The Kindle Keyboard has been the overall recommendation of this site, and myself in particular, since it was first introduced. It stands out from the current generation for a couple reasons, but mostly due to its unrestricted internet access. The Kindle Touch 3G has its cellular connectivity restricted. Apparently that sort of freedom was costing Amazon a bit more than they liked. Users will now find their internet usage capped to a mere 50mb each month.
For the most part this will prove little problem. The Kindle’s screen, while amazing for reading, is not well suited for most of the bandwidth-intensive tasks that people generally put their portable devices to. You’re not going to have the option of watching a movie on your Kindle eReader, which is part of the reason the Kindle Fire was made. Even music downloads, which make sense knowing that the Kindle has the ability to play MP3s, are largely difficult to manage except through storefronts and social media pages that the Kindle’s Experimental Browser is less than suited for.
The most likely explanation for this change to the service agreement is that too many people have caught on to the possibility of using the Kindle’s 3G access on another mobile device. This hack was widely publicized when a reliable method developed and seemed likely to end up little more than a bit of trivia in the days that followed. Yes it is possible to enable wireless tethering of a sort, but it is obviously against the terms of service and the practice is far from anonymous.
Apparently people have been doing it anyway. Amazon has been cracking down on these Kindle abusers individually, limiting their device’s access to the Kindle Store and Amazon.com, but that takes manpower and there is almost certainly a waiting list as each abuser is warned. Adding the 50mb per month cap prevents outright abuse in the meantime.
Given what we know about software changes from model to model, this may be the start of something more significant for the Kindle line in general. By limiting the usefulness of the Kindle Keyboard, Amazon is setting things up to remove the device entirely. This allows them to save on everything from firmware updates to 3G charges as customers move into the hardware we’re expecting to see in the next few months. They clearly want to make some of the new features like X-Ray into Kindle brand selling points, but that’s not going to happen while so many users are still happy with their older model.
If you like to have your laptop hooked to a Kindle Keyboard for free 3G access, you’re probably going to be very unhappy in the days and weeks to come. Amazon hasn’t commented, but this crackdown is likely to get bigger and stick around. If you’re a normal user who just grabs the occasional eBook or website then you’ll likely never run into this new limitation. Either way, keep an eye out for the hardware upgrade that’s around the corner. Amazon is likely to be pushing upgrader incentives to build interest.
According to some recent research by Pacific Crest analyst Chad Bartley, the demand for both Kindle E Ink eReaders and Kindle Fire tablets has fallen noticeably from Q4 2011 to Q1 2012. There is some fairly compelling argument to be made, however, that changing any predictions based on this would be at best premature. Regardless of the way things stood a month ago, the Kindle world is about to be turned upside down and interest can’t help but rise as a result.
This is not meant to be a criticism of Bartley’s analysis. Based on the information at hand when he was writing, his report was accurate. A combination of consumer polls about intended purchasing and inside information about Amazon’s supply chains show a marked decline in interest in Kindles from month to month. He attributes this to a maturation of the eReader market, an increasingly well covered customer base, and consumer willingness to read on a variety of things besides eReaders. All good points.
Since we now know that three of the Big 6 publishers have already settled with the US Department of Justice to avoid an ongoing legal defense of their price fixing arrangement, that is all more or less irrelevant. The beginning of the end of the Agency Model will mean a return to lower prices on popular eBooks and a far more active marketing campaign on Amazon’s part. There has literally never been a better time to buy a Kindle.
Regardless of where you stand on the state of publishing, it is undeniable that things are about to change in such a way as to allow for lower pricing. As most of the problem with adopting eReading recently has been the fact that eBooks are commonly priced higher than their paper counterparts, changing the balance of things will open up new markets for the Kindle. Customers who were previously on the fence about a purchase will now have much more appealing opportunities in front of them and Kindle ownership will be that much simpler to justify as paying for itself in savings over a short period of time for any active reader.
Will there be ongoing and constant increase in interest in the Kindle? It is probable that sales will plateau at some point. It is also probable that Amazon’s luck from the DOJ has pushed that point off into the future a bit. Estimates may be down for the moment, but they will be revised soon enough. If anybody knows how to exploit a major opportunity like this, it is Amazon.
This is a great time to have a Kindle. If you don’t have one of your own yet, it might be useful to check out the Kindle Keyboard. Still in many ways the best iteration of the product line to date, it will serve you well in any reading situation. Might as well take advantage of the situation, since the customer benefits more than anybody in all of this.
The Kindle eReader has long come with unrestricted 3G access on its more expensive models. This has been such an expected option that when Amazon stopped offering the feature on the newer Kindle 4 and Kindle Touch models it shocked many of us. Fortunately, for those who are still interested in the service, there is always still the Kindle Keyboard 3G. While they aren’t really being pushed as a current product any longer, Amazon still seems to have plenty of the older model with its unrestricted access available on their site.
The biggest problems with taking advantage of this feature for anything besides simply purchasing from Amazon have been tied to the shortcomings of the eReader itself. The Kindle Keyboard’s 5-Way directional controller is nice enough, but can be incredibly tedious to use. The web browser is extremely basic at best, and will almost certainly enough fail to load important pages or crash completely from time to time under regular use. Still, it is a free lifetime 3G connection that accomplishes the goal of keeping you connected to the Kindle Store no matter where you happen to be. It is hard to complain about that.
What was once just a convenience for people willing to spend some extra money on their initial Kindle purchase might now be a valid thing to keep around for emergencies, however. You see, somebody has finally worked out a way to make this free 3G coverage available to more generally useful devices via a tethering hack. While I won’t go into the details here (this is absolutely warranty-voiding and quite possibly illegal enough for action is abused), hacker Andrew D’Angelo has posted the complete method on his easily searchable personal web site. Using this method, you can now get your PC or laptop onto the internet via the Kindle Keyboard’s cellular connection.
I say that this is an emergency tool specifically because every bit of data sent through this connection runs through Amazon’s proxy servers. You are tagged with a unique ID number that can easily trace unusual activity back to your personal account. Since this is, as mentioned above, rather blatantly in violation of the Terms & Conditions for Kindle 3G use, chances are good that both the connection and the associated account will be shut down before too long at the very least.
This could be great to have around for those situations where a storm takes out the local communications, and I can think of some flooding a while back that I would have loved to have it available for, but it is not a tool for daily use. Still, it might be worth considering the 3G option on any new Kindle purchase now even if you have no interest in it as an aid to your eReader experience. $40 added to the purchase price for a cell connection with no monthly fee running through a device that only runs out of batteries once every month or two is great by itself, but being able to use that connection so fully when you really need to have that available is invaluable.
Having discovered an already functional jailbreak for the Kindle Touch recently thanks to independent developer Yifan Lu, I was also pleased to note that there is a way to get your older Kindle devices somewhat more up to date. It turns out that the hardware improvements in the Kindle 3 as compared to the Kindle 2 and Kindle DX, particularly the processors, were not significant enough to make it impossible to run the newer version.
To get this update installed, you will need a few things. The most important, and possibly the hardest to get in some cases, is a working Kindle 3 (Kindle Keyboard) that has been jailbroken. Assuming you have a spare Kindle 3 laying around, the same site linked in the instructions to follow contains detailed instructions on the jailbreaking process under the “Projects” tab. You will also need a minimum of 900mb free on your Kindle 2/Kindle DX and 720mb free on your Kindle 3. Naturally a USB transfer cable will be important as well.
Assuming you have all of these things, check out this page on Yifan Lu’s site. The included instructions are simple to follow and while it will probably take you anywhere from one to three hours to complete the entire process, there is little room for error if you follow the order of operations correctly.
There are several things that you must be aware of before starting in on this:
Should you allow either of your Kindles to lose power while they are in use, it is likely to cause some major problems. Charge them before you begin.
Once completed, you will have to repeat the process for any future firmware updates. The Kindle 2 or Kindle DX will not be able to automatically access the files released for the Kindle 3.
While the hardware difference between these Kindles is not large enough to make the process inadvisable, as it would be if going from the Kindle 4 to the Kindle 3, there is a difference. You will experience slight lag as the downside of your improved functionality.
Active content such as Kindle games will not work as a result of the update. The developer of this update process doesn’t know exactly why, nor does there seem to be any major fix for this. Be aware.
Sound/Music playback on the newly updated device will be flawed. Since it will have been jailbroken it is possible to install an alternate music player to fix this, but it is an additional step for people who make much use of the eReader’s audio playback abilities.
There have been some unconfirmed reports that extremely large PDF files have issues on devices updated in this fashion. This is likely the result of slightly inferior hardware and will probably not be an issue compared to the greatly improved PDF handling, but it is worth noting.
We can’t quite say why Amazon chose not to update these older Kindles, although it has been speculated that they were consciously abandoned to drum up business for the Kindle 3. Also possible is the idea that faster processing simply opens more doors to new features that couldn’t be productively implemented otherwise. Either way, at least now it is possible for owners of older Kindles to get the most out of their devices.
While the newer Kindle 4 and Kindle Touch are great, eReaders are made to last and there is no reason for a satisfied owner to throw away their perfectly good Kindle 2. With the Kindle DX it’s an even more obvious choice, since there is yet to be a hardware update to the larger form and it looks increasingly like there never will be. This update makes it even more desirable for those who need the 9.7″ screen.
The addition of advertisements to the Kindle line is what has allowed Amazon to drive prices down as low as they have on all eReader hardware in the US. It’s really the only reason that the eReader was finally pushed down to the $99 and beyond. While many people were initially upset about the idea of advertising intruding into their reading experience, something that has in recent decades proven fairly inefficient and therefore been disregarded, the way Amazon tackled the problem has left most people satisfied. No ads in the books themselves is the most important part, of course.
The most surprising thing, in a lot of ways, is how effective the Special Offers have been in providing genuine value for customers. Among other things, Kindle w/ Special Offers owners have had the chance to buy $20 gift cards for $10, $1 Kindle Edition eBooks, and more. Amazon has been their own best customer when it comes to these ads despite having some big name partners join in from time to time, and recently there have even been some great local deals springing up as a result of their attempts to take on Groupon. Naturally this has left some owners of older Kindles, as well as people who avoided the opportunity due to suspicion over the ads, feeling rather left out.
Recently an option was introduced to remove these ads from the Kindle by paying for the difference in initial purchase price. Definitely an appealing option since it effectively allows new buyers who are hesitant to accept the idea of ongoing advertisements buy into the device now and get the rest of the experience they want when it’s affordable. It doesn’t hurt that this makes it that much more appealing for new customers to give Amazon’s Special Offers scheme a chance to prove its worth.
The fun flip side is that they quietly introduced the option to turn Special Offers on for Kindle eReaders that either never had them in the first place or decided to buy out of them at some point. By going into the “Manage Your Kindle” section of the Amazon.com website, most of the work is already done. Find your eReader in the list (which may include no more than one Kindle depending on how invested you are in the line) and, under the “Special Offers” heading, choose the Edit option. Turning the ads on and off takes place almost instantly, requiring nothing more than that you turn your Kindle on and connect it to the internet.
I no longer have a Kindle 2 to test out this process with, but I think it is safe to assume that it would not work. The Kindle 3 (Kindle Keyboard) definitely works, and all newer devices should handle it without any trouble. If you haven’t had a chance before now to check out the options, it might be worth a try. Just today I’ve seen a couple tempting ones flipping my Kindle off and on. I especially recommend if you are in an area covered by the AmazonLocal deals. Amazon is clearly not pushing people into this, nor do they make it hard to change your mind. If there’s value to be found, why waste the opportunity?
In the past several months, especially since the announcement of the Kindle Touch, I’ve mentioned regularly that I expected the Kindle Keyboard to be a thing of the past by early 2012. While nothing concrete has happened just yet, there are beginning to be small indications that this is beginning to happen.
The most obvious early sign was the fact that the Kindle Touch’s 3G option did not include the same freedoms that we have come to expect in previous models. Where up until now you could browse freely, albeit in a limited fashion due to the nature of the Kindle’s screen and experimental browser, now users are stuck with only Wikipedia and Amazon’s own store. Given the size of the ongoing 3G bill that Amazon has to have been racking up over the past several years, this change should be no surprise. Lifetime 3G for free is going to be hard to keep going without limitations. What is surprising and makes this stand out is the fact that the Kindle Keyboard did not start having the same restrictions. If this was really the direction that Amazon has chosen to go, the only easy explanation is that they were waiting to run out existing stock.
More recently, the Kindle Keyboard WiFi w/ Special Offers has silently disappeared from the Kindle Store. You can still get the more expensive ad-free model, but somehow I doubt that is because Amazon has suddenly decided to drop their advertising subsidized eReader plans. Not only is it gone, but the newer versions of the sales banner for the Kindle Family are now focused entirely on the newest devices and don’t display the Kindle Keyboard at all.
It would not be surprising to find that even more signs have been given that were just too subtle to be noticed at the time. I seem to recall there being white versions of both WiFi and 3G Kindle 3 models, for example, but now that is only available for the 3G model. Hard to say for certain at this point since the graphite frame was so appealing at launch that I didn’t bother picking up a white edition.
Will this be the end of eReaders with physical inputs? Quite possibly! The major competition has already moved to entirely touchscreen, though the Nook Simple Touch eReader still has some actual page turning buttons. The virtual keyboard allows for a lighter, more compact device that is even less intrusive than previous Kindles. I’m still dealing with mixed feelings regarding this move, having gotten used to my keyboard and not quite having had the same amount of exposure to the new design, but it does seem the way of the future.
If you are still interested in the Kindle Keyboard (formerly Kindle 3), now is really the time to buy. Lefties will find it especially valuable since the Kindle Touch requires swiping if you want to flip a page forward with your left hand. It offers pretty much everything that the Kindle Touch does aside from X-Ray and the ease of use in highlighting and annotation, but you get the reassuring presence of buttons. The option won’t be around much longer, I’m sure, but for now you can get either the normal Kindle Keyboard or the Kindle Keyboard 3G w/ Special Offers for just $139.
With the Kindle Fire opening up whole new avenues of entertainment in the product line and the Kindle Touch providing the affordable touchscreen eReader that people have been asking for for years now, there is a sense that both the Kindle Keyboard (Kindle 3) and just plain “Kindle” (Kindle 4) are superfluous. Sure the low price on the basic Kindle is great, for example, but for only a $20 difference over the touchscreen model you are asserting that you will never need an audiobook and don’t have much interest in note taking. Sometimes it is nice to retain those capabilities just in case, even if you have no interest in them from day to day. This absolutely does not mean that there is no situation where that is the smart move to make, it just means that being aware of your needs is important.
I think that the obvious contrast will be between the Kindle Fire and the Kindle products with mechanical interfaces. While I will maintain that there is a definite difference between the new tablet and the eReader line it is billed as a part of, Amazon’s association of the two types of hardware under the same brand name makes the comparison important. It’s true that much of the argument also goes for the Kindle Touch, right now we can look at the Kindle and Kindle Keyboard hands-on. That makes things a bit simpler.
Naturally I could go on again about the superior reading experience to be found in an E INK Pearl screen over pretty much any LCD we’re ever likely to see. Fortunately, I think most people have come to accept that already. The battery life issue is also a big one, but not worth dwelling on. It is not likely that people would fail to see the benefits of only having to charge a portable device every few weeks. What I will contend is that there is an advantage to be found in the simplified experience of the Kindle and Kindle Keyboard over that we can expect from the Kindle Fire.
Since the Kindle is traditionally associated with reading and I’m talking about the virtues of the less expensive members of the Kindle family, it’s only natural that a great deal of weight is to be placed on the act of reading. For example, I consider it a great advantage to be able to read without the distractions offered by a multi-functional device. I won’t deny this owes to my own easily distracted nature, but that’s hardly an uncommon trait. Reading a book should not generally be an act of willpower overcoming the urge to do something else. That detracts somehow. With a Kindle or Kindle Keyboard, not only can you do little besides read, most of what else you are able to do revolves around acquiring more things to read. It is a cohesive experience.
The fact that both of the Kindles in question make use of mechanical controls rather than a touch interface can also be an advantage. Aside from any risk of fingerprints being left, many people will prefer to be able to navigate their eBooks via the page turn buttons on the sides of the device. When using a Kindle Keyboard, for example, you can adjust your grip to allow for page turning with nothing more than a light squeeze of the thumb. Even assuming this is possible on a touchscreen, it would involve covering part of the display. You may only save a small motion, but when Amazon is looking to save on even the effort of a swiping gesture in their touch interface there is obviously a preference for conserved effort in the user base.
The Kindle Keyboard in particular also offers the distinct advantage of being able to interact with your device without tying up screen real estate. Normally this is not a big deal, I will be the first to admit. When it comes to making in-text notations, however, it is useful to be able to see as much as possible while forming your thoughts. I do think that the Kindle Touch and Kindle Fire will offer a greater speed to the notation process since selecting text is a bit clunky with the more basic directional control, but it is useful to be aware of the tradeoff. Losing the keyboard was worthwhile in terms of reducing size and weight, but for some people the keyboard is still a useful part of the Kindle experience.
This is not a claim for the overarching superiority of the older Kindle Keyboard or even the equality of the Kindle 4 (there is a reason that it is priced lower than all the other Kindles). What I am claiming is that they each fill niches separate from the Kindle Fire and, to a lesser degree, the Kindle Touch. Yes the newer, more powerful device can do basically all the same things that the eReaders are able to do as well as many other things that people will find useful, but that does not mean that it is a direct upgrade. For an affordable tablet, the Kindle Fire is great. For an eReader I would recommend any other Kindle without hesitation. There is no more reason to disregard the Kindle or the Kindle Keyboard than there is to ignore the situational usefulness of the Kindle DX, which is an issue I have also gotten into recently. Know your options and your needs when you decide it is time for a new Kindle.
Some of the longest running customer demands for the Kindle line have been a touchscreen, a color display, and a price under $100. The Kindle Touch and Kindle Fire each manage a different combination of two out of those three. The big question now is what this means for Kindle owners. Is the addition of these features worth the cost of purchasing a new eReader, even as cheap as they’ve become? For that matter, should people just now coming to the eReader experience jump on the newer Kindle Touch or the Kindle Keyboard being sold for the same price?
In order to facilitate a more informed decision, let’s take a look at what differentiates the two devices:
The Kindle Touch is the newer device. As might be expected in the portable electronics field, it is smaller, lighter, and faster (if videos posted to highlight the device’s anticipated user experience can be trusted). Removing the physical keyboard seems to have saved about an ounce, which while equaling a weight reduction of over 10% still means little enough to not factor into any decisions. At that point any case you get will probably render the point meaningless anyway. It is also slightly smaller than the Kindle Keyboard, for obvious reasons. You save almost an inch on the vertical and all other measurements are comparable. For a direct comparison, check out the device overlay here:
The real differences that come in stem from software improvements. As you might notice in the table above, though the two Kindles share the same storage space measurement they have different listed book capacities. This is because there are a couple things going on in the Kindle Touch software that the Kindle Keyboard does not have access to, which decreases the available area of the device’s storage a bit.
The less significant, though still quite useful given the interface, is the EasyReach system. This partitions off the touchscreen so that the majority of the screen can be tapped for paging forward while the leftmost edge of the screen will work as a backward page turning button. This eliminates the need for finger swiping. Swiping was certainly a fine idea and emulates the page turning experience found in a paper book to a certain extent, but it gets old after a few hundred pages as anybody who wore out their original Nook can likely attest to.
More importantly, the Kindle Touch will be coming with something called X-Ray. The X-Ray feature is basically intended to be an intelligent extension of the search function, based on Amazon’s description. Not only will it find instances of word use, though, it will supposedly find all instances of a character, idea, place, or topic throughout as well as linking to relevant articles on either Wikipedia or Amazon’s own Shelfari service. How successful this feature is remains to be seen, but Amazon clearly places a lot of confidence in it and emphasizes their own expertise in machine learning and data processing in explaining how they can make such a bold claim. The product page literally says that “The vision is to have every important phrase in every book.” An intriguing, if highly ambitious claim.
The benefits of a Kindle Keyboard are a bit more modest. Aside from it being a proven device with very few shortcomings attached to it at this point, you also get physical buttons, more application/game options, and a slightly different experience in 3G usage.
The keyboard isn’t the most wonderful thing in the world, but it does the job. This will be a benefit for anybody who prefers feedback on their button pressing. It also means that more of the games and other applications currently available will work for you. For the most part developers have been able to assume the presence of these controls up until this point and it is unlikely that many will be able to adapt to a touchscreen display. This is not to say that there won’t be plenty of games and such that exclusively use the touchscreen in the future, but for now Kindle Keyboard owners have a clear advantage when it comes to non-reading eReader usage.
The 3G coverage that I mentioned is also noticeably more useful than that on the Kindle Touch. Unlike the newer device, the Kindle Keyboard remains able to access the entirety of the internet through this connection (albeit in a sub-par browser), while the new Kindle will be restricted to the Kindle Store and Wikipedia. Anything more is going to require access to a WiFi network, in which situations you will generally be able to access a more internet friendly device anyway. Of course, I am personally taking this as a sign that the Kindle Keyboard is either going to be phased out in the near future or blocked off in a fashion similar to the Kindle Touch, but it is safe to say that current owners and near-future adopters will not be affected.
When it comes right down to it, there isn’t enough difference between these two to really justify an upgrade. If you own a Kindle Keyboard already and have no particular attachments to touchscreens or potentially super-smart text searches, you shouldn’t feel too bad about waiting a while before getting another eReader. If you’re new to the whole eReader scene, I would probably recommend the $99 Kindle Touch. It is the newest and most likely to be supported in the long term, especially in terms of firmware updates. In addition, you get the touchscreen interface which is certain to be a bit more versatile for most users when compared to the directional control on other Kindles. Completely worth it considering both devices are the same price anyway.
Will have a 6″ latest generation eInk. There will be no keyboard, not even page flipping buttons, with all features accessible via “easy reach” system touch interface. Touchscreen uses the same infrared technology as latest generation Sony eReaders. Kindle Touch is made of silver plastic (again similar to latest Sony eReaders). It will be available on November 21st with pre-orders starting today in two flavors – WiFi only for less than a $100.00 (!!!!) -$99 and 3G for $149. Amazon is pretty consistent with charging $50 for “lifetime unlimited 3G access available in over 100 countries”. It seems like the software has gotten an upgrade as well with the new X-Ray feature that lets you do rich text lookups that go beyond looking up single words in the dictionary. It seems to pull Wikipedia description of general concepts mentioned on the page you are currently reading.
Features and specs:
Latest generation eInk Pearl screen (600×800 16 grayscale) – same as Kindle 3
IR touchscreen with multitouch support
Size: 6.8″ x 4.7″ x 0.40″
Weight: 7.5 oz (slightly lighter than Kindle 3)
Battery: 2 month battery life
Storage: 4GB internal flash memory. Only 3GB available for user content. No external card slots (DS/MMC/Memory Stick etc)
Wireless connectivity: 802.11b/g/n WiFi and optional 3G with no monthly fees for $50 extra
Wired connectivity: micro-B USB 2.0 connector
Audio: headphone jack and built-in stereo speakers
X-Ray: contextual lookup of concepts, people, places etc mentioned in the book though Wikipedia or Amazon’s community encyclopedia – Shelfari
Same 6″ screen, but no touch, no keyboard, only with page flipping buttons. Because of this the device is both very compact and inexpensive. It is 18 smaller than Kindle 3 and weights under 6 ounces. Priced at only $79 with Special Offers and $109 without and shipping today. The device is actually called just “Kindle”, with Kindle 3 being creatively renamed into “Kindle Keyboard”.
Specs and feature:
Latest generation eInk Pearl screen (600×800 16 grayscale) – same as Kindle 3
Size: 6.5″ x 4.5″ x 0.34″
Weight: 5.98 oz. This is 2.5 ounces lighter than Kindle 3, and only 0.5 ounce more than Sony PRS-350
Storage: 2GB internal flash, with 1 1/4 GB available for user content
RAM: 512MB SDRAM memory
Battery: 1 month battery life
Wireless connectivity: 802.11b/g/n WiFi. No 3G option available at this time
Wired connectivity: micro-B USB 2.0 connector
Audio: headphone jack and built-in stereo speakers
Amazon’s entry into the tablet market, currently dominated by Apple iPad. Kindle Fire features:
7-inch color backlit LCD display based on IPS technology that allows good viewing from wide range of angles
LCD is protected with extra-strong Gorilla-glass.
Dual core ARM CPU
Weighs 14.6 ounces
Runs heavily modified version of Android operating system
Kindle Fire will have direct and easy access to a broad range of content:
First and foremost – over 1,000,000 (and counting…) of Kindle eBooks
Color versions of newspapers and magazines
100,000 movies and TV shows streaming from Amazon. 11,000 of these are available for free to Amazon Prime subscribers
17 million DRM-free MP3 songs
Amazon’s own Android app store.
Kindle Fire seems to rely heavily on Amazon Cloud Storage.
Same WhisperSync technology that synchronizes book reading position across multiple devices now works with movies and TV shows – it automatically remembers last watched position. You can resume watching the movie on your TiVo or any other Amazon-connected streaming video device.
Touch UI supports swipe gestures to bring out extra controls, very similar to Windows 8 concept. It looks nothing like vanilla Android. Homescreen features 3D carousel of most recently accessed content regardless of it’s type: in the demo Angry Birds game is shown right next to the latest issue of Vanity Fair magazine and Kindle eBooks. OS supports multitasking. So you can listen to music while you are reading a book. You can pin any kind of content (including a website bookmark) to your Home screen bookshelf. Full color magazine display seems to be much smoother than with original version of Nook Color.
Price point is $199 as was previously announced. This includes 30-day trial of Amazon Prime service that normally sells as $79/year subscription. Kindle Fire ships on November 15th, 2011 with pre-orders starting today.
Specs and features:
Screen: 7″ backlit IPS LCD with multi-touch and gestures. 1024 x 600 resolution with 24 bit color
Size: 7.5″ x 4.7″ x 0.45″
Weight: 14.6 oz. This is 1.2 lighter than Nook Color
Storage: 8GB internal flash memory. No expansion slots (SD/MMC/etc) are available. It does however have access to Amazon Cloud Storage which is unlimited for Amazon content
Battery: Up to 8 hours on a single charge. Very similar to Nook Color. There is no cheating laws of physics there.
Wireless connectivity: 802.11b/g/n. No 3G option at this time
Wired connectivity: micro-B USB 2.0 connector
Audio: headphone jack and built-in stereo speakers
Data formats: on top of supporting the usual bunch that Kindle 3 supports, Kindle Fire adds native support for DOCX and a number of DRM-free audio-formats
OS: heavily modified Android
1,000,000+ in-copyright books. 800,000+ of these are priced at $9.99 or below. Millions more – out of copyright
100,000+ movies and TV shows available for streaming
1000s of Android apps. This is only a subset of what’s available for Android. On the other hand, acceptance criteria is much higher so overall app quality is much better than you average Android app. Nook, Kobo app availability… I’m guessing not.
17,000,000+ DRM-free Mp3 songs from Amazon MP3 store
Email client that works with major providers like Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, AOL, etc. Additional email support is available though apps that can be separately purchased.