Amazon just announced its long anticipated tablet, the Kindle Fire. And while the hardware doesn’t compete with iPad, the price certainly is: it’s a fully-featured tablet with access to millions of apps, games, songs, movies, TV shows and books, all for just $199.
Running a custom version of Android 2.1, the tablet exists as a way of consolidating all of Amazon’s incredible libraries of content: shopping, streaming, music, video on demand, apps and more.
Powered by an unknown dual-core processor, the Kindle Fire weighs just 14.6 ounces. Despite this, early impressions of the Kindle Fire switching between tasks make it appear that the Kindle Fire is actually extremely fast.
The display is a 7-inch IPS touch panel with a Gorilla Glass screen. It’s got a fairly high, but not Retina Display, pixel density of 169 pixels per inch. Not bad. Demos suggest the screen is actually very responsive.
The price? $199, which is incredible. It’s available for preorder from Amazon now, and will ship on November 15th.
For the students among us this is great news, according to Amazon, “You can now save up to 80 percent off the list price of the print textbook by renting Kindle Textbooks on the Kindle or Kindle-compliant devices such as Windows and OS X PCs, iPads, iPhones and BlackBerry, Android and Windows Phone 7 devices”. In other words this means that students will get access to “Tens of thousands of textbooks” are available for rent across those platforms, You can choose a rental length between 30 and 360 days and extend your rental for as little as one day. What’s best, regardless of your chosen rental period, Amazon will charge you only for the exact time you need a book. From Amazon:
Kindle Textbook Rental is a flexible and affordable way to read textbooks. You can rent for the minimum length, typically 30 days, and save up to 80% off the print list price. If you find you need your textbook longer, you can extend your rental by as little as 1 day as many times as you want and just pay for the added days.
You can tell whether a Kindle edition is available for rent in the Textbooks Store section of the Kindle app or from the search bar.
Earlier, Amazon released the Kindle for Mac software on the Mac App Store.
While the Kindle for Mac has been available for a while, always as a free download. The significance of it showing up on the Mac App Store is that it signals that major players are taking the Mac App Store seriously. What remains to be seen is if other major developers like Microsoft and Adobe will also add their apps to the Mac App Store. If they do, they’ll be giving Apple a 30% cut of their profits. That is, unless Apple cuts a better deal with them to get their major apps in the store.
Well this is interesting, according to a new study conducted by Dr. Jakob Nielsen of the Nielsen Norman Group, it will take you longer to read a book on an iPad or Kindle compared to the printed page. More precisely it will take you almost 11 percent longer than if you were reading a printed book.
Nielsen compared the reading times of 24 users on the Kindle 2, an iPad using the iBooks application, a PC monitor and good old fashioned paper. What’s interesting however is that despite the slower reading times, Nielsen found that users preferred reading books on a tablet device compared to the paper book.
According to the study, the test subjects were reading 6.2 percent slower on an iPad compared to paper, and 10.7 percent slower on the Kindle 2. Interestingly, Nielsen’s results appear to show that reading on the iPad is significantly faster compared to the Kindle 2.
It would be interesting to test whether people in their 20s read faster on a screen than a book since they’ve spent a majority of their lives consuming digital content? How would the younger group compare to people in their late 30s and early 40s?
Yesterday Amazon updated their already rather popular Kindle App for the Phone, iPod touch and iPad. The update includes the ability to play video and audio clips within Kindle books. Best of all, it doesn’t require downloading an update to the app itself.
Even though there are currently only 13 titles available in the store which embed video and audio, we are sure more will soon be available.
“We are excited to add this functionality to Kindle for iPad and Kindle for iPhone and iPod touch,” said Amazon Kindle director Dorothy Nicholls. “This is just the beginning, we look forward to seeing what authors and publishers create for Kindle customers using the new functionality of the Kindle apps.”
The new audio-video functionality is already ready to go in the latest 2.1.1 update of Kindle, a universal 6.6MB app that runs on the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch. That update also brought optimizations for the iPhone 4’s Retina Display, and more is coming with the next release, including instant word lookup (from an included dictionary as well as via Google or Wikipedia) as well as “Search Inside The Book” on the iPad.