Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Kindle News Roundup: AT&T Kindle Fire 8.9" for $249 w/ 2-yr data plan. Amazon Cloud gets File Sync. Amazon's new Kindel, Director of mobile-something.

AT&T is offering, "for a limited time," starting April 5, the Kindle Fire HD 8.9 4G LTE (cellular network access) tablet for as low as $249 (rather than $399) if you agree to sign a two-year contract for an AT&T data plan.

  This is to clarify a bit what you get and what you agree to, for that price.

The lowest cost option for this is $10 per month to connect the tablet with an AT&T Mobile Share plan, which requires a smartphone with a data plan.

 As their press release states:
  "With Mobile Share, new and existing customers can share a single bucket of data across smartphones, tablets, and other compatible devices. Customers can select Mobile Share or choose one of AT&T's individual or family plans."

  As quickly as tablets are upgraded these days, a 2-year lock-in is something to ponder though.

  As mentioned -- for the Mobile Share plan, a smartphone with data plan is required.  And if you already have one with a data plan, it would cost you $10/mo. to share its 4G LTE (4G where it's available and 3G otherwise).

  I pay $20/mo. to do that tethering, using the cell phone as a modem, giving the Kindle Fire WiFi capability that way when no WiFi network is available.  It uses the smartphone battery at the same time of course.  And there is a limit to the amount of 4G data on the smartphone plan.

  According to their description you can get $100 off any tablet if you agree to a 2-yr wireless agreement with data for a minimum $14.99/mo.* or the Mobile Share plan.
  "...An additional $50 activation credit is available for customers who purchase their device at AT&T retail stores."  And that's how you arrive at the $249 figure.

  Once you've used the max data alloted for a month on any plan, it's "$15 per GB for add'l data."

* Currently, AT&T's normal $20/mo. plan covers only 300MB/mo and that's only enough to do some email and text reading (not so much web browsing and certainly not movies).  In January, AT&T's $20/mo. plan replaced their $15/mo. plan that offered only 200MB/mo.

  Amazon's own $399 price comes with the option of 4G/LTE for one year at 250MB/mo. for $50 per year the first year and there's no requirement to be on a data plan the 2nd year.
  That's a total of $449.

  That's important because with the cheapest, smartphone-sharing plan at $10/mo. that's $240 over the $249 price, or $489 total required.  For the $15/mo. individual plan for a tablet, it's only 300MB~ data/mo. and that would be $360 above the $249 cost, for a total $609 total price over two years.

  If you want that 4G data, 300MB/mo. won't be enough if you use it for web browsing, and it will cost another $15 per GB of add'l data in a month.

  If you do want 4G for your tablet (and why else would you buy the 4G model, except that it does offer 64GB storage space) and you already have a data plan on your smartphone, then that $120/yr to share your phone's data plan is worthwhile but they require a 2-year sign-up for that, so consider the $240 additional in your price comparisons.

"Amazon turns Cloud Drive into a Dropbox rival with file syncing."
  ArsTechnica's Jon Brodkin writes:
' "The new app for Windows and Mac now includes File Sync, which lets users easily store and access files in the Amazon Cloud from a folder on their computer," an Amazon spokesperson told Ars in an e-mail. "Files in this folder are automatically stored in Cloud Drive and can be accessed from a computer or the Web.

  When you install the app on a second computer all of your synced files are available there as well. The updated app makes it simple for users to put files in Cloud Drive and to access them from any of their computers, ensuring that they always have access to the latest version of their files from home and on the road."

... The desktop application supports all Windows versions from XP to 8 and Mac OS X 10.6, 10.7, and 10.8. '

Unfortunately, unlike Dropbox and Google Drive, it doesn't provide syncing to Android, iOS or other mobile platforms and apparently Amazon has "nothing specific to share" when asked about their future plans on that.

Kindle's Kindel
redOrbit's Enid Burns reports that Microsoft's former GM for their Windows Phone, Charlie Kindel, coyly updated his LinkedIn profile to post his new position at Amazon as "Director, Something Secret," per Mashable.  Burns wrote that Kindel added that he's working on "something wonderful" at Amazon.

  In her round up, Burns adds that GeekWire quotes Kindel's added description: "I’m building a new team going after a totally new area for Amazon.  I’m hiring cloud and mobile developers and testers, program managers, and product managers...”

  Burns points out:
' As mentioned in his LinkedIn profile, Kindel’s hire list suggests the secret project is related to a mobile product but also mentions cloud computing.  It is undetermined whether this could be a smartphone with cloud capabilities or a cloud-based service for smartphone users. '

That's the roundup for today.
(The photo used is of Google Earth on my Kindle Fire HD.)

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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