Monday, July 29, 2013

Kindle News: Follow-up on glitchy Kindle Fire software update, w/ workarounds...New Nexus 7" tablets, at Amazon...Chromecast-what-is-it and what about the free Netflix promo...Amazon and job creation + Obama's visit to an Amazon fulfillment center Tuesday...New jobs w/ benefits (warehouse and customer service)...Big Fall Books Preview



Assorted Odds and Ends in the News or from discussion forums the last week

I'll try to keep these shorter and give links for full detail, as there is quite a bit.

First, a caution.  The Kindle Fire software update that went out over the air to a few (but is not offered as a manual update, version [x].4.5 was first mentioned at the bottom of the blog article dated July 21), continues to cause problems, reported on the Amazon Kindle forums in various message threads about website Flash videos or Youtube suddenly not working.

  According to one customer who quoted a note from Kindle Support, this is not an intended effect, and they are studying the reports and working to resolve the problems.

  A few ways to work around it until then, for those who somehow received v[x]4.5 update (but these workarounds don't always work)...

1. At youtube, try going to http://m.youtube.com instead (the simpler mobile version)
or download TubeMate app and use that for Youtube to either play or download a video

2. Using the default Amazon Web browser (named Silk), use the web browser Menu [rectangle] to choose to enable Experimental Streaming Viewer when you see this at the bottom of your webpage after Amazon detects compatible flash video on the page:
 

3. In the meantime, while first-tier customer support may realize that the over-the-air update some have received is causing these glitches, the customer reps don't always know that some tech support have said it is not an intended effect and they're working on it.  This would, though, explain why the software updates page does not offer that software update on a manual basis.


New Nexus tablets - the 16 GB version is in stock for Prime delivery at Amazon
These are making big news this week because of their very high display resolution, large RAM chip, fast processor and much improved audio, all at a decent price, though some are not happy that it still doesn't have built-in HDMI-Out to an HDTV.  That may be due to Google's Chromecast -- more on that latter gizmo in a moment.

  Amazon had the 16 GB in stock for Prime Delivery late last night but apparently those are gone and a 3rd party vendor charging $12 more at Amazon is now offering these.  So this is just for info for those who will hear more about these in the coming days and they're probably the reason we saw all the leaks on the coming new Kindle Fire HD tablets, to be announced, it was said, in August or early September.

  The 32 GB Nexus (and, really, the one to get if you want the Nexus) is being sold by Amazon directly, and shipping via Prime is estimated at 3-4 weeks.  Shipping at most places is slow on this one.

  Here are the product pages for more detail and if you prefer purchasing via Amazon for their customer support policies:  New Nexus 16 GB     New Nexus 32 GB


Google's Chromecast
Chromecast is a 'dongle' that Google is selling for $35 that will stream some web video, music "and more" from a tablet, phone or laptop to a TV in many or most cases.  Reviews differ so far.

  Google was offering 3 months of free Netflix for this, even to those who already subscribe to Netflix.
  They discontinued that free Netflix offer this last week (due to overwhelming demand), to much consternation, especially since people had bought (from Google, Best Buy, and Amazon, et al) one of these gadgets with the expectation of getting that Netflix promo.

  Here is the upshot, on how Amazon will handle the Netflix promo for those who bought before the cancellation was announced:
' Netflix Promotion No Longer Available
Please note that the Netflix promotional offer (which was available in limited supply) has now ended.  Customers who ordered their Chromecast prior to 5:31 PM PST on July 24, 2013 will receive a Netflix gift code via email within 5 days of their product's ship date. '
  If you bought it from Google, their policy is: "Orders placed before 1PM PST on 7/25 will receive their promotion code once their order ships."

  Two excellent articles on Chromecast
  Here's a very informative set of explanations of what Chromecast does and how it does it, by RJ Raphael - "Android Power" column, at Computerworld.
  Also, one titled "... but not for everyone," by Craig Lloyd for Slashgear, includes some caveats.


Amazon and jobs - and an appearance by President Obama
President Obama will be making a speech about jobs at Amazon's Fulfillment Center in Chattanooga, Tennessee on Tuesday.  This is probably in connection with the heavy creation of new jobs (with benefits) cited this week.

  According to Reuters and other news sources, "the White House said he will discuss proposals "to jumpstart private sector job growth and make America more competitive, and will also talk about new ideas to create American jobs...The speech is scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m. ET."

  Amazon to fill 7,000 jobs in 13 states, per AP via Brandenton.com.

  This will include 5,000 full-time jobs at its U.S. distribution centers (see linked article for a list of cities in which they're hiring) and 2,000 jobs in customer service, including full-time, part-time and seasonal.   The customer service jobs are available "in Winchester, Ky.; Grand Forks, N.D.; Kennewick, Wash. and Huntington, W.Va.  Work from home positions are available in Oregon, Washington and Arizona."

  Amazon's own press release on the 5,000 Fulfillment Center jobs headlines the benefits involved:
' Positions pay 30 percent more than traditional retail jobs and include comprehensive benefits beginning on day one, including healthcare, 401(k) and company stock awards

Amazon offers employees innovative programs like Career Choice, where it will pre-pay up to 95% of tuition for courses related to in-demand fields, regardless of whether the skills are relevant to a career at Amazon
'

For any job-seekers you may know:
  See more recruitment information at Amazon Fulfillment Careers and Amazon Customer Service Jobs.


What else is Amazon up to?
Here are some ideas from Brad Stone, who was "in Silicon Valley for most of this summer, working with Amazon’s hardware design arm, Lab126, according to a person familiar with the matter who wasn’t authorized to discuss it publicly.)
...
  "... It’s hard to make much money when you’re opening refrigerated fulfillment centers around the country, manufacturing your first set-top box ([TV] , preparing to launch a phone, buying up video content in a furious competition with Netflix, and creating original programming, all the while diving into new product categories and revolutionizing the publishing business "

Earlier in April, Stone had written:
' . The e-commerce giant is planning to introduce a device this fall dedicated to streaming video over the Internet and into its customers’ living rooms, according to three people familiar with the project who aren’t authorized to discuss it.

They say the box will plug into TVs and give users access to Amazon’s expanding video offerings.  Those include its à la carte Video on Demand store, which features newer films and TV shows, and its Instant Video service, which is free for subscribers to the Amazon Prime two-day shipping package. '

I don't know how that might compare with Chromecast, since I haven't bought one (I can just beam my Kindle Fire HD contents to my HDMI TV's with the HDMI-out Kindle Fire HD feature, though I get better size results with the 8.9" model than with the 7" one).

Re the question of whether or not Amazon will include competing video streaming services on its device, Stone feels that they likely will (or go unbought!) but that Amazon's "own video and music services will be more prominently integrated into the device."


Amazon's Big Fall Books Preview was just announced
I'll spare you the details here, because they're available at the "20 Big Fall Books" page at http://amzn.to/fallbookspreview


I still have a lot more to write up, but that won't be until Monday night.




Current Kindle Models for reference, plus free-ebook search links.
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

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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