On September 28th, Amazon unveiled the next big competitor in the tablet space, the Kindle Fire. Rumors have been swirling since the beginning of the time itself that the company would launch a 7-inch, Android-powered slate that ties into its uber-popular Prime services and vast ebook collection... and lo and behold, Jeff Bezos unveiled just that, due for release in November 15th for $199. Stay tuned right here for everything you need to know — and even more!
Jan 25, 2012Read Article >
There's still no sign of a Gmail app for the Kindle Fire, so here's your consolation prize — Microsoft has released a free Hotmail app to the Amazon Appstore. While a Hotmail app for Android is nothing new, with over 3 million users, Microsoft says it's tweaked the app for a smooth Fire experience. It's also claiming advantages over the native POP3 email client, with Exchange Active Sync grabbing contacts and folders with your mail. The move makes sense — the Kindle Fire's native mail client doesn't support Exchange Active Sync in the same way that 12 million users enjoy on iOS, so a dedicated app could provide a much better experience for those on Hotmail.
Dec 29, 2011Read Article >
Amazon just announced that it sold more than a million Kindle devices per week throughout December — that includes the Kindle, Kindle Touch, and Kindle Fire tablet. As usual for Amazon, no specific numbers were given, but the company says the Fire remains its best-selling and most-wished-for item, marking some 13 weeks that the Android-powered seven-inch tablet has held the top spot. The other Kindles didn't do so badly either: the Kindle Touch and basic Kindle were the second and third best-selling products in December, respectively. Amazon's foray into self-publishing also continues to yield success, as the number one and number four best-selling Kindle books in 2011 were published independently by their authors using Kindle Direct Publishing. All in all, a stellar holiday for the Kindle family, but we'd still love to see some specific sales numbers at some point.
Kindle Fire 6.2.1 update rolling out now, improves Silk browser and adds homescreen customization (update)Read Article >
Update: Amazon says the Kindle Fire update is rolling out now.
- Read Article >
It would seem that the Kindle Fire is doing well: Amazon says it's selling more than a million total Kindle devices a week, and the Fire sits atop its best seller lists. Mobile ad platform Millennial Media has offered up some more specific numbers, however: it's found that the Kindle Fire is racking up "hundreds of millions" of monthly user ad impressions. The company says that the growth of impressions on the Fire has been growing by 19 percent daily — faster than the first iPad when it launched. Of course, we don't know how the Fire stacks up to the iPad now, and we'd love for Amazon to release any hard numbers on individual Kindle sales, but for the moment it appears Jeff Bezos has a hit on his hands.
Dec 5, 2011
Having teased us last week with photos of CyanogenMod 7 running on the Kindle Fire, xda-developers user JackpotClavin has now released the ROM along with a customised version of ClockWorkMod (that doesn't need volume buttons to navigate) and installation instructions. It's still very much an alpha build, with no sound or hardware acceleration, however most other aspects of the tablet including Wi-Fi and the touchscreen are supported. Users are finding ways around other issues including choppy YouTube playback, and are saying that the overall experience is far smoother than Amazon's take on Android.Read Article >
CM7 brings the stock Android 2.3 experience to the Kindle Fire, including full access to the Market, and JackpotClavin's already working on an Ice Cream Sandwich build. However, as things stand, there are no instructions or tools to revert to the stock Kindle experience, and services such as Amazon Instant Video won't work unless you unroot. With trade-offs like these, it's a big jump to take.
Nov 28, 2011Read Article >
Amazon, a company that never talks about exact Kindle sales figures, says that it sold "millions" of the new Kindle family even before Black Friday. And this past Friday, Amazon says it sold four times as many Kindles as it did on Black Friday 2010, "and last year was a great year."
Nov 16, 2011
Inside, you'll find a 4,400mAh battery dominating the Kindle's layout, with the motherboard taking up a fraction, perhaps a third, of the overall space. There are metal plates inserted into the back cover to lend the tablet extra rigidity and strength. The flash memory is made by Samsung, the RAM is from Hynix, and Texas Instruments gets to provide the bulk of other components — including the dual-core OMAP4430 processor. Intriguingly, there is actually a Bluetooth chip inside the Kindle Fire, though Amazon offers no support for it. Much like the Nook Color before it, the Fire may find itself Bluetooth-enabled once the hacking community gets ahold of it. You can see all the gory and detailed pictures of the teardown at the link below.Read Article >
If that tour through the hardware of Amazon tablet model D01400 piqued your interest, you'll also want to know that the Fire has now been rooted as well. Details on how to use SuperOneClick v2.2 can be found at the Android Forums link below, and if you want to experiment with the Kindle Fire yet further, you'll also find the source code for the tablet has now been made available for download.
Nov 11, 2011
We'd already heard that the Kindle Fire will be getting apps from Netflix and Facebook at launch — along with "several thousand more" — and in an email earlier today Amazon revealed that Hulu Plus and ESPN Scorecenter would be included in that number. We're sure you've heard of Hulu Plus by now: the app offers catch-up TV for most of the major US networks, for a subscription of $7.99 per month. ESPN Scorecenter gives you access to all the goals and highlights from a huge range of sports worldwide, and is likely to be free.Read Article >
Both services already have apps available via the Android Market, but it's not clear whether they've been optimized for the Fire in any way, or whether it's simply an introduction to Amazon's curated Appstore. Barnes and Noble touted Hulu and Netflix as major selling points of the Nook Tablet at their announcement last Monday, but Amazon looks like it's been prepared to fight back in the run up to the Fire's launch.
Nov 11, 2011Read Article >
The Amazon Appstore for Android got an update to version 2.0 this morning, presumably in preparation for the upcoming release of the Kindle Fire. Probably the most significant change is the addition of a subscriptions item in the main app menu, which will likely be used to access your Newsstand content. Along with some cosmetic changes to match the look and feel of the Kindle Fire's UI, a new settings menu lets you turn on pin protection for in-app purchasing — which is enabled by default — and gently nudges you to spend by displaying your unused gift card balance. There isn't much to buy outside of apps right now, but we're guessing that will change when Amazon's tablet ships next week. Find two more screen shots below.
Oct 28, 2011Read Article >
It looks like Jeff Bezos's expectation that Amazon would sell out of the "many millions" of Kindle Fires it was planning to make wasn't far from the truth. During the company's third quarter earnings call, Bezos mentioned that based on pre-orders, Amazon was "increasing capacity and building millions more than we'd already planned." Exactly how many millions total is it manufacturing? Bezos doesn't say, but we'll take him at his word that Amazon is making a lot of Kindle Fires. The launch event generated a feeling that the premium product at a non-premium price ($199) would be a serious contender to Apple's iPad even if it can't entirely compete on specs. We don't know how things will shake out when it ships in the fourth quarter, but Jeff Bezos certainly seems confident about the future.
Legal challenges and royalties aside, Google's official stance on Android has long been that it's open and free. And yes, by some definitions of the words "open" and "free," that's true. Anyone - any individual or company - can simply point their browser to the Android Open Source Project, download the source code, and use it however they please. They're very upfront about it: "Here you can find the information and source code you need to build an Android-compatible device," AOSP's home page reads.Read Article >
But third - and this is key - Android is significantly devalued as a consumer platform if you don't have Google's blessing to ship your product. You lose the suite of Google services that users are automatically expecting when they take your device out of the box, including Gmail, Maps and the official Android Market. It's been said a thousand times before that a vibrant, easily-accessible ecosystem of third-party apps is central to a successful mobile product - and if you lose the Market, you lose that ecosystem. Independently-launched devices (particularly tablets) have tried to make up the difference with their own aftermarket app stores, but when "success" is measured in hundreds of thousands of available titles, there's simply no substitute for the real thing.
Sep 28, 2011
But while the Fire and the iPad will almost certainly be the head-to-head comparison for most tablet buyers in the near future, I think Amazon made an even bigger decision about competing with the iPad that went unsaid during today's presentation: the Fire is almost completely geared around content consumption, not creation. It's remarkable, actually -- we didn't even see the Fire's email app today. That's in stark contrast to the iPad launch, during which we were treated to interminable demos of not only the email client, but also the iWork suite; Apple took great pains to emphasize the iPad's productivity capabilities. In contrast, all of the Android apps Amazon demoed on the Fire today were... games.Read Article >
Of course, it makes perfect sense for Amazon to focus on delivering media and entertainment to consumers -- the company is first and foremost a store, after all, and it's naturally playing to its strengths. But in many ways the company is neatly sidestepping one of the central questions about next-generation tablets like the iPad: are they actually credible laptop replacements, or are they just for fun? The answer to that question is pretty important when the price of entry is $499, but it's almost irrelevant for the $199 Kindle Fire -- Amazon is nearing impulse purchase territory, the same territory that sold hundreds of thousands of $99 TouchPads and sells $114 Kindles day in and day out. It's easy to sell pure fun.
- Read Article >
Clearly, Amazon's just-announced Kindle Fire isn't designed to compete head-to-head with the iPad 2 on specs alone, but that doesn't mean consumers won't be cross-shopping the two this holiday season -- and that means a comparison is in order. Of course, Barnes & Noble's Nook Color is a more direct competitor, so we're throwing that in as well. Amazon's value proposition for the Fire comes from its vast, deep ecosystem and a highly-customized build of Android that CEO Jeff Bezos suggests will rock our world, so you don't want to read too deeply into these numbers -- particularly when the iPad starts at $300 more -- but it's something to keep in mind.
Sep 28, 2011
It's been a morning of Amazon surprises, but amongst all the news of cheaper and Touch Kindles, there's no doubt that the brand new Kindle Fire has us the most intrigued. Unfortunately, Amazon is being quite strict about actually letting us touch the 7-inch tablet and that glorious IPS display, but hit the break for some live shots, video, and our early thoughts from watching the demos.Read Article >
Sep 28, 2011
Amazon's new 7-inch, $199 Kindle Fire tablet technically runs on Android, but it's not the user experience you might expect -- rather than the typical array of user-configurable homescreens, the main interface is a handsome rotating bookshelf where you store your virtual books, magazines, CDs and apps all together. By default, your most recently accessed items will appear on top, though you can also pin items to a "favorites shelf." There are also an array of distinct tabs labeled Newsstand, Books, Music, Video, Docs, Apps and Web, each of which play to Amazon's content strengths.Read Article >
You might be aware that the company launched its own Appstore on Android earlier this year, streams Amazon Instant Video and will already store some of your music and files in the cloud, but the company's got brand-new content deals on tap -- like 100 "exclusive" graphic novels, including Watchmen, and hundreds of magazines and newspapers including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and a selection from Conde Nast. Amazon's also leveraging its EC2 cloud computing platform for even more this time around: the Kindle Fire will only have 8GB of local storage, but every bit of that allotment will be backed up in the cloud, and the Kindle Fire's Silk web browser will actually run remotely on Amazon's servers, too.
Sep 26, 2011
All Thing's D's Peter Kafka also reports today that Amazon's got most of the major magazine publishers on board for the launch, including Conde Nast, Hearst, and Meredith. A deal has not yet been finalized with Time, Inc., but Kafka says Amazon is optimistic that they'll be aboard by year's end.Read Article >
Absolutely none of this information is official of course, so join us on Wednesday live to see exactly what Amazon has in store.