Amazon has released a new version of their Kindle application for the Android platform. The new version introduces a number of new features that is a first for book reading applications on Android. This includes the ability to add notes and highlights to books while also getting these notes synchronized among all devices. Besides this, other important updates to the app are
- Text or Voice based search functionality to look up inside a book
- Lookup information from Wikipedia by simply highlighting text
- View additional details and descriptions about a book from the Shelfari database
- Orientation lock
If you have owned one of the older Kindles, you may know that jailbreaking the device actually gives you a lot of more options when it comes to interacting with the device. Now, news is in that the new Kindle too has been jailbroken. Like the older Kindles, jailbreaking the new Kindle will give users access to features like USB networking besides newer screensavers and fonts.
Of course, jailbreaking is not easy and also, it can be pretty risky with users likely to even break the software. Remember warranties go voided in these cases as well. But if you are still intent on effecting a jailbreak on your Amazon Kindle, you can check out this link for instructions on how to go about doing it.
The instructions are pretty lengthy!
Amazon has finally opened up its Kindle store for customers in the United Kingdom making it possible for these customers to now legitimately purchase Kindle and ebooks from the Amazon UK store. Until now, users had a tough time getting the devices shipped from US.
According to a statement released by the company, the new Amazon Kindle will retail in the UK market at a price of £149. That’s the 3G model. If you are looking to purchase the cheaper Wi-Fi only model instead, you only need to pay £109. Other than this, the books on the Amazon Kindle books themselves will retail anywhere between £3 and £11. Besides this, Kindle customers in the UK can also lay claim to over 170 newspapers and magazines published in UK and around the world. And of course, these newspaper subscriptions come with a good 14-day free trial.
Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) announced its quarterly earnings yesterday. The company has had an overall growth in the quarter ending June. Revenues rose 41% year-over-year to reach $6.6 billion. Profits were up too – by 45% – to reach $207 million.
Despite the growth, the markets have shown a disappointment as the results were below expectations. The market closed at 120.07 yesterday and prior to the opening hours, the stock is already down by close to 11% to trade at 106.89. Analysts had earlier estimated the quarterly revenues to reach $7.16 billion.
However, the results have shown some interesting trends moving forward. Amazon announced that their platform has now been selling more Kindle books than paperbacks. Apparently, over 180 Kindle books are being sold for every 100 hardbacks. This number is expected to be much higher if free Kindle books are also to be counted, though that wouldn’t matter since they do not technically contribute to the company’s earnings.
Amazon has been awarded close to half-a-dozen patents today. Most notably though is a patent awarded for a “Handheld electronic book reader device having dual displays” – the original Kindle
The patent describes the original Kindle where the display has two parts – one large area where the text for human consumption is displayed and another scrollable display on the side.
“A handheld electronic book reader device is equipped with dual displays. The device includes a first display for presenting visible representations of textual or graphic content related to the electronic book. The device also includes a second display positioned alongside the first display. The second display includes a plurality of graphic elements that correspond to portions of the first display. Also, the second display is responsive to user input to one of the graphic elements to perform an action on the content that is shown in the portion of the first display that corresponds to the one element.”
The patent application was filed way back in March 2006 and has been awarded to Amazon only today.
There is no doubt that the launch of the iPad has taken its toll on the sale of dedicated eReader platforms like Kindle. While there are still a lot of people who would love to have a dedicated eReader, the fact that you can get access to a lot many more things by just paying a hundred odd dollars extra makes the value proposition extremely irresistible.
Amazon has probably thought of that too. A new job posting on the CareerBuilder website calls for “smart, analytical” people for a stealth project. The posting however notes that the person will be the Senior Product Manager, Digital Video Games division.
While it is technically possible for Amazon to venture into the gaming console market as well, that seems pretty unlikely given the traction that Amazon Kindle has received. Also, this growth may not continue for long if users choose to go with a tablet PC over a dedicated eReader in the long term. A platform that will provide users with ebook reading, gaming and other functionalities could then be the way forward.
So what’s next? A Kindle OS? Not improbable at this point.
There have been several rumors swirling around over the new Kindle eReader that is expected to launch in August of this year. Following Amazon’s acquisition of touchscreen technology company, TouchCo earlier this year, it was being speculated that the next generation Kindle will come with a touch screen. Also, with competition from the likes of iPad heating up, a color-eReader was also very much expected.
However, according to sources who spoke to Bloomberg, the new Kindle eReader will neither have a touch screen nor will come with a color screen. The absence of a color screen is not surprising. Jeff Bezos had told his investors at the company’s annual shareholders meeting,
“I’ve seen some stuff in the laboratory, but it’s not quite ready for prime-time production,”
However, the sources have indicated that the new Kindle will now come with a thinner hardware and a much sharper and responsive screen. The focus of the new launch seems to be on making the book reading experience as much as a pleasure for the traditional book readers.
You may soon be able to play games on your Amazon Kindle eReader. According to reports on the New York Times, Amazon is on a hiring binge for its Kindle division that points out to a possible launch of a new Kindle model in the making. Also, the company is said to be in talks with publishers to put new games on the Kindle device.
While it is not clear whether these rumors may actually materialize and if yes, when, there is no doubt that Amazon has been taking up competition from the likes of Apple iPad seriously. The tablet PC from Apple is noted to have sold over 1 million units within the first one month of launch and when we do not have the corresponding statistics for Kindle, we are pretty sure that the eReader manufacturer is feeling the heat and is looking at possible avenues to spruce up its sale numbers.
Social sharing and interaction seems to be the core focus area at Amazon with respect to the newly unveiled version of the Kindle framework. The company has released the list of core features to expect in Kindle version 2.5 that is rolling out to a select group of users for the moment and is expected to launch for all users towards the end of May.
Here are the significant introductions announced to Kindle version 2.5
- Ability to organize books and documents into “collections” for easy navigation
- Zooming feature on PDF documents to view text and tables clearly
- Set passwords to secure access to Kindle
- Enhanced font graphics for easier reading
- Share book passages from Kindle directly to friends and followers on Facebook and Twitter
- Check out interesting passages from the book you are reading that are shared by other readers.
Is Dell partnering with Amazon to bring Kindle to its slate users? Folks at Android Community speculate if the upcoming Dell Mini 5, also known as Dell Streak could come pre-installed with Amazon Kindle. This comes after promo pictures of Dell Streak had “Kindle Book Reader Applications” listed among the apps supported.
Apart from the Kindle app, Dell Streak also inherently supports Amazon MP3, Amazon video streams and Amazon store. My view point is that while this can definitely help Amazon reach out to an extended user base, the mere presence of a Kindle Store on Dell Streak is alone not sufficient for the company to grab a higher market share. A Kindle application is not a unique offering as iPad’s iBookstore.
What do you think?