Archive for Kindle
Black Friday is two weeks away and the holiday season is quickly approaching. Amazon is bringing back a program that will allow you to try a Kindle e-Reader or Fire Tablet for free for one month. At the end of the 30 days if you do not return it, they will bill your credit card for the full purchase price, send it back before the month is over and no worries.
The latest generation Kindle Voyage and Kindle Basic Touch are not apart of this promotion. Instead, they are letting customers try the second generation Kindle Paperwhite and two tablets they released last year. Likely, this promotion is a gambit to try and get rid of older stock because the newer devices are proving to be popular.
This promotion is only valid for select Prime members in the US, international customers need not apply. You need a valid credit card as your 1 Click Purchase and you have to make sure it does not expire beyond the 30 days.
The complete modern generation of Amazon tablets and e-readers are now available to be shipped when new orders are being placed. Pre-orders for the Kindle Voyage are also starting to ship, but new orders have a delay of a few weeks.
Amazon originally announced their complete modern lineup of devices on September 17th and actually never orchestrated a media event for it, which was a stark departure from previous product releases.
The Kindle Voyage is likely the most innovative e-reader to be released in quite sometime. It has very high PPI and a new page turn mechanism that is meant to provide haptic feedback.
“Kindle Voyage is designed to disappear so you can lose yourself in a story,” said Dave Limp, Senior Vice President, Amazon Devices. “This is the most advanced Kindle we’ve ever built. Customer response has been overwhelmingly positive, and we’re working to build more as fast as we can. We can’t wait to get Kindle Voyage into the hands of readers starting today.”
The Kindle Basic for the first time ever has a new touchscreen, all prior models had a D-Pad and physical page turn keys. Customers switching over to the new Kindle from a smartphone or a tablet will find it an easy adjustment. Today, we take a comprehensive look at the e-reading and overall hardware experience to give you a sense on how it performs.
The Kindle Basic features a six inch touchscreen with a resolution of 800 x 600 at 167 ppi. The touchscreen technology is using Infrared, courtesy of Neonode. The fonts and overall screen clarity have been dramatically increased and in a head to head comparison with the Kindle Paperwhite 2, the Kindle Basic had a whiter background and crisper fonts, which was very surprising.
Underneath the hood is a 1 GHZ Freescale processor and 512 MB of RAM. Amazon has doubled up the amount of internal memory from 2 GB on prior models of the basic model to 4 GB. This in effect gives you the ability to store more books and PDF files on your device, without having to run in there and free up space.
Amazon has gone more angular with the Basic touchscreen Kindle, but surprisingly, despite its abandonment of physical controls, the gadget is actually heavier than its predecessor, and slightly larger in both horizontal and vertical dimensions. The case is made from a hard plastic, instead of hard rubber. This makes it feel less premium, but at $79 for the entry level cost, I am not complaining.
I am a big fan of the new direction that Amazon has took with the Kindle Basic. Now that this model has replaced the prior generation, Amazon currently does not offer any other e-readers that don’t have a touchscreen, which should make it more accessible for the average reader.
This new model has the exact same firmware as the Kindle Paperwhite 2, and mirrors it in all respects. You have the ability to directly access over two million books via the Kindle bookstore. I like the fact that the e-reader version of the store looks the same as the website, so there is no weird adjustment you have to undertake. GoodReads also plays a prominent role on the main UI, which is the social eBook discovery website they purchased.
Reading on a digital reader and buying books online is normally a solitary experience. Unlike visiting a real bookstore, that is populated by staff that love books and customers all there for the same reason, e-readers make you feel alone. GoodReads gives you access to virtual book clubs and provides a layered social element, which is refreshing.
Amazon provides a number of options in their sub-menu system that are not overly complicated to the average user. Some of the most notable ones is Kindle Freetime, which allows parents to establish a permission based system and account management to let little Johnny to read, but maybe not access the store or internet browser. Speaking of internet, the “Experimental Browser” is still in beta, almost a seven years since it was first unveiled.
The Kindle software feels really polished, you will seldom have to wait a few seconds for a menu to open or for a process to launch. This is really refreshing because I remember only a few years ago where I frequently had to put up with full page refreshes that took ten seconds and clunky interfaces that were counter intuitive.
If you have used a Kindle over the course of the last few years, Amazon really hasn’t done anything new with the software, but has promised future firmware updates. One of the updates will allow you to find out more about an author, if the book is apart of a series and what the other titles are and allow you to get discounts on purchasing them all at once.
eBook Reading Experience
The one thing that really surprised me on the overall reading experience was being able to pinch and zoom while reading PDF files. The Kobo Aura H20, which costs $199 does not have this ability. Instead, you have a really clunky interface that takes 4 steps to isolate a particular region in a document.
The Kindle Basic handles pinching and zooming like a boss. Its more responsive than the Kindle Paperwhite 2 in this regard. When exploring a complex document a small preview window appears on the top left hand corner, which contains a snapshot of the page you are on. This helps orient you on where exactly you are on the page.
The other aspect that I really liked was the ability to take notes, make highlights and translate words in a PDF document. When you really think about it, a PDF is basically one giant image. Amazon is the only company that lets you augment text or give you advanced options to really craft a solid PDF experience. The only company to to do it better is Sony, and that is via the Digital Paper, which is PDF focused and costs $999.
The average user will find themselves reading books they just purchased from Amazon. This is where the reader really shines, there are a number of options to really refine the look and feel of a book, but doesn’t have a ton of complex options. You can change the size of the font and whatever one you select instantly appears on the screen, without the need of existing the reading menu and saving the options. You can also change the linespacing and margins. Page turn speed has been dramatically increased over prior models, you will likely never notice a full page refresh and the entire process is lightning quick.
In many cases, you might be reading a book and not understand a specific word. There are two built in dictionaries issued to customers living in North America. If you live in Japan or China, for the first time ever the Kindle Basic is being marketed there and has those countries respected dictionaries bundled on it.
Another feature I like is translations. This works in both Amazon purchased books and PDF files. You can select a specific word or complete body of text and translate it from one language to another. Any market that Amazon officially supports is available. Currently there are 15 languages from Simplified Chinese to French. This might be useful to someone who is learning a new language, or if a particular book has a number of idioms.
In the end, this is one of the best entry level e-readers ever made. It has cool features like X-Ray, so if you are juggling many different books at once, you can get a sense of the major characters, places and things referenced in the book.
This $79 entry level e-reader is perfect for someone who has never had one before or are thinking of giving the Amazon ecosystem a try. Owners of the D-Pad enabled Basic model from years past, will find this edition is a very solid upgrade and well worth the money.
4 GB of internal storage
Pinch and Zoom PDF Files
Page Turns are lightning quick
Same Firmware as Kindle Paperwhite 2
Battery Life is weaker than the prior Kindle Basic
e-Reader is heavier than prior versions
Internet Browser prone to crashing
Amazon has just launched the beta version of a new author service called Kindle Writeon. The premise of the program is to establish a writing community where authors can solicit feedback on the plot and get assistance on fixing up spelling, grammatical errors or just get some research tips. It seems as though Amazon wants to cannibalize Kindle Boards and do battle against the biggest community of all, Wattpad.
Wattpad is an extremely successful digital publishing site that somehow doesn’t seem to get as much press as other well-known names like Smashwords, yet the company has 11 million monthly readers. Wattpad authors post their stories in a format that can be read on a computer, smartphone, or tablet. Perhaps most importantly, Wattpad stories can be read on java-based “feature phones” and as such have a huge readership base in third world countries. Wattpad is a very social site, in that readers can collect stories into reading lists, vote for their favorites, and share and comment with friends and writers. Unlike some other self-publishing sites, Wattpad works well with short stories stories and novellas, as opposed to full length-books.
According to the Wattpad site, readers spend 9 billion minutes on Wattpad every month and more than 500 writers have published pieces that have been read more than a million times. There are over 70 million stories, in 50 languages, on the site. The Toronto-based company has received over $67 million in funding from Khosla Ventures, Union Square Ventures, OMERS Ventures, W Media Ventures, and Golden Venture Partners, and has attracted such famous authors as Margaret Atwood.
Amazon really wants to leverage their expansive Kindle Direct Publishing system in order to create a writing community. Authors simply post their books, whether its complete or a work in progress. Some authors are looking for specific areas of research, such as the accuracy of the inner circle of the Ottoman Empire, others are looking for everything such as “Character, Overall, Setting, Proofreading, Voice/Tone, Plot.”
The entire system looks more like a dedicated blog post,than an established writing community. Authors can setup profiles, activity feeds, status updates and respond to user comments. Readers can keep tabs on the book by clicking the Like or Follow button and get notified whenever new interactions are made.
Kindle Writeon is in Beta and does not have many users right now. Many of the books on the front page have zero comments, likes and follows. The cover art on the average title is abysmal and I seriously doubt this program will take off. Amazon has a bad habit of trying to destroy their competition by releasing new services that nobody uses. If Amazon cannot buy a company, they just develop their own program to compete directly with it, no matter how haphazard the execution is.
An example of Amazons flawed attack strategy is summed up with Kindle Worlds. This was their attempt at sanctioned fan-fiction, that had publisher support and major intellectual properties attached, such as HASBRO and properties such as Pretty Little Liars. The problem is, hardly any books are being posted and not many users are buying in. FanFiction.net posts 100 new stories every hour across all categories. And Amazon? Its entire output for all 24 “Worlds” of content, which also includes franchises like Gossip Girl and Vampire Diaries, was just 538 stories over the course of more than a year.
Why has Kindle Worlds failed so spectacularly? The problem is the creative limits that brand owners impose on the use of their work. In the case of G.I. Joe, for instance, the villain can’t wear a Yankees cap. Characters in other works can’t use drugs or employ profane language. And gay, bisexual or deviant sexual behavior might be off-limits too. Amazon also discourages anyone from under the age of 18 from contributing content, as they are too young to enter a contract, and this age group is the most prolific when it comes to content.
I would chalk this “community” by Amazon has a lost cause right from the start and refuse to cover it anymore in the future. It might be quaint in the beta format right now, but how long is it going to take before the legions of established self-published authors abuse this community by artificial likes, comments and feedback, driving their title to the front-page? Amazon authors have a notorious history of gaming the system and doing anything within their power to standout in a crowded arena.
The Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7 and Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook are two tablets that are exclusively geared towards reading. Today, we look at the core differences between the two devices to give you a sense on their overall capabilities.
Amazon tends to use a heavily skinned version of Android called Mojito. You cannot really establish live wallpapers or setup widgets on your home screen. The HDX was designed to integrate completely with the entire Amazon ecosystem, such as movies, television shows, apps and books.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook on the other hand is running Kitkat, and new Android updates should occur very quickly. Unlike prior Nook tablets, this one has two cameras and better sound. It also has Google Play to access new content, so you can do business with other bookstores.
The prime motivation behind this Good e-Reader comparison is to give you a sense on how the UI is all laid out, how eBooks look and what type of functionality you get with PDF files. We also demonstrate how the entire ecosystems perform, from a Canadian point of view.
Apple is a well known case study for controlled leaks to the public and workers in the supply chain trying to garner their fifteen minutes of fame by posting a picture of an upcoming iPhone CPU, Battery or rear shell. It really seems like we have a clear picture of the new iWatch, iPhone or iPad well before the September 9th product launch, but things are always mysterious with Amazon.
Amazon never leaks anything to the media and their PR department is outright hostile. When they do file patents, it is through shell companies, as to not give any indication on what they are planning to release. Their research and development division, LAB126 is a veritable fortress, with little being disclosed even to their families.
This year has been one of the biggest on record for Amazon, as they have expanded their hardware offerings into two different vertices; smartphones and television. The Fire TV and Fire Smartphone continue to sell well, but have been met with trepidation in the market due to the US exclusivity.
Yesterday, Amazon discontinued the $69 base model Kindle in the US and Canada. They have also been discounting the Kindle Paperwhite 2 by $20 to deplete existing stock. This is an indication that they have well begun the manufacturing process for the two new followup models. What can we expect from the next generation Kindle e-readers? Well the Paperwhite 3 will have a light sensor to automatically adjust the front-lit display to your environment. All other readers on the market have either a dedicated hardware button or software functionality to manually adjust it. Both of the new models will also have a different default font and include higher resolution. The new cheap Kindle will also scrap the D-Pad and adopt a new touchscreen.
Amazon is expected to release two new e-readers and three tablets in the next few weeks.
Amazon has always offered plenty of tools for authors to craft their own eBook, but kids books are a different story. In order to make Kindle Direct Publishing more relevant to children’s authors, Amazon has just unveiled a standalone program called Kindle Kids’ Book Creator.
Kindle Kids’ Book Creator is a free tool for authors and publishers to turn their illustrated children’s books into great-looking Kindle books. Kindle Kids’ Book Creator makes it easy for authors and publishers to import artwork, add text to pages, and preview how their book will look on Kindle devices.
With the click of a button, authors also can add Kindle Text Pop-Ups to make it easy to read their book on any device, including smart phones, tablets, and PCs. Authors then can publish to Kindle and share their story with tens of millions of Amazon customers worldwide.
Kindle Kids’ Book Creator supports multiple layouts for children’s books, including facing page spreads. Kindle Kids’ Book Creator accepts the most popular graphic file types, so authors are free to create art in their preferred design tools. Authors can even import a book from a multi-page PDF, making it easier to ever to take a book originally created for print and turn it into a Kindle book. When you are ready to publish your book, simply go to Kindle Direct Publishing to upload your book.
Kindle Kids’ Book Creator also makes it quick to preview how the content will look across Kindle devices. With an integrated preview feature, authors can validate that their books look beautiful on Kindle Fire tablets.
Amazon has been selling Kindle e-Readers and eBooks in Brazil for the last two years. You might say the Seattle based company has digital locked up, but print titles have been non-existent, until today.
Over 150,000 print titles in Portuguese are now available to be ordered on Amazons Brazilian website. If customers spend over R$69, there is free shipping. These titles are in addition to the 35,000 eBooks they have available, also in Portuguese.
In a statement, Amazon’s founder and CEO Jeff Bezos said the site would be “the largest and most convenient site for Brazilian readers to find and buy” print and digital books at low prices.
Amazon is hoping to steal a bit of the limelight off of the brand new Samsung Galaxy 4 Nook tablet by offering a $20.00 discount on the second generation Kindle Paperwhite. Starting today, the main Amazon website is discounting the WIFI only version to $139 and the 3G model for $189.
Within the next month it is believed that Amazon will be releasing two new e-readers and three new tablets They are intending on refreshing their entire hardware lineup with new technology. The discount to the Paperwhite serves to give an incentive to people on the fence about going over to Barnes and Noble.
Since the Paperwhite 2 originally came out, it has received a number of firmware updates and hardware enhancements. Some of the more notable software features include the social book discovery site, GoodReads and a more stable PDF experience with a new preview window. On the hardware front, customers in the UK and Canada are seeing an increased amount of Kindle Storage, from 4GB to 8GB.
Amazon has quietly doubled the amount of onboard storage in new models of the Kindle Paperwhite second generation e-reader. Any new device ordered online from Amazon will have 4GB to store all of your books, instead of the standard 2GB.
There was a time when Amazon always included 4GB of storage in their Kindles, but this when they had features like on-board audio and audiobooks used to take up a ton of space. When the Paperwhite 1 and 2 were first released Amazon realized they could likely downgrade the amount of storage and nobody would really care, because all of your purchase were saved in the cloud. The only market to have a 4GB model of the Paperwhite 2 right out of the gates was Japan, and this was primarily due to manga and graphic novels taking up more space than your standard digital book.
Amazon has made no formal announcement yet about the subtle increase in storage. On the Kindle Paperwhite 2 product page they don’t even reference the exact amount of storage that is available anymore.
Amazon has an exciting software update available for Kindle for Android. The latest version of Kindle for Android 4.6 has several new features and performance improvements.
Improved the listening experience for books with audio
When you’re listening from a Bluetooth device, playback will automatically pause if Bluetooth is disconnected. A new permission is required for this, “Pair with Bluetooth devices.”
Go hands-free with Immersion Reading; enjoy automatic page turns without the screen shutting off.
Helpful account information can be found on the Settings screen
Rename your device to make it easier to recognize when buying books from the Kindle store.
Check your registration information, is the app registered to the correct email address?
Viewing options inside the book have been updated
“Use system brightness” is a more intuitive option for a brightness settings. Tap the “Aa” icon at the top of the screen to choose this new option. If you’re not finding the “Aa” icon, tap the center of the screen to have the menu bars slide into view. This improvement was made with the help of your feedback!
When the menus are hidden (tap the center of the screen to show or hide them), tap the bottom right corner of the screen. Do you notice a small padlock? Tap it to lock the orientation. Now you can turn the device in any direction so you read on your side or back.
Improvements were made to the Table of Contents
A direct link to the book cover is at the top.
“Front matter” is next. Funny name but this where you’ll find the title, copyright, dedication and more. There’s an arrow to the right of the label. Tap it to close the front matter section.
If a book has page numbers we’ll show them alongside the chapter names. The current page you’re on will be highlighted.
If another chapter is selected, you can always get back to your previous location by tapping one of the placeholders on the location seeker at the bottom.
Download Amazon Kindle for Android 4.6 today!
When it comes to reading outdoors an e-reader often gives you a superior experience, due to the glare free screen. There is a lot of contention on what gives you the better eBook experience, a tablet or e-reader. Today, we give you a solid video comparison pitting the Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7 Android tablet and the Kindle Paperwhite 2. This really should really solve the age old question, what device is better for outdoor reading?
Kindle is already one of the most frequently used digital reading apps available for iOS, boasting access to over 1,000,000 books in the Kindle store in addition to hundreds of newspapers and magazines. While the existing interface was clean and easy to use, Amazon has implemented a number of updates in version 4.4 that promise to make sync and navigation easier.
One of the handiest new features is the ability to sync to the most recent page read. This means that all of your devices (whether they are iOS, Android or any device using the reading app and registered to your Amazon account) will agree on the last page you actually read (instead of just the furthest page). This is incredibly convenient when you read books like I do –needing to jump backward to remind yourself of past happenings in the volume and then continue from where you were.
Placeholders are also new, allowing you to flip around and explore new areas of your book without changing your current bookmark.
Finally, notes export is a fantastic tool for students and researchers alike. As you are reading, highlighting, and making notes, you can then email these items to yourself. Features like this are critical if electronic books are ever going to fully replace paper textbooks in classrooms.
If you are using an iPad or iPhone, you can download Kindle for your iOS device for free from the Apple App Store. If you are using an Android device, you can download Amazon Kindle (though you won’t see these latest updates in this version just yet).