We recently reported that Amazon is set to unveil an update to its line of Kindle ebook readers sometime soon, and now it appears that the date for everything to go down will be September 6. Amazon has sent out notifications of a press conference to be held in Santa Monica, California where we expect that we'll see the next version of the Kindle Fire as well as updates to the Kindle e-ink readers as well. Things kick off at 10:30am that morning, and of course, we'll have all the news right here.
Amazon is seemingly set to unleash an update to its Kindle ebook readers across the board, as evidenced by the fact that the entire e-ink line is either discounted or discontinued. While the entry-level Kindle is still in supply, the $99 Kindle Touch isn't shipping for 3-5 days, while the $139 version that comes without ads is simply no longer available. The $149 Kindle Touch 3G is also unavailable, and the larger Kindle DX was discounted by $110 on Friday. Supply constraints and discounts like these aren't typical for the Kindle line, except in the instances where Amazon is set to refresh the line. Word on the street is that we'll see a Kindle event sometime in the next week or two that'll highlight updated models.
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Amazon and Pottermore have announced that the entire Harry Potter book series--all seven books--will be available on the Kindle Lending Library beginning June 19, bringing a huge slice of legitimacy to the service.
“We’re absolutely delighted to have reached this agreement with Pottermore. This is the kind of significant investment in the Kindle ecosystem that we’ll continue to make on behalf of Kindle owners,” said Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com. “Over a year, borrowing the Harry Potter books, plus a handful of additional titles, can alone be worth more than the $79 cost of Prime or a Kindle. The Kindle Owners’ Lending Library also has an innovative feature that’s of great benefit for popular titles like Harry Potter -– unlimited supply of each title -– you never get put on a waiting list.”
While Barnes & Noble originally announced that the Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight would ship in may, many who've pre-ordered the e-reader are getting notices that they're shipping this week. In-store availability will be tight because of pre-order demand. The Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight brings a light-up display to the Simple Touch reader, allowing you to enjy the e-ink display in the dark.
Looking for a good deal on the Kindle Fire? Today is your lucky day, because Amazon is selling off Fire refurbs for $139. That's $60 less than the price of a new model, and $30 less than what the company typically charges for refurbished units. You also get a one-year warranty on the tablet to boot.
For all the Harry Potter fans out there, your days of lugging books around has ended. The Harry Potter series is now available for download from Pottermore, alongside Google Play, Amazon, Sony Reader, and B&N Nook. The eBooks are compatible with all major ereaders and can be downloaded in bundle packs from the site. The titles start at $7.99 and go up from there. You have the option of buying the whole bundle for $57.54, but of course, you can also purchase them individually. The books are offered English (US & GB), with Spanish, Dutch, Italian, and French coming soon.
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I've been using my Kindle Fire since it came out, and while I'm still waiting for CyanogenMod9 to come out and let me actually put Ice Cream Sandwich on my Kindle Fire, I've been relatively happy with the performance.
The main interface tweak added to the Kindle Fire is the ability to remove items from the carousel on the home page. This is a small but useful way to keep your most commonly used apps organized and, if necessary, make sure other users don't see whatever naughty things you might have been perusing.
That's the only change to the main screen; you still can't organize your apps into categories or customize your menu beyond adding and removing items from favorites and the carousel. I use my Kindle Fire for several different things, and it would be great to organize my apps by categories like Online Content, Books, Network Tools, and Games. The Fire still has Amazon's default seven tabs and single app list organized alphabetically or by date.
Barnes & Noble on Monday rolled out what it said was the biggest software update yet for its Nook Color e-reader, including the addition of Netflix streaming, Nook Comics, and more customized reading options.
The retailer has added 100 new features to the Nook Color, including access to movies and TV shows via Netflix and Flixster apps. Thanks to the Ultraviolet standard, which provides users with a digital copy of physical media, Flixster will allow movie access on-the-go.
On the comics front, Nook Color customers will now have access to high-resolution comics, graphic novels, and kids' comics. Barnes & Noble promised the "largest digital collection of Marvel's graphic novels available through a third party – including Halo Uprising and other Marvel greats like Ultimate Spider-Man, The Astonishing X-Men, and Hulk: Planet Hulk, among others."
A new feature known as PagePerfect looks to preserve the look and feel of image-heavy books like cookbooks, craft, and art books, and allows users to zoom in and fluidly scroll through a book's pages.
The Amazon Kindle Fire is the first small tablet that average users can pick up and immediately use, with a simple, clear interface. Then there's the price: Android along with amazing specs for just $199. It's open enough to attract geeks, too. While the user interface occasionally gets sluggish, we're willing to have a bit of patience to get a first-rate tablet for half of what most competitors charge, thus the Kindle Fire is our first Editors' Choice for small tablets.
A solid little brick at 7.5 by 4.7 by .45 inches and 14.6 ounces, the Kindle Fire looks and feels a lot like the BlackBerry PlayBook, but the Fire is smaller in all dimensions. There are no slots or tabs; both the memory and battery are sealed in, and the only interruptions in its smooth, black form are the headphone jack, Power button, MicroUSB jack, and dual stereo speakers. There's no camera, but I've never been sold on the value of tablet cameras anyway. It uses 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi networks to get online; there's no cellular radio or Bluetooth connectivity.
Turn the Fire on and the 7-inch 1024-by-600 IPS LCD screen lights up. This display is very sharp and clear, but it's also rather reflective. Just like on the Apple iPad 2, you may have trouble reading in bright light because of the screen's sometimes mirror-like gloss. While this is par for the course with tablets, I expected more given the Kindle name. This isn't a dedicated e-reader by any means.
Amazon's new Kindle Fire is getting all the attention as of late, but the company also shipped its first touchscreen e-Ink reader as well, called the Kindle touch, yesterday - a week earlier than originally anticiapted. We're in the middle of putting the Kindle touch through its paces, and we'll be reporting back with a review soon, but for now, take a look at our Kindle touch unboxing gallery for an up-close look at the new device.
You can pick up the Kindle touch for $99.
[Camera: Chris Aarons]