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On this blog we will track down the latest Amazon Kindle 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 Kindle3 tips and tricks along with reviews for the latest KindleDX accessories.

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December 2014
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Amazon Kindle Turns 5

As of November 19th, the Kindle is five years old.  Since its first incarnation we have watched it go from a fairly clunky attempt at introducing something new into the market to an elegant piece of technology that continues to deserve its position at the top of the same market it helped popularize.  We’ve been watching this progression since the beginning (our first post here was less than a month after launch on December 15th 2007) and it’s been a great time.

Looking back at the first generation Kindle is a great way to help understand why it hasn’t been just the hardware keeping the line going.  Amazon made a fairly good eReader, but even at the time there were superior options.  The first Sony Readers to be released in the US were lighter, faster, and generally more pleasant to use.  Still, Amazon pulled off a “good enough” device and supported it with the best digital reading content anywhere.

The Gen 1 Kindle had a resolution of 800 x 600, less than a quarter gigabyte of storage space, was uncomfortable to hold for long periods of time (compared to newer models, though it was great at the time), and would run you around $400 without a case or any books included.  About the only thing it had going for it compared to future products was the SD card slot, which was eliminated in the second generation.

That’s not to say it was a bad device so much as to illustrate how far things have come.  When new, the first Kindle captured the attention of huge numbers of people despite the price and was often held up as a valid alternative to the iPad.  That comparison is nonsense, but it illustrates how interesting people found the idea.

For comparison, you can now get the Kindle Paperwhite (assuming you can find one since they are in short supply at the moment) for $119.  It has a 6”, 212PPI display running with a 758 x 1024 resolution.  Battery life will last you over a month at a time in many cases.  The internal storage us up to two gigabytes and you can download your books on your home WiFi.  There is lighting for the screen without any of the problems that E Ink was solving compared to lighted screens in the first place.  Five years has meant a lot of progress.

Most importantly, the Kindle Store and Amazon’s support for its associated features have expanded even more.  The whole publishing industry has been forced to take digital distribution seriously and nobody does it better.  Kindles now enjoy a presence in millions of homes around the country and we expect to see even more of them in organizational settings like libraries now that central management tools have been released.

What is still to come for the Kindle is open to debate.  Some people expect a move away from eReaders to concentrate on the Kindle Fire tablet line.  Personally, I doubt it.  The Kindle eReader is what put Amazon on the map in terms of computing devices and it will continue to be a major point of interest in the future.  The only real question is how much further they can take it and in what direction.

Kindle Patent Finally Goes Through

As many of you will remember, the original Kindle design was a bit heavier, a bit clunkier, and had a small screen next to the main one for utility.  Well, in 2006 Amazon(NASDAQ:AMZN) filed for a patent on the design.  A mere four years later, it has been granted.  At first glance, given how much the modern Kindle has evolved, this seems like it would be almost worthless.  The text of the patent, however, gives rise to some concerns for the competition.  The exact text includes this section:

“A handheld electronic device comprising: a first display for presenting visible representations of content, the first display comprising an electronic paper display; and a second display positioned alongside the first display, wherein the second display includes a plurality of graphic elements that correspond to portions of the first display, and wherein the second display is responsive to user input to one of the graphic elements to perform at least one action on content shown in a portion of the first display that corresponds to the one graphic element.”

This alone would seem to bode ill for fans of the Barnes & Noble(NYSE:BKS) nook if taken by itself, as many people reporting on this seem to be emphasizing.  I’m admittedly a layman in patent interpretation, but with later sections indicating that “the second display includes a cursor that is positionable alongside the portions of the first display” and “the second display is responsive to tactile commands entered using a scroll wheel.”, it seems to me thatthe functionality is so clearly different that B&N has little to worry about.  Still, will Amazon try to bring it to court and see what happens?  We’ll have to wait and see.

Check out the Full Text of the Patent

Kindle app for iPad goes live

Though Amazon Kindle and Apple iPad are touted to be arch rivals in the e-Reader segment, it hasn’t stopped Amazon from building a Kindle app for iPad. Amazon previewed the Kindle iPad app a couple of weeks ago and yesterday, the app made its way to the Apple iTunes Store. The Kindle app for iPhone has been around for a while now and is very popular amongst iPhone users. The iPad Kindle app is a logical extension of the iPhone Kindle app and its release was on the cards after Apple announced the launch of iPad on April 3. However, there’s one major limitation of using Kindle on iPad – Books bought through Kindle app must be read within the app itself. These books will not be viewable in Apple’s iBooks app.

The Kindle app for iPad lets people enjoy the best of both worlds – easy to use Kindle app interface and supreme performance of the iPad. Further, it gives the users a choice to read books from either Amazon or Apple. Customers always want more choices and e-Readers are no exception to this rule. I’ve come across many voracious readers who are addicted to kindle interface and therefore, they are reluctant to try out the iPad. The Kindle app for iPad is welcome news for all such readers.

While a lot of people have been debating the fortune of Amazon Kindle after the launch of Apple iPad, I believe that Amazon will emerge as the major e-Book provider for iPad. Since iBooks is not pre-installed on Apple iPad, many users might prefer to install Kindle app for iPad as compared to iBooks.

I’ll publish a review as soon as 3G-capable version of iPad hits the stores that I intend to get for myself.

Amazon Kindle 2 Growing in Popularity in China

Amazon Kindle is gaining immense popularity in China these days even though Kindle and Kindle 2 are not officially shipped there. While buying a Kindle online on Amazon Store, if you enter the location as ‘China’, it shows a regret message – ‘Unfortunately, we are unable to ship Kindles or offer Kindle content in China’.

However, Chinese are known to be avid technology lovers and true gadget freaks. Therefore, it is hardly surprising that Kindle is selling in large volumes in Chinese Gray Markets, stalls in Beijing electronics bazaar and other Chinese websites including Taobao.com, an auction site similar to eBay. PC World reports that Kindle 2 was on sale for 2,600 yuan (US$380) and the Kindle DX for 4,300 yuan ($630) at the Beijing bazaar. In fact, many people in China get the Kindle through their friends and family in United States by ordering the Kindle online, having it delivered to an address in United States and then having it mailed to them in China. e-Readers are quite popular in China these days and it is expected that sales of e-readers could reach 3.5 million units in China this year, up several fold from around 400,000 last year. Though there are numerous Chinese e-Readers in the market, Amazon Kindle stands its ground against one and all.

It is not hard to imagine that as and when Amazon Kindle starts shipping in China, it is bound to be a monumental success.

Long Kindle battery life can spoil you

Amazon Kindle 1

Amazon Kindle 1

I’ve lent my refurbished Kindle 1 to a friend of mine to read some books and only a couple days later I’ve come to realize that since I’ve given him an electronic gadget it would have made sense to give him a charger as well since 1st generation Kindle uses custom power cable for charging rather than standard micro-USB like Kindle 2. Several weeks later he returned K1 after having read the books he intended and he never needed the charger…

You can get so used to not charging your Kindle frequently if you keep the Whispernet off that you can forget that you need to do it at all…

Refurbished original Kindle is back in stock

Amazon Kindle 1

Amazon Kindle 1

After being sold out since September 21st,  refurbished first generation Kindles is back in stock again. You can it for $149 .00 while supplies last. Last batch of refurbished Kindle 1s lasted around one week.

It looks like Amazon is reconditioning these in batches but they seem to sell faster than they are being reconditioned. Which is no wonder given the low price point. Here’s why refurbished Kindle 1 may be a good idea to buy. I have one as a loaner to give to friends who don’t have a Kindle but I want to share books with. While this has the limitation that I can only share books with one friend at a time, the upside is that we can both read the book at the same time and share notes.

I’ll be monitoring stock status of refurbished Kindles from now on as frequently as I can and will keep you updated.

Refurbished Kindle 1 update

Amazon Kindle 1

Amazon Kindle 1

It looks like Amazon is currently sold out on refurbished first generation Kindles. If you follow this link, the only buy options are from third parties and the price is actually around $225.00. Refurbished Kindle 2 is still in stock however and you can get it from Amazon for $219.00 with warranty and all. Consider this an Amazon “certified pre-owned” program :)

I’ll periodically monitor refurbished Kindle stock status and will keep you updated.

Thanks to Jerry who pointed out the current stock change.

Price drop on refurbished Kindle

Amazon Kindle 1

Amazon Kindle 1

Recently Amazon dropped the price on refurbished first generation Kindles. You can now get one for $149 .00 while supplies last. It looks like Amazon is trying to stay competitive in the cheaper eReader niche. Don’t let the word “refurbished” set you off. In my opinion it is a great deal. Here’s why:

  • You still get 1 year warranty from Amazon just like with new Kindle. In one year from now Amazon will likely be out of 1st generation Kindles so warranty exchange will very likely become an upgrade.
  • You get same scree resolution as Kindle 2, fewer shades of gray but better contrast according to many users.
  • By spending additional $9.90 on 4GB SD card you will get more on-device storage than in Kindle DX.
  • Not that it would matter, given that K1 just like all other Kindles has free lifetime Internet access.
  • Personally I like select wheel and cursor bar of K1 better than 5-way controller of K2.

All in all just like Kindle DX isn’t better or upgraded compared to Kindle 2, Kindle 1 is more different from Kindle 2 rather than inferior or outdated. The only real drawback of K1 I can honestly admit is that page turning buttons are too soft and therefore are prone to be accidentally pressed when you pick up the device. However if you strongly feel that Kindle 2 is the way to go for you, then by adding $70.00 you can get refurbished Kindle 2 for $219.00.

eBook reader market has come a long way since originally Amazon Kindle retailed for $399.00 when it was launched two years ago. Now you can get the same device for nearly 1/3 of that price.