Friday, August 17, 2012

Kindle News: Amazon's own SendToKindle for Chrome. InstantVideo for iPad gets a Search function. The State Dept cancels $$$ contract proposal with Amazon.

There has been an independent developer's "Send to Kindle" for the Chrome browser, since January 21, 20121, though my own favorite SendTo for Kindles has been SendtoReader because I can use it with any browser, on the PC or on my tablets.

Amazon, though has added its own Send to Kindle for Google Chrome browser extension or add-on which allows you to send web content to a Kindle or Kindle-compatible device in one step or to preview it before you send, including just selecting text from the web page to send to the Kindle device.  As with the others, this will send just the content of a web article and not the surrounding ads (that would otherwise make money for Google, but you have to be on the page seeing those ads anyway when sending content to a Kindle).

  This will work best when you're already signed in to your Amazon account.  WiFi is used by default, but those with e-Ink Kindles with 'only' 3G wireless access would incur fees on personal documents delivered over the air in this way, of 15c per megabyte (rounded).  An average Kindle novel is less than 1 megabyte in size.

The Amazon Instant Video app for iPad gets a Search function.  This app was added in early August and allows iPad users to download purchased or rented videos (120,000+ available) directly to their iPads so they can be watched offline.  It also includes a Watchlist and an improved navigation bar.

  With the new update just released, you can now search for specific titles offered to Amazon Prime customers.  Those with Kindle Fire tablets could access the thousands of TV shows and movies available, and now iPad users can also.

  They add that support for Firefox and Apple Safari is coming soon.  Nothing's said about Internet Explorer.

The U.S. Dept of State cancels $16.5 million contract proposal with Amazon
The U.S. Department of State posted a cancellation of its Request for Proposals for Amazon e-readers, content management, and logistics, and withdrew its Justification and Approval to award a contract (worth $16.5 million long-term), on a sole-source basis, to Amazon.
  The only reason cited in that posting was that "The Department of State intends to conduct additional market research and re-examine its requirements for this program."

  After typing that, I saw Laura Hazard Owen's follow up at paidContent, which has a statement from the State Department that includes:
' In order to conduct additional market research and further explore technological options for our public diplomacy programs, the Department of State opted on August 15 to end the Request for Proposals for the Amazon Kindle in favor of proceeding with a Request for Information (RFI) process.  This action will open to all vendors the opportunity to respond to the Department’s requirements for a mobile learning program. '

Earlier, the State Dept had explained the reasoning for their no-bid contract.
' In a document justifying the no-bid contract, the State Department says it’s identified “the Amazon Kindle as the only e-Reader on the market that meets the Government’s needs, and Amazon as the only company possessing the essential capabilities required by the Government.”  It has international 3G, text-to-speech features and a long battery life, which “other e-readers such as the Barnes and Noble Nook, the Sony Reader Daily and Kobe [sic] e-Reader cannot provide.” '
  Several other news reports said there were no other reasons given by the State Dept though and that it could also be that Amazon's requested negotiating of a contract encountered difficulties with the strict requirements and heavy expense (providing a "dedicated 24/7 help desk" globally, sole responsibility for the cost of 3G wireless delivery internationally, cost of logistics, free replacement of any broken Kindles even if accidental, with free shipping in both directions, and other requirements and restrictions).  There was also another obstacle, described below.

  Why $16.5 million ?
 And what did/does the State Dept want for this?

  Not mentioned in most reports I read was that Secretary of State Clinton and Jeff Bezos were to have presented, in a joint press conference on June 20, the "mobile learning initiative," but they postponed the press conference when the National Federation for the Blind protested that because touch e-readers are not accessible to the blind, any such agreement by the U.S. is a violation of the law.  They did file a complaint with the Office of Civil Rights, and their press release on this, Jun 27, was excerpted here.  Four international organizations joined in the complaint.

  This was the last we heard of the contract negotiations until now, but it doesn't mean that the NFB complaint was a reason for the State Dept's backing away from the contract.

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.

  *Click* to Return to the HOME PAGE.  Or click on the web browser's BACK button

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. )
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