Kindle Fire Hits Shelves Today!

Finally, the Kindle Fire hit shelves today, giving us all a chance to finally get our hands on the newest ereader from Amazon. Have you got yours yet? If so, let us know what you think in the comments.

Amazon is now going head-to-head with several new devices in the ereader and tablet market. There is of course the iPad, along with the Kobo Vox, the new Nook Tablet, and all the Android tablets out there, the biggest one right now being the Samsung Galaxy Tab. So how does it stack up?

Pricing

Of all the devices mentioned above, the Fire is the cheapest or tied at $199. The Vox is also $199, but lacks many of the features of the Kindle. The others are quite a bit more expensive.

Features

I would put the Kindle Fire up against any of the tablets and ereaders mentioned above when it comes to features. Instead of rehashing everything here, you can read all about it and/or watch the video on our Kindle Fire review page.

Reviews

Now that people actually have the Kindle Fire in their hands, they seem to be very pleased overall. Many are even calling for a Fire phone to match the tablet (and I think that is actually in the works).

Tomorrow, I am going to show you how you can install the Nook app on the Fire, for those of you who are making the switch to the Kindle, but still want your books from Barnes and Noble. Make sure you check back for that!

Also don’t forget to check out our Kindle Fire case and cover reviews!

Kindle Fire Getting Voice Recognition?

It appears that Amazon intends to add voice recognition to their line of products in the very near future.

As you may have seen, Apple recently added Siri, the intuitive voice recognition software, into the the newest iPhone. It looks liek Amazon wants to get in the game with voice recognition as well, with the company’s recent acquisition of Yap. According to Mashable, Amazon tried to keep it a secret by merging the company with one of its obscure subsidiaries known only as Dion Acquisitions. However, someone took notice that the address for the merged company was the same as Amazon’s corporate address.

Why would Amaozn want to add such a feature to the Kindle Fire? The first thing I can think of is the fact that they are continuing to try to compete directly with Appl and want to offer the same bells and whistles that they can. Also, I think voice recogntion could be a good selling point for the Kindle Fire, as it seems to be a big selling point for the new iPhone.

The bigger question will probably be functionality. Most of the other attempts out there at voice recognition have either filed or had at least questionable success. However, most accounts seem to show the current Siri setup as working quite well, at least anecdotally. I personally don’t think it would be something that I would use that much unless it could significantly reduce or simply the time for me to do a task on the Fire.

What do you think? Would you use this? Let us know if the comments below!

Kindle Owners’ Lending Library!

Img Source:Amazon.com

Add one more great reason to purchase the Kindle – the new Kindle Owners’ Lending Library! – coming soon to a Kindle near you!

Kindle users have been trying to find a good way to lend books to one another for a while, and there have been some great systems; however, this seems like it will be the easiest way to do so up to this point.

How It Works

Basically it will work like this -

  1. First, you must own a Kindle and be an Amazon Prime user (totally worth it if you by much on Amazon, as you get free hipping on just about everything)
  2. Once you are part of the program, there will be a new option in your menu on the Kindle for the Lending Library.
  3. You can go to the Library and browse what books are available to borrow.
  4. You choose to either borrow or buy the item.
  5. You can borrow one book per month.
  6. You do not have to worry about deleting it or getting rid of the book. It will stay on your Kindle until you borrow another one, if you choose to do so in future months.

The book selection will not be too shabby, either. You will be able to pick from over 5,000 books at any one time, along with lots of NYT bestsellers in the list.

I think this is a great idea from Amazon. Some have said that it may cause Amazon to lose some money up front, as people will be borrowing and not buying. However, I think it will instead lead to more purchases of Amazon Prime, which can only be good for Amazon in the long run.

Read more here.

Also, check out our Kindle Fire Review!

Kindle Fire – Good for Apple?

As we have mentioned before in many of our Kindle reviews, Amazon has been working to model Apple when it comes to the way they implement their technology. They are hoping to build an infrastructure around the Kindle Fire and their other Kindle devices to allow for you, the end user, to use their products for almost all of your media and technology needs. About the only thing they lack right now is their own computers.

However, it is not Amazon that Apple i worried about – it’s Android. Since the Android operating system for phones has hit the market these phones in total have now outsold the iPhone, and their share continues to grow.

If that’s the case, then why would Apple come out this week and say that the Kindle Fire is actually a good thing for their company? According to them, it’s about fragmentation. Since the Kindle Fire runs on a form of Android that does not support the usual setup – the Android Market, etc., while it runs on Android, it will not be like other devices that run the system and will not be familiar to customers who currently have the platform on their phones.

An example – if you use the iPone and you go get an iPad, the interface will be very familiar to you. However, An Android phone and a tablet with the operating system might be completely different.

This makes it difficult for developers as well. App creators will have to make sure their app works on Android in all its forms plus on the Kindle Fire as well. This can be difficult and could move some developers to focus more or primarily on iPhone.

At this point, it is all nothing but speculation, as the market is not yet flooded with the many Kindle Fire units that have been sold already. I don’t think it will have the effect that Apple thinks it will, at least not on a strong level, but only time will tell!

Click here to read our Kindle Fire review.

The New Kindle Fire Commercial

Here’s the new Kindle Fire commercial. Are you excited yet?! I am working on a full video review of the device coming soon, hopefully this week.

Kindle Coming To China?

It appears that China will have it’s own version of the Amazon Kindle soon.

Amazon has long had a presence in China, going under the name Joyo.com, which was recently changed simply to Amazon China, a move that seems to signal that Amazon wants to expand their existing sales base in the ever-growing consumer market that is China.

The Kindle is no exception. Kindles have been avaiable in China for quite some time on the “black” and/or “gray” markets, but Amazon is now actively seeking out the best channels to sell the device.

While many of the Kindle accessories that we use, including the Kindle covers many of us purchase, are manufactured in China, the device has never been officially marketed there. Right now, it is not assembled there, either. That will likely change soon.

Interestingly enough, it seems that it is possible that the Kindle in China might be different than the current versions that e enjoy now. The statements from Amazon seem to indicate that they plan to do some research on what would make for the best user experience for a Kindle in China and may end up redesigning the product if it better suited to the country’s needs.

While Amazon has publicly stated that the Kindle will be available in China in the near future, they have not set a timeline yet. My guess is it will be at least 2012 before we see them on the market there, as the company has not at this point even contracted with manufacturers to create the device.

Kindle Fire Hurting Amazon’s Profits?

While the Kindle Fire seem to be taking off like crazy, the Kindle Fire may actually really hurt Amazon in the long run.

Amazon, like many other tablet and cell phone manufacturers, will often sell the actual product itself at a loss in order to get it in people’s hand and hopefully make the money back on the content that folks purchase on the devices. This has worked quite well for many businesses in the past, Apple being one of them (think iPhone plus iTunes).

The Kindle Fire is no exception for Amazon, but now it seems that Amazon may end up struggling, at least until the revenue from purchased content catches up. Amazon is having to create millions more Kindle Fire models than they expected due to the overwhelming volume of pre-orders. Each once sold constitutes a loss for the company, and ith more selling than expected, this could really hurt them over the next couple of quarters, especially with Christmas coming up.

However, I predict that Amazon will have no problem recovering. With all of these folks buying the Kindle Fire, most of them will be buying all kinds of content on the device through Amazon, meaning they will get their revenue back in spades once all is said and done!

Kobo Vox vs Kindle Fire

Kobo Vox vs Kindle Fire – Who will win the newest ereader war?

Kindle Covers

Kobo has recently announced the launch of their Kobo Vox, which is going to compete head-to-head with the new Kindle Fire come the holiday system. It is, like the Fire, as much a tablet as it is an ebook reader, and is also based on Android. However, there are some major differences -

Platforms

The Kindle Fire does not have access to the full Android Market. However, it does have access to all the Amazon Marketplace and all of the Amazon content, including the video on demand service and mp3 system (which has effectively replaced iTunes for me. I can’t tell you the last time I bought any music on iTunes. I buy everything on my cell phone through Amazon mp3).

So, if you really want the access to the full market, the Kindle Fire might not be your choice. However, I will say this – there are so many apps on the Amazon Marketplace, you won’t be missing much. Many of the popular apps are on both, and for me, having access to all the other Amazon stuff will make it worth it for me. If you want all the Amazon Marketplace apps like I do, go with the Kindle Fire instead.

Hardware

The Kindle Fire has stouter hardware overall. The processor in the Fire is much faster than in the Vox. The Fire has a dual-core processor that screams, while the Vox has a bit slower processor at 800 megahertz. As far as storage goes, The Vox and the Fire both start with 8 gigs, but the Vox allows you to expand the storage with a memory card up to 40 gigs. Of course, you have unlimited storage with the Amazon Cloud storage on the Fire, so that’s pretty much a wash.

Reading

Both devices have about the same same screen at around 7 inches, and the are both color screens as well. On the Kobo you can read book in the epub format, and on the Kindle you can read all the books available on Amazon. Amazon clearly has the largest selection of books available!

The Verdict

Personally, and this should be no surprise since this is a Kindle blog, I am still all for the Kindle Fire over the Kobo Vox. All the access to the content on the Amazon platform makes it worth it to me, even though I don’t get the full Android Market. As I mentioned in my last post, Amazon is moving more and more toward an Apple-like experience for its users, and I want to be a part of that. However, if not having the Android Market is a no-go for you, the Vox might be a perfect fit.

Click here to learn more about the Kindle Fire

Click here to learn more about the Kobo Vox