Finally, Kindle Arrives in India – At the Stores and on

Amazon has finally launched India Kindle Store with the largest selection and lowest prices of any e-bookstore in India. The India Kindle Store would feature a vast selection of titles from a range of Indian authors priced in Indian Rupees (INR) catering to a growing number of Kindle users in India who’ve ordered their devices from Amazon US. That too will change now, since Indian customers can now purchase Kindle at Croma retail stores across India.

“We are excited to be the first retailer in India to offer the latest generation Kindle to our customers. This product will launch exclusively in all Croma stores across India at an introductory price of 6,999 INR.”

– Mr. Ajit Joshi, CEO and Managing Director, Croma

With the availability of Kindle on retail shelves and the ability to download ebooks from India authors, Kindle would soon see mainstream adoption even if it continues to battle unfair comparisons from tablet devices at every price point. In my opinion, it makes for an affordable gift for not just voracious readers but also young students and senior family members.

Along with this announcement, Amazon also launched Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) for independent authors and publishers in India. KDP is a fast, free and easy way for authors and publishers to make their books available to Kindle customers in India and around the world.

Amazon Reports Q2 Earnings; Revenues Grow, Operating Margins Drop

Amazon has reported its earnings for the second quarter of 2012, with revenue growing 29% to $12.83 billion, but operating profit and net profit declining to $107 million and $7 million respectively. Amazon’s operating margin reduced to less than 1% in the last quarter.

Amazon’s cash reserves (cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities) declined to around $5 billion by the end of Q2 2012.

Amazon generated close to $4.12 billion from its Media business, and $8.16 billion from its Electronics and general merchandise business. The remainder was generated from sources like AWS and other miscellaneous activities. Media revenues grew at nearly 13%, while EGM revenues grew at a scorching 38%.

Interestingly, all of Amazon’s top 10 selling items were digital products — Kindle, Kindle books and accessories, which suggest a clear trend.

Bezos seems to be very optimistic about Amazon Prime. Here’s his official statement on one of Amazon’s major revenue engines:

“Amazon Prime is now the best bargain in the history of shopping – that is not hyperbole,” said Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of “We successfully launched Prime seven years ago with free unlimited two-day shipping on one million items. The price of annual membership was $79. Since then, Prime selection has grown to 15 million items. We’ve also added 18,000 movies and TV episodes available for unlimited streaming. And we’ve added the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library – borrow 170,000 books for free with no due dates – it even includes all seven Harry Potter books. What hasn’t changed since we launched Prime? The price. It’s still $79. We’re very grateful to our Prime members, and thank them whole-heartedly for the business and for the word-of-mouth that has made this program grow.”

via Amazon – SEC

Rumor: Amazon Working on 5-6 Kindle Fire 2 Variants

Amazon may be planning to launch more than five different variants of the Kindle Fire, all with different display sizes, including a 10 inch model.

The original Kindle Fire had a 7 inch display, and was a fairly huge hit. However, with Google launching the Nexus 7, and Apple reportedly working on an iPad Mini, Amazon may feel the need to compete in different segments.

If it does decide to launch multiple tablets, we expect them to be priced extremely cheaply, at just about break-even levels. Amazon aims to make money not by selling tablet hardware, but by selling digital content to its tablet users.

It has been building out its digital content ecosystem over the last couple of years, and that could generate a significant amount of revenue in the coming years, boosting its low margins.

Since the launch of the Kindle Fire, Amazon’s share of the online video and music market has increased significantly. Amazon may also be planning to launch a smartphone soon, to compete with the iPhone and other Android smartphones.

We certainly expect to see at least a smartphone, a 7 inch Kindle Fire and a 10 inch Kindle Fire before the end of the year. However, 5 to 6 different models may be a long shot. In any case, we will know soon.

via Reuters

Amazon’s New Kindle Fire 2 Coming in Q3 2012?

The recently launched Google Nexus 7 has received rave reviews and is possibly the best budget Android tablet to date. It is priced at just $200, and competes directly with the Amazon Kindle Fire, which held the crown of the best budget Android tablet until a few weeks ago.

However, Amazon is currently working on the successor to the Kindle Fire, which will supposedly be able to compete with the Nexus 7 in a much better way.

Here are some interesting rumors about the Amazon Kindle Fire 2:

1. It will be thinner, lighter and faster than the original (No shit, Sherlock.)

2. It will sport a camera, and will come with a much better high resolution display, possibly 1280 x 800 pixels, same as the Nexus 7. That should give it a much higher pixel density and improve the display quality immensely.

The more interesting part about Amazon’s tablet is its digital ecosystem, which Amazon has been working hard to expand.

Amazon’s Kindle Fire 2 will compete not only with the Google Nexus 7, but also the rumored Apple iPad Mini (if it does launch), as it will be priced in the $300 range.

via AllThingsD

Editorial: Why Amazon’s Rumored Smartphone Will Likely be a Failure


Rumors of an Amazon branded smartphone have started to fly suggesting that the retail giant is looking for viable options to enter the smartphone business after seeing an immense success with its tablet, the Kindle Fire.

A big question about this story has been hitting me for two days that whether the rumored Amazon smartphone will ever be able to achieve the same milestone or not. My less than stellar mind says no.

Before diving deep into my thoughts, let us first recap the launch of Kindle Fire and the factors that helped it become the best selling Android tablet ever.

kindle-fireBack in 2011, when the iPad was enjoying unrivaled success in the tablet market, it was only Amazon who was able to successfully challenge it with its own tablet, the Kindle Fire. Amazon did what other manufacturers were doing wrong:

  • First, it kept the price of Kindle Fire as low and affordable as possible knowing the fact that there are many people who’re interested in owning a tablet, but cannot afford an iPad.
  • Secondly, Amazon also realized that people primarily use their tablets to consume content — read books, magazines, watch movies, TV shows, etc., and so, it offered Kindle Fire owners with access to a huge library of its digital content.

And Boom! The Kindle Fire started selling like hotcakes. In just three months after its launch, it had managed to capture approximately a quarter of the tablet market share while other Android tablets were still struggling to reach even 5% of it despite boasting superlative specifications.

But can Amazon achieve the same feat with a smartphone? I doubt it. Smartphones are totally a different story.

Kindle Fire’s most impressive feature was probably its price — 199 bucks. Despite the fact that it offered virtually zero profit margin to Amazon, Amazon still turned it into a profit making machine by using it as a medium to sell eBooks, magazines and other digital content to Kindle Fire owners. But can Amazon do the same with a smartphone? No. People rarely read books or magazines on their smartphones — they instead consume applications, which Amazon doesn’t have enough to offer.

Applications drive an ecosystem and they’re probably the biggest hurdle for Amazon. Although the rumored Amazon smartphone will run on Android, which has more than 600,000 apps available for it in the Play Store, Amazon will undoubtedly replace the Play Store with its own App Store in the phone — as it did with the Kindle Fire — which has approximately only 37,000 apps or just 6% of apps in the Play Store.

os-market-share-2012Apps are the sole reason why Android and Apple are dominating the smartphone market and the sole reason why Windows Phone has failed to take off despite sporting a superb software. On a comparison note, even Windows Phone has more than twice the number of apps available in Amazon’s App store.

There are just not enough apps in the App Store for Amazon to sell a smartphone with negligible profit margin and still make money out of it on the longer run by selling apps to those phone owners. This leaves Amazon with no option for making profits other than selling its future phone at full price and that too with a decent profit margin.

This demands another question to be answered — what will be then the selling factor of its phone? Relatively cheap price?

Yes Amazon can do that. In fact, it’ll have to do that considering the fact that it will be nearly impossible for it fight with Samsung or Apple at similar price levels. But it cannot manufacture a phone that is both cheap and high on specifications at the same time. It’ll be most probably based on Android and so, the phone needs to be high on specifications or else the result will definitely be a slow phone with a choppy user interface, like we’ve seen in the Kindle Fire. And people will hate that.

Interestingly, Adrian Hughes of ZDNet thinks that Amazon can adopt a different game-plan by developing an user friendly interface to give Samsung, HTC and Sony a run for their money. I’ll just quote his words here:

While there’s no doubt that Android smartphones have experienced tremendous success, one of the complaints that I hear leveled against the platform is that it isn’t particularly friendly, especially to those who don’t consider themselves to be technically literate.

… a much-needed dumbing down of the platform that could give it an enormous advantage over both Apple iPhone and the entirety of the Android ecosystem.

A dumbed-down Android experience could be just what average users are waiting for..

But, in my opinion, he’s wrong. Although it is true that Android is not very user-friendly, Amazon will still not be able to beat Samsung and others just by making its UI user-friendly as Samsung has already been doing that for long and so have other manufacturers.

Compare the following two screenshots of dialers present in ICS and Samsung Touchwiz to get an idea of what I’m talking about:


It took my dad two full days to figure out that the clock icon on the top is the call logs tab. And it is obvious — how is a non-techy person ever going to discover that touching that clock icon will open call logs? But Samsung’s dialer (on the right) mentions the tab names clearly and makes it easier for laymen to understand the UI. It is one of the many areas in TouchWiz UI where Samsung has made considerable efforts to make the UI as user-friendly as possible.

In short, an user-friendly UI is also not going to help Amazon to win this race of smartphone wars. In fact, I cannot think of a single distinctive feature with which Amazon can impress consumers and I’m very skeptical of its success unless it manages to pull out something that… changes everything.

[Image credits: BGR, MobileShop]

Amazon Is Planning To Launch Its Own Smartphone

The year 2012 is all about powerful smartphones, tablets, mobile operating systems and the never-ending patent wars. Until the last few months, Apple was the market leader in the super-competitive smartphone market. However, the tables have been turned. Now, Samsung has became the market leader by shipping 42.2 million smartphones worldwide, followed by Apple, which managed to ship 35.1 million smartphones in the first quarter of 2012.

According to the new rumors floating around the Internet, Amazon is likely to launch its very own smartphone in the coming months. This rumor is definitely not surprising for most of us since we have already see the capability of the retail giant. Last year, Amazon successfully launched its very own tablet, the Kindle Fire. This tablet was powered by the Android Operating System with Amazon’s heavily customized (shoptimized) UI on top of it. Thanks to the low cost and amazing specs, the Kindle Fire sold like hot cakes during the holiday season.

Bloomberg is reporting that the Seattle-based online retail company is planning to launch a smartphone which will compete with the Apple’s iPhone as well as other Android superphones. Basically, it means that Amazon is planning to compete with Apple and Samsung in the competitive smartphone market. The Amazon’s smartphone will run on the latest version of the Android Operating System. No prizes for guessing the user interface. It will come with the Amazon’s shoptimized UI on top of the OS.

I’m sure most of you are familiar with the Foxconn International Holdings Ltd. Yes, we are talking about the same Chinese mobile-phone maker which currently manufactures the Apple’s extremely popular iPhone’s and iPad’s. According to the rumors, the retail giant is working with Foxconn to develop its first smartphone. If these rumors turns out to be true, then you should expect yet another powerful smartphone with a stunning design.

Amazon has been already involved in five patent-related cases this year and 20 cases last year. To protect itself against potential patent infringement lawsuits from competitors claiming illegal use of technology, Amazon has already started obtaining vital patents through acquisitions. It has recently considered acquiring wireless patents from Pennsylvania based InterDigital. Sadly, the company sold its assets to Intel Corp. instead of Amazon for $375 million in June 2012.

It was not the end of the road for Amazon. The company recently hired Matt Gordon for patent acquisitions and investments at Amazon. Previously, Matt Gordon was the senior director of acquisitions at Intellectual Ventures Management LLC, which owns more than 35,000 intellectual property assets.

What are your views on the Amazon’s upcoming smartphone? Do you think this smartphone can survive in the competitive smartphone market? We would love to hear your views in the comments section below.

[Image Credit]

Google Nexus 7 Sparks Off More iPad Mini Rumors

As expected, the launch of the Google Nexus 7 tablet has sparked off yet another series of rumors about a low end tablet by Apple, also known in the tech press as the iPad Mini.

There have been a lot of rumors so far about the fabled iPad Mini, which Apple will supposedly launch to reign supreme over the entire tablet market, by grabbing even the budget segment from the hands of Google’s Android.

The new rumors suggest that the iPad Mini is already in the works, and will sport a 7.85 inch Sharp IGZO display panel, which supports Retina display resolutions.

Apple will price it in the $249 to $299 range to compete with the likes of the Google Nexus 7 and the Amazon Kindle Fire. It is supposed to be unveiled later this year, but we would take this rumor with a pinch of salt.

Apple has already managed to almost perfectly optimize its production processes for the iPad. We expect it to drop prices on older iPads to target the budget market rather than launching new variants.

With each new iPad, Apple just drops the price of each older variant by $100 or more. That might be the best way to maintain a consistent experience across devices while ensuring minimum fragmentation. It also enables Apple to maintain its high margins by minimizing costs.

And rest assured, Apple will never take a hit on each unit sold, like Google or Amazon. It doesn’t need to.

via UnwiredView

Nokia 808 PureView Coming To The UK On June 30

Nokia 808 PureView needs no introduction! Even though it runs on the outdated Symbian Operating System, this handset has gained a lot of attention, thanks to its amazing camera. The Nokia 808 PureView was announced and showcased at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2012 in Barcelona. This handset is the successor of the highly popular Nokia N8 smartphone. The Nokia PureView 808 sports a high-resolution 41 megapixel sensor with Carl Zeiss optics.

The Nokia 808 PureView is the first smartphone to feature Nokia’s award-winning PureView technology. This handset has received multiple awards, including Best Mobile Device at the MWC 2012 as well as the Best Imaging Innovation award from the Technical Image Press Association (TIPA). Nokia has already launched this device in most of the European and Asian markets. The compnay has also announced the unlocked version of this device for the US market. However, the folks living in the UK were left behind.

The Nokia 808 PureView was already available for pre-order at Amazon UK from the last few months, but the exact release date was not announced. Now, Nokia customers in the UK can finally get the much-awaited Nokia 808 PureView before the end of this month. If you are still unaware of the complete features, then check out the specs below.

Nokia PureView features a 4 inch ClearBlack display, sporting a resolution of 360 x 640 pixels, 1.3 GHz processor, Symbian Belle OS, 1 GB ROM, 512 MB RAM, 16 GB internal memory, MicroSD card slot, 32 GB expandable memory, Bluetooth 3.0 with A2DP, A-GPS, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, DLNA Connectivity, 3.5 mm headset jack, Dolby Digital Plus, up to 540 hrs of stand-by time, up to 6 hrs 50 mins of talk time and a 1400 mAh battery.

The Nokia 808 PureView will go on sale in the UK from June 30. This handset is available only in Black and White colors. It comes with a price-tag of £499 (approx. $780). To get this device, head over to this page at Amazon UK.

Unlocked Nokia PureView 808 Coming To The US For $699

Earlier this year, Nokia surprised everyone by unveiling the Nokia PureView 808 at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2012 in Barcelona. This handset is the successor of the highly popular Nokia N8 smartphone. The Nokia PureView 808 sports a high-resolution 41 megapixel sensor with Carl Zeiss optics. You heard it right! This device has also received multiple awards, including Best Mobile Device at the MWC 2012 as well as the Best Imaging Innovation award from the Technical Image Press Association (TIPA). The Nokia 808 PureView is the first smartphone to feature Nokia’s award-winning PureView technology.

nokia pureview 808

Earlier, it was rumored that Nokia will not launch the amazing PureView 808 smartphone in the US. However, we have good news for the folks who were eagerly waiting to get this handset. Nokia recently announced the price and available of the PureView 808 for the customers living in the US. This handset will be available unlocked and unsubsidized through Amazon.

Apart from the 41 megapixel camera, the Nokia PureView features a 4 inch ClearBlack display, sporting a resolution of 360 x 640 pixels, 1.3 GHz processor, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, DLNA Connectivity, Bluetooth 3.0 with A2DP, A-GPS, 1 GB ROM, 512 MB RAM, 16 GB internal memory, MicroSD card slot, 32 GB expandable memory, up to 540 hrs of stand-by time, up to 6 hrs 50 mins of talk time and a 1400 mAh battery. Sadly, this handset runs on the Symbian Belle OS, instead of the Windows Phone 7.5 OS.

The Nokia PureView 808 will offer support for AT&T’s 3G network. However, there is no 3G support for T-Mobile customers. If you are planning to use this device on T-Mobile’s network, then you will have to manage with the 2G speeds. This handset is already available for purchase in most of the European and Asian markets. The Nokia PureView 808 will go on sale at Amazon for $699 starting this week.

Amazon Introduces Kindle Fragmentation with Dilbert 2.0

Amazon is celebrating the 20th anniversary of Scott Adams’s Dilbert, by bringing the four volumes of the Dilbert 2.0 anthology in digital format for the first time ever, exclusively on Kindle Fire. These comic collections are available in full color and displayed on Kindle Fire with Kindle Panel View, a proprietary technology that offers an immersive comic and graphic novel reading experience.


Dilbert, the touchstone of office humor. was the first syndicated comic strip to go online in 1995 and is the most widely read syndicated comic on the Internet. The four volumes for Kindle Fire are available for $7.99 each.

  • Dilbert 2.0: The Early Years, 1989 to 1993
  • Dilbert 2.0: The Boom Years, 1994 to 1997
  • Dilbert 2.0: The Dot-Com Bubble, 1998 to 2000
  • Dilbert 2.0: The Modern Era, 2001 to 2008

The announcement clearly states that these volumes are only available for Kindle Fire devices and Kindle for Android. This is strange since Amazon is favoring one over the other amongst their own devices. I have a third-generation Kindle and I have several friends who use an iPad and buy all their books and subscribe to magazines via Kindle’s iOS app. Amazon’s disturbing move has kept us, the loyal Kindle Store customers, away. While several experts crib about the fragmentation in the Android ecosystem owing to diverse OEMs, Amazon’s step is even more annoying. Although the experience of a comic strip would be different on a colored LCD screen and a grayscale e-ink display, the choice should be left with the customers.