Posts Tagged Kindle

Amazon Unveils New, Larger Kindle Fire Models

Amazon.com Inc. unveiled four new Kindle Fire models on Thursday, including ones with larger screens, as the online retailer steps up competition with Apple Inc. ahead of the holiday shopping season.

Amazon unveiled the larger Kindle Fire amid expectations of a smaller iPad from Apple.

The larger Fires will have screens that measure 8.9 inches diagonally, compared with 9.7 inches for the iPad. The original Fire had a 7-inch screen. The speculation on the mini iPad is that it’ll have a 7.85-inch screen. Apple isn’t commenting, but it has an event scheduled next week, during which it is expected to at least announce a new iPhone.

Amazon is hoping to make a dent in a tablet computer market dominated by Apple’s iPad. Amazon has been selling lower-priced tablets at thin, if any, profit margins to boost sales of digital items from its online store. As a result, it has been able to compete with the iPad on price.

The basic, 7-inch Fire model will cost $159, down from $199 for the original model. It will start shipping next Friday. The cheapest iPad costs $399 and the most recent models start at $499.

Amazon is coming out with a high-end version called Kindle Fire HD. It will have two Wi-Fi channels for faster transfers. That will be crucial for high-definition movies and other large files, CEO Jeff Bezos said.

The HD model will also have more storage, starting at 16 gigabytes, compared with 6 GB for the old Fire. The iPad also starts at 16 GB.

A 7-inch model will sell for $199 and ship next Friday. An 8.9-inch model will go for $299 and start shipping Nov. 20.

That means a device nearly as big as the iPad will sell for at least $100 less. The Fire, however, won’t have as extensive a selection of apps as the iPad. And while the HD models will have a front-facing camera for video chats, the iPad as one on the rear as well for taking photos and video.

Amazon also unveiled a premium Kindle Fire model, one with the ability to connect to the 4G cellular networks that phone companies are building. It will cost $499 and come with 32 gigabytes of memory and an 8.9-inch screen. A data plan will cost $50 a year.

Amazon also refreshed its line of stand-alone e-readers. Called Paperwhite, the new e-reader model has a black-and-white screen. It promises 25 percent more contrast. Bezos said “the whites are whiter, and the blacks are blacker.”

The Paperwhite has a light source. Bezos says the device is “perfect in direct sunlight.” Tablets such as the iPad and the Fire don’t work as well in bright light because they are lit from the back. Bezos says the light on the Paperwhite is directed down at the display. The device promises eight weeks of battery life, even with the light on.

It costs $119 and starts shipping Oct. 1. Amazon says it will start taking orders Thursday. There’s also a model with 3G cellular connections for $179. Amazon is also dropping the price of its low-end Kindle to $69, from $79. That will start shipping next Friday.

Amazon’s stock increased $4.93, or 2 percent, to $251.15 in afternoon trading Thursday.

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Amazon launches Kindle store in India

SAN FRANCISCO: US e-commerce giant Amazon on Wednesday launched its Kindle Store in India, claiming to have the largest selection of any e-bookstore in the country.

The India Kindle Store offers over one million e-books, priced in Indian rupees, including 70 of the top selling editions.

“We are proud to launch this new Kindle store for Indian customers, offering Kindle book purchases in rupees and the ability to buy and read the work of many great Indian authors,” said Russ Grandinetti, vice president of Kindle content for Amazon.

The Kindle reader will be sold exclusively in Croma stores across India at an introductory price of Rs 6,999 (around $125).

“Kindle is the bestselling e-reader in the world and has revolutionized the way people read,” said Ajit Joshi, chief executive and managing director of Croma.

Customers may also download and read books on the iPad, iPod touch, iPhone, Mac, PC, and Android-based devices.

The India Kindle Store features new releases, best sellers and other works from a range of Indian authors, including Chetan Bhagat, Ashwin Sanghi, Ravinder Singh and Amish Tripathi.

Some exclusive Kindle books will be available and over one million classics can be downloaded for free.

Amazon also launched Kindle Direct Publishing for independent authors and publishers in India, allowing them to make their books available to customers worldwide on Kindle devices and reading apps.

Authors and publishers in India will be able to set prices specific for India and receive royalty payments in rupees.

Amazon has a number of Kindle stores for customers around the world in addition to its US store.

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Barnes & Noble cuts price of Nook tablets

Barnes & Noble Inc cut prices on three models of its Nook e-reader and tablet devices on Sunday, ahead of the peak of the back to school season and amid speculation that rival Amazon.com Inc is preparing to launch a new version of its Kindle Fire tablet.

Barnes & Noble, which has said the Nook has allowed it to win 27 per cent of the US e-books market, said it had slashed the retail price of its Nook tablet with 16 GB of memory to $199 from $249. Amazon is the market leader with about 60 per cent of e-book and e-reader sales.

The largest US bookstore chain also shaved $20 off its 8 GB version of the tablet to $179. Barnes & Noble lowered the price of its Nook Color by $20, bringing it to $149, the latest reduction for that model.

The new prices went into effect on Sunday. Despite the popularity of the Nook devices, Barnes & Noble has had to reduce the price of various versions on a number of occasions to compete with Amazon, which is believed to be preparing to launch a new version of its Kindle Fire tablet. The earlier price reductions cut into Barnes & Noble’s earnings.

The company, which has bet its future on staking a claim in the e-books industry, reported lower-than-expected revenue in the fourth quarter and said Nook revenue fell 10.5 per cent.

Signs at one Manhattan Barnes and Noble store already reflected the new prices on Sunday

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E-books overtakes traditional paperbacks in UK

LONDON: Days of hardbound and paperback could soon end as e-books take over!

With growing popularity of virtual books which can be downloaded on book reading devices, the real paper books have taken a back seat, the ‘Daily Mail’ reported.

The online retailer ‘Amazon’ which started selling downloadable books in the UK in August 2010, has sold 114 internet book downloads for every 100 print books this year.

Amazon’s eReader devices, the Kindle range, have been a huge seller in Britain despite the fact consumers pay up to 70 per cent more than those in the USA.

“We hit this milestone in the United States less than four years after introducing Kindle, so to reach this landmark after just two years in the UK is remarkable and shows how quickly UK readers are embracing Kindle,” vice president of Kindle EU Jorrit Van der Meulen was quoted as saying.

“As a result of the success of Kindle, we’re selling more books than ever before on behalf of authors and publishers,” Meulen added.

However, this virtual success has been seen to be disastrous for independent book shops and are almost disappearing from most high streets.

On the other hand, this has proved to be a good move for authors who can publish their books on-line, get direct access to readers and earn a big share of the sale money for themselves.

The most popular downloads in the Kindle store so far this year have been the controversial Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy by the British writer EL James.

More than two million digital versions of the sexually charged novels were sold in just four months.

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Nexus 7 vs. Kindle Fire

Google has introduced its own Android tablet Nexus 7. The Nexus 7 has good hardware compared to the Kindle Fire. The Kindle Fire has been on the market for more than half a year.  Amazon will likely introduce a Kindle Fire 2 soon. Nexus 7 has quad core processor, HD screen, front facing camera for video chats and the Nexus 7 is thinner and lighter than the Kindle Fire.

Amazon, Apple, and Google have cloud-based music services and app stores where companies sell you content. Amazon’s services work better on Amazon devices and the same is true of Google services. Amazon uses the Google Android software to power the Kindle Fire, but the company has chosen to limit the Android functionality of the device. This means Amazon Kindle Fire users can’t access the Google Play app market from their devices. I probably wouldn’t buy the current generation of Kindle.

There are lots of rumors floating around that Kindle will announce its next iteration of the Kindle Fire this summer. There are all kinds of rumors around that Apple may launch its own 7 inch tablet.

Nexus 7: ***** (5 Stars)

Kindle Fire: **** (4 Stars)

 

Areeb Majeed is the CEO of HackingTag Security. He writes for his blog TechInUs. You can add him as a friend on Facebook or follow him on Twitter.

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Google ramps up competition in hot tablet market

WASHINGTON: The Google Nexus 7 heightens competition in the red-hot market for tablet computers, which is dominated by the Apple iPad but has a number of other players.

An ABI Research survey showed overall global sales of media tablets amounted to 18.2 million in the first three months of the year, up 185 percent from a year earlier, but down 33 percent from the fourth quarter gift-giving season.

Here are some of the major entries in the tablet industry, with prices for US consumers:

APPLE IPAD

Apple held 65 percent of the market in the first quarter with 11.8 million iPad shipments, boosted by the launch of a third-generation model and price reductions on the iPad 2, according to ABI.

The newest version launched in March sold three million over the course of its first weekend on the market. It features a screen of 9.7 inches (24.6 centimeters) and still and video cameras.

The new iPad sells for $499 and up depending on memory size and whether a buyer chooses Wi-Fi or 3G connectivity. The iPad is also backed by Apple’s online entertainment store iTunes and more than 500,000 free and paid applications in the App Store.

GOOGLE NEXUS 7

The newest entrant to the field, Nexus 7 is smaller than the iPad at seven inches, and much cheaper at $199. It roughly matches the price and dimensions of Amazon’s Kindle Fire. Nexus weighs 340 grams (12 ounces), runs the latest version of the Google Android operating system, and links to Google Play, the tech giant’s answer to iTunes and Amazon for books, films and other content. It is to be available starting in mid-July.

MICROSOFT SURFACE

Microsoft said this month it would launch a new Windows-powered tablet with a cover that, when opened, acts as a keypad that switches into “desktop” mode. Pricing was not announced, but some reports say it could be more expensive than the iPad, starting at $599.

It boasts a 10.6-inch (26.9 centimeter) high-definition screen and will be available with 32 or 64 gigabytes of memory. A model powered by Windows 8 Pro weighs 903 grams (two pounds) and will be available with 64 or 128 gigabytes of memory.

Surface appears to straddle the tablet and the “ultrabook” PC market, and will have access to some 100,000 apps for Windows users.

SAMSUNG GALAXY

Samsung has overtaken Amazon as the number two tablet seller, and up to now the largest maker of Android-powered devices. The South Korean firm shipped 1.1 million tablets, or six percent of the global market, overtaking Amazon, which saw an 80 percent quarter-over-quarter drop in sales of the Kindle Fire, according to ABI. The 10-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab sells for $400, but this week a judge ordered sales halted, saying it infringes on patented designs of the iPad. Samsung also sells a smaller tablet at $249, similar in size to Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire.

AMAZON KINDLE FIRE

The Kindle Fire introduced last year grabbed a significant chunk of the market, helped by its $199 price tag at the start of the holiday season. Amazon does not release Kindle sales figures, but research firms say the Fire has lost steam since its launch. IDC reported Kindle Fire had just four percent of the market in early 2012, compared with 16.8 percent in the fourth quarter.

Kindle Fire features a seven-inch (17.78-cm) screen and has a modified version of Google’s Android software. It does not have a camera or 3G connectivity, only Wi-Fi. It comes with a pre-installed shopping application as Amazon seeks to drive Kindle Fire buyers to its online store, which features books, music, movies, TV shows and games.

OTHERS

The BlackBerry PlayBook from Canada’s Research In Motion made its debut last year to desultory reviews and sales have been sluggish. Priced initially between $499 and $699, RIM has been cutting the price since then in a bid to spur demand.

The Nook tablet from bookseller Barnes & Noble at $249 offers an alternative to Kindle Fire, serving as an e-reader with access to the store’s e-books and other content, and a modified Android system for Web access.

PC makers including Lenovo and Asus have also been selling tablets. Other vendors including Dell, Hewlett-Packard and LG are currently retooling tablet portfolios for mid-year launches, using Android or the Windows 8 platform.

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‘New Google tablet to rival Amazon’s Kindle’

TAIPEI: Google Inc will soon unveil a tablet co-branded with Taiwan’s Asustek Computer Inc and priced to compete with Amazon’s Kindle Fire device, an Asustek executive said on Wednesday.

Amazon’s Kindle Fire, which runs a version of Google’s Android operating system, sells for $199. Through it users can access Amazon content including books, music and video.

“It’s targeting Amazon. The Kindle is based on Google’s platform but with its own service, so Google has to launch its own service, too,” said the executive of the device.

Google has its own store for apps called Google Play, but does not have anything like Amazon’s service.

It was earlier reported that Google would launch a tablet at its developer conference this week, taking direct aim at Apple Inc’s iPad, citing two people familiar with the matter. One of the sources said the 7-inch tablet would showcase new features of Android.

The Asustek executive, who did not want to be named as the planned device has not yet been made public, declined to give details on its price, specifications or launch timetable. Rumours that the search engine giant planned to launch a tablet at its annual developer conference have circulated on tech blogs for weeks.

Google declined to comment.

Apple’s iPad had a 68 per cent share of the market in January-March, according to data from IDC. Amazon had a little over 4 per cent, lagging Samsung Electronics and Lenovo. Microsoft last week introduced its own line of tablet computers, marking a major strategic shift for the software giant as it struggles to compete with Apple and re-invent its aging Windows franchise.

Google has previously worked with hardware manufacturers HTC and Samsung to produce co-branded Android mobile phones under the Nexus brand. This would be its first such tablet device.

Asustek shares gained 2.6 per cent in Taipei, outperforming a 0.6 per cent gain on the benchmark stock index.

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Browser wars flare in mobile space

WASHINGTON: The browser wars are heating up again, but this time the fight is for dominance of the mobile Internet.

Google, Apple, Microsoft and Yahoo! are all in the struggle, along with the Norwegian-made Opera browser and the open source Firefox software from Mozilla.

The motive behind the wars is not just bragging rights. The company that controls the mobile Web can direct users to its websites, and importantly, gather data that can be used in targeted advertising.

“The browsers need to be present on the mobile device for survival,” said Greg Sterling, an analyst with Opus Research.

“Everyone is trying to manage their strategy in this multiscreen and multiplatform world.”

Research firm StatCounter found that global access from mobile devices, not including tablets, doubled in the year to January to 8.5 percent of all Internet usage.

Google stepped up its effort earlier this year by releasing a full version of its Chrome browser for mobile devices, which will over time replace the unnamed browser on devices powered by Google’s open Android platform.

The Google-Android browser by April had grabbed 21.5 percent of the mobile Web, overtaking Opera, the early leader that had 21.3 percent, according to StatCounter.

“Chrome is definitely the up-and-comer because of Android, and it has a lot of momentum on the PC,” Sterling said.

Running third was Apple’s Safari, the default browser on iPhones, with 20 percent. Nokia, BlackBerry and a few others hold small shares.

When tablets are included, Apple is the dominant player with 63 percent, according to data from Net Applications’ NetMarketShare survey, but Android is gaining with nearly 19 percent.

The push by Google meshes with its strategy of gathering information about users across platforms, so that someone searching on a mobile device might get an ad on a PC, or vice-versa.

And Google just completed its $12.5 billion deal to buy mobile phone maker Motorola Mobility, freeing the California company to build its own handsets that play into the strengths of its software.

“Everybody wants to have that first point of contact with the user to control the experience from that point, capture certain data and direct them to services,” said Al Hilwa of the research firm IDC.

“It’s all about control, about who is further up on the stream of data.”

Meanwhile Microsoft, in its effort to get a share of the mobile space, is pushing its own Internet Explorer browser for devices running Windows, but critics say the software giant is limiting compatibility.

Mozilla’s Harvey Anderson complained in a blog post that Microsoft is limiting the “advanced” capabilities for outside software, effectively shutting out browsers like Firefox.

Anderson said Microsoft in its new Windows 8 devices was signaling “an unwelcome return to the digital dark ages where users and developers didn’t have browser choices.”

Yahoo! became the latest to boost its effort in the mobile space, introducing its Axis browser designed for mobile devices.

“It is meant to replace Safari,” Yahoo! product management director Ethan Batraski said of Axis. “You will never have to use Safari ever again.”

Ben Schachter, an analyst at Macquarie Capital who follows Google, said the Internet search giant will also introduce a version of Chrome for the Apple operating system.

Schachter said in a note to clients that Google benefits from Chrome by reducing the payments from “traffic acquisition costs” and that a Chrome browser for iPhones and iPads could “meaningfully” reduce what Google pays Apple.

But Apple can tweak its strategy without competing head-on against Google, Sterling said. He said Apple’s Siri voice assistant and its new maps software offer a type of search. And as tensions rise with Google, it could change the Safari search engine to Microsoft’s Bing, or another.

Analysts say it remains unclear to what degree device makers will try to block out competing browsers, and if this will trigger a government response. In the 1990s, Microsoft’s efforts to lock out competing browsers prompted actions on both sides of the Atlantic.

The battle for control of the mobile Web raises questions about Facebook, which is groping for a mobile strategy after a troubling response to its massive share offering.

One report said Facebook was eyeing Opera, which could solve some of the perceived problems for the social network giant by offering a platform to get better data on mobile usage for targeted advertising.

“It wouldn’t surprise me” if Facebook were to acquire or tie up with Opera or develop its own browser, Hilwa said.

Another player to watch, said Hilwa, is Amazon, which has developed its own browser for the Kindle Internet device — a move that can also steer users various services, earning cash along the way.

Hilwa said Amazon, like the others, is pursuing a strategy that includes hardware and software, but can also sell goods and services.

“They have content, they sell stuff, they have Web services,” he said. “They have a lot of assets and have been successful. I would watch them.”

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Browser wars flare in mobile space

WASHINGTON: The browser wars are heating up again, but this time the fight is for dominance of the mobile Internet.

Google, Apple, Microsoft and Yahoo! are all in the struggle, along with the Norwegian-made Opera browser and the open source Firefox software from Mozilla.

The motive behind the wars is not just bragging rights. The company that controls the mobile Web can direct users to its websites, and importantly, gather data that can be used in targeted advertising.

“The browsers need to be present on the mobile device for survival,” said Greg Sterling, an analyst with Opus Research.

“Everyone is trying to manage their strategy in this multiscreen and multiplatform world.”

Research firm StatCounter found that global access from mobile devices, not including tablets, doubled in the year to January to 8.5 percent of all Internet usage.

Google stepped up its effort earlier this year by releasing a full version of its Chrome browser for mobile devices, which will over time replace the unnamed browser on devices powered by Google’s open Android platform.

The Google-Android browser by April had grabbed 21.5 percent of the mobile Web, overtaking Opera, the early leader that had 21.3 percent, according to StatCounter.

“Chrome is definitely the up-and-comer because of Android, and it has a lot of momentum on the PC,” Sterling said.

Running third was Apple’s Safari, the default browser on iPhones, with 20 percent. Nokia, BlackBerry and a few others hold small shares.

When tablets are included, Apple is the dominant player with 63 percent, according to data from Net Applications’ NetMarketShare survey, but Android is gaining with nearly 19 percent.

The push by Google meshes with its strategy of gathering information about users across platforms, so that someone searching on a mobile device might get an ad on a PC, or vice-versa.

And Google just completed its $12.5 billion deal to buy mobile phone maker Motorola Mobility, freeing the California company to build its own handsets that play into the strengths of its software.

“Everybody wants to have that first point of contact with the user to control the experience from that point, capture certain data and direct them to services,” said Al Hilwa of the research firm IDC.

“It’s all about control, about who is further up on the stream of data.”

Meanwhile Microsoft, in its effort to get a share of the mobile space, is pushing its own Internet Explorer browser for devices running Windows, but critics say the software giant is limiting compatibility.

Mozilla’s Harvey Anderson complained in a blog post that Microsoft is limiting the “advanced” capabilities for outside software, effectively shutting out browsers like Firefox.

Anderson said Microsoft in its new Windows 8 devices was signaling “an unwelcome return to the digital dark ages where users and developers didn’t have browser choices.”

Yahoo! became the latest to boost its effort in the mobile space, introducing its Axis browser designed for mobile devices.

“It is meant to replace Safari,” Yahoo! product management director Ethan Batraski said of Axis. “You will never have to use Safari ever again.”

Ben Schachter, an analyst at Macquarie Capital who follows Google, said the Internet search giant will also introduce a version of Chrome for the Apple operating system.

Schachter said in a note to clients that Google benefits from Chrome by reducing the payments from “traffic acquisition costs” and that a Chrome browser for iPhones and iPads could “meaningfully” reduce what Google pays Apple.

But Apple can tweak its strategy without competing head-on against Google, Sterling said. He said Apple’s Siri voice assistant and its new maps software offer a type of search. And as tensions rise with Google, it could change the Safari search engine to Microsoft’s Bing, or another.

Analysts say it remains unclear to what degree device makers will try to block out competing browsers, and if this will trigger a government response. In the 1990s, Microsoft’s efforts to lock out competing browsers prompted actions on both sides of the Atlantic.

The battle for control of the mobile Web raises questions about Facebook, which is groping for a mobile strategy after a troubling response to its massive share offering.

One report said Facebook was eyeing Opera, which could solve some of the perceived problems for the social network giant by offering a platform to get better data on mobile usage for targeted advertising.

“It wouldn’t surprise me” if Facebook were to acquire or tie up with Opera or develop its own browser, Hilwa said.

Another player to watch, said Hilwa, is Amazon, which has developed its own browser for the Kindle Internet device — a move that can also steer users various services, earning cash along the way.

Hilwa said Amazon, like the others, is pursuing a strategy that includes hardware and software, but can also sell goods and services.

“They have content, they sell stuff, they have Web services,” he said. “They have a lot of assets and have been successful. I would watch them.”

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