Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Kindle News: Trial Amazon Prime goes monthly for awhile...More on iPad mini vs Kindle Fire HD and Nexus 7"... Also, customer service for Google Nexus. (Updated w/ link)

      Spent yesterday and last night paying attention to our every-4-year event, watching it all on several channels. So, these will be briefer summaries with links to fuller stories for those who want to read more on them.

Thanks to a tweeted alert from MyKindleStuff, I saw AdAge's article on Amazon Prime testing of a Monthly Fee for new Prime trial periods.

  While it's normally $79/year (@ $6.58/mo.) for Amazon Prime's program of free 2-day shipping of Amazon products + access to thousands of free instant videos (movies and TV shows) and the ability to borrow a Kindle book once per calendar month without a waiting period and with no due dates, a trial can be taken now at $7.99/mo. with no annual fee necessary.  If done for 12 months it would amount to $96/yr.

There was talk that Amazon might want to acquire Netflix, but Netflix just "adopted a poison pill to make a hostile takeover more difficult."  This is said to have prompted what seems a move to make Amazon Prime Instant Video more competitive with Netflix.

Reuters' Alistair Barr writes that "An Amazon spokesman said the monthly Prime option was a test and declined to comment further."  He adds that ""While one risk for Amazon is that consumers use Prime for just one month to take advantage of free shipping on large purchases, the test could also reveal that a ready market for alternative pricing and serve as a new customer acquisition tool," ... analyst [Colin Sebastian of R.W. Baird] wrote.

Added comparison on difference in screen display of iPad mini vs Android devices
TechRadar's Chris Smith draws our attention to another element of the relative quality of these displays, a situation now reported by many online tech sites, but this has one new wrinkle.

  In writing about the iPad mini display quality falling short of Android rivals, he writes the usual, voiced by "Raymond Soneira, president of DisplayMate and the person who ran the comprehensive tests, [who] has underlined that verdict by claiming that the Kindle Fire HD and Nexus 7 had "considerably sharper" displays than the iPad mini.

  What I had not seen explained before was the following:
' He also said the iPad mini's 62 per cent colour gamut was both "disappointing" and "antiquated," compared with the 100 per cent rating of the iPhone 5 and the newer full-size iPad models.
The Nexus 7 and the Kindle Fire HD both have more impressive 82 per cent colour gamut...
[Note by AB: Soneira does say that the iPad mini "reflected much more ambient light than both of its chief rivals."]
  ...The test[s] seem to confirm what most folks already suspected.  Amazon and Google have packed better screens into smaller tablets at a lower price, yet it's Apple that is continually talking about other companies making "compromise. '

Google and Customer Service: How do they handle this for the Nexus tablet?
I saw a reference to "CustomerServiceScoreboard's" ratings.   I was interested because Google's rep is to do customer service through forms and it's been very hard to reach a human when needing help.  They're just a very large company with a lot going on, so I was surprised they even have a customer service contact that includes contact with humans.

First, The CustomerServiceScoreboard seems frequented mainly by those who are upset, with almost all companies getting a "disappointing" rating, especially where the actual reviews are concerned.  But with only 6 positive comments and 364 negative ones, the customer service ratings for Google are unusually harsh.  These are for Google in general, but most of the newer comments are on the Nexus, as they've not had much in the way of hardware before.

For Picasa Photos, Google Plus and the blog, there is no phone contact, and their forum problems are handled predominantly by volunteers, but when things have gotten a bit hairy, Google staff -has- shown up with answers, in my own experience.  Also, when I've had form-requests, while not acknowledged or given replies (we're told not to expect any) they've actually been handled quietly, so I know they pay some attention and do deal with the probably numbered service questions that come in.  Amazon have a separate support team for Kindles and for that device line, they have a separate number and a very good rep.

If you have good Google Nexus customer service experience when experiencing a problem, please feel free to add them here. Thanks.

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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