Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Kindler-related Tablet and eReader news-bits. The iPad Mini: Where/What. HTC tablets discontinued in U.S.

A few headlines from the news

These are mainly quick links to tablet/reader-related news stories that might interest readers.

Analyst predicts Google 10" tablet -- Richard Shim, an analyst with NPD DisplaySearch, had accurate information beforehand on all three Kindle tablets announced in September.

  NASDAQ reports that his info is that Google has teamed up with Samsung to build a 10-inch version of the Nexus tablet.  That will take awhile, and it promises to be fairly pricey, as the specs he quotes exceed Apple's in important ways.  
  One example: Apple iPad 3's display resolution is 2048 x 1536, and he expects the 10-inch Nexus to reach 2560 x 1600.  He bases his predictions on "supply chain indications."

  Shim describes the anticipated 10-inch Nexus as "high-end" and also says that Google will also produce a $99 tablet in December.  Many doubt the $99 one will happen or that it would be worth buying, since the current basic Nexus 7" tablet is $199 and has only 8GB of RAM, just one speaker, and no HDMI out.  It has GPS though.

A new survey indicates strongly that the iPad Mini may not be quite the auto-buy
for Apple users (or others) as had been expected.  See the full story for details.

Apple's rumored IPad Mini and the much-awaited invite (world. bated. breath)
The invites to hear about the iPad Mini were to go out today, but as of 3pm PDT, no one's reported seeing one yet.  So the expected invite date is changing to Thursday.  Most of the current news stories are that the unit will have no cellular option (WiFi only) and won't be using the Retina feature, which is confusing reporters because a unique feature at this point becomes more important, with the current popularity of the Kindle Fire HD, the Google Nexus 7", and the new B&N Nook Tablets HD (which have SD slots, higher screen resolution but, oddly, no front-facing (or any) camera, so no way to do Skype on them -- which I think is a mistake).
  Most think the iPad Mini 7" will be priced at around $299.

  Some images said to be of the iPad Mini were shown on Twitter yesterday.  The Daily Mail has a clearer picture of the small unit placed on the iPad.

A recent Pew Research Center report:
  52 percent of tablet owners reported having an iPad -- down from 81 percent in Pew's 2011 survey. Android-based devices made up the remainder of the U.S. tablet market, per the survey.  If it's true that the iPad Mini may not be as in demand as first anticipated, it may be fortuitous for Apple that:

    iPad Mini shipments estimate has already been cut
10 million iPad Minis were said to have been ordered (per WSJ and others) for the 4th quarter.  That estimate was changed today to about 5-7 million, with supplier difficulties cited.  Fortune's Philip Elmer-DeWitt reports that Brian White's dispatches from an Asian road trip, as of Tuesday, describe what a "challenge" it is for suppliers to fill in time, due to the specs, with 'yields' being 'frustrating.

In the meantime
  .  HTC has discontinued sales of its tablets in the U.S.  As we've seen, the tablet market is crowded and low margin, for the most 'successful' vendors.

Current Kindle Models for reference, plus free-ebook search links.
NOTES on newer Kindles.

Updated Kindle Fire Basic  7" tablet - $159
Kindle Fire HD 7" 16/32GB - $199/$249
Kindle Fire HD 8.9" 16/32GB - $299/$369
Kindle Fire HD 8.9" 4G 32/64GB - $499/$599
Kindle NoTouch ("Kindle") - $69/$89
Kindle Paperwhite, WiFi - $119/$139
Kindle Paperwhite, 3G - $179/$199
Kindle Keybd 3G - $139/$159, Free but slow web
Kindle DX - $379 $299, Free, slow web
Kindle Basic, NoTouch - £69
Kindle Touch WiFi, UK - £109
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
OTHER International
Kindle NoTouch Basic - $89
Kindle Touch WiFi - $139
Kindle Keybd 3G - $189
  Keybd: w/ Free, slow 3G WEB

Boutique Kindle
Deutschland - Kindle Store
Italia - Kindle Store
Spain - Tienda Kindle

* Kindle Fire HD to be released October 25, 2012 in listed European areas above;
    Paperwhite to be released November 22, 2012 there.

  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):
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  1. iPad Mini predictions:
    - More like $399
    - No 4G option
    - 2048 x 1536 (same as iPad3)
    - high resolution pressure sensitive digitizing stylus like Galaxy Note S-pen
    - 'intelligent' touch sensitive bezel (scroll/page without obstructing the screen)

    Well. Those last two are a bit speculative. Still I think they need to do something to set it apart from the 7" competition and justify the higher price. It has to have something even current iPad owners will feel a little envious of, not just the fact that it is more portable.

  2. Tom, interesting. You think they'd actually charge that much? I think it'd be a tough sell.

    Your resolution is less than that analyst is predicting from supply chain indicators but the no 4G matches what he's said.

    Wow, I agree that a high-quality digitizing stylus would make the difference but it would make the iPad 3 seem lesser (which is what someone else said the new little one might do).

    I don't get it. They've a rep for being way ahead of the pack, but here they join it and there's a danger they won't be ahead of the Android-based ones and lose that special way-above aspect the reviewers keep using. And if they do something to charge as much as $350-$400 I don't think it'd go. Too many other good tablets out now. The Kindle Fire HD offers so much in the way of content presented well and fairly simple, the only thing they can count on is if people just go on believing that Pogue, Mossberg, and CR had shown it to be a lesser tablet. The first two were so lacking in substance when almos tall they could focus on was "How dare they think that small basic tablet would be as good as the 10" $499 iPad."
    But, if I were an iPad owner (rather than Samsung), I'd want a little one that matches what I have, so the tons of approved apps still all work and the navigation is the same. I was surprised at the survey, since I think most iPad users would want a portable version if it's available, as long as they don't charge too much for it.

  3. Not sure what you mean about analyst prediction about resolution. The one referenced above applies to a 10" Nexus device, not iPad Mini. Mini has to be able to run iPad apps and that constrains it to 1024x768 or 2048x1536 (at least in the shorter dimension)—the latter would provide the highest pixel density of any 7"-ish display, while the former would provide the lowest pixel density compared to the current 7" generation.

    Apple doesn't compete on price when it comes to hardware, and nobody has proven that they need to. They build in profits up front. So I think $299 is very unlikely. Maybe $349, but this will replace iPad 2 in the product line so I think they'll just use the iPad2 price points. People who buy Apple believe they are buying a premium product and they will pay premium prices. They also tend to be rather loyal to the brand. Apple works very hard to make sure their products have unique appeal, and high value perception. There are tons of people with iPad1 and iPad2. For them, this will be a cheap upgrade. And parents who feel their kids need an iPad will likewise feel like they are saving money.

    1. Tom, thanks, sorry for the delay in posting. Wasn't here. Re the screen resolution, when I saw your '2048' my mind lost focus :-) and I thought you were talking about the Nexus 10" - my bad - as the iPad Mini would not be that high.
      It's almost universally agreed upon by the news sites via their sources that the iPad Mini will not be Retina, the 2048x1536.

      And it would be overkill on a 7" anyway besides raising the cost quite a bit and then sort of unattractive, price-wise, even though price-competition's not their thing...

      So I guess they're thinking either 1024x768 or 1280x800 or maybe like B&N's 1440x___ but wider.

      I've been thinking $299 (if they're using 1280x800~ or 1024x768) because they enjoyed surprising people with the iPad original's pricing when newspeople felt it would be $800 or so. Then, the $500 was considered a low-ball amount for a 10" quality tablet.

      If it's marketshare they want to maintain, the lower price would be the way to go -- if they want their rep not to suffer as far as a tablet that might have smaller market-share than the current ones, especially. But then there's that other rep that you mention -- that price is not a consideration for Apple quality etc.

      When I was on a van to the airport, the person behind me said they had an iPad but their son had a Kindle Fire and I asked how they decided on one for their son, and she said he broke their first iPad and they didn't want that to happen and they could take it if this happened with the less costly one.

      Also, that gorilla glass on the Kindle Fire is really strong. I've read that the iPad glass is not that strong...

    2. Here's the thing: Apple has only 2 form factors (3 if you count iPhone5/iPodTouch5). This thing HAS to run iPad apps. The only way that will work is if it has the same number of pixels as an existing iPad (or matching in the short dimension at least). 1024x768 will not fly, it would only be about 170dpi and would not impress anyone with its sub-retina specs, it would be perceived as 'cheap' (at whatever price they set). They cannot do something in between as iPad apps won't look good if they scale up or down. Hence my conclusion. Yes it would be overkill but that's kind of what we've come to. It is sort of like the megapixel wars in digital cameras.


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