Amazon has released a beta version of the new “Kindle for the web” feature that allows its users to surf through samples of their digital books before going for a purchase. The feature will allow users to read through the first chapter of any book for free from the web browser before choosing to buy the Kindle edition of the book. The web browser version of Kindle will let users format content by adjusting the font, line spacing, background color besides sharing the sample with friends and followers on Facebook and Twitter.
One of the primary targets of this new feature are web publishers. The new Kindle for the web function allows publishers to embed these web samples on their websites and earn money through referral purchases. Sounds like a pretty neat idea, right?
Amazon may be working on launching their own Android-based tablet computer. This could be pretty different from the Kindle in that unlike the eReader, the new tablet will not be bound by Amazon’s native software. However, it is learned that Amazon will have a pretty tight control over the functionalities and features on the device.
According to these rumors, the upcoming tablet shall come installed with a native Android app store. Amazon will be opening up an developer program with a sign-up cost of $99 that will allow developers to build apps for the Amazon tablet. These apps will give developers close to 70% of revenues and could be displayed on a number of Amazon approved devices including the Amazon.com website. Interestingly, the rumors also note that Amazon could hold the rights to decide on the retail price of the apps.
Given that only Apple and Google have succeeded to an extent in attracting a significant number of developers to their program, this Amazon App Store program could well be a non-starter. But it will still be interesting to see how Amazon make use of their popular eCommerce platform to promote their new tablet device.
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!
Two things happened yesterday – Apple announced their new TV show rentals service and Amazon unveiled their new VOD system as well. There are plenty of similarities between the two – both these services allow users to get access to TV shows at a price of $0.99. Both the services are at present tied to content produced by ABC and Fox.
But there are a few areas where the services will differ too. Firstly, the iTunes service is a rental system whereas Amazon VOD is a purchase-model. In other words, you OWN the content you buy on Amazon which is not the case with iTunes TV rentals. Secondly, the iTunes service will provide amazing 720p HD resolution video rendering on all its rentals – something that the Amazon does not offer on all their videos. Only selected shows on Amazon VOD are available in HD. However, while iTunes TV show rentals are restricted to Apple’s proprietary and closed system, Amazon VOD shows can be watched over the web and on multiple set-top boxes like the TiVo.
Finally, since the iTunes TV rentals will be available only with Apple TV, you have to wait for one more month before you can start watching these shows. On the other hand, Amazon VOD is available now here.
So which one should you go for? If you are an Apple family who own all of their phones,computers and set top boxes from Apple, then the iTunes TV rentals make sense. Otherwise, you may go with Amazon VOD unless you are too specific about watching all your TV shows in HD.
Yet another tech giant is jumping the TV bandwagon. According to reports on the Wall Street Journal, Amazon is planning to launch its own internet based TV subscription service that could be available free of cost to the subscribers of Amazon Prime. Prime at present offers subsidized shipping charges to customers who pay an annual fee of $79.
The new service is expected to take on competition from Netflix and Google TV by offering a similar catalog of older content that could be more demand based instead of a push-system as is done by the current system of cable TV. Also, this strategy is least likely to find resistance from media companies who find the new crop of internet TV streaming services as a threat to their business interests.
The Amazon TV show subscription service will extend beyond browsers and will extend to other services that are integrated with movie & video streaming capabilities like Microsoft XBox 360.
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 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.