Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Kindle News: Reaction to Amazon's main-page ad comparing Kindle Fire HD 7" to iPad mini 7.9" - Update#2 on Nov. 2.


This is about Amazon's 2-day, much-discussed main-page ad.

See Update for Nov. 2

It was a challenge to the iPad Mini, and it's been the focus of the news since then.

  While I thought I'd not editorialize on the iPad mini on launch day and let the numbers speak for themselves with a features-comparison table, Amazon came out punching, pointing out the precise differences in features and pricing that would be of most interest to those not already invested in the high-quality Apple ecosystem.

When the iPad Mini was announced, I put together that quick comparison table of the basic features of main interest to buyers, for the Kindle Fire HD, the Google Nexus, and the iPad Mini.

I was startled at the time by the price of the iPad Mini when Apple chose to use resolution standards and technology now two years old (openly stating the mini was more or less equal to iPad 2), against the high-definition features of the Google Nexus, the B&N Nook Tablet HD, and the Kindle Fire HD, in a market Apple finally decided to join after seeing the popularity of the competition's smaller sized offerings.

  First, people who have bought iPads and iPhones will want to be able to run their Apple apps on any alternate-sized iPad, so the iPad Mini would be a no-brainer best-choice for those buyers.
  I just didn't think Apple would charge them that much for a model offering features below Apple's own standards.
  And within a week, many others are having a similar reaction.

  Initially, everyone was relieved that Apple finally released a smaller version of the iPad (the current one released in March 2012 with the beautiful Retina feature and already being replaced by a faster iPad 4 with more features), and some have been pleased that the smaller iPad is larger, at 7.9 inches, than market-leading 7-inch tablets, while being lighter and thinner than those smaller ones, at that.

  But, do most people really want a larger-sized portable version with screen resolution that produces a less-clear image, especially for reading?  Apple set the screen clarity standard with Retina early this year.  Yet, they decided to offer a smaller sibling device that will be harder to read with smaller fonts and which cannot do high-definition video while the competing devices and its older siblings can, in an HD world -- AND Apple is charging 65% more than the price of the more technologically advanced 7" models.
  This did take analysts by surprise.  Many who did expect that pricing also expected it would include the high-resolution Retina feature.

  True, tablet quality is not just about hardware, but the major apps are now available also in Android.  How many will find 50,000 (Kindle Fire) or 600,000 (Google Android) apps, too few to plow through?  Apple, Google, Amazon all have strong ecosystems.

Sales of Kindle Fire HD 7" and iPad Mini since the launch
These tablets have different audiences.
  As a result of the iPad Mini launch and probably because of it -- as people had been waiting to see what Apple would offer for whatever price -- Amazon had its highest Kindle Fire HD sales since the launch of that device.

  Even then, Apple is selling out its first batch of iPad mini's ahead of time, since it's a natural buy when 100 million iPads have already been sold and when in the recently completed quarter alone, 26.9 million iPhones were sold.

  Many iDevice owners will want a more portable tablet to carry out and will naturally gravitate toward this one, mainly because it provides the specially curated Apple apps they know and enjoy and a smooth interface they don't have to learn.


Small-tablet shoppers not already iPad owners
 For those not already wed to Apple's app system, things have been less clear.

And for the first time, Apple is offering a device that's behind the pack when it comes to capability rather than looks.  Sleekness counts for a lot, for many.  And Apple management team felt $329 was an apt price.  It had to be pricier than the equivalent iPod and not so inexpensive it would cannibalize iPad 4 sales.  Also, their understandable policy is to make profits on the hardware rather than on the ecosystem where it's closer to break-even from what I've read.

  Another important factor for them was that the resolution be kept the same as for the old iPad2 so that iPad2 apps will run on it without having to be redone.

  Excerpts of media reactions as they set in this last week:
The Inquisitr's James Johnson:
 "...As potential buyers have discovered, the iPad Mini features one of the worst displays among 2012′s high-end 7-inch tablets, offering a low-resolution count compared to the HD-quality video found on the Kindle Fire HD, Google Nexus 7 tablet and other comparable devices.
...Amazon was quick to point out the 216 pixels per inch verses 163 pixels per inch advantage it holds over the much higher priced device.

  Amazon also noted that its device features dual stereo speakers while the iPad Mini offers on a Mono speaker." *[Footnote]
[NOTE: Amazon has an HDMI-out port. Attach a microHDMI cable from it to your HDTV and whatever HD video you're streaming or playing will show up on your HDTV so that more can watch it.  The iPad mini doesn't have HD capability.]
Computerworld's Jonny Evans headlines "Pride: Apple's biggest weakness gives Amazon Kindle easy fire in the iPad mini war."
  [Evans points out that that Apple's marketing chief, Phil Schiller lay down the gauntlet when he said, about the Android devices that offer more advanced features, "Others have tried to make tablets smaller than the iPad, and they've failed miserably."

  That's a statement that presumes or hopes for ignorance on the part of his audience.]
Evans writes, about the Apple event's tricky comparisons and assessments of the other small tablets:
"...now, in the new truth economy of product comparisons,the company has actually hurt its argument claiming the iPad mini to be the best smaller tablet in the world, it has undermined its credibility just a little more."


All Things D's Tricia Duryee discusses the iPad mini's cost and how it may have led many to decide against it after the announcement and head toward Amazon.
  "In addition to being $130 cheaper, the Kindle Fire HD is also slightly smaller than the 7.9-inch iPad mini and comes with a high-definition display, unlike the iPad mini’s display, which is standard definition."


TechCrunch's Chris Velazco adds that the Kindle Fire also has a "smarter speaker layout than the mini."
  [NOTE: That would be two stereo speakers in Dolby Plus, that are louder and clearer than any heard in tablets so far, with good spatial separation for casual watching of movies w/o needing external speakers or headphones.  The iPad mini is listed on the Apple specs page under input/output as having a "Built-in speaker." *]
Velazco also points out what Amazon left out from Gizmodo's statement by Brent Rose "on Apple's perceived hypocrisy when it came to crafting a smaller tablet"
…Your [Apple’s] 7.9-inch tablet has far fewer pixels than the competing 7-inch tablets!  You’re cramming a worse screen in there, charging more, and accusing others of compromise? Ballsy.
Well, the sentence that preceded that quote wouldn't have worked on Amazon's family pages :-)  He also recommends that TechCrunch's comment section is "pure gold" for anyone from Amazon needing a 'feisty anti-iPad quote or five.'  Apple's diss'g of other tablets while entering the smaller-tablet field is causing strong, not generous reactions from commenters on almost every news-site I read the last couple of days.


Gizmodo's actual article by Brent Rose.


Wall St. Journal's Walt Mosserg reminds us that the mini has a back-camera to take photos.  I do wonder how many buyers who can afford a more expensive tablet don't already carry a camera in their cellphone though or, like many of us, a smaller, yet powerful, pocketable one these days.  Mossberg really likes the look and the "sturdier aluminum and glass body."

  I've begun to think that the venerable Walt Mossberg was not at the Kindle Fire HD launch or lost attention during it, judging from his review that mainly ragged on the $199 7-inch model not being as good as a $499 iPad because he apparently felt he heard Bezos say that this lowest-priced KFHD model was "the best tablet" rather than the 8.9" LTE model.

  Here, he talks about the iPad mini having an option for LTE while the Kindle Fire HD doesn't.
  But during the KFHD launch, the audience saw that the 8.9" model (not notably farther from the 7.9" size than the 7" size is) was launched as part of the line with a ship date of Nov. 20 and the 8.9" model HAS an LTE option and sells for $499 (vs the mini's $559 price with LTE option included) AND comes with a $50/yr plan for the limited 250MB of data per month that would be useful mainly for brief email and book reading when needing 3G/4G access.

  That same $50/yr plan with AT&T the first year costs $230/yr with the iPad.

  The screen resolution differences are larger with the larger Kindle Fire HD.
  ADD that the screen resolution for the Kindle Fire HD 8.9" is 1920x1200 at 254 pixels per inch (ppi) vs the iPad mini's 1024x768 and 163 ppi and it's even more clear that the latter has mediocre resolution for a smaller sized tablet in today's HDTV world.
 I don't understand why Walt Mossberg doesn't mention this 8.9" model being pre-orderable if he is interested in LTE as an option.

  Add *further* that the 8.9" HIGH-resolution KFHD starts at only $299 for the 16GB that will cost $329 for the 7.9" mini with the much lower-res screen.

  The smaller Kindle Fire HD 7-inch model has a screen resolution of "only" 1200x800 at 216 ppi.   About the 163-ppi iPad mini, Mossberg does write,

"My only complaints were that it's a tad too wide to fit in most of my pockets, and the screen resolution is a big step backwards from the Retina display on the current large iPad...
  "Unlike its closest competitors, the Mini can't play video in high definition.
 Apple insists the device does better than standard definition, if you are obtaining the video from its iTunes service, since iTunes scales the video for the device, so it will render somewhere between standard definition and HD.  It says some other services will do the same.  But the lack of true HD gives the Nexus and Fire HD an advantage for video fans."

He really likes it though, so read the rest of his report.


BGR's headline by Zach Epstein is that the mini display "is 'terrible'" because what he's seeing with the early reviews is that "basically all say the same thing..." that the hardware and software are great but "the screen is terrible."


BloombergBusinessweek's Rich Jaroslovsky has no problem holding the somewhat larger mini with just one hand and says it's "Crazy thin and crazy light."

"Besides the size and price tag...the most notable thing about the mini is the quality of its display, which can be best described as adequate.  Unlike the big iPad...the iPad mini lacks Apple’s ultra-sharp Retina display.  His caveat:
"Fine Print
  I didn’t see a huge difference in some uses, such as watching videos or reading e-books.  But I found it noticeably harder to read some Web pages, particularly those with fine print. If you’ve got eyesight at all like mine, be prepared to do a lot of pinching and zooming."
  He points out the GPS the mini has but the Kindle Fire HD doesn't - at least not in the $199 model (it's included in the 8.9" KFHD model with LTE).

  Despite it being hard on his eyes with webpages with small print (so many of them too), Jaroslovsky feels it's "the best small tablet you can buy" but you'll have to answer for yourself, he says, "whether it's that much better."
[NOTE: I don't know about others, but if I can't play an HD streaming video in HD because the tablet isn't capable of that, I really don't see how it's worth $130 more except to iOS device owners who most prize the unmodified iOS apps in lower resolution, in which case that's everything so it can be worth it to that specific audience.  But, the 'best' when it won't run HD videos and the less-expensive devices will?]

CNET Asia's Jacqueline Seng posted a specs comparison and wrote that, like a colleague from that site, who was "giving the iPad mini a miss" due to the low-resolution screen, she considers it out of contention, due to "the low-res screen, which doesn't justify its high price tag" but does see that many will want it for its "sleek, aluminum" look and of course those who are already loving their iOS apps will too.  On this site, Apple stalwarts are up in arms in the comments area.

Upshot, the iPad mini is worth the extra money to many as a beautiful accessory that is also VERY light.  Just don't expect too much otherwise, as I've said, even for an HD world, which the iPad mini avoids.

  But would you buy a standard definition TV today for a 65% higher price, instead of a high definition one, because the older resolution model is a prettier piece and lighter?  The answer would be Yes, if it has the programs or content you like to run or play and you don't care about high definition video or reading small print on web pages more easily.  For everyone, it comes down to personal taste and what gives you the most pleasure.


EARLIER posts on Kindle Fire HD
  . Basic Features Comparison Table for iPad mini, Google Nexus 7", Kindle Fire HD 7"
  . Comparison reviews of the Kindle Fire HD 7" and Google Nexus 7" tablets
  . Step-by-step guide for installing a working Adobe Flash player when needed.
  . KFHD Tips - Flash video, Using the camera and Video, Panorama mode,
      App for WiFi file transfers w/o cable.


Footnote
* There is currently some controversy over whether the iPad mini has one or two speakers or speaker baffles.  As I tweeted to Joshua Topolsky and Jay Yarow, here's what I've found out so far.  (At the detailed and interesting MacRumors forum discussions linked to in my posting there, it's still up in the air.)

Update
  Am adding the discussion at 9to5Forums, landing you at the last post so far, asking what I asked too.
' http://www.apple.com/ipad-mini/specs/. Here in "Input/Output" they say "Built In Speaker" singular, and above, "3.5-mm stereo headphone minijack". Why would they forget to say that it is stereo, when they did not forget to mention it for the minijack and they also wrote "speaker" and not "speakers"? '

  Others mention that the terse email statement by Phil Schiller being quoted that goes against the Apple specs info (which should at least be corrected if his emailed "It is stereo" refers to the question of whether the speakerS -- only one grille is identified as a speaker in the diagram -- are stereo or whether the 'it' (the unit) actually refers to the unit having a stereo headphone minijack).  The double-grille configuration is similar to a 'pair' used in an iPhone but one of those in the latter doesn't hold a speaker inside.  Mainly, Apple needs to be clear and not blame it on readers of their specs page.

  Phil Schiller is SVP of WorldWide Marketing (Sales), so he can see that the technical info is changed on the official specs page if his email response is correct, which would mean a brand new iPad feature not seen in the other iPad models and strangely not mentioned in all the announcements.  I emailed him also, and he may be inundated at this point.

Update Nov. 2 - After I also tweeted to ask if Apple would be correcting their iPad mini specs page (instead of having their fans accuse others of 'lying' when merely quoting the specs Apple posted) -- to match Phil Schiller's "It's in stereo" email-reply that seemed to reply re speakers, "It's in" rather than the headphones minijack -- Apple finally updated their iPad-Mini specs page to show "Built-in speakers" instead of "Built-in speaker"... without comment.



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.

  *Click* to Return to the HOME PAGE.  Or click on the web browser's BACK button
Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

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(Older posts have older Kindle model info. For latest models, see CURRENT KINDLES page. )
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Questions & feedback are welcome in the Comment areas (tho' spam is deleted). Thanks!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Kindle Fire 2 (non-HD) Update v10.2.1 is also here. How to opt in or out of Personalized Recommedations. FreeTime parental control feature. Kindle for Windows, Kindle for Android update.


SOFTWARE UPDATE v10.2.1 is here for the KINDLE FIRE 2 (the NON-HD one, for $159), and it automatically downloads and installs for most Kindle Fire 2 customers

The changes are the same as the Kindle Fire HD upgrade the other day, though it wasn't announced at the same time.
  As mentioned earlier, those who don't want to wait can *start* the update from the Kindle Fire 2 (see the Kindle Fire2 update page for the various ways to get the update.

Version 10.2.1 includes the same (1) Kindle FreeTime feature; (2) a requested setting to opt in or out of personalized recommendations below the carousel on the Home page; and (3) the ability to set the default device language to one of six languages.

Here's the Amazon explanation as it appears at the update page:
' The software update will include:
  • Kindle FreeTime, a tablet experience just for kids allowing parents to set daily screen time limits, and give access to appropriate content for each child.
  • A setting so customers can control whether or not personalized recommendations appear below the carousel on the device homepage.
  • Ability for customers to set the default device language to one of six languages, including English (US), English (UK), German, French, Italian, and Spanish. '

Thanks to FJ for the alert on this yesterday.


To OPT OUT OF PERSONALIZED RECOMMENDATIONS
Do the following on the Kindle Fire HD or Kindle Fire 2:
  • Go to the 'Home' screen.
  • Swipe down (lightly pressing and pulling down) from the top of the screen.
  • That gets you the Quick Settings Menu.
  • Click on "More" at the top right.
  • Go down the Settings list to "Applications" and lightly tap that.
  • Go down that list and select "Amazon Home Recommendations" to choose either to "Show or "Hide" the Recommendations under the Carousel when the Kindle Fire is held in Portrait mode.  You can later re-set it to 'Show' if you decide you'd like to see recommendations briefly (usually based on the book in the middle of the carousel items showing).
  • When finished, press the back button on the right edge, center.

KINDLE for WINDOWS 8 and UPDATE for KINDLE for ANDROID Catching up here, as these are now two days "old" in a fast world, and so I've used a red font for them.   You can read about each of these and download them and check others you may be needing at the Free Reading Apps page.

EARLIER posts on Kindle Fire HD


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.   *Click* to Return to the HOME PAGE.  Or click on the web browser's BACK button Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

Send to Kindle


(Older posts have older Kindle model info. For latest models, see CURRENT KINDLES page. )
If interested, you can also follow my add'l blog-related news at Facebook and Twitter
Questions & feedback are welcome in the Comment areas (tho' spam is deleted). Thanks!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Kindle Fire HD 7" Update v7.2.1 READY. FreeTime. Opt in/out of personalized recommendations. Set default device language.


KINDLE FIRE UPDATE v7.2.1 is here, and it automatically downloads and installs for most Kindle Fire customers

For those who don't want to wait, you can *start* the update from your Kindle Fire HD (see below for how to do that).
  For those who prefer to do it manually via USB, the update file has been placed on the Amazon servers.

The update includes (1) the Kindle FreeTime feature; (2) a requested setting to opt in or out of personalized recommendations below the carousel on the Home page; and (3) the ability to set the default device language to one of six languages.

Here's the Amazon explanation as it appears at the update page:
' The software update will include:
  • Kindle FreeTime, a tablet experience just for kids allowing parents to set daily screen time limits, and give access to appropriate content for each child.
  • A setting so customers can control whether or not personalized recommendations appear below the carousel on the device homepage.
  • Ability for customers to set the default device language to one of six languages, including English (US), English (UK), German, French, Italian, and Spanish.

Download Version 7.2.1

This update automatically downloads and installs for most Kindle Fire customers; however, you can initiate the software update from your Kindle or manually download the software update via USB.

Before you begin, confirm your current software version:

  1. Swipe down from the top of the screen and tap More.
  2. Tap Device, and then tap About.



If you see a System Version other than "Current Version: 7.2.1," follow one of the steps below to download the latest version:

To start the automatic download of a Kindle software update:

  1. Connect to a Wi-Fi network and fully charge your battery.
  2. From the top of your device, swipe down, then tap Sync.
  3. The software update automatically downloads in the background and installs after the download is complete and the device is asleep. '

The instructions for manually downloading the update via USB are at that software update page but, as mentioned, most will find it more convenient to have it arrive via the automated download.
  NOTE that when it does, your Kindle Fire HD ("KFHD") will reboot and sometimes it does that twice, so don't be alarmed when it happens while it's idle and you're nearby.


EARLIER posts on Kindle Fire HD



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.   *Click* to Return to the HOME PAGE.  Or click on the web browser's BACK button Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

Send to Kindle


(Older posts have older Kindle model info. For latest models, see CURRENT KINDLES page. )
If interested, you can also follow my add'l blog-related news at Facebook and Twitter
Questions & feedback are welcome in the Comment areas (tho' spam is deleted). Thanks!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Basic Features and Comparison table: IPad mini, Google Nexus 7", Kindle Fire HD 7". Updated Nov. 2, 2012 and Mar. 13, 2013


Apple's iPad Mini reveals value of Kindle Fire HD and Google Nexus

Updated March 23, 2013
SEE UPDATED CHART INSTEAD (this one now outdated).

Updated March 13, 2013 to use new pricing on Kindle Fire 8.9 in the U.S.

Photo credit: USA Today - Oct 23 post updated Nov. 2 to reflect the Apple change to their specs sheet to indicate more than one speaker even if on the same side.

While this is a Kindle-focused blog, and some in my mailbag want it to stay that way, it's about a Kindle world, and many have been wondering what Apple had up its sleeve with the smaller version of the iPad.

They started out by upsetting iPad 3 owners who just bought their new iPads only 7 months ago or less. That was called "The New iPad" and this would then be "The newer iPad"?  They did call it "4th Generation" though and it sounds good at the same price.
NOTE that after Amazon showed their chart of Kindle Fire HD vs Apple iPad 3, Apple has added dual-band WiFi and other features to their iPad4.

BUT back to the iPad mini, which some feared would "kill" the Kindle Fire.  It in fact boosted it "for the rest of us" (an old Apple marketing tool)

Tweeting the iPad mini part of the event (at @kindleworld) - Added bolding:
I tweeted while reading live blogs today and here are the brief notes I tweeted, in chron order, earliest first, with a couple of TYPOS corrected.
  • iPad mini...7.2mm pencil-thick..68 lb, b/w models...1024x768 hmmm
  • iPad mini...at 7.9" w/1024x768 ...they're going for low-ball pricing [no]...35% more display area than 7" Android...No onscreen controls, more space
  • iPad mini...equal or better than iPad2..dual-core A5 processer, FaceTime HD camera, 5MB camera w/1080p record'g...LTE wireless, dualband WiFi
  • iPad mini...10 hrs battery life...SmartCover has no metal hinge...headphones on top...Cvr in 5 colors...16GB $329 with WiFi
  • iPad Mini...32GB $429, 64GB $519, $130 add'l each, for LTE cellular connectivity. WiFi ships Nov 2, Cellular 2 wks later. Lots of countries.
  • iPad mini ... Almost 8-inches with only 1028x768 and w/16 GB at $329? This was expected though. Surprised at the resolution for that size.

A couple of Twitter conversations on this
David Pogue (@Pogue) tweeted
"Price for new iPad Mini: $330 (for 16gb model). Kindle Fire is allowed to live"

[to which I replied]
"...Not to mention Kindle Fire at 1280x800 vs 1024x768 on bigger 8" & w/ dual stereo spkrs + hdmi-out for $200. It'll thrive: my guess."

Larry Magid (@larrymagid) tweeted:
"I've never seen Apple make such a big deal about how better it is than competition. Makes me think they're really worried about Android"  [and he asked]
"Given a choice between 9.7 and 7.9 inch iPad I'd opt for the 7.9 inch mini. What about you?"

My reply (going a bit off the precise topic)
"...I'd actually go for full 10" for magazines/PDFs and a 7" for portability, easy carry use. The almost-8" size? Odd."

But the size is targeted at optimal display of tablet apps -- and Apple claims that lack of need for some onscreen controls gives users more display space.

Note that Apple said it was equal to or better than the iPad2 -- (and today they introduced the iPad 4, twice as fast, twice the features of the iPad 3, same price: $499 for 16GB).


QUICK table of differences in features for price, with Google Nexus and IPad mini
Kindle Fire HD 7"
$199
7-inch display
1280 x 800 resolution
216 ppi
16GB storage
1GB RAM
Dual stereo speakers
  w/ Dolby Plus


HDMI-Out to HDTV


Front-facing camera, 1.2MP


Dual core TI OMAP 4470 w/ Imagination PowerVR 3D graphics core

Dual band, 2 antenna WiFi
Battery-life claim: 11 hrs

Customized Android, does Amazon store w/setting that allows apps from other app stores
50,000 apps + access to getjar.com, 1mobile.com, etc for google-play apps

$10 more for a charger if you need one  Older Kindle & smart phone chargers work

$15 add'l: no lockscreen ad

$249 for 32GB model

($269 for 16GB 8.9" 1920x1200 resolution, 254 ppi)
($299 for 32GB 8.9" 1920x1200 resolution, 254 ppi)

Google Nexus 7"
$199
7-inch display
1280 x 800 resolution
216 ppi
8GB storage (soon 16GB)
1GB RAM
One mono speaker *



No HDMI-out to HDTV


Front-facing camera < 1 MP


Quad core Tegra 3



Basic WiFi
Battery-life claim: 9-10 hrs

Pure Android and can do direct Google Play store
~600,000 apps


$249 for 32GB model soon


Apple iPad mini 7.9 inch/
$329
7.9-inch display
1024 x 768 resolution
163 ppi
16GB storage
512MB? Per A5 chip specs. TBC.
Built-in speakers *
  Nov. 2, Apple finally added an 's' to 'speaker' *

No HDMI out to HDTV **


Front (HD) & Back (to 1080p) cameras

Dual-core A5



Dual-Band WiFi
Battery-life claim: 10 hrs

iOS 6
275,000 heavily-curated tablet-optimized apps
 (Can also run small iPhone apps - any w/ Retina resources can scale w/o pixelating. 450,000 add'l.)

23% & 53% lighter than iPad.
Lighter than the other tablets.


$429 for 32GB model

  * iPad mini: See Speaker discussion - to be changed when Apple changes its iPad mini specs page.
    Update - On Nov. 2, Apple finally updated their iPad-Mini specs page to show "Built-in speakers" instead of "Built-in speaker" -- something I requested they do since Specs pages are official reference pages.  The speaker grilles are about an inch or two apart, on one short side, and maybe that's why they don't mention 'stereo' after the correction.  The whole thing has been bizarre.  This would be the first iPad w/ two speakers but they can do nothing for movies or videos viewed the usual way, as they are close together on just one side.

    Google Nexus: See Nexus owner forum thread about the speaker.

** Those w/ Apple TV's can do AirPlay Mirroring to them.

Table updated Oct 31

For initial comparison article, I haven't included the Barnes & Noble Nook Tablet HD,
which has higher display resolution - but it has no cameras, not even one for Skype (important for family & friends who like to communicate via video chat), and B&N will not allow owners to enable installation of apps from non-B&N sources.  I'll do an additional table later though, which will include them.



For daily free ebooks, check the following links:
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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):
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   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 Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

Send to Kindle


(Older posts have older Kindle model info. For latest models, see CURRENT KINDLES page. )
If interested, you can also follow my add'l blog-related news at Facebook and Twitter
Questions & feedback are welcome in the Comment areas (tho' spam is deleted). Thanks!

Kindle News: Kindle Paperwhite video comparison with Nook Glowlight. Kindle Touch internat'l page info. Throw in the Vowel, on Paperwhite



GoodEReader's Michael Kozlowski has put together an effective video comparison showing, side by side, the differences in display and features of the Kindle Paperwhite and the Nook Glowlight.

FIRST, the Kindle Touch e-Ink eReader situation
[Corrected the confusing typos that had 'Nook' in place of 'Kindle'
  Just had Nook on the brain, obviously.]
The Kindle Touch situation has been of interest to many, as this model has/had the Text-to-Speech feature (as does the Kindle Keyboard  See Int'l).  The Kindle Touch disappeared from Kindle 'family' headers and comparison charts for the U.S. Kindle pages once the Paperwhite was announced September 6.

  The old pages for 3G and WiFi-Only models say "Currently Unavailable" -- normal wording but it's in contrast to the Kindle DX page, which shows only Used models and Trade-In values.  NO pretense of possible later availability for the big Kindle DX.

  UK
  For awhile, the Kindle Touch WiFi was showing as available on UK product pages until it was announced that the UK is getting the Paperwhite November 22, 2012.
  Then, that Kindle Touch 3G/WiFi, UK model became "currently unavailable," with a note that Amazon UK doesn't know when or if it will be back in stock.

  International model of the Kindle Touch
  At the same time, there is an "International" model product page which has a "sign up" box for availability notices, which is quite out of the ordinary.
  The Kindle Touch 3G/WiFi version shows "currently unavailable" in the way these things are usually done.
  However, the Kindle Touch WiFi-Only int'l model shows something out of the ordinary.
  In both the main content and buy-box areas, it has this, in Red:
    "Sign up to be notified when this item becomes available."

  It could be that Amazon is leaving its options open on the International model of the Kindle Touch WiFi. "International" models are sold from Amazon U.S.




BACK to the Kindle Paperwhite model

  The GoodEReader video by Michael Kozlowski covers more than the usual comparisons I've seen, so rather than discuss that more, I recommend a visit there.


An excellent, thorough video of the Kindle Paperwhite plus written review
This thorough video, by MobileTechReview's Lisa Gade, covers almost every feature.  Here's the accompanying written article.

  The video is very clear, and the only problem for some could be that she speaks so fast that some of the words are totally lost, with no gaps between sounds at times.  Otherwise, it's visually the best Paperwhite DEMO I've seen, as she explains most of the features in detail.
  Toward the end of the video, she shows the Nook Glowlight side by side with the Kindle Paperwhite and then the Paperwhite in daylight alongside the 7-inch Kindle Fire HD, a novel comparison that should be useful to those trying to decide between the two.

An excerpt from her Conclusion:
' If you're happy with Amazon's huge selection of well-priced books or you use Calibre to convert ePub eBooks to Mobi format for use on the Kindle, then this is the best eReader on the market.   I personally find that 1.25 gigs of storage is more than adequate to carry a vast library of books with me, so I don't miss the card slot. I prefer the thin and modern Paperwhite design to the bulky Kindle Touch and Nook GlowLight design. But those of you with large hands and a hankering for hardware page turn buttons will disagree. The display and frontlighting are the best on the market, and that's arguably the most important feature on a single purpose digital book reader. '

Another review from NewsObserver's Paul Gilster agrees, calling the Paperwhite "the best ebook reader I've yet encountered."


Throw in the Vowel

Throw in the Vowel
is a popular word game for all e-Ink Kindles except the Kindle 1 (the latter has no direct access to the screen), and I'm mentioning it again, as it's newly available for the Kindle Paperwhite too.





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.

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

Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

Send to Kindle


(Older posts have older Kindle model info. For latest models, see CURRENT KINDLES page. )
If interested, you can also follow my add'l blog-related news at Facebook and Twitter
Questions & feedback are welcome in the Comment areas (tho' spam is deleted). Thanks!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Kindle Fire HD TIPS - How to Install Flash video player; Step-by-Step Guide; How to use Camera, Video, Panorama mode; app for WiFi transfers from/to computer to Kindle Fire



KINDLE FIRE TIPS

NOTE:  See "HOW TO INSTALL FLASH ON KINDLE FIRE HD" in the step-by-step version.

  In the end, it's also 'How to play Flash on Kindle Fire HD.'

  (The original non-HD version, with an older operating system can play Flash, as Adobe supports the older versions.)

Some of the answers below are solutions to questions asked in the forums.

Q: Why can't I zoom images with the Kindle Fire?
A: You can, on all the Kindle Fires.

  Long-press the Image and, after a couple of seconds, you'll get a popup with an option to "Zoom"   Click on that. If the image is in Landscape mode, rotate the KFire.  Then if you still can't see enough detail, pinch zoom to enlarge it, zooming-in even more for detail.

  NOTE: This also works for the Paperwhite and Kindle Touch except for the pinch-zoom.


Q: Why can't I play network TV (or, at times, Youtube) videos on Kindle Fire HD which are playable with the original Kindle Fire?
A: Although Adobe has ended support for Flash Player on mobile browsers, there are some browsers that support the final Flash Player file, still made available on some developer forums for devices like the Google Nexus and the Kindle Fire.  A few Youtube videos still need Flash to run (Les Miserables trailer was one.)

  Per Amazon's Kindle Forum discussions, users of the Google Nexus and Kindle Fire HD are using, as needed, older Adobe Flash files offered at XDA Developers Forum plus the Dolphin browser, which supports Adobe Flash while the last Adobe Flash update still works.

  When needing to see a video requiring Flash, you'd switch to Dolphin browser for that.  (It's been said that the Chrome mobile browser supports older flash files too, but I've not tried it.)

  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 the '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.


Q: Why can't I use the front-facing camera for anything but Skype?
A: You can, as some popular apps can use the camera and there is a way to open or activate the camera via the versatile and free file manager app, ES File Explorer


There are many Kindle Fire apps that can use the camera as a secondary function, and Kindle owners have tended to recommend the Evernote or Facebook apps for this.  But that doesn't give you access to the several features and controls that are there.

Here's how to open the camera via ES File Explorer, once you've installed it.
  1.  Press Apps at the top of the Home screen (or find it in your Favorites
       if you made it a fave) and then click on the ES File Explorer to open it.
  2.  In the top row, click on AppMgr.
  3.  In the top row still, click on Category
  4.  Choose System apps button
  5.  Select camera
  6.  Choose Open

  And that's it!

You'll find yourself with a choice of
  1.   PANORAMA mode shooting (Yes! Works nicely too.)
  2.   NORMAL CAMERA shooting, with choice of scenes, exposure compensation,
        and type of white balance
  3.   VIDEO at 480p, 720p (DON'T use the 1080p one, it crashes)
        time lapse intervals; snd type of white balance
        (It can't do actual HD but it's decent.
         You can see his Skype image at the app page.

The camera's better than I had expected.  From what I've seen, it's just something under 1MB pixels but good enough for casual snapshots and videoclips (which are in MP4 format), considering it's a front-facing camera meant mainly for Skype video-chats.

When you're ready to shoot, including making a sweeping panorama, press the round red button.  For videos, it becomes a square red button that you push when ending the video.

After doing a brief videoclip almost in the dark, I tried pressing a button for 'BBC' to see what on earth that was for, and it offered to send my 'report' to the BBC.  Oh, I don't think so.

You can find the resulting photos and videos under ES Explorer's /sdcard/DCIM/Camera folder.

  I personally find it ultra awkward to shoot a scene or subject without being able to view it except to twist myself into a position to see the front of the tablet at the same time or view it while shooting behind me.  :-)  But it's doable if you really want to record the scene.


Q: Can I transfer files to and from the Kindle Fire HD without a cable?
A: Yes. With WiFi File Explorer PRO ($0.99), you're free of trying to find the cable and make the connections.
  • Manage files between your Android device and computer without using a cable
  • View and send photos and other files from your phone via a secure Wi-Fi connection
  • See all files in a password-protected Web browser
  • Stream music from your phone directly to your computer
  • Configure port settings to your preferences

Amazon adds:
' When you open the app, it automatically detects nearby Wi-Fi networks and supplies you with a URL address to enter into the Web browser of your computer.   You'll also be prompted to enter a password (which you will create when you first begin using the app).

  Once your phone is connected to the Wi-Fi network, it's easy to go to the computer (which must also be connected to the network) and access the Web address. You'll find that your phone's files are there to be browsed, downloaded, or even streamed whenever you wish.

  In this PRO version, you can also upload, sync, delete, copy, and zip or unzip all the files on your Android phone and computer, which makes it a great overall file manager. '

The free version doesn't allow transfers TO the Kindle Fire, so paying the 99c should be worth it.  
  Be sure to turn off 'sharing' once any transfers are done.


Screen Captures
Remember that you can do a screenshot fairly easily.




RELATED posts on Kindle Fire HD 7" which relate also to the Kindle Fire HD 8.9" (descriptions of Kindle 7" features will apply to the HD 8.9" model also).

  . Getting non-Amazon apps on Kindle Fires (non-HD Kindle Fires have storage space limitations)
  . How to install Adobe Flash Player
  . Google Maps, Street View and other apps on my Kindle Fire, via enabling one device setting
     Also, TubeMate app for Youtube will download videos to play on your Kindle Fire,
      and BSPlayer app will play almost ANY video format.
  . Using the camera and Video, Panorama mode, Time Lapses
  . Add Wi-Drive pocketable disk/stream'g for Kindle models
      and for other tablet or phone devices,
      or, Portable wireless 320G Patriot Gauntlet drive/stream'g for 7" & 8.9" devices.
  . App for WiFi file transfers w/o cable.




Current Kindle Models for reference.
US:
Updated Kindle Fire 2 Basic  7" tablet - $159
Kindle Fire HD 7" 16/32GB - $199/$229
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 Touch WiFi - $99
Kindle Paperwhite, WiFi - $119/$139
Kindle Paperwhite, WiFi+3G - $179/$199
Kindle Keybd 3G - $139/$159, Free slow web
Kindle DX - $379 $299 (Yes)
UK:
Kindle Basic, NoTouch - £69
Kindle Touch WiFi, UK - ~£89 Refurb'd
Kindle Keyboard 3G, UK - £149
  Keybd: w/ Free, slow 3G WEB
Kindle Paperwhite, WiFi
£109
Kindle Paperwhite 3G, UK
£169
Kindle Fire 2, UK
 £129
Kindle Fire HD 7" 16/32GB, UK
£159/199
Canada - Kindlestore, CDN-$
Kindle Basic, NoTouch - $79
Kindle Paperwhite, WiFi - $129
Kindle Paperwhite, 3G - $199
Kindle Fire HD 7" - 214.00
KFire HD 7" $214,  8.9" $284


*OTHER Int'l pages*
Kindle NoTouch Basic - $89
Kindle Keybd 3G - $189
  Keybd: w/ Free, slow 3G WEB
Paperwhite WiFi $139, 3G/Wifi $199
KFire HD 7" $214,  8.9" $284


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



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.

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


Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

Send to Kindle


(Older posts have older Kindle model info. For latest models, see CURRENT KINDLES page. )
If interested, you can also follow my add'l blog-related news at Facebook and Twitter
Questions & feedback are welcome in the Comment areas (tho' spam is deleted). Thanks!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Today's Kindle Daily Deal: 13 Nonfiction Singles by TED books at 99c each. Free Kindle Fire app of the day: Manic Math


Unusual Daily Deal today

The Kindle Daily Deal is good for one day, and the one for Tuesday, Oct. 16, offers "13 Compelling Nonfiction Singles by TED Books."  In Amazon's words:

"From Gever Tulley's insightful 'Beware Dangerism!' to Nic Marks's uplifting essay 'The Happiness Manifesto,' this collection of essays is designed to deliver powerful narratives perfect for reading in one sitting.  Lively, informative, and meant to persuade, all 13 of these nonfiction singles are only $0.99 each (67% off)."


Today's Free Kindle Fire Android App - Tuesday, Oct. 16
This one is educational (rarer for free offerings)

  Manic math by Bica Games. 20 customer reviews with 4.3 stars
"Math can be fun"
  "Combine two numbers and one math operation to match the proposed objective. ...will boost your mental arithmetic ability and improve your concentration and memory. Track your progress with performance graphs and statistics.  Customizable arithmetic operations.



Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

Send to Kindle


(Older posts have older Kindle model info. For latest models, see CURRENT KINDLES page. )
If interested, you can also follow my add'l blog-related news at Facebook and Twitter
Questions & feedback are welcome in the Comment areas (tho' spam is deleted). Thanks!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Kindle News-bits The Kindle DX has shuffled off its mortal coil. Amazon may acquire Texas Instruments' mobile chip business. Why those few cents e-book credits.

Amazon in talks with Texas Instruments

NASDAQ reports today that Amazon may acquire the mobile chip business of Texas Instruments, as according to Reuters today, Amazon "is in advanced talks to buy the mobile chip business of Texas Instruments" according to Israeli financial newspaper Calcalist.

Texas Instruments had told investors last month that it would continue support for its customers but that its mobile application chip business, which supports features like video, NASDAQ explains, "will not invest in supporting its customers future roadmap for tablets and smartphones to the same degree."

Gartner analyst Carolina Milanesi told Reuters she doubted whether Amazon wants to 'become that intimately involved with hardware.'
  The Kindle Fire uses these chips, and I guess this would be one way to keep costs down for future tablets.  Might they be in the position of providing them for other mobile device makers too? (


Amazon pulls Kindle DX from store
Members of Amazon's Kindle Community Forum had alerts on this in the morning.  The Kindle "Family" header no longer shows the Kindle DX and it's been omitted from the Comparison Table now, even on its own product page, which is too bad because some owners (and buyers in the last two weeks) would like to know how it differs from the Kindle Keyboard for features other than mere size.
  There is still info on specs under "Technical Details," however.

  This is one area where Amazon has fallen down on customer support in that they never gave it a software update even somewhat similar to the update they gave the smaller Kindle Keyboard (with the same Pearl screen) for PDF reading -- an important feature for the larger-screen Kindle.  It's disappointing that they didn't do an update for contrast adjustments. at least, and for somewhat smoother zooming (though the latter might be more difficult, depending on the processor).  Their customer base that bought this paid well for it and deserved more with regard to software upgrades since 2010.
  I did ask if they're considering a software update to it anyway but have not received a response on that.

  Trade-in program
People can still get used ones from 3rd parties from the product page's links OR can trade in a DX in very good shape for up to $98.75.  That could go against the purchase of a $299  8.9" Kindle Fire HD, though that's not of course an e-Ink device.

It's a great e-Ink e-reader, but I do use even the 7" Kindle Fire more, for PDFs and Kindle books.


Those e-book credits mentioned in an Amazon email
A number of Kindle owners received notices of probable credit to be received in 2013 as a result of (preliminary) approval of the U.S. Justice Department's settlements with publishers Hachette, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster, of the Big5 mentioned in the civil antitrust case.  Penguin and McMillan and also Apple are moving toward a trial on the merits during summer 2013.

  Recent developents
  Judge Denise Cote's ruling on Sept. 6 (same day as Amazon's announcements) stipulated that, for the settling publishers, the current Agency agreements be ended within one week.

  (On their own, "Agency" agreements are considered fine as a method and can be used again after ~2 years, based on individual negotiations vs collusion among publishers to set prices).

  The 45-page opinion claimed a "straightforward, horizontal price-fixing conspiracy," rejected anti-settlement arguments as "insufficient" for denial of approval, and dismissed requests for an evidentiary hearing as an unnecessary delay.

  Also the 3 publishers must terminate current contracts with e-book retailers where these contain restrictions on the retailer's ability to set the store price of an e-book or which contain a "most-favored nation" clause that stipulates no other retailer is allowed to sell e-books for a lower price.

 This is a "cooling off" period to allow the industry "to return to a competitive state free from the impact of defendants' collusive behavior."

  After the next two years, the settling publishers will be able to restrict retailer's "discretion over e-book pricing" and after five years, the publishers will once again be allowed to make contracts with retailers that do include a most-favored nation clause.  The understanding, of course, is that this would not be done in collusion with other publishers to fix prices among them.

  So, the settling publishers' e-books can now have store prices set by the retailer although it's important that any publisher's catalog not be sold at a loss overall.

  In Europe -- Apple and a couple of publishers were close to a deal with investigators to stop their current arrangements, period (essentially), and in return they will not suffer penalties or fees.

 It's likely that this type of settlement might not, though, help them in their court case next summer, and if the decision goes against them, the $$penalties against the publishers will be much worse.  Apple, however, has deep pockets.

  IN THE MEANTIME, the STATES -- all but Minnesota and 5 territories including Washington, D.C. -- received preliminary approval for their $69 million ebook pricing settlement with Hachette, HarperCollins and Simon & Shuster.  PaidContent's Laura Hazard Owen, who's been on top of all this, and great with follow up, reported September 17 that consumers would be notified within 30 days if they're eligible for a small payment, though there'll be no actual payments until after the "fairness hearng" on the settlement(s) on Feb. 8, 2013 in New York, which will include the "entry of final judgment in this action."

  Consumers who bought qualifying books from retailers between April 1, 2010 and May 21, 2012 will receive an automatic account credit if the settlement is approved.  I've read that it'll be something like $1.32 per NYT bestseller purchased during that perod and $0.25 to $.30 for other e-books, depending on the book's date of publication.

  See Owens' full article Oct 4 (on the preliminary approval of the States' ebook settlement) for all the details of how the credits might be applied by the various retailers.

  Also see the website hosted by the administrator of the settlement, for more information: https://ebooksagsettlements.com/AbouttheAdministrator.aspx

  For Amazon-specific information on the credits: Amazon's own FAQ about the coalition of state Attorneys General Ebook Settlements


OverDrive comes to Amazon's Android App store for the Kindle Fire
  The OverDrive app is now available to Kindle Fire users for easier access to eBooks and audiobooks from OverDrive-powered libraries.  They also released a version for iOS (iPhone/ iPad/ iPod touch).

  Earlier, some had to get the Android app from places like GetJar and 1Mobile.  This app will now be directly downloadable for all your Android devices in one fell swoop.

You can now browse your library's digital collection from within the application instead of having to launch a separate browser window.  You can also share what you're reading on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter and via Email! (Finally).




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

US:
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
UK:
Kindle Basic, NoTouch - £69
Kindle Touch WiFi, UK - £109
Kindle Keyboard 3G, UK - £149
  Keybd: w/ Free, slow 3G WEB
Kindle Paperwhite, WiFi
£109
Kindle Paperwhite 3G, UK
£169
Kindle Fire 2, UK
 £129
Kindle Fire HD 7" 16/32GB, UK
£159/199
OTHER International
Kindle NoTouch Basic - $89
Kindle Touch WiFi - $139
Kindle Keybd 3G - $189
  Keybd: w/ Free, slow 3G WEB

France
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
UK-Only:
   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
Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

Send to Kindle


(Older posts have older Kindle model info. For latest models, see CURRENT KINDLES page. )
If interested, you can also follow my add'l blog-related news at Facebook and Twitter
Questions & feedback are welcome in the Comment areas (tho' spam is deleted). Thanks!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Amazon addresses some uneven lighting on Paperwhite in dark rooms, decisions to omit audio and have less storage


Amazon adds a "We want you to know" section to the Kindle Paperwhite product page

I earlier called attention (Oct. 5) in an Update about the first Kindle Paperwrite reports and reviews, to a situation developing in which some owners were concerned about the bottom 1/2-inch of the device, which, in darkened rooms especially, often shows some uneven light where the LEDs begin sending light to the rest of the screen and, at the start, the light isn't yet evenly diffused.

 I described this and linked to a Youtube video that shows the same device in daylight indoors and in a room completely darkened.

  Also, some units have arrived with what seem to be discolorations, usually in dark rooms, although with many of these, the colors aren't being seen after a few days of exposure to the air.  In a very few cases, they've remained visible in all lighting situations and, if so, those should be returned to Amazon for replacement -- Amazon has been replacing these with no trouble, sending out replacements the same day.

  The latter indicates a possible bad batch though, and the reported problematical ones are being sent to engineers to check out, per some customer rep responses to forum members.  In the Kindle forums, some are upset by the normal bottom 1/2-inch unevenness and this is partly because Amazon's product illustrations tend to show the ideal display, as marketing materials will -- so for those buyers, it seemed a flaw.

  In my early Notes for buyers, I drew attention on Sept. 8, in points 3 and 5 and in the "Things Buyers should Know" section, to the lack of audio capability in the Paperwhite and the lower storage capacity of 2GB vs the 4GB of the previous e-Ink Kindles (Aug 2010 and after).  That was to prevent prospective buyers from purchasing without realizing these things.  I also gave a couple of theories beyond what Amazon explains as of yesterday.

  Yesterday Amazon added its "We want you to know" section on the Paperwhite product page.

Because it's so unusual, here is their advisory in their own words:
We want you to know...

Kindle Paperwhite is the best Kindle we've ever made by far, but there are certain limitations and changes from prior generations that we want you to know about.
  • Kindle Paperwhite does not have audio or Text-to-Speech. This makes the device smaller and lighter than it would otherwise be. Audio and an improved Text-to-Speech engine are supported on Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD. 

  • Under certain lighting conditions, the illumination at the bottom of the screen from the built-in light is not perfectly even. See examples of how the screen looks in different lighting conditions.

    These variations are normal and are located primarily in the margin where text is not present. The illumination is more even than that created by a book light or lighted cover. The contrast, resolution and illumination of the Paperwhite display is a significant step-up from our prior generation. 

  • The Kindle Paperwhite has 2 GB of storage. Some previous Kindle models had 4GB of storage. 2GB allows you to hold up to 1,100 books locally on your device. In addition, your entire Kindle library is stored for free in the Amazon cloud, and you can easily move books from the cloud onto your device.
Thank you, and we hope you enjoy Kindle Paperwhite.
- The Kindle Team '

Essentially, the 4 lighting situations shown include:
  1.  Daylight with maximum setting at '24'
  2.  Bright room with light setting not as high, at '20'
  3.  Dark room, light setting low
        which they recommend for 'most comfortable reading'
  4.  Dark room light setting at full brightness,
       which they do NOT recommend.

Amazon reiterates at the bottom of the 4 illustrations:
  "In darkness, the most comfortable illumination level for most readers is a lower light setting."  That's probably because in a dark room any light will stand out more.

  Notice that (i) the bottom half-inch shadings are stronger when you're in a dark room and the light-setting is very high and that (ii) when you're in a dark room, and the light-setting is low, Amazon's photo shows some mildly pink and green discoloration at that level and may be what some have seen.
  When these also appear in daylight to any noticeable or bothersome degree, that wouldn't be what's expected and a few forum members have returned those units for replacements which were usually better.

What Amazon doesn't mention, in a section that describes what they want people to know are normal appearance of the Paperwhite under very varied light, is what their battery rating is based on:
  The ~8 wks battery life of the Paperwhite, customer reps have said, is based on a light-setting at '10' and with wireless Off most of the time.
  Most owners report using their Paperwhites at battery settings from 9-14 for best appearance and comfortable reading.

News-site reactions to Amazon's additional information
Gizmodo's Casy Chan - "...an awesome, awesome e-reader. But it's not without problems! ... For the lack of audio and limited storage, there’s really nothing that can be done. If you needed those two features, you shouldn’t get a Paperwhite. As for the lighting issue? Well, watch your brightness levels."

Cnet's Roger Cheng - "How's this for honesty? Amazon took it upon itself to post a note today on its site listing the limitations of its newest e-reader, the Kindle Paperwhite...For instance, Amazon acknowledged that the built-in light will provide uneven illumination under certain lighting conditions.  The uneven lighting occurs in the margin where text isn't present...Of course, a cursory look at the product page would also reveal some of these differences.  Amazon, however, has opted to be crystal clear about the differences between the Kindle Paperwhite and older models."

  Their headline though: "Amazon preemptively discloses some potential shortcoming in its latest Kindle e-reader compared with previous models [That would be audio and space], most likely to get out in front of user complaints."

The Verge's Chris Welch - "So far as uneven lighting is concerned, Amazon readily admits that its front-lit solution isn't perfect while simultaneously calling the variations "normal" and assuring customers they mainly affect areas of the screen that display little to no text.  The slight difference in uniformity didn't hamper our enjoyment of the device, so it's hard to fault the company here."
  The comments to the article are an interesting read.


EXCellent Customer Video Review
This almost two-minute video review is especially apropos because the reviewer, on Oct. 1, was attempting to show, he said, the glow screen and address the comments about the LED lights at the bottom.   He felt it was "no big deal" and found the screen very clear and bright.

Upshot - my take
From what I've seen of photos of Before and After replacements units, there -was- a bad batch, but also there are some who are a lot more sensitive than others are to the bottom half-inch variances as well as some who didn't expect any unevenness at all (probably because Amazon's marketing states that the lighting is even, top to bottom) and couldn't get past seeing them, while most owners I read found them no problem once they started reading.

  So I think Amazon was wise in addressing what may be normal, as there had been no indication by them of any variances dependent on lighting situation and there'll be more realistic basic for expectations now.




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

US:
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
UK:
Kindle Basic, NoTouch - £69
Kindle Touch WiFi, UK - £109
Kindle Keyboard 3G, UK - £149
  Keybd: w/ Free, slow 3G WEB
Kindle Paperwhite, WiFi
£109
Kindle Paperwhite 3G, UK
£169
Kindle Fire 2, UK
 £129
Kindle Fire HD 7"16/32GB, UK
£159/199
OTHER International
Kindle NoTouch Basic - $89
Kindle Touch WiFi - $139
Kindle Keybd 3G - $189
  Keybd: w/ Free, slow 3G WEB

France
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
UK-Only:
   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

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