Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Kindle News: What's Amazon up to? Amazon quietly cuts one E-Ink reader and the Kindle Fire HD 7" tablet. Also changes product pages for this year's Paperwhite models now showing as not-available currently but then shows the new product-detail pages for these as devices Available - there are NO new features mentioned for them. Also, be careful about downloading "Kindle" books from non-Amazon sites. Updated for info on Current Paperwhite 2's.


The two Kindles shown above are apparently discontinued without an announcement (the product pages show no way to order either one and there's no wording that either is "out of stock"), and they don't show up in the Kindle family header anymore.

  John Sauter alerted us about the Kindle "NoTouch" Basic e-Ink eReader's absence from the lineup.

  And there was a quick sale (of only $20) on the Kindle HD 2nd Gen 7" tablet the other day, and now that model is gone also -- but on this one, Amazon offers "Certified Refurbished" versions, which carry the usual 1-year guarantee (and usually a 30-day refund if the buyer decides not to keep it).

The current models as of last week are the 6" Paperwhite eReader and the Fire HDX tablets in 7" and 8.9" form.  But they show the PAPERWHITE models AS not available currently and point us to new pages for both Paperwhite devices, which ARE shown as available -- and yet there are NO new features mentioned.  So, what are they doing? Are those being set up for actual new models coming? It's the oddest product-page change situation I've seen for these devices.

I'm using the old links here, and Amazon has an orange stripe on each one to lead you to the new product-detail pages (no new products or new features are mentioned). You can compare them that way.

  For the record, the NEW product-detail pages for each are new Paperwhite WiFi page and new Paperwhite WiFi/3G page.
  NOTE added Sept. 19: These are new PAGES for the still-current older Paperwhite 2's (and not for the totally new Paperwhite "Voyage" announced a day after this blog entry.

  (It doesn't help that Amazon has described both as "or 3G" -- but ignore that.)

  Maybe they're coming out with mildly upgraded hardware.  Will update as I find out more.

An alert from The Digital Reader
Nate Hoffelder reports, "Your Amazon Account Can be Hacked via a Kindle eBook from a non-Amazon site." for
  The hackers involved insert a script into the e-book, which, when added to your Kindle library, can start the script when you open the Kindle Library web page.

  "As a result, Amazon account cookies can be accessed by and transferred to the attacker and the victim’s Amazon account can be compromised."  More details in the article.

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. The 'silly season' (August) is over and the build-up to Christmas has begun. My hunch is that, not wanting to get stuck with old inventory, Amazon has let the stocks of old models deplete—without saying so publicly lest people stop buying—and will soon release new models.

    Amazon hasn't yet pulled off Apple's clever mixing both lots of pre-release publicity with little actual information. Products simply come and go. Their release breaks briefly in the media and then disappears.

    Alas, I fear this new release won't include the epaper model I'd like to see most, one especially for kids with these specs:

    * Ruggedized and waterproof because yah gotta have that with kids.

    * Small enough to fit inside the pocket of a kid's jeans, so it stays with them. Current models barely fit inside adult coat pockets.

    * Versatile, displaying ebooks from multiple sources, including epub and Mobi.

    * Backlit screen (maybe). I'd rather see text-to-speech for reading the the dark.

    * No frills like note-taking or Whisper sync necessary. This is for fun and for kids, although some outdoor-minded adults might like it.

    --Mike Perry

    1. Mike, part of your wish came true but only for the Fire tablet -- the one for kids is obviously rugged for kids (and yet is a real tablet with serious features and is therefore $50 more than the basic 6" new Fire). It's 6" but that's not small enough for a kid's jeans :-) No backlight and for me, no audio -- a hope I had for the next Paperwhite as you did.

      Notetaking is important for me and probably for older kids who would accept just an e-Ink reader rather than an LCD tablet, but I think most kids will go for tablets these days.

      My Comcast WiFi was down last night and this morning, so I haven't been able to do much in the way of further examination, but I was surprised at the new Fire tablets (since I felt my 8.9" was just fine as it is) but I did appreciate the speed difference for last year's models and others will appreciate that for the new model, I imagine. What I would most like is the louder audio !!!

      Stronger WiFi is definitely a plus but real-life use testing will show there.

  2. It seems Amazon has patched the security hole (again: the new MYX page re-introduced it). Can't find the link to the post I just read, however.

  3. Found it:

    1. Tom,
      Glad they plugged it. Gads! Since it was a big thing the first time, it should have been on a priority list once they changed the Manage your Kindle page again recently. Thanks for that info and the link to it.

  4. The wifi-only Fire HD 8.9" models appear to be unavailable new as well. The speculation seems particularly clueless this year. Can they really 'get away' without major hardware improvements to any of the Kindle/Fire devices? Yet that seems to be what we're looking at (no FCC filings, leaks, etc.). But with the virtual disappearance of Nook as a competitor, and only one new Kobo device, perhaps Amazon feels no immediate need to put new devices out. But there will be new iPads and it seems, a new Nexus 7.

    1. Nook and its annointed tablet producer should be competitive but I haven't followed whether they actually produced it yet or not.

      Amazon's new Fire tablets sure fooled me. I saw the announcements at 6:50pm when I was shutting down the PC because I was leaving and then rescheduled dinner a bit. They managed to fool everyone, as the mainstream large tech press had no clue on it, and even TheDigitalReader said something like NoStoryHere when the several models went missing the other day, so quietly. I thought we'd see mild upgrades rather than what we're getting -- mainly because they put so much staff time into the Fire Phone (and I felt my 8.9" HDX is amazing, as has been true for a few large-site tech writers who discontinued using their iPads this last year in favor of the HDX.

  5. Of course now there are some leaks on the new Kindles.

    1. I had not checked blog comments yesterday but tuned in at about 6:50pm just before going out and got waylaid with the official announcements suddenly put in place. They were sneakier than Apple this time around :-) Still haven't explored much because Comcast Internet went down here last night and just came back.


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