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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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September 2016
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Kindle vs Playbook: Is the BlackBerry Back in the Race?

While the big talk in tablets lately has been all about newly affordable Android based devices like the Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet, RIM has yet to drop entirely out of the race.  Their previous effort, the BlackBerry PlayBook, failed to excite as much interest as they had hoped (partly due to the lack of basic functionality like an email client).  This past week, however, brought us the new PlayBook 2.0.  It is a new and improved device on a completely upgraded operating system that packs possibly the most impressive performance available at the moment in the $200 area.  Will this be enough to propel the floundering RIM into the lead?

While the Nook Tablet has done a fairly good job of demonstrating that numerically superior hardware isn’t necessarily what you need to come out on top in the tablet market, the new PlayBook is a completely different experience.  In addition to addressing the problems that their original tablet OS offering had RIM has included support for Android app conversion by developers, a fully featured web browser at least the equal to anything else available on a mobile device today, and more.  The hardware includes everything one would expect based on similarly priced competition, along with Bluetooth support, GPS, microphone, dual HD cameras, HDMI 1080p output, and slightly better internal speakers than other offerings.  This isn’t an insignificant upgrade and the performance in a hands-on test backs it up quite well.

The only thing working against the BlackBerry comeback seems to be the lack of a competitive ecosystem.  While there are certainly apps available, many of those that you would expect to see, based on top sellers in Apple, Google, or Amazon’s App Stores, are simply absent.  Of those that do make an appearance, there are rarely free versions since RIM does not permit any sort integration with the company’s own advertising service and there are still questions among developers as to the long term viability of third party advertising integration based on early reports that such would not be supported on PlayBook OS 2.0.  For now you can get a great device with a fair number of apps, but the entire ecosystem is smaller than Amazon’s in-house Android App Store which is itself often complained about as being too sparsely populated.

Unlike the original PlayBook, this is not a device that is shipping with a large number of inherent flaws as best I can tell.  If it came down to choosing right this minute then the Kindle Fire is still probably the better choice based on useful apps, but that will not necessarily always be the case.  The biggest factor will be user adoption.  If enough BlackBerry tablets get sold, developers will start paying attention and the ecosystem will flourish.  RIM already claims that their developers make better returns than any other platform’s, which could be a big plus given a larger user base.  The trick will be getting the word out and keeping people interested in the near future.  At the same price as a PlayBook, customers can grab a $200 Kindle Fire and have most of what they want right this minute rather than having great hardware without the desired functionality.  We’ll have to keep an eye out to see how they choose to address this.

Official Kindle App Coming to Blackberry Playbook 2.0?

Tomorrow we will finally get a chance to try out the new Blackberry Playbook 2.0, but we already have a bit of a surprise regarding its features.  According to an advertisement that seems to have inadvertently been slipped onto Best Buy’s Canadian site, for the first time ever Playbook users will have their own Kindle app.  There is a great deal of speculation at the moment over whether or not the Blackberry Tablet OS 2.0 update (now Blackberry Playbook OS) will be what makes the brand relevant again after their abrupt decline in recent years, and this would definitely be a good sign.

While many reports are taking it as a given at this point that the native Kindle app will ship with the hardware, there is still plenty of reason to be skeptical.  One of the big features of the update is that it will allow Android developers to easily port their apps for use on the Playbook.  Given that opportunity, it is easier to see Amazon just converting their Kindle for Android offering than making the effort to develop native software for an operating system with a comparatively narrow user base and uncertain future.

It is also possible, given the phrasing of the advertisement that has spurred all of this speculation, that it meant nothing more than that Playbook users will be able to make use of the Kindle Cloud Reader web app.  The exact lines in question read:

“Plug in to BlackBerry App World and read, write and game like never before. With thousands of apps for every use, you’ll never run out of new and exciting options. Pick up Angry Birds or Cut the Rope, read the latest magazines, or connect online with Facebook and Twitter apps. With access to Kobo and Kindle, you can enjoy new late night reading without ever leaving your living room.”

While this says there should really be something, it doesn’t rule out any of the options.  The current Twitter “app”, for example, is simply a link that takes users to their web interface.  Since the language in question has since been removed it may even have been in error completely, but this wouldn’t be the first time that early leaks like this turned out to be accurate.

There has been a series of announcements about RIM’s policies with regard to apps, including imported Android apps, that lead some to question the ongoing viability of the platform.  When the tablets finally start getting out to the public it will be more possible to gauge their impact on the market as a whole.  For those Blackberry fans who pick up the new Playbook, however, it is definitely good news that there will be some method for accessing Kindle libraries.  With luck, this will be the start of a resurgence of the Blackberry line as a major contender in the smartphone and tablet markets.  More competition generally means better products for everybody.  The Kindle Fire is my current favorite for the price, but nothing is ever perfect.

Kindle Applications

iPhone Kindle Application

Kindle for iPhone or iPod touch gives you about all of the features you can get on a regular Kindle or Kindle DX.  You can download any of the books from the Kindle Store, sync to pages and adjust the font.  Kindle for iPhone or iPod touch uses a backlit screen so you can read your book in the dark if you want to.  The home screen allows you to sort your books by recently added, author, or title.

Additional features include the ability to download the book in the background for IOS 4.0 devices, read free and out of copyright books from Project Gutenberg and other similar sources.  For a more comprehensive list of features go check out the Kindle for iPhone page on Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN).

Software requirement: IOS 3.0

To install: Search for Kindle for iPhone in the iTunes App Store on your computer or on your iPhone or iPod touch.  Get the latest version: 2.5.1.

Windows PC Kindle Application

The Windows PC Kindle Application allows you to read your Kindle books on your computer.  It includes full screen color and brightness adjustments, the ability to sync annotations and last page read, and you can search for all books available in the Kindle Store.

Requirements for the Windows PC Kindle Application:

Windows XP Service Pack 2, Vista and 7.

At Least 128 MB of RAM

Screen Resolution of 800 by 600 or greater

500MHz Intel or AMD processor or faster

100MB of disk space

Most PC’s nowadays fill these requirements easily.

To install: Click “Download Now” on the Kindle for PC product page and the installation should begin automatically.  If it doesn’t, Amazon provides you with a page that gives you a link to try installing it again.

Mac Kindle Application

Kindle for MacKindle for the Mac does has most of the same features as Kindle for PC except that the Kindle for the Mac just allows font adjustments.

Requirements for Kindle Mac Application:

A Mac with a 500MHz Intel processor or faster

512 MB of RAM

Leopard or Snow Leopard OS

800 by 600 or greater screen resolution

100MB of Disk Space

To install: You can install directly from the Kindle Mac Application Product Page, or you can install from the Mac App Store.

Blackberry Kindle Application

Kindle for BlackberryThe Blackberry Kindle Application is available for:

Bold 9000 and 9700

Curve 8520 and 8900

Storm 9530 and 9550

Tour 9639

Torch 9800

To install: Sign into your Amazon account and send an email to your Blackberry or download directly from your browser at “amazon.com/kindlebb”.

This is the only app that is available to just U.S. customers.

iPad Kindle Application

The Kindle for iPad Application is the same as the application for the iPhone, but on a larger device.  It also includes Kindle Audio and Video.

Software requirements: iPhone/iPad 3.2 OS software update.

To install: Download Kindle for iPad from the iPad App Store.

Android Kindle Application

Kindle for Android users can share reading progress, read in landscape or portrait mode, zoom in with a double tap and read over 100 magazines and newspapers in addition to the 810,000 books in the Kindle Store.

Software Requirements: Android 1.6 or greater

To install: Search for “kindle” in the Android Market or use your phone’s sensor to capture the Kindle for Android Application barcode on the product page.

Windows Phone 7 Kindle Application

Windows Phone 7The Windows Phone 7 Kindle application has 5 different font sizes and 3 background colors to choose from. You can also email a link to a book you are currently reading or one from your library to a friend.

To install: Download the Windows Phone 7 Kindle application from the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace.

Kindle App. vs. Apple iBook App.

PC World has a good article that compares the Kindle application and the Apple iBook application.  The Kindle is not a device, but a platform, that runs on multiple devices such as the Blackberry, iPhone, PC and Mac.  That is one advantage that Amazon has over Apple because currently,

Kindle for iPad

Kindle for iPad

Apple’s new iBook application is only limited to the iPad.  Amazon recently unveiled plans to provide an application for the Apple iPad, which demonstrates that Amazon’s strives to reach out to the widest audience possible.

Considering that the iPad is a newly launched device, and that the price tag is pretty hefty at $499, Apple’s choice to keep the iBook application exclusive does not appear to be a very smart one.  However, eventually, there will most likely be an iBook application available for the iPhone and iPod touch.  It will be interesting to see if Apple branches out to allow an iBook application on Blackberry and Android.

Another marketing strategy that Amazon has going for it in terms of the Kindle platform is the amount of e-books available to download.  The iBook application only has 60,000 titles currently available.  This number will surely increase over time, but Amazon is ahead of the game at the moment with its much larger selection  of 450,000 titles available for readers.

According  to ReadWriteWeb’s article on comparing the two applications, the Kindle application is simple to use and doesn’t have all of the bells and whistles that the iBook application uses.  For example, the user sees one page at a time on the Kindle application, whereas with the iBook application, the user can see two pages at a time and the pages turn in a more “engaging” format.  From a user’s standpoint, simplicity is key to create an easy, pleasurable reading experience.



Kindle App for Blackberry

Amazon has a free application that will let Blackberry users buy and read books from directly from the bookseller’s website.  Unlike Kindle’s app for the iPhone, the Blackberry application lets users purchase content seamlessly from Amazon as well as view the books already purchased for a Kindle. This could be Amazon’s way of thumbing its corporate nose at Apple for handicapping the Kindle iPhone app, making users go through the web browser rather than buy it directly through the application. In any event, Kindle for Blackberry is Amazon’s foray into the single-use device market.

It is certainly part of the company’s marketing strategy as the release of the iPad looms in the coming weeks. Many observers agree that Amazon with have to continue to brand its reader with its bookstore while simultaneously making content available to other platforms. Although that’s quite a tight rope to walk, Amazon has the one thing that Apple can’t easily get.   That’s Amazon’s years of experience in both worlds.
As for the Blackberry application, it is designed to work with or without the Kindle. For Kindle users, the app will automatically synchronizes last page read and any annotations between devices. While Blackberry users will have access to Amazon’s 400,000 plus books, newspapers are not yet available through the app.

E-book industry in one picture

If you are new to eBook industry and would like to catch up on all of the relationships between different Amazon Kindle and other different devices and companies in the e-Book universe. This picture created by techflash.com is just the right thing for you. There is also PDF version available that has every arrow linking a related story on techflash.com. You can download it by clicking on the picture below. It will really be worth your time.

eBook Universe by techflash.com

eBook Universe by techflash.com

I guess this picture really is worth a thousand words… Great work, TechFlash!

First year Kindle sales vs. popular gadgets first year sales: How does the Kindle compare?

amazon kindle first year sales vs apple ipod, iphone, rim blackberry, palm pilot, motorola razr v3 and nintendo gameboy

We have all heard this past week that Amazon is expected to shift around 189,000 – 600,000 units by the end of the year – then 2.2 million units by 2010, but how does this compare with other similarly ‘revolutionary’ devices in their first year in the market?

Silicon Ally Insider has compiled the numbers for us and as we can see from the comparison – if Amazon manages to hit expectations – it puts the Kindle in the same league as the first generation Blackberry’s and iPod’s. Now consider that the Blackberry and iPods are leaders in their field were both met with the same ridicule and suspicion that the Kindle is facing today. So if Amazon keeps plugging away, ignores the critics and keeps improving the device, by the time we get to the 3rd generation Kindle those reports which claimed that the Kindle will be the next iPod might not be so wrong after all.

Also of note might be Zune sales, which after a year sold just over 1 million units. (wiki)

Can Kindle really become the next iPod? please leave your thoughts and comments below.

Source: Silicon Ally Insider via Gizmodo