Saturday, October 29, 2011

A Q&A with Amazon VP on what Kindle Fire can and can't do -


The story about a Q&A after the big Kindle demo on Sept. 28 was posted by The Seattle Times's Brier Dudley.  I hadn't posted on this earlier, but at least one answer was interesting vs what has been written about the Kindle Fire.  There have been all kinds of estimates, some thinking a $40 profit, some saying a $5-$10 loss, but the general trend has been to say that, just guessing, without looking at the insides of a product they can't examine, Amazon might be taking a loss on each device while looking at long-term gains from customers interested in content for the tablet-reader.

Dudley reported that Amazon VP Dave Limp, when asked if Amazon would lose money on the device and make it up on services, said:
' That's not how we look at our business. ... We need to try to make money off both devices and services and do that in a way that's sustainable.  That's what we owe to our shareholders and we continue to do it. '

When asked if there'd be a lower-priced version of the Fire with Special Offers [ads] as there are with the e-Ink Kindles, his answer was:
  "Nothing to announce today."

  On the other hand, with browsers, ads abound.

He confirmed there's a headphone jack and a USB - the latter of the type that allows the user to transfer files to and from the device via the USB cable that comes with most Kindle power cords.

He said they hadn't "optimized" for that use but "if you plug it into a PC or Mac, folders will show up and you can drag fires files onto it. Thanks to Len Edgerly for catching the dragging of fires :-)

Media purchased elsewhere can be played on the Fire. Limp said that he had uploaded his entire iTunes library to the Amazon Cloud, where it becomes visible to the device, -- but the files have to be DRM [digital rights management] free.

When asked if it supports ePub or other book formats besides Amazon's, he said,
  "We don't support that.  We think our book selection and magazine selection are broad.  It does support a great new PDF engine.  The PDF reader is great — [a] desktop-class PDF reader."

  However, the Amazon Android AppsStore has "Aldiko" app, a third-party app which reads non-rights protected ePub files.  It would surprise me if they didn't make that available to the Kindle Fire.

Photos can be shown of course in a 'Gallery' but that wasn't ready for presentation on 9/28.

It does two-finger multitouch and you can pinch-to zoom (verified by another Amazon rep on the Kindle forums recently).

Re cameras, he said they think most tend to carry around a smartphone of some type and most of those have great cameras.
  "To get to these price points, that was one of those trade-offs we were willing to make to get to $199."

It will come with mail, but they've optimized it for "media consumption."

What is battery life like?
' I like to start with the worst-case scenario: if you got on a plane, no Wi-Fi, and you wanted to watch movies straight through. You're going to get up to seven hours [of battery life]. If you do more mixed use — reading, movies, those types of things — you'll get up to eight hours. '

Re Productivity apps:
' We have a mail app and the mail app will treat enclosures as first-class citizens so you can open up Word documents and Excel documents. '

Re portable computing:
  "I watch my movies and read magazines on this [Fire] because it's such an amazing experience.
  But then, when I sit down and want to read a novel, I take out my Kindle 3G. At $199 and $79 you can buy two of these and it's still lower cost than other people's first device.

Here's an interesting answer on popular apps that will be available:
' I haven't talked to Hulu.  We have talked to Netflix, Pandora, Facebook and Twitter, and they all seem very enthusiastic to put an app on the device. '

The version of Android:
  "It's a Gingerbread-based Honeycomb variant of 2.3.  People will get periodic updates of the software."

Read the article to see a bit more I didn't include though.

Reminder: Check Current Kindle Daily Deal at ANY time.  It changes at midnight each day.

Kindle Touch 3G   Kindle Touch WiFi   Kindle Basic   (UK: KBasic)   Kindle Fire
Kindle Keybd 3G   (UK: Kindle Keybd 3G)   K3 Special Offers   K3-3G Special Offers   DX

Check often: Temporarily-free late-listed non-classics or recently published ones
  Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.  Top 100 free bestsellers.  Liked-books under $1
UK-Only: recently published non-classics, bestsellers, or £5 Max ones
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  1. Good article on the Fire. Have been anxious to learn more about it. Thanks.

  2. J.R.,
    Yes, I should have mentioned that article earlier. Glad it helps!

  3. Still no answer to my #1 question: will there be an Instapaper app for it? In particular, I mean one that can load documents when we have WiFi access to read later, as with the iPhone and iPad app? That's been my chief disappointment with my Kindle 3.

  4. service of Amazon is available only in the US. Does it mean that kindle fire won't be able to play media, or it has a build-in media player if I want to play media downloaded from elsewhere?
    2. It would be interesting to compare Kobo Vox and Kindle Fire. It seems that if one doen't live in the US, Kobo is better.

  5. I'm curious if Fire's PDF support will eventually extend to the Kindle 'Print Replica Format' titles (which are evidently mobi-wrapped PDF files). There are fewer than 30 of these in Kindle Store right now AFAICT, and it is debatable how great PDF viewing can be on a 1024x600 screen ('desktop-class' viewing usually involves more resolution than that), so it may be a moot issue. I was unable to send a Print Replica sample to my pre-ordered Fire, so at least I'm assuming it will NOT be supported right away, if ever. Of course, PDF content that is authored specifically for Fire's screen size (or even Kindle's) might be just fine for a lot of stuff, especially if there were an option to sync notes, have ability to navigate a 'pop-out linked table of contents'. One big limitation with Kindle's PDF support to date is that it doesn't have such navigation.

    Note that Aldiko and (the more excellent IMO) Mantano Reader in its ePub/PDF support for Adobe DRM titles, not just non-DRM titles.

  6. is it possible to type an essay on the kindle fire practically, and save it as a word processor document?

  7. Anonymous,
    Sorry it took so long to get back to the comments area on this. The Kindle Keyboard is, for me, too touchy, so to speak, but I mean oversensitive to touch and I can't type reliably on it at all, not even in landscape mode.

    There are, though, apps in the apps store, which allow you to save what you type as a word processor doc and at least one is compatible with Microsoft Word.

    Sorry I can't be more encouraging re typing in an essay, but yes, it's possible, but it can also be a pain, unless you're extremely patient.

  8. ok,thank you very much, that was actually extremely helpful.


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