Archive for the ‘e-Reader’ Category

It’s Official – New Kindle Readers and Tablet from $79 – $199

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011
Kindle Fire, Kindle Touch, and Kindle

Introducing three new Kindles. Photo Credit: Amazon.com

Amazon just announced not one, but four new Kindle devices. The keyboard is gone, and three of the four feature touch screens, including the new Kindle Fire tablet. Pictured above, you can see the Kindle Fire, Kindle Touch (3G version also announced), and the new basic Kindle without touch. Amazon loaded all of them with features.

The Kindle uses a new feature called “X-Ray” to provide helpful information with the book, on top of traditional dictionary searches. Wikipedia entries and other relevant content is included with the book upon download. Unlike some other devices (including older Kindles), there will not be a page turn button on the Kindle Touch. There will be a thin column of touchable space on the left and right where you can tap to move forward or backward. Amazon has two price points for the new readers, with ads or without. You can also now check out Kindle books from a library.

Kindle

The latest Kindle is pocket-sized, according to Amazon.com. It weighs 5.8 ounces, and is 18% smaller, and turns pages 10% faster. It is the same 6″ screen you may be used to. For $79, Amazon may have finally hit the price point to keep e-readers relevant. The Kindle is available today. Don’t want special offers? The ad-free version is $109. Still not a bad price. Check it out at amazon.com/kindle.

Kindle Touch/Touch 3G

The Kindle Touch is 8% lighter, and 11% smaller, and features a multi-touch screen. It includes the new X-Ray technology so you can read about relevant content in addition to your book. All your books are stored in the cloud, and feature Whispersync so you can pick up where you left off no matter what device you are using. The Kindle Touch and Kindle Touch 3G are available for pre-order, and will ship November 21. The Touch is $99 with Special Offers, and $139 without. Check it out at amazon.com/kindletouch. The Kindle Touch 3G is $149 with Special Offers or $189 without. Check it out at amazon.com/kindletouch3G.

Kindle Fire

The Kindle Fire rolls the best of Amazon.com into a single package. Movies, Music, TV shows, Books, cloud storage, and an Android app store are all part of this package. For $199, this tablet is set to sell. Quickly. It features a dual-core processor, 7″ multi-touch display, and 8GB of internal memory. The screen resolution is 1024×600, and the display can show 16 million colors. The Fire has free cloud storage for all Amazon products, which explains the smaller storage. It also comes with a free month of Amazon Prime. Unlike the readers, this one does not have two price points. It will ship for $199 on November 15. Check it out at amazon.com/kindlefire.

So, there you have it. Four new Kindle readers, or three if you don’t count the Touch 3G separately. Amazon has thrown down the gauntlet on pricing, both in the e-reader and tablet arena, so things should get pretty interesting in short order. Even though I don’t like the idea of ads on a screensaver, the ads are not too intrusive on the Kindle. Given a reasonably long expected lifetime of the product, is it worth a $40 savings? Maybe. I would probably spring for the ad-free version. Amazon did not disappoint today. The e-Ink Kindle that we have come to know over the years continues to be relevant, and now there is a tablet ready to shake things up. What do you think? Did Amazon show you something you’re excited about? Let me know in the comments.

Amazon’s Kindle Fire and the e-Reader Wars

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

Amazon.com has been building a huge presence on Google’s Android OS in recent years. You can find an app for the Kindle reader, Amazon.com store, and Amazon mp3 player. There is even an Amazon-based Android market that offers a paid app for free every day. Given Amazon’s large e-reader footprint, and the amount of effort Amazon has put into its Android apps, it was only a matter of time before a tablet was launched. Rumor has it that the tablet will be announced tomorrow under the label Kindle Fire. Everyone is talking about this being the iPad killer. Is it though? Probably not, at least not yet.

For years there has been an ongoing debate about tablets vs e-Readers. I wrote about a few of the competitors a while back in a series called the e-Reader Wars. People were comparing the Kindle, Nook, and Sony Reader against the iPad, even though they are in completely different markets. Some devices tried to bridge the gap between e-reader and tablet, like the Adam from Notion Ink and the ill-fated Edge from Entourage. The e-reader market continued to thrive, even as more and more tablets emerged. There is a reason for this. e-Ink is a better medium for reading books. Back-lit displays are hard on the eyes, tablets tend to be heavier than e-readers, and sometimes people want a gadget that does just one thing really well. The Kindle was never really in competition with the iPad.

With the launch of the Nook Color, Barnes & Noble crossed over into tablet territory. The Kindle and Sony Reader stayed true to e-Ink, among some other competitors including the Nook touch. When it comes down to it, a 7 inch Kindle Fire is better able to compete with the Nook Color than it is the iPad. It is not necessarily the device though that is causing the stir. Amazon’s Prime membership, Android apps, cloud services, media services, and Android market have positioned it to change the tablet industry. Amazon provides hardware to sell software, and there is a lot of software to choose from with Amazon’s label. This will certainly make things interesting in the near future, but until the 10 inch model comes out, it sounds like the Kindle Fire is geared to enhance the e-reader space over the tablet space.

Is the Kindle Fire going to excite a lot of people? Of course. This should be a pretty cool device, full of Amazon innovation. The rumored low price point will make this a hit in time for the holidays. Is Apple concerned about this new market entrant? Probably, but there is plenty of time for this to considered a threat. Apple will likely have some time to respond. Hopefully Amazon will continue to carry its e-Ink Kindle readers. Though Apple is a tempting target in the tablet industry, there is still plenty of life left in e-Readers. I carry my Sony Reader Daily Edition to work right along my Tablet S. I like what my tablet has to offer, and I like what the Reader has to offer. They are complimentary, or at least not in direct competition. We may soon see if the market agrees. I expect Amazon to sell a lot of tablets in the coming months.

Even though I don’t think this first run of Kindle Fire will be a huge threat to Apple, I am looking forward to seeing what Amazon comes up with. We should know a lot more about the Kindle Fire tomorrow morning. Let’s hope it can live up to the hype. I have a feeling it will.

A Few of My Favorite Things

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

Now that procrastination shopping time is in full swing I figured it was time for a gift guide of sorts. This isn’t a comprehensive list, and it may not cover everyone on your shopping list, but these would certainly make my Christmas merry.

First up, the Sony Reader Daily Edition. Any of the Reader line will do, though the Daily Edition is my favorite of the bunch. The Sony Reader offers the best selection in content options, thanks to public library partnerships and Google Books among other perks. The touch screen is fast and responsive, and the book is light enough to take anywhere. There are certainly other quality e-book readers out there but Sony’s really stands out among the rest. I’m holding out for a black version of the Daily Edition, since the silver doesn’t do much for me. For $300 it should be attractive, right? If I were to receive it in Silver I doubt I’d complain though, especially as there’s been no announcement of an intent to offer additional colors.

Next up is the Sony Internet TV. I really like the Logitech Revue as a Google TV option but I am in the market for a new TV, making the Sony’s offering rise to the top of my wish list. I have absolutely no interest in 3-D TV, so the fact that the Internet TVs are cheaper is another perk. The Sony Internet TV is a decent TV even without Google TV, and as I just mentioned, the price is attractive. In my review of Sony’s Internet TV I noted that the remote is more geek-friendly than user-friendly. This would be a good choice for your favorite geek.

At this point I’m aware that it looks like I only want or own Sony products. The fact that the PlayStation Move from Sony is next on my list is purely coincidence, I assure you. The Move was a very welcome addition to my PlayStation 3 gaming experience. I’ve spent many hours with Sports Champions, and even got the Platinum trophy for my efforts. I think the Move’s precision lend to a more realistic gaming experience, especially for sports. Playing Table Tennis and Disc Golf on Sports Champions really felt like the real thing. The Move is far beyond the pale of comparison to the Wii. It does what it needs to, every time. I’ve been pretty frustrated with the motion detection offered by the Wii, so the Move really hit the spot for motion gaming. Incidentally, I don’t have too much against the Kinnect for Xbox, but the available games are not to my taste at this point. The Kinnect’s value is in the video conferencing capability as well. This helps the Move stand alone in its genre.

Android has come a long way this year. There has been a constant stream of updates and improvements, and even a few OS versions along the way. The Android Market is maturing both in usability and in quality and number of available apps. Even with AT&T doing its best to stall upgrades on its Android powered phones in order to bolster iPhone sales it has continued to thrive. Android has grown from phones into tablets. I am looking forward to seeing where Android goes in the coming year. All indications are that things are looking good. It will be nice to see the Android Market made available on a wider variety of Android devices. Hopefully this is an option. I think it will go a long way in supporting Android’s rising status.

There are a few video games that I’ve really enjoyed this year. The Force Unleashed II is among them. I’m currently playing Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, and am almost to the Platinum trophy. The X-Men Arcade game I downloaded last night was pretty fun too. I have a few on deck that I’ll be enjoying during my Christmas vacation including Transformers:War for Cybertron, Assassin’s Creed 2, and God of War III. On my wish list is Call of Duty: Black Ops, Goldeneye, and Uncharted 2 to name a few. I think it’s been a pretty good year for gaming. NExt year has some promising titles as well. Batman: Arkham City, Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Infamous 2, and Uncharted 3 are definitely on my radar.

There you have it – a few of my favorite things. There were some gadgets I wanted to cover that didn’t make it into this post, so a follow-up might be coming in the foreseeable future. What about you? What are some of your favorite gadgets/tech this year? Let me know in the comments.