Friday, December 7, 2012

Kindle News: Kindle app for Android updated to v3.8.0 BUT you should *WAIT* for a fix. Brazil Kindle store up. Kindle apps grow 500%.

Amazon has added another update - this time for the Kindle app for Android
  But you should probably WAIT for the next update (see below) to save some frustration.

Kindle Fire tablets come with the Kindle-books feature built in, so there are no Kindle apps for those, of course.  However, many Kindle owners also have Android phones and tablets.

ConnectedDigitalWorld's Andrew Edney reports the update, but when I went to Google Play store to see the description, I saw a lot of unhappiness over the font sizing and general line layout, and people are finding it very difficult to read.

  I suspect the new font and layout problems are affecting phone-users more, as I saw someone with a Samsung Galaxy Tab who's happy with it while a Samsung Galaxy S2 phone user is not at all happy.

  Another user, with a phone and a tablet says "Works great" but others report being unable to resize their fonts (either w/ the option or with pinch zoom).

  Amazon Mobile LLC responded to the reviews with this:
' Hi Diane, we are currently working on an update to resolve this. Please stay tuned!
Thanks, Kindle for Android Team '

Amazon highlighting of new Kindle for Android's new features otherwise:
  What's New
• Kindle for Android now supports Simplified Chinese, including dictionaries.
• Turn it up to 11! New font sizes now available.
• Read print replica textbooks on Android tablets. Print Replica Kindle books maintain the rich formatting and layout of their related print editions and provide features to highlight passages, add margin notes, and search for keywords.
• Several bug fixes.

We just saw support for the Japanese Language dictionaries the other day, and now we have Simplified Chinese books, including dictionaries, supported as well.

So, Asia, it won't be long! I did read that Amazon had to delay SOMEthing in China recently, as there was a problem over there with server Cloud issues to be worked out.

Welcome, Brazil
TNW's Anna Heim reports on the launching of the Kindle Store in Brazil where a $150 (R$299) Kindle will be available in the "coming weeks."

 Heim links to the The Brazilian blog announcement.
  See more details at Heim's story on the the "long legal battle" in Brazil with the Internet Domain's previous owner "Amazon Corporation" and she links to what she describes as a bit of a "soap opera."
  Amazon has officially announced the store, at

  And here are the full details of what will be available at the store.

Amazon's Appstore downloads grew 500% this year
What it grew from is a question, but most tech writers find it impressive regardless.

  For app developers (or customers interested in investing in tablets that may get more support from developers), Ars Technica's Florence Ion relays some interesting details on new features for Amazon developers.

  She adds that "A/B testing will also help developers understand what users of the Amazon Appstore and Kindle ecosystem like and need from their applications, as their scope may be increasingly different from that of regular Android users."

  Re the free A/B testing service to lure new developers, TNW's Harrison Weber quotes Mike Frazzini, Director of Amazon Games, on this:
  "A/B Testing service is essential for developers because it will help offload the overhead costs of building, maintaining and running scalable tests.”

  Amazon also noted other developer offerings, including its GameCircle + a new, more interactive Maps API, and localization support for options for different regions, and its Kindle Fire Emulator.

While we're on the topic, check out Amazon's Top-rated Android apps.

Kindle Daily Deal today, Dec. 7
The Kindle Daily Deal for today, Dec. 7, is a book on "The Ascent of George Washington", by John Ferling, which Amazon describes this way:
  "Perhaps the most revered American of all, George Washington has long been considered a stoic leader who held himself above the fray of political infighting. What's gone unnoticed about Washington's life is that he was a consummate politician, as historian John Ferling shows in this revealing and provocative new book."
  It's $1.99 at "83% off"

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 - £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
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

Check often: Temporarily-free recently published Kindle books
  Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.  Top 100 free bestsellers.  Liked-books under $1
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. I don't have any issues with the Android update. Line spacing might have increased a bit, but I can adjust that and the font size to my liking and it 'sticks'. Android being Android, YMMV, depending on what version you're running.

    But it does need a facelift, home screen should use the 'Cloud/Device' paradigm with filters for different content types like Kindles and the iOS app. I'd like to see NCX navigator (navigable TOC), XRay, TTS, and a choice of typefaces. Still, it is the only version that implements Voice Search to find items on home screen, which is cool.

    1. Amazon does see something it told people it would fix though. It's one complaint after another on the google play site - sounds pretty frustrating for those affected. Amzn needs to test with more types of models...

      I've used Google Voice Search on the HD 7" and it works well (from with Dolphin, but haven't tried searching things from home screen.

      On the web, I can just say "hot air balloon ride valley of the kings video" and it takes me right to the little hot air balloon video memory I made that's at Youtube :-)

      When I first used it on the Samsung Galaxy S2 phone, I once turned around and murmured something to a friend so it wouldn't transcribe what I was saying for a Search but then I saw that it had taken the whole thing down and pretty accurately too. Amazing... My phone OS is still on v2.3.6

    2. My guess is that they changed the font for the Simplified Chinese support and it had some 'side effects'—particularly regarding the font metrics (default line spacing etc.).

      Of course people with problems are going to complain, and there really weren't any features in the update to gush about, so nobody's going to comment about that (I tried to leave a comment myself but could not: 'technical problems, try later' it said). So I would not assume everybody has problems.

      I used to get Kindle app from Amazon Appstore (on the assumption that updates would show up there first), and I know they do more device testing than Google (they have to since Play is not available on many Android devices), but on Play store I don't know who is responsible for determining which devices are supported. Maybe the support matrix is not fine grained enough there. Certainly I've downloaded some 'compatible with your device' apps from Play that didn't work.

      Amazon Appstore started having serious performance issues on my Xoom after one of the Android updates so I switched back to Play to get Kindle app. Even before that, I was starting to hate it because it didn't know which apps belonged to it and which to Google Play (I have some apps in both stores), and so I never knew which apps to have it update. But it turned out that it had failed to update itself automatically and I had gotten stuck on rather old version. After manually updating it, it has been fine and knows which apps belong to it, and how to update itself, so I don't hate it any more . Still it is not clear what attraction it would have for someone with access to Google Play. There's the free app of the day but that is usually not going to be of interest. And if you remove the Appstore from the device, the apps you bought with it will not work any more.

    3. Tom, true that most happy people won't be posting/commenting but sometimes there are just too many consistently not-positive notes and when I see that, I do wait.

      Since I do download from Amazon, google, 1mobile, m.getjar, etc I never know whether an update notification is the right one. I think I go to the appstore and try the menu for updates of files I downloaded there. The word 'fragmented' has so many meanings here :-)

      Maybe, based on what you've experienced, I should let automatic updates happen. So far I don't allow it and choose to have that done while I'm not busy with the device.

      The attraction for me re Amazon's store is more or less what you mentioned. They do very serious vetting of their apps for both compatibility and malware. Google has been a bit careless at times, and they have tons of stuff so it wouldn't be justified for them to spend that much labor on what comes in at them...

      With games, Amazon has started making ways to keep scores recorded on the servers so they're not lost with s/w updates and that would be a plus... (but I'm not a game player because in the past I would be come too addicted to a game. No discipline)...

  2. Amazon appstore sales are up 500% because of Kindle Fire. A year ago, Fire had only just launched.

  3. Kindle for Android 3.8.1:
    - tuned line spacing options to be more compact
    - bug fixes for Galaxy Note 10.1 and Japanese Nexus 7 customers
    - customers in Hong Kong and Taiwan returned to an English experience

  4. Tom, thanks for the news. Will update.
    Your comment wound up in the spam filter. I'm no longer using the email-forward function so I don't see the ones somehow considered spam by their automated process, since I get about 500 a day now.

    But I looked in there for names not "Anonymous" and found this (and Ok 'Anonymous' posts will stay unnoticed, unfortunately, unless I go through each one and it's now impossible). Apologies for the delay.


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