Technologizer posts about Amazon.com

So When Does Amazon Prime Instant Video Take on Nextflix Directly?

By  |  Posted at 10:58 am on Wednesday, February 8, 2012

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Amazon Letter

Good news for Amazon Prime members: Amazon.com has signed a deal with Viacom that gives its Amazon Prime Instant Video service access to a lot more stuff–from Jersey Shore to Dora the Explorer. It now offers more than 15,000 streaming videos to Prime members at no additional charge.

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At CNET, I wrote about the end of the Kindle Fire’s honeymoon–and why I’m still inclined to think that Amazon will do well in the tablet business.

Posted by Harry at 8:46 am

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Once Again, the Kindle is Selling Like an Unspecified Number of Hotcakes

By  |  Posted at 4:54 am on Monday, November 28, 2011

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The new Amazon.com Kindles–the Fire and Touch–are out, and Black Friday has come and gone. Amazon is delighted with how well they sold:

“Even before the busy holiday shopping weekend, we’d already sold millions of the new Kindle family and Kindle Fire was the bestselling product across all of Amazon.com. Black Friday was the best ever for the Kindle family – customers purchased 4X as many Kindle devices as they did last Black Friday – and last year was a great year,” said Dave Limp, Vice President, Amazon Kindle. “In addition, we’re seeing a lot of customers buying multiple Kindles – one for themselves and others as gifts – we expect this trend to continue on Cyber Monday and through the holiday shopping season.”

Four times last year’s sales, eh? Impressive! But we don’t really know how impressive, since Amazon never disclosed how many Kindles it sold last year. The company keeps bragging about its e-reader sales without ever mentioning numbers.

2010 example:

“We’re grateful to the millions of customers who have made the all-new Kindle the bestselling product in the history of Amazon — surpassing Harry Potter 7,” said Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com founder and CEO. “We’re seeing that many of the people who are buying Kindles also own an LCD tablet. Customers report using their LCD tablets for games, movies, and web browsing and their Kindles for reading sessions. They report preferring Kindle for reading because it weighs less, eliminates battery anxiety with its month-long battery life, and has the advanced paper-like Pearl e-ink display that reduces eye-strain, doesn’t interfere with sleep patterns at bedtime, and works outside in direct sunlight, an important consideration especially for vacation reading. Kindle’s $139 price point is a key factor — it’s low enough that people don’t have to choose.”

2009:

Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) today announced that November is already the best sales month ever for Kindle, even before Cyber Monday. Kindle continues to be the most wished for, the most gifted, and the #1 bestselling product across all product categories on Amazon. The latest generation Kindle – just released in October – is $259 and available for immediate shipment today at http://www.amazon.com/kindle.

Earlier in 2009:

Amazon.com today announced that more new generation Kindles were ordered in the first four weeks of availability than in the same timeframe following any other Kindle launch, making the new Kindles the fastest-selling ever. In addition, in the four weeks since the introduction of the new Kindle and Kindle 3G, customers ordered more Kindles on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk combined than any other product, continuing Kindle’s over two-year run as the bestselling product across all the products sold on Amazon.com. The new Kindles started shipping to customers today–two days earlier than previously announced.

…and so on. Always with the triumphant claims about best-sellerhood, but never any specific figures that would allow us to judge for ourselves.

When I wrote about this before, I wondered why Amazon wasn’t forthcoming with hard data. At the time, I thought maybe it was because e-readers were a relatively small product category compared to blockbusters like the iPod. Perhaps Amazon didn’t want to point that out. But with the arrival of the Kindle Fire, I’m dying to know something very specific: How do its sales compare to those of the iPad?

Apple doesn’t always disclose sales figures for its products. As far as I know, though, it doesn’t issue press releases trumpeting their success without large numbers to back up the bragging. For instance, we know that it sold 300,000 units of the original iPad on its first day. But we don’t know whether the Kindle Fire sold in that ballpark, or much less. (I’m assuming we would know if it outsold the iPad. But maybe not.)

I can’t think of anything comparable to Amazon’s ongoing celebration of Kindle sales without any disclosure of what they actually are. It’s clear that Kindles sell well. But until the company fesses up, I’ll always have the sneaking suspicion that they might not be selling quite as well as some people think.

Or as Steve Jobs put it in a 2009 interview with David Pogue, “Usually if you sell a lot of something, you want to tell everybody.”

[Image courtesy of Bigstock.]



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First Kindle Fire Reviews: Promising But Rough

By  |  Posted at 9:42 am on Monday, November 14, 2011

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I haven’t tried Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablet for myself yet, but the first reviews are out. For the most part, they’re neither raves nor pans–they praise the value provided for the $199 price and say the device is full of promise–but also point out that it has more than its share of meaningful rough spots. (The tone reminds me a bit of reviews of the original 2007 Kindle).



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Hey Amazon, How About a Kindle Fire Phone?

By  |  Posted at 10:00 am on Friday, November 11, 2011

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Yesterday, after writing about Android fragmentation, I ran into a friend at a conference. He began ranting about a particular type of fragmentation: The way wireless carriers muck up Google’s operating system with junkware, promotional stuff, pointless tweaks, and general bloat that makes the operating system less usable. He got pretty worked up about it. I agreed it was a problem.

I wondered why no company has taken up the challenge of building…well, the iPhone of Android phones. Something that’s elegant, approachable, uncluttered, and respectful of the consumer’s intelligence. Any bundled services would need to be beautifully integrated rather than just shoveled onto the phone indiscriminately, as the apps on Android handsets often are.

And then it hit me: Why not Amazon?

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Nook Tablet vs. Kindle Fire: A Guide to Decide

By  |  Posted at 8:51 am on Thursday, November 10, 2011

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Nook Tablet and Kindle Fire

If it’s a cheap tablet you’re after, Barnes & Noble and Amazon want your business. Amazon’s $199 Kindle Fire and Barnes & Noble’s $249 Nook Tablet both look promising on paper—the former with its suite of Amazon services, and latter with its superior specs and more diverse streaming video offerings—but chances are, you’ve only got room for one tablet on your holiday wish list.

As is often the case with gadgets, finding the best 7-inch tablet is a matter of figuring out your personal needs. Below, I’ll divvy up the strengths of the Nook Tablet and Kindle Fire so you can figure out what’s most important.

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GigaOm’s Kevin C. Tofel on why Amazon and Barnes & Noble’s rather modest Android tablets have a shot at succeeding when more ambitious ones from other companies have not:

Surprisingly, it took two booksellers / digital content companies to figure out there’s a market for smaller, less expensive tablets that focus on key consumer activities. The Fire and Nook may not be computer replacements, but for most people, neither is the iPad, yet it’s easily outselling comparable Android tablets by a large margin according to the limited data available.

Posted by Harry at 12:38 pm

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Amazon Prime Members Now Get Free Kindle E-Book Rentals

By  |  Posted at 9:55 pm on Thursday, November 3, 2011

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Amazing Lending Library

Amazon’s bringing free Kindle e-book rentals to Amazon Prime members, but a bunch of restrictions make the service less attractive than it could be.

The Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, as it’s officially called, lets Amazon Prime members check out one book at a time in one-month increments. If the member switches to another book when a month is over, the old book disappears from the device. Amazon Prime costs $79 per year, and also includes free two-day shipping on retail items, $3.99 overnight shipping and, as of last February, free streaming movies and TV shows.

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VentureBeat’s Devindra Hardawar is reporting that Amazon.com is seriously interested in buying WebOS from HP, the company that bought Palm for $1.2 billion and then killed the TouchPad after six weeks.

The Kindle Fire is powered by Android, but it’s been heavily customized by Amazon to the point where you can barely tell. By purchasing the remnants of Palm, Amazon would have free rein to redesign webOS to its own liking, and it would be able to further differentiate its Kindle devices from the slew of Android tablets in the market.

It would be swell if the WebOS saga ended happily, and I can’t think of a better candidate than Amazon to figure out how to do well by the software. Then again, I once thought that HP could be a good home for it, too…

Posted by Harry at 8:32 am

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Michael Mace of Mobile Opportunity blogged some of the smartest thoughts I’ve seen on Amazon’s announcement of the Kindle Fire and related products and services this week. One worthwhile nugget, of many:

I may be indulging in wishful thinking, but there’s a possibility that ten years from now we’ll look back on Silk as the single most important thing in today’s announcement.

Posted by Harry at 3:17 am

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Over at my Challengers blog on Cnet News, I took a look at Amazon’s Kindle Fire vs. everything else that looks sort of like it. I came to the conclusion that it’s a new take on tablets that’s not precisely like anything else–but that consumers will still compare it against the iPad, Android tablets, the Nook Color, other Kindles, and even the iPod Touch.

Posted by Harry at 3:10 pm

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Here’s Yesterday’s Amazon Kindle Fire Event

By  |  Posted at 12:40 pm on Thursday, September 29, 2011

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I was lucky enough to be at Amazon’s press event yesterday in person. (I enjoyed the company of about 16,500 of you who attended our liveblog, cohosted by Macworld’s Jason Snell.) Amazon has now posted the full video of the event, so you can see what I saw:

 

In many ways, Amazon’s presentation mirrored Apple’s iconic Steve Jobs keynotes: CEO spouting stats, announcing products, and saving the best for last, interspersed with videos. Amazon’s Jeff Bezos is a gifted speaker and did a good job. I was startled by one major difference between an Apple event and this one–Bezos received only sporadic smattering of polite applause. There were no thunderous ovations or wild cheering. I don’t think that was a sign that the audience wasn’t impressed–but the ratio of journalists to employees and VIPs may have been higher at the Amazon event than at typical Apple ones.

(Yes, there are some journalists who clap and hoot at Apple events, but it makes me cringe when they do. Non-journalist types, however, are entitled to get as raucous as they please.)



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Amazon’s Kindle Fire vs. the Competition: A Spec Shootout

By  |  Posted at 8:36 pm on Wednesday, September 28, 2011

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Amazon compromised on several hardware features of its Kindle Fire to deliver the most affordable mainstream 7-inch media tablet. Arriving on November 15 for $199, the Kindle Fire will enter a crowded market dominated by Apple’s iPad.

Since the market also contains several other Android competitors, can Amazon claim the number two tablet spot? Let’s take a look.

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Amazon Anounces $199 Kindle Fire Tablet, Clutch of New Kindle E-Readers

By  |  Posted at 1:16 pm on Wednesday, September 28, 2011

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Amazon Kindle Fire tabletAfter months of hype, Amazon today announced the Kindle Fire, a 7-inch tablet with a $199 price tag. Amazon also refreshed its line of e-readers with a $149 Kindle Touch 3G, a $99 Kindle Touch without 3G, and a non-touch $79 Kindle.

The pricing alone is sure to spook both Apple and Barnes & Noble. Here are the details on the Amazon Kindle Fire and the new Kindle e-readers.

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Wait, Now Amazon is Launching Three Kindle Tablets on Wednesday?

By  |  Posted at 6:29 pm on Tuesday, September 27, 2011

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Everyone’s talking Amazon’s nifty new watch-out-Apple tablet, supposedly an Android derivative dubbed the “Kindle Fire,” but have you heard about the other two?

Yes, the other two. As we head into the eleventh hour, we’re hearing Amazon’s planning not one, not two, but three Kindle tablets for its Wednesday (tomorrow) dog and pony show. The so-called Kindle Fire is rumored to be an aggressively priced 7-inch color LCD Android slate, and may (or may not, depending who you read) be designed to go toe-to-toe with Apple’s iPad. That said, it sounds like Amazon wants to support its “but we just want a decent e-reader!” audience as well, and will announce two black and white Kindles at tomorrow’s event, too.

The source: Concord Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who says Amazon’s planning two 6-inch grayscale e-ink Kindles, dubbed “Tequila” (low-end) and “Whitney,” (high-end) to complement the color Kindle Fire (dubbed “Hollywood”).

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Amazon Tablet Event Liveblog Tomorrow

By  |  Posted at 11:44 am on Tuesday, September 27, 2011

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Enough with the pretense–Amazon.com is unveiling its Android tablet tomorrow. (I’d like to see a new Kindle e-reader, too, OK?) I’ll be at the New York event and will liveblog it starting at 10am ET. I’ll also have a special guest: Jason Snell of Macworld, who will provide color commentary and generally hang out with us.

It may not surprise you to learn that Apple events get by far the highest liveblog attendance here at Technologizer. (Google Android events and Facebook ones are more or less tied for a distant second place.) I’ve never liveblogged an Amazon press conference, so I’m looking forward to it–and wondering whether, as with Apple events, tens of thousands of you will choose to join me.



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