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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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Chinese Kindle On The Way?

I’ve mentioned before that Amazon is expanding their international presence significantly lately, especially with regard to the Kindle line.  No longer must an avid reader live in an anglophone country to take advantage of the best selling eReader to date.  The biggest untapped market for anybody looking to sell digital content, however, is probably China.  So far Amazon has been slowly seeping into the country in general and now there are indications that the addition of a Kindle Store may be on the way.

There are a few things that stand in the way of making this work.  The most important of these is government intervention.  Marc Onetto, Senior VP of Amazon’s Worldwide Operations, is said to have been in active negotiations with Chinese officials over how this would work.  While no word has been released by Amazon about where they stand at the moment, the Chinese Government has a tendency to take an active part in censoring information that could make things complicated. It is already often problematic to obtain rights to sell digital content globally even without this sort of oversight, but Amazon clearly has plans.

China has proven to be one of the, if not the, fastest growing market for Amazon in the past year, with revenue up over 80 percent.  They have already got ten distribution hubs set up and warehouse space adding up to about a third of what their Unites States enterprises boast.  All that despite only recently rebranding the site from “Joyo Amazon”, inherited from the company Amazon bought to gain traction in the first place, to Amazon.cn.

Chances are good that these numbers will continue going up for some time, especially if Kindles do start shipping.  There is no word just yet on whether Amazon will be creating relationships with local retailers or just selling the devices online, but either way enthusiasm for the product is likely to be high.

If they get this up and running along when seems to be the intended schedule, this would be the first Asian country to have their own localized Kindle and Kindle Content. It seems inevitable that it would be a somewhat crippled version of the Kindle Store, though.  If nothing else, China’s censorship policies would make it difficult to truly enable the Kindle Direct Publishing platform that gives Amazon a unique edge over the competition in other markets.  On top of this, Onetto did say that they had no intention of forming any sort of connection to existing content providers in this market, indicating that there is going to be some problem with stocking the electronic shelves, so to speak.  How they will get around these difficulties is anybody’s guess.

If the Kindle gets government approval, it is likely to make a big splash.  There is a lot of demand out there for such a product. Don’t expect to be seeing something like the Kindle Fire any time soon, but now that the Kindle 4 and Kindle Touch have opened the door to localized interfaces this will be a big step moving forward.

Kindle Fire On Sale Tomorrow!

Amazon’s new Kindle Fire has been available for preorder since they first officially announced its existence several weeks back, and millions of people have jumped at the chance.  On November 15th, shipping begins and we should finally begin to see more hands-on user experience with what many are hoping will be the best thing to happen to tablets since the iPad.  Competitors have been springing up and existing products have had their pricing slashed to try to match what appears to be the new standard, but so far nobody has come close to drumming up this kind of enthusiasm over their product.

Prospective buyers who have not yet ordered their Kindle Fire have a couple options.  Chances are good that orders at this point will be delayed slightly due to overwhelming demand.  The numbers grew so quickly that Amazon reportedly was forced to increase production significantly.  They’ve done a good job of shipping out massive releases before with previous Kindles, but some things take time.

If you just can’t wait, apparently some of Amazon’s retail partners will be stocking the new tablet on release day.  Certain sources have indicated that the Kindle Fire will be on the shelves at Best Buy in limited quantities on Tuesday, just in time for the launch.  Online preorders through the websites of these vendors may or may be available immediately depending on unique situations, but at present Best Buy is indicating In Store Only as its purchasing option.  We have to assume that similar situations will prevail among Amazon’s many Brick & Mortar partners.

The Kindle Fire is Amazon’s new 7″ Color Multi-Touch Tablet featuring 8GB of storage (extended by Amazon’s Cloud storage), Widescreen Display, 7.5+ Hours Battery Life, and access to the full range of Amazon services.  Users will enjoy the new Amazon Silk web browser, which reportedly speeds up internet browsing by as much as a factor of ten by anticipating your habits and making the servers do most of the work so that your device doesn’t have to.  It weighs just 14.6 ounces, is less than half an inch thick, and remains approximately the size of the popular Kindle Keyboard eReader.

While the specs are not necessarily the most powerful, especially compared to the industry leading Apple iPad, they are enough to do everything the tablet is designed for.  From movie viewing to app use, reviewers who have gained early access to it have been almost universally pleased with performance.  The interface will also not be the standard Android front end that many might be used to.  Despite being based off of Android 2.3, Amazon has spent significant effort in creating a unique experience that both works efficiently and directly connects you to their store.  Anything you might want to purchase for the Kindle Fire is only a click away.

We will try to keep you up to date on Kindle Fire news, information, and reviews as the week goes on.  Check back in for more information as we come across it.

Amazon Confirms Apps For Hulu Plus, ESPN, and More!

Clearly the Kindle Fire is creating some buzz in the tablet community, and among people who just generally like these sort of gadgets in general.  With the announcement of the new Nook Tablet, though, some people had started looking more closely into potential shortcomings for the Amazon offering and quite possibly the biggest one was the external services tie ins.

While the Nook Tablet is completely giving up on offering its own unique video service in favor of letting customers find their own way among companies like Hulu, Netflix, Rhapsody, etc., Amazon kept touting their own library selection and the advantages inherent in the integration with this library.  Surely, the thinking goes, Amazon would be pointing out that they were allowing seemingly competing companies a place on their new device if such were the case.  I’ve often seen this cited as a reason for the Nook Tablet’s superiority since that device was announced, in fact.

Naturally this relies on incomplete information.  As I have mentioned previously, companies like Netflix and Pandora were among the few to have preview copies of the new Kindle Fire before it was officially announced and blocking access to the services these companies offer was never indicated in any way.  To head off these rumors, Amazon issued a press release this week emphasizing the large selection of media based apps that we can expect to see ready for their new tablet.

In the week to come, Hulu Plus and ESPN ScoreCenter apps can be expected to appear in the marketplace.  A Netflix app is confirmed as well.  There will be games from popular developers like PopCap, Zynga, and EA.  A number of music streaming apps from companies like Pandora will be around as well.  Across the board every effort has been made to draw in app developers who might bring customers what they want on the new device regardless of how that might cause increased competition for Amazon’s own products in the long term.  Pretty much the only apps you are unlikely to see on the Kindle Fire are those from more direct competitors like Apple and Barnes & Noble.

It also demonstrates Amazon’s fairly impressive confidence in their own offerings, when taken with everything together.  As a digital retailer, Amazon serves up games, movies, music, and eBooks to Kindle Fire users.  The fact that they still anticipate making money off of the device, which they are selling at or near the cost of manufacture, indicates faith that customers will find value in what is being offered.  I would say that this has to be based on more than simply the convenience of one-click buying integration throughout the interface.

Amazon will continue to inspect all of their App Store submissions before releasing them for the Kindle Fire, but clearly this will not be to weed out the competition.  Users will enjoy the full benefits that a tablet like this has to offer, which should reassure some people who have been hesitant to join up with a platform that may have seemed at first glance to be considering emulating the Apple model.  No more reason to hesitate over this matter.