The Kindle launch event was not just about Amazon launching a slew of hardware to make the best of the ever changing tablet landscape. The online retail giant also used the occasion to bring forth some of its latest creations on the software front, which it believes will change the way we perceive tablet usage and bring about a quantum change in the entire ownership experience of the new generation of Kindle Fire devices. Here is a sneak peek of the new features which Amazon believes will be a game changer in the budget tablet segment.
Kindle FreeTime: Amazon is claiming the display for its new gen Kindle Fire devices is 20 percent stiffer and 30 percent harder than plastic. The company is using those figures to highlight the tablet’s kid friendly characteristics. However, relatively strong hardware is just half the story for a kid friendly tablet; software is just as important. It’s natural for parents to be worried about their kids being exposed to information they consider too mature. The Kindle FreeTime service is the solution for concerned parents. With FreeTime on board, parents will be able to create separate profiles for their children, which will serve as their own unique world with the Kindle Fire, complete with appealing colors and fonts. Parents will be able to mark out the specific apps, videos, games , ebooks, and other media that they would like their children to have access to. FreeTime will also allow parents to set time limits for their children with video, apps, and more.
It’s still a work in progress, but is expected to reach users by next month.
Whispersync for Voice: We are already familiar with Amazon’s Whispersync and the company has now extended it to support audio books as well. What this means is that one can switch from reading an ebook to listening to it without having to fuss with finding their place. The feature will save the exact location from where an user has left off and will begin right from there, regardless of it being read aloud or read off the screen.
Whispersync for Video: This will save you the frustration of having to search for the spot where you have left off with your video on your Kindle Fire. Whispersync for Video will start exactly from where you stopped when you switch on your TV or a compatible device.
Whispersync for Books: This is already familiar to us. The technology will save the last page read along with bookmarks, notes, and highlights across all the Kindle apps on your smartphones, tablets, or PCs.
Whispersync for Games: All game titles played from GameCircle will be saved automatically in the cloud thanks to Whispersync. You can be sure that all game settings, unlocked levels, and trophies will be saved even if you have deleted the game from a particular device.
Immersion Reading: This will make for a more involved reading experience where the user can have an audio ebook read aloud while also reading the highlighted corresponding text off the screen. This will serve best when learning new languages, for reading comprehension of complex topics, or for students and kids who will end up having a better grasp of the topic thanks to Immersion Reading. Amazon also boasts of more than 100,000 audiobooks by Audible that can be accessed with the Kindle Fire devices. These include best sellers with world famous narrators lending their voice to make the ebooks come alive.
X-Ray: This is applicable to both movies and books and aims to uncover more details about the topic or subject with a simple tap on the screen. For movies, a tap on the screen will reveal who the are actors in the particular screen, what other movies they are involved in, and other trivia. You will have at your disposal over 120,000 of some of the most popular movie titles that can be rented or bought from the Amazon store. Taking this further, members of Amazon Prime will get to have unlimited streaming of over 25,000 movie titles or television episodes.
Similarly for ebooks, the technology will produce more info drawn from Shelfari and Wikipedia and can be used to learn more about the book or chapter and such. The information you will have at your disposal includes biographies, background info, and author info. Amazon Prime members will have tons of ebooks at their disposal along with added benefits of free books and flexible lending terms.
About the Author: If you are a Kindle ebook author, About the Author gives readers easy access to your photo, biography, and bibliography so they can learn more about you and your other books, which are only 60 seconds away. Readers can tap on any of your books to go to the Kindle Store. Also, any time you update your bio or claim a new book through Author Central, Amazon will update About the Author on Kindle so your readers have access to the most recent information about you. About the Author will be available when the new Kindle devices ship, starting on September 14th. Log into Author Central today and make sure your About the Author profile is ready.
E-Mail: Amazon has introduced a new e-mail app that makes it easy to send mail, view attachments, or sync all your contacts. The e-mail app is also fully compatible with all the leading e-mail providers, which includes AOL, Exchange, Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, and so on. Then of course you can keep e-mail spreadsheets, PDFs, Word Docs, and other essential files on the Kindle Fire, which you can make good use of whenever needed.
These apart, the Kindle Fire range also features popular apps such as Facebook, Netflix, Twitter, HBO GO, Pandora, and Angry Birds Space pre-installed in the device.
Also, a unique aspect of the bigger 8.9 inch Kindle Fire HD is that it comes pre-loaded with Skype for video calls. X-Ray for textbooks is another feature that is available only in the 8.9 inch versions of the Kindle Fire and should benefit students.
In the end, what matters most is the scope of operation that the device allows you to indulge in. As Amazon CEO Jeff Bezoz said, “People don’t want gadgets any more; they want services, and the Kindle Fire is a service. It even greets you by name.”
However, the price you pay for a device up front may not be the end of your expenditures. The cost of ownership over an extended period of time matters, what with Prime membership and data packages for the 4G versions. What remains to be seen is whether the new Kindle Fires can make a dent in the Nexus 7 market share or if all of the Amazon services together with the device remain viable compared to the Apple iPad Mini (if it is ever launched).