Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Kindle "Fire" is released

Not two, not three, but four new Kindle models from Amazon today!

And such lovely prices! From a non-touchscreen model at only $79, to a full seven-inch color model ("Fire") at only $200! That's aggressive business, folks!


... Lame, though: the UK price for the basic model is £89, that's $140! Sixty dollars more than the US price. Oh my gawd. (That must be an ad-free version at least.)
Also, they don't even sell the Touch models in UK yet. I wonder why, since it's the same content, unlike the Fire, which also gets video etc.

The small one is the only one on show on Amazon UK... and yes, like suspected, they won't even ship one of the others from America. Heck and Durnation. I wonder how long it'll take before The World can get a color Kindle?
I could have one shipped on a via, but I'll bet anything it's useless over here, at least as far as buying Amazon content goes. Once the UK Amazon ebook store opened in 2010, I was no longer able to buy ebooks on the US store.
I wonder if, like Barnes And Noble, they will check your position not only buy your account info (credit card), but also by IP? So even US customers can't buy if they are outside the US?

I emailed Kindle support, and they answered:
"Kindle Fire is designed presently for US and will have all the features working in US and for the residents of US. The Kindle Fire if out of US will work like any other normal Kindle."

Since the "littlest Kindle" (smaller than Kindle 3) has no touch-screen nor any keyboard, I  guess things like Search are out. [Update: it has an on-screen keyboard which can be used with the five-way controller. Better than nothing. Also they still sell models with keyboards for a higher price.]
As as one might guess, the 80-bucks price only goes for the "special offers" model, meaning it shows ads on the screen saver. I guess if I were pressed, I could live with the ads (there are none in the books themselves I'm sure), and I never liked the Kindle keyboard and quite rarely use it, so...
I must say the small size (the K3 was already small) and the light weight, 170 grams, appeal to me, it's a real pocket model.

The Kindle Touch looks great, but sadly it only uses the "graystoke" (my derogatory term) screen used in earlier models, the screen which I dislike due to the dull gray background. I had really hoped (but not very optimistically) for some kind of non-backlit display which managed a better contrast range.
The Kindle Fire is exactly as I'd imagined it: a low-end, but still pretty capable Android 7-inch tablet, with the Android interface hidden away behind a slick Amazon media store interface, and capable of running Android apps, but only those from the Amazon app store. (Unless it gets hacked, which it probably will.) From a tablet viewpoint, I don't see any great reason to get this, apart from the very good price, but from a Kindle viewpoint, it's a very interesting step up.

As I'd predicted, the Kindle Fire is wifi only, no 3G. It stands to reason they can't deliver video for free to millions of devices over the cell phone net! They have to pay the cell phone providers per megabyte, and even just for books it's not a trivial expense.

By the way, as one might also have predicted, Amazon clearly wants this to be seen as a "ereader plus" rather than an iPad competitor. And that's surely wise, given the restrictions of the price area they want to be in. And also given that so far iPad competitors are all dead on arrival pretty much.

The UK site states that the Kindle 3 is/was the product they sell which has the most five-star reviews. Considering the enormous number of products sold on Amazon, one must admit that's quite a statement!

11 comments:

TC [Girl] said...

Wow! So, in summary, 4 in 4 NOT to get too..."fired up" about! Dang! VERY DISAPPOINTING!!!!! But...many [read: 'Americans' ONLY!! How STUPID!] won't have the "challenges" that you would, as you said, were you to buy any of them! But...even for Americans; how STUPID that they aren't able to purchase more books, say, if they are traveling abroad! Whatsamatter w/that Bozo Bezo, anyway?! Why isn't he thinking GLOBALLY?! Doesn't make a stick of sense!!

So...the color sounds like they just built it solid enough to get it up and running; sure wouldn't want to give the Pad the run for the CUSTOMERS!! :-(

Well...I'm already looking forward to the next rev of this new color! lol!

eolake said...

Well, for Americans, and except for the same grey screen on three of the models, I think it's an excellent expansion on the Kindle idea, and I'm sure they'll sell like hotcakes.

eolake said...

Updated the post re the iPad:

Amazon clearly wants this to be seen as a "ereader plus" rather than an iPad competitor. And that's surely wise, given the restrictions of the price area they want to be in. And also given that so far iPad competitors are all dead on arrival pretty much.

TC [Girl] said...

I'm sure you're right re: ALL points you mention, in both of your comments. But, yeah...too bad you aren't able to get the touch over there, yet! Wonder how long of a wait that'll be. Seems like they'll be pretty BUSY shipping these, for awhile! :-(

eolake said...

Yeah.
Though on cooler reflection, it's just a competitively priced Android tablet. Main interest is the convenience of the market, video, music, etc. And I have that on the iPad.
And I think that the two new Samsung Galaxy models, the 5-inch and the 7.7-inch, are probably better ereaders due to better screens. Also more expensive though, rather.

And let's see also what Apple serves up on Oct 4. Not to be too optimistic, but one can dream of a larger iPhone.

TC [Girl] said...

Eolake said...
"Yeah.
Though on cooler reflection,"

You're cute...and funny! :0)

"...it's just a competitively priced Android tablet. Main interest is the convenience of the market, video, music, etc. And I have that on the iPad."

Yes. Makes sense.

"And I think that the two new Samsung Galaxy models, the 5-inch and the 7.7-inch, are probably better ereaders due to better screens. Also more expensive though, rather."

I'd be curious to try the 5'er, myself. I already have the Intercept phone and had a data plan to see its capabilities, which I had to downgrade, recently, losing the phone part of it BUT...the COOL thing I discovered, when I did that, was that I am STILL able to get online w/it, when I have access to WIFI so...I'm HAPPY to still be able to use it...without having to pay $70 more/month just to have the phone part. And...it would be nice to have just a little bit bigger screen than the 3.2 that is on there.

"And let's see also what Apple serves up on Oct 4. Not to be too optimistic, but one can dream of a larger iPhone."

You can have ALL the silly i-everything phones; I'd just be happy to be able to turn on my data service to my Intercept, again! I think it is durn-near as good as an iPhone...without the exorbitantly-priced cost of one of those things! 'sides...even if they were within the range of my budget, they're still no good to me when my carrier isn't included! Makes them quite useless to me! :-(

eolake said...

"the COOL thing I discovered, when I did that, was that I am STILL able to get online w/it, when I have access to WIFI"

That is cool. I do that with my Galaxy Tab, but it's interesting to hear that some *phones* come with independent wifi, I was not aware of that.

Alex said...

The E-Ink daylight readability really is a thing to consider when compared to all these glossy LCD screens. My HTC Thunderbolt phone gets washed out outdoors and is impossible to use. I have a friend over at Apple, and she still uses her Kindle over the company issued iPad for readability.

I can see this being less of a problem in cloudy countries like Lancashire, but in sunnier climes, that eInk is indispensably.

Alex said...

PS. Not sure what staff discounts are like at Lab126, but do you want me to try and score you one?

eolake said...

Very kind, but the Fire seems rather reduced in usability outside the US in current incarnation. Thanks.

It is true that the iPad screen is all but unusable in sunlight. That's the aspect (apart from weight/size) where the Kindle shines. Uh, as it were. For me, not much of an advantage since I'm not very comfortable sitting in the sun anyways.

TC [Girl] said...

Eolake said...
"That is cool."

Yeah! Very! :-D

"I do that with my Galaxy Tab, but it's interesting to hear that some *phones* come with independent wifi, I was not aware of that."

D'ya know that I wasn't aware of that, either, until I went in to try to upgrade (I'm back to using my old 'Highnote,' again; sigh!) to something that had a qwerty keyboard...where I didn't have to go w/a data plan and...reduce my cell plan.

In fact, I don't recall the dude even telling me about this capability when I, initially, looked @ the phone, either. It might just be that Samsung is, perhaps, a leader in having thought to do that w/their Smartphones; I dunno. I was just happy as punch that, not only could I continue using my scheduler but, shoot, I also had a mini laptop to bring to town w/me, when I went to lunch and wanted something to read off of, for enjoyment. Hence, why I look forward to getting a larger screen, see? I happen to enjoy checking the blogs 'n stuff while I'm out and about and "free" (I have several of places, in town, that I like to go that have free WIFI) is quite helpful! :-D