Barnes & Noble has announced its 2012 lineup of NOOK tablets, the 9-inch NOOK HD+ and the 7-inch NOOK HD. Both tablets are designed to take on Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD, as well as – in some ways – the iPad.
The NOOK HD+ features a 9-inch HD display running at a resolution of 1920 x 1280 with 259 PPI. The device is powered by a 1.5GHz OMAP4470 dual-core processor and enough battery for up to ten hours of reading or nine hours of video playback. It’s noticeably lighter than the competition at 18.2 ounces, and it measures 9.5 x 6.4 x .45 inches. WiFi, an HDMI port, and a microSD card slot also come standard, allowing you to upgrade the 16GB or 32GB of internal storage by up to an additional 64GB.
The NOOK HD, on the other hand, has a slightly smaller 7-inch screen (1440 x 900, 243 PPI) set into an equally thin and light 11.1 ounce, 7.7 x 5 x .43 inch body. It too includes WiFi and a 1.3GHz dual-core processor, and it’s rated at 10.5 hours of battery for reading or nine hours of juice for video playback.
Wal-Mart has decided to stop selling Kindle e-readers and tablets in what is no doubt a bid to slow the juggernaut that is Amazon. Kindle devices are increasingly becoming the center of Amazon’s digital strategy, thanks to the deep integration with Kindle e-books, Audible audiobooks, Amazon Instant Video, Amazon MP3, Amazon Cloud Drive, the Amazon Appstore for Android, and much more.
This move follows a similar decision by Target last spring, and seems to imply that brick and mortar stores are becoming afraid of these devices that are, in a sense, merely a gateway to a competitor’s digital storefront. While Wal-Mart and Target will end up missing out on sales of the hugely popular Kindle tablets and e-readers, the companies hope to benefit in the long run. Of course, it’s unlikely that this move will actually hurt Amazon. If you’re going to buy a Kindle, why wouldn’t you go directly through Amazon? Even the “I need the device soon” argument doesn’t carry much weight when the retailer offers such fast shipping on the devices.
I certainly don’t know anyone who’s purchased a Kindle in a physical store. Do you?
Amazon announced a bevy of new devices at its press conference this morning, including two new Kindle Fire tablets, an updated Kindle Fire, and a traditional Kindle with new Paperwhite technology.
The Kindle Fire HD is the successor to Amazon’s incredibly successful Kindle Fire tablet. The Fire HD features a much larger 8.9-inch 1920 x 1200 IPS display with 254ppi. The 8.8mm thick 20 ounce device is powered by a 1.8GHz dual-core Texas Instruments OMAP 4470 processor, 1GB of RAM, an HD front-facing camera, dual stereo speakers, HDMI out, and Bluetooth. It’ll come in a variety of models, including WiFi only (in either the 16GB or 32GB variety) and WiFi plus 4G LTE (with either 32GB or 64GB). The former model will start at $299, while the latter starts at $499 and is obviously designed to take on more high-end tablets. The Fire HD’s 4G LTE won’t be free, but Amazon has managed to make it cheap enough that it is hardly an issue: $50 a year for 250MB per month.
Amazon has announced that the Kindle Fire, its bestselling Android tablet, has gone out of stock ahead of the expected unveiling of the company’s 2012 hardware lineup next week. The Kindle Touch model is unavailable as well. Amazon, of course, is keeping quiet on the subject of next-generation hardware, instead choosing to highlight the Kindle Fire’s massive success in the marketplace, where it has managed to grab 22% of all tablet sales in the US.
We don’t know exactly what Amazon has in store for next week, but it’s certain to include a new lineup of Kindles, including 7- and 10-inch models for the Kindle Fire. The new Kindle e-readers are rumored to feature a new Paperwhite display and a number of images of the new Kindle Fire have hit the internet, sporting a significantly updated interface, a front-facing camera and Nokia Maps technology.
What do you want to see Amazon unveil next week in Las Angeles?
[Amazon | The Verge]
The Kindle Fire and Nexus 7 often receive most of the press, but Barnes & Noble has a fairly good lineup of tablets on its hands as well. The book retailer has reduced the price of the NOOK Tablet and NOOK Color, bringing the former’s price in line with its biggest competitors. And “just in time for the back to school season,” no less. The NOOK Tablet 16GB received the biggest price drop, going from $249 to $199. The 8GB version, meanwhile, dropped by just $20 to $179. The same goes for the NOOK Color, which now retails for $149 (formerly $169).
The 7-inch NOOK Tablet includes a VividView display, dual-core processor, microSD card slot, and either 512MB or 1GB of RAM, depending on which version you get. As Aaron notes on our sister site Pocketables, there are also plenty of ROMs available for you to throw on the device should you prefer a more traditional version of Android. The 7-inch NOOK Color, on the other hand, includes a 1024 x 600 IPS display, a 1GHz processor, and an SD card slot.
With Microsoft now in control of just under one fifth of Newco, the tentatively-titled Barnes & Noble subsidiary charged with running the company’s ebook business, it’ll be interesting to see what the next generation of NOOK devices look like.
[Android Central via Pocketables]
With the recent launch of Google’s Nexus 7, everyone is wondering what Amazon has in store for the next iteration of its Kindle tablet. The Kindle Fire currently holds more than half of the Android tablet market, thanks to its low cost and deep integration with the online retailer’s web services. If the president of Staples is to be believed, Amazon might be going for more of a shotgun approach this fall, introducing a handful of new tablets.
Staples’ President of US Retail, Demos Parneros, claims that Amazon plans to sell “up to five or six” tablets in a wide range of sizes, including the oft-rumored 10-inch form factor. That’s a large number of devices for Amazon, which has historically only introduced a few new models every year. But with the success of the Kindle Fire, it might be interested in casting as wide of a net as possible to insure that it can meet the interests of all of its customers.
Amazon’s R&D department, Lab126, has nearly – but not quite – doubled over the last year, bringing on more than 365 new employees. The company is also rumored to be working on a smartphone.
[CNET via Reuters]
Amazon has finally given customers the ability to clear the furthest page read for Kindle ebooks. This change was made with little fanfare, but it’s a welcome and much needed improvement.
The Amazon Kindle is a great line of e-readers, made even better by the ability to sync your furthest page read using Whispersync. This allows you to seamlessly switch between devices–be it an e-ink Kindle, the Kindle Fire tablet, or a Kindle app on smartphones and computers–without missing a beat. Unfortunately, the very feature that makes this so great is also a massive hassle when trying to read something slightly less linear, like a textbook or a book with a lot of footnotes. Rather than helping you return to your last read position, the Kindle would attempt to force you to the back of the book. To make matters worse, there was no way to fix it aside from calling customer service and begging them to reset it. Thankfully, this is no longer the case.
To clear the furthest page read for a particular Kindle book, simply head on over to Manage Your Kindle on Amazon.com and find the book in question. The Actions menu for each item now has an option to “clear furthest page read.” Confirm the change, and you’re done! The next time you open up the book, Amazon will use that position as the new furthest page read.
It would be great if Amazon took things a step further and added the option to the Kindle OS too. In the meantime, we’re just thankful that we no longer have to call support to read a textbook.
[Amazon via Omar Shahine]
Sales of Amazon’s Kindle-branded modified Android tablet are, well, on fire. The company has reportedly managed to grab 40% of the Android tablet market in just three months. Amazon is reluctant to release exact sales figures, but analysts are claiming sales of anywhere between five-and-a-half and six million devices.
Apple currently holds an estimated 57.6% of the tablet market, down from 68% last year, and Android makes up for most of the remaining market share–39% to be exact. Based on these figures, we can estimate Android’s overall market share: 15.6%.
At $200, the Kindle Fire is an excellent tablet. Of course, it’s not your average Android device. The operating system has been heavily customized. So much so, in fact, that it’s almost unrecognizable. The Kindle Fire is an Amazon media consumption device first and an Android tablet second.
Once also has to wonder how the introduction of Windows 8 tablets in the coming months will shake up the market. Microsoft is preparing to release a near-final customer preview of its latest and greatest operating system at the end of the month, with an expected launch this fall.
[CNET via Paul Thurrott's SuperSite for Windows]
Microsoft announced the availability of a Hotmail app for the Kindle Fire in a blog post on Tuesday. The company developed the free Hotmail Kindle app in conjunction with SEVEN to provide a dedicated app for syncing email, contacts, folders (including subfolders), and more via the popular Exchange Active Sync protocol. This is a huge improvement over the Kindle Fire’s built-in POP3 email app.
This news comes three and a half months after the Redmond software giant released a similar app on the Android Market. The Kindle Fire, as some people may or may not be aware, runs a heavily modified version of Android. It’s so heavily modified, in fact, that our sister site Pocketables said ”it doesn’t even resemble an Android device.” As a result, the Kindle Fire version required “some updates to [the] previous Hotmail app for Android to ensure it worked well.”
The free Hotmail Kindle app can be found today on Amazon’s Android Market.
[Amazon Android Market via Inside Windows Live]
Amazon announced on Thursday that its line of Kindle readers had the “best holiday ever,” selling millions of Kindle tablets and e-readers. Last we heard, Amazon had sold one million Kindles per week for three consecutive weeks. Unsurprisingly, the fantastic sales continued throughout the rest of December, consistently surpassing one million units on a weekly basis. As a result, the Kindle Fire, Kindle Touch, and Kindle (sans-keyboard) managed to hold the first, second, and third spots on Amazon’s best seller charts.
Of course, Kindle’s increasing success hasn’t come out of nowhere. The Seattle-based online retailer has continued to improve the Kindle family since it was first introduced. The prime placement on the Amazon.com homepage certainly hasn’t hurt either.
Nine people in my family received Kindles for Christmas, and I wouldn’t be surprised if other families had a similar experience. This has led to a 175% increase in the sales of Kindle books between Black Friday and Christmas Day compared to last year, and the “biggest day ever for Kindle book downloads” on Christmas Day.
Amazon certainly has a juggernaut on its hands. But with the devices at the current price they are, who could blame anyone for wanting a Kindle?