-on: The Amazon Wish List is truly universal. Customers can add anything from any online site to their Amazon Wish List with a simple add-on available for any browser.
  • Don’t Spoil My Surprises: This feature does not reveal to the Wish List creator which items have been purchased, so every gift is truly a surprise. However, once an item is purchased from an Amazon Wish List, other shoppers will see only what remains on the Wish List – avoiding duplicate gifts.
  • Virtual Notes: Customers can save an idea and search for it later by adding a virtual note to an Amazon Wish List. Jot down anything and give friends and family a little gifting inspiration.

Here’s some more information:

www.amazon.com/AmazonWishList (at AmazonSmile*)

Amazon’s new crowd-sourced publishing…with guaranteed advance

This is fascinating!

According to this

The Digital Reader post by Nate Hoffelder

Amazon is launching a new publishing program for indies (independent authors)…and they’ve already been approaching Kindle Direct Publishing authors about it.

The basic idea is that authors submit never-before-published books (including covers).

Amazon posts a few pages of it.

People “vote” on them, and the winners are reviewed by Amazon and may be chosen to be traditionally published by Amazon…with a minimum advance of $1,500.

I would guess North of 90% of indies publishing through KDP never see $1,500.

The terms actually seem pretty good to me, with decent reversion provisions:

“Easy reversions: After two years, your rights in any format or language that remains unpublished, or all rights for any book that earns less than $500 in total royalties in the preceding 12-month period, can be reverted upon request – no questions asked.”

Essentially, if Amazon can’t promote it to the point you make $500 in the prior two years (after the first year), you can take the book back and do whatever you want with it. Indie publish it, sell it to somebody else…up to you.

Oh, and people who nominate a book that gets published? They get a free e-book copy.

You can sign up for the mailing list here for more info:

Updates on Amazon’s New Publishing Program mailing list (at AmazonSmile*)

It’s important to note that this is not crowd-funding…the readers don’t have to pay to get it published (like would happen on Kickstarter, for example). Amazon takes on the costs.

It’s more like a competition reality TV show.

My guess?

This will work.

They’ll get higher quality books, choose them, polish them, promote them…authors will see it as lower risk, with middle and up rewards…which is worth it.

Why would it not work?

If Amazon doesn’t choose enough for publication. If people invest in writing a review of a book, and it doesn’t get chosen, they might think it is some sort of trick.

Speaking of tricks, it’s going to be pretty hard to game the system, since it isn’t just the “voting”that counts…it’s still up to the judges.

Kindle Fire HDX update

My

Kindle Fire HDX (at AmazonSmile*)

updated yesterday to version 13.3.2.6.

This appears to be an incremental update…no big new features, just bug fixes and performance enhancements.

I haven’t noticed anything yet…if you have, let me know.

This could also have included foundations for changes which will come, including the Family Library.

I asked Amazon about FL…their upcoming feature that will allow sharing books with other people not on your account. At this point, they aren’t revealing which content will be involved (my guess is that it will be similar to Kindle Unlimited) or who will be eligible for sharing (I’m thinking it might be the “in the same household” rule they use for some other things, but not sure).

What do you think? Will “Amazon Idol” be successful? Would you participate, if you are an author? Am I overestimating the impact of KU on the market? Do you think it will change what you read…will you read more backlist books and indies, for example? Have you used #AmazonCart…and do you think you’ll use #AmazonWishList? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

 Join hundreds 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.

It’s official! New Kindle hardware…and software

September 18, 2014

It’s official! New Kindle hardware…and software

I think that’s a record! Five press releases from Amazon in the same day…announcing two new non-Fire Kindles, three new Fires, and a new version of the Fire operating system!

Let’s break this down:

We’ll start with the non-Fire Kindles (all information is for the USA, although I believe all these models may be available elsewhere):

Kindle Voyage, 6″ High-Resolution Display (300 ppi) with Adaptive Built-in Light, PagePress Sensors, Wi-Fi – Includes Special Offers (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) Also available with 3G+Wi-Fi, for $269 with Special Offers, $289 without them

This is the new top of the line, flagship model.

It’s $199 with Special Offers, $219 without them.

It will be competing with the Kobo Aura HD, which lists for $169.99 (about $30 cheaper).

Releasing on October 21st (pre-order now).

What’s new?

  • It’s thinner: .30 inches (7.6mm) versus .36 (9.1mm) on the Paperwhite
  • It has twice the pixels per inch (300) as the Paperwhite: that will make it much, much crisper. The more dots you fit in the same place, the more detail
  • Turn pages by applying pressure to the edge (the bezel), not the screen. You’ll still be able to swipe or tap, but this should keep the screen a lot cleaner (not that that has been much of an issue for me…they created a screen that doesn’t show the fingerprints much).  It should be smart enough not to accidentally turn the page for a typical user
  • The frontlight (like the Paperwhite…the most comfortable reading experience I’ve had, including paper) will adjust either automatically or manually)
  • The screen is supposed to feel like paper…um, okay

I’ll deal more with the software later in this post, because that will affect more than this one device.

Kindle, 6″ Glare-Free Touchscreen Display, Wi-Fi – Includes Special Offers (at AmazonSmile*)

This is the new entry level model (which they once again insist on just calling a “Kindle”).

$79 with Special Offers, $99 without them.

Releasing October 2nd (pre-order available now).

What’s new?

  • Touchscreen…good-bye, five way controllers
  • Faster processor
  • We’re back to 4GB of storage

The Paperwhite will continue to be offered as the mid-range device: $119 with Special Offers, $139 without them.

Okay, let’s talk about new software features/services for the non-Fire devices (these do not show for the Paperwhite, but some may show up there eventually):

  • You’ll be able to link Amazon accounts! This is a huge difference. They are calling it “Family Library”, and specifically mention a “spouse or partner”…I wonder if you’ll have to provide proof of relationship?
  • Word Wise: this one automatically (you can adjust it) defines “difficult” words for you. It reminds me of a comedian who talked about how the movie makers new 1950s science fiction were going to be watched by kids. So, two of the greatest scientists in the world would be speaking to each other, and they’d define the words for the kiddos: “He’s growing in an accelerated…speeded up…fashion” ;) I suppose this may be useful for some people
  • About the Book: finally! The book will tell you where it is in a series, tell you about the author, and let you mark your Goodreads progress from your Kindle
  • Enhanced search: more search results in one place
  • More Goodreads integration

press release for the non-Fire Kindles

Now, on to the new Fires:

Fire HD 6, 6″ HD Display, Wi-Fi, 8 GB – Includes Special Offers, Black (at AmazonSmile*)

$99 for 8GB with Special Offers
$114 for 8GB without Special Offers
$119 for 16GB with Special Offers
$134 for 16GB without Special Offers

Releasing October 2, pre-order now

This is a competitive tablet for under $100!

What’s new?

  • It comes in five colors! Black, Magenta, White, Citron, and Cobalt
  • 1280×800 HD screen, 252 pixels per inch: brighter, whiter
  • 1.5 ghz quadcore processor…much faster
  • Front and rear-facing camera (2MP for the rear-facing)
  • WPS Office integration: edit Excel and Word without a separate app
  • Family profiles
  • Family Library (see above: link accounts)
  • Advanced Streaming and Prediction (ASAP)…it guesses what you will want to watch and pre-loads it. I really like this on my Fire TV, although you might think it’s a small thing. It’s nice not to wait for things to load when you want to watch them (that’s often the case). The Fire TV is so much faster than my Roku! I really notice that with YouTube (which is presumably not due to ASAP)…it takes many times longer on the Roku for the app to load
  • Firefly real object and media recognition, like my Fire Phone
  • Fire OS 4, which I’ll cover separately

Fire HD 7, 7″ HD Display, Wi-Fi, 8 GB – Includes Special Offers, Black (at AmazonSmile*)

Basically the same as above, except an inch bigger screen and stereo instead of mono speakers.

$139 8GB with Special Offers
$154 8GB without Special Offers
$159 16GB with Special Offers
$174 16 GB without Special Offers

Releasing October 2

Fire HD 6 Kids Edition, 6″ HD Display, Wi-Fi, 8 GB, Blue Kid-Proof Case (at AmazonSmile*)

$149 for six inches
$189 for seven inches

Releases October 21st (look for this one in particular to sell out…I’m guessing manufacturing those kid-proof cases slows the supply chain).

People have wanted something like this for a long time…a purpose-built kids’ device. If the kids break it in the first two years, Amazon will replace it…for free.

  • Comes with a free year of Kindle Unlimited
  • Amazon Freetime camera and photo…kids can take pictures, but can’t share them on social media

Looks like a powerful (it has the quad-core processor) tablet, and probably a good choice for kids.

Fire HDX 8.9, 8.9″ HDX Display, Wi-Fi, 16 GB – Includes Special Offers (at AmazonSmile*)

$379 16GB with Special Offers
$394 16GB without Special Offers
$429 32GB with Special Offers
$444 32GB without Special Offers
$479 64GB with Special Offers
$494 64GB without Special Offers

Releasing October 21st, pre-order now

  • A massive 2560 x 1600 display, 339 ppi (4 million pixels), 30% more pixels than the iPad Retina display
  • 20% lighter than iPad Air
  • 2.5 GHz quad-core processor
  • Twice as loud as iPad air, with Dolby Atmos for headphones (says it is the first tablet with that)
  • Mayday and Firefly
  • 8MP rear-facing camera (compare to the 2MP above), front-facing camera

Fire HDX 8.9, 8.9″ HDX Display, Wi-Fi and 4G LTE, 32 GB – Includes Special Offers (at AmazonSmile*)

Like the above, but with unlocked GSM (including AT&T)…this has the cellular connection.

$529 32GB with Special Offers
$544 32GB without Special Offers
$579 64GB with Special Offers
$594 64GB without Special Offers

Releasing October 21st.

Fire HDX 8.9, 8.9″ HDX Display, Wi-Fi and 4G LTE, 32 GB – Includes Special Offers (at AmazonSmile*)

Verizon version, otherwise same as immediately above, including pricing and release date.

Kindle Fire press releases:

09/17/14 Introducing the All-New Fire HDX—Higher Performance, Exclusive New Audio, the Fastest Wi-Fi, and Still Startlingly Light with a Stunning HDX Display Printer Friendly Version
09/17/14 Introducing the All-New Fire HD—The Most Powerful Tablet Under $100 Printer Friendly Version
09/17/14 Introducing Fire HD Kids Edition—The Kids Tablet That Has it All, Including the First-Ever 2-Year Worry-Free Guarantee

Now, on to the new Fire OS (Operating System):

  • This will be on the new Kindle Fires, and will come to the 3rd Generation (most recent) Kindle Fires through an over-the-air update
  • They again named it after an alcoholic drink…I’d prefer that they don’t do that, but it looks like that’s the pattern right now
  • “… adds Profiles so each family member can have their own individual email, Facebook and Twitter accounts, settings such as display brightness, bookmarks, spot in a movie, and game levels.”
  • Based on KitKat
  • Up to 25% more battery life with a “smart suspend” feature…proactively turns wireless access on and off
  • Family Library (see above…shared accounts)
  • Also coming to Fire Phone
  • Private Mode and print support coming to the Silk Browser
  • Free unlimited Cloud storage of photos taken on Fire devices

Whew!

Some of these features won’t be there at launch, and will be “coming soon”.  The Fire Phone won’t get Fire OS 4 until “early next year”.

press release on Fire OS 4

I would say that this is not a conservative product cycle. It will be interesting to see how these shake out in terms of popularity. I’m interested in what you think (and what questions you might have). Feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.

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* 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.


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