Amazon’s new Kindle Fire has been available for preorder since they first officially announced its existence several weeks back, and millions of people have jumped at the chance. On November 15th, shipping begins and we should finally begin to see more hands-on user experience with what many are hoping will be the best thing to happen to tablets since the iPad. Competitors have been springing up and existing products have had their pricing slashed to try to match what appears to be the new standard, but so far nobody has come close to drumming up this kind of enthusiasm over their product.
Prospective buyers who have not yet ordered their Kindle Fire have a couple options. Chances are good that orders at this point will be delayed slightly due to overwhelming demand. The numbers grew so quickly that Amazon reportedly was forced to increase production significantly. They’ve done a good job of shipping out massive releases before with previous Kindles, but some things take time.
If you just can’t wait, apparently some of Amazon’s retail partners will be stocking the new tablet on release day. Certain sources have indicated that the Kindle Fire will be on the shelves at Best Buy in limited quantities on Tuesday, just in time for the launch. Online preorders through the websites of these vendors may or may be available immediately depending on unique situations, but at present Best Buy is indicating In Store Only as its purchasing option. We have to assume that similar situations will prevail among Amazon’s many Brick & Mortar partners.
The Kindle Fire is Amazon’s new 7″ Color Multi-Touch Tablet featuring 8GB of storage (extended by Amazon’s Cloud storage), Widescreen Display, 7.5+ Hours Battery Life, and access to the full range of Amazon services. Users will enjoy the new Amazon Silk web browser, which reportedly speeds up internet browsing by as much as a factor of ten by anticipating your habits and making the servers do most of the work so that your device doesn’t have to. It weighs just 14.6 ounces, is less than half an inch thick, and remains approximately the size of the popular Kindle Keyboard eReader.
While the specs are not necessarily the most powerful, especially compared to the industry leading Apple iPad, they are enough to do everything the tablet is designed for. From movie viewing to app use, reviewers who have gained early access to it have been almost universally pleased with performance. The interface will also not be the standard Android front end that many might be used to. Despite being based off of Android 2.3, Amazon has spent significant effort in creating a unique experience that both works efficiently and directly connects you to their store. Anything you might want to purchase for the Kindle Fire is only a click away.
We will try to keep you up to date on Kindle Fire news, information, and reviews as the week goes on. Check back in for more information as we come across it.
Starting August 7, Office Max will start carrying the Kindle. It is the latest major retail chain to offer the e-reader. It joins Best Buy, Target, Radio Shack, Staples, and most recently, Toys R Us, in selling the Kindle.
It is not clear whether the office supply retailer will be selling both the Kindle 3 and Kindle DX. The Kindle 3 with special offers is the bestselling version, so that is a shoo in.
Only July 30, Office Max started carrying the Nook, which just lowered its price to $139 for its touch screen e-reader. This puts the devices in direct competition and gives Amazon the nudge to get a touch screen version of its bestselling e-reader out there.
The Nook has given the Kindle a pretty big run for its money in recent months, beating it for the first time in sales ratings. I can’t wait to see what Amazon has in store for the new Kindle lineup. I’m sure they will amp up their efforts to take the lead back.
So now we have the Kindle hitting a variety of consumers: business, education, parents and children, and of course online shoppers.
Office Max will offer the Kindle just in time to hit the back to school crowd, which is perfect considering this retailer sells school supplies.
This holiday season, you have a ton of options on where you can purchase a Kindle or Kindle DX. For those of you who prefer shopping in stores instead of online, you are in luck because major retail stores such as Target (NYSE: TGT), Best Buy (NYSE: BBY) and Staples (NASDAQ:SPLS) carry the e-reader. So, let’s take a look at the details and perks on what each store offers.
Amazon – The Kindle 3G and Wi-Fi are available for $189 and $139 respectively. Amazon makes it easy by providing links on the main page. Open up an Amazon Prime account and you can get unlimited free two day shipping on all of your orders.
If you are a student and join Amazon Student, Amazon Prime is free! Ahhh the perks of being a student are endless.
Best Buy – Kindles are not available to purchase on Bestbuy.com, however, you can find a variety of Kindle accessories such as covers and screen protectors. They have a free shipping deal going on now for the holidays as well.
Target – Same deal here. Kindles are only available in the store, but you can find a wide variety of covers and screen protectors. The prices are about the same as they are on Amazon.
Staples – You have variety of Kindle accessories to choose from, and they offer free shipping for orders over $50.
Ebay – I was surprised to find that the Kindle 3 Wi-Fi is actually more expensive on Ebay (NASDAQ: EBAY) than Amazon. The prices I saw were $159.99, $169.99 and $172. I did find a Kindle DX for $295, but it was a previous generation. You can find great deals on accessories though. Covers were less than $10.
So, you have a good set of choices here. For the first time, you have a choice of trying a Kindle before you buy one, and prices are quite reasonable. I’ve seen a lot of great deals so far this holiday season. Keep an eye on Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN). Last year I got free two day shipping on my Kindle a week before Christmas.
Amazon Kindle 3
Best Buy (NYSE: BBY) is slated to join Staples (NASDAQ: SPLS) and Target (NYSE:TGT) by adding the Kindle to its inventory this fall. Just in time for the holiday season, the Kindle’s presence in Best Buy is predicted to boost its own sales, as well as the sales of its competitors.
Speaking of competitors, both the iPad and Nook are available at Best Buy. There are rumors that the iPad might be hitting Target stores on October 3rd. Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) has been trying to distance the Kindle from the iPad by saying that the Kindle is for the more dedicated reader, while the iPad is for more general purposes. By doing so, this seems to put the Kindle buyer in one group and the iPad buyer in another. I wonder if there’s a way to make buying both appealing. After trying an iPad, I would use it more as a computer. The screen contrast is too great to read comfortably. Plus, the battery life on the Kindle is way longer than the iPad’s. With the prices becoming more and more reasonable, I think it is perfectly justifiable to own both a Kindle and an iPad.
The Kindle and Kindle DX’s debut in all three stores allows consumers to “try before they buy.” Adding Best Buy to the mix will just put the Kindle out there to an even broader set of consumers. Best Buy is a natural fit for the Kindle because it’s reputation with quality electronics and good customer service.
The Kindle DX has been tested with little success in universities, but there is hope for the future. It might actually serve as a good replacement for textbooks now that it is a little more mainstream and more readily available in stores. I think using the Kindle DX as a textbook reader would save a lot of money in the long run. It would also save a lot of space. No more bulky, back breaking bookbags to lug around!
One of the biggest impediments to eBook Reader distribution has always seemed to be exposure. Those of us who enjoy such things were forced, with each product that arrived on the market, to weigh the pros and cons of each device based on rumors, specs, and buyer feedback without, in most cases, ever having the chance to see a device in person. New reports indicate that this is going to be a phenomenon of the past, however!
Now, I’m not saying that this was a problem for everybody. Originally those who were close enough to a Sony run store had this luxury, of course, and in fact still do. Hell, the Sony Readers have long since come to Target stores around the country as well. Today, however, the eBook market is heating up based on distribution models and 3g devices like the nook and Kindle have center stage as they make the move to the big name storefronts.
Later this month, the 25th if reports can be believed, we should be seeing the Amazon Kindle popping up at Target stores all over the place. In what may be a coincidence, but is probably a reaction, Best Buys will in turn be picking up sales of Barnes & Noble’s nook. This should be a fun time.
Here’s some bad news for Amazon and the Kindle. Best Buy is planning on selling the iRex and Sony Reader in their stores. Now not only will customers be able to see the eReaders physically on display, but many people will just come upon them out of happenstance.
This blog has made the point before that Amazon should sell the Kindle in more places. Best Buy is the perfect kind of place to sell eReaders to people who would normally not even think about them. Best Buy, after all, is not generally thought of as a destination for tech-savvy people. Their bread and butter customer is someone who comes in wanting a computer/tv/etc, but doesn’t know a lot about it. Now with the iRex and Sony Reader, people who would never normally be early adopters will hold the devices and have a sales rep walk them through the features. I wouldn’t be surprised if eReaders become a big holiday gift this year, even among those with no interest in gadgets.
According to the article, the iRex’s wireless will also be entirely paid for in the cost of the device. But, in a followup to Andry’s comments, it turns out that the iRex will not include web browsing functionality. So when they say the cost of wireless is included, they really mean the cost of downloading books that you are already paying for.