Monday, July 2, 2012

Kindle News: Amazon buys 3D mapping startup NextUp. Will they use Yap? Also, KFire and social gaming.

Amazon closes deal to acquire UpNext, a 3D mapping startup.

Looking at the headlines, we're starting to lose focus on books!, but tablets are multi-function and, the 7" ones are, except for reading in sunlight, quite nice for reading, and of course enhanced e-books with multimedia capabilities, including related videos, are getting quite a lot of interest.

  But when is a mapping program most used? On smartphones with GPS enabled and faster 3G streaming.  Amazon's probable interest in mobile phone technology has been mentioned before, due to wording in some of their Lab126 job ads.

  And they did acquire  Yap (Oct 2010), with its voice-recognition technology, used for transcribing voicemails to text.  Sort of a clue?

  The Yap Voicemail app had been available for the iPhone and was automated and offered for free.  When it was still available (before Amazon bought the company), anytime you got a message, a notification would pop up with the name of the caller and the beginning of the message.  None of these things will be wholly accurate but Yap's app allowed iPhone users to also play the message in the app to hear what was actually said, in case of some doubt.  The app included the abitility to return the call from the app.

gigaom's Ki Mae Heussner reports on the acquisition and does wonder if a future, more powerful Kindle Fire will have native mapping capabilites and/or if Amazon IS working on an Amazon smartphone.
I actually tether my Samsung Galaxy S2 phone to my Kindle Fire sometimes (giving the Kindle Fire WiFi capability) just to be able to examine maps better without losing my eyesight on a 4.3" screen.

  He adds that no price has been mentioned but he's heard "that investors are getting a 5x return on the investment from 16 months ago" and that "the four-person company" will be off to Seattle to lead Amazon's core mapping effort.  UpNext covers 50 cities nationwide and for almost half of those cities, it offers enhanced details.  You can read what else they've been working on for their apps, at the story.

Kindle Fire and possible social gaming feature
  ZDNet's Sean Portnoy alerts us today to a story written by Bloomberg's Danielle Cucera on June 28, 2012, in which she said that Amazon "plans to release tools for digital-game makers by the end of July," according to a source who doesn't want to be identified in connection with plans that aren't public yet.  "Amazon is trying to woo developers to help it grab a bigger slice of the global social-gaming market..."

Current Kindle Models for reference, plus free-ebook search links
Kindle Fire  7" tablet - $199
Kindle NoTouch ("Kindle") - $79/$109
Kindle Touch, WiFi
- $99/$139
Kindle Touch, 3G/WiFi - $149/$189
Kindle Keybd 3G - $189, Free, slow web
Kindle DX - $379, Free, slow web
Kindle Basic, NoTouch - £89
Kindle Touch WiFi, UK - £109
Kindle Touch 3G/WiFi, UK - £169
Kindle Keyboard 3G, UK - £149
  Keybd: w/ Free, slow 3G WEB
OTHER International
Kindle NoTouch Basic - $109
Kindle Touch WiFi - $139
Kindle Touch 3G/WiFi - $189
Kindle Keybd 3G - $189
  Keybd: w/ Free, slow 3G WEB

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 comment:

  1. It would be nice if Amazon would support minimal social gaming features. Many of the management games I play on Kindle Fire have social elements where you can earn points for social actions - and on almost every game, those don't work on the Kindle Fire. Meaning you can't get the points or complete that part of the game. Example: "Ice Age Village".


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