Sunday, October 27, 2013

Open letter to Amazon

I have sent this to

I love Amazon and its philosophy. I must have bought over $10,000 worth of books and films over the years, starting in 1998 in Denmark.

I think though that in a few ways, Amazon is irritating the customer without gaining anything. For example, the e-ink Kindles should be able to read ePub. It’s obvious, they just should. It would make it "The eReader" instead of “an ereader”. And they would not loose any sales, they would gain some, I believe.

Similarly, the hobbling of the Kindle Fire so it’s simply an Amazon purchase and play terminal is a mistake. There is no reason it could not be a full-fledged Amazon tablet. It would sell a lot more, and of course many of those customers might buy on Amazon where they might not have, before.
I’d love to have the new, big, light-weight KF HDX 9-inch. But it simply can’t do the things I want it to do.

Warm regards, Eolake


I see it as the one weakness or downside to Bezos/Amazon: he is playing the Only One game. As in the film highlander (in low, dramatic voice): "There can be only One!!"
What's the fun of wiping out all your competitors? Who will you have to play with then?

"iPad Pro" (updated)

27 Oct 2013

Hey, here's a prediction. It came to me in a flash:

in 2014, Apple will come out with a bigger iPad, probably 13-inch. It will be named "iPad Pro". It will probably have a keyboard designed especially for it (maybe a keyboard-case, but that doesn't feel very "Apple", perhaps because such a thing is subject very much to taste).

It will be marketed at content creators.
But it will be great for many other things, like reading graphic rich books and mags. And most apps will be only better with more space to play in.

I think they'll be able to keep the weight down to under that of the first iPad, 1.6 pounds.

They will push what I have written about before: that you can do photos and videos with the same device that you write on, and send it from there too (and keep your content in the cloud). It's a full, portable content creation and distribution machine which fits in your normal bag, you can leave the camera and the video camera and laptop at home. (Hopefully the camera will be good, at least as good as the one on the iPhone 5S.)

Quote from this article:
While the A7 is a big deal from a hardware standpoint, it translates into value for consumers at the software level. The A7 is a desktop class processor that can run desktop class applications on the iPad. This is a big deal. [...]

The new Garageband can support up to 32 tracks of audio for input and editing. It can also process desktop class effects on those tracks essentially creating a powerful mobile recording and editing studio on your iPad.

32 tracks?! Can you see the growing need for bigger screens?

Kindle Fire, lighter than Air

It's a bit shocking: the bigger Kindle Fire HDX is not only cheaper, but actually lighter than the iPad Air! (Though 0.8 inches smaller screen.) (I disconsider the higher screen resolution. Are you gonna use a loupe with your tablet? Over 300PPI it stops mattering.)

Instead of aluminium, they went with something like I'd hope Apple would go for: a strong, but lighter substance. I think carbon fibre would be great.
Amazon uses: "created a unique magnesium unibody from a single piece of machined magnesium and a blend of glass and nylon—the same material used in high-performance race cars."

Now, if it weren't for the damnable bugginess that Android always gives me, and the fact that the Kindle Fire is severely hobbled as a tablet to serve mainly as a shopping device for Amazon, I'd consider it a very strong competition for the iPad.
But heck, here in the UK I can't even buy videos from Amazon on the KF!* Nobody knows why, but they just refer to LoveFilm, a Netflix-like service which I've used since the millennium, but like Netflix has a very limited range of films available online (as opposed to rented via disk). And many, many apps cannot be installed on the KF. A few which are not in their own store can, but only with clumsy sidesteps.

I think this hobbled condition is a mistake on Amazon's side. Even though the iPad can do it all, I still buy on it as much from Amazon as I ever did.
So what if a few geeks buy it just to get a cheap Android Tablet? They don't lose money on it. And who knows, maybe the geeks may even be charmed into Amazon's service via the device.

*In fairness, I have been unable to buy or even rent videos on any Android device. They just won't play. Their support (Google Play Store) was unable to help me. One of the reasons I'm weary of Android despite really wanting to like it.
OK, my Nexus 7 just totally died on me. But two days ago I went through eleven software updates to my Samsung Galaxy Note (Apple has the kindness to bundle the updates), and it occurred to me that maybe it would play purchased video now. Lo and behold, it does! (Of course this is just a 5.2 screen, great for reading, a bit limited for video. Well, great for video on the road.)