Monday, December 31, 2012

Notes - on New Kindles. From the Amazon press conference, with UPDATES 9/8/12-4/11/13 - Links to Flash workarounds

These began from raw notes that I expanded as I gathered info and received confirmations.
  So it can be confusing to read, and is here as raw-form reference for those interested.

Updated to put all Kindle Fire HD info in the same layout for details and to add other notes, including Kindle Fire in Europe now as well as listing several features not found in other 7" tablets

Notes added chronologically, 9/8/12-4/11/13:
  1)  Kindle Fires are arriving in Europe: Links to those below also.
  2)  Kindle Fires are partially ad-supported unless an opt-out (for $15) is chosen.
  3)  Kindle Paperwhite has no audio/text-to-speech.
          This reduces cost of hardware and mp3 licenses, but those using an earlier Kindle
           to read with auto-page turns using text-to-speech should keep those models if
           buying the Paperwhite.
  4)  The Kindle Forum FAQ mentions that the  Adobe® Flash®  Player function
           is no longer supported on the new Kindle Fires nor on Google Nexus.
           Adobe is no longer supporting Flash on mobile browsers, but I was told that
           YouTube is using a different video implementation and that
           it works well on Kindle Fire HD in 'automatic' mode.
  5)  While the Kindle Paperwhite has no speakers for text-to-speech,
          The Kindle Forum FAQ confirmed it IS available in the new Kindle Fires
          where enabled by the publisher (along w/ new voice-sync feature).
  6)  Added several special features not found in other 7" tablets
  7)  Added general information re workarounds for Adobe's now dropped Flash support for
          advanced mobile devices like the Google Nexus and Kindle Fire, w/ network tv full-episode video.
  8)  Added links recommended by Amazon Kindle forum members for
          the Flash workaround. (See #21 below instead.)
  9)  Added a link to an alternate file manager and to the now
           ~18 Kindle classics being offered w/free audio temporarily
  10) Added a footer that includes older Kindle models as well.
  11) Paperwhite: First reports & reviews
  12) Paperwhite: Bottom-area unevenness in the dark - Is it normal?
  13) My videos Sept 6 of a Paperwhite demo and Kindle Fire 8.9" magazine feature demo
  14) Reviews that compare 7" Kindle Fire HD vs Google Nexus
  15) Amazon advisory on Paperwhite limitations and recommended light settings.
  16) Paperwhite video comparison wth Nook Glowlight
  17) Step-by-step: How to install Flash Player on Kindle Fire HD
  18) Features Comparison table - Kindle Fire HD 7", Google Nexus 7", iPad mini
  19) More comparisons on iPad mini and Kindle Fire HD
  20) Using the KFire camera and Video, Panorama mode, Time Lapses
  21) How to download Youtube videos to be played on your Kindle Fire
  22) Getting non-Amazon apps
          when not connected to the Net.  Includes a free video player
          that plays almost every video format w/o problems.
  23) Google Maps, Street View and other apps on my Kindle Fire,
          via enabling one device setting
  24) Add Wi-Drive pocketable storage & streaming for Kindles and other devices,
          Or, Portable wireless 320G Patriot Gauntlet drive/stream'g for many mobile devices.
  25) Showing Kindle Fire content on your HDTV
  26) WiFi Explorer Pro for WiFi file transfers to/from PC w/o cable.
  27) Lookout Mobile Security app, for Kindle Fire HD.  A free app - anti-malware,
          can "scream" to help you find it.
  28) Kindle Fire HD 8.9" Reviews, thoughts.
  29) Two favorite Kindle Fire apps for downloading from Youtube and
          for playing almost any video format
  30) The Kindle Fire is a popular tablet choice in survey.
          Gets a multi-player gaming hub system before GooglePlay does.
  31) Lowered pricing on Kindle Fire HD 8.9" now produced for Europe and Japan also.
  32) The Kindle Fire HD 7" 32G model is $229 ($20 lower) eff. 4/11/13.

The Updated Kindle Basic (No Touch, No physical keyboard)
  Now $69 and $89 rather than $79 and $109
  15% faster page turns and darker fonts

Kindle Paperwhite
  $119, $139 w/o special offers on sleep-screens.  No audio/text-to-speech (see Note #3 above)
    Has 25 levels of extremely even, diffused lighting, it's said to have 25% more contrast.
   212 ppi (pixels per inch) -- 62% more pixels for better readability in the smaller font sizes
       and the ability to make more complex fonts
   New capacitive touch screen. (Earlier models used infrared.)
   ~8 weeks on a battery charge w/ Wireless Off , with lighting at level 10
   A new feature estimates how many minutes it'll take to finish the current chapter.
      The estimate will be at the left-bottom of the page.
   To be released Oct. 1.   Can be ordered now.

  Things buyers should know
  The Paperwhite has less storage space than the Kindle Keyboard and Kindle Touch -
  2GB vs previous 4GB.   1.25 GB for user content.

  Why? I suspect that lowest possible price for top quality product was a focus.
    Another, stronger reason - The more books people placed on the Kindle,
      the slower it ran, due to indexes of keywords for each book and handling arrays in memory.

   At that, it can hold "up to 1,100 books," they say. That will depend on how graphics-intensive a book is.  But any book removed from the device is always downloadable again at any time when it's wanted, which is similar to finding and taking a book from your shelf and putting it back when you've finished reading it.

    The ability to organize your books via Collections feature.  Besides a reassuring screenshot circulating from a video on the Paperwhite, Amazon confirmed that the Collections feature IS included for Paperwhite and they updated the product page.

Kindle Paperwhite 3G
  $179, $199 w/o special offers on sleep-screens.  No audio/text-to-speech
   See all the info above for Paperwhite without 3G.
     3G version allows free downloading of books from Kindlestore via cell phone networks,
        which is convenient when you're away from WiFi network access.
     3G models have always also included  free 3G access to Wikipedia - a great feature.
         The Paperwhite product page didn't mention this free 3G Wikipedia access at first,
          but Amazon confirmed it's still included, and they updated the product page.
     To be released Oct. 1.   Backordered.
   Also see Amazon's advisory on light-setting recommendations and some limitations.

The Updated Kindle Fire Basic
  $159. Released Sept 14
  The memory has been increased from 512 MB to 1 GB
      40% faster with longer battery life.
  Storage space is 8GB as before.
  Can be ordered now.  I guess they can all be pre-ordered, actually
    so, no more notes on pre-ordering.

7" Kindle Fire HD 16/32 GB storage
  $199   16GB KFireHD  Released Sept. 14
  $229   32GB KFireHD  to be released Oct. 25. [ 32G reduced by $20 4/11/13 ]
  7" HD display, Dolby Audio, Dual-Band Dual-Antenna Wi-Fi + MIMO
  Battery lasts about 11 hours with Wireless Off
  1280 x 800 display in up to 720p high definition display - duo core processor
  216 ppi (pixels per inch)
  Front-facing camera for use with Skype
  An HDMI port for direct connection to an HDTV.
  X-ray for Movies -- Pause a scene, see the actors' names, brief bios, movie history.
  X-ray for Books -- See a character's bio, appearances in chron order in the book
  Whispersync for Voice -- Read a book on KFire, Continue on associated,
    discounted audio book w/ professional narration
    ~18 Free Kindle Classics w/ Free Audible audio - Amazon promo offer
      Immersion Reading -- see highlighted text while listening to Audible.
  Basic text-to-speech is also available

  Despite a dual-core processor rather than a quad-core like Google's Nexus, this is said to have:
  "High performance 1.2 Ghz dual-core processor with Imagination PowerVR 3D graphics core for fast and fluid performance
  Dual-band, dual-antenna Wi-Fi for 40% faster downloads and streaming"
    (compared to iPad 4)

  Has "an advanced polarizing filter" applied "directly to the LCD panel.
    This results in a display that shows the same deep contrast
    and rich, detailed color when viewed at any angle."

  ALL Kindle Fires come with Dolby Digital Plus and Stereo speakers with virtual surround sound.

  Adobe's new lack of Flash support for mobile browsers - a workaround
  The new Kindle Fires (and Google Nexus) don't support the Adobe Flash<® Player function.  When I saw this in the Kindle forum FAQ, I asked how this might affect YouTube sessions and network TV re-runs.   The answer was that Adobe is no longer supporting Flash on mobile browsers but that YouTube's video implementation works very well on Kindle Fire HD.

  Kindle forum regulars have found an easy workaround for this, also used for the Google Nexus and other advanced Android-system tablets -- Here's the step-by-step guide.

  I stick with the Kindle Fire's Silk web browser ('Web' on the top menu) for everything else (especially Amazon's excellent 'Article View' feature for Web articles -- it presents more readable web-article text devoid of ads (when you tap the eyeglasses icon at the top), and the tablet gives us a choice between browsers for activities like videos.

  Forum members, including Kindle Forum Pros explain that those who want to use these two files, should FIRST get, from Amazon Apps store, the file manager, ES File Explorer [or File Expert], used to manage files and install an Android app file.

  A Setting that must be done before doing any of this
  Amazon allows users to choose to install apps from "unknown sources" and you can "enable" that (do this only with files recommended by people you trust) by going to 'Home' screen and swiping down (lightly pressing and pulling down) from the top of the screen, to see the Quick Settings Menu; then click on "More" at the right, and go down that Settings list to "Device" to Check the box to allow installation of applications from 'unknown sources.'

  Also, when Android devices don't have rights to view some video material, the Dolphin browser has a "user agent" setting and you can then be seen by the video webpage as using an iPad or a Desktop instead, which usually solves the problem.  Remember to switch back to Android later.

  I switch between the Dolphin browser and Amazon's "Silk" browser, using Dolphin when Flash is needed, and can now see the videos that require Flash.   (B&N does not allow 'unknown source' app files on the Nook tablet, so Amazon is just more open re non-company-store apps, although obviously they prefer users to use their store's apps if they have the file.  Someday, websites still using Flash will catch up and have to use another method to show videos, as Youtube now does for most of its offerings.

  NOTE: When you're browsing YouTube using Amazon's Kindle Fire "Silk" browser, make sure the Web menu-setting for "Requested website view" is set to "Automatic," rather than "Desktop, to get all the YouTube videos w/o requiring a flash player.

The most helpful customer review - "You get what you pay for" includes points many have found useful vs reading only the marketing materials.

  Reviews that compare 7" Kindle Fire HD vs Google Nexus 7" tablets

8.9" Kindle Fire HD 16/32 GB storage
  $269/$299.  To be released Nov. 20 Started shipping 11/15/12.
      (the equivalent iPad 10-inch tablet is $600 for 32GB storage
      while the Kindle Fire 8.9" 32GB model is ~$300.
  8.9" HD display, Dolby Audio, Dual-Band Dual-Antenna Wi-Fi + MIMO
  Battery lasts about 11 hours with Wireless Off
  1920 x 1200 display in up to 1080p high definition - duo core processor
  254 ppi (pixels per inch -- Retina range)
  Front-facing camera for use with Skype
  An HDMI port for direct connection to an HDTV.
  X-ray for Movies -- Pause a film, see the actors' names, brief bios, movie history.
  X-ray for Books -- See a character's bio, appearances in chron order in the book
  Whispersync for Voice -- Read a book on KFire, Continue on associated,
    discounted audio book w/ professional narration
    ~18 Free Kindle Classics w/ Free Audible audio - Amazon promo offer
      Immersion Reading -- see highlighted text while listening to Audible.
  Basic text-to-speech is also available

  Despite a dual-core processor rather than a quad-core like Google's Nexus, this is said to have:
  "High performance 1.5Ghz dual-core processor with Imagination PowerVR 3D graphics core for fast and fluid performance
  Dual-band, dual-antenna Wi-Fi for 40% faster downloads and streaming
    (compared to iPad 4)"

  Has "an advanced polarizing filter" applied "directly to the LCD panel.
    This results in a display that shows the same deep contrast
    and rich, detailed color when viewed at any angle."

  Here's the resolution on an image from the Kindle Fire HD Jeff Bezos was using
    as seen when projected onto the large screen in the hall.

  All Kindle Fires come with Dolby Digital Plus and stereo speakers with virtual surround sound.

Kindle Fire HD 8.9" w/ "ultra-fast 4G LTE wireless" 32/64 GB storage
  $399/$499.  To be released Nov. 20 Started shipping 11/15/12.
(See above for the features that apply to all Kindle Fire HD 8.9" models.)

For $399, what does the basic Kindle Fire HD 8.9" 4G/LTE have?
  It has 32 gigs of storage plus 3G/4G cellular network capability.
  The $499 iPad4 has only 16 gigs of storage and NO 3G/4G capability.

  Apple charges an additional $130 for that 3G/4G capability, making the Apple iPad cost $629 for the 16GB storage space model,
    before the cost of a monthly data plan for an iPad 4.
  Apple's iPad -- when you add 16 GB to equal KFire HD 8.9" -- costs yet another $100. $729 total.

  Minimal Data Plan: 250MB with 20GB Cloud Storage and $10 Appstore Credit
    The Kindle Fire's basic low-cost plan for 250 MB etc. costs $ 50 total for the first year.
    The Apple iPad's basic low cost plan for 250 MB etc. costs $230 per year.

  3G/4G LTE models (Using basic 32GB for Kindle Fire and iPad)
  Year 1 Total Costs:   iPad4 - $959     Kindle Fire 8.9"- $449

  An added Kindle Fire HD 8.9" 4G LTE feature: 20GB of additional Cloud Drive storage "for your photoas and more, plus a $10 Amazon Appstore promotional credit."

How much data will 250MB per month cover though?
  NOTE - They say you wouldn't have to rely on WiFi and could use the 4G that comes with a plan at $50/yr, but it's important that you know it's extremely limited data and would be good mainly for checking text email while away or reading text. That's when you wouldn't need to rely on WiFi without using all your 3G access in a day or two, because in no way would it be nearly enough for one normal video of course.

  Their product pages mention elsewhere that a STANDARD definition video is around 500 MB and an average HD movie is 2GB (I've seen higher figures than these though).

  But again, it  would help for reading pure text in a book, from time to time while out where there's no WiFi available.  At $50/year, for mainly quick e-mail and some book-reading, this is VERY good.  Apple has a minimum plan for the 250MB of data but charges $230 per year for their plan, while Amazon somehow is offering that for $50 per year.

  Audio -
  Re the exclusive Dolby Digital, "Dolby Digital Plus includes technology used to adjust volume, create virtual surround sound, and deliver easier-to-understand dialogue in movies and TV shows.  Kindle Fire HD is designed to automatically optimize the audio profile based on what you're doing."

  They tuned them to reproduce deeper bass, with an emphasis on no hearable distortion (there's always a small amount).

  A Kindle Fire HD was used to drive some large speakers during the presentation.  I'll eventually upload video from the live audience perspective.

The following is worth quoting from the product page.
' The TI OMAP4470 processor in the Kindle Fire HD 8.9" has 40% more memory bandwidth than Tegra 3, enabling faster web browser JavaScript performance.
  ' And Kindle Fire HD 8.9" has an Imagination SGX544 3D graphics core that can process over 12 billion floating-point operations per second, so even graphically intensive games run smoothly and render stunning scenery.
  ' We also tuned the graphics pipeline and touch handling software to eliminate delays between when you touch the screen and when the application responds.  This means the home screen scrolls more smoothly, videos start playing faster, and games respond nearly instantaneously.

  Audible audiobooks sync'd with Kindle books
  ' Kindle Fire HD can now synchronize Kindle text with companion Audible audiobooks with real-time highlighting... ' called "Immersion Reading." This feature is part of Whispersync for Voice -- so far, ~15,000 Kindle/Audible combos include the sync'd text highlight, but it's not available on all Audible audio with Kindle books.
  Also, Amazon also said customers can add available professional narration of a book for a reduced price of $3.95 on certain books when you buy the Kindle book.  [Somewhat like bundling, but at a discount rather than free]

    While Amazon currently offers a few free examples of Kindle books with Audible Audio Whispersync for Voice, the average pricing of a limited set of combo purchases when available is $3.95 or less, per Amazon's product pages.  The regular offerings are more expensive.

NOTE:  Kindle Fire HD tablets are partially ad-supported with "Special Offers" (unless you opt out) in that:
  "Your offers display on the lock screen and the lower left hand corner of the home screen -- they don't interrupt use of the device."

  Many have actually preferred to get the special offers/Amazon discounts, which can be considerable, but the idea is anathema for many.  Initially, there was no option available,  probably because they went for best hardware & processes this time and, apparently, are relying on advertiser revenue to help support the cost.  I had this added caution here in case, but Amazon has quickly decided to offer an opt-out choice for $15, which can be chosen at the Manage Your Kindle page.

Whispersync for Games
  "GameCircle titles with Whispersync automatically store your progress in the cloud, so you'll never lose an unlocked level or saved game, even if you delete the game from your device."

Audible books using Whispersync
  Add the professional narration of [whatever book] for a reduced price of $3.95 after you buy this Kindle book. [Somewhat like bundling, but at a discount rather than free]

  There are also free narrations for free Kindle books.   See details on Whispersync for Voice

UK, Italy, France, Germany to get Kindle Fires
The first to get these outside the U.S..   These will start at £129 In UK, €159 In France.

  TechCrunch added: "Along with Amazon’s big tablet announcements earlier today, it’s finally also unveiled the first markets to get the Kindle Fire tablets — both the new Kindle Fire and the HD version — outside of the U.S. The news first trickled out in a forum announcement on, which also announced availability of the new Kindle e-reader."

  [Update 9/10 - These were announced as available in the Uk, France, and Italy last night.]
Links to those stores: Italia, Deutschland, France

Canada and China Amazon-stores were quietly launched in Dec. 2012.
  See Current Kindles - Listing

Excellent Live Blogs of the announcements with pictures and good details.
TechCrunch's Live Blog with commentary
Their Event coverage
All Things D's Live Blog, narrative style

Excerpts or highlights of the Amazon presentation (WSJ)
Video of full presentation

  My videos Sept 6 of a good Paperwhite demo and a Kindle Fire 8.9" magazine feature demo

Also, My Photo Log of points made at the announcements will be enlarged later to show more of the atmosphere and crowd at these events, for anyone interested.

More detailed reports
  CNet's Danny Sullivan explains Amazon's parental controls (AKA parental support) and the multi-user aspect of it.

And in one Amazon Singles book, Len Edgerly of The Kindle Chronicles describes the entire launch event in an entertaining and very informative way with unusual context and depth and has links to further reading and media.
  Details here.  The book is also available in the Prime Lending Library.

  Len also had a 20-minute interview with Jeff Bezos in Seattle, in July 2012, which is a fun read and reassuring in many ways for avid readers.

  I've listened to his podcasts for 3 years and communicated with him in email but had never met him until the media event Sept. 6.  Despite the gray in his hair, he is a mass of youthful energy that belies the calm you hear when he speaks.
  But most of all he brings an intense thoughtfulness to his research and reports and is one of the most balanced reporters I've read.

Current Kindle Models for reference, plus free-ebook search links.
Updated Kindle Fire 2 Basic  7" tablet - $159
Kindle Fire HD 7" 16/32GB - $199/$249
Kindle Fire HD 8.9" 16/32GB - $269/$299
Kindle Fire HD 8.9" 4G 32/64GB - $399/$499
Kindle NoTouch ("Kindle") - $69/$89
Kindle Paperwhite, WiFi - $119/$139
Kindle Paperwhite, WiFi+3G - $179/$199
Kindle Keybd 3G - $139/$159, Free slow web
Kindle DX - $379 $299 Discontinued
Kindle Basic, NoTouch - £69
Kindle Touch WiFi, UK - ~£89 Refurb'd
Kindle Keyboard 3G, UK - £149
  Keybd: w/ Free, slow 3G WEB
Kindle Paperwhite, WiFi
Kindle Paperwhite 3G, UK
Kindle Fire 2, UK
Kindle Fire HD 7" 16/32GB, UK
Canada - Kindlestore, CDN-$
Kindle Basic, NoTouch - $89
Kindle Paperwhite, WiFi - $139
Kindle Paperwhite, WiFi+3G - $199

*OTHER International*
Kindle NoTouch Basic - $89
Kindle Touch WiFi - $139
Kindle Keybd 3G - $189
  Keybd: w/ Free, slow 3G WEB
Paperwhite WiFi - $139 & 3G/Wifi - $199

France Boutique Kindle
Deutschland - Kindle Store
Italia - Kindle Store
Spain - Tienda Kindle
Brazil - Amazon Brazil
China - Amazon China
Japan - Amazon Japan

  For daily free ebooks, check the following links:
Temporarily-free books - Non-classics
USA: by:
   Publication Date  
   Bestselling   High-ratings

UK: PubDate   Popular

The Kindle Daily Deal

What is 3G? and "WiFi"?       Battery Care

Highly-rated under $1
,  Newest: $1-$2, $2-$3
Most Popular Free K-Books
U.S. & Int'l (NOT UK):
   Top 100 free
   Top 100 free

Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.

USEFUL for your Kindle Keyboard (U.S. only, currently):
  99c Notepad 1.1,   99c Calculator,
  99c Calendar,   99c Converter

  *Click* to Return to the HOME PAGE.  Or click on the web browser's BACK button

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  1. After a year of happy usage with my Kindle Fire, I sold it a couple weeks ago in order to purchase a Google Nexus. But just before I made the purchase (I actually had the thing in the cart), I read about Amazon's upcoming press conference and decided to wait. It was tough to wait, but I'm glad I did. Now I can't decide which Kindle I want.

    1. Jerry, I was so busily putting the info and pics together that it had not occurred to me to order, but I did think that these will be even more successful than last year's immediate response -- and now remembering they don't always stock enough, I probably should. Amazon at least has their 30-day refund policy too (no questions asked etc). I still enjoy my 7" KFire so I will be going for one of the 8.9" ones. (And I do think the 3G deal is good. It'll help me not have to tether as often just to look at email.

  2. Fortunately I waited. Was quite amazing! Thank you for the notes!

    1. Erick, thanks for reading! I'm glad you and Jerry waited. I've been restrained and not as effusive as I felt. Just being cautious but will write some more when I get back to bay area this afternoon.

  3. Another question: Any indication the original Fire will get a firmware update (the old one, not the new updated, improved one)?

    1. Hugh, have not heard anything about the older Kindle Fire getting a software update, but it's my best guess that it will get one.

    2. I hope so. I'll miss the grey wood panel background, but everything else looks really nice. I don't like the current facebook app (really just a link) or email. Also the kids space thing would be useful. An update to my Fire and a Kindle Paperwhite would suit me fine.

  4. I ordered a PW and a Fire as soon as I was able to get to an order page and then had to cancel the PW this morning. I was so disappointed to see the removal of TTS and thus the auto-page turning feature. I use the TTS on my drive to work, and the auto-page turn when I need to be hands-free. So I've cancelled for now an will likely re-order when/if a feature compelling enough for me to purchase is added. We already have two Kindles in the house, a 3G KK and a KT. I'm not willing to get rid of either for the current PW, nor can I justify a 3rd Kindle in this economy--it just seems too wasteful.

    On the other hand, I've got my fingers crossed as tight as I can that I won't miss any Google apps on the Fire HD, namely Voice and G+. Since we've gotten rid of our laptops in lieu of a single pc, I feel more comfortable having two tablets so I may keep my current Galaxy Tab. With all the cheap tablets now, I don't imagine that it has much value to anyone else even if I did want to sell it (I'm conveniently and deliberately choosing to forget my family members who've eyed it in envy.)

    1. Jazz, considering your driving and auto-page turn listening needs, I'd not opt for the Paperwhite either (or I'd get the non-3G one for when I wanted to read at night w/o a light, since it really is superb looking -- my guess is that you'll eventually get one at that $119 and justify it pretty easily.

      Amazon has confirmed that the Kindle Fire HDs will have text-to-speech.

  5. Andrys, you said:

    "The Paperwhite product page did not mention this free 3G Wikipedia access anymore, but Amazon has confirmed it's still included, and the product page will reflect that soon."

    It's been mentioned on the page for at least the last two days because I saw it, under WebKit-Based Browser:

    "Paperwhite 3G enables you to connect to the Kindle Store and access Wikipedia - all over 3G or Wi-Fi. Experimental web browsing on other websites is only available over Wi-Fi."

    The problem with the product page is that's information overload; in forums I see many people asking questions about things that are buried in there.

    1. Blackbeard, thanks -- but I actually wrote them a few days ago about it being missing and they said Wikipedia IS still good and they were going to make sure to add it and they did, right away.

      But since someone had mentioned it to me, and I don't know when people might go back to the pages (not all of them look at the product pages often as some of us do), I decided to explain.

      A lot had changed in the writeups, such as including no more explicit mentions of free 3g web browsing for KK, but I also found pages where limits had applied and the limits ARE still there and the Amazon UK site still has the free 3G table on their site and they follow overall policy.

      So, there were older valuable features that were, at the time or currently, unmentioned but which are still available. I certainly didn't ask them to mention free 3G web browsing on KK page as I'm sure that was a decision -- I'm happy that so far it stays available.

      What changed is the lack of mention so that it would not be so encouraged then, which is fine with me, as long as it's still possible or when it's ever not we know it's not. The Wikipedia access concerned me more as the Kindle Touch has it and it is such a great feature, so I was glad to see it go up.

      They're quite responsive and a couple of other things I noticed that were on KK and KTouch have also been added since then.

      They really had a LOT to put up very quickly and are glad to know when something that was put up by others for older products may need to be mentioned as a feature. They had concentrated on the introduction and explanationnew of new features.

      Collections feature was another one that was missing, so someone had told me it made them not interested in ordering after all, and I double-checked it and let Amazon know that section was missing. But it's apparently just that it was an an older feature, and an oversight while trying to explain the many new features that are part of the latest Kindles.

  6. Sadly, the Paperwhite does not have text-to-speech. I ordered one anyway, but I really wish it had that feature. Speakers are not something you can add with a software upgrade, either. Sigh.

    1. Hi, Carmen
      Yes, I wish it did, but it was good that it came in at this price point. IF one is used to the TTS (and most I know don't use it although I have), I recommend keeping the old one for just that and using this one at night or in dimmer light. Please let me know what you think after getting it. I think you'll be amazed (as I was).

  7. A couple of observations:

    First, on the KF basic ($159), the internal "RAM" was doubled from 512MB to 1GB (comes along with the 40% faster processor) not 8GB to 16GB as your post suggests -- you do correctly state that media storage capability remains at 8GB.

    I was travelling back from NYC at the time of the announcement so I pulled into a Denny's parking lot along the NC/VA border and "watched" via a couple of live blogs on my KF. :D

    I had watched the Nokia/MS announcement the day before with Elop/Balmer. Amazon's announcement was generally well received whereas the Nokia one was not -- even though both announced good products. Nokia chose to have a variety of speakers where Bezos did the Amazon thing in toto. The Nokia message was fragmented while Bezos presented a very crisp and clear vision about Amazon's strategy going forward. Of course Nokia had no pricing or availability info (just like MS with their Surface tablets). This does not go over well. In Nokia's defense, I would guess they're waiting to see what Apple does vis a vis the iPhone 5 pricing at their event this coming Wednesday before they commit to pricing.

    I found Bezos' comments that the kindles are a "service" not a device/product and that Amazon makes money when their customers use their devices not when they buy them to be particularly apt.

    The new product layouts on are nicely done -- I particularly like the comparison matrix. From these pages, it is apparent that Amazon is adopting the "Fire" moniker for their tablet devices, and "Book Reader" for their e-ink devices -- all under the "Kindle" rubric - so now we have "Kindle Fires" (KFs) and "Kindle Book Readers" (KBRs).

    Interestingly, the KDX is still in the product mix at $379. I wonder if they sell any of these (or will)? Going forward I can buy a 32GB KF HD for $369 which is cheaper, has way more storage, and generally seems a better deal to me.

    I was intrigued by the sub-account notion in the "Time Out" feature for management of kiddie kindle activity. I was disappointed that they did nothing about collections -- perhaps they're leaving stuff like that for 3rd parties in the app store.

    A final thought: some columnist right after the announcement wondered if the "PaperWhite" name might be ill-considered as it is euphonically close to "Paperweight"

    1. Edward,
      What was I thinking! :-) At least you know I wasn't copying from sheets. in that case ti would have been better. Thanks for the catch.

      The KDX is in the comparison table and sometimes in the Family in the photo array above (and sometimes not). I wish they'd update the software.

      Re the comments by JB about the Kindles, you saw the photos I chose to highlight in the 19 I uploaded for 'points' I guess? Or maybe just the 4 in the blog article. What he said was apt, and I hope he makes it right with the DX re the upgrade needed to match what was done for the KK software within 2-3 months of the other. I've seen that some people are still interested in the e-Ink quality of a bigger screen.

      I saw Bufo's mention last night re 'paperweight' and it has always come to mind, but it's such a gorgeous one and you can read it while it's sitting on paper :-) This one really is paper white, with that lighting. I was even more impressed at the nicely smooth steps of control they give.

  8. Regarding the Paperwhite Kindle - how does the new page refresh - once you move to the next page is there a total black-out each time. Have Kindle Keyboard and Nook Simple. In the Nook Simple it takes about 6 or 7 page views until the whole page "blacks-outs/refreshes". In the Kindle Keyboard it black-outs in every page turn.

    How does the new software behave on the Paperwhite ? Important factor for me whether to upgrade to this new Kindle.


    1. The first thing I tried when testing these at the stations was to see how many pages it would take before a refresh. The Kindle Touch DOES have that choice but the Kindle Keyboard may not have received a software update for it though I'll check later.

      There was no ghosting that I saw and the usual dark flash was not that noticeable. On the other hand I've seen them since 2008 so may be less sensitive to them.

      Software - ultra smooth and responsive. People were exclaiming all around me (these are mostly hard-nosed high tech journalists who tend to be somewhat cynical but the unit impressed everyone I talked with).

      It's hard to believe the evenness of the diffused light with 25 levels of intensity, when used to seeing the light sources and the somewhat uneven lighting on other devices.

  9. Kindle Keyboard gets new life (3.4 update)! KF8, yay! I was a doubter about whether KF8 would ever make it, but glad to be wrong. As KK is the only Kindle with a claim to 'accessibility', it is good to see that it is still in the lineup.

    I hope they're planning some accessibility features for Fire HD line (beyond TTS). Voice search, for example.

    Hope the Fire and Kindle Touch will get updates also. It would underscore the message that Amazon isn't creating an upgrade treadmill.

    Looking forward to getting KPW. Did you try typing a note? is capacitative touch noticeably more responsive?

    Regarding pricing of KPW, I think they really needed to undercut Nook GlowLight in particular, and they also undercut KoboGlo. Shaving audio and storage helped them achieve this (while keeping the 3G model below $200). I think very few people actually use TTS or audio or they would not have done this. Not sure I would have been willing to pay more than $200 for 3G model, much as I miss the now missing hardware.

    I expect B&N to follow up with 1024x768 lighted screen Nook. They would do well to add something like instapaper integration, or wikipedia lookup as well. If not turning the web browser back on.

    1. Tom, thanks for the early word!

      No, didn't try typing a note. But it never missed a touch the way the other e-Ink touch readers can. It's buttery. Wish I had though. Certainly had the opportunity. So much to see and so many to question, which reminds me I want to do an entry on another plus re the Paperwhite, once I finish what I'm doing on another (non-computer) project today.

      The Glowlight cannot begin to compete with the Paperwhite in look. It's truly amazing. You know I don't talk like that often. I didn't like what I considered somewhat uneven lighting on the Glowlight and being able to see the sources too (with dark areas in between).

      Except for Bufo, I know not one person who uses the TTS, though I've used it but not often. I do know of people online who use it for auto-page-turns though while exercising using TTS for just the page turns.

      B&N will never allow 3G wikipedia lookup since not even a WiFi browser at all is included currently and they stopped offering the 3G access for Nook books in its own Touch. Free 3G Wikipedia 24/7 costs Amazon something but apparently they think it's worth it -- it's really a great educational tool in many ways.

      The TTS and then KF8 in the KK makes sense, as the State Dept is looking for these things and while the DoS can get the TTS in the KFire now (after lowering battery requirements to 8 hrs or so and wanting VIDEO) the accessibility thing is huge with any contracts having to do with federal money.

      Thanks again for the heads up.

    2. Seems like a waterproof case (even a ziplock bag) should be feasible with KPW's capacitative touch screen. Bathtub and pool reading (if not reading of scuba diving charts), sidelined by Kindle Touch, should be possible again!

      Hope there will still be a way to do screen capture without the physical Home button.

      I assume that the Kobo Glo uses the same 'off the shelf' lighting as Nook. But I'm looking forward to side by side comparisons when all of the devices are available. I have a feeling that Kindle will blow the others away at least in terms of the light quality. The capacitative touch screen should set it apart as well.

      Sony really missed the boat this time around. Wonder if they'll still be doing this in a year.

    3. Tom,
      The screen technology for the Paperwhite is from a company that's been working on it for 4 years and Amazon bought them about 2 years ago and they've been going at it since. It's very different.

      FAR more diffused and ultra-even light. There's no comparison between Glowlight and Paperwhite, as it turns out. It is a just beautiful screen. You're right that it'll blow others away with the light quality. My first thought when seeing and trying it was that they would sell zillions once people saw it. It's also ultra responsive.

  10. I want to recomend you a very good polish article about all diffrences between Kindle Paperwhite & Kindle Touch:

  11. Very impressive gadget! Especially the 8,9” Kindle Fire HD although the cost are very high.

  12. From Kindle Support:

    "I confirm that the Kindle Fire HD 8.9" 32 GB version has 4 times (approx 8GB) of the Apps storage space compared to 1st generation Kindle Fire. I'm sorry, I do not have the exact figure currently and therefore I have requested the technical team for additional information on this. Please be assured that I'll write back to you in 2-3 days with the exact figure."

    So, they are still limiting the amount of app space. With the way that my KF 1 filled up (and my 32GB iPad fills up with apps) this disappoints me. But not enough to cancel my preorder.

  13. brik,
    8GB is not bad for apps -- The thing is not to keep on the device the apps you don't intend to use for a long time. I have apps I don't intend to use for at least 3 months to a year, and I remove them and keep them in the Cloud ready for download at any time.

    The actual application data can be humongous now with all the dense HD graphics, so they have to leave enough room for those.

    Could you add to your request for info to Kindle Support, an answer on how much Apps storage will be available to the 64GB model?


    1. I asked Amazon about the 64GB model:

      "At this time we are not in a position to provide you with the exact information. I’m sorry.

      I need to look into more information about this question. I’ve forwarded your question to our technical team so that I can provide you the correct information.

      I’ll personally follow it up and write back with the exact information as soon as the technical team will get back to me.

      Situations such as this are rare, and errors like this are usually corrected shortly after they're reported."[!]

    2. In their product page table, there's no figure for battery usage yet either.
      (I think that last sentence was from the wrong boilerplate :-) )

  14. OK, I will ask. But, since my KF1 had 2GB/8GB for apps* and my new 8.9" has 8GB/32GB I am going to guess that it will also have 1/4 of its memory reserved as well (16GB).

    *I also suspect that some of that 2GB was also used for other things.

  15. Thanks, brik -
    The basic Kindle Fire left 5.5GB for users' own files. So they used 2.5GB for system and apps, though I think I saw they reserved only 1GB for apps when I looked...

    1. Here's the latest reply and it is good news:

      "I've contacted our technical department and would like to confirm that there is no separate memory allocation for Apps storage on Kindle Fire HD 32 GB and Kindle Fire HD 64 GB.

      I'd like to confirm that you'll be able to install any number of apps on your device.

      However, when the device has less than 500MB of storage left, applications can't be installed.

      So, please make sure that your device storage is more than 500MB before installing apps.

      If you still encounter any trouble or need more help, please contact us back using below link and we’ll help you right away:"


    2. brik,
      GREAT job, both you and your very capable customer rep! It's so good not to get boilerplate.

      Impressive! Thanks again.

    3. I received another (odd) reply to my inquiry:

      "I sincerely apologize for the delay in responding to your earlier inquiry about separate storage for the apps on the 64GB Kindle Fire.

      I've received a response from the technical team and they've responded saying “Kindle HD does not have separate storage for internal/applications.” I’m sorry."{!}

      So, double confirmation. I guess I can believe it! Now, if they would only patch the KF1 so it would work the same.

    4. brik, I sort of wish that the 2nd person replying had been more precise because -- despite the preface identifying that the query is about the 64GB Kindle Fire -- the wording of "Kindle HD" rather than the 64GB or even 32GB Kindle Fire not using a separate storage area for the apps is somewhat confusing.

      Also, does internal mean their built-in apps or also the ones added from external sources? Thanks for forwarding it though!

  16. Andrys - I just picked up a KF HD, I had originally considered waiting for the iPad mini, but considering the potential price of the iPad and the $199 price of the KF HD, I opted for the latter. With just 2 days of use, I have to say I am impressed with the KF HD so far. The device is snappy when moving from task to task, the screen is excellent, and the UI is taking some getting used to but I am liking it.

    I have many Amazon books, and the Nook was not really an option. The only complaint, if you can call it that, is not Micro SD storage option like on the Nook devices. But the fact the KF HD has a front camera kind of balances that out. If the KF would add SD storage option, it would be absolutely perfect.

    1. Creative-Edge, thanks for adding your experience here. The display does mesmerize me and, as you say, the unit is very responsive. You can add favorites (webpages, apps, music, books, games) by going to the Carousel after you've closed whatever it is that you want to favorite.
      Long-press the icon in the Carousel (it'll be the first, most-recent one) and choose to 'Add to favorites' ...

      You bring up Favorites from anywhere you happen to be, via the normal tablet menu that is sometimes hidden but you'll see "||" or two small vertical lines and can click on it to open the menu.

      Then you can click on the large Star icon to bring up the favorites and can go to any of these from where you are (for example: when reading a book and wanting to check the favorite webpage) and then return to what you were doing afterward.

      On the Home page, you can click on that Star icon to bring up the Favorites and it covers the Carousel and any Amazon suggestions underneath the Carousel.

      By the way, enjoyed your Yosemite pics - lake reflections, Tunnel View, Bridalveil Falls, the video of the bear and its cubs ... Was last there at the end of May. Had beautiful weather but even better, caught a storm clearing on the last full day.

      Re the add'l storage, I use a Wi-Drive, which streams its contents to up to 3 devices at one time, either the same video or book or different ones to each device, very smooth. I have a somewhat chaotic write-up of it when discovering it.
      For some reason the 32GB version is less expensive -- and they're phasing out the 16GB one.


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