Amazon refreshes the Fire tablet line…but the big announcement is yet to come

September 10, 2018

Amazon refreshes the Fire tablet line…but the big announcement is yet to come

Ah, September! Back to school, the new TV season, and the return of NFL football games!

Well, those may be pretty fuzzy times now…new TV shows debut almost all year long, back to school sales certainly start before September, and…well, I don’t pay that much attention to the NFL**. ūüėČ Hm…I think I’m safe to say that September is when Halloween decorations appear in the stores (I’ve seen ’em), but that may start in August or earlier.

As far as this blog is concerned, though, September is also when we typically get new hardware announcements from Amazon. Last year, for example, I wrote this on September 28:

Wowsers! Amazon just blew the doors off with new devices and features!

We have had an announcement already, the new

Fire HD 8 Tablet (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

You can also get it with the charging dock:

All-New Fire HD 8 Tablet with Alexa, 8‚ÄĚ HD Display, 16 GB, Black ‚Äď with Special Offers + All-New Show Mode Charging Dock (at AmazonSmile*)

Pre-order right now for October 4th release, and at time of writing, you can get the tablet and the dock for $94.99 at time of writing. Without the dock, it’s $79.99…the same price as the entry-level Kindle!

I’m really tempted, although for me, it would be a bit redundant.

Redundant with what?

Our

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

You can buy the Show right now for $129.99…$100 off.

Honestly, it seems to me like the Fire HD8 is going to be better for most people. While the camera on the Show is considerably better, and the microphones to hear you are probably better, the ability to make an unplugged video call on a tablet sized device could be really big.

It’s also worth noting that the new HD8 has expandable memory: up to 400GB with a micro SD slot.

While the tablets have had Alexa before, this joins the Fire HD10 with hands-free Alexa.

I do think it’s a significant update…but I think the big announcement is yet to come.

First, the Show may simply disappear…it’s certainly being de-emphasized on the website currently. I would expect the

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

to stick around. I love having one on my desk at work…it’s an unobtrusive videoscreen (about the size of a Magic 8 Ball). Maybe new features and a lower price, but still there.

Audio only Echo devices should also be around, although I’m not sure we’ll see a new version of the tower. The Dot is another powerful and small device…but could it get even smaller? Could, for example, we get an Alexa capable device able to be literally stuck to a wall or mirror? The

Amazon Dash Wand

is sort of like that, at least if you stick it magnetically to a refrigerator, but because it has a scanner also, it’s bigger than what I’m thinking. I’m picturing something a centimeter/half an inch thick at most, and not always listening. You tap it to interact with Alexa…if you want hands-free, you could yell to one of your other devices. Use in the bathroom could be part of the marketing…I don’t have an Echo device there (although I do have a waterproof Bluetooth speaker I like a lot, pairing it with an Echo Dot in the bedroom…my model is no longer available).

I mentioned something quite small last year…a key fob sort of thing, but some sort of wearable (headphones or otherwise) also seems like a possibility.

Alexa in the car will also become more available (mostly through integration with the car manufacturers), but I can still see an add-on device (like GPS used to be) for all cars.

I’m having a hard time seeing something revolutionary in the EBR (E-Book Reader) line…the Kindle. More waterproof models? Sure. Color? Seems unlikely…I’m not sure why. Could a Kindle go under $50? Yes, but there is some advantage in having it seen as a luxury item, even at the lowest price. They have an inexpensive way for you to read e-books…the Fire tablets, which are now cheaper than Kindles.

We really may hear about a revolutionary home robot product from Amazon. It might not be released until 2019, but pre-orders could get it into this holiday shopping season, and it might be limited to Prime members at first.

Otherwise, what we are seeing is Amazon spreading its presence (particularly through Alexa) deeper into other people’s hardware. Amazon doesn’t need to make phones or TVs if they can be on them and let somebody else take the risk on the hardware.

Am I backing off an XR (Augmented/Virtual/Mixed/Merged Reality) device? Something at some point seems necessary (even though I can now see Amazon Prime Video in XR), but it may be a question of an Alexa experience in XR, and again, piggybacking on other people’s devices.

Those are a few ideas. What do you think? What new hardware/announcements would you expect to see from Amazon this year? What things would you like to see? 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 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! :) 

** That’s not to say that I pay no attention to football. I used to follow it quite closely. I’ve had debates with other geeks in which my postulate is that American football is the most intellectual of the big sports in the USA. It’s the only one where they stop every few seconds to decide what they are going to do next. While some people think of it as just big people crashing into each other, Monday morning quarterbacks don’t say, “We lost because they were bigger than us,” they say, “They shouldn’t have gone for it on third down.” The criticism is about the intellectual part of the game, not as much the physical (if we leave officiating out of it). However, I have heard good arguments for baseball also being a stream of decisions

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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Happy bookish birthdays (9 September) to…

September 9, 2018

Happy bookish birthdays (9 September) to…

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! :) 

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.

Today’s KDD: “$1.99 & up on select Goodreads Choice Award winners & more”

September 8, 2018

Today’s KDD: “$1.99 & up on select Goodreads Choice Award winners & more”

Today’s

Kindle Daily Deal (at AmazonSmile…benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

is really impressive!

When Amazon bought Goodreads about 5 1/2 (!) years ago, this was the kind of result we wanted. ūüôā

The thirty titles include:

  • Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn | 4.5 stars out of 5 | 5,485 customer reviews | $2.99
  • Red Rising (#1) by Pierce Brown | 4 stars | 44,877 reviews | $1.99
  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot | 4.6 stars | 5,937 reviews | $2.99
  • Wild by Cheryl Strayed | 4.4 stars | 13,292 | $1.99
  • The Paris Wife by Paula McClain | 4.3 stars | 3,076 reviews | $2.99
  • The Fault in Our Stars by John Green | 4.7 stars | 37,594 reviews | $2.99
  • I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai | 4.6 stars | 3,291 reviews | $4.99
  • Bossypants by Tina Fey | 4.3 stars | 4,730 reviews | $4.99
  • The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling | 4.3 stars | 34,289 reviews | $1.99 (also available through Kindle Unlimited)
  • MaddAddam by Margaret Atwood | 4.3 stars | 702 reviews | $1.99
  • Room by Emma Donoghue | 4.4 stars | 4,638 reviews | $3.99
  • How to Be a BAWSE by Lilly Singh | 4.8 stars | 392 reviews | $2.99

When I think back to the beginning of the Kindle age, this list would have been thought…unlikely. These are tradpubbed (traditionally published), popular, well-reviewed books, several of which have been made into movies, and yet, here they are…on sale. Progress!

Check the price before you click/tap/eye gaze that Buy button…the prices may not apply in your country, and you might see this after the books are out of this sale.

Also, as always, you can buy the books at this reduced price, and either delay the delivery until the appropriate gift-giving occasion, or print them out so you can give them whenever you want.

Enjoy!

Special note: I’m writing this on my Significant Other’s Chromebook…I’ll tell you the whole story another time, but I bought a new laptop and had to return it. My big mistake? Buying it in a brick-and-mortar instead of at Amazon. ūüėČ

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! :) 

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.

 

Happy bookish birthdays (8 September) to…

September 8, 2018

Happy bookish birthdays (8 September) to…

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! :) 

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.

Happy bookish birthdays (7 September) to…

September 7, 2018

Happy bookish birthdays (7 September) to…

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! :) 

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.

Happy bookish birthdays (6 September) to…

September 6, 2018

Happy bookish birthdays (6 September) to…

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! :) 

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.

Happy bookish birthdays (5 September) to…

September 5, 2018

Happy bookish birthdays (5 September) to…

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! :) 

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.

Happy bookish birthdays (4 September) to…

September 4, 2018

Happy bookish birthdays (4 September) to…

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! :) 

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.

Walmart starts selling e-books/Kobo EBRs

September 3, 2018

Walmart starts selling e-books/Kobo EBRs

I guess Walmart decided to party like it’s 2009**. ūüėČ

Walmart has just announced a major initiative to sell e-books (both online and in the stores) and Kobo EBRs (E-Book Readers):

press release

This is no timid toe-dipping…it’s a full-on cannonball into the e-book, EBR, and not insignificantly, audiobook markets.

The really good news is that, contrary to what you may read at some sites, the e-book market is thriving. Reports you might see about reduced or slowing sales of e-books are, I think, for the most part a data error rather than a trend. Tradpub (traditional publisher) e-book sales may no longer be growing super rapidly, but that may be because of the large percentage of sales being made by non-tradpubs and by subsers (subscription services) including Amazon’s own

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

My mentioning Amazon here is, of course, deliberate. That’s the obvious competition here…and while it might seem like Walmart might do this just to go after Amazon, that doesn’t make sense. This doesn’t seem like a likely loss leader (really, how many people are going to use Walmart for the first time because of e-books, or make an e-book purchase and then be inspired to buy tire irons?), so I think they think they are going to profit on this.

There are really three parts to this at this point:

  • EBRs: Walmart has already sold e-book readers (and Fire tablets, for that matter)…this doesn’t seem revolutionary enough to justify a big promotional push
  • E-books: they are doing an interesting thing here with promoting purchasing giftcards in the store…otherwise, this is Kobo’s offerings. It’s really more of co-branding…or should that be Ko-branding? ūüėČ It wouldn’t surprise me at all if this was really Kobo’s idea. I think Kobo is getting more out of it (access to the mainstream American market) than Walmart is
  • Audiobooks: this probably the most interesting part of this, a $9.99 a month audiobook subser

You can see the details on all of this starting here:

Walmart eBooks

I’ve read through the audiobook conditions…basically, for $9.99 you can get one audiobook (which could be a considerable savings). Outside of that, you can piece buy more (at the regular price) or “top up” by buying three more “instant credits”.

I’m seeing this being presented in coverage as underselling Amazon’s Audible, which is $14.95 for a similar one credit.

However, Amazon gives you a lot of other benefits.

Also, if you don’t care about owning the e-books but just want to listen to them, you can have access to a lot more for a similar price to Walmart’s by joining

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

If you want to try this, you can. You can set up a free trial (like you can with Audible), and you’ll get a $10 credit towards an e-book or audiobook. Then, hypothetically, you could cancel. So, you can get a that $10 to try out a book (audio or e).

My bottom line on this? I think it’s low risk for Walmart, and I expect it to be around for a while. I think Kobo has taken on the lion’s share of the risk, but that this will probably work for them.

I don’t see much impact on Amazon…although I think they’ll have to consider dropping the Audible subscription price, at elast for an intro (after the free trial), even if it is only temporarily at the holidays. They could give that price only to Prime members, perhaps.

This could get some antiammers (Anti-Amazon folks…I just made that up) used to e-books, which might help in the long run.

What do you think? Will you download the app and get the free trial, just to test it? Do you think this will have much of an impact on Amazon? How about on Barnes & Noble? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

A couple of articles:

 

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! :) 

** While the Kindle was released in November 2007, it would really have been around 2009 that a place like Walmart might have made a big move into it…the 2007 holiday season was upon them too quickly, and you might wait a year to see how it went

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.

Happy bookish birthdays (3 September) to…

September 3, 2018

Happy bookish birthdays (3 September) to…

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! :) 

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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