Monday, September 26, 2011

Amazon Kindle Tablet and BN Nook forces poised at High Noon, ready to Fire


MG Siegler got the news today, and from the time he first posted the mock-up you see at the left, done by a compatriot, TechCrunch has replaced the lead image of the mockup with a more descriptive one.

  He writes that the Kindle name is now "Kindle Fire" - with the idea, I guess, that this will spread like wildfire, or a person buying it will be "afire" with Amazon's latest kindling of interest in reading and digital information in general. :-)  Now that'll include streaming of video and audio through its own (but outsourced) tablet.  Someone had earlier guessed the name "Aspire" but that would have left it always short of a goal, so that must have never really had fans.

Outstanding "off-topic" detail
Ryan Block, from writes that Amazon's Lab126 group which develops the Kindle eReader, decided not to take on the tablet project, "in favor of continuing to work solely on next-gen E-Ink-based devices."  (Computer-bound feet doing a happy dance) Yay!

Quanta and the RIM Playbook
So, Amazon turned to Quanta (which Digitimes has been correct about in saying, some time ago, that Quanta was producing the 7" Amazon tablet).  RIM had originally outsourced much of the hardware design and production of the Playbook to Quanta, which builds and sometimes helps design, Block says, hardware for name brands.

  Block's story is that the development process made a shortcut by using the RIM PlayBook as their hardware template.  He says it's meant as a 'stopgap' measure, with the Spring tablet to be The One, and most have agreed that Amazon itself has as its main focus its own larger tablet which isn't due for months.  He mentions a slow processor for the current, smaller one.

  Even then, the Kidnle Fire won't be ready to ship, Siegel says, until the second week of November, from what TechCrunch has learned.

Lowering expectations as a strategy?
  But then Siegel's now much-read original article in early Sept., describing what he had, in hand, had said this 7" tablet  likely did NOT even use a dual-core processor, only a single-core one!  I had hoped out loud he was definitely wrong on that one!, and it appears he was, somehow.  Siegel reports today it has a dual-core processor after all.

  I've been hoping Amazon has been leaking information that would cause gadget sites to underestimate the 7" tablet, but it's nevertheless definitely *modest* in aspirations and in what is on it, which will keep the cost lower.  The sense is that it's entirely utilitarian and there's nothing snazzy about it whatsoever.

The Ease of Use thing
I'lll add a thought -- re its not being a normal 'open' Android system -- of course it's not.  Amazon wants a controlled, easy to use interface for an audience that wants ease of use, above all,  and a bare Android device would require 25/7 customer support without letup.

  With the stock Android, I browse the web nicely with the really interesting but discontinued Entourage Pocket Edge (rooted and on version 2.2.1 and with a dual-screen setup that is a lot of fun),  but then I need to call an app like FREEdi to get the YouTube videos which this now basic Android tablet then presents in full-screen, although not with the beauty of the NookColor's smaller YouTube displays -- but NookColor's tended-garden has a controlled, easy-to-use interface, even if it's a bit buggy.  I'm looking forward to what B&N does with NookColor 2, said to be announced within a month.

 The first-generation NookColor does have a single-core processor, I read, but the NookColor 2 will almost surely have a dual-processor chip -- and a $350 model is also due from B&N, which means (in my mind) a larger, more capable, second tablet or one with 3G access in addition to WiFi. 

As I say, the online bookstore e-forces are almost at the top of the hill, ready for battle :-)

Back to Amazon:
   Giving thanks skyward, I am glad to add that Siegel says the KTab he held is
' much better than the PlayBook because the software is better and, more importantly, the content available is much better. '

  In addition to Amazon's own custom version of Android, it uses the Amazon AppStore of course.  While I've found it pretty good (and generally helpful to new users),  Siegel says that Amazon has "been rounding up the big app makers to get them on board for the Fire launch, I'm told."

Movies, TV, MP3s, colorful magazines tailored to the 7" form factor
  I mentioned yesterday that Amazon signed a deal with 20th Century Fox for streaming of movies and tv shows, a service "which will be a key part of the Fire."

  The big magazines are on board too, Peter Kafka says, except for TIME, which won't be ready "in time" but then TIME still hasn't done a subscription arrangement with Apple either.
  Kafka also mentions that Amazon is already a 'huge partner for many of them, as a marketing platform for their ink-and-paper titles.  Hearst and Amazon shared a press release earlier this month, which noted that "Amazon will become Haerst's single-largest third-party seller of PRINT subscriptions for its magazins via digital channels."

 Siegler adds that industry sources say publishers have tailored some of their titles for the 7" tablet that Amazon will be introducing on Wednesday.  Some publishers have, of course, already done this for the NookColor.  The National Geographic magazine that's on  that 7"NC  is just stunning and is the main reason I really like it, although I enjoy the very portable color web browser too, despite having no highlight, copy or paste tools!

Other details, from Siegler:
  . No email client, but, he points out, you'll be able to get one from the Appstore or -- as I do -- use my regular web mail on the browser.
  . Uses a TI dual-core OMAP chip - the same chip used inside many newer Android devices. &He 'guesses' the clock speed (why 'guess' with his sources?)  at 1.2 GHz, and if he's correct, that "would make it significantly faster than the NookColor, which uses an 800 MHz OMAP chip."
      BUT the NC2 will be built on top of "Gingerbread" (Android 2.3), he hears, which will put the NC ahead of Amazon in that regard.

  As has been said, NookColor 2 team is lined up and ready, after maybe learning from almost a year on the first model (though their NC updates do not confirm this idea or maybe their goals have not been high).  Still, NookColor 2 should be formidable, but I will stress, their e-device customer-service is definitely not, while Amazon's has been superior.

Siegler *now* says that he hears floating whispers (reminds me of the TV Series LOST!) that the price could be $300 with Amazon's Prime program and $250 without it.

Kindle 3's   (UK: Kindle 3's)   K3 Special ($114)   K3-3G Special ($139)   DX Graphite

Check often: Temporarily-free late-listed non-classics or recently published ones
  Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.  Top 100 free bestsellers.  Liked-books under $1
UK-Only: recently published non-classics, bestsellers, or £5 Max ones
    Also, UK customers should see the UK store's Top 100 free bestsellers. 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!


  1. So... Kindle Fire, eh? We should expect Kindle Air, Water and Earth then :)

    All in all, no big surprises. There couldn't be any, with all the rumors. Every possibility was covered :)

    About the price, I think it will be $250 without Prime, for a simple reason: if it would be included in $250, international customers would get almost nothing from it. No free shipping, no free Instant Videos, no Cloud Player. (I don't think there is any chance of enabling these only for the tablet).

    In this light, I would feel cheated to pay $250 for a tablet + Amazon Prime, when in reality all I'm getting is the tablet. And I'm sure most of Amazon's international customers would feel the same.

  2. Corneliu,
    They did grab domain names for air, Water and Earth and I think Fire was 'taken' but they likely would find a way to get it :-)

    Your points are good. See the later blog entry. I hope he's right but it seems so out of nowhere...


NOTE: TO AVOID SPAM being posted instantly, this blog uses the "DELAY" feature.

Am often away much of the day, and postings won't show up right away. Posts done to use referrer-links may never show up.

Usually, am online enough to release comments within a day though, so the hard-to-read match-text tests for commenting won't be needed this way.

Feedback and questions are welcome. Thanks for participating.

Technical Problems?
If you're having problems leaving a Comment, Google's blogger-help asks that you clear the '' cookies on your browser's Tools or Options menu bar and that will fix the Comment-box problems (until they have a permanent fix).

IF that doesn't work either, then UNcheck the "keep me signed in" box -- Google-help says that should allow your comment to post (it's a workaround to a current bug).
Apologies for the problems.

TIP: There's a size limit. If longer than 3500 characters or so, in a text editor, make two posts out of it.

[Valid RSS]