Saturday, November 17, 2012

Kindle News: Personalized JibJab Video Gift Cards... PRIME monthly pricing paused?...Kindle Fire HD 8.9-inch tablet released 5 days early...Adobe Photoshop in Kindle Fire "PS Touch" app version


Consumer Electronics Daily News posted the Amazon JibJab Gift Card image above and accompanying story on Amazon's Video Gift Cards, announced Jan. 16.

Customers can now "create free, personalized "JibJab Starring You®" videos featuring a photo of their own face or faces of their friends and family," personalized "for over a dozen occasions."

  These can also be shared through Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and email, while keeping the gift card details private, they report.

  There are over 50 JibJab videos that can be personalized, and since they're gift cards, you choose how much to gift someone, the upper limit being $2,000 (!) and you can then choose to email it or post it to a friend's Facebook Wall (without details, I presume from the description above).  The recipient can then use the gift card at Amazon at their convenience.
  They're delivered instantly if you want or they can be scheduled for a future date.  These never expire.  I should hope not (unless the friendship falls apart before one is used).   :-).

Amazon's Test of Monthly Prime Program Subscriptions has already ended
That was fast!  Engadget's Jon Fingas reports that Amazon stopped the new Prime price-test program, having "completed" its testing and is no longer taking sign-ups.  Don't know if that's The End of that or a lull before an official offering.  While the yearly rate of $79 (which breaks down to $6.58/mo.) is better than, say, $8/mo (which would make $96 for a year),  many do prefer not to be committed to a year, so it'll be interesting to see whether they do go ahead with an official month-by-month offering as an incentive to try it.

  I'd think the expense of turning that 'on' and 'off,' while applying appropriate shipping costs, might make it not that worthwhile to Amazon, but I've no idea.

Kindle Fire HD 8.9" released finally
The Kindle Fire HD 8.9-inch tablet started shipping a few days ago, before the estimated Nov. 20 date.  I ordered the 8.9" model with 4G/LTE cellular network access and won't see that model until next week sometime.

Gizmodo's Kyle Wagner, 7/16/12, writes some quick impressons:
' The first thing you notice is how much nicer the 8.9-inch tablet is to hold one-handed than a 10-inch tablet... That’s partially because of the largeish bezel, which makes it nice to hold.  But because of that, partially, it’s not small in the way the iPad Mini is.  The Mini feels like a really big small tablet, while this one is more of a small big tablet. Comics, for example, are totally readable without zooming in.

Speaking of the screen: It’s great.  We did a quick, unscientific comparison against the Nexus 10′s monster of a display, and the Fire mostly held its own.  Its blacks are a little blacker, though the Nexus looks a little brighter on a white background (though there’s some disagreement here about that).  Text looks lovely on both, but the whites are different.  At a glance, the Kindle’s contrast seems easier on the eyes while reading...'

Adobe Photoshop Touch ("PSTouch") app for Kindle Fire HDs
Engadget's Joseph Volpe writes, on Nov. 15, 2012,  about Adobe's Photoshop Touch app (v1.4), which was apparently modified from the one for Android (still at v1.3)  to optimize or customize the app for the newer Kindle Fire 7-inch and 8.9-inch tablet sizes.

  Android-type app fonts are quite scalable and will adjust with little loss of sharpness perceived.  The overall layout has been changed somewhat, and there is a new anti-lens-flare feature.
  The PS Touch app for Kindle Fire is not being offered at Google Play market, as of today, 2 days later.
Google Play does not acknowledge the Kindle Fire devices.

  I actually do have the original PS Touch Android app from Google Play, which is optimized for larger-sized Android tablets (and there's a version for iPad 2's and above also -- iPad 1 users were upset it wasn't available for that model because the hardware couldn't handle it), and I use the original Android app on my Samsung 10.1" Galaxy Tab.

  The PS Touch Android apps can run only on v3.x  (Honeycomb) or above, so do not work with the earlier Kindle Fire (Generation 1).  The latest app version  is optimized for Android 4.x, and since the old Kindle Fire is at v2.x ("Gingerbread"), it's not included.  All later Kindle Fires are at v4.03 currently.

Adobe Photoshop app and the regular Photoshop program
  On May 10, 2012, I went to an Adobe Headquarters demonstration of the new app in San Francisco, the demo sponsored by Adobe and a local photography group, which was a good-sized local crowd very interested in being able to edit with the familiar, powerful features of Photoshop, on a tablet.  These demo events are nicely free in San Francisco.  The person just behind me in the line for our name tags got a ticket which won an iPad 3.  I should have been one-person late :-)    Never enough different types of tablets.

  Adobe's PSTouch app  is based on the well-known Photoshop program which costs several hundred dollars, even at discount.
  The Android app, at $9.95, actually includes a lot of popular Photoshop editing features like layers, masks, extractions, compositing, cloning, etc., and comes with a large tutorial group, though I can't say that the tutorials are  that intuitive.  I did bungle my way through the exercises before going to the Adobe Demo, and I wound up able to send some quickly-edited pictures to friends during a vacation.  Here are some photos from that Adobe event -- and the 7th pic in the set is of my 10" Samsung Tablet, which I bought refurbished ("cheap"), displaying the app's tutorials on my lap while I watched the large-screen demos.

  Is this app worth $9.95?
  If you already use or appreciate what the expensive Photoshop program can do, the app will be well worth the $10.
  But it could well be "overkill" for others when capable and simpler editing apps are available at lower cost and even for free for the kinds of things most like to do when sharing pics quickly via email or Facebook.

  As for the Adobe demo event, I also took a photo of one shot they displayed after photographing a member of the audience, adding, almost instantly to her photo, a pirate's hat and eye patch.  What struck me about it was that she looked like "Christina" from Grey's Anatomy :-).
  Am I off-topic enough?

Check often: Temporarily-free recently published Kindle books
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UK-Only: recently published free books, bestsellers, or £5 Max ones
    Also, UK customers should see the UK store's Top 100 free bestsellers.

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  1. According to the one and only review at Amazon, the Adobe app will not run unless you are logged into Amazon - therefore you cannot use the app offline.
    This is a deal breaker for me, at least.

    1. I use my Adobe app offline when using it on the Samsung!

      Will get the Amazon one for Kindle Fire to check, but I seriously doubt that you would ned to be online. Thanks for the heads-up.

  2. Do you know if any full reviews of the 8.9 are out? have only found first impression reviews or short 2 to 5 min reviews on the main tech sites. These things are in such demand here the 7 inch 16 Gig version going for 300 bucks on the "black market" in the Caribbean, I will wait till I travel to pick up the larger version since that may be 400 bucks here from the usual sources.

    1. JY, have seen only the 1st impressions. And one mentioned you couldn't get things like Google Maps on it, but I have Google Maps and Google Streets on my unmodified smaller Kindle Fire HD 7-inch tablet by merely using the store app and downloading them from there, direct, and clicking to install them!

      They work beautifully -- even the satellite mode. The first thing I did was have it fly me to Yosemite and check out all the mtns and bldgs I know there. I got the 32GB one so I could use things like that w/o worrying about space left for other things.


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