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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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Could a Kindle Phone Really Redefine the Smartphone Market?

Interest in a potential Kindle Phone has been rising ever since Bloomberg reported that Amazon was in the middle of testing said phone.  The logic behind the move is arguably sound for Amazon, which leaves people fairly certain that it will happen.  After all, if there are customers to be gained and the sort of 24/7 connection that many people have with their smartphones can be tied into Amazon services then the hardware line is worth it even if it doesn’t generate a dollar in sales on its own.  What is especially interesting about all of this speculation, however, is the idea that Amazon is on the verge of upsetting the smartphone market in a major way.

To really understand the potential impact of a Kindle Phone, we have to look at what they have already done with the Kindle Fire.  Users get access to an affordable, functional consumption device that is tied into Amazon.com.  There are no major optional features, none of Google’s default Android services, and no efforts are being made to pretend that it is anything more than what it is able to be.  All the designers cared about was how to get people the best access to Amazon’s media at the lowest price.

Let’s carry that through to a phone.  Obviously we would be talking about something highly affordable.  That is how the company defines their products.  It would have to be exclusively connected to Amazon’s own services, which means no Google interaction.  In a market increasingly pushing for universal access to turn-by-turn directions, calendar alarm notifications, and constant digital communications access, this could be slightly problematic.  Even the Email app that shipped with the Kindle Fire didn’t quite work right at first, so it is hard to imagine them solving every possible problem with a new, more complex Android implementation so soon.

This doesn’t rule out an Amazon phone, but it does place it in a certain bracket.  Just as the Kindle Fire doesn’t try to directly compete with the iPad, perhaps a Kindle Phone would avoid trying to compete with the iPhone.

There is a great deal of exposure to be gained if they choose to go with a “pay as you go” device.  A Kindle Phone with the ability to connect to WiFi networks could be sold cheaply to millions of budget-conscious consumers.  Even if they didn’t need it as a phone, the iPod Touch has demonstrated in the past that there is a level of consumer demand for such hardware.  The ability to add prepaid minutes to a calling plan would just add a level of functionality to make it marketable while avoiding many of the hassles inherent in dealing with a normal carrier.

There is too little information to go on so far, and it is still definitely possible that Amazon will come out with a whole array of new services to make up for the lack of Google integration by the time a Kindle Phone sees the light of day.  It might even turn out to be a high end device that puts every Android smartphone on the market to shame.  The Kindle Fire set the tone for Amazon’s Android hardware, however, and the theme there has been one of simplicity and affordability.  I think it is unlikely to see that change just yet.

New York Public Library Launches E-book Central

From January 4th-13th, the New York Public library is stepping up their efforts to help new owners of the Kindle and other e-readers learn how to download e-books from the library’s vast digital collection.

NYPL has over 22,000 e-books ready to check out, and in addition to on site help through trained reference librarians, the library system has also launched a website called E-Book Central.

Lending Kindle e-books in libraries is a fairly new service, but as a librarian I see first hand how much a service like E-Book Central is needed.  I get questions about it often at the library where I work.  E-reader sales this holiday season were record breaking, so the demand is  much greater.  Just like regular books, good Kindle books are snatched up quickly.

The process for checking out e-books is quite simple once you find the book you want.  The New York Public Library provides a detailed, step by step guide for downloading e-books from their collection onto any mobile device or e-reader.

Two things you need before you start: An Amazon account, and an account with your local library that supports Kindle e-books.  If you don’t have a Kindle itself, there are apps for the Mac, PC, smartphones, and iPad that you can download for free.

Kindle books from the public library appear in your Kindle’s home screen just like other books.  After the check out time is up, it will automatically disappear.  Check out times usually run anywhere from 7-21 days depending on the library.

Now that the Kindle Library Lending program is up and running, I hope more libraries will follow NYPL’s example and provide more formal e-book training for their patrons.  Many libraries don’t have the staff or time available to dedicate to a project like this, but it is something that would save time in the long run.

So, if you live in NYC, see the E-Book Central website for dates and times when training is available, or check out the guides for checking out e-books on different mobile devices.

Amazon Considering Other Gadgets

Reports have been swirling around this past week that Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) is supposedly considering creating other gadgets to sell along with the Kindle and Kindle DX.  This would be one tough feat considering that Apple has the monopoly on music players with its iPod, and cell phone carriers make the most revenue from cell phone services.  Plus, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) have a good head start with the iPhone and Android smartphones.

Amazon might be able to compete more closely with the iPad if it creates a tablet like device with a color screen and better internet access.  However, by going to a LCD color display, the company would be abandoning it’s stance on providing a pleasurable reading experience that simulates the experience of reading a regular book.

A recent article from Bloomberg Business Week suggested that Amazon resell items that are already popular in it’s marketplace.  That would save the hassle of creating a new product, and they could still make a decent profit from it.

I think Amazon should focus on the Kindle Books by working with the publishers to make the digital quality better and the prices more affordable.  The Amazon Kindle app. is available on many different devices, including the iPad, and books can be transferred from one device to another.   The recent drop in price and Wi-Fi only model was a smart move on Amazon’s part because the newest Kindle is now sold out.   A cheaper Kindle means consumers can make up for the cost in buying more books.

Business Week for Kindle

The monthly price for the Kindle edition of Business Week is $2.49.  The magazine is delivered weekly and the plus side of the Kindle edition is that according to one Amazon reviewer, you get it every Friday.  The print edition hits newsstands on Monday.

The Kindle edition of Business Week does not have images and this is a drawback based on what is reflected in the reviews, however, the articles read much faster.

Business Week, now owned by Bloomberg, began publication on September 7, 1929.  Note that this date is less than two months before the stock market crash of 1929.  The stock market crash signaled the beginning of the Great Depression that plagued most of the 1930’s.

Business Week is known for reporting the latest business and economic trends.  The magazine is also known for predicting the trends of the future.  Business Week reported on women in the war work force during World War II, which was a revolutionary concept because before the war, it was virtually unheard of for women to work outside of the home.  Business Week covered the successes of Katharine Graham, CEO of Washington Post Company.  She was the pioneer of female CEO’s.

Business Week also stays on top of the Information Technology arena, which is a vibrant, constantly changing one.  When the magazine was first published, typewriters began to come and become an integral part of businesses.  During the 1960’s, the first computers started to appear, but only in a few places.  As time progressed, Business Week followed Bill Gates and his PC software endeavors in the 1980s and the Internet boom of the 1990’s.  During the 2000’s, Business Week has covered Facebook, Google, smartphones and all of the other latest gadgets we use today.

In 2009, Bloomberg LP, a company owned by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, bought Newsweek from its parent company McGraw-Hill for $5 million.  The official name for Business Week is now Bloomberg Business Week. more