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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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May 2018
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Kindle Fire Social Gaming Support to be Expanded

Anybody who has spent time on any tablet, including and perhaps especially the Kindle Fire, is likely to have at least tried out a game on it.  Tablets are perfect for casual gaming in many of its forms.  Since this is the fastest growing segment of the game market there will only be more people looking into ways to exploit the expanded user base as time goes on.  Part of this is simply the fun of the games, but much has to be attributed to the prominence of social games such as those we find on Facebook.

Zynga, the elephant in the room when you’re talking about Facebook games, has formed their own social gaming hub where users can play games and spend money in an interconnected web shared between their friends and anybody else they desire to have contact with.  They’re not the only ones looking to cash in on the social networking aspects of gaming.

The fastest way for a free app of the day in the Amazon Appstore for Android to lose a high rating is to include OpenFeint, a third-party social networking platform that allows for the incredibly simple addition of social features to any game.  Due to some concerns about the company’s practices, specifically information indicating that their business plan involves data-mining mobile devices without authorization, the service is much less popular with potential customers than many developers might like.

Amazon is going to essentially make them irrelevant when it comes to the Kindle Fire, though.  By the end of July, presumably roughly coinciding with the launch of the Kindle Fire 2, a platform will be in place to allow developers for the Amazon Appstore to include everything from high score boards to in-game achievement badges.  No information has been mentioned yet about actual communication between social connections, but it seems unlikely that they would go to the trouble of creating an achievement system that didn’t allow for competition.  Nobody is going to drive sales that way.

This seems to be yet another attempt to lure in developers who might otherwise choose not to deal with Amazon.  While the Appstore has over 43,000 apps in it at this point, up from 4,000 slightly over a year ago, it still lags behind every other major store including that for Windows Phone 7.

It has already been shown that Amazon’s Android developers make more for their work than their counterparts working exclusively on Google Play releases, but the rate of increase is going to have to speed up if they are going to have enough apps available to make a real iPad competitor out of the eventual Kindle Fire 10” sequel.  It’s doubly important since they will also be competing with the newly introduced Windows 8 tablets by that time.

I don’t think anybody doubts that in a Microsoft vs Apple flight Amazon is practically sitting out, but even without taking over the market they can still make a big impression if there is still enough to interest new customers in a media-consumption-driven tablet at a good price.  That’s really all the Kindle Fire has ever done.

Draw Something for the Kindle Fire Now Available

Have you been wanting to engage in a social experience with friends using your Kindle Fire despite its lack of camera or microphone?  If so, it’s a good time to head to the App Store and check out the new releases.  OMGPOP’s hit game “Draw Something” is now in stock.  With both Free and Ad-Free flavors ready for your download, everybody has a way to play.

Much like the ever-popular Words With Friends, a game which came packaged with the Kindle Fire, users are matched up with friends in a turn-based back and forth game.  There are no time limits, and you can have a number of simultaneous games going if that suits your mood.  Don’t have friends who play?  No problem.  Draw Something will match you up with complete strangers at random just so you have something to do with your time.

The core game mechanic in Draw Something is…ok, you can probably figure that one out on your own.  Anyway, each player takes turns either drawing one of three word options presented at random or trying to guess what word the other player was trying to represent with their drawing.  It’s a pretty straightforward kind of game.  Scoring is done using in-game currency, which can then be used to purchase things like extra colors for your use when doing more drawing.  Naturally there is also a micro-transaction option, but it is unobtrusive and easily ignored.

This new release still has a couple problems with it compared to more established incarnations.  There have been issues reported when logging into your account from multiple devices.  There have been similar, yet seemingly unrelated problems for people who own multiple Kindle Fire devices on the same account.  Perhaps the biggest problem that people are running into is the lack of an option to take a screenshot.  Since achieving popularity, Draw Something screenshots have been shared all over the internet and the inability to save a particularly good one due to limitations in the Kindle Fire’s software may be frustrating.

As with many other popular social games, Draw Something is a cross-platform program.  Players can connect with their friends over Facebook or via usernames chosen within the app itself.  If you want to do without a Facebook account then you will need an email address, but there have been no reports of these addresses being abused or spammed in any way.

What it all comes down to is that Kindle Fire users have access to perhaps the most popular time-waster type of game on the market for the moment, which by extension more than doubles the potential Android Tablet user pool.  Better late than never, of course, and there will most likely be months yet before something else comes along to capture popular attention.  Have fun with it and exercise your creative side.

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.