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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.