Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Kindle News: Kindle app for iOS gets X-Ray feature. Also, new "FreeTime Unlimited" parental control plan. Kindle Fire HD 8.9" software update v8.1.3

Two Amazon announcements this week and a Kindle Fire HD 8.9 tablet S/W update

Photo credit: Ben Rotman at Lost at e minor.

See the larger version of the penguin-x-rays image and more at that site.

  Also, indie publishers, Rotman has an intriguing excerpt (involving a seemingly sleepless child whose nights are spent exploring his urban surrounds on the trains of Paris) from "an as yet unpublished screenplay."

  Also check out the whimsical flip flops by Kusa at the end of the page.
  (I don't know him -- I found his x-ray images for the blog and enjoyed them and the site.)

Others of you who may be more interested in crafts, might enjoy the feature on Izziyana Suhaimi's "black and white pencil and watercolor drawings with colorful ornate embroidery in her seductive textured illustrations."

All right, when here, I've been gathering and organizing material for some HowTo-oriented articles, but they're not ready at the moment.  After that off-topic intro prompted by the X-ray feature, I'll bring you the latest commercial Kindle-related news from Amazon.

  Note to Kindle-Edition blog subscribers: Remember that if you click to follow a link, you can click on an article and then choose Menu/ArticleView to read it in a special book-like format.

Kindle for iOS gets X-ray support
PC Magazine's Stephanie Miot relays an alert on the Kindle for iOS app update.

For those who've seen the name of a character on a page and wondered WHO that was in pages past, Amazon's X-Ray can be a Godsend.  I've appreciated it most in books like Columbine and for the many characters in Steve Jobs's life.  X-ray links you to every appearance of that person in the book, in context of a paragraph for each.  True for topics, ideas, etc.

This update for iOS also has manga image rendering improvements.

Kindle FreeTime Unlimited
The key word in the BusinessWire release is Unlimited - and it's an optional upgrade over the free version of FreeTime, which is available for the new Kindle Fire models announced in September 2012.

  For families who could benefit from this new content service "for kids ages 3-8," it features unlimited access "to thousands of titles including exclusive-to-Amazon Android apps and games—all curated for age-appropriateness."

  The new feature is priced at $2.99/mo. per child for Prime members, or $6.99 per month per family ($4.99 per child or $9.99 per family for non-Prime members).  It'll be available "as part of a free, over-the-air software update that will be automatically delivered in the coming weeks."

  Owners of any of the new Kindle Fires can try it at no cost during the first month of use.

  Per the press release, some of the benefits mentioned:
  For children:
  • They can explore all the content on their own and pick for themselves what to read, watch or play next
  • With individual profiles, everything in their library is theirs—no sharing a home screen with siblings or parents and no losing their place in a movie or TV show when someone else picks up the Kindle Fire
  • They can easily explore their favorite topics...
For parents:
  • All apps have in-app payments, advertisements and social media removed
  • No worries that the young'un will run up a bill
  • All-you-can-eat pricing means no negotiations with the kids about what to buy or rent
  • All content has been pre-screened for age-appropriateness.

For details on the content (which includes "Popular Kids Movies and TV Shows" and how it all works, see the BusinessWire release.

As an aside, when I worked for a science-education museum, I was advised not to refer to children as "kids" as that word refers more to goats :-).  In real life, that's the general word though.  "The kids [don't] want to do that!"

Software Update for Kindle Fire HD 8.9-inch tablet
Software update v8.1.3 was just released and was received at my Kindle Fire Hd 8.9" tablet sometime in the last two days.  When an update happens, your tablet may act strangely when you fire it up and it decides there is enough battery power remaining to download and install the new upgrade.

  The software update info, including how to tell which software version you have currently, and a guide to how to get the update manually (for what appears to be just a maintenance (glitch-fix) update) is on Amazon's KFHD 8.9" software page.

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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