Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Kindle Fire News: Kindle Fire's fast-growing popularity: 2nd most popular tablet vendor...Gets Green Throttle gaming system before Google Play

"Amazon: The Second Most Desirable Tablet Vendor" - per BGR

BGR's Tero Kuittinen wrote that headline yesterday, when they took a look at a survey by Yankee Group that showed the Kindle Fire as the "second most desirable vendor among consumers planning to buy a tablet" per BGR, while the graph showed survey responses to "What brand tablet do you intend to buy?"

Of course, Apple, at 47% of US Consumers citing that brand, leads the pack with its iPad, the first one released almost 3 years ago.  Yankee Group's report focuses on Samsung's plans to double their tablet sales in 2013, but while they've been in that business for awhile, the graph shows a somewhat higher percentage of consumers intending to buy an Amazon Kindle Fire tablet.  Now, the 7% vs 6% number isn't statistically meaningful, but what stands out is it came from virtually nowhere to "squeeze ahead" of both Samsung and Hewlett-Packard, not to mention the other biggies such as Dell, Motorola and HTC.  As BGR puts it:
' The jumped-up bookshop has managed to seriously challenge leading hardware companies. '

They point out that the Nook's continuing inability to make its mark in consumer mindshare (and not mentioned in the survey) will continue to be a factor in Kindle tablet's momentum.

  In fact, Yankee Group doesn't mention Amazon's survey results, and its own story about the Nook's problems had some interesting wording in it:
About Barnes & Noble Board chairman Leonard Riggio's plans to buy all the assets of the bookseller's retail business while excluding the Nook business, CEO William Lynch put it this way:

  “We see substantial value in what we’ve built with our Nook business in only two years, and we believe it’s the right time to investigate our options to unlock that value.”

  "Unlock" is the new "Dump."

  In my blog article (Feb. 14) detailing three big reasons that B&N's tablet, with good hardware, could not succeed in B&N's closed-off view of the world, it should be clearly seen how difficult it will be for another company to make it work.  I didn't even mention the well-known problem of a non-competitive ecosystem for that tablet.

  In fact, in the same Yankee Group article, Yankee Group Research VP Carl Howe doesn't mention the long-range planning that has been Amazon's basic mode nor that store's ability to profit from the presence of desktop- and tablet-using consumers exploring all that is retailed at Amazon, not all of it with smallest margins.

  He looks at it from a more limited point of view:
“Barnes & Noble is experiencing the pain that comes from competing with an irrational market competitor, Amazon.  Amazon doesn’t try to make money from its Kindle e-readers, while Barnes & Noble thinks making money on hardware would be a good idea..."

  Back to BGR's Tero Kuittinen. "...if the tablet market continues shifting towards the sub-$200 price bracket, Amazon is now best-positioned to benefit from the trend."

  Yes.  And would the auto industry offer only more expensive cars and ignore those whose priorities would lean toward economy autos?  Would Sony make TVs only in the most expensive range?  It's not so much about shifting but scaling.

Green Throttle launches Kindle Fire HD gaming system with local multiplayer support
In line with the above, TechSpot's Jose Vilches writes that "Led by Guitar Hero co-creator Charles Huang, Green Throttle aims to turn any Android device into a gaming platform by pairing it with a dual-stick gamepad and what they call a multitiered gaming system housed on an Android app."

Surprisingly, the Green Throttle Arena app is available for the Kindle Fire HD (both the 7" and 8.9" models) before it rolls out to the Google Play Store by the end of the month, for other Android-based tablets and smartphones, "starting with the Samsung Galaxy S3 (which means my Kindle Fire gets it well before my Samsung Galaxy S2).

  The Atlas controller
' connects via Bluetooth to the Kindle Fire HD, which itself pipes out video and audio from the Arena app to an HDTV via a micro HDMI cable.  Fire everything up and you can start gaming on your living room TV. '

(Some of us already have an HDMI cable to show Kindle Fire videos and web browsing on an HDTV.)

Of course, one would have to buy the hardware first.  Amazon carries both the Single Controller and 2-Player Bundle and they're eligible for Prime shipping.
  The free app itself already has two reviews, but although they are Amazon Verified Purchases, both are from reviewers who started reviewing at the time this product was released.  There are no hardware reviews yet for either controller product.

  AFTER I wrote this, I saw that TechSpot wrote this from Venture Beat's article by Rus McLaughlin.  There's more detail in that article.  McLaughlin writes:
' The Arena app leverages existing mobile hardware and creates a central hub for finding, buying, and playing games.  Connect your device to a television using a Micro HDMI cable, and those games automatically scale to the HD picture.  I watched a simple twin-stick shooter go from a 7-inch tablet screen to a 55-inch LCD with absolutely no loss in image quality. '

  As for the reason the Kindle Fire was chosen for the first release of Arena:
' “It’s a way to promote different game developers and different games that work with our controllers,” says Matt Crowley, an alumnus of Nokia, Palm, and Philips Electronics now serving as Green Throttle’s chief operating officer.  “We decided to do our commercial release on the Kindle Fire — it’s marketed as a $199 e-book, but it’s actually a pretty good gaming system.” '

  McLaughlin adds:
' Priority goes to the devices that make the games look good. The hardware itself handles the negotiation for scaling up to an HDTV...
...the powerhouse game consoles set to release this fall could find themselves at a severe disadvantage. Green Throttle’s hardcore gaming system will run on hundreds of popular devices that iterate on a yearly basis, and with a (perceived) entry cost of $40, it will easily run consumers 1/10th or less the likely purchase price of a PlayStation 4. '

The display resolution of the Kindle Fire HD 7" is 1280 x 800 pixels, suitable for a 720p HDTV.
The Kindle Fire HD 8.9" is 1920 x 1200 and would more likely fill a very large HDTV screen better.

VIDEO: VentureBeat's GamesBeat has an exclusive video on how this new gaming hub works (setup, mostly), presented by Jason Woodward, the low-key designer of the Arena software, though they don't actually show a game being played.  They should issue follow-up, higher-energy video though.
  NOTE: Kindle-Edition subscribers of the blog won't be able to get the video on their e-Ink Kindles.

Update - The Sacramento Bee has a PR release that details existing and upcoming games.

Current Kindle Models for reference, plus free-ebook search links.

  NOTES on newer Kindles.
Updated Kindle Fire 2 Basic  7" tablet - $159
Kindle Fire HD 7" 16/32GB - $199/$249
Kindle Fire HD 8.9" 16/32GB - $299/$369
Kindle Fire HD 8.9" 4G 32/64GB - $499/$599
Kindle NoTouch ("Kindle") - $69/$89
Kindle Paperwhite, WiFi - $119/$139
Kindle Paperwhite, WiFi+3G - $179/$199
Kindle Keybd 3G - $139/$159, Free slow web
Kindle DX - $379 $299 Discontinued
Kindle Basic, NoTouch - £69
Kindle Touch WiFi, UK - ~£89 Refurb'd
Kindle Keyboard 3G, UK - £149
  Keybd: w/ Free, slow 3G WEB
Kindle Paperwhite, WiFi
Kindle Paperwhite 3G, UK
Kindle Fire 2, UK
Kindle Fire HD 7" 16/32GB, UK
Canada - Kindlestore, CDN-$
Kindle Basic, NoTouch - $89
Kindle Paperwhite, WiFi - $139
Kindle Paperwhite, WiFi+3G - $199
*OTHER International*
Kindle NoTouch Basic - $89
Kindle Touch WiFi - $139
Kindle Keybd 3G - $189
  Keybd: w/ Free, slow 3G WEB
Paperwhite WiFi $139, 3G/Wifi $199

France Boutique Kindle
Deutschland - Kindle Store
Italia - Kindle Store
Spain - Tienda Kindle
Brazil - Amazon Brazil
China - Amazon China
Japan - Amazon Japan

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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