Tag Archives: Amazon

Kindle here, Kindle there, Kindle everywhere – Kindle eReader Beta for the Web launches

Since having Kindle eReader software available on all popular hardware platforms including iPhone, iPad, Android, PC, Mac and BlackBerry (phones and recently launched PlayBook tablet) is obviously not enough, with the latest launch Amazon’s Kindle availability jumps fairly close to 100%. Why? Because the company just launched Kindle for the Web and that soon will include your toaster (because Web browsing on your fridge is certainly 1999-ish at this point).

The new Kindle for the Web application runs inside your Web Browser, it lets you read eBooks and it even includes some sort of social functionality by offering the ability to embed book samples on blogs in a YouTube-esque manner.

The good thing is that you don’t need to download/install any additional software. The bad thing is that it is currently available only by invitation and only to the ones enrolled in Amazon affiliate program. But it will be universally released soon.

Among the standard features, the Web app matches fairly well the standard set of specifications found on other platforms including synchronization (in case you left your Kindle 3 at home) between multiple devices and adds sharing buttons for Twitter, Facebook and e-mail.

In case you are curious, the book I am currently reading is “The Evolutionary Void” by Peter F. Hamilton,  the last part of the excellent Science Fiction series “The Void Trilogy”. Highly recommended ;).

Check after the break so see Kindle for the Web in action (you can also embed your reader into your website).

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Amazon to release Kindle App for the recently announced PlayBook Tablet BlackBerry

For those of you that for one reason or another don’t like dedicated eReaders lie Kindle 3 or Nook, Amazon is still happy to sell you as many books as they can, so they are busy at porting their Kindle App on any device they can. Until today, they did a pretty good job to support iPhone, iPad, Android, PC, Mac and BlackBerry. Soon they will support yet another BlackBerry device, and this time is none other than the recently announced BlackBerry tablet – PlayBook.

The application will be of course free and will have the same capability as their other implementations including buying eBooks from Amazon’s store, synchronize your reading state across multiple devices using WhisperSync technology, and, of course, reading!

PlayBook won’t be able, at least in the initial models, to be able to access Amazon’s eBook store by itself since the launch models won’t include a cellular modem, but if you already own a BlackBerry, you’ll be able to use it to tether. PlayBook does come with 802.11 wireless network so it certainly doesn’t lack connectivity.

First paid game appears on Kindle – Scrabble for $4.99

Quite a while ago Amazon created Kindle Development Kit (KDK) and released it to the developers. Today, the first product to be built on KDK surfaced and it is a game. Scrabble for Kindle retails for $4.99 and is the first premium application to run on Kindle. Let’s hope more will follow soon.

Scrabble for Kindle is developed by Electronic Arts and is compatible with all Kindle SC models, Kindle 2 and Kindle 3.

KDK offers developers access to the Kindle software platform and also to the 3G wireless connectivity via Whispernet, however  there is a number of restrictions since the 3G bandwidth is rather expensive: Free or one-time purchase applications should limit their monthly data usage to under 100KB per user. Above that, there are subscription charges at $0.15/MB. The size limit for an application to be downloaded via Kindle Store is 10MB (remember Apple’s App Store?). Larger applications have to be transferred via USB.

Amazon posts an Early Preview of Next Version 3.0.2 Kindle firmware – faster web browsing promised

Very soon after posting firmware version 3.0.1 for Kindle 3, Amazon previews yet another firmware version, you guessed, 3.0.2. The download will be available for a limited time only so if you feel adventurous go ahead and download it from here. Among the disclosed new features are faster web browsing and some other performance boosts (remember, we complained about performance issues when having a large number of documents uploaded to the device).

The 3.0.2 firmware is available for Kindle 3 Wi-Fi model, the North American 3G version and the European model. We posted an article about how to install Kindle 3 firmware 3.0.1, the process will be the same for 3.0.2. You can also read our in-depth Kindle 3 review and see how it compares with competitor products like Nook.

Kindle 3 firmware update steps:

1. Download the new firmware using your PC (they have 3 versions, WiFi only, Wifi + 3G US and Canada, WiFi + 3G Europe). Be sure to download the firmware for your device

2. Connect your Kindle via USB to your PC and copy the firmware file into Kindle’s root directory

3. After the file is copied, disconnect the Kindle from the USB connection

4. Go to the Home screen, Click Menu key, select “Settings.” Press Menu again, select “Update Your Kindle. Click OK

5. After your upgrade process is complete, you should have firmware version 3.0.2 installed. Let us know if you notice any improvements.

Boxee Box available for pre-order at $199

Ladies and gentlemen, the long awaited Boxee Box is finally available for pre-order. Like their competitor, PopBox, Boxee will also be initially available for pre-order at Amazon for a slightly higher MSRP that initially announced, $229 instead of $199. The official model number will be D-Link DSM-380 and interestingly enough, the manufacturer dropped the Nvidia Tegra 2 chipset from the deisgn opting instead for the Intel Atom CE-4100 which is also the one from the upcoming Google TV. It seems that Intel scored big this time. According to Engadget, the reason for the hardware switch as that Tegra 2 wasn’t fast enough at decoding high bitrate h264. Interesting and a public blow against NVIDIA which won’t do well for the company and their Tegra 2 success. Among the main Boxee Box features, it worth mentioning the support for Flash 10.1, and a HTML 5 compliant WebKit browser. Boxee Box will also ship with over 400 applications at launch and considering Flash support, we fully expect the number to grow over time. We already pre-ordered it and we’ll let you know when we’ll publish a full review. Check back soon.

Hit after the break for the full press release, product specs and additional pictures.

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The new Apple TV available at Amazon for pre-order

The new and improved Apple TV is available now for pre-order at Amazon for $99 with no tax and free shipping. Announced several days ago during Apple’s conference on September 1st, the new box is much cheaper than the predecessor and supports Netflix streaming as well as Flickr and YouTube support. Hardware wise, it provides 720p output, WiFi 802.11n, HDMI, optical and USB port. Check back for a review when the units become available.

The box also supports high definition TV Show rentals for $0.99 and can be remotely controlled using your iPhone / iPod Touch.

Microsoft’s director of game platform strategy goes to Amazon

In an interesting and certainly unexpected turn of events, Microsoft’s director of game platform strategy Andre Vrignaud will go to work for Amazon, leaving Microsoft. While Amazon has announced its intention to somehow enter in game development, how they will do it is up to speculation, since their only in-house electronic device is Kindle (review) with its limited gaming capability.

Andre’s departure from Microsoft will certainly be a blow to the company’s strategy but I am sure Microsoft has a deep enough talent pool to replace him. What is far more interesting at this point is Amazon’s future strategy: Will we see a new Tablet device? A Kindle on steroids with an OLED or LCD screen? something else entirely? Time will certainly tell but it is getting interesting. Apple’s iPad success beside creating a tablet craze has left the entire industry salivating for a similar success story.

Amazon Kindle to be sold in Staples stores in the fall

Staples just released a press release stating that it will start selling Amazon’s Kindle eReader line starting this fall, ending the monopoly that Target had as the only brick and mortar store to have Amazon’s flagship product available.

It is not clear yet how many shoppers will actually prefer to buy the reader in one of Staple’s 1550+ stores across the US, even if only due to the additional taxes. Let’s not forget that  Amazon doesn’t charge taxes in most of the states although this might change in the future. What is pretty clear though is that Staples doesn’t necessarily intend to make money from the Kindle itself but from a lot of overpriced accessories that will also available.

Currently, Kindle is sold out at Amazon and it will be interesting to know if by fall Amazon will fix their distribution chain and increase Kindle availability. If you are looking for an in-depth Kindle 3 review, look no further than here.

Hit after the break for the full press release

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Kindle 3 Review

Kindle 3 is the latest Amazon take in the eBook readers market and it does not disappoint:  It is smaller and lighter, comes in two colors and ads WiFi to the specifications list. I received mine on Friday from Amazon and had the whole weekend to play with it, so here is my experience. Before starting, I want to add that I also own Kindle 2 and Barnes and Noble’s Nook for quite a while, so my review will not only go through all the Kindle 3 functionality but it will also compare its features and usability against the other two devices. In the end, I will add a series of functionality tips and tricks destined to improve your experience.

1. Kindle 3 Unpacking

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Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft goes on a suing spree

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen just filled a patent violation suit against no less than 11 companies, Wall Street Journal reports. The big 11 are Apple and Google, AOL Inc., eBay Inc., Facebook Inc., Netflix Inc., Office Depot Inc., OfficeMax Inc., Staples Inc., Yahoo Inc. and YouTube. Paul Allen owns patents related to optimizing Internet user experience that he claims the companies named in the lawsuit are infringing. We cannot stop noticing that Paul did not sue Microsoft (presumably because he still owns a big chunk of the company) and Amazon (because it is located in his childhood town ? oh, memories 🙂 ) No damages amount is requested at this point, but I’m sure we will enjoy the figure when it becomes public.

If the lawsuit has indeed merits (and if it won’t get settled out of the court) it might impact negatively the way we experience the Internet since a big part of current functionality is covered by the above mentioned patents.