Thursday, March 28, 2013

Kindle News: Kindle Touch back in U.S. lineup + Amazon adds XRAY today to top TV show - how it works. UPDATE

Kindle Touch (w/ audio and Text-to-Speech) returns to lineup in U.S., and Amazon expands XRay feature to its top TV shows

  Eagle-eyed blog contributor Tom Semple discovered that the e-Ink Kindle Touch WiFi eReader has quietly been returned, unseen, to the Kindle Family lineup (it isn't shown in the usual Kindle models header).

  For some months, the International model product page had shown a sign-up box for notices if that model became available again, but now that International or Global model wording has been replaced with "We don't know when or if this item will be back in stock."

  In the meantime, the U.S. model, with Special Offers activated (they can be turned off for a small fee) is once again available.  While it is the earlier model without built-in lighting, as the Paperwhite has, the Kindle Touch WiFi has audio (audio books, text-to-speech feature, basic mp3 playing) and double the storage space, the latter of importance to those who want to keep books with a lot of graphics on the device.  This should hold up to 3,000 novel-sized Kindle books (but holding that many slows down the Kindle and isn't really advised) while the Paperwhite holds up to 1,000.

  An audio feature was a requirement in earlier talk of contracts for schools and libraries, and maybe that's another reason for its return.

  The Kindle Touch U.S. is Prime-shipping eligible, and one-day shipping is available at checkout.  The current pricing shown is $99.00, with Special Offers, the only way it comes, new.  Again, that lock-screen display of Special Offers can be de-activated, if wanted, by unsubscribing from these via the manageyourkindle page.  The Paperwhite cost for doing that is about $15, and it's probably similar for the Kindle Touch.

  The Kindle Touch just received a software maintenance update and, in January, it was given a user interface similar to the Paperwhite's, with a choice of cover-images for the home page or the old text-listing (faster and with more books shown on a page).

UPDATE - 3G version of Kindle Touch
Nate Hoffelder of TheDigitalReader located the page for the 3G model, which is available only as a REFURBISHED unit when available, at this time but is described as "Certified Refurbished" and with 3G that is available globally (which means free 3G cellular network access to the Kindle store and to Wikipedia 24/7 internationally).

Amazon expands XRAY feature to its TV Shows video area
Powered by IMDB (owned by Amazon), Kindle Fire HD Tablet users "can discover the names of the actors appearing on the screen and what they’ve been in."

Amazon's press release adds:
' Available today for the most popular TV shows on Amazon, X-Ray will quickly expand to even more shows...  X-Ray for TV is also available as part of the free Amazon Instant Video app on Wii U. '
  ...Kindle Fire HD...combines an exceptional viewing experience with the unbelievable power of the over 100 million pieces of data in IMDb’s catalog.”
  ...IMDb Founder and CEO. “Can’t remember where you’ve seen the actor playing Lord Grantham in Downton Abbey?  No problem.  Simply tap on the screen and you’ll see a full filmography, where you’ll realize that Hugh Bonneville was also in Notting Hill.  Our vision is to make X-Ray available on every movie and TV show -- we’re excited to make another big step forward today, and we are working hard to add X-Ray to more TV shows and movies in the future.”

  X-Ray for TV is available starting today on the most popular TV shows from Amazon Instant Video, many of which are also available as part of Prime Instant Video: Justified, Downton Abbey, The West Wing, Sons of Anarchy, Falling Skies, American Horror Story, Grey's Anatomy, Doctor Who, The Walking Dead, Lost, Glee, Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones. '

They've really expanded Instant Video (at no add'l cost with Prime-shipping program, which is $79/year or $6.58/mo. in effect).  A few are "day-after-air" TV (I think this is includes some PBS news documentaries).

  Other tablets just don't offer anything similar to the XRay feature when watching movies and TV.  For me, it's a real boon, much as I may complain at times about things they've not included.

Here's an earlier blog article on how XRay works when viewing Amazon videos and the Kindle Fire HD.

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