Tag Archives: amazon

Kindle Fire | A First Hand Look

The Kindle Fire has been out for a few months now and reviews have been coming in pretty consistently. Mainly saying that this is a mediocre device. Here is a good recap of what several of the online tech blogs thought of the Kindle Fire.

Regardless of the reviews, there is an awful lot of excitement around this device. I for one, am one of the excited ones. I’ve had the Fire for a few weeks and for what its meant to do, it does it great. In my mind, that means it makes it easy to read. Some people call it a tablet – wrong, others say its a media consumption device – close. But from what I’m looking at, its a full fledged reader. Its hand held (can’t do that with an iPad, two hands only please) and it allows you to easily read books, blogs, magazines, email, newsletters, RSS feeds etc…you name it and you can read it.

It also give you the ability (as a bonus) to browse the web, play games, watch videos – although aside from someone traveling, who would want to watch a movie from their Kindle Fire OR iPad(7 inches or 10 inches, why not watch it on 40 inches!)?

Lets talk about screensize for a sec. Admittedly, I was skeptical of the screen size. Is 7 big enough? Yes. Its actually a great size. If you’re like me, you want a tablet to use on the couch while watching TV or in bed reading or just keeping you occupied while traveling. The 7 inch size is perfect for that. Its small enough to carry around in one hand. You can watch the game, have a drink in one hand and have your website up at the same time in your other hand. The screen is perfect for reading a book or magazine. And If you’re on the web, most sites work great but you can always pinch and zoom. Also, the digital keyboard is a good size in portrait or landscape, so if you need to crank out an email you can. More likely, your tweets, facebook posts and notes are all easy to make.

You can do everything on here – except call people that you can do on your phone, its just a little bigger and easier (its also easier to get your content to read) you can do the same stuff your going to do on your laptop, its just a little harder to do a lot of typing or data entry (spreadsheets). its not meant to do everything but it still allows you to do them if you’re in a pinch.

Its a great device with the right mindset. Its not an iPad – nor is it trying to be. Its not a laptop and its not acting like one. One of the great aspects of the Kindle is that it makes it so easy to do what you want. Its easy to get online, its easy to read a book, its easy to read a magazine and its super easy to read your RSS feed or even check out a YouTube video. Its easy and simple. Amazon took what Apple is famous for and made this device simple, user friendly and focused. There is no need for a user manual, when you turn it on, you know what you can do, how to do it and what you want to do is right in front of you.

So whats wrong with it? Here are a few items that I find annoying:

  • You can’t hook the kindle up to your TV and watch Amazon videos through you’re TV. This is annoying for me because I don’t have a TV or device that streams Amazon videos.
  • Not all Android apps are avaialble for download. Specifically I’m thinking of Google apps, like Google Plus. You can go to the android app store, but you can’t always download those apps. The Amazon app store is slightly smaller. This is annoying but you can always just go to the website.
  • There is no desktop. There actually is a ‘desktop’ but its not a traditional desktop. Its not really something I don’t like but its definitly something that I am trying to get used to. Mainly because THIS IS NOT A COMPUTER. Its a reader or if you want, its a media device. You’re not supposed to do all of the same things you do on your computer.

All in all, this is a great device. If you’re expecting a laptop, you won’t like this. If you want a suped up Kindle that will let you do whatever you want, you’ll love it.

Amazon is the new Apple

With all the feedback coming in around the kindle fire it seems hard to argue that Amazon may have done to the tablet computer what Apple did to the cell phone. They’ve figured out how to take somethign that worked and make it work the way it is supposed to.

Sure tablets work fine now. The iPad and Galaxy tab are good tablets, they do what they are supposed to do. But cell phones used to work to right? They just needed to be refined to function the way we all want them to.

Bezos and Amazon have taken the existing model for a tablet computer and flipped it on its head, re-inventing what a tablet should be. It’s not a computer, you have a laptop for that. It’s not a phone, you have an iphone/android device for that. A tablet is a media device. It is an ereader, a social media tool, a movie/tv/youtube watching device, it’s a portal to all of your media.

Whats different? The interface, the desktop/home screen is not a ‘traditional’ desktop that you find on your laptop or pc. It’s a visual library of content which is exactly what it should be. A tablet is not meant to replace a computer or laptop. You’re not supposed to edit your spreadsheets and write a novel. You should check email, check facebook, check youtube, read a book, watch a movie, download some songs and look up something that you just saw while watching tv. It’s an extension of your media consumed life

Amazon took out what you don’t need in a tablet, even the extra three inches in screen size and made it into something that fits into any livingroom and is accessible by anyone. This is key. Apple is well known for taking complex devices and making them simple. Amazon took a complex device and made is simple to use.

Amazon also did a great job of creating buzz around this launch. Bezons pulled a ‘Steve Jobs’ and put on a show with the unveiling of the Kindle Fire. It’ll be interesting to see if Amazon’s yearly media conferences start to generate as much buzz as apple’s have done in the past. Who knows, maybe the announcement of the Kindle phone will make the media do a doubletake.

Good job Jeff and team.

5 Reasons to Get a Kindle Fire and 5 Reasons to Hold Off

I’ve been debating on whether or not I want to upgrade my Kindle to the new Kindle Fire. Part of me absolutely wants to; touchscrean, full color display, YES! Those are the two features that have really been lacking in the old version of the kindle and now its here.

BUT is this like buying a tablet computer? If so then why wouldn’t I buy a chromebook or an Android tablet like the Galaxy Tab?

My biggest concern really, is that this will stop being my book and start being another computer/device that I can read on. Right now, my Kindle is my book, period. When I grab my Kindle I’m grabbing my book and nothing else. When I turn my Kindle on, I’m going to read and I don’t get distracted by everything else that you can get your attention on a computer. Plus, I don’t have to worry about charging my Kindle because the battery lasts for at least a month.

So here is a breakdown of what I see as pro’s and con’s for upgrading to a Kindle Fire.

5 Reasons Not to Upgrade

  • 1st generation. I’m not an early adopter and with good reason. The 2nd generation always comes out a few months later with all the kinks worked out, a better battery and a lower price.
  • Reading on the e-ink display is about as good as reading on a digital reader gets…just like paper
  • I already have a Kindle (is this even a reason though? come on.)
  • The Kindle Fire becomes less of a book and more of a media device
  • Its only a 7 inch display. I don’t know how big of an impact this will really have but, the iPad and Galaxy Tab are 10 inch displays and that seems to be the standard size for tablets these days.

5 Reasons to Upgrade

  • This turns your digital book into a full blown digital media device – isn’t that what we all really need! (that and love I guess)
  • Full color and a touch screen are huge improvements that the original Kindle has been lacking
  • It’s only $199!
  • The Kindle Fire becomes a
  • 7 inches sounds small for a display, but this article from Wired made me rethink my apprehension. Not to mention that for what I’ll be using this for, around the house, 7 inches is probably the right size. 10 may be overkill right? right!

It’s a pretty even race but ultimately I think Amazon knows consumers better that the other ‘media’ companies do. As long as their technology keeps up with the other guys, the Kindle Fire might be the best tablet available.

A Look At The New Kindle Fire

The new Kindle Fire looks amazing. It’s the same size as the existing Kindle and slightly heavier. The full color display allows you to watch movies, listen to music and read books AND magazines!

Magazines have been a big setback for me personally. I want to read magazines and I want to do it on my Kindle. The previous e-ink display wouldn’t allow for easy viewing of materials like magazines. The new Kindle Fire is exactly what Amazon needed to do to address that issue and to make the Kindle a more well-rounded media device.

The biggest downfall from this Kindle is the battery life. One thing that was so great about the Kindle is that you only have to charge it once a month. That’s amazing! The new kindle is more like a cell phone, it needs to be charged daily or at the very least multiple times per week. You have about eight hours of battery life which means you’ll need to bring your battery charger with you on business trips and vacations. That is disappointing but still doable.

At $199 Amazon has put themselves in a great position to increase their already large customer base. And because they are losing a reportedly $50 per device, it really means that they are getting more customers for their cloud storage, Amazon Prime membership and Amazon digital Music and Book sales. The Kindle Fire is the right device to promote the real services from Amazon.

Even if you’re not in the market for a full color media device (Kindle Fire), the new $79 base model Kindle is nearly impossible to pass on. It provides you with the amazing month-long battery life and access to the Amazon digital library and the easy-to-read e-ink display. At this price point its hard to pass on if you don’t already have an ereader.

Check out the new collection of Kindle’s here.

Is Netflix The Next Blockbuster?

Is Netflix destined to fail?
Will Amazon turn from online mega retailer to full service content provider?
Will Google continue to sell us content so that we can click on their ads?

These are all questions that Netflix spawned this week when they announced drastic changes to their pricing policy. If Neflix goes down, and it seems like they might, as they just don’t have the relationships in place to continue moving forward with their On-Demand services, Google, Amazon and Apple all seem posed to take over.

Most people despise their cable operators enough to not buy on-demand movies through them and moving to Google TV/Apple TV or Amazon Instant streaming service all seem like viable options that may end up being the easiest ways to get fresh content.

Amazon seems like the best option to me. They started out by becoming THE place to get books and then get everything else. They offered everybook imaginable on their site and then made the leap to digital books and are able to keep their price points at a reasonable, if not cheap price. They already have the capability to provide access to the movies. You can already buy nearly every movie ever made from their site. So what is stopping them from providing you with every movie available to stream?

Google could end up being the long term winner in everything technology related. They aren’t always first to market but they are able to continually provide users with FREE content that is accessed easily through mediums they are already using. They’ve also just launched a music service to rival Amazon’s MP3 store and Apple’s iTunes. And they have Google Books and recently launched their own branded ereader to rival the Kindle. If those two services can take off, this would lend Google to have the upper hand among their competition in creating the ultimate suite of content services, available on your TV, laptop/PC, or Android mobile device. They have all access points covered and all they need to do is connect all this digital content to your Google+ account and all of a sudden Facebook and Twitter are no longer relevant, Amazon and Apple don’t have the access points and Google gives you the content and serves you the ads, raking in all the money. It’s a win win for them if they can pull it off.

Apple makes great devices. They aren’t for everyone though. They are expensive and elitest in their marketing efforts. iTunes is a great service but with so many other options available, they seem destined to take their ball and go play by themselves. They one caveat to this is the ability to strike an exclusive deal with a movie studio with the launch of a new product…AppleTV3D anyone? That or something similar with an exclusive studio deal could seal Apples venture into streaming movies much like they took over the cell phone market for a while.

Either way, Netflix doesn’t seem equipped to fight off all three of these competitors. More than likely, they will probably remain in business servicing the customers who either don’t want to migrate to the digital services or who don’t have access to highspeed internet connections.

For further reading, here is a great article on Netflix from Lance Ulanoff and PCmag.com that spawned my post.