New “Kindle Fire” Tablet To Be Revealed On Wednesday

All year we have been getting bits of data, speculation, and supposedly leaked information about the upcoming Kindle Tablet.  This past month has seen huge dumps of information about the upcoming product, and today we’ve got even more thanks to TechCrunch.  In a press conference being held this Wednesday, we should get confirmation and all of the other information we’ve been waiting for.

Probably the first big revelation is the name.  In order to differentiate it from the Kindle eReader line, the new Tablet has apparently been dubbed the “Kindle Fire”.  This was actually hinted at several months back when people stumbled on Amazon’s acquisition of several Kindle related domains, including

We now know that the Kindle Fire will be feature a 7″ backlit screen that may look quite similar to the BlackBerry Playbook due to shared manufacturers and a lack of time to get the product out for this holiday season.  It will be using a custom fork of Android (probably built on the 2.1 base), but altered to the point of complete uniqueness.  This will be running on a TI dual-core OMAP chip, probably in the 1.2GHz range, putting the hardware in line with other newer Android devices.  Overall a strong offering.

Now, the existing Kindle line has effectively dominated the eBook market in the United States by bringing customers an impressive reading experience that improves value despite the inability to price their eBooks as competitively as the company might desire (Hooray for the Agency Model, right?).  If a similar relationship with customers can be achieved with the Kindle Fire, Amazon can completely turn the current hardware-based Tablet sales model on its head (Some reports indicate that as much as 90% of iPad based profit for Apple comes from hardware sales).

To pull this off, Amazon has been pulling together a great support base.  Major app developers have apparently been approached to get them ready for the launch, for one.  Also, quite importantly given the media-centric nature of this device, Amazon has been putting together deals with the likes of CBS and Fox  to secure access to extensive video content for the Amazon Instant Video service.

There is currently some question as to the exact nature of what will be offered as incentives to new users.  Some sources are saying that this will be a $250 Tablet PC with Amazon Prime bundled free for the first year, while others are claiming that there will be two packages available that will differ mainly in their inclusion of the Amazon Prime membership.

What we anticipate at this time is an announcement by Amazon that the Kindle Fire will be available either late October or early November.  This seems like a large delay between the press conference and first shipments, but Amazon is clearly under pressure from competition in both tablets and eReaders at the moment and needs to get ahead.

Check back on Wednesday for confirmation, revisions, and any other Kindle Fire news that we are able to bring you.

Is Windows 8 Bad News For Kindle Tablet?

There are two major factors favoring the success of the Kindle Tablet right now, aside from being backed by Amazon and all that that entails.  One is that it will be cheaper than pretty much all of the tablet competition, especially the big names like Apple.  Two is that it should be able to provide a consistent, centralized experience practically unheard of in the Android Tablet market today.

Pricing is a key issue, of course.  It will be incredibly hard for most companies to compete with Amazon since their media sales emphasis will allow them to sell hardware at or below cost while confidently expecting to make up the profits in post-sale usage.  The only really usable tablet in the same range is the Nook Color, which is mostly only succeeding by being great compared to other extremely cheap tablets.  If Amazon can manage to provide a genuinely superior experience at the same price, they will stand alone with good reason.

We can’t rely entirely on pricing to determine success, though.  The Pandigital Novel can often be found for $80 or less, but that doesn’t mean it is knocking the Kindle down from their place on top of eReader sales (despite being a color eReader, which many people claim is more important than screen quality or interface).

The act of creating a consistent Android experience, however, might soon be less useful than we might expect, should Windows 8 live up to its promise.  Microsoft’s new tablet-centric operating system seems to have a good chance of focusing tablets around a single unfragmented environment that has no ties to a specific manufacturer.  They’ve got media play capabilities, the full versatility of a Windows OS, an apparently highly streamlined design, and even an App Store.  It can be hard to argue with all that.

The Kindle Tablet will clearly be running lower powered hardware than most Windows tablets can be expected to, and will have a more consumption-focused experience.  The problem they are facing is less direct market competition and more a conflict of perception.  If the idea is to lure in consumers with something that is like an iPad in every way that matters besides the price, it will only work so long as the iPad is what people are using as the basis for comparison.  A $350 Windows tablet with superior hardware and a comparable user experience might be enough to derail the whole effort no matter what kind of incentives Amazon is able to throw in to sweeten the pot.

In the end everything will rest on how the two launches go.  Amazon has earned a great deal of customer loyalty through the Kindle platform, which goes a long way toward jump starting the new product.  Microsoft, on the other hand, has left many potential customers and developers a bit put off with the extremely different direction their newest product has taken things.  A failure to impress on the part of either company will mean a lot for the competition.

Doodle for Kindle

Do you remember Etch A Sketch from way back when?  I remember it being one of my favorite toys from childhood. Doodle For Kindle is a worthy equivalent of Etch A Sketch, and is fun for all ages.

I know there are people who can draw some elaborate scenes in Doodle for Kindle, but it is also great for basic sketches. There are some drawing included.  They’re pretty cool.  The Mona Lisa, a swan, and more.  It would be good practice to try copying these.

Your main drawing tool is the Kindle’s 5-way toggle button.  there are three drawing methods: step by step, automatic drawing, and a more precise one that is primarily controlled by the drawer.  The automatic one draws on its own until you tell it to stop.  The step by step one is good for boxes and staircases.

I had so much fun with Doodle for Kindle.  In addition to bringing back childhood memories, I found that this app helps foster creativity.  Sometimes the most the most haphazard drawings can become the best forms of art.

For others, Doodle for Kindle might be a good way to pass time at a boring lecture, or keep kids occupied on long car rides.  When I read through reviews on many different Kindle apps, I see comments about how excited they are to have kid friendly apps on their Kindle.

A suggestion for future versions of Doodle for Kindle include lines that have different styles such as dashes or dots.  If keyboard shortcuts are possible, they might can be used to take some pressure off of the toggle button.

Doodle for Kindle has amazing reviews, and is great quality for just a dollar!

Ted Johnson

“Great to see how innovative some people can be. Love the idea and execution here. Would be great if I could share my creations externally through email or social networks. Only problem – this is somewhat addictive! ”

D. Frenkel

“A fine app that will help you pass some time while exercising your creativity. Performance is great and the initial set of “doodles” that comes up when the application starts looks amazing! It has several modes of operation which are very handy for simple things (where the line moves faster) or for complicated drawings (where lines need to be carefully moved literally pixel by pixel). Color reversal mode is also a very good idea, looks nice on my device. Overall, a very enjoyable and fun addition to my Kindle collection. Highly recommended!”