Monday, July 15, 2013

Kindle News: J.K. Rowling as author Robert Galbraith. New Kindle Fire rumors and their sources. Amazon Prime gets hundreds of Miramax films.

J.K. Rowling's book under another name gets good reviews but her 'cover' is blown

The Cuckoo's Calling, by Robert Galbraith (nice choice of a last name to get people's attention, at least) was published by Little, Brown's Mulholland Books on April 30, 2013.

Publishers Weekly explains what happened after a short time:
' Rowling was discovered by the Sunday Times in investigating "how a first-time author with a background in the army and the civilian security industry could write such an assured debut novel."

  In a statement, Rowling said:
  "I hoped to keep this secret a little longer because being Robert Galbraith has been such a liberating experience. "It has been wonderful to publish without hype or expectation, and pure pleasure to get feedback from publishers and readers under a different name." '

The day after the reveal, the book made #1 on Amazon and was back-ordered for 10-14 days.  Publishers Weekly adds that it was #20 in the Kindle store and #1 overall in print on Barnes & Noble.

  Publishers Weekly's "starred review" had described the book by 'Galbraith' as "complex," "compelling," and "stellar.".

Sourcing rumors of new Kindle Fires by the holidays
For days there've been rumors of this, but here's one that quotes a source in China.  Since the articles have been plentiful, I've wondered if this was "leaked" information, maybe in preparation for what other tablet makers are preparing, but if it is, it might slow sales of its current Kindle Fires so I don't know if that makes sense.
  By the way, as of last night, at least, I saw that the $30 off the Kindle Fire HD 7"
    no longer is in effect.  It had been "for a limited time."

  As with software, revenue is increased only with improvements and updates.
  But quoted reports are from Chinese sources

  From these, Android Authority's Nate Swanner writes that reports suggest they'll be metal and may be announced sometime in late August (though the reports say "or early September").  Last year's were announced in early September.
' According to Chinese site UDN, Amazon has awarded an RFP for one million tablet housings to Compal, the second largest PC manufacturer to Quanta, which got the nod for last year’s Kindle lineup.  The change is said to be a desire for materials, as the report goes on to note the one million orders Amazon placed were for metal housings. '

  Their reports are based on a techkiddy blog report, itself referencing, which is displayed in Chinese (but if you wait long enough it morphs into Google's automated English translation).

  I'm going to quote SOME of the (very primitive) Google web-translation of the report with the caveat that these are not always translated correctly, but at least you'll get an idea of the basis for the various reports.

From the (not to be considered reliable - and somewhat unfathomable) automated translation from the UDN report:
' Amazon Compal...

['Economic Daily ╱ reporter Xie Yili / Taipei]
2013.07.15 04:36 am

'Amazon (Amazon) is about to launch a new product, it is understood, Compal (2324) won the high Amazon Tablet PC OEM orders, number about one million units, the product casing made of metal, will Compal .. (ren Bao Ju Teng and components plant joint venture) procurement case...Compal tablet shipments in the second half great tonic.
[Note by ab:   I left out incomprehensible portions having something to do with Compal and Bao Ju Teng and some kind of movement from plastic casing to metal chassis...

To SEE the Google translation (which just makes no sense to me, see the FULL translated page.]
'Dow Jones noted that Amazon plans to end shopping season before [that's the translation] the arrival of at least three launch Kindle Fire tablet computer products, the first new tablet product will be an upgraded version of a product before, remained seven-inch screen, but the resolution will be upgrade to the original 1024x600 1280x800, with the current Kindle Fire HD resolution considerably.

'As for the second paragraph of the new product is an upgraded version of Kindle Fire HD, resolution will be pulled up to 1920x1200, as is the 7-inch screen size, but the main higher resolution, third paragraph of new products is the new 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HD.

'It is understood that the Amazon for component manufacturers have started up the goods, estimated launch date will fall on August and September.  Legal representation, Amazon tablet shipments in the third quarter will be significantly jump, but this quarter notebook shipments foundry weaker; Amazon supply chain includes connector factory is Wei, touch panel factory F-TPK, Wintek , interfaces and so on... '

 After reading the automated translation of the UDN page, is your head still on?
  I included it for those who want to try to see the basis, although a really good translation by a Chinese person would definitely be more useful.

But, who knows?
  BGR says that they know.  Citing "trusted sources," BGR reports that Amazon is "currently prepping at least three new Kindle Fire tablets that will launch ahead of the holiday shopping season this year."

The first tablet is said to be a replacement for the basic 7-inch Kindle Fire, which currently is NOT HD and is selling for $159.  While the display size will remain the same, BGR's "source" (a single one in this case) says that the new panel will go to a higher resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels, which is what the current 7" HD model has.  The current non-HD Kindle Fire model uses an IPS display with 1,024 x 600-pixel resolution, so they'd be going to HD for the base model next time and to super-high resolution for the other two models being upgraded (if these reports are true).

  The upgraded 7" HD model's display will have "an improved panel featuring 1,920 x 1,200-pixel resolution, a substantial upgrade from the 1,280 x 800-pixel screen in the current model.  The new display will still measure 7 inches diagonally, our source said."

  The third upgraded model will be "the current 8.9-inch model, which currently "features a display with a better-than-1080p resolution at 1,920 x 1,200 pixels, but the updated version will bump up the pixel count to 2,560 x 1,600, according to our source."

  "At this resolution, Amazon’s new high-end tablet will pack even more pixels than Apple’s 9.7-inch Retina display into a smaller 8.9-inch screen — the iPad’s 9.7-inch Retina display features 2,048 x 1,536-pixel resolution."

You can read BGR's report to see details for what they describe as a more chiseled form and what the new placement will be for the power and volume buttons.

BGR's request for a comment from an Amazon spokesman was, as usual for rumors, denied, so it seems the "trusted sources" may not be from Amazon insiders.  They generally like to say "Those in the know" but we're not getting even that.  The level of detail matches what is in the Chinese reports though.

  BGR adds that "one source" says that Amazon is trying to keep pricing at the same level as we see with the current trio of tablets.  Suppliers wouldn't have access to that kind of information though.

Today: Amazon Prime Instant Video signs deal for hundreds of Miramar films
AfterDawn's Andre Yoskowitz reports that Amazon has gained "hundreds" of titles to its Prime Instant Video offering (viewable at no extra cost to Prime members)

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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  1. There was also an article in today's WSJ by Jeffery Tractenberg about the Rowling "outing". Intrigued I went to Amazon to see what the story was about. I didn't have any interest in her first non-Potter book, but this was a mystery (which I like) so I ended up buying it for my KT for $9.99 (I assume that's a non-agency price :D)

    I've started to see a lot of "new" Amazon Kindle rumors. From them I glean that the whole product line is being upgraded, and that the major feature "improvement" is better display resolutions across the board. If that's it, then Ho Hum -- I find current resolutions more than adequate. I would much prefer some software improvements rather than H/W upgrades.

    We'll see soon enough.

    1. Edward, :) on the non-agency price assumption.
      I'll be interested in what you think.

      There must have been a hundred articles on the probably-coming Kindles and it was interesting to see what may have caused it. 1 million casings would be a lot but 1 million new Kindle Fires would not. I guess it's carefully stepping into the waters.

      I told a friend that the difference in resolution on the 8.9" won't be -that- detectable for many I know. I've come across people who just want to be able to read or view and say they can't really tell that much difference between a small tablet with std resolution vs HD. But for those who want the highest specs it can make the difference and it's just 'keeping up'... Even the Nook HD had/has display resolution beyond the KFire HD 7" but it's hard to tell the difference.

      I imagine that high a resolution as is said to be planned for the 8.9" -- going quite beyond the iPad 4's Retina specs on a larger, 10" tablet -- may 'gobsmack' some. Even if you can't discern the smaller differences, it'll strike you as extra clear. But, do people need that much in a smaller form factor? Nevertheless, if they keep pricing the same, it'll be a good thing for those who want the latest.

      RE software. Kindle Team seems pretty creative, per what we saw in last September's batch, so it'll probably be fairly attractive. I wonder if they'll continue to offer the current models at a much cheaper cost until they're gone.

      Thanks for the quick thoughts!

  2. Amazon's Fire sale may be over, but now other retailers have discounted Fires (just saw an ad AT&T is running on one of them televisions folks have). I think Best Buy too.

    I am hoping the new Fires are smaller (same screen size, but shrunken bezels like iPad mini).

    Google has scheduled a press event for Jul 24, rumored to announce new devices. I'll say i again: let's have some mini bezels!

    Then of course there are the iPad mini rumors themselves, though we may need to wait for 2014 for the retina model.

    The Samsung Note 8 looks interesting also.

    If one of these does not appeal to me enough to buy one, I'll be disappointed, at least for a little while. :^)

    1. No wonder you read so much! Word is they'll be lighter at least. The 8.9" bezel, I remember asking about at the launch: "Why is he bezel so FAT?" but it's easier to hold onto, actually, than some thin-bezeled ones.

      The iPad mini is a really unattractive buy for me, with that screen resolution, except for the unit's lightness (no small attainment) and its great apps -- but for that price??? With Retina, it'd be a killer - but they'd also need/want to charge even more for it.

      I couldn't do without the 8.9" as I love the free app that lets me see, for FREE, CNN, MSNBC, Fox (I like to hear opposing views), HLN, Discovery, History, all LIVE 24/7 (though of course the streams are not always reliable). They now have ABC live too. I am not allowed cable TV in the kitchen so now I can watch these with the tablet. Am a news freak. But there are other TV apps that let me, on demand, see many most-recent episodes of Nova, Great Performances, Nat'l Geo, so I am hooked. Unfortunately, I haven't been reading much lately.

    2. For me 8" screen would be about perfect as my tablet use cases don't include much video or news apps. I am mostly reading text, so I want that to be crisp. Retina on the mini will be way more pixel density than I require (340PPI) but Apple is kind of stuck doing the pixel doubling thing to preserve app compatibility.

    3. Tom, the Apple mini is the perfect size for you then, not to mention its relative lightness. But I have a hunch they're waiting until 2014 for the Retina iPad mini because of both demand (for panels) and cost. I love the HD as seen on the Kindle Fires so far and haven't been hoping for more, so I don't know how that will go (unless they manage to make it much lighter and have a considerably faster processor).

      For reading PDFs, it's hard to beat HD tablets and it'll become more important because they tend to be created for 8.5 x 11" paper and are squeezed way down for tablets. So the HD becomes more important if you spend a lot of time with those relative to text for your everyday novel... Graphs and figures will normally be done in the tiniest fonts for books, magazines, so that's important too if reading on a smaller sized surface with light coming at you.


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