Amazon has released an all-new Kindle Paperwhite today, bringing a few improvements and optimizations to the front-lit e-reader. For starters, it packs in a processor that is 25% faster than its predecessor, a display with higher contrast and better reflectivity (brighter whites and darker blacks,) smoother touch technology, and a battery that is rated to last for over 2 hours. Goodreads integration will also be coming to the new device, along with Kindle FreeTime for Paperwhite, bringing subscription books for the little ones. The new Kindle Paperwhite will go nicely with the new Amazon Kindle MatchBook service, and will start shipping on September 30th, and you can order it now for $119.
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Amazon has announced an awesome new program called Kindle MatchBook that it's set to launch in October, bringing free and cheap eBooks to buyers of paper books. Basically, if you purchase a paper book from Amazon, you can buy the digital Kindle version for $.99, $1.99, $2.99, or download it for free, depending on the book. Most interesting? It's completely retroactive, going all the way back to 1995 when Amazon launched. Any participating purchase you've ever made on Amazon is eligible, as long as it is a part of the MatchBook selection, which will launch at about 10,000 titles next month. Amazon says that there will be some big-name authors taking part:
Kindle MatchBook will launch with books from Ray Bradbury, Michael Crichton, Blake Crouch, James Rollins, Jodi Picoult, Neil Gaiman, Marcus Sakey, Wally Lamb, Jo Nesbo, Neal Stephenson, and J.A. Jance, among others. In addition, Amazon Publishing will include all its titles in Kindle MatchBook.
Definitely a cool service, and one that makes Amazon an even more attractive purchasing destination when compared to Barnes & Noble and the Nook store, and Apple's iBookstore (which doesn't even sell paper books.)
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If you've been thinking about picking up a Kindle Fire HD for Mom (or even yourself!), now might be the time, as Amazon is offering a nice discount its 7-inch flagship models through May 12th. Using promo code FIRE4MOM during checkout, you'll save $20 on the tablet, bringing the price down to $179 for the 16 GB model, and $209 for the 32 GB version. We're sure that Mom wouldn't mind receiving one of these for Valentine's Day, especially with all the Amazon Prime benefits, and we'll keep the fact that you got it on sale between us, okay?
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This morning Xbox SmartGlass made its long-awaited debut on the Amazon Appstore. You can now download Microsoft's second-screen app for the Amazon Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD, fitting perfectly on the display of all Fire and Fire HD tablet models. With Xbox SmartGlass, which has been available for iOS, Windows, Windows Phone, and Android for the past six months, users can navigate and control their Xbox 360 consoles right from the tablet or smartphone.
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"It's important that Apple not be the developer for the world. We can't take all of our energy, and all of our care, and finish the painting and have someone else put their name on it." - Tim Cook, Apple CEO
The same statement rings true for Google. If others are reaping the rewards, and little to nothing is left for oneself, then what's the point? If a product does not meet the expectations set before it, then developing for it doesn't make much sense. If any given product is not self-sustainable, then it is not cost effective and eventually becomes a burden to the maker--even if users appear to enjoy using it. Make no mistake about it, Google is in the business of making money, and everything else is secondary (including good will.)
Google's co-founder and now recently-minted CEO, Larry Page, bought Android in 2005. He also brought along Andy Rubin, one of its creators, over to Google, who recently renounced his post as Senior Vice President of mobile Digital Content. Basically, the guy who was leading Android. It has been said that Sergey Brin, the other tandem co-founder, was not enthusiastic about the purchase. Former Google CEO at the time, Eric Schmidt, now Chairman at Google had a similar reaction. These somewhat pessimistic receptions were also shared by Vic Gundotra, Senior Vice President of Engineering. However, he recanted these thoughts at Google I/O 2010.
Amazon has announced that it's Cloud Drive storage locker is now accessible from PC, Mac, Kindle Fire, and web browser, allowing you to sync your documents across all of your devices with the reliance of Amazon in the background. This puts the Amazon Cloud Drive, which gives users a free 5 GB of storage space, in direct competition with services like Dropbox.
OUYA, the Android-based home game console that took Kickstarter by storm, is now available for pre-order on Amazon for those who missed out on the campaign. The cost is $99 for the unit, which includes the OUYA console and one controller. The draw of OUYA is that anyone can develop and publish games for the console, and there's no huge financial barrier to entry for devs. This could mean that there will be just a bunch of random stuff, but it also means that you'll have more developers working on quality games--and for the first time on a home console, you'll likely see games as inexpensive as the ones you play on your iOS and other Android devices. OUYA is powered by a quad-core NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor and 1 GB RAM with 8 GB of storage and 1080p output. Pre-order it now for $99 and it'll deliver in June, and don't forget to grab an extra controller.
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Ford and Amazon have announced that Amazon MP3 for Android has been updated with Ford SYNC support, which means that you can use your Android device with Ford's admittedly awesome infotainment system to access all your tracks stored in your Amazon Cloud Player. As is typical with SYNC, you can even control playback with voice commands. Amazon MP3 2.8 for Android also includes the typical bug fixes, and the store has been redesigned to show more search results.
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If you've been thinking about picking up a Kindle Fire HD 8.9", now might be the time, as Amazon is offering a nice discount on the Wi-Fi and LTE models through February 8th. Using promo code FIRELOVE during checkout, you'll save $30 on the Wi-Fi model, bringing the price down to $269, and $50 on the version with AT&T LTE built-in, making that one $449. We're sure that the special someone in your life wouldn't mind receiving one of these for Valentine's Day, and we'll keep the fact that you got it on sale between us, okay?
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Amazon has announced that it's Instant Video service has secured exclusive rights to Downton Abbey, the same day that Netflix exclusive House of Cards went live. Season 3 of the popular show will debut on Amazon Prime Instant Video on June 18th. The first two seasons are available on Hulu and Netflix, but will be removed later this year. Season 4 (and 5, if produced) will maintain Amazon exclusivity.
It's fun to sit back and observe the battle between Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu, but we have to wonder what this does for customers. If you want to be able to watch shows that are exclusive to different services, then you need to be a subscriber to all of them. Not super-expensive at about $25 per month, but it's still a substantial jump over just choosing one service for $8 per month and sticking with it.
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