Tag Archives | Amazon Kindle

The Amazon Tablet: The PlayBook’s Fraternal Twin

Gdgt’s Ryan Block is reporting an interesting bit of scuttlebutt which I’ve also heard: that Amazon’s upcoming Android tablet is based on the same hardware platform as RIM's BlackBerry PlayBook:

From there, Amazon’s team determined they could build a tablet without the help and experience of Lab 126, so they turned to Quanta, which helped them “shortcut” the development process by using the PlayBook as their hardware template. Of course, it’s never quite that simple, and as I’m told Amazon ran into trouble, and eventually sacrifices were made (like using a slower processor).

Hardware’s important, of course, but it’s not the only thing. As with Kindle e-readers, it’s the Amazon services that are going to be key in making the tablet stand out from other products that look similar.

TechCrunch’s MG Siegler has some related scuttlebutt: the Amazon tablet will be called the Kindle Fire, won’t be available until November, and will compete against a Barnes & Noble Nook Color 2 that’s also in the works for the holidays.

Oh, and Siegler says that Wednedsday’s Amazon event in New York will definitely include the tablet announcement. Which is good news, since I’m flying cross country to liveblog it. Join me at technologizer.com/amazon at 10am ET on Wednesday, won’t you?

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Report: “Kindle Scribe” Could Be Amazon’s Next E-Reader

Amazon’s next Kindle might not just be for bookworms. The company has registered the “kindlescribe.com” and “kindlescribes.com” domains, leading to speculation that the next Kindle will include a stylus for note taking.

Fusible discovered the domains, which Amazon registered on August 20. As Business Insider notes, the e-reader could use a touch-sensitive E-Ink display, like the kind used in Barnes & Nobles new Nook, but with the added ability to scribble notes.

It would certainly be a logical step for Amazon, which recently started a rental program for college text books. Being able to scratch notes in the margins would come in handy for students, especially because doing so on a printed text book would devalue its resale price.

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Kindle Cloud Reader and Vudu: The Promise and Pitfalls of iPad Web Apps

iPhone to Support Third-Party Web 2.0 Applications
Innovative New Way to Create Applications for iPhone

WWDC 2007, SAN FRANCISCO—June 11, 2007—Apple® today announced that its revolutionary iPhone™ will run applications created with Web 2.0 Internet standards when it begins shipping on June 29. Developers can create Web 2.0 applications which look and behave just like the applications built into iPhone, and which can seamlessly access iPhone’s services, including making a phone call, sending an email and displaying a location in Google Maps. Third-party applications created using Web 2.0 standards can extend iPhone’s capabilities without compromising its reliability or security.

“Developers and users alike are going to be very surprised and pleased at how great these applications look and work on iPhone,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “Our innovative approach, using Web 2.0-based standards, lets developers create amazing new applications while keeping the iPhone secure and reliable.”

Doesn’t that feel like a press release from another era? It is.

As everyone who knows anything about the iPhone and iPad knows, developers and users turned out not to be that surprised or pleased by Web apps running in Safari. But when Apple opened up its mobile operating system to true third-party apps in 2008, it set off an explosion of enthusiasm that hasn’t stopped.

There have always been some excellent Web apps for iOS–Google’s ambitious versions of Gmail for the iPhone and iPad spring to mind–but the vast majority of companies that have attempted to build something great for iOS have chosen the flexibility, power, and responsiveness of native apps over the open standards and cloud-based capabilities of Web apps. Which makes this week a notable one for iOS Web apps.

Today, Amazon.com released Kindle Cloud Reader, a browser-based version of its e-reader that works in Safari on the iPad (and Safari and Chrome on Windows PCs and Macs). It give you access to all the Kindle books you’ve bought, has a similar look and feel as the Kindle app, and includes a built-in version of the Kindle bookstore. (Amazon’s iOS Kindle apps deal with Apple’s new rules for in-app purchasing by serving only as readers, not online bookstores.) Cloud Reader’s arrival comes a day after movie-streaming service Vudu launched an entirely browser-based version which can deliver movies to the iPad, no app required.

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Is a New Kindle Around the Corner?

Slashed prices for refurbished Kindles could be the latest sign that a new version of Amazon’s popular e-reader is imminent.

This week, Amazon dropped the price of refurbished, third-generation Kindles to $99 for a Wi-Fi model and $139 for a model with 3G and Wi-Fi. If purchased new, the same Kindles cost $139 and $189, respectively. Amazon has also slashed prices on Kindle accessories.

Reading the tea leaves, SlashGear’s Chris Davies thinks new Kindles are about to land, because the last time Amazon cut prices for refurbished e-readers and accessories, it launched the Kindle 3 a month later.

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Disaster Averted: Apple Revises App Store Content Rules

Whew! Every time I’ve bought a Kindle book over the past few months, I’ve worried about the new iOS App Store guidelines Apple announced earlier this year, which said that app developers could only give iOS users access to content purchased outside of the App Store if the same content was available inside the App Store at the same price.

Apple takes a 30 percent cut of the money publishers make inside the App Store. So the new rule seemed to force some companies into an impossible situation–such as Amazon, which was already handing 70 percent of Kindle book prices over to publishers. Apple apparently wanted all of the remaining 30 percent for itself, destroying Amazon’s business model.

But as MacRumors’ Jordan Golson is reporting, Apple has quietly blinked. Now the rules don’t say that app developers need to match content offers made outside of the App Store inside the App Store. Companies don’t need to use In App Purchases at all. They just can’t provide a “Buy” button inside an app that makes it easy for a user to go to the Web and buy new content.

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Ad-Supported Kindle’s a Hit, and Now It’s 3G, Too

Turns out, people will gladly stare at an occasional ad on their Kindles to save a little money.

Amazon’s Kindle with Special Offers, an e-reader that shows advertisements and discounts on its home screen, is now available with a 3G connection. Like the Wi-Fi model, the 3G Kindle with Special Offers is $25 cheaper than its ad-free counterpart, selling for $164. The Wi-Fi version sells for $114.

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Kindle Books Outsell Dead-Tree Books

First, Amazon.com started selling more Kindle books than hardcovers. Then Kindle tombs overtook paperbacks. And now Amazon is trumpeting a new milestone: it’s selling more Kindle books than hardcovers and paperbacks combined.

Amazon quotes founder and CEO Jeff Bezos in its press release:

Customers are now choosing Kindle books more often than print books.  We had high hopes that this would happen eventually, but we never imagined it would happen this quickly — we’ve been selling print books for 15 years and Kindle books for less than four years.

I’m startled, too–as interesting as the Kindle obviously was when it shipped in November of 2007, I would have guessed that books for it would become a healthy minority of Amazon’s business within a few years, not the majority in terms of unit sales. (Then again, Amazon has marketed the Kindle far more aggressively than I would have predicted, more or less turning over its home page to Kindle promotion.)

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Apple’s E-Book Policy Claims an Early Victim

In a venomous blog post, a startup called BeamItDown Software says it’s going out of business, and squares the blame entirely on Apple’s in-app purchase policy.

BeamItDown’s iFlow Reader, a digital reading app for iOS, relied on e-book sales for revenue. But because Apple takes a 30 percent cut of anything purchased within an app, and e-book publishers only give 30 percent their revenue to the book seller, iFlow Reader would actually lose money on every book sold.

“We put our faith in Apple and they screwed us,” BeamItDown’s blog post says.

BeamItDown may not be the last victim, either, because the policy that caused this small company to go out of business may soon be unavoidable for major e-book players like Barnes & Noble and Amazon.

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So, Amazon’s Building An Android Tablet…

Amazon is said to be in the process of developing its own Android tablet, according to gdgt’s Peter Rojas. Calling it an “open secret,” Rojas believes that the device may not be yet another garden-variety Android tablet, but rather akin to what Barnes & Noble did with the new Nook. There, Android was used as the core of a customized experience.

Like B&N, Amazon has a vested interest in seeing you buy things from them: thus the device itself would probably not be as expensive as most Android tablets. However the retailer sells music and movies as well as e-books: this means the company potentially would have multiple revenue streams to lean on for its “tablet.” And that new Android App Store? And all those Android developer hires? Is it making sense now?

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