Kindle line-up refreshed with three Fire models and Paperwhite

If you thought the Kindle Fire was a bore, Amazon’s got a whole new line-up devices that should be considerably more interesting. The Fire got three offspring this time around, with a updated 7″ model with a 1280×800 display and more RAM and two 8.9″ brothers. All of the devices pack a next-generation laminate display which should cut glare and weight considerably by closing the gap between the touch layer and glass. All models will start with 16GB of storage as well, kicking the 8GB low-end approach of the last generation. The high-end 8.9″ model will pack in a 4G modem and special pricing for service – $50 a year for 250MB monthly data cap.

The biggest boon of this Fire family is pricing – the 7″ model will come in at $199, competing directly with the Nexus 7 with a likely better display. The 8.9″ will start at $299 and go up to $499 for the LTE-enabled model, undercutting the iPad considerably while offering unique data pricing and a comparable display. Of course, Amazon is also touting better performance on a software-level from all the devices (complete with a reworked email app that blows away its predecessor) meaning that the devices will compete not only on specs but also experience.

Amazon also announced their answer to Barnes & Noble’s Nook Simple Touch with Glowlight, the Kindle Paperwhite. The new Kindle model will have a higher pixel density than the original Kindle Touch – 212 ppi. The display can be frontlit with 4 LEDs embedded into the display. Don’t worry about battery life, though, as Amazon is pushing an eight week battery life even with the screen lit at all times. The Paperwhite will start at $119 and go up to $179 for the 3G version. Finally, they also made a couple aesthetic changes to the base level Kindle and blessed it with a $10 price drop down to the nearly absurd impulse price of $69.

Now’s a better time than ever to check out Amazon’s Kindle lineup. Not only are they offering interesting choices at in the eInk space, but their tablets seem to be pushing the envelope in a couple key ways while still balancing budget-friendly pricing to the benefit of consumers.

Source: Amazon (Fire, Paperwhite) | Image: Salvador Ausina (Flickr)

Bloomberg: Amazon smartphone in the works

According to Bloomberg, Amazon is in the planning stages of producing a smartphone to compete with iOS and Android. Their two sources have said that Amazon is working with hardware manufacturer Foxconn to develop a device that’ll help them capture a bigger market of people to buy media like music, books, and movies. Despite the fact that Amazon’s currently available Kindle Fire is running a version of Android, the report suggests that this device would be running something different in direct competition with Google’s offerings.

Bloomberg points to the hiring of patent acquisition veteran Matt Gordon as some solid evidence that Amazon is getting into the wireless technology market, considering they’ve been subsequently vying for patent portfolios that would be a great help to the legal sustainability of getting into such a dangerous arena.

Source: Bloomberg

Rumor: Amazon selling home screen ads for Kindle Fire

According to marketing news site Ad Age, Amazon has been trying to sell advertisement for the Kindle Fire home screen at a $600 million price tag. The agency source said that the ad buy would last for two months and would have prime placement on the device alongside Amazon’s in-house “Special Offers” ads. Ad Age goes on to comment that such a high price suggests that Amazon would likely need to tap into a current lineup of devices to offer the number of screens worthy of the price, but some pundits have made other conclusions. For instance, paidContent has suggested an ad-supported version of the Fire to match Amazon’s other e-ink offerings that have multiple SKUs at different prices.

Needless to say, if the rumors are true we’ll soon be hearing about it as the Kindle Fire is primed for a refresh in the near future.

Source: Ad Age

Early Android 4.0 build available for Kindle Fire

It should come to nobody’s surprise that Android 4.0 “Ice Cream Sandwich” would get ported to the Kindle Fire, as the device’s $200 price point proves to be minor hurdle for a potentially great tablet experience. One might be surprised at how fast these builds can make it out to the light, as such a build has already been revealed by JackpotClavin at the xda-developers forum. The dev admits that its not ready for public consumption, as it’s noticeably buggy in the above video with quirky touch response and oddly inaccessible memory sectors. What this does mean for the average consumer is that there is definitely an ICS build coming to the Fire and it’s already pretty far down the pipe. While CyanogenMod 9 will surely support the device at some point, it’s nice to know that there will soon be options for those willing to take a couple risks.

Source: Liliputing

Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet patched, remove root access

In seemingly lockstep fashion, Amazon and Barnes & Noble have both released updates for their new budget-priced tablets this week. Both claim performance updates in some fashion, which have been observed thus far most in the Kindle Fire with faster UI and browser loading. The most notable change common to both of these updates is one that hasn’t really been touted to the public – revoking root access.

While root access may not mean much to the mainstream user of these devices, it might stem the tech savvy audience’s interest because lack of root means that apps like the Android Market can’t be installed. Furthermore, in the Nook Tablet’s case sideloading has also been disabled, meaning you have to be satisfied with B&N’s limited suite of apps or go home. Obviously, both companies clearly don’t want their devices to be known for cheap entry points to Android hacking, so they’re doing all they can to force users to be invested in their ecosystems.

In other news, Archos has recently announced an Android 3.2 tablet with similar specs to both tablets priced at $200, which might be a better option for those hoping for a “full” Android experience.

Source: TechCrunch, The Verge

Amazon boasts 4X year-over-year Black Friday Kindle sales

Amazon has always been coy about publishing sales numbers – their press releases often read to the effect of, “We’re doing great, are you surprised?” This latest one isn’t very different, though it does give a brief glimpse into the online retailer’s growing success. On the whole, Amazon has sold four times the number of Kindles as compared last Black Friday -

“Even before the busy holiday shopping weekend, we’d already sold millions of the new Kindle family and Kindle Fire was the bestselling product across all of Amazon.com. Black Friday was the best ever for the Kindle family – customers purchased 4X as many Kindle devices as they did last Black Friday – and last year was a great year,” said Dave Limp, Vice President, Amazon Kindle.

The success doesn’t stop there, as the press release also notes that the Kindle Fire was the bestselling product on Amazon for the past eight weeks since its release and the bestselling tablet at Target retail locations over Black Friday. While there are no concrete numbers listed here, it’s exceedingly clear that the expansion of the Kindle line including the Kindle Fire tablet has firmly leapfrogged Amazon back into a leading position in e-readers and one of growing influence in the tablet market.

Source: Amazon

Kindle Fire review round-up

We’ve been pretty excited about the Kindle Fire since it was announced less than two months ago, and the din of excitement has grown to a fever pitch in the past week. Amazon’s budget tablet is now out, and it hasn’t quite lived up to it’s promise. That’s not to say it’s bad, but it doesn’t seem to shatter preconception about what a $200 tablet can deliver–it just happens to be among the best in its budget class.

  • Engadget - So, the Kindle Fire is great value and perhaps the best, tightest integration of digital content acquisition into a mobile device that we’ve yet seen. Instead of having a standalone shopping app the entire tablet is a store — a 7-inch window sold at a cut-rate price through which users can look onto a sea of premium content. It isn’t a perfect experience, but if nothing else it’s a promising look into the future of retail commerce. - Tim Stevens
  • The Verge (7.5/10) - It’s a well thought out tablet that can only get better as the company refines the software. It’s not perfect, but it’s a great start, and at $200, that may be all Amazon needs this holiday shopping season. – Joshua Topolsky
  • Wired (5/10) - iPad killer? No, the Kindle Fire is not. And it doesn’t even match the iPad in web browsing, the one area in which its hardware should have sufficient performance to compete. But the press has definitely supercharged Amazon’s product launch with a level of hype and enthusiasm that would make Apple proud. - Jon Phillips

The opinions range here, but at $200, and the multitude of built-in media services, it is certainly worth a look. Look for updates to this post as more outlets put up their reviews.

Official site | Image: The Verge

Amazon updates Appstore, reveals Kindle Fire Newsstand lineup

In preparation for the impending launch of the Kindle Fire, Amazon has updated their Appstore application for Android to fit better with the gray aesthetic of the Fire. In addition, the 2.0 update allows for in-app purchases and better details the permissions required to install an app before downloading. Amazon clearly wants to bring their app market up to speed, as it’ll serve as a centerpiece to additional content on the Fire.

As for the Kindle Fire itself, Amazon has announced some of the participating publications in the Newsstand. The application will offer over 400 digital newspapers and magazines at launch, with some including embedded interactive content (video, audio, etc) that takes advantage of the touchscreen. The full list of offerings can be found here, along with a promotion that provides access to a 3-month trial of Conde Nast magazines for new Kindle Fire owners.

Source: PocketNow, GeekWire

Amazon announces Netflix, Facebook and many more will be ready for the Kindle Fire

The Kindle Fire is just five days away from launch. A few days ago Amazon announced that it will have a whole host of Kindles, including the Fire, on shelves at more than 16,000 retail locations worldwide on November 16, and now it has sweetened an already amazing looking product.

Amazon announced today that the Kindle Fire will have a whole host of popular apps ready for launch. The list includes Netfix, Facebook, Rhapsody, Pandora, Twitter, Comics by comiXology and more. On they games front, titles from Zynga, EA, Gameloft, PopCap and Rovio are on the way. Any holes that were in the Fire’s facade are quickly being filled.

The apps mentioned above are of course in addition to the suite of apps already available on the Amazon Appstore. Five days people.

Source: Amazon

Kindle family heads to retail on November 15

Until recently, Amazon’s Kindle ereaders have been available almost exclusively on the company’s website since its introduction. With the release of the Kindle Fire, that is changing.

The internet mega-retailer announced today that the Kindle Fire ($199), Kindle Touch 3G ($149), and Kindle Touch ($99) will be joining the good ‘ol classic Kindle ($79) will be available at more than 16,000 retailers worldwide starting November 15. Outlets that will carry the device include Best Buy, Target, Walmart, Staples, Sam’s Club, RadioShack, Office Depot, and more.

The Kindle Fire was already set to be the biggest splash in the tablet market since the iPad, and this should make it even more of a hit this holiday season.

Source: The Verge | Official site