Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Kindle News: Paperwhite-WiFi gone...Free Android App of the Day a popular word game...Kindle Fire HDs as good Roku-like devices...XFiles creator doing a pilot for Amazon...Alternate case for Kindles...Apple, DoJ, Judge Cote status

A lot of Kindle news in the last two days - brief notes with links to stories

My work laptop (HP) was going down, 'unrepairable' and 'unrecoverable,R' several times a day yesterday, and time is short, so mercifully for readers, these news-bits will be small.

  First, Kindle Paperwhites with WiFi-Only are no longer available at the Kindle Store, and Amazon does not say they'll be back in stock but they have a page for "Used" ones and of course a page for Certified Refurbished ones that carry the usual 1-yr warranties.

  They DO have, in stock, the Paperwhite with 3G wireless in addition to WiFi, which means you can download, without WiFi when near cell-phone networks, Kindle books or browse Amazon or use the Wikipedia website 24/7 at no added cost although the built-in 3G capability will cost an additional $60 usually. (On iPads, 3G capability costs an add'l $130 + data charges.)

  So it seems that Amazon will probably announce in September sometime, not only new generations of Kindle Fires but also of the Paperwhite and probably the basic Kindle.  I'd hope for audio but one would think Amazon might want to also keep the one that doesn't have audio, unless they plan to charge about the same price -- pure speculation on my part.

  For those happy with the current Paperwhite but interested in an alternate case, I'm happy with my blandly plain black, light-weight rooCASE Ultra Slim cover, but was drawn today to one I saw in an article at, the Verso Prologue Marbled Blue one, which is at both the U.S. Kindle store and the UK store.  They're available in other colors and patterns and at about 25% off at the U.S. store.  To see other creative covers, click on 'by Verso' for the U.S. and on 'by Lightwedge' for the UK.

  Those who are interested in whatever new Paperwhite or e-Ink Kindles that may be coming should NOT get any of the current cases, as they would very likely not fit any later Kindles.

How to turn your Kindle Fire HD into a Roku box
I've hooked up my Kindle Fire HD tablets (both sizes) to HDTVs via the built-in microHDMI connector and have written about being able to show, on the large TV, anything I'm doing on the Kindle Fire HDs, including web-browsing, Youtube, Netflix, HuluPlus, etc.  I recommended there an HDMI cable that worked on the first try and is viewed as more reliable than most you'll find.

Rick Broda of CNET has an excellent article on how your Kindle Fire HD tablet "can actually outperform a Roku" with a couple of apps he recommends and the cable.

  He mentions the Dolphin browser app (with support for playing Flash) but doesn't include information on how that's done.  It's not difficult though, and I've given a step-by-step guide for using the Dolphin browser app to play flash-video and it's turned out to be a heavily visited article.

XFiles fans may be interested in XFiles creator Chris Carter's new project with Amazon
ScreenRant's H. Shaw-Williams reports on Amazon's commissioning of a pilot from Chris Carter
' for a post-apocalyptic drama called The After, which Carter will write and direct. Other than the fact that it takes place after an an apocalypse, almost nothing is known about the plot, but the pilot will be produced by Marc Rosen and Leon Clarence’s company Georgeville TV, which has been working with Carter on the pitch for The After since last fall. Once the pilot is complete, it’s possible that it will be uploaded to the Amazon Studios site and pitched to an audience vote to decide whether or not it will be commissioned to a full season. '
They'll start casting soon.   There's much more detail at the ScreenRant site.

Free Android App of the day Wednesday, Aug 29, is a popular Word game

4Pics 1Word- What's the Word Init
currently has 264 customer reviews, with an average rating of 4.6 stars.  Normally $0.99, but $0.00 today (Wed., 8/29).

DOJ, Apple, and Judge Cote -- status, as of August 27
These will just be links to the latest and are follow ups to the blog article here on August 12 about DOJ recommendations and Judge Cote's consideration of proposals for remedies in the e-book pricing case.

1. Citing Steve Jobs email, DOJ claims Apple changed in-app purchase to retaliate against Amazon - by Laura Hazard Owen for GIGAOM
2. E-Books Judge Pledges to Avoid Unnecessary Intrusion Into Apple's Business - by Julie Clover for MacRumors
3. Apple E-Books Judge Cote Says She’ll Limit Antitrust Remedies - by Bob Van Voris for BloombergBusinessweek
4. Apple says tempered e-book penalties still go too far - by Joan E. Solsman for CNET.

Judge Cote said that she'll sign a final order spelling out the remedies next week.

Reminder: The Kindle Fires are on large discounts for college students who have or who join Prime at $39/year.

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. DON'T get me excited about the new Kindles yet! Since 08, it has been my angst-ridden tech wait. I really appreciate that the wait times between the announcement and the ship dates has gotten a bit more reasonable.

    But seriously, has anyone gotten any invites to "The Event" yet?

    1. I haven't heard of any invites (and rumors have been late Sept, although their stock and many discounts indicate sooner) but last time, it was a big change -- the HD feature + dual-antenna WiFi + film & actor info while watching some videos, HDMI out, Dolby speakers, etc., and of course the new Paperwhite with good built-in light at the time. So announcements this year might be quieter.

  2. You mention iPad 3G is an extra $130 for comparison (I guess) but the 3G on iPad includes GPS (with turn by turn directions), allows you to use all web sites (not just Amazon and Wikipedia), check your mail and run any apps that use the internet.

    I'm not sure why either cost so much (although the data is free on Kindle so that makes more sense) since basic cheap phones can do 3g for a lot less money.

    My Kindle Keyboard lets me do any web site, which is why I don't really want to upgrade. But when it's time to upgrade, I think I'll just get the WiFi model and put the $60 towards my portable 4G wireless hotspot and then I can connect any WiFi device to it (FreedomPop has 500MB data plans as cheap as $3.99 a month).

    1. Gary, yes, the $130 plus data was for comparison because I said "3G capability" and people have often asked why should it cost $60 for the 3G capability. It would be less than the iPad's because it doesn't have the GPS'd turn by turn but it's still $60 for the 3G capability alone and there'res reason for the added cost. And not requiring a *data* plan cost is precisely because it can only do text and slowly at that. Sometimes pure-text data comes in pretty fast too considering it's e=Ink. The phones make cost back on those long-term high-cost data plans.

      Tethering my Samsung S2 phone w/ my other devices is easy enough and makes economic sense but it also takes time, and I'd always prefer to be able to choose to do it on the device if it's available -- in this case for $60 additional lifelong. I've been surprised that using my phone to give my Kindle Fire HDs WiFi takes much less battery life than I realized. Since my plan allows 5GB of data per month and I don't watch movies on the little phone, I've always had enough to cover sharing the 3G with other devices.
      But when I want to look up in Wikipedia something I'm reading about in a book, I'd rather it just use 3G on its own rather than set them up together...

  3. I love my Kindle Paperwhite! Except for not being able to read out loud and not having the next chapter/last chapter page swipe (2 deliberate choices Amazon made without asking me!), I think it's close to perfect as an ereader. When I bought it, I decide to save money & bought a zippered slip case, which worked find because I like reading with just the Kindle in my hand. But then Amazon offered me a deal on the magnetic case that puts the PW to sleep when you close it and wakes it up when you open it. I was astounded at how much more futuristic it seemed to have an ereader that came on when you opened it!

    1. Carmen, true - I carried mine in a light blue nicely padded sleeve that was light and used it for reading without cover but I finally went for the official cover and loved the sleekness of it but then decided it was too heavy for me to read one-handed when I wanted to so I got the rooCASE (which is NOT sleek-looking - but others have said they like the whole look) and it's not heavy the way other cases are and lets me see the content without those edge holders that make it look imprisoned :-) and it too turns it on and off the way the official cover does. What you have looks best of the ones I've tried

      The next/prev chapter swipe works on the Kindle Touch, so a different team must make the decisions. BOTH have users who complain that they're suddenly WAY ahead of where they were or surprisingly way behind the page they were on. And that's because they accidentally swiped the screen up or down and, without knowing what that does (most people I know don't read the intros or help screens). I'd rather they made that clearer and gave us the option though, but I guess it saves customer support or bad press about people finding their e-reader "lost its place."
      I'm hoping for audio on this one Sure would like Collections on the Kindle Fire books, but it doesn't seem likely.

  4. Just a couple of comments.

    Judge Cote has limited the Apple remedies to e-books only -- not to all media deals as the DOJ wanted. Also she's not allowing Apple competitors (like Amazon) to link from their iTunes apps to their own stores -- so Apple will still get their 30%. OTOH she is agreeing to an outside monitor of Apple practices along with mandatory "antitrust" training for all Apple senior execs.

    She has asked for attorneys on both sides to come up with a joint proposal by next week (they probably won't be able to -- they are too far apart) before she renders her final order.

    Given that Samsung will be announcing a smart watch next week, and Apple is doing their iPhone 5 (and other stuff presumably) the week after, I'm guessing the earliest that Amazon will announce is the week of 9/15 (most likely 9/17, 18, or 19) in order that they get maximum press exposure, and not collide with other vendor events.

    1. (I made some corrections in this reply and will delete my first one unless you replied to it already.)

      Good point about timing of any coming announcements, Edward. I thought Judge Cote doesn't want an outside anti-trust monitor but felt Apple could do all right with its own hired one paid by them, which surprised me.

      So she's definitely not allowing in-app linking to vendor's own stores? The 30% they would get at Apple if people bought an e-bookfrom Apple in the app is based, last I read, on the price of the book as sold, which would take away any profit that Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Sony, or Kobo would get (since theirs is 30% by the Agency model) if they went with it, so the current way of having people exercise the brain and note the title/author and then going to Safari to go to Amazon makes sense.

      Apple's claim that its users mention is that they can read ANYthing on an Apple but those who say this don't realize it's because the vendors make the apps readable on all devices and as a result Apple readers, and therefore Apple itself, benefit from that.
      Its own iBooks can't be read on any non-Apple devices, and you know the press would have a field day with that if it was Amazon who operated that way with its Kindle books. The old 'proprietary' complaint against the Kindle format: people are used to Apple's more-proprietary or walled policies, so their $$ and power have people just expecting that without brouhaha.

      "iPhone S" is what I've read. Thanks for the added info. I agree with Cote's thinking on the remedies not touching media deals, since the lawsuit was only about their effect on e-book pricing with the collusion aspect, and there is none of the latter with apps etc.

  5. Which Kindle(s) can take advantage of the new off-line Google translate app?



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