Amazon adds Audible audio support to Echo speaker
Amazon has updated its Echo network-connected speaker to work with Audible. Via voice prompts using the Alexa assistant or the Amazon Echo App, the speaker can start reading out Audible audiobooks to the user, with vocal commands allowing the book to be requested by title, paused, resumed, and to go forward or back 30 seconds. It also works with Whispersync for Voice, allowing listeners to pick up an audiobook from where they left off on another device.
Book Browser iPad-only for now
Amazon has issued a major update to the Kindle app for iOS, v4.6. Central to the update is the Book Browser, a feature that lets people search through text and audiobooks hosted on Kindle Unlimited. Tapping on a book's cover provides information, such as a description and customer reviews. People subscribed to Unlimited can download a title immediately; the Browser is, however, restricted to the iPad.
British launch includes fewer books than US Kindle Unlimited catalog
Amazon has expanded its all-you-can-eat e-book subscription service to the United Kingdom, just two months after the retailer's original United States launch. Kindle Unlimited offers book readers over 650,000 titles and thousands of audiobooks to read and listen to, with the UK subscription priced at £7.99 ($13) per month accompanied by a 30-day trial.
Over 600,000 e-books, audiobooks can be downloaded from Kindle Unlimited
Following a leak from earlier this week, Amazon has launched its subscription e-book service. Named Kindle Unlimited, the service operates as a form of "Netflix for e-books," providing all-you-can-eat access to over 600,000 Kindle books and thousands of Audible audiobooks via Kindle devices or the Kindle apps on smartphones and tablets for $9.99 per month.
Kindle for iOS adds compatibility with Audible audiobooks
Kindle has updated its iOS app, now allowing users to access purchased Audible content. Users can switch back and forth between reading a Kindle version of a book and the Audible audiobook version, depending on the relevant situation. Over 45,000 Kindle and Audible title pairs are now available. Additional features in v4.3 include synchronized reading progress between the Audible and Kindle versions of a book, the option to increase narration speed by up to 2x, and bulk title downloading. The Kindle iOS app is free to download through iTunes.
Extra cash aimed at drawing in self-publishers
Audiobook retail giant Audible recently announced a major initiative aimed at getting authors to self-publish through Audible. The move will make available $20 million for direct payment to authors using Audible's services.
MOG content now available on Sonos hardware
As expected, the MOG music service is now available on connected home gear from Sonos. The 320kbps, ad-free MOG streams are available on an on-demand basis or from a customized station. All Sonos customers in the US are getting a 14-day trial of MOG on Sonos.
Microsoft hinting at last hurrah for Zune HD
Microsoft may give the Zune HD one last try, but not for some time, a source hinted Wednesday. The device mentioned to ZDNet would, as predicted, use at least some of Windows Phone 7 but wouldn't ship until sometime in 2011. Given its early development, most hardware was unknown, although it would keep using an ARM processor much like the NVIDIA Tegra used today.
SanDisk Sansa Clip Plus
SanDisk launched its first new media player in over a year today with the Sansa Clip+. The major revision to its iPod shuffle competitor fits a microSDHC card slot and can use this either to expand the built-in storage or to play the company's preloaded slotMusic or slotRadio cards. It's also finally Mac-compatible and lets those users drag-and-drop music from Mac OS X Panther or later.
Amazon Kindle TTS Change
Amazon this evening said in a statement that the Kindle 2's text-to-speech feature for reading audiobooks will be strictly voluntary. The move will let individual book publishers decide whether or not individual titles can be read aloud by the e-book device and will change the book formatting to selectively disable the feature for those that object to it. The change follows objections from the Author's Guild which argued that the feature effectively violated the commercial rights of authors to charge separately for voiced editions of their books.
SanDisk Sansa Clip 8GB
SanDisk raised the stakes in its competition against the iPod shuffle and Creative ZEN Stone with a new, 8GB version of the Sansa Clip. The capacity gives it storage for up to 2,000 songs and doubles the capacity of Creative's best ultra-small models and quadruple that of Apple's. It continues to hold the same four-line OLED display that lets it have full control over music while still rendering it small enough to attach to a belt or clothes through its namesake hook.
Dell XP Until 2012
Dell will keep using Windows XP until as late as 2012, a company representative has reportedly told users. Although Microsoft has said it would discontinue the option for XP this year in all but very low-cost notebooks, the claimed Dell message says the PC creator will continue offering XP Professional until 2012 on all its higher-end business offerings, including the Latitude, Optiplex, and Precision lineups.
Amazon Acquires Audible
Amazon today said it would acquire Audible in a share buyout deal worth roughly $300 million. The agreement effectively gives Amazon control of Audible's audiobook collection and is described as an effort to develop and expand the audiobook forrmat, which is largely dominated by the now-acquired company. The finished deal is expected to be approved sometime during the spring of this year.