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On e-Reader Tech News we track down the latest e-Reader news. We will keep you up to date with whats hot in the bestsellers section, including books, ebooks and blogs... and we will also bring you great e-reader tips and tricks along with reviews for the latest devices and accessories.

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November 2011
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Amazon, Kindle, and Black Friday Deals: Looking Ahead

It’s that time again and Black Friday Deals are just around the corner.  As always we can expect a slew of promos, door buster deals, extremely long lines, amazing if short lived price cuts, and loads of fun for all ages.  Well, maybe not that last part entirely, but you get the picture.  Fortunately, Amazon provides a good way to get some of these great details without lining up outside a store hours before the sun comes up.

I’m even fairly certain that there will be some great deals available for the Kindle lovers among us.  “But how?!” one might ask, given that the new line of Kindles will just finish being released on the 15th and the associated price drops will still be settling in.  The answer is clear.

Expect, for one, at least one great offer on the Kindle Keyboard.  Amazon, prior to the release of the Kindle 4 and announcement of the new Kindle Touch and Fire, had been selling the refurbished Keyboard model at a fairly large discount.  This is a move we’d seen before during the transition from the second to third generation of eReader.  We still have them up for sale though, so why bother?  Personally I have a feeling that they just didn’t sell as well as was hoped now that customers knew what to expect.  Look for some great deals on this product with the Black Friday promotions, as this should be a wonderful time for Amazon to sell off large quantities of a product that many believe is being phased out.

Also, watch for accessories!  The Kindle Fire will still be fresh in peoples’ hands after pre-orders ship, as will the Kindle Touch.  As with any piece of portable electronics, there are going to be things needed both for personalization and proper utilization.  Not much fits the bill better than Kindle cases, styluses (you never know what it might be handy), skins, etc.  Given how hard Amazon has been pushing their new hardware, even taking a loss on much of it if external analysis is to be believed, it’s unlikely that a chance to further promote the line will be passed by.

The other thing that Amazon has been pushing, though, is their digital media distribution.  Given that potentially millions of customers will be pulling out their new media tablets in the same week as Black Friday, it makes sense to expect associated digital content sales.  This has the advantage of instant gratification for customers even as it increases awareness of the potential for Amazon’s services.  Look out for Kindle Fire apps, Instant Video downloads, and Kindle Edition eBook deals sporadically throughout the sale period.

Amazon’s Black Friday Deals Week will be kicking off on Monday, November 21 and going through the 27th which is itself perhaps better known now as “Cyber Monday”.  Deals will be posted in a staggered fashion throughout each day in pretty much every category of goods that Amazon sells.  There are even some early deals posted already to set the mood for potential customers.

The Kindle will not be taking center stage in all this, unless i miss my guess.  There won’t be some sort of major promo rush.  This is the perfect time for the retailer to be presenting good deals on things with significantly higher profit margins during a sales period high on one-off purchasing.  It would be silly to have this much traffic built up without any effort to cater to what has to be considered a major source of recurring customers, though, so Kindle Owners (especially Kindle Fire Owners) won’t be left out of the fun.

Kindle Fire Will Definitely Feature Netflix App

Amazon’s new Kindle Fire is built for devouring content.  Even if you weren’t going to make that assumption based on Amazon’s place as a general digital content retailer, the size of the tablet and the details released in the marketing make that clear.  What is less clear is how thoroughly Amazon is planning to lock down their new toy to force customers to buy from them.

This line of thinking has led some customers to wonder whether it will even be possible to access content from vendors besides Amazon.  To put that to rest, yes you will be able to load up just about anything that the Kindle Fire’s hardware can support.  While the hard drive might not be terribly large, offering just 8GB of storage space to users, if you can fit a file on there then you can probably run it.  There is no reason to expect a complete content lock down.

What does seem plausible from a certain point of view, however, is that Amazon would be willing to lock out companies like Netflix that offer services similar to their own.  Amazon has, after all, spent considerable energy in expanding the range of their Instant Video library over the past several months and much of that will be accessible through subscription based streaming options for Amazon Prime members.  Given that, why would Amazon want to accommodate the competition?

Fortunately this is not the case.  In an interview way back in September, Dave Limp, Amazon’s Kindle VP, said that Netflix was actually one of the very few companies to have access to a Kindle Fire prior to the device’s announcement.  Amazon is pushing for maximum available content for their users and this includes subscription based providers.

Will this extend everywhere?  Probably not.  Companies like Netflix and Pandora offer streaming media rather than outright sales, which seems to render them safe from Amazon’s perspective at the moment.  Purchasing options, such as Barnes & Noble in the case of eBooks or iTunes for movies, are unlikely to receive the same sort of treatment.  At the moment the majority of Amazon’s video, music, and eBook libraries are centered around outright sales of titles and integrating with competitors along those lines is not quite as easily justified.

Users will still, of course, be able to side-load content from any source they desire.  Bought some music from Apple?  So long as it’s DRM free, there is no reason for you to avoid throwing it on your Kindle Fire.  The same goes for eBooks or movies, of which all formats should be accessible from Apps available through Amazon’s Android App Store if not natively supported. I wouldn’t be expecting to see a Nook App for the Kindle Fire any time soon, but there are plenty of reasons to draw that particular line and plenty of ways to read an EPUB eBook, should that be what you have in mind.

Next Generation of Kindle Fire Now Expected To Be 8.9″ Tablet

Originally, the plan for the Kindle Fire‘s release was supposed to have involved two Tablet PCs.  That was the story being told during the speculation period, at least, and it seemed pretty believable.  Supposedly, as Amazon grew concerned about the time it was taking to get both products ready, they became afraid of missing out on the 2011 holiday season and put all resources into the 7″ Kindle Fire instead.  There is yet every reason to believe that further Kindle Tablet devices are planned for the future, though.

Up until now we have been assuming that the next one to come would be the previously rumored device known by the code name “Hollywood”.  This was to be the 10.1″ version of the Kindle Fire that would run a quad core processor and have an increase in both storage and memory.  Many analysts have been expecting to see this device released as early as the first quarter of next year, but new information from DigiTimes seems to point to a slightly different course for the immediate future.

They have heard from sources associated with Amazon’s current 7″ display suppliers that Amazon has set things in motion for the production of 8.9″ screens.  While it is always important to remain somewhat skeptical of supposed inside sources for a variety of reasons, if true this could mean that entirely new things are in the works for Amazon’s next Tablet PC.

While it would not necessarily be true that an 8.9″ display would have to be less powerful than the Kindle Hollywood rumors were indicating, there has to be a reason for such a shift.  The obvious answer would be cost management.  While the Kindle Fire is currently selling ridiculously well in pre-orders, it is only able to do that by virtue of its low price and comparatively high level of content.  Should Amazon have jumped into the tablet market with something trying to take on Apple’s iPad on equal terms, it is likely that things would be going somewhat less well.

By using a screen that is somewhere between the iPad and the Kindle Fire, Amazon not only keeps costs down below what Apple has been able to manage, but also continues to remain distinct in customers’ minds.  Yes they are both tablets, but by virtue of form alone they will fill different needs and desires just as the Kindle eReader line was able to do.

This doesn’t rule out the possibility of a 10″ Kindle somewhere down the line, but should the rumor prove true then it would be far less likely.  The Kindle DX‘s lack of success should be enough to steer Amazon clear of the “bigger is better” mindset, if nothing else.  In addition, while there are currently a wide number of Kindle eReaders to choose from, there is every reason to believe that Amazon will be eliminating the Kindle Keyboard as a major part of the product line within the next few months.  Just as it makes little sense to try to keep providing five or more different eReader options at a time, trying to market 3-4 different sizes of tablet seems unlikely to significantly increase sales.