That Amazon tablet we've been waiting on for months has finally arrived, and it's called the Kindle Fire. Amazon's looking to disrupt the tablet landscape with the Fire, and is pricing it aggressively at $199. So, what do you get for your money? Well, the Kindle Fire weighs 14.6 ounces and packs a 7-inch IPS display with Gorilla Glass protection, dual-core processor, 512 MB RAM, and 8 GB of on-board storage. It runs a forked version of Android that Amazon has prettied up in a major way, customizing and optimizing it to take advantage of Amazon's various services. The Fire also has Wi-Fi built-in, but lacks a 3G option, camera, and microphone.
Purchasers of the Kindle Fire also get a 30-day trial of Amazon Prime, which'll let you get a nice sampling of what the company's Video on Demand service offers. Other services you can access from the Fire include Amazon's Android Appstore, Kindle books, a host of magazines, Cloud Drive, Cloud Player, and the Amazon MP3 service. One nice feature is that WhisperSync, the technology that let you continue reading Kindle books from where you left off across multiple devices, now works with movies and TV shows. In other words, you can start a show on your Kindle Fire, and continue where you left off on your television. Another big feature is the inclusion of the Amazon Silk web browser, which does all the web processings on Amazon's EC2 servers, greatly speeding up the browsing experience.
You can pre-order a Kindle Fire now, and it'll ship on November 15th - check out the commercial after the break.
In addition to the $79 Kindle, Amazon also announced the Kindle Touch today. The Touch starts at $99 with special offers (or $139 without them) and features a new silver design. It's 8% lighter and 11% smaller than the Kindle Keyboard, and uses an IR touch system, eliminating the need for physical buttons for typing and page turning. Obviously, this also calls for a new UI, and we think it looks great. There's also a 3G model that sells for $149 with free global roaming. You can pre-order both models right now, and they'll start shipping on November 21st.
Amazon unleashed a bunch of new Kindle hardware this morning, and we're starting with the one that's available right now. The new Kindle costs just $79, and is the first model to be available for under $100, as the last model (now known as Kindle Keyboard) started at $114. It's 30% lighter and 18% smaller than its predecessor (probably due to dropping the keyboard,) but retains the same 6-inch display. This Kindle has special offers built-in, used as screensavers when you aren't reading. If you'd prefer not to have that "feature," then the price jumps up to $109. Again, this new Kindle is available now, so you can head right on over to Amazon to grab one, and you'll have it in your hands as soon as tomorrow.
Is Barnes & Noble preparing to launch another tablet under the Nook name? Rumor has it the company will launch a new, pricier Nook Colors this year.
According to a tip obtained by the Digital Reader, B&N will launch a $349 tablet that could be named Acclaim. The Nook Simple Touch Reader will still be offered at $139 and the Nook Color will stay at $249. The tipster didn't offer any information on the specs of the device, but said the tablet would launch in the next quarter, likely in some time in October.
The Digital Reader also pointed to a tablet it saw on a slide from a Barnes & Noble company presentation with the codename Encore, but speculated that this is an updated version of the current 7-inch Nook Color.
If you've got an Amazon account and use a Kindle (or a Kindle app,) you're gonna wanna go pick up a library card if you don't already have one, and it's now possible to check out Kindle eBooks from over 11,000 library Web sites. All you need is a valid library card, and you are good. eBooks work similar to library books--in other words, they are free to borrow, but they expire after a certain amount of time, and the libraries only have a limited number of each eBook available, so you may have to wait until it's "returned" by another user before you can check out that title. Once you decide what you want to borrow, you download the copies over Wi-Fi or USB.
When you borrow a Kindle public library book, you’ll have access to all the unique features of Kindle books, including real page numbers and Whispersync technology that synchronizes your notes, highlights, and last page read. After a public library book expires, if you check it out again or choose to purchase it from the Kindle store, all of your annotations and bookmarks will be preserved.
Once your expiration date hits, you can just borrow the book again, or purchase it from the Amazon Kindle store, and any notes, highlights, last pages read, etc. will all be saved and synched.
Read More | Amazon
Amazon on Wednesday unveiled its Kindle Cloud Reader, an HTML5-based reading app accessible via the Web.
The feature is accessible at amazon.com/cloudreader and provides access to e-books through the browser, offline and online, with no downloading or installation required, Amazon said. Cloud Reader will automatically sync with other Kindle apps, allowing you to start reading on the Web and pick up on an iPhone or Kindle, for example. Books that you are reading will automatically be made available for offline use.
At this point, Kindle Cloud Reader works with Safari on the iPad and desktop and Google's Chrome.
Interested in a back-to-school e-reader, but you're not sure which one to buy? Barnes & Noble made a case for the Nook on Monday, with $100 in free books for the returning student.
B&N said that customers who purchase a new Nook from today until Sept. 11 will receive $100 in free books and study tools, specifically a free collection of 12 free classic books and 12 SparkNotes study aids.
The books will help any aspiring literature major, and include A Tale of Two Cities, Beowulf, Ivanhoe, Crime and Punishment and The Portrait of the Artist As A Young Man. The SparkNotes guides include To Kill a Mockingbird, The Great Gatsby, The Catcher in the Rye, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, B&N said.
We talk to Michelle Warvel, the Barnes and Noble Nook User Experience and Design Lead at GDGT Seattle. Michelle talks to us about the new Nook Simple Touch Reader, the first real mainstream touchscreen e-ink ebook reader to hit the market, shows how it all works, and then tells us about how they settled on the unique shape and design of the Simple Touch Reader product. We will have more videos from the GDGT event.
Big thank you to Carbonite and JackThreads for sponsoring the show - be sure to check them out! Carbonite offers off-site backup of your computer, and you can get two free months (no credit card needed!) by visiting Carbonite and using promo code TPN. As for JackThreads, we've got exclusive invite codes that give you $5 to use towards anything you'd like.
The increase in U.S. adults who own e-readers is outpacing the growth of tablet owners, according to a new phone survey by the Pew Internet Project.
Adults who owned ereaders like Amazon's Kindle and Barnes & Noble's Nook doubled from 6 percent of the U.S. adult population in November 2010 to 12 percent in May 2011, according to the survey of 2,277 respondents aged 18 and over. The survey was conducted in both English and Spanish.
Over the same period, the share of adults who said they owned a tablet such as Apple's iPad grew as well, but by just 3 percentage points. About 5 percent of respondents in an earlier Pew survey from November of last year said they owned a tablet, while 8 percent said they did in the most recent one, conducted between April 26 and May 22.
Today, Barnes & Noble unveiled their revamped Nook e-reader, which they are calling the Simple Touch Reader.
The $139 device is available for pre-order immediately and will be in stores on or around June 10 at Barnes & Noble, Best Buy, Walmart, and Staples.
The Android-based, e-reader measures 5 x 6.5 inches and weighs less than 7.5 ounces, which is 35 percent lighter and 15 percent thinner than the first Nook. During a New York launch event, B&N CEO William Lynch promised the "longest battery life of any e-reader," or up to two months on a single charge, and 80 percent less flashing on the 6-inch touch screen; the white-out that occurs when flipping pages. There is 50 percent less contrast than the first-edition Nook.
The device has built-in Wi-Fi and will feature 2GB of onboard storage, expandable up to 32GB with microSDHC. It runs Android 2.1 and a 800MHz TI OMAP3 processor.
Read More | Nook Simple Touch Reader