Grace Digital Inc, a company many will likely know for their internet radio players, has announced in a recent press release that they will be offering their own Kindle Fire Speaker & Charging Dock. The concept is sound, the design is attractive, and the price is high. Most of those things are exactly what most of us are likely to be looking for in a product like this. At $129.99, the dock will cost nearly as much as the $199 Kindle Fire itself though. Can they really expect to attract much interest at that point?
In this particular case, I would give that question a solid “maybe” answer. The Grace FireDock, as it is known, will definitely address some very real shortcomings of the device and offers more than just the bare essentials for doing so. It is one of those cases where sometimes the features being provided are worth the money depending on how applicable they are to your habits, at least until competition drives down the price a bit.
The most important thing is probably that this is an accessory designed specifically for the Kindle Fire. Let’s face it; if there is anything the Fire needs, it is surely better speakers. The cradle will seat the device perfectly, connecting both power and audio as it does so, without any hassles. Once docked, the Kindle Fire can be viewed from two different angles and turned to be used in either portrait or landscape orientation. While plugged in, the dock with charge the Kindle as you use it. When disconnected from the wall, it has access to an optional 6 hour battery that will keep the speakers running as long as the Kindle’s own battery holds out in most cases.
Much of why this is such a seemingly great option is that it accounts for the Kindle Fire’s capabilities. The cradle does not interfere with use of the touchscreen. There are different options for screen orientation, but not an overly complex and breakable system for them. The wide viewing angle of the Kindle Fire’s screen allows for somewhat more simplicity there than might otherwise be the case. The dock doesn’t even have its own internal radio option, since the Kindle Fire will generally have access to far higher quality than you can get over the airwaves anyway.
At the moment, we can expect the Grace FireDock to be available as of July 2nd this year. As mentioned previously, the price is a little high for something meant to accommodate a $199 tablet. This seems to reflect its usefulness, though. We can’t know how it will perform for sure until the docks hit shelves, but if the promo page is even mostly correct this could easily become a standard accessory for people who love their Kindle Fire.
So, you get yourself a Kindle and the first thing to do is usually grab a case for it. That’s just a matter of preserving your investment. You spent this much money and might as well drop a few more dollars to make sure it stays durable. It’s obvious. But beyond that, there are other considerations. Do you get the case with the light in it, or a separate book light? The one in the official Kindle case draws on the battery of the eReader, which can be either good or bad, of course, but it means no extra weight…
Eventually, once the obvious stuff is worked out, you have a Kindle configured and housed as you’d like it and are pretty much likely to leave it at that indefinitely. Myself, I like to tweak things. There are a few uses that the Kindle would be fairly great for, if only we had the ability to make them more accessible. For example:
I’m sitting here writing a blog on an overpowered PC with at least one completely superfluous monitor, if we’re talking about nothing but the demands of the task. I find it convenient at the moment, but what about on vacation or even on a plane? The Kindle would be perfect for that sort of thing in that it’s compact, holds an amazing charge, and can handle the basic demands of the task, but the keyboard is hardly convenient for any form of extensive typing, be it blogging or email or whatever else might seem important at the time. Why not a case with a built-in folding keyboard?
Also, going back to lights for a minute, wouldn’t it be nice to have a LightWedge style book light built into a case for the Kindle 3? I have seen them for the Sony Reader, and I even saw a pre-release announcement of something similar for the Kindle 2, but I haven’t been able to find anything but clip-on lights for the newest Kindle. While I know that reading through a piece of acrylic isn’t exactly an enhancement of the reading experience, I find these lights a bit easier on the eyes than many clips and would like to have the option. So far, I have yet to find anything of the sort besides homemade case modifications.
This is all just a bit random, I’m aware, but I can’t help but feel that at present the potential for the Kindle isn’t being realized as well as it might be. There are a lot of convenient uses that it could handle. While admittedly some of them might be better suited for software updates, apps, or, barring those, user developed hacks, it seems like there should be a wider range of options on the hardware side of things. The sort of things that might expand the niche of the product. Maybe I’m just a bit of a gadget lover, but end-user device customization has always been one of my favorite parts of owning things like the Kindle and so far I haven’t managed much besides the cosmetic. You guys have any thoughts on accessories that have yet to be realized?
I find it highly amusing that the massive wave of gadget shopping produced another branch for shopping – gadget accessories. Not only we like to buy various gadgets to simplify/modernize our lives, but also we are enticed by the idea of dressing up these devices. The gadgets accessories are usually marketed as add-ons to your gadget that either somehow simplify the usage of it, protect it, and/or create a unique look for it.
So, I’m always on the hunt for fun-looking Kindle accessories. I like browsing Etsy for handmade Kindle covers because Etsy sellers consistently come up with fresh and funky-looking ideas.
When I saw M-Edge custom Kindle covers I realized this trend with Kindle covers took one more step further into the market. M-Edge offers a service for you to design your own Kindle 2/Kindle 3 cover.
You have a choice of:
- Uploading your own image;
- Adding a pattern: approximately sixty patterns to choose from;
- Adding color;
- Adding text with a choice of five fonts (Therano Old Style, Collaborate, Andron, Alexandria, and Scriptina); also you can choose the font color.
- And choosing the spine color: only black and brown for now.
Here is the M-Edge Youtube video that illustrates how it works in more details.
The custom Kindle cover costs $40 plus the shipping fee. According to the information posted in FAQ, M-Edge also ships internationally.
Hence, if you are experiencing the creative urge, but do not have time or desire to craft your own Kindle cover, sounds like M-Edge is an interesting option for you.
If you are on a shopping spree and really feeling like dressing up your Kindle, then I’d be pleased to help you out. I find that there is something inexplicably charming, when people dress sup their gadgets in handmade accessories. Perhaps, Etsy really triggered this new fad of getting handmade covers for all sorts of gadgets.
Here are some options for unique handmade Kindle covers available via Etsy.
If you are into fancy-pants, leather covers – here is a beautiful orange Kindle cover, shipped from Hungary for $46 for the cover and $6 for shipping.
If soft, floral and quite expensive Kindle cover is your style then here is an option for you. That would cost $65 (holy smokes!) and $4.50 for shipping within USA. The same designer is selling a beautiful giraffe with dreamy eyes for the same (very high) price.
If spending $65 on a Kindle cover seems a bit excessive for you, then there are other fantastic options – such as this clutch style with square leather button Kindle cover for $25 with $4.95 shipping within US.
Also, this completely custom made e-reader cover (you have to specify which e-reader you have) – you can choose a button, the type of fabric on the outside and inside of the cover. This cover goes for $29.99 plus $2.50 for shipping within US.
If floral and giraffe designs is not quite your style, here is a very nice grey Kindle sleeve made from merino wool for $39.99 plus $5.50 for shipping. The same designer has a really nice hand dyed leather Kindle cover for $68.
And if you like to pretend like you are holding a hardcover book, while reading from your Kindle, then you might like this style for Kindle case for $34.99 plus $10 shipping within US.
Recently M-Edge began taking orders for their new Guardian case for the Kindle. This neat new accessory comes just in time for the many Kindle owners out there who want to take their reader for a relaxing day at the beach or pool. Now, the “waterproof” eReader case isn’t a new idea. There have been similar devices on the market for years now, in fact. The difference here is that M-Edge seems to have gone the extra mile to make this case worth the money and the attention.
Where other cases will let you wipe off condensation or splashes from the water, the Guardian will keep your Kindle safe in up to a meter of water, all while remaining completely functional and controllable. It also has the added bonus of providing flotation for your book, so that dropping or setting aside what you’re doing isn’t going to be something you’re left regretting.
The Guardian comes in three colors(Black, Red, and Blue), features an anti-reflective screen for better reading in the glare of the sun, weighs barely more than 1lb, and can be attached to a lanyard through a ring at the base for added security. It isn’t the cheapest thing on the market, at a surprising $80, but there can be no doubt that it’s worth the money if you’re serious about taking your Kindle with you everywhere you go.
The move from paper books to eReader devices might have been inevitable, but that doesn’t always make it easy. In a lot of ways, we’ve been fairly lucky. eInk displays make the pages read like paper, current technologies allow us to hold something the size of a book in our hands as we read, in a lot of ways it isn’t that much of a difference to read a book now than it ever was once you get used to the little things.
The one bit that I found the most difficult to deal with, at first, was the feel. There’s just something about holding that brand new hardcover straight from the store or an old favorite pulled off the shelf for the twentieth time. It’s got a pleasant, almost nostalgic feeling to it that the Kindle can’t really match unassisted. My way around this was to take advantage of the cover options.
There’s a company I found a while back called Oberon Design that is in the business of making, among other things, eReader covers. They’ve got them for all the varied Kindle versions, as well as a couple other devices, but I personally went with the Kindle 2 cover since that’s where they had the most designs to choose from so far. It’s hand-tooled leather, feels good in your hands, and brings back some of the sensations that are lost in the move to synthetic media. Can’t say it hurts to know that I can drop the thing in a parking lot(and I have) without damaging my favorite toy either. The $75 price tag whether you’re going for a Kindle, nook, or Sony PRS cover is definitely a little steep, but it seems more than worth the money for the improved experience and security that the cover brings.
Amazon Kindle does come with a stock cover, but that is all it is a stock cover, Amazon did so much right with the Kindle, but they failed miserably with the stock case – if your bored with your Kindle continuously falling out of the stock cover you might consider having a look at the M-Edge Leather Executive Case.
This shiny, lushly padded case is a class above the base cover provided by Amazon, it firmly secures the Kindle to the case with four leather corners without being too tight, the top right corner is elasticised so allowing access to the switches on the back. For those who prefer leather the case feels and looks superb – the pictures simply don’t do any justice, it looks fantastic – it is smooth, smells divine and is available in a range of colours. On the inside left there is space for a pen and SD card holder as well as pockets for notes and business cards, it also folds back quite neatly. The craftsmanship is fantastic there are no loose threads in the stitching anywhere and fronting the elastic corner with the same material that’s on the other corners was a nice touch.
Product description from Amazon.com
The Amazon Kindle Executive Jacket is the ultimate for sophisticated on-the-go eReader users. Whether in the office, at a business meeting, or on the treadmill, the Executive Jacket provides refined and stylish protection of your Amazon Kindle in a superior case. The Executive Jacket offers full surface protection in a lushly padded case. The soft grey interior ensures your Kindle will always be cushioned in comfort. This smart case with classic lines even includes a loop for your pen and interior pockets for storage of SD Cards, notes, business cards, and other essentials. Even while closed, you’ll find access to all ports, so you never need to remove your reader for charging. The M-edge Accessories Amazon Kindle Executive Jacket is a sleek case that will protect your eReader from scratches and dings. It is the perfect solution for the user with a fashionable, active lifestyle.
The M-Edge certainly does look a lot better than the standard cover for the Kindle which is frankly quite ugly, a lot of users have reported that the Kindle fell out of it quite easily, you wont get that problem with the M-Edge case because the 4 leather corners firmly keep the Kindle in place. The stock case weighs in at 5.8 ounces while the M-Edge comes in at 4.9 ounces, so no big difference in terms of weight.
The only sticking point is the $54.99 price tag, however this is what Amazon should have shipped with the Kindle in the first place, I wish I had ordered mine months ago.
M-Edge Genuine Leather Executive Case for Amazon Kindle at Amazon.com
One of the features of the Kindle is the amazing eInk display which unlike LCD displays reduces eye strain and makes you forget you are reading on an electronic device. However, because the eInk display mimics ink, it requires no backlighting – so just like traditional books when you are reading in the dark you need a light source.
Have you ever read your Kindle on an aeroplane and didn’t want to turn the overhead lights on, or ever been in bed with your partner who is fast asleep and don’t want to disturb them by turning the light on – that’s where having a lighting source becomes advantageous – it’s when the Mighty Bright XtraFlex2 Light becomes advantageous.
The “Mighty Bright XtraFlex2 Light” is a clip on device which is operated by 2 Super LED lights. It clips on to the back of your Kindle or Kindle case and provide you with enough light to read your e-books no matter what the lighting conditions you are in.
Product description from Amazon.com
The Mighty Bright XtraFlex2 Light is a battery operated clamp on accessory custom designed to illuminate your Kindle Wireless Reading device. Two Super LED lights in one head gives you the lighting power of 6 normal LED’s. Brilliant light output! You have the option of using one or two of the Super LED lights with just a simple tap to our proprietary sensor switch. The flexible neck allows you to position your lighting anywhere you want it. With the XtraFlex2, you can take your Kindle anywhere – in bed, on the bus or train, and have proper illumination at your fingertips!
According to Amazon it is also one of the best-selling Kindle accessories available on the market, it is easy to see why. You will find that the light is very bright even on the lowest setting, the neck is long, slim, flexible and will stay in position no matter which way you bend it. The LED’s come with a blue tinge, so it takes a little getting used to, but it isn’t as harsh as bright white light you normally get on other similar devices. Lets have a look at the technical details:
- Two SUPER LED’s as bright as six regular LED’s and never need replacing!
- LumaLenz™ Optical grade lens spreads light evenly with no hot spots
- MightyGrip™ Strong wide mouth clip grips almost anything, or use free standing as a task light.
- MightFlex™ Fully adjustable arm will position and hold light in place
- Designed for attachment to your Kindle book cover
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- ASIN: B000TXZIDM
- Batteries: 3 AAA batteries required.
Your probably wondering how this would sit on the Kindle, a helpful user on the Amazon forums has posted up some pictures so you can see exactly how it clips onto the back of the Kindle case.
“You’ll really want the Mighty Bright light. With the cover folded back it clips neatly to the back. And unlike many LED booklights, it uses common AAA batteries, not the expensive, hard-to-find button ones.” – JOEKC “JKC”
“Another view of the attached Mighty Bright light. When properly attached, the left side of the cover provides a good place to grasp without hitting page buttons.” - JOEKC “JKC”
“Small and bright.”
Overall it is a solidly built, bright accessory for the Kindle and at $17.26 it is not expensive either and with an Amazon.com rating of 4.5, the vast majority of Kindle owners are thrilled with this Mighty Bright light. You can find out more about the Mighty Bright XtraFlex2 Light by visiting the product page on Amazon.
The “Mighty Bright XtraFlex2 Light” at Amazon.com
One of the best ways to gauge whether a new product is successful or not is to examine the number third party accessory’s available. Now there hasn’t been much in the way of new accessories for Kindle for quite a while and I think thats down to the limited availability of device. However there has been a lot of buzz surrounding new accessories coming out soon, and the Kindle Travel Case by sfbags.com is the first to be covered here on blogkindle.com
Here is what the press release says on the sfbags.com website;
San Francisco, CA, February 6 – WaterField Designs announces three protective cases for the Amazon Kindle: the Kindle SleeveCase, the Kindle Travel Case and the Kindle Slip Case—all custom-fitted to the Amazon Kindle dimensions. Each stylish case offers protection and accessibility, while maintaining a light look and feel.
The Kindle SleeveCase protects the Amazon Kindle with: high-grade neoprene; impact-resistant plastic to protect the screen; a sturdy, black, ballistic nylon shell; and a lightly padded closing flap. A rear, open-top pocket stows items such as the USB cable and ear buds. A subtle grey-black checked fabric trims the bottom of the case.
The Kindle Travel Case is designed with padded, internal compartments to keep the Kindle, the power adapter, the clip light, and any additional accessories tangle-free and organized. Self-locking zippers on a front pocket and on the main compartment ensure that contents don’t spill out. Available in six vibrant colors, the water-resistant case maintains its thin, compact shape, even when fully packed.
The Kindle Slip Case sports the same vibrantly colored, water-resistant material on its exterior as the Travel Case; a lightly padded, scratch-free liner; and impact-resistant plastic to protect the screen. In the Slip Case, the Kindle remains secure while still sliding in and out easily. The open top provides quick access.
“In response to customer requests, we’ve designed three options to meet the needs of every Kindle user we heard from,” explained owner, Gary Waterfield. “For rugged protection, we offer our signature SleeveCase custom-fit to the Kindle dimensions; for those who want their accessories along, we made the Travel Case and designed it to stay nice and thin when packed; and for those wanting light protection, we’ve got the Kindle Slip Case. As is often the situation, we have our customers to thank for ideas and feedback.”
Availability & Pricing
All three products are now available for pre-order and will begin shipping from www.sfbags.com from Tuesday, February 12, 2008.
The Amazon Kindle SleeveCase with Flap: $39. Color: Black.
The Amazon Kindle Travel Case: $49. Six colors: black, silver, brown, blue, green or red.
The Amazon Kindle Slip Case: $27. Six colors: black, silver, brown, blue, green or red.
I think at $39 for the sleeve case is a slightly on the expensive side, but it sounds like a sturdy product, and compared to the standard cover that comes with the Kindle, it is a step up in the right direction.
Source: engadget, sfbags.com