Saturday, October 19, 2013

Kindle Fire HDX News: HDX's are shipping in the U.S. now and have been announced for UK/International areas. Yr2013 Basic HD 7" ships in Canada Oct. 24. Table of current (plus some previous) Kindle devices for various countries updated Oct. 18. Review highlights.

Updates on availability of new Kindle Fire line internationally -- shipping of new basic HD model starts Oct 24 for Canada.

  Also, the Table of all current Kindles for the U.S. and International areas has been updated Oct. 18.

  I'm on various other projects and while there hasn't been any big news, reviews have been very good on the new line, as most who are interested will have seen.  The one flaw is that many large tech-sites still seem to enjoy saying that Amazon locks owners in to Amazon's own apps and that one has to do without Google Play apps

  As many who read this blog know, that's not true, even if it simplifies things for large tech-site reviewers.  As said before, Amazon has always ENABLED the Android system Settings checkbox that allows the owner to CHOOSE to install apps from Unknown Sources (can this be more clear?).  After the owner has checked that box, they can go to OTHER app stores like's site (which has 300,000+ GooglePlay apps) and to various other app stores named in the article-guide you can read at this blog: "How to Install Non-Amazon Apps on a Kindle Fire."

  This allows owners to download direct, to the tablet, the Google Play apps from the other stores that carry them AND which allow Kindle Fire owners to download those apps, although Google Play does not allow Kindle Fires to download them direct from its store.  Google tends to want any associated vendors to negotiate an agreement with them that normally involves becoming main source for its content (Amazon itself sells unique content and because of that, they sell the tablets at cost).  The other android app market stores allow Kindle Fires and it's just a matter of searching for an app by name and then downloading it directly to the Kindle Fire and installing it.  I stress this because after two years, the large tech-sites generally seem to love to say that Amazon keeps its customers from doing that, and it's just the opposite.  NO "rooting" or software "modifications" are needed.

This relatively short blog article is just a quick update, otherwise, as I've had to finish other projects this last week and will be free of most of them by next week -- and except for shipping announcements and a plethora of good reviews which are easily googled, there isn't that much to report.  Amazon did make a list of review blurbs which I can add here for those who would like to see, quickly, what will obviously be the most positive ones, and I'll add those to the end of this article.  Any negative ones I've seen are the statements re any alleged inability to use GooglePlay apps -- a now willfully ignorant view of the Kindle Fire devices.

  Announcements of the release of the new Kindle Fire HDX line in the UK specifically (plus the most inexpensive and basic Kindle Fire now getting an HD screen) can be read in detail at the Daily Mail.

  Product pages for several countries still sell the Yr 2012 models but say the new devices will be available and can be pre-ordered soon.  Customers in Germany can pre-order already.   The countries-table I mentioned has links for each country and I'm now linking to the yr 2013 and yr 2012 lines on those pages where I find the later tablets mentioned, and generally Amazon mentions the new ones are coming.  s;That includes the general international (non-country-specific) models.

  Here is Amazon's listing of reviews that highlight certain features that really are amazing ones, even though I've seen the 'cool set' of reviewers saying that the 24/7 human-person available to show you, ON the tablet, how to do something, find a setting, etc. is for "grandmothers" and those who don't understand tablets.  Well, a careful examination of the new offerings will show the new devices are filled with entertainment and information features you won't find on other tablets, so it can save time, including time that many would otherwise spend on phone help for family and friends, when the giftee's Amazon helper can see the screen layout and show the owner what to do to get an end result.  The review blurbs:
' The reviews are in:

“As it is, the Kindle Fire HDX is a lightweight, sharp-screened, superfast pleasure” – New York Times
“HDX hums with nary a hiccup or UI stutter” – Wired
“It [Mayday] is, in short, an amazing idea well-implemented” – TechCrunch
“It's got a sleek redesign, blazing fast guts, and a few new tricks.  Most of all, though, it's the best small tablet you can buy.” – Gizmodo
“It’s called Mayday, and it’s the most remarkable customer service tool I’ve ever seen.” – The Verge
“Spending the weekend with Amazon’s Kindle Fire HDX 7-inch tablet, it’s easy to see why Amazon has built a commanding lead in the Android tablet space.” – Mashable
“There’s a lot to like about the Kindle Fire HDX.  The screen is superb, the form-factor sober but sturdy, and the processor cutting edge for the market. “ – SlashGear
“Armed with a powerful processor and Amazon's exhaustive content library, the Kindle Fire HDX delivers incredible value for its price, especially for Amazon Prime members.” – CNET
“For the first time, truly, the company has made a product that won't make some users feel like they're compromising an excellent user experience for a cheap price tag.  Because now, Amazon's tablet line has both.” – Fortune '

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. Ars Technica too...

  2. I have a US-based Prime account, but live in Japan. Will I be able to access Amazon Prime content if I buy a Fire HDX (in either US or Japan) and use it in Japan? I currently use a US-based VPN to get around this when using my PC.

    Thanks in advance.

    1. I can't speak for Amazon, but it's my experience with past models that PRIME streaming content is U.S. only and this will likely be true here. UK and other European customers use Love Film (now an Amazon company) for streaming content. I haven't heard about anything happening in Japan yet (but I could have missed it). Sorry I can't be more helpful there. You could ask at the Amazon Kindle Community forums and a "forum pro" would be able to get a definite answer on that for you.

  3. Thank you. I will check the forums and continue to enjoy your blog. ;)

    1. Hope you find some good news,down the line, on the streaming status for Japan.

  4. Been trying to sideload flash player to kindle fire hdx but so far impossible ! Followed all instructions on various sites to no avail ! Flash player seems to download but when you open flash player settings just a blank page and when trying to download video needing flash player it is not recognised and tells you to download flash player to continue! Can you please help !!!!

    1. I'm almost finished revising the Flash blog entry, today, especially due to that other site now making you see heavy advertising. Despite the annoying screens it does download the file if you use the FIRST small-font CENTERED' download (and not the lower big one). Ignore the screens and you'll see the file in your 'download' folder on the Kindle Fire.
      I have the Adobe page for that same file and it's directly downloadable. Will definitely get this done this afternoon, latest. So check back tonight. And let me know how it goes for you.

  5. Hi Andrys, I'm surprised that you only found really great reviews on the Kindle Fire HDX release into Canada. Because the reviews I read about the product's release in my Country speak a very different tune:

    "MayDay isn’t available."
    "One feature I could not get to work at all was the screen mirroring with the Playstation 3. I have both but for the life of me I couldn’t get them to pair. After using MayDay, it appears because my PlayStation is registered in Canada, there is no Amazon Instant Video application available. So it seems that is yet another feature unavailable to Canadians."
    "We certainly don’t get the full value of the Kindle in the way our US cousins do."
    "Painfully limited dynamic range seems to be the main problem; in low light, the cameras drop down to shutter speeds that are pretty much guaranteed to introduce blur, while strong light blows out bright areas and causes some serious lens flare. HDR mode didn't help one bit. The camera is good enough for video chatting, but not much else."
    "The Kindle Fire is not a hard-core productivity tablet; it's designed mostly for consuming media from Amazon."
    "Amazon now claims more than 80,000 third-party apps in its app store, but that's a fraction compared with what Android and iOS have available."
    "The software continues to be somewhat limiting for power users, due to a content-based UI and a lack of Google Play access."

    THESE are the reviews of the Kindle Fire HDX coming out of Canada, and I'm surprised that you only found glowing reviews when there are so many problems inherent with the product itself, the delivery system, the system of available products and apps to purchase, and the availability of access to services that would make using the product more interesting and would maximize the user experience.

    I think product reviews - by "independent and unbiased bloggers" - need to show the complete picture of the product being reviewed, even if they are very ardent fans of that product or that company's other products.

    I, too, am a Kindle owner. But due to the limitations of the Kindle Fire HDX in Canada, as well as because of the serious lack of functionality of the product in Canada, I would never buy one - at least not until Amazon were smart enough to erase these stupid, unnecessary barriers to the Canadian user experience.

    And I think it would show more honesty on your blog if you were to report the above issues when you review a product you obviously love. Many more people would believe what you DO have to say if it is tempered with balanced information detailing the problems with your beloved product.

    1. Darren, I'm surprised that you've decided to carry on, accusing me of not being honest enough for you while not even reading what I wrote that showed how wrong your Canadian review complaints were in a point you stressed twice -- that the Kindle cannot use Google apps. They can. Do read the article you're responding to. It's linked.

      But in any case, what makes you think I ever said I was unbiased? I'm biased because I like the unique features on the Kindle Fire HD/HDX's.

      Now, I write a US blog about a US-made device line. It would not occur to me to go to a Canadian blog to complain to them that the Canadian-made device they're writing about does not allow US residents to have the same features Canadians have.

      First of all, I would read the article before responding this way. That way, you would have seen I clearly identifed the blurbs as having been listed by Amazon back in October.

      As a result, you used the ignorance in the reviews you cited to complain that google apps were not usable on the Kindle Fires when they are.

      They are used merely by downloading them from a myriad of Android app stores available that allow downloads direct to the Kindle Fire line.

      Amazon gives owners of the Kindle Fire a choice of whether or not they want to install apps from "unknown sources" (meaning non-Amazon-store sources). But the link to how easily this is done is right in the article you're commenting on.

      And the store I use the most and link to has over 500,000 apps, most of them from Google but also from Amazon.

      You didn't observe the 'delay' that I alert commenters about,
      involved in posting comments, so you then wrote in a 2nd comment that I should post your note. (Right away, I guess.)

      I've over 90,000 spam notes in the Google spam folder, and so readers are protected from those by a review process. It's mostly automated but I have to review the ones the spam program is not sure about. So I take time to go through them, when I'm here (which is not always).

      My guess is that you're generally somewhat impatient and don't want to read what others have written.

      I'm sorry that a U.S; made device does not do some of the things in Canada that you want, due to digital-rights-management laws and policies in other countries (like yours). The blog is not set up to advise residents of each country what features might not work there. It's best to read reviews from your country.

      Regular readers know that I do carp about certain features (or missing ones) and alert people to problems.

      As for your declaration of not being interested in buying a Kindle Fire HDX, I don't see why you should or even want to buy one. In your case I highly recommend a Kobo which has good digital book policies that make sense for Canada.

      If that's not important, there are always Apple and Google devices and the many others available that are quite good. They'll all have upsides and downsides though.

  6. Hi, Andrys!
    I am wondering if you know if I can download German Kindle apps (from onto my Kindle that I bought in the US. I live in the US but speak German and my family lives there, and I would like to have some apps that operate in German (not just "teach" German). Do you know if this is possible? I don't have a German amazon account, but I can definitely get one! I am not sure that would be the solution though.

    1. Some of it depends on what is designed your official Amazon "Home" account (where payments are made) but I'm not sure.
      I'd call Kindle Customer Support and ask them 866-321-8851 and also ask for a supervisor for such a complex situation that first-tier reps don't usually have solid answers for.

      There is nothing to prevent you from checking the Settings/Applications box that is for enabling installing apps from unknown sources and you would be able to install easily Android apps from other app stores in Germany too, using their Android app store apps.

      Let me know what you find.


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