Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Kindle News: Amazon Coins. Purchase of Liquavista brighter color screen-techology for outdoor reading. Amazon's new Cloud Player for PC. Kindle romance-book-focused podcast w/ Goodreads.

Amazon's Amazon Coins: Why?

They're worth a penny each, and 100 make $1.00.  Most of us with Kindle Fires will have received email notices Monday that we've been given 500, or $5 worth, of these, to spend on apps or games for the Kindle Fire tablets.

  I'm not sure what the reason is for the coins except it seems as if what has the appearance of play money may seem easier and, for some, more fun to use, as if we weren't really spending (because we'd bought the coins earlier) but there's a deal of sorts in that if you buy these in bulk, Amazon says you'll get a discounts "of up to 10%" on purchases.  There's no expiration date or fees on them.

  For now they're not usable for books or videos from Amazon, but apparently, they'll expand the use of these.  This is considered just a start.  It has the feel of a test, actually.  But I'll look at reasons for their trying this.

  Having read there are many millions of Kindle Fires in customer hands now, I think $5 per Kindle Fire customer is quite an outlay for Amazon, which shows that they expect these will encourage use of the coins and, it's hoped, more spending on Amazon apps, with the coin-system of purchasing still bringing app developers 70% of the purchase.  So it's another way to support apps you enjoy and want improved and updated.  Also, if app developers make a bit more this way, they may develop apps sooner for Amazon tablet users than they do, instead of making us wait until all the iOS and pure-Android tablet users have their versions.

  In keeping with the expansion of Kindle Fires and apps to almost 200 countries globally, this should also encourage more app development in other countries that have waited awhile to get access to Kindle Fire apps.

  Amazon's press release is here.

Amazon's apparent acquisition of Samsung's Liquavista
The watchful Nate Hoffelder and his The Digital Reader site reported Monday new filings from the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce that reveal that Samsung no longer owns Liquavista and that its new owner "is listed as a faceless LLC registered out of Delaware."

  In following the trail showing Haverl LLC, with no online presence or products on the market but leading to a holding company called CSC, he noted the similarity to the way in which Amazon hid FCC filings last year, to thwart early reporting of its doings.

  In the meantime, Nate adds in an update the same day that Amazon confirmed that news,

  Since Samsung wanted to sell the company (which they bought 2-1/2 years ago or so), one has to wonder why, if Samsung doesn't find the "electrowetting" technology and its promise of brighter portable color screen quality useful for its own screens, Amazon would want it.  Most stories assume it's because of what it can bring to black & white type eReaders with lower power needs and outdoor readability.

  But PC Magazine's Damon Poeter points out:
' Electrowetting produces displays with advantages in a couple of key areas—viewability in various lighting conditions and low-power video playback.
  Amazon, a leading maker of both ereaders and tablets, may be interested in Liquavista's technology for both device categories.

  ""Liquavista's display cell concepts allow radically brighter and more efficient flat panel displays to be built – but use today's established manufacturing infrastructure and processes to achieve it," Liquavista says on its website. '

  Liquavista's flexible electrowetting displays are described by Liquavista as
' Liquavista’s displays are based on the principles of electrowetting and bring bright and colourful images and video that ensures excellent indoor and outdoor readability but uses dramatically less battery power. The technology is uniquely suited for colour and video electronic paper displays because of its very high reflectivity and its intrinsically fast video-rate switching speed. '

In a forum discussion last night, someone opined that he himself had no need for color eInk-type reading and therefore saw no need for this for the rest of the world.

I added my thought that others have wanted and, actually, needed, to see diagrams and illustrations in color, since figures and diagrams are often color-coded.  Add that many would like to be able to even see these at all while out in sunlight.

While I'm happy with tablets as they are -- if they're able to keep the costs down with a color e-Ink-like type eReader and provide color that's not as drab as with e-Ink color displays we've seen recently, that could be quite a plus for outdoor reading on devices with batteries that last longer than 7 hours.

Amazon Cloud Player for PC
The Amazon Cloud Player for PC app is a new offering, in that although we've been using Cloud Player for WEB to play via our computers our songs from Amazon's Cloud, this also downloads them to your computer for playing offline without needing a web browser and with your music search results leading you to your offline results as well as those on the Cloud.

  You don't have to click on the search bar first, as the universal search is triggered by typing when the app is the active window.  Per Softonic's Lewis Leong:
' ... users can set Cloud Player to automatically add music to iTunes, Windows Media Player, and Amazon. It will even import songs from your iTunes library if you wish to use Cloud Player as your main audio player.

  It's nice to see Amazon come out with a dedicated desktop application, something its competitor, Google Music, is lacking. Amazon is also leveraging it's physical media sales with AutoRip, which automatically gives customers a free digital version of a CD or LP. '

  Also, you can scan your computer for music files that haven't been uploaded to Amazon's Cloud.

Amazon Cloud Player for PC app is compatible with Windows 7, Windows Vista, or Windows XP SP3.

"Kindle Love Stories" podcast, with discussion group at Goodreads
PaidContent's Laura Hazard Owen reports that Amazon Publishing is launching this romance-reader-focused weekly podcast which will "feature author interviews, reviews and trends in romance books, and is accompanied by a book discussion group on Goodreads...
"One possible advantage of “Kindle Love Stories” is that, if it focuses primarily on titles published by Amazon, all of those titles should be available free to Kindle owners through the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library."

A Mac version is said to be coming soon.

Current Kindle Models, worldwide 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/$229
Kindle Fire HD 8.9" 16/32GB - $269/$299
Kindle Fire HD 8.9" 4G 32/64GB - $399/$499
Kindle NoTouch ("Kindle") - $69/$89
Kindle Touch WiFi - $99
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 - $79
Kindle Paperwhite, WiFi - $129
Kindle Paperwhite, 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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