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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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New Kindle Fire Will Drop Kindle Fire Classic Price to $149

Unless literally none of the information we have about upcoming developments in Kindle products turns out to be accurate, there are a couple things we can safely assume.  There will definitely be a front-lit Kindle eReader along the lines of the Nook Simple Touch w/ GlowLight, for example.  That was inevitable, of course, but thanks to the details of Amazon’s recent contract with the US State Dept we know that it will be sooner rather than later.  We also know that there will be a new Kindle Fire tablet of some sort this year.

Amazon is said to have originally intended a larger model Kindle Fire to b ready on release day, giving customers some choice.  Due to time constraints, and the need to be ready for last year’s holiday season, that didn’t pan out.  This year the talk has been about Amazon making good on that potential.  We have heard rumors indicating an 8.9” Kindle Fire, a 10.1” Kindle Fire, both at once, and more.  The predicted timeline puts whatever happens in the next 4-6 months.

The latest update we have on this comes via DigiTimes.  As always, they must be taken with some caution.  Still, the information seems realistic and they have come up with some early information in the past that turned out accurate.

This report indicates that Amazon will be releasing an update to their 7” Kindle Fire in the third quarter of 2012.  It will include a higher resolution 1280 by 800 screen as well as other unspecified hardware improvements meant to target higher-end tablet customers.  The price of this model will still be just $199.

The existing Kindle Fire will continue to be available to customers much as the iPad 2 remains available despite the hardware having moved on.  The Kindle Fire Classic, or whatever it is called by this time, will be sold for just $149.  This is expected to go a long way toward increasing Amazon’s exposure and overall Android tablet dominance.

The same report also goes on to explain that the previously mentioned 10.1” Kindle Fire is still going to be made and appears to be on the way either late in 2012 or early in 2013.  Supposed 8.9” device development has been suspended, presumably because three active options in the Kindle Fire line will already be more than enough to choose from.  There is no word so far how much this larger tablet will cost.

DigiTimes aside, I think that there is enough precedent to say that Amazon will likely have a large sale on the existing Kindle Fire prior to and immediately following the release of its successor.  It may be kept around, much as the Kindle Keyboard has been, but more likely the price drop will simply be a transition tool.  Amazon has been suspected of selling previous generation devices as “refurbished” regardless of their actual condition in order to drum up some last minute interest and clear out existing inventories.

Where does this leave the Kobo?

In the past week or so we have seen price drops on the two most full-featured and well-stocked eReader devices on the market today, as well as the first exclusively WiFi adaptation of one of these devices at the lowest price seen to date.  So, where does this leave the Kobo, the Borders-sponsored budget eReader that made such a stir over the past several months with its $150 asking price?  The outlook is not so good.

By all accounts, and i make no claim to have the device in my hands at the moment to confirm, the Kobo eReader is a bit of a let-down for a lot of people.  A decent screen, slightly slow response time, clunky menu navigation, and just generally unexciting experience.  I won’t deny that the Bluetooth capability is intriguing, but they simply didn’t do much with it.  Now that the Barnes & Noble(NYSE:BKS) nook has dropped its price to match without sacrificing the reading and shopping experiences and Amazon(NASDAQ:AMZN) has followed suit with an even cheaper Kindle, it seems doubtful that the Kobo will find itself with much of a place aside from die-hard lovers of the Borders and Kobo bookstores.  Even some of those may find themselves turning away, as the Kobo store, at least, offers their full collection in EPUB format.  There are still moves to be made, but it would seem that the only major impact the Kobo eReader will have had will be to lower the eReader pricing trend enough to wipe itself out of the market.

Kindle vs nook: What Do You Get?

In light of the recent major price drops on the two most popular devices in the eReader market, there’s every reason to believe that a fresh wave of first time buyers is likely to be hunting for the right fit.  New to the eBook situation and wanting some advice on which way to go?  Let’s see what we can do for you.

Looking at the major points of interest for these devices, each has its strengths and weaknesses.  For the purposes here, we’ll assume that the choices are the $199 nook and the $189 Kindle because 3G coverage is neat and because we don’t know yet what Amazon(NASDAQ:AMZN) is going to be doing with their WiFi Kindle model(assuming those rumors are true).

Size, Weight, and Feel

  • Kindle: 6″ screen, 1/3″ thick, 10.2 ounces
  • nook: 6″ screen, 1/2″ thick, 12.1 ounces

Subjective Evaluation:  The screen is slightly better on the nook due to a better contrast ratio.  On the other hand, the extra thickness and weight of the nook, slight as it is, makes it a very small bit harder to read for long periods of time than the Kindle. It’s pretty much a tie in this category.

A Note On The Screens:  You’ll see many people complain about the screen flicker and page turn delay.  In general, I advise ignoring these people.  In both cases there is a delay in screen refresh that is so slight that turning the page in a paper book at the same speed with any regularity will likely leave you with a ruined book.  These aren’t your average computer LCDs.  Different technology, different uses.

Input Method

  • Kindle: QWERTY keyboard, 5-way controller stick
  • nook: LCD touchscreen

Subjective Evaluation:  As far as moving through the stores, library, and things in general goes I’ve got to give it hands-down to Amazon.  The on-screen navigation is intuitive and has only the rarest of hiccups.  The nook’s touchscreen, while flashy, leaves something to be desired in terms of responsiveness on the eInk screen.

Selection and File Support

  • Kindle: 600,000+ titles, supports: AZW, TXT, PDF, MOBI, PRC, converts: HTML, DOC
  • nook: 1,000,000+ titles, supports: EPUB, PDF, PDB

Subjective Evaluation:  At first glance, Amazon has the edge in terms of file formats, especially when you take into account that many of the nook’s million titles are simply freely available Google Books downloads.  The nook, however, supports EPUB files.  EPUB is the industry standard format at the moment and tends to be the easiest to get your hands on, assuming you’re the type who prefers to shop for the best deal rather than simply grabbing everything from one store.  The nook comes out well ahead in this comparison for just that reason.  You’re not jumping through nearly as many hoops if you want to shop around as the Kindle makes you.

Storage space, in both cases, is generally a non-issue.  In several years of using these devices heavily, including during the completion of a degree in English Literature, I have never found a situation where there was any advantage to holding 1,500+ books in my hand at once.  If you really need to walk around with your entire library at once, then Amazon’s recent addition of a feature called Collections that makes it possible to organize your books according to your own specifications might make the Kindle your preferred eReader.  At present the nook does not have this ability and a list that long might get unwieldy for casual aimless browsing.

Battery Life(Entirely Subjective Evaluation)

  • Kindle: 30hr active, 20 days standby
  • nook: 24hr active, 7 days standby

Now, these measurements are not in any way when is being advertised by the makers of the devices, nor am I claiming that everybody will see the same performance.  I have had both and used both for some time now, however, and this is what I’ve seen.  It is, quite literally, impossible to run down the charge on either device in a single day by reading at a normal pace.  Simply put, if you want a device that you charge overnight and otherwise don’t have to worry about then either is fine.  If you want something you can throw in a briefcase and carry around all week, then charge on the weekends, the Kindle has a slight, and I want to emphasize slight, advantage in battery life.  Probably the lack of LCD screen.  Neither of these takes into account the power draw of leaving your wireless connectivity going constantly, since this is generally not needed.  You connect, download your book, then disconnect.  Leaving it open is almost always just a waste.

Major Features

  • Kindle: Read to Me, Facebook/Twitter integration, web browser, password protection
  • nook: games, web browser, WiFi capability, in-store B&N perks, interchangeable back plates

Subjective Evaluation:  I’ll start by saying that the Facebook/Twitter thing is not something I’ll comment on.  If these features are valuable to you, there are plenty of places to do the research.  I cannot comment.  As for the rest, the Kindle’s main selling point here is the password protection.  Since you will generally have a credit card linked to the account that is linked to your device, to make store purchasing quicker and easier, this bit of safety is a must-have.  The Read to Me feature is nothing to sneeze at either, as it opens the door to use of the Kindle as a learning tool or simply a way to enjoy your favorite books even after the eyes get tired.  It’s not perfect, but it does a good job and is not at all unpleasant to listen to.

The nook, on the other hand, comes up with mostly fun and superficial changes.  You get a couple of games to play, with the hope of more to come of course, some incentive to visit the B&N store for free access to books and free coffee, and the ability to customize the appearance of your device in a way that goes beyond the usual cover choice.  The web browser on the nook is slightly easier to use than the Kindle’s due to the touchscreen, but this also seems to result in faster battery depletion, so it’s something of a double-edged sword.

The Kindle wins for functionality, but don’t rule out the nook in terms of fun.  Also make note of the fact that because the nook runs Android and therefore a much wider potential developer base in the long term, should an app store become available.

The Overview

I can’t tell you one device is better than the other because they’re both simply great products.  It’s all about what you like and what you want your eReader to do for you.  I use my Kindle when I want bestsellers, a device to travel with, independent authors, and the ability to annotate my books.  I use my nook when I’m looking for the best price on a book, when there’s some question regarding 3G coverage wherever I’m staying, and when sudoku or browsing the web seem like good uses of my time.  The best way to be sure of what you want is to try them out in the store.  Check them out, do your research, and know what you want for your money.  You would be hard-pressed to be disappointed either way.

Amazon Kindle Price Drop

It seems that in one day we not only get a drop in price for the Barnes & Noble(NYSE:BKS) nook, one of the front runners in the eReader device marketplace, but an immediate reaction and one-upping from Amazon(NASDAQ:AMZN).

As already reported, the nook has undergone a steep drop in price from $259 to $199, as well as welcoming a new member to the product family: A WiFi only model at a mere $149.  In response, Amazon has cut the price of their ever-popular Kindle from $259 to $189 in what can only be seen as a direct and hostile response to B&N’s move.

One of the main sources for concern lately among critics has been the pricing of these devices.  While always a reasonable investment for the avid reader, some have had trouble justifying the expense of the more popular and full-featured of the eReaders such as the Kindle and nook.  This is quickly becoming a non-issue. The Kobo made its splash by setting an amazing new low price for the market and mere months later we have one product with a more robust support list and feature set being offered at the same $149 price, and the most popular and well-supported eBook reading device on the market today for just $40 more.   There is simply no excuse anymore not to own one.  Amazon and B&N are in a price war and the only one winning is the reader.