Amazon Launches New Kindle Fire, Kindle Fire HD Variants; Priced at $159 to $499

Amazon has launched three new Kindles at its event today, and it’s not done. It also launched two new variants of the Kindle Fire, which has been one of the most popular tablets in the last year. The Kindle Fire has been refreshed with better hardware, and Amazon also launched a Kindle Fire HD with a bigger display and even better hardware.

Amazon Kindle Fire

The new, refreshed Kindle Fire comes with a 7 inch display, a faster processor and twice the amount of RAM in the original Kindle Fire. It has also dropped the pricing down to $159. The refreshed Kindle Fire starts shipping from September 14.

Amazon Kindle Fire HD

Here’s the more interesting part. It also launched two new versions of the Kindle Fire HD, with 7 inch and 8.9 inch displays, and some really good hardware under the hood.

The 8.9 inch Kindle Fire HD features a larger display with a resolution of 1920 x 1200 pixels, and a display density of 254 ppi. It is powered by a TI OMAP 4470 and includes stereo speakers. It also offers dual band Wi-Fi support for better connectivity and new MIMO technology.

The 16 GB variant of the Kindle Fire HD 8.9 is priced at $299. The 16 GB variant of the Kindle Fire HD 7 (with a 7 inch display) is priced at $199. Amazon will soon reveal the exact difference between the two in terms of hardware specifications.

Besides these three, Amazon also unveiled another variant of the Kindle Fire HD. It announced a Kindle Fire HD (8.9 inch) with 4G LTE bundled in at just $50 per month. This 4G Kindle Fire HD comes with 32 GB of internal storage, and is priced at $499, at par with the entry level iPad. The Kindle Fire HD variants will ship on November 20.

via The Verge

Kindle Fire is Sold Out – Is a New Fire Coming?

According to several news sources, Amazon announced that the Kindle Fire is sold out. This couldn’t have happened by accident. Many people are speculating that Amazon will reveal a new model of the Fire at a major press conference scheduled for next Thursday in Santa Monica, California. I’ve seen several suggestions that Amazon’s new Kindle will be bigger — possibly with a 10 inch screen — or that it will have more memory — or that it will have a new processor.

Amazon definitely hit the market at the right time and at the right price when they released the Fire in November of last year. The $199 Android based e-reader and multimedia device captured 22% of the tablet market in 9 months, but will they be able to come back for a repeat performance with a new Fire? I don’t think so, unless they hit a price much lower than Google’s new Nexus 7, which is selling for around $200. Amazon isn’t going to be able to keep selling 7 inch e-readers for $200, if tablets like the Nexus are widely available. Even a Kindle Fire with a 10 inch screen is going to have a difficult time competing unless it hits a very low price

I went to the Amazon Store, to see what was still available, and I saw exactly what’s been reported — there are no new Kindle Fires left. You will only see a message which says:

We’re sorry. There are currently no New listings for Kindle Fire, Full Color 7″ Multi-touch Display, Wi-Fi.

I continue to use my Kindle Fire at home, and I’m almost sorry to see it go like this. However, the newer tablets are going to continue to get better, faster, and hopefully cheaper. Who can complain about that? Well, I’m guessing that Amazon will be complaining, unless they once again pull off a miracle win with a new Kindle Fire — and it ain’t going to be easy.

How to Open ePub Books on Kindle?

Amazon Kindle and the Kindle app is one of the best devices/apps to read books. In addition to reading books, Amazon also allows you to upload your personal books and documents to your Kindle library. This feature is missing in Google Books.

However, Amazon Kindle does not support a popular format known as ePub and this means that majority of your books may be unreadable on the Kindle. However, there are ways to actually convert ePub books to Amazon Kindle formats.

Amazon Kindle

One of the easiest ways to read ePub books on your Kindle is to convert the books to a format which Kindle understands (.azw, .mobi, .PDF) and then upload the books to your Kindle library using the “Send to Kindle” app or through your personal Amazon Kindle email address (Read: How to add or send books to Kindle).

In order to convert ePub files to a Kindle recognized format, you can use an excellent software called Calibre. You can read our earlier guide on converting ePub files to Mobi and other formats to learn how you can do the conversion of your books.

Also Read: How to Open ePub books on your Desktop?

Once you have converted your book to the popular format, you can directly use Calibre to send the books to your Kindle device or app or read instructions on how to upload books to Kindle library.

Once you have uploaded your books to the Kindle library, you can then easily send it to any of your registered Kindle devices and read the books on them.

 

 

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

amazon-kindle-smartphone

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:

dialer-comparison

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]

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

Microsoft’s Mystery Monday Announcement Rundown

On Thursday there was confusion and intrigue in the Microsoft blogger camp (yes, there’s such a thing). Several new outlets were invited to an event which nobody knew anything about. The invitation by itself added to the mystery. Here’s how things happened:

Barnes and Noble already has a Kindle Fire competing NOOK Tablet that runs on Android. This new rumored device  cannot be running Windows 8 since Windows 8 devices aren’t coming out till October. Windows 8 will go RTM in July/August. So what will this Microsoft NOOK run? It can’t be Android. It can be Windows Embedded.

For what it’s worth, Microsoft has been able to keep everyone in the dark for the second time. The Windows Phone reset with WIndows Phone 7 Series was a tightly kept secret that was revealed only a few minutes before announcement. Tomorrow’s announcement should be equally exciting.

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.

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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.

Details

iPad Market Share Soars to 68% as Kindle Fire Shipments Decrease

You know that so called “iPad killer”? Well, it isn’t doing well at all after all. Today, research firm IDC has released its data on worldwide tablet shipments for the first quarter of 2012. It reveals that even thought there was a quarterly drop in iPad shipments of over 20%, Apple’s share of the tablet market soared from last quarter’s 54.7%.

The significant increase came from the expense of Android tablets. This expense came from Amazon’s Kindle Fire which has seen its shipments collapse from 4.8 million units in the fourth quarter of 2011 to less than 750,000 units last quarter. Ouch! “iPad killer” indeed. It should also be noted that Amazon has never revealed the exact number sold during Amazon’s conference calls.

However, Amazon has taken second place in the tablet market during the fourth quarter with a 16.8% share of the market as the Kindle Fire debuted in the United States. Even though IDC did not report a number for  Amazon’s first quarter shipments in its press release, it did say that Amazon’s share dropped to “just over 4%” in the total tablet market of 17.4 million units, yielding shipment volume of roughly 700,000-750,000 units for Amazon.