Amazon Appstore operates in nearly 200 countries
Amazon will be putting its Kindle Fire tablets on sale in 170 more countries next month, and has also expanded its Appstore to operate in nearly 200 countries. Pre-orders for the 7-inch and 8.9-inch models of the Kindle Fire HD through Amazon.com, its UK site, France, and Amazon Germany have commenced, with shipments to customers due to start on June 13th.
Kindle Fire, Kindle Fire HD owners receive 500-coin gift
Amazon has launched its virtual currency in the United States, and has provided Kindle Fire owners with an initial credit on their accounts. The 500 Amazon Coins, valued at $5, can be used to buy apps from the Amazon Appstore as well as in-app items, along with an incentive to continue buying packs of the virtual currency instead of usual cash transactions.
China launch forms part of 200-country Appstore expansion
Amazon has launched its Android Appstore for paid apps in China, ahead of Google and its Play store. The release of the Appstore in the country now means that Amazon is the first of the two main Android app stores to launch in the region and opens the door to Amazon releasing its Kindle Fire tablets in China and other nearby territories.
iPad beats out Kindle Fire, others in J.D. Power rankings
Apple's iPad is the best tablet on the market in terms of consumer satisfaction, according to J.D. Power and Associates' new 2013 U.S. Tablet Satisfaction Study. The survey looked at the opinions of 1,857 tablet owners who've had their devices for less than a year, and Apple's bestselling tablets came out on top for the second time in a row. Apple devices hold the top spots in J.D. Power rankings for both tablets and smartphones.
Google Glass companion app includes 'Eye Gestures' functions
Google may allow for users of Glass to use their eyes to control the headset. A user by the name of fodawim on Reddit found eye options hidden in the code of the companion app for Android, specifically functions for winking. Of the five, two related to wink calibration, two turned the function on and off, and one last seems to allow a wink to trigger a photo from its 5-megapixel camera. Other eye-related controls have yet to be found, though the company has patented a number of different control systems that could potentially be used with Glass.
Foxconn manufacturing claimed cause for device delay
Amazon is still working on a smartphone to go along with its Kindle Fire tablet line, according to a new rumor. The retailer will allegedly be eschewing the 4.3-inch screen that some state it will use in favor of a larger 4.7-inch display, and is looking to release the long-rumored device at some point in the second quarter.
Amazon adds X-Ray functionality to popular TV shows
Amazon has updated the X-Ray feature of its Instant Video service to now include television shows. The update will allow users to view IMDB information for individual episodes of programs, including the names of actors, what other shows they have appeared in, and other similar content. Expanding what the company has done to movies in the last six months since the feature's launch, X-Ray is available to use for a number of popular TV shows on the Kindle Fire, Kindle Fire HD, and the Amazon Instant Video app on the Wii U.
Service might still be tied to Internet service
HBO may be relenting on its position towards allowing HBO outside of cable TV subscription packages, Reuters reports. CEO Richard Plepler says that the company is considering allowing access to HBO GO, its digital streaming option, via bundles with broadband Internet subscriptions. That would likely add about $10 to $15 to a person's Internet bill. "We would have to make the math work," says Plepler.
Device rumor follows recent price drops
Amazon has denied rumors that it is building a sub-$100 version of its 7-inch Kindle Fire HD. A report stated that the retailer would be putting the tablet, complete with a 1280x800 resolution and TI processor like the existing 7-inch Kindle Fire uses, into production and ready to ship later this year, something that Amazon claims is not happening.
Wi-Fi version sees $30 cut, 4G model slashed by $100
On the heels of an announcement expanding the availability of the Kindle Fire, Amazon has said that it is cutting the price on the 8.9-inch version of the tablet. The Wi-Fi only version now costs $269, a $30 reduction. The 4G wireless model now begins at $399, a $100 cut from the previous $499 retail.
Changes mimic December iOS app update
Google has updated the designs of the Gmail web app as well as Gmail Offline, its Chrome extension, according to an official Google+ post. In both circumstances the updates carry over UI changes that first debuted in a December overhaul of the native iOS app. The new web app is accessible not only on iOS but on Android, BlackBerry, and the Kindle Fire.
Android tablets reach 41 percent of ad impressions
Apple's dominance in the mobile industry became less pronounced in 2012, according to tracking data compiled by mobile ad network Millennial Media. Millennial notes, for instance, that while the iPhone continued to generate the most ad impressions amongst phones, growing 72 percent year-over-year to a 15.59 percent share, Samsung's Galaxy S series grew 182 percent to hit a 4.24 percent share, pushing BlackBerry Curve phones down to third place at 3.91 percent.
Coins to be used to buy apps, in-app purchasing
Amazon is introducing a new virtual currency for users of its Kindle Fire tablet. Amazon Coins will allow Kindle Fire users to pay for in-app items and apps themselves, via the Amazon Appstore, and as an incentive to customers, the company will be giving away tens of millions of dollars worth of free coins to US users when the service launches in May.
Kindle Fire, other tablets make slight gains
The iPad maintained an overwhelming control of US and Canadian tablet web usage during the holiday season, according to new tracking data from online ad network Chitika. The iPad started at nearly 90 percent in early December, but only slid to roughly 81 percent by the end of January, in spite of increased competition from Android tablets. The biggest shift is said to have happened around Christmas, when Apple briefly dipped to 79 percent while other tablets gained ground.
Samsung, ASUS gain ground
Although the iPad remains the best-selling tablet, Apple's share of the tablet market dropped 8.1 points year-over-year during the last quarter -- albeit based on shipments rather than actual sales to end users, according to new iDC numbers. Shipments rose from 15.1 million to 22.9 million, but the company's marketshare dipped from 51.7 percent to 43.6 percent. Much of the lost ground was claimed by Samsung, which saw share rise from 7.3 percent to 15.1 percent, and shipments rise from 2.2 million to 7.9 million. ASUS also made large strides, advancing from a two percent share and just 600,000 shipments to a 5.8 percent share and 3.1 million tablets shipped.
Ivona already provides vocal functions for Kindle Fire tablets
Amazon has announced its acquisition of Ivona, a company that has specialized in text-to-speech technology for the last 10 years. The deal, the terms of which were not disclosed, sees Amazon take control of the firm and software that provides the text-to-speech functions for the Kindle Fire, as well as the tablet's Voice Guide and Explore By Touch functionality.
Chitika sees iPad share dropping 7.14 percent over holidays
Apple's iPad and iPad mini may have been a top-selling item over the holiday period, but entries from competitors sold strongly enough to slightly loosen Cupertino's stranglehold on the tablet sector. This according to new figures out from Chitika Insights, which looked at hundreds of millions of smartphone and tablet ad impressions from December 1 to December 27, 2012 in Canada and the United States. Chitika found that tablets from Amazon, Samsung, Google, and Microsoft gained a combined total of 5.5 percent market share over that period, while Apple's iPad lost 7.14 percent share.
Promotion requires Amazon Student Prime membership
Amazon is offering a discount on its large Kindle Fire HD 8.9 for students, ahead of the winter term. The offer, lasting for the entire month of January, grants Amazon Student Members with an active Prime account a discount of $50 off the tablet, the same as a one-day deal the retailer held in mid-December.
Kindle products are top sellers on Amazon
Amazon released information on its sales during the holiday period on Thursday, noting that the e-retailer had claimed the top spot in customer satisfaction for holiday shopping. Amazon also noted that its Kindle products -- particularly the Kindle Fire HD devices -- were the best selling products on the site once again, though the retailer declined again to provide specific sales figures. Amazon's other Kindle products -- the Kindle and Kindle Paperwhite -- were among the retailer's top selling devices as well.
Ad impressions up 28 percent per day, indicate strong sales
Last year, Amazon surprised many pundits and the public by claiming strong Kindle Fire tablet sales of more than a million per week during the holiday season, doubling overall 2011 sales. A new study that compares ad impressions in mobile apps compared that sales period to the current ad impression rate of the iPad mini and found that it garnering 50 percent higher activity than the peak of Kindle Fire sales. Calling the iPad mini a "game changer," Millennial Media safely predicts the iPad mini will emerge the winner of the gift wars this holiday season.
Child-friendly walled garden FreeTime Unlimited support also added
Amazon has updated its Kindle Fire HD 7-inch tablet to include a number of new features. Swipe support, the camera app that previously appeared on the 8.9-inch version, and the addition of the child-friendly Kindle FreeTime Unlimited service have been put into the latest over-the-air upgrade, putting the handheld's operating system at version 7.2.2
App optimized for 7- to 9-inch tablets
Adobe has released Photoshop Touch 1.4, an update to its illustration and photo-editing app for tablets. The most important upgrade may be support for three pressure-sensitive styli in the iPad app: the Pogo Connect, the Jot Touch, and the JaJa Stylus. Although the Android version of the app doesn't support the styli, Adobe says it has improved its overall brushing engine to allow smoother strokes.
Kindle Fire HD 8.9 shipping early, 4G version coming November 20
The Wi-Fi versions of Amazon's Kindle Fire HD 8.9 tablet are now shipping, ahead of schedule and to those who preordered the tablet. Amazon's product page states the 8.9-inch tablet is expected to ship on December 3 to those who order it presently. The LTE version of the tablet is due to arrive next week.
Timing suggests consumers waited before buying
Amazon has revealed that it saw increased sales for the Kindle Fire HD after Apple presented the iPad mini on Tuesday. Sales of the $200 device rose dramatically on the Wednesday after the Apple event, to a level that caused a spokesperson for the retailer to confirm it as the "biggest day of sales since launch."
Mini price exceeds most analyst estimates
Apple marketing executive Phil Schiller has defended criticism over the iPad mini's $329 price tag, which exceeded earlier estimates from many analysts. The company was not expected to match the $199 price of Google's Nexus 7 or Amazon's Kindle Fire HD, but the $129 premium has led some analysts to question the Mini's ability to have a significant impact on sales from its Android-based rivals.
FreeTime prevents access to unsuitable content, limits usage
Amazon has released an update for the Kindle Fire HD. Alongside the optimizations to performance and functionality included in a usual software update, the change to version 7.1.5 adds in the Kindle FreeTime mode, a walled garden interface designed for children to use without the need for parental supervision.
Amazon said to be in serious talks with TI over mobile chip business
Amazon is reportedly in ‘advanced negotiations’ with Texas Instruments to buy out its mobile processor business, according to TNW. If the report is accurate, such a deal could be said to be in the ‘billions of dollards,’ but would help Amazon gain more control over the design of future devices. Amazon is TI’s largest customer and uses its mobile processors throughout its Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD tablets.
Previous advertising required disclaimer mentioning approval absence
According to an Amazon spokeswoman, the online retailer has received approval from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to sell the 4G version of the Kindle Fire. The 8.9-inch tablet was unveiled last month, but the devices had not yet received FCC clearance, and was required to run disclaimers on web pages and emails promoting the product.
Twice number of planned Kindle Fires
Asian supply companies say they've received enough orders to build over 10 million iPad minis in the December quarter alone, according to the Wall Street Journal. For comparison, the contacted suppliers add that the figure is roughly twice what Amazon has ordered for Kindle Fire tablets, perhaps Apple's closest competition in the tablet realm. Last week the Journal noted that production of the smaller iPad is already underway.
Amazon takes on Google Nexus 7
After dominating the e-book reader market and making a successful foray into the Android tablet arena, Amazon recently expanded its mobile device lineup. Price was arguably the most significant factor driving Kindle Fire sales, however the budget tablet has since been overshadowed by competing devices with superior specs for the same price. Is the new seven-inch Kindle Fire HD "the best tablet at any price," as Amazon claims? We'll attempt to find out in our full review.
Tablet ownership up to 22 percent of adults
Apple's dominance of the tablet market may be on the wan, as Android-based tablets are said to make up nearly half the market. This according to a Pew poll out recently showing that, among US tablet owners, 48 percent own a tablet running some version of Google's Android operating system. This latest figure represents a considerable loosening of Apple's grip on the tablet sector, and it does not yet take into account a number of other devices that may loosen that grip even more.
New Kindle Fire accounts for 11 percent of Kindle traffic
Just a week and a half after it began shipping to customers, Amazon's Kindle Fire HD accounts for 11 percent of all Kindle web traffic. This according to Chitika Insights, which conducted a traffic study for the older Kindle Fire, the Kindle Fire HD, and Google's Nexus 7. While the new Kindle Fire appears to be off to a fast start, Google's 7-inch tablet seems to have outpaced both of Amazon's offerings.
Texas Instruments sees future in embedded chip market, cars
Texas Instruments has indicated that it will refocus its business efforts around the embedded application processor market including the automotive market. To do this, it will shift from its current emphasis on developing its OMAP processors for smartphones and tablets, reports Reuters. According to TI, the embeded processor market offers the prospect of greater financial stability moving forward, despite its OMAP SOCs appearing in the high-profile, but low cost, Kindle Fire HD and Barnes & Noble Nook HD tablets.
Developers can now optimize code for specific Kindle Fire devices
Amazon just detailed Device Targeting, a feature that lets developers to custom-tailor the Android application package (APK) to specific Amazon devices, namely the various versions of the Kindle Fire. This will allow devs to create different code for the Kindle Fire, 7-inch Fire HD, or 8.9-inch Fire HD as well as general Android devices not made by Amazon. The code can thus be optimized for screen size and resolution, OpenGL compression format, and API version.
iPad-sized tablets to ship 74.3 million units
Seven-inch tablets like Amazon's Kindle Fire HD and Google's Nexus 7 are expected to see significant shipment increases this year, which if translated into actual sales could see non-Apple slates taking almost a third of the overall tablet market. This according to IHS iSuppli, which announced its estimates for the 2012 tablet market today. Apple's iPad is still expected to dominate the market on the whole, but iSuppli's estimates indicate that the Cupertino company is likely to face mounting competition as the sector expands.
Dissection shows cleaner internal layout, unimproved battery
The seven-inch version of the Kindle Fire HD has been found to be a reasonably repairable tablet. The teardown of Amazon's latest tablet iteration by iFixit was shown to be internally different to the non-HD Kindle Fire, and with most components being relatively easy to access and replace, scored 7 out of 10 for repairability.
Amazon Kindle Fire follows close behind
Apple has scored highest in a new JD Power customer satisfaction survey of tablet owners. The iPad has earned Apple a score of 848 -- above an industry average of 832 -- as well as five stars in JD Power's Power Circle ratings. Close behind with a 4/5 rating and a score of 841 is Amazon, which has so far only had one tablet computer, the 2011 model of the Kindle Fire. New Fires were recently announced.
Amazon offers users opt-out option on ad-supported Kindle Fire HDs
Amazon has backtracked on its decision to include non-removable ads and special offerson the lock screen and home screen of its new Kindle Fire HD tablets. Following a negative reaction to its decision to include the ads without an opt-out option, the company has reversed course and decided to allow users to opt out of the ads for a $15 fee.
Amazon Kindle Fire
Amazon’s new Kindle Fire HD tablets have been confirmed to run Android 4.0 ‘Ice Cream Sandwich’ by Amazon representatives. Amazon has steered away from listing the operating system in its specifications list, possibly because the device uses a much more heavily customized (or forked) version of the operating system than most competing devices. Unlike nearly every other Android tablet on the market, Amazon has removed all visible references to Google and uninstalled all the standard Google apps including the Google Play store.
Amazon opts for ad-supported model for new Kindle Fire range
All of Amazon’s new Kindle Fire tablets will include lockscreens with ads, the company has now revealed. Owners of the new Kindle Fire, the Kindle Fire HD 7-inch and the Kindle Fire HD 8.9-inch tablets will be the recipients of special offers and sponsored lock screens. According to Amazon, the ads will also appear on the lower left hand corner of the home screen at all times, with no apparent way to opt out of the service.
X-ray feature available for movies
Alongside Amazon's Kindle Fire HD and Paperwhite hardware announcements, the company announced plans to expand its Whispersync and X-ray features. The company's synchronization service, which has been available for text e-books, has been revamped with additional support for audiobooks and Android games.
Adds more RAM, faster processor to original Kindle Fire
Amazon has shown off three new HD additions and an upgrade to its Kindle Fire tablet line. Teased in an unexpected TV advertisement, the Kindle Fire HD will come in three different versions with two screen sizes, including a 7.0 and 8.9-inch option, with the larger of the two also available with 4G LTE connectivity. The original also receives some improvements to its internals, as well as a price cut.
No sign of 10-inch tablet in new minute-long TV spot
While only some aspects of tomorrow's expected Kindle and Kindle Fire revamp press event are known, some confirmation of rumors came in the form of an unexpected TV ad from Amazon during Wednesday's football game between the Dallas Cowboys and the New York Giants. In it, glimpses are seen of a new, brighter and backlit E-Ink Kindle Touch reader as well as shots of what may be the second version of the Kindle Fire. The ad could be seen as a harbinger of a major PR campaign around the new devices.
Amazon signs multi-year deal with Epix for Prime Instant Video content
Epix, which is a premium entertainment network backed by Paramount Pictures' Viacom, MGM, and Lionsgate, has signed a multi-year agreement with Amazon to provide its movies, sports, music to the Prime Instant Video platform. The service is similar to Netflix as it lets users rent, buy, or subscribe to get access to a range of video content. The service is bundled with Amazon's two-day Prime shipping service, which is charged on an annual basis.
Amazon said to launch two 7-inch versions
When Amazon reveals its new line of Kindles at an event next week, the e-retailer will not be pulling the covers back from a larger version meant to compete with Apple's iPad. This according to CNet, which hears from unnamed sources that Amazon will stick to the 7-inch playing field, introducing two new models of its Kindle Fire, both around the same form factor as the original. One of those models is said to be a direct replacement for the original Kindle Fire -- of which Amazon has said it has "sold out" -- while the other is said to be a higher-end model.
Next Kindle Fire to feature native mapping services
When Amazon announces the next version of its Kindle Fire tablet next Thursday, the device will feature mapping services provided by Nokia. Sources familiar with Amazon's plans tell Reuters that the web retail giant will shun Google for Nokia, even though the current generation Kindle Fire runs on a forked version of Google's Android operating system. Those sources have also confirmed that next Thursday's Amazon event will indeed introduce at least one new Kindle Fire model, though a multi-unit unveiling remains a possibility.
Android app store launch hints at Kindle Fire on continent
The Amazon Appstore is now available to Europeans in a localized format. The Android-based service from Amazon is up and running in the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain, with prices in local currency and a more regionalized list of apps being featured on its front page. The timing of the Appstore launch ahead of a press event suggests that the European launch of an Amazon tablet such as the Kindle Fire or it's likely replacement could be on the cards.
Company says tablet has 22 percent of US market
Just days ahead of an expected September 6 announcement of new models, Amazon has conveniently "sold out" of its stock of the current Kindle Fire and Kindle Touch, also reporting short supply on other Kindle models. The company, which refuses to release sales or shipment numbers, also claims that the Fire has captured 22 percent of the US tablet market, though it has no significant presence in e-reader sales outside the US, with IDC estimating perhaps a five percent share worldwide.
No details, scheduled days before expected Apple event
Amazon has begun sending out media invitations for a news conference scheduled for September 6, though the online retail giant has not revealed the subject of the event. AllThingsD reports that invitations started going out today, inviting press contacts to an event in Santa Monica, California. The event is to be held at the Barker Hangar, and speculation abounds that Amazon will be unveiling a refresh of its Kindle line of devices.
Barnes & Noble reacts to Kindle Fire rumor-mill
Barnes & Noble has slashed the prices of its Nook e-reader and tablet devices ahead of mounting speculation that Amazon is soon to introduce an all-new Kindle Fire, reports Reuters. A Nook tablet with 16GB of storage has been cut from $249 to $199, while the 8GB model gets trimmed $20 down to $179. The Nook Color has also had a price cut, taking it from $169 to $149.