Here at Gear Live, we have a love affiar with Amazon. They've got our credit card numbers, our accounts are Prime, and the Kindles flow like wine. However, unless you choose overnight shipping, you still have to wait for the items you purchased. It's a small price ot pay for the convenience, but for some, instant gratifiction is what's missing. That may even be changing with Amazon, as the company will be venturing into the brick and mortar store business.
Those lucky enough to live in the Seattle area (that's us!) may soon be seeing an Amazon store popping up at a local mall. Amazon is exploring the idea, kind of a trial and error run, to see if they have a profitable market in physical stores. Amazon wants to provide an Apple-like store experience for consumers who want to buy a Kindle, for example. This is a brilliant move on Amazon’s part, as the Kindle currently is not under its full control in retail, being left to the whims of a retail associate at Target or Best Buy who likely don't know much about it.
With the Kindle Fire being one of the biggest tablets to rival the iPad this holiday season, it is no surprise that we are seeing an update so soon into the New Year. The Kindle Fire update 6.2.2 brings full screen browsing to the Silk broser, as well as a handful of performance tweaks to the Amazon device. Of course, as it is with all software updates, some minor bugs in the software were also fixed. If you are one of the many that have rooted their Fire, you might also want to note that your increased user ability will be taken away. This update can be applied over the air or by visiting the official Kindle Fire site to manually download the update right now, and if you don't have one, you can pick up the Kindle Fire for $199.
If you've got a Kindle Fire and have been waiting for the opportunity to to install a full-on version of Android, you may want to look into the newest hack that's just been released that allows you to install Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich on the Amazon tablet. Yep, you read that right - thanks to an early Ice Cream Sandwich port based on CyanogenMod 9 that was put together by JackpotClavin, you can turn your Kindle Fire into a real Android tablet, with some caveats, as you'd probably expect.
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.
[Editor's Note: Andru Edwards of Gear Live and the Ask Andru column joined us on this week's GeekWire radio show and podcast to share his top picks for technology gifts this holiday season. Here's a rundown of his choices, just in time your last-minute shopping.]
Kindle Fire: Amazon's $199 tablet is often compared to the iPad, but in many ways it's more appropriate to compare it to the iPod touch, based on the price and feature set. If you want a cheap tablet that can ship to you by Christmas, the Kindle Fire is it. There are some bugs. In terms of responsiveness and the accuracy of its touch interface, the Kindle Fire doesn't always live up to Apple iOS devices, but for $199 you're not going to find anything else that has this feature set, and many of the bugs will be fixed by software updates.
Crayola ColorStudio HD: This $29.99 accessory is a digital marker for the iPad, turning the Apple tablet into a virtual coloring book when used in conjunction with a companion app, with music and animations. With the digital marker, kids can do more with the iPad than just play games. They can be color, they can make their own coloring book pages. Input styles include crayons, markers and paint. Features include Facebook sharing and printing through Apple AirPrint.
The Kindle Fire ($199 on Amazon) is undoubtedly a success in terms of the sheer amount of sales that the tablet has seen since its launch. However, many customers have complained about the various small issues that, when added up, can make for a frustrating experience. Things like unresponsive touch gestures, and lagginess in the UI. The good news is that Amazon's been listening, and its set to release the first over-the-air update for the Kindle Fire in under two weeks to address many of these issues.
Kindle Fire is the most successful product we’ve ever launched – we’ve already sold millions of units and we’re building more to meet the strong demand. As with all of our products, we continue to make them better for customers with regular software updates – in fact, in less than two weeks, we’re rolling out an over-the-air update to Kindle Fire that will improve performance, touch navigation, and give customers the option to choose what items display on the carousel.
Sounds good to us. In the past, Amazon hasn't really been the best in terms of Kindle software updates, but the Fire is a full-on tablet, and thusly people expect more out of it than they do its e-Ink couterparts. Anything you're hoping gets fixed in the update?
Posted by Andru Edwards Categories:
Analysts at JP Morgan met with Apple CEO Tim Cook and chief financial officer Peter Oppenheimer on Friday to discuss the long-term impact of Apple products, and when it comes to competitors like the Kindle Fire, "we believe that Apple is not too concerned about the low-priced entrants," the firm said in a note to investors.
If anything, the Kindle Fire, Nook Tablet, and other low-priced options might help introduce consumers to the tablet market, prompting them to eventually upgrade to more feature-rich devices like the iPad, the report said.
"In other words, we think Apple is not seeing much pressure from lower-price tablets, yet," JP Morgan wrote.
Sonos, makers of the Play:3 and high-end ZonePlayer wireless multi-room music systems, has announced an update to its system software that adds more wireless music streaming options, and lets users control their Sonos systems with their Android tablets.
The most notable feature of the 3.6 software update makes the Sonos Controller app available to Kindle Fire and Android Honeycomb tablets users, letting them use their tablets as remote controls for their Sonos products. The company released the app for Android phones in February, and the Sonos Controller is also available for iOS devices.
The Android tablet app, which can be downloaded for free from the Android Market or the Amazon Appstore, is scaled to take advantage of tablets' extra screen space. It includes enhancements like on-device music library and zone management, alarms that let you fall asleep or wake to your favorite tunes, and Twitter integration, so you can tweet what you're listening to on Sonos from your tablet.
The Staples Black Friday 2011 sale begins at 6:00 am the day after Thanksgiving, and they've got a few items that have our attention. We've got the highlights of the sale for you after the break, which include a $199 BlackBerry PlayBook, Beats by Dr. Dre Solo headphones with a $20 gift card at purchase, buy 1 get 1 free paper, and more.
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.
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