Posted by: Tim | September 28, 2011

Amazon Kindle/Tablet Event Rundown

I haven’t posted in quite sometime, but Amazon just had a Press Event in NYC for Kindle Announcements.  I followed along live with Engadget and I thought I’d give a brief rundown of the highlights.


1) Kindle Touch and Kindle Touch 3G
- The keyboard has been removed and the buttons on the side have been removed. You tap the screen to turn the page.
- Still an E-Ink display
- New feature called “X-Ray”. Apparently relevant Wikipedia entries are downloaded along with the book, so you can tap on the page and it’ll bring up more information than just a definition. The example from the event, they brought up the Wikipedia page for the Versailles Treaty because that’s what was happening on that page in the book “Remains of the Day”
- Cost…$99 This is what they announced but it’s slightly misleading. $99 with Special Offers but $149 without Special Offers.
- Cost to include 3G…$149. Again, it’s $149 with Special Offers, but $189 without Special Offers.
- Pre-order starts today, shipping on November 21st

2) Kindle 3 (non-touch)
- No touch screen, but the side page turning buttons return. However, the keyboard is still gone.
- Faster page turning
- Does not have the new X-Ray feature
- Price…$79. Like the Kindle Touch, this is what they announced but it’s slightly misleading. $79 with Special Offers but $109 without Special Offers.
- Order today, ships today
- I believe the picture to the right is the Kindle 3, but I am not certain.

3) Amazon Kindle Fire Tablet
- 7″ IPS display (1024 x 600 resolution at 169 ppi), dual-core processor, weighs 14.6 ounces, .45″ thick. It looks like the Blackberry Playbook)
- Apparently will have access to Amazon Movies/TV shows, Amazon Music, Amazon Android App Store, Kindle books, full-color magazines and all stored for free using Amazon Cloud Storage.
- Amazon’s Whispersync that keeps their Kindles synced will be used on this tablet as well to keep your Movies and TV Shows synced.
- Android interface is extremely customized and looks little like Android. In fact, not sure you can actually get to Android market from the tablet.
- Also has Amazon Silk. No idea what this was, so here’s the synopsis
- Amazon Silk they call a “split” browser. It splits content rendering between the tablet and Amazon’s Cloud Computers (Amazon EC2)
- The browser offloads things to give the best performance.
- More info from Amazon’s site: 8GB Internal Storage (but free cloud storage for all Amazon Content). USB 2.0 port.
- Price…$199
- Pre-order today, shipping on November 15th

If you are interested in knowing more, check out Engadget. I am sure they will have more information once they go hands-on with the new Kindles.

And a family portrait:

UPDATE: Engadget and Boy Genius Report (BGR) have gotten closer looks at the Kindle Fire and the Kindle Touch. Neither got to actually use the Kindle Fire, but an Amazon rep gave them a tour of it.  So I compiled a couple things I thought were note worthy.

The Amazon Kindle Fire is pretty much identical to the Blackberry Playbook both externally and internally, which is not a bad thing. However, the Kindle Fire has no cameras or microphone. Also, the Kindle Fire has just a Power Button. There are not volume buttons on the tablet, so if you want to change the volume, you’ll have to go into the status bar. To me this seems like it’s going to be very annoying. Another thing to note is that the tablet only has 8GBs of internal storage which is very little these days. However, since all your content should be synced online in theory you shouldn’t need much storage space. Will that be the case in reality? We’ll just have to see. I am also still concerned about the heavily customized Android OS, though I hear it’s perfect for what Amazon intended, which is a cheap device to watch movies, read books, play music, browse the web and spend money purely on Amazon’s services.  All-in-all, for $199, the tablet is a pretty good deal and delivers exactly what Amazon wants. Is it an iPad killer? Not a chance. It seems like Amazon is trying to compete with the Nook 2, which is supposed to be announced some day soon. Does it give Apple something worry about? I think so. I don’t think they should be very worried, but I think the Kindle Fire shows that Apple should be a little wary of Amazon’s future tablet endeavors.

The Amazon Kindle Touch, like the Nook Touch, is based around an infrared touchscreen in place of physical keyboard. The touchscreen on the device is very responsive and the screen refreshes about once every 6 pages, which is on par with its chief competition. Searching on the device requires a larger screen refresh, but the Kindle Touch still performs quickly for an E-Ink display. The search function on the Kindle Touch allows users to locate instances of things like character names throughout the text. I’m not sure how much I’d actually use this feature, but it’s neat. Actually I might have used it a lot when I started reading “A Game of Thrones”. I had a lot of trouble keeping track of who all the characters were, so it might have been very handy for that. Who am I kidding, I still have trouble keeping everyone straight. Anyway, from the pictures I’ve seen, I think the Kindle Touch is a rather attractive device. It’s silver border and metal back just seem subdued by classy. So I’m a little disappointed I bought my Kindle a few months ago, but oh well, it treats me well. Should the Barnes & Noble be worried? I think so, I think this might give the Nook Touch some serious competition.

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Responses

  1. The Kindle Fire definitely has my attention, and should have Apple’s attention as well. It seems in the past, you either stored everything on Apple devices or Google devices, but Amazon is making a convincing argument that they deserve to be in that group.

  2. Steve, I agree. In my opinion, the Fire should have your attention, but that’s all. I think Amazon’s next tablet will be the one to really pay attention to.

  3. Love it. The people at RIM must be standing in front of warehouses of unsold Playbooks going “WTF guys?”

    I’m not convinced the Fire is going to compete with the iPad. It doesn’t feel positioned like a tablet computer as much as portable browser with primo Amazon Cloud integration. However, if it carves out a healthy chunk out of the ebook market (at the expense of other ebook readers like the Nook) or dents some of the non-iPad tablets that some are using as reader/browser hybrids, it may demonstrate to Apple the value of putting more in the cloud.

    I don’t think Apple is worried about the iPad. But I bet Samsung is about to cut prices on the Galaxy.

    I think I’ll pass on the Fire. I already have an iPad and a Kindle that’s less than a year old. But when the the color e-ink gets to the point where it’s not ridiculously expensive, I’m all in.

    • Christian – I completely agree. The Fire is definitely not an iPad competitor. I’m not sure what qualifies something to be considered a tablet, but the Fire is on the borderline to me and more on the side of not a true tablet. The Nook Color is it’s main competition right now and to a lesser extent other media playing devices like the Archos devices (http://www.archos.com/). Without E-Ink, I’m not sure how big a dent it’ll make in the e-reader market. I looked at a Nook Color and wouldn’t use it for an e-reader because the screen hurt after a while. I much prefer my Kindle for ebooks.

      Apple is working on more cloud stuff with their new iOS features, but not quite the same as Amazon has done. I think Apple should worried a little, not a whole lot but a little, if Amazon decides to release a full fledged tablet. I don’t think it’ll kill the iPad, but I think the iPad will lose a good bit of sales. However, right now, Apple is safe as King of the Mountain.

      I have an iPad 2 and a Kindle…both purchased in the passed few months, so I’m good too. If color e-ink gets to that point like you said or someone figures out a Hybrid E-Ink/LCD Display, I will probably do the Dance of Joy. Amazon and Apple are both rumored to be working on a Hybrid Display, so we’ll see.

  4. I see that BlackBerry has knocked $200 off the price of the PlayBook today. Hehehehe.

    I bet you can get the Kobo pretty cheap too. If you can get into any empty former Borders stores, there might be a few still lying around.

    • The Playbook is a nice tablet…the OS and apps need some work. The HP Touchpad was nice too and the OS was lauded as a great OS, but again, lack of apps killed it. Though I did get myself a $150 Touchpad. Now I’m just waiting for Devs to get Android running on it.

      As for the Kobo…oddly, you can still get it BestBuy and it’s still $100 for the regular and $130 for the touch.


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