Friday, July 10, 2009

Amazon Wireless Store launches, and other news

GigaOm's Om Malik noticed that Amazon has launched its Amazon Wireless store, with free 2-day shipping on all phones.  They'd been offering mobile plans and special deals for some time but now they've made a dedicated shopping center for it.

Recently, Amazon had aunched Endless, a shoe store not unlike Zappos and bought a camera review and forum site I visited a lot and was surprised had been bought by Amazon.  No ill effects reported -- they've let the previous owner run it, and they've done the same with IMDB, The Internet Movie Database.  Now, with the launch of the Wireless store, they're taking on "Let's Talk" of San Francisco though the latter has 10 years on Amazon.

Malik thinks the new store will do well citing its "clean and easy to use design, description of devices and the quality of reviews." Here's another report on it by Intomobile.  They say that only AT&T and Verizon are on board for now.  There are some good phones for "a penny" but we'd have to, of course, pay monthly for 181 days after activation to get that price and we can't change our plan to a lower monthly rate without additional charges.  Nothing unusual there though.  This is a mite off-topic but it's a wireless topic in a Kindle world! :-) and I thought some would want to hear about it.

GigaOm also reports that Murdoch, when asked if he was going to get into the hardware business with an e-reader, said,
' I don’t think that’s likely.  We’re looking and talking to a lot of laboratories and big companies around the world like Sony, Fujitsu, Samsung.  We’re all working on wireless readers for books or for newspapers or for magazines.

I think they’re a year or two away, being marketed in a mass way, high quality ones.  And we will be absolutely neutral.  We’re very happy to have our products distributed over any device provided it’s only going to subscribers who are paying for it. '
Other Murdoch statements (often contradicting) in earlier reports here.

Huffington Post's Giles Slade writes "Come September about 60% of American college textbooks -- including most freshman texts -- will be available from in cheaper, portable Kindle editions."  He doesn't source that percentage info though.

  But while he sees students carrying Kindle 2's, I don't think those are ideal for textbooks (although I do use Photoshop books on mine).  While he points out the Kindle DX is out of stock for another 3-5 weeks, they ought to be back in stock before Fall sessions.

Alibaba reports that Amazon was granted patents for advertising and that they filed a trademark application for the word "Kindle" with indications that "social networking" is a possible use for the brand name.  Of note, since many are concerned about Amazon's plans, are the following thoughts:
If Amazon did go ahead and include ads in books, the filings imply that Amazon would make the books free or discount them—some consolation for those not used to seeing ads in their texts.

Cutting the price of e-book titles would contrast with the view among some analysts that Amazon will actually have to hike the price of its e-books in order to improve economics for both publishers and Amazon.  Maybe including ads could help offset that need.
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