Publisher misses December goal
Subscribers to the tablet editions of Hearst Magazines publications have finally broken past the 1 million mark, says company head David Carey. The executive at one point said the company would have 1 million subscribers by the end of 2012, but ended up with a figure closer to 900,000. "I’m glad we got there," Carey remarks. "We were just 90 days late."
Japanese readers get added font
Amazon has updated the iOS Kindle app with support for Apple's VoiceOver feature. Once enabled through iOS' settings, VoiceOver can now read books and guide blind users through the app's interface using a synthetic voice. Text can be read character-by-character, word-by-word, line-by-line, or continuously.
KINDLEPW code gets a Paperwhite for $99
E-reader giant Amazon is holding a special promotion for its Kindle Paperwhite e-reader, making versions of the device available for $99 with a special promotional code. The Kindle Paperwhite can be bought for $20 off by entering the coupon code "KINDLEPW" during the ordering process. The deal applies to any version of the Kindle Paperwhite, and it runs through April 30, 2013.
Vine confirms Android version of video app in the works
Popular video app Vine will be headed to Android in the future. Co-founder of the Twitter-owned app Dom Hofmann confirmed to The Verge it will be ported, following its successful launch on iOS devices. The app, which allows users to create six-second video clips for sharing on social networks, is also reportedly going to include the ability to tag friends to a clip, in order to foster more sharing between users.
Amazon cuts Kindle, Paperwhite price by $10 in Canada
Amazon has dropped the price for some of its Kindle and Kindle Paperwhite e-readers in Canada. The standard Kindle has dropped from $89 to $79, while the Paperwhite version, with its lighter screen and built-in light, sells for $129 instead of $139. The 3G-enabled version of the Kindle Paperwhite remains at $199.
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.
Whispersync for Voice, Time-to-Read reaches discontinued ereader
Amazon has released a firmware update for the Kindle Touch e-reader, effectively turning it into a Kindle Paperwhite, the device's successor. Update 5.3.2 includes a number of changes and features to the onboard software, including a new user interface, enhanced parental controls, and the ability to navigate graphic novels and comics.
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.
Two-day shipping, video streaming among perks
Amazon is now offering a free 30-day trial of its Prime service for new customers. All facets of the service are being included in the promotion, such as free two-day shipping for orders, and instant streaming of movies and TV shows. Subscribers can also borrow one free book from the Kindle library each month.
Short-form ebooks reach UK after period in US
Amazon has started to offer its short-form Kindle Singles in the United Kingdom. The ebook novellas, with word counts below 30,000, are already available in the online ebook store to purchase, with the initial offerings covering subjects such as video games, Christmas holidays, and an exploration into the history of James Bond.
Kindle hardware expected for local sales in near future
Amazon has set-up a dedicated e-book store in Canada, two and a half years after the company's first international e-book shop was opened in the UK. The addition of the Kindle Books store to the localized version of the website brings with it titles in the local currency, as well as recommendations for local writers.
Kindle Store, Google Play hitting Brazil
Amazon and Google have opened digital bookstores in the Brazilian market as of today, looking to capitalize on the growing popularity of e-books in South America's largest country. Amazon will be selling its digital books through its popular Kindle Store and is expected to begin selling its Kindle hardware in Brazil in the near future. Google, meanwhile has expanded its Play Store, which sells e-books and offers movie rentals for computers as well as mobile devices running its Android operating system.
Feature previously restricted to textbooks
Amazon has posted a new version of the Kindle iOS app, v3.5. The main change in the update is the expansion of X-Ray, a feature that lets readers scrutinize background information in a book. The iOS app previously limited X-Ray to textbooks, but now supports all genres. In a novel, for instance, readers can look up places, characters, and phrases.
Supplied sales information requested to remain confidential
Amazon has released details on its Black Friday and Cyber Monday Kindle sales, calling the two days the "best ever for the Kindle family." The figures are released at the same time as confidential sales figures for the company's UK operations were published by a parliamentary committee investigating its British tax affairs.
Backlit screens key to aiding, increasing reading speed
Research presented on Sunday at the 116th annual meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology shows that backlit tablets, such as the iPad and Kindle e-reader, help patients who suffer from vision problems due to eye diseases regain the ability to read at a comfortable level. The discovery could aid millions of people who have lowered vision because of conditions such as macular degeneration or diabetic retinopathy. In the study, the iPad was found to score the biggest improvement in helping readers regain a high and comfortable reading level.
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 touts Kindle use in education
On Wednesday, Amazon announced it was pushing to get its Kindle e-readers and tablet computers into the education sector, a move that will bring it into even stiffer competition with Apple, which has seen some successes in getting schools to look to its iPad as an educational tool. Amazon has been testing Kindles in kindergarten through 12th grade programs across the United States, and the company believes its services make the Kindle an ideal match for educators looking to manage content across devices.
Aging Kindle DX no longer offered for sale as a new item from Amazon
All signs point to Amazon quietly discontinuing its Kindle DX e-book reader. The price of the aging device was recently dropped from $380 to $300 and now, the device is no longer available from purchase as a new item from Amazon's site. The site doesn't list a date of the device's return to stock, nor does it have it listed in the comparison pull-downs anymore either.
Payments a result of suit settlement with three publishers
As a result of a possible settlement between the Department of Justice and three publishers involved in a lawsuit regarding e-book price fixing, owners of Kindle e-readers will receive refunds on past e-book purchases. Amazon told Kindle owners on Saturday that they could receive a refund of between $0.30 and $1.32 per book for books purchased between April 2010 and May 2012.
Skype WiFi iOS app updated
Amazon has announced that the Kindle Owners' Lending Library will be launching in the UK, Germany, and France later this month. The lending service gives Amazon Prime members access to over 200,000 books that can be borrowed for free as frequently as one book per month, with no due dates. Any independent authors or publishers using Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) who enroll their books in KDP Select can be included in the in the UK, Germany and France libraries, as well as the existing US library.
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.
Barnes & Noble cuts price of Simple Touch to tackle new Kindle
Barnes & Noble has dropped the price of its Nook Simple Touch with Glowlight e-reader by $20. The price cut puts the Barnes & Nobles premiere e-reader at the same price point as the new Kindle Paperwhite, which also starts at $119. However, the key differentiator between the two is the Kindle Paperwhite requires an additional $20 fee if users want to avoid Amazon advertising.
E-retailer's Kindle Fire cuts in on Walmart's turf
After exhausting its current inventory of Amazon products, Walmart will no longer carry Amazon's Kindle tablets and e-readers. This according to an internal memo obtained by Reuters, as well as confirmation from a source familiar with Walmart's operations. The decision, making Walmart the second major retail chain to stop carrying Kindle products, is said to be an attempt on Walmart's part to curb competition from Amazon's e-retail unit.
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.
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.
Paperwhite display to sport higher contrast
New images have emerged that purportedly show off the next version of Amazon's Kindle Touch e-reader. The images, obtained by The Verge, show that Amazon's popular reading device has undergone a number of design changes. Should the new Kindle Touch match the leaked images when it debuts next week, it will sport a darker body, much higher contrast in its screen, and a higher resolution than its predecessor.
New tools aid with print replica textbooks
Amazon has posted a new version of its Kindle app for iOS, v3.2. On the iPad the app now offers three different margin sizes, which alter the amount of whitespace. Both the iPhone and iPad interfaces have gained a quick highlighting tool, and better brightness adjustment, including a more responsive slider and refined font hues.
Total includes purchases, downloads, and borrows
Amazon announced today that its catalog of Kindle-exclusive titles had been downloaded more than 100 million times. The online retailer's total includes books that were purchased, downloaded, or borrowed from the Kindle Owners' Lending Library. Amazon's Kindle-exclusive catalog includes more than 180,000 titles.
Stock reduction ahead of Amazon press conference
The Kindle Touch is currently not available on the Amazon.com store, leading to suggestions that it may be replaced by something new. Pages for both the Wi-Fi and 3G editions display the message "Currently unavailable. We don't when or if this item will be back in stock" while other Kindle products remain unaffected by shortages.
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.
Contract worth up to $16.5 million over 5 years up for bid
Prior to payment and delivery, the US State Department has torpedoed its $16.5 million contract with Amazon, proposed in June, for Kindle e-book readers. The contract is headed to a normal Request for Information process, rather than the no-bid award that Amazon was initially selected to fulfill. The program was intended for use in overseas language programs, and any device chosen would have to support wireless connectivity, central management, text-to-speech, long battery life and a number of other requirements.
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.
Various sizes said to include 10'' model
Adding to the rumors surrounding an expanded Kindle lineup, a Staples executive suggests Amazon is preparing to launch five to six new tablets. In an interview with Reuters, Staples' US retail president, Demos Parneros, claims the upcoming offerings will include several different sizes, including a 10-inch variant.
iFixIt gives Nexus 7 a 7 out of 10
The recently introduced Nexus 7 tablet has now received the seemingly compulsory teardown from the iFixIt crew. The ASUS-built hardware claimed to be Google's own received a "repairability" score of 7 out of 10, which is good, but behind competitor Kindle Fire and its 8 out of 10 score. The surprising discovery was that, unlike Google's specs, the 7-inch tablet houses two speakers rather than one.
Digital store would minimize tax burden
Amazon is planning to set up a digital bookstore in Brazil during the fourth quarter of this year. Sources familiar with the plan tell Reuters that the digital retail giant is looking to make a big push with its Kindle e-reader and other Portuguese language digital products. This move would represent Amazon's third foray into emerging markets, following earlier moves into China and India.
Version for iPad adds user-requested features
Amazon has updated its Kindle e-book reading app for iOS and Android to expand its support of children's books, comic and graphic novels. The new update also brings some iPad- and iPhone-specific improvements to the iOS version (3.1), while the Android version (3.6.0) adds several bug fixes. The web-based Kindle Cloud Reader has also been modified to add the new titles, and now includes a two-page view for landscape displays.
Agreement provides for regular updates, content management
The United States Department of State recently announced that it had awarded a $16.5 million contract to Amazon for the provision of e-reader and tablet devices for State Department employees. The contract was awarded on a no-bid basis, meaning Amazon secured the arrangement without the Department considering other manufacturers. In a companion filing (PDF) explaining the no-bid nature of the contract, the Department noted that Amazon's Kindle was the only device that provided the functionality necessary to fulfill its needs.
SnipEdges released by Houdah Software
A free update for QuarkXPress 9 that allows designers to export digital content directly to the Amazon Kindle format has been released. The v9.3 update also includes support for inline table of contents in ePub files, as well as numerous bug fixes to EPS/PDF display, PDF boxes, and page reordering. The update is free for existing QuarkXPress 9 users, while an upgrade license sells for $349. In addition to the availability of QuarkXPress 9.3, Quark also announced that anyone purchasing or upgrading to QuarkXPress 9 between May 31 and June 30 will receive Gluon’s newest ProPack 9.
Amazon first foreign company to become an NVMO in Japan
Amazon will be the first foreign company to offer a prepaid wireless service in Japan. Nikkei [account required] reports prepaid SIM cards with 500MB preallocated to it will be sold for 1,980 Yen ($25) through the website, and as a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO), will be carried by NTT Docomo's LTE network. This takes place ahead of the expected Japanese launch of the Amazon Kindle in the summer.
IPG giving up profits to authors to make up for lost earnings
A contract negotiation dispute with Amazon in February that resulted in the removal of 5,000 titles from Independent Publishers Group(IPG) has finally been resolved following negotiations between the two, and most of the books have now been made available for Kindle again. No details on the new deal have been provided. IPG has offered to give up its own share of the sales revenue on the returned titles through the end of August to help make up for author's lost revenue.
Reading mixtapes shareable, embeddable
Aggregator and reading service Readability has rolled out a new feature for its platform, one that allows users to share their own reading lists with others in a variety of ways. The new Readlist feature works as a sort of mixtape for reading, bundling content that users save from the web into a package deliverable to Kindles, iPads, and smartphones.
Source claims Amazon in talks with ad agencies to bring lower cost Kindle tablet
Amazon is engaged in talks with a number of advertising agencies in the hopes of getting them to sign on in backing an ad-supported version of the retailer's Kindle Fire tablet, a source familiar with the discussions has told AdAge. If implemented, the ad-supported model could push prices even lower for Amazon's already budget-priced tablet.
No color Kindle Reader yet, Reuters says
Amazon is preparing to release a front-lit version of its Kindle e-reader and a new, bigger version of its Kindle Fire tablet, a source tells Reuters. The source claims to have seen prototypes for the devices, and says they will likely be released in July. A front-lit Kindle e-reader would allow users to read in the dark without the need for an external light attachment.
Color e-book readers may be on the way from Amazon
Despite the popularity of Apple's iPad and competing tablets such as the Kindle Fire, some consumers still pine for color e-readers. Amazon, maker of the Kindle, top seller among e-readers, has flirted with the idea, but previously maintained that the technology wasn't ready yet for a quality color reading device. Now, sources tell Digitimes, color E Ink technology may finally have reached a satisfactory level of sophistication, and Amazon is said to be preparing to roll out a color Kindle in the second half of 2012.
Nokia's Reading app now available for Lumia range in key European markets
First introduced at Mobile World Congress, Nokia's Reading app and related e-bookstore for the Windows Phone-powered Lumia range of smartphones will launch in Europe. The two will reach users in France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Spain, and the UK, PaidContent reported. The idea is to bring local-language e-books to markets that haven't yet seen a widespread adoption of the medium.
Harry Potter ebook lending possible step for Amazon sales
Amazon will be providing the Harry Potter series of books to users of the Kindle Owners' Lending Library in the near future. The all-time bestselling book series has been licensed from JK Rowling's Pottermore, and joins the existing 145,000 titles already available for reading.
Pending M14x, M17x, M18x laptop orders upgraded to Ivy Bridge
Boutique gaming PC manufacturer Alienware users with outstanding laptop orders were informed by email today that the placed order is being upgraded to Ivy Bridge processors at no extra cost. No further delay in the placed order is expected. The Ivy Bridge upgrade is exclusive to Alienware orders, and will not apply to parent company Dell's orders placed before the Ivy Bridge announcement.
Kindle Fire shipments show steep drop
Although Amazon's Kindle Fire tablet achieved a quick rise in the tablet market, Android tablet shipments have continued to slide, according to a report published by research firm IDC. As expected, Apple has solidified its dominant position with 68 percent of the tablet market.
Target won't order new Amazon gear starting May 13
Retail chain Target has confirmed that it will stop carrying Amazon Kindle e-book readers online and at its stores, along with getting rid of all Amazon-branded accessories and gear. The news comes from a leaked internal memo obtained by The Verge and a further confirmation from the retailer. There are no specific official reasons given as to why the move is happening, citing only a "conflict of interest."