Sunday, September 29, 2013

Kindle Fire HDX. Generation 3 tablets are here. New Kindle Fires with Collections, Downloads of Prime Instant Video, Kindle Support Co-pilot access on your tablet 24/7. 34% lighter, much faster. Scroll lyrics to songs, identify and jump to songs when watching enabled tv shows or movies. Switch between multiple apps and books. Enterprise features + new accessibility capabilities. Control TV with the tablet and sync video and X-ray features + much more. UPDATE3b

Amazon launches its two HDX Kindle Fires and the new basic HD 7" family tablet

I took a rare mid-week night out and Amazon announced its new Yr 2013 Kindle Fire lineup, which I saw after midnight.
  Here are some introductory comments + links to the two press releases for added detail beyond what I highlighted, since the new features are so plentiful.  They've been working on quite a bit.

  (See UPDATES to this blog entry below.  Original posting was 5:20 AM~ on 9/25/13.  Update3b done 9/29, 1:42 pm (and adding a new article Oct. 1
  ALSO see the follow-up article, Things to know about the HDX/HD line, with more details and enhancements not mentioned here.)

First, Pricing bases plus Amazon links for the new HDX models and the new basic HD 7"
  ALL have Dolby Audio Dual Stereo Speakers and Dual band WiFi, while the HDX models have dual antennas also.

Starting prices are with special offers that they say will offer more savings than Lighting deals.
Kindle Fire HD 7" - $139
  Basic "family" tablet, HD Gen2
8 and 16GB options
Display: 1280 x 800, 216 PPI
Ram: 1GB    No Mayday
No camera or mic (no Skype)
No HDMI-out: Use 'Fling'- NO Miracast
Dual-core 1.5 GHz processor
Kindle Fire HDX 7" - $229
  'Personal' HDX tablet
16, 32 or 64GB options
Display: 1920 x 1200, 323 PPI
Ram: 2GB
Front-facing, 720p camera
No HDMI-out: Use 'Fling' or Miracast
Quad-core 2.2 GHz processor
Kindle Fire HDX 8.9" - $379
  'Does it all' HDX tablet
16, 32, or 64GB options
Display: 2560 x 1600, 339 PPI
Ram: 2GBfling
Adds 8MB rear-facing camera
No HDMI-out: Use 'Fling' or Miracast
Quad-core 2.2 GHz processor

  (The 1st generation HD 8.9" remains available, starting at $229) **.  See why you might want the Yr 2012 HD 8.9" 1st Gen model instead but you'd be missing many new features you might want.

The HDX models are a THIRD lighter, several times faster (with quad-core) Snapdragon 800 processing, and have higher display resolutions than the Apple iPad 4, and -- well above other tablet offerings -- they incorporate an almost overwhelming number of software features using their Fire OS 3.0 Mojito.

New and promising: We'll be able to PRINT from the tablet, scroll lyrics to songs highlighting current line and, in x-ray enabled tv shows and movies, identify Songs in movies and be able to jump to those songs.
  ALSO, "If an app runs on Android, it can run on Fire OS"  (Think the 1Mobile apps site for apps not available at the well-vetted Amazon Android Appstore.)

  Longer battery life for "mixed-use," said to be 10 hours for the basic HD model and 11-12 hours for the HDX ones and "reading"-only mode should get 17-18 hours on the HDX models.

  Dynamic Image Contrast (automatically higher contrast in sunlight so you can see the content) is an enhancement, as is 100% sRGB color accuracy (Photoshop enthusiasts will like this compatibility feature).

  Here's the DETAILED COMPARISON TABLE at Amazon for the new Basic Family HD and two HDX models + the just-HD 8.9" tablet.

Re 4G options available
These are available for the HDX models.
I was intrigued by Verizon's new cellular plan that includes your smartphone and your various tablets

The UNUSUAL DIRECT 24/7 SUPPORT CO-Pilot on your HDX tablet [* see bottom]
Amazing Mayday feature only Amazon would think of (!)
  Allows free 24/7 access to a video-based support connection to a Kindle expert who can respond on your Kindle Fire with solutions, acting as your co-pilot until the problem is fixed (hopefully) or you understand it better. The support person can draw on it to show you where a needed control is, etc.  The cost of this must be phenomenal, but Amazon's most prized customer feature is its customer support.

  See, at the Mayday page link above, the three Mayday-support TV ads (all accessible via one click for the video-set) that'll show you exactly what the Mayday help is like, when you are able to get video access to your support person who can hear (but not see) you and can point to and circle the buttons you need to use to get what you want.
  For gifts to those new to tablets or computer technology, this would probably be high on the list.

NEW, excellent features that users have requested that all the models share:
  COLLECTIONS - Merging Cloud and Tablet books into Collections
  DOWNLOADS of PRIME Instant Videos
  Updated support for e-mail and calendar for GMail, Outlook and more
  Choose between Carousel view (most recent) or GRID View ("Favorites").  The large, horizontally-scrolling Carousel images were annoying.  And I'm hoping they'll give customers the option not to have the most recent webpage or book displayed, as many don't want that when living with others.

About COLLECTIONS - Judging from the new implementation of this feature which includes the Cloud, in the new Kindle for iOS v4.0 update that's received rave reviews from users, this will be a big plus for many.  I had a draft of an updated blog entry on the Kindle for iOS update before I left last night and will post that in the next day or two.

All-New X-Ray for Music
Amazon has expanded X-Ray to music by adding lyrics that let you follow along with songs.

  Lyrics display and scroll automatically line-by-line as the song plays.

Screenshot here.  (How cool is this??)

Goodreads is integrated.

SECOND Screen feature
" 'Fling' content from their Fire to their TV, turning the TV into the primary screen and freeing up [the] Fire as a second screen to email, browse the web, play a game, or follow along scene-by-scene with X-Ray." ... The Kindle Fire HD [maybe] and HDX can then sync the video and the X-Ray data in the cloud and stream the video directly to the TV, "so the quality of the video is not dependent [on] the tablet’s processor or networking.  The customer can even take their tablet to another room and leave the video playing on the TV."  See one caveat on this feature.

Quick Switch "uses a global swipe gesture from anywhere in the system to go between multiple apps, and unlike standard Android, works with individual content items like different textbooks without navigating home."

The new Kindle Fires promise enterprise controls by IT administrators in larger companies, organizations, and schools
  Mobile Device Management - reliable management of Kindle tablet deployments, with support for encryption, Kerberos Intranet, secure Wi-Fi connections and VPN integration

New accessibility features for blind and visually impaired customers
Screen Reader, Explore by Touch, and Screen Magnifier. Screen Reader features IVONA's award-winning natural language text-to-speech voice

HTML5 Apps support
Developers can submit and distribute mobile web content without using third-party software or any mobile development.

For more background and details:

  Brad Stone's Businessweek interview with Jeff Bezos on the new changes and what he's up to next.
  Photo credit: AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

  Amazon press releases: the new Kindle Fire HDX family, the new 3rd Gen Kindle HD 7", and the new 'Mojito' operating system and its new and enhanced features (and I'll expand on these in a subsequent blog entry.

UPDATES - I've been updating this blog entry with what I find.

* UPDATE1 - re Mayday.  Geekwire's Todd Bishop reports on a show & tell with CEO Jeff Bezos for selected press groups and has a good description of how Mayday works:
' [Bezos] picks up one of the company’s new Kindle Fire HDX tablets, swipes to access the Quick Settings menu, and presses a new button called “Mayday.” After a few seconds, a small video box appears on screen, showing a live tech support rep on the other end.
  “I see you’ve found the Mayday button,” says the person on the screen. “I’ll be your tech adviser, Dylan.”

During the demo that follows, the tech support rep shows Bezos and a small audience of reporters how to navigate the tablet to download a game and change basic settings.
  The rep can draw circles and arrows on the screen to point out features.  He actually takes control of the tablet at one point.
 The support rep can hear the user’s questions and see the tablet screen but, to preserve privacy, can’t actually see the user. '

  Small favors re not seeing the user!  But that's amazing use of technology and a definite wow factor, although we are not all likely to get a 'Dylan' every time we cry for help.
  Bezos emphasizes the importance of their integration of hardware, operating systems, key apps, the cloud and services for a feature like this one.

UPDATE3 and 3a - I'm adding a couple of items - first, a paragraph found in the USA Today article by Edward C. Baig, who asked a question that was on my mind and received an acknowledgement though no answer to what would be done to curb the use of Mayday as a form of entertainment.  Unlike other intense customer support services, this one is free 24/7 and with no time limit on a support session.
' I asked Bezos if anything would prevent people from tapping the Mayday button to merely mess with the representative or to socialize because they're lonely.  "My prediction is that's going to happen," he said.

... For now, the Mayday feature only works over Wi-Fi, and only with 7-inch and 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HDX models. It won't work with the cheaper new Kindle Fire HD model. '

  The 2nd item for Update3 is about the Second Screen feature (described above).  Baig reports: that this viewing via TV and Cloud of a tablet video while controlling it from the tablet:
' will be available starting next month, Amazon says, and it will work with Sony's PlayStation 3 (and later this year, PlayStation 4), as well as on Samsung TVs.  You will also be able to wirelessly "mirror" movies, TV shows and photos from your tablets to the big-screen TV if you have Miracast-capable accessories or TVs. '

  [However, Miracast is available only on the Kindle HDXs.]

  **   I checked the new product pages and there is NO HDMI feature on the new, 2nd generation HD and two HDX tablets mentioned.
  I've verified that the new tablets do not have the wonderful earlier micro-HDMI port for direct connection to an HDTV set (whether in a hotel while traveling or on TV's in the homes of others where videoclips and photos can be shared that way).

 I've been able to use the HDMI-out with any tablet material, including web browsing and tablet movies, and I don't have Playstations or Samsung TVs, so that's a loss for 1-cable, shared use of viewing with others in the area or in relaxed state in a lounger when viewing material on the larger screen.   I wouldn't be buying a Samsung TV for the Second Screen feature.  However, we can use a Miracast-adapter on the HDX tablets for wireless HDMI-out that will mirror the tablet screen rather than act as a second screen as the Amazon 'Fling' technology allows.  Amazon is said to be working with other makers on all these features.  

  It's one reason for some to keep or even get the lower-cost Kindle Fire HD - 1st Generation tablet starting at $269229 -- just for the 1-cable use with the built-in microHDMI output if that's an important feature for you.

  But a small adapter and wireless HDMI out could be worth the added $80 or so.  A $45 one mentioned on the Kindle forums is already unavailable and was said to have some latency problems.  It'll be a while before reviews come in, in good volume, for the Miracast adapters that come up in a search of Amazon.
UPDATE - Amazon has since certified a Miracast adapter that works with the Kindle HDX's.

  If choosing the older HD model, you wouldn't, though, have the "Mojito" operating system and Mayday, and would miss out on features like scrolling song lyrics, an 8MB rear-facing camera, direct-video support on the tablet for any problems, the new Collections feature (which will work for apps as well as for e-books, Downloads of streaming Prime Instant Video, as well as a choice between Carousel (most recently used actions) and Grid views ("Favorites") for opening screen.

  As CNET's David Carnoy points out about the Second Screen feature that uses Amazon's 'Fling' technology: [bracketed comments are mine]
' But, instead of simply mirroring your tablet [as with a micro-HDMI output or with Miracast], the Kindle Fire will be freed up to browse the Web, play a game, or whatever else you desire to do with it -- you can even leave the room with it -- while your video content plays on your TV with X-Ray info.

  According to Amazon [with the Fling technology which is available only on recent Samsung TVs and Playstations for now], the quality of the video will not be dependent on the tablet's processor load or connection. '

  I won't be trading in my Kindle Fire HD 8.9 1st Gen, as I like the ease, speed and cost of the 1-cable HDMI-out port but will still get the new 8.9" for blog-info purposes and because I love highest resolution and definitely faster processing when I can get it -- and the Mojito OS's other features are attractive to me.

UPDATE2 - Availability and ship-dates, trade-ins, credits, and NBC News's article on the HDX tablets

  Not surprising early assessment
  NBCNews's Wilson Rothman posted a tweet to his article headlined, "Amazon's Kindle Fire HDX tablets pose real threat to iPad dominance"

  He reminds us that these "have the highest-resolution screens currently on the market and the fastest chips ever put in tablets."  But he's just as impressed by the features, including Second Screen and Mayday.

  Rothman considers the HDX tablets (barring large negatives that might appear) "a threat to Apple's message of premium content and superior convenience" - finding that the "HDX screens are much easier on the eyes than last year's iPad" and likely not to be beat by Apple's new coming devices at these prices.

  I didn't mention above that the 8MB HDX 8.9" tablet's camera has specs that make it a decent lower-light camera too, with some image stabilization, and is more capable than most existing tablet cameras.

  Fun-to-read account of one of the several small press-groups that were summoned to get briefings on the new Kindle Fire HDX's, and it's clear that this approach works well for Amazon, because when the person holding the briefing is Jeff Bezos, the press tends to purr its resulting articles (and in this case, why not).  Participating with CNet's David Carnoy (or assigned together) were Mashable's Lance Ulanoff and Consumer Reports' Donna Tapellini.

  Although the Carnoy articles are really well-written and interesting, I can't imagine asking Bezos if he feels he's 'the next Steve Jobs.'  But that was the headline.

  No, he's the current and next Jeff Bezos, and while he may not focus on maximizing profits (something Apple does very well, with a narrower range of projects included), Bezos has a humongous variety of projects that his people find themselves slaving over (now that his crew provides sophisticated web services for entities like Netflix and thousands of large companies and they have their hands in almost every aspect of their consuming-customers' lives, with services like one-day food delivery services being ramped up.

  A couple of years ago, some considered Amazon 'just a bookstore' with no knowledge of nor expertise with hardware or software and wrote that they should leave that arena to those who understand it.

  The hardware/software integration of complicated service offerings, especially as seen in the new Kindle Fire OS (but which started with Kindle Whispernet -- the very reason the Kindle took off when the other e-readers had failed), is impressive.  Early reports acknowledge the obvious amount of energy involved in the coordination and balancing of several teams creating unique features that are very complex but which need to appear simple.

  The acquisition of IMDB was one example of long-range planning, which we now see with the sync'd X-Ray features for movies, tv shows, and even details of the music involved.

  Many speak reverently of best hardware specs (and now we even have these with the new Kindle Fire HDX line, at more reasonable pricing that other companies are trying to meet), and many consider pure Android 'The True Way' but it isn't, not for non-technically-focused consumers who just want their devices to work and deliver the entertainment they choose.

  Inventiveness and creativity are huge with Bezos and it shows up in the new features that other tablet makers or 'stores' wouldn't even consider offering.

  So, I think he's no "the next Steve Jobs" and am glad for it, except that I hope he's looking into some of the warehouse problems reported and is as interested in warehouse employees' health as he is in customer happiness.

  Availability, Shipping Estimates - Pre-Orders for "a place in line" started Sept 25.
  Kindle Fire HDX 7":    Oct 18, but with 4G: Nov 14.
  Kindle Fire HDX 8.9": Nov 7, but with 4G Dec 10
  Kindle Fire 7" HD 2nd Gen: Oct. 2.

  You can do a TRADE-IN on your older Kindles
To learn how to submit a trade-in order for your Kindle, visit this Help page

  CREDIT available if you very recently bought a Kindle Fire
  Amazon usually gives 30 days to ponder whether or not you want the new Kindle after all or prefer to return it for a refund.  It's something they've quietly honored, for obvious reasons, since a dominant focus is customer service.

  If you bought one within the last 4 weeks or so and want one of the newly announced models instead, call 866-321-8851 or access, online, Amazon's Contact Us desk to ask about returning it if you prefer to order a newer model, and they will accept the return and credit you the amount you paid for it but you'll need to pay the ship-back cost unless it's defective.  If the 1st level customer rep says "No" then call back later to get another customer rep.

  HOWEVER, note that if you bought a Yr 2012 Kindle Fire HD for $159 recently, you were not buying the equivalent of Yr 2013's basic Kindle Fire HD, which replaces last year's BASIC Kindle Fire (with no HD).

  With the recent sales price of $159, you were buying the 7" Kindle Fire HD with front-facing CAMERA with mic (good for Skype) and with a micro-HDMI output port to an HDTV.   You would have received a $199 model for $159, and it is a much more fully-featured model than the $139 *basic* Kindle Fire HD that is coming out in October. [End of Update2]

Related Articles
Things to know about the HDX/HD line, with more details and enhancements not mentioned here

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. Amazon page does not show HD with 32 GB option. As someone who has a lot of music purchased from Amazon I am disappointed their cheapest tablet with 32 GB is $269. There are still a lot of places without free wifi.

    1. Yes. I've asked about the 32GB model, if any, because the 32GB box is bordered, which usually means the option is enabled, but there's no price there. I might get a firm reply on it. I use my smartphone to tether my tablets for any 3G or 4G available. I was surprised at all the features that make up the new devices and the price is said to be a 'breakeven' one since people want the fastest and highest etc etc with tons of features and that does cost.

      I agree that a 32GB tablet is best minimum for anyone who gets it for media access, but I see they have a new feature that will, as an option, remove from your device while keeping them on the server, your least-used content.

    2. Actually, experimenting today I see that the HD 8.9" does have a 32GB option but only if you currently choose the "without special offers" box and then this combo is $314, even higher of course than the $269 that is there for a 16GB model, with an added $15 for no special offers (I think the 32GB situation is a glitch).

      Here's a pic of the $314 HD 8.9" 'buy' in my cart (not that I'm getting it, as I already have one). cart with hd89-32gb in stock

  2. I've just traded in my HD7 and HD8.9 and will pick up one of the new units. However, a very basic problem still remains. I have a Nexus7 and Nexus10 and an iPad Mini. Compared to them the availability of apps for the Kindle units is worse than poor. I think that less than a third of the apps I have on my Mini are available for the Kindle. This includes, by the way, searching for apps from suppliers other than Amazon.

    It's interesting that even the Nexus units, which can pull from the Play Store, are severely handicapped when compared to the iPad. Google has a lot of work to do in this regard. For example, the Starbucks app that runs on my iPhone/iPad/Mini will run on my Android phone and Nexus 10, but will not install or run on the Nexus 7. There are many other examples of this. Fragmentation is still rampant on in the Google market.

    I'll use the HDX because I'm a major Amazon consumer of both books and video, but for "real" work the iPad mini is my go-to unit. There are excellent RSS reader apps for the Apple ecosystem, for example, and only a couple are available for Android and almost none are available on the Kindle. Since Amazon is putting so much emphasis on tablets it's my hope that they will address their app store as a major priority.

  3. i've just traded in my HD7 and HD8.9 and will pick up one of the new units. It's my hope that Amazon will now pay more attention to their app store, as the selection is really pathetic when compared to the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store. I have a Nexus 7 (2013) and a Nexus 10, along with an iPad Mini, so it's easy for me to make comparisons. By far, the best store is from Apple. There are many, many apps available for the iPhone/iPad that simply don't exist in the Google/Amazon ecosystem. Because of this my Mini will, for the forseeable future, be my go-to unit when I need to get stuff done. For example there are many good RSS readers for the iPad, only a few for Google tablets, and almost none for Amazon. I'm forced to use the browser on the Kindle to get any good RSS work done. Many extremely popular apps, take Instagram for example, are still not available for the Kindle. Even "third party" app stores don't help a lot in this regard.

    Another problem that Android faces is the strange fragmentation in the Play Store. For example, the Starbucks app works on Apple units, and will work on my Android phone and Nexus 10, but will not install or run on the Nexus 7. There are many instances of this.

    Since Amazon is placing so much emphasis on tablets I hope that they will finally concentrate on their app store and bring it up to a reasonable level. Given that I'm a heavy Amazon consumer having a good Amazon tablet is something I'm looking forward to and I commend Amazon for really thinking about consumers and what is important to them. These new units will give the other guys a real fun for their money.

    1. Paul, thanks for adding your thoughts here. This blog has a delay on it until I can get to the feedback because I was getting hundreds of spam a day but I don't want to install the frustrating captcha routines, most of which seem unreadable to me. I added both of these replies because your points were made differently. It's okay to leave them but if you prefer to delete one anyway, please feel free to. Sometimes restating the situation adds clarification though, so it's fine with me if both stay.

      I've never tried to get an Android app that was not available at one of the other appstores that carry GooglePlay apps, so you must want some unusual ones. It's good to read someone else's experience. I'll exchange my 8.9 HD to get the new one and may opt for the 64GB 4G one and go for Verizon's plan for all one's devices. Currently on AT&T but I've always preferred Verizon's service in SF area... I am also keen to get a Surface Pro II if it gets decent reviews, with the 8GB RAM and enough harddisk space to run Photoshop and LIghtroom easily. The screen is terrific for accurate color work and it's very light. I've been on a 2GB RAM and small disc laptop lately, very slow (but like a tank relative to my HP one that Blue-Screens all the time). Feedly's not available for Android? Haven't looked, as I don't use RSS much, preferring Google's searches for the last day or week on specific interests but I do use it on the PC when in the mood.

  4. These are certainly more attractive offerings than last year's, though except for the stripped down Fire HD (no camera, no MiMo, no 32GB option), higher price points (matching Nexus 7). Wonder if they will be porting Mojito to last year's Fire HD tablets? That should be really straightforward.

    I like a lot of the new features (and Origami cover), but not so much so that I'm going to pre-order. And it would be a tough call to choose between the 7" and 8.9" models. They've shaved considerable weight off the latter and I keep thinking 7" is just a bit too small. And yes, I will wait at least until the new iPads ship. Amazon could sweeten the deal if they would only stop blacklisting apps for the Fire, and thus give more weight to 'if it runs on Android, it will run on Mojito'. I would be willing to side load the few apps I would want that are not available in Appstore (mostly Google's). Also wish they had aGPS in the non 4G models (as Nexus 7, iPad mini wifi models do). Even without a network connection, aGPS lets you do navigation (once the route is cached) and that's something I expect a tablet to do. Amazon bought some mapping software group awhile back, I guess they aren't ready to integrate that this year.

    1. Tom, I agree, though I think that for $139, that budget model just has to be stripped of some things we'd want. I'm pretty sure I want the 8.9" 4G with the Verizon 4G here for all my mobile devices rather than using my Samsung phone to tether them (but am always surprised that uses so little battery on the Samsung, so am not sure I need it -- it's the convenience.).

      Not sure why you'd just be 'willing' to sideload, as the steps are no more than just downloading straight from Amazon but just going to 1Mobile or a few others that I like if I need to. No problems so far and no extra work. For others, the article on how easily that is done is at How to install non-Amazon apps on a Kindle Fire.

      On both my HD Kindle Fires, I use the local-range WiFi towers (or the tablet does) to tell where I am. When I do Google Earth, it knows just about where I am because of that. And I have the WiFi-only tablets. I do use Google Earth and Google maps and love them. But I also always have a physical GPS unit that's light and easy to put in my line of view in the car and it doesn't use tablet battery power.

    2. FYI I was unable to get any Google apps to install successfully from 1mobile on my Fire. And (correct me if I'm wrong) they don't make any paid apps available there. So I am immediately not a fan of what 1mobile offers. I'd rather side-load stuff from Google Play, at least then I know a little more about what I'm getting, and there is some notional customer support (either from Google or the developer).

      And apart from a few key Google apps, most everything I would want is in the Amazon Appstore, but Amazon just won't let me get it from there for a Fire. It is absurd. And I agree with Paul, there are some wonderful apps in the App Store for iOS which just don't have any Android equivalent. That gap has not really closed and is something for Amazon and Google to ponder. But Amazon should at least see what Google Play has that they don't and make headway in bringing those developers on board.

      GPS is a nice to have for me, I don't really need it, even if I expect a tablet to have it. But to be useful for navigation, it needs to be able to work where there is no wifi (i.e. on the road). Of course there are alternatives (dedicated GPS devices) but I can find my way without one.

    3. Tom, it's not Amazon alone that's causing the problem. I wrote about the deal that B&N were said to have made with Google to be able to have their tablets accepted by that store and that involved the customers using Google's music services instead of B&N's (what little was there) as well as of course apps from B&N's truly-lacking apps store.

      Amazon would not be amenable to these conditions, and I wouldn't blame them. But from an interview today, Bezos is willing to consider this (which means they can go to the negotiation table, probably having enough to offer w/o being made to give up first-access to their own service, which are how they make their money in the first place.

      I've bought paid GooglePlay apps at a few of the stores when I don't want the limitations of the free ones, so they should be there. You may be looking for more esoteric apps? Has it been quite awhile since you looked? They had about 100,000 apps when I started downloading from them and from other sites, but 1Mobile now has well over 300,000.

      I always wait a few days before downloading newly available apps (and GooglePlay itself has had considerable problems with malware and only recently vetted and then not as well as Amazon, from what I read).

      I want to see that others aren't having problems with any new offerings, but I often do this at the Amazon store too.

      The Apple apps are way ahead of the rest though - they have great educational apps and they do vet well (to the consternation of some).

      I''ve also read that Amazon -has- looked at enticing developers from GooglePlay, with its new offerings of in-app buying, HTML5 apps, and a focus on being able to make more money than via Google (which is reported happening).

      Unlike you, I can't find my way on the road without my dedicated GPS device, a Garmin 360. Outside of being in a tunnel against a wall on my left, and being exhorted to Turn Left...Turn Left, it's been a lifesaver. My sense of direction is fairly nil. I saw today that the Apple maps app directed some followers across an airport runway. :-)

    4. I understand why Google's own apps are not in the Amazon Appstore. That is not my issue. The main issue for me is the apps that are in the Amazon Appstore but not available to Fire users, under the misleading guise of being 'incompatible'. If I can figure out how to get Google Drive or Google Play Books on there (as others have done), so much the better, but I'm not expecting help from Amazon or Google.

      Perhaps I missed something, but I see no provision for buying any apps at 1mobile store. No signin. So when you say you have paid for apps, where were you doing that? At any rate, I don't think I'd have much reason to go to 'alternate' app venues if Amazon would end their blacklisting.

      Overall this is not a deal breaker for me in terms of getting another Fire, but it does give me pause.

    5. Tom, I've bought apps, when not wanting free-app limitations, but I go to several stores, with 1Mobile my current favorite. I did have to sign in at some point and they know where to send updates. Re getting Google Play access, there is, as you probably know, CyanogenMod, but I've just had no need for it. Many complain that modified KFires lose good access to Prime Instant video, which is one of the main features people want a Kindle Fire...

      I'm definitely getting the HDX 8.9" - the question is, with or without 4G. I think it's an extra $10/mo in the all-devices plans with the phone tethering capability itself being $20 to $30 add'l...(which I already use, at $20).

    6. I guess my name will be added to all those who cannot sync their existing Google Calendar with their new Kindle Fire HDX. Since I will continue to use my IPhone, this lack is not a reason to return the Kindle, but the whole App thing does smack of competition bitchiness and will certainly give me pause if ever considering upgrading to a newer Kindle.

  5. For me the big news in this announcement was the aggressive pricing of the 7" KFHD, and Cloud Collections (Oh Boy OH Boy Oh BOY :D). That latter feature (and a whole bunch of other neat stuff) is bundled in KFOS 3.1 -- the KFHDX's will initially ship in October with KFOS 3.0 -- KFOS 3.1 won't be available till mid-November. I'm guessing that KFOS 3.1 will run on 2nd gen KFHD's as well (or the statements made about cloud collections won't make much sense). Since Cloud Collections are largely web-based, it's quite possible they may work in some fashion with e-ink devices as well. We'll have to wait for more details on this.

    Also of interest is a whole bunch of stuff making KFHDX's more interesting in enterprise environments (better email support, VPNs, WPA2, Kerberos, encryption, certificates, etc). Looks like they're going to make a bit of a BYOD push. These devices are targeted better than past KF's versus the iPad and the Nexus 7/10.

    The reviews have been largely positive.

    I watched the MS Surface announcement on Monday and placed a pre-order for the Surface 2 with 64 GB (that's probably equivalent to 32 GB on a KF) not the Surface Pro 2. I already have 2 Surface Pro's which I like a lot. The modest performance improvements and dramatic battery improvements on the Surface Pro 2 aren't necessary for me (my Pro's are almost always plugged in).. The 256 GB SSD with 8 GB RAM Surface Pro might be a nice laptop replacement down the road. I'm getting the Surface 2 to see how well it will perform as a straight tablet versus the other tablets that I own MS made more improvements (relatively speaking) to the S2 as opposed to the SP2.

    Reviews of the new Surfaces were only mildly positive -- probably because of pricing. My Surface 2 with a Touch Cover 2 keyboard plus tax came to $712. A 32 GB KFHDX 8.9 costs $429. See the problem? Now the Surface 2 comes with 200 GB of Skydrive storage for 2 years ($200) and 1 year of unlimited SKYPE & Boingo WiFi access for 1 year ($120). So in a sense those offers make the $712 seem like $392. MS should really avoid those kinds of promotions, and just sell the H/W below cost -- they need market share more than they need profits!

    I'm gonna wait on the KFHDX 8.9 until I see what KFOS 3.1 brings, and how the "fling"/miracast stuff works, and whether it'll work with my two Samsung LED TV's

    1. Edward, that $139 price is impressive. To get it, they took out the front-facing camera and the mic, essentially removing Skype communication capability and went back to offering 8GB of storage, topping it at 16GB (while I had bought the earlier HD 7" with 32GB). It has to be attractive for families with very young children or for people who just want to read and do some web-browsing, email, and games.

      My shortcut general-click-stats indicating topic interest show the $139 model receiving 1/4th the interest shown in the HDX 7" and even only 1/3rd the interest that's been shown in the lowest-cost HDX 8.9 (which surprised me).

      I sure agree re the Cloud Collections! It's hard to sort out what IS or isn't included with the new HD 7" ... but I don't see why they wouldn't work on the HD 32GB 7" devices with a software update under the older operating system.

      Mojito includes a LOT, and only some of it will be doable in the older models. We already know they didn't build in Mayday for even the new $139 HD 7 (which starts at only 8GB!).

      For Photoshop I would need the specs for Surface Pro 2...Can't do with only 4GB memory or sure don't want to. The S2 *needed* more improvements. RT model hasn't been well-received at all. Why did you get two Surface Pros though?

      The Surface Pro 2 is the only light tablet style device that will handle the Photoshop program well and other Windows programs that I enjoy. The screen is perfect for it, so I'd spend on that but will watch further reviews and any flexibility in the pricing.

      Of course, with my non-Samsung TV's, The Kindle Fire HDX's Second Screen does nothing for me while my existing KFHD 7 and 8.9's do very well on my existing HDTV's with the HD models' microHDMI output. So I'll just keep the existing 8.9 HD for that...

      In the blog article, I mentioned the Enterprise features and one of the linked article quoted Bezos as saying they've received a lot of interest from the larger companies (via purchases) and they've put together a package that will make it hard for other large businesses to resist.

      Thanks for the feedback and info.

    2. The information on Cloud Collections is sparse to say the least. I would not assume that older Fires will ever get them, or get KFOS 3. Remember those are running an entirely different version of Android so they'd either need to update the whole stack or rewrite portions of KFOS 3 to run on older Android. Neither seems trivial. So 'other reading devices and reading apps' may refer only to those that currently have Collections in some form.
      I'd guess that 'Cloud Collections' will be something that will be something you can turn on or off, as some people may want different collections on different devices (more than one person sharing an account etc).

    3. The older Fires would not get KFOS 3, no, as they separate those wholesale applications by generation, and this is generation 3. But they can get features coded for them that were coded for the newer operating systems. On Collections, we know that Kindle for iOS can import but, as of now, can't export to the other Kindles for structures kept on the server. But that's a reading app. I think they will probably try to coordinate Collections structures between the various physical devices though, mainly because they have before. I always imported structures and I could request the template from a specific device, but the capabilities were the same.

      In any event, it's not even due until mid November, earliest, and it will include apps. Also, magazines and newspapers separately, as you (I think it was you) pointed out.

      As a single owner on my account, I have different collections as implemented by different devices. On a Kindle DX, I may have imported from Kindle Keyboard 2, but if I added other collections to the DX, they won't be showing up on my Kindle 2 because, for one thing, that wasn't Cloud-info based. Device only. That may well change as they work on this.

      I'm glad about apps being part of Collections though!

  6. I have the HD 7 and the HD 8.9 and the combination has almost totally replaced my eink Kindle. Collections is really tempting me to go for the new HDX 7.

    Do Collections sort by title?

    1. Anonymous, Sept 29,
      Yes, the product page says that Collections (which will come with an update about a month after the delivery of the Kindle Fire HDX) will have sorting that is in line with your other Kindle devices and they do sort by titles and author. The HDX 7 is a good choice as a Kindle book reader that also does other things.

  7. Really hate New kindle fire HDX. Will Not support videos, probably because bozos can't make money from courses. The help person you see on screen couldn't help, just said it was supported then she put so.embody on whom I could not see ,speaking from some third world Caribbean destination. No command of English. They cannot explain why my old kindle fire would play the videos but not the New HDX. No more kindle. Should have bought a Samsung.

    1. USARTCOP, sorry to read about your hate. The page,, is currently not ready and coming soon. It has a function error at the bottom left. That's true for the HDX, the HD, and the original Kindle Fire, as well as for the Samsung Galaxy 10.1" Tab. You should probably contact instead.

  8. Hi, do the x-ray streaming lyrics work with music stream from my Google cloud account? Can I even stream music from Google cloud on a Kindle Fire?

    1. Chris, the X-ray features are applied to products sold and controlled, via servers, by Amazon so that the features work with them (and of course the publishers need to agree when it comes to lyrics. So if the music is only on your Google cloud and not from Amazon, probably not.
      Re streaming music from Google Cloud, I don't actually know as I haven't tried it and of course Amazon wouldn't be saying mnuch about it, but Google doesn't allow our Kindle Fires to access their Google Play apps, so it's not a good bet, though this is your music on its Cloud and it will depend on the kind of streaming it does.
      Also, if it demands a google app to do thes, then you need to look at the articles on How to install non-Amaazon apps on a KIndle fire and maybe How to install Flash on a Kindle Fire.
      Sorry I forgot to reply to this earlier.

  9. I'm thinking of getting an HDX with ATT's 4G LTE to use in my ca for GPS navigation and music streaming (I use Amazon Cloud). Question: When I use both apps on my cell phone, the navigation shuts down to allow music playing and only interrupts when a new direction needs to be given (spoken). Would this work the same way on the HDX?


    1. Peter, I don't know. I'd not really try to be streaming two very different types of info at the same time (battery wouldn't last long either but you can be recharging it as you go).

      However, Amazon allows a 30-day full-refund if a Kindle doesn't work for your needs. I'd be interested in your experience with this if you do try it.


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