If you're looking for a good throw-in-your-bag tablet with an excellent form factor and beautiful display, it's hard to beat Amazon's 8.9-inch Kindle Fire. Sure, it doesn't have the Play Store, and belongs in a completely different playing field than something like the Nexus 7, but for a consumption tablet, it can deliver the goods with the best of 'em thanks to Amazon's massive collection of Kindle books and quick access to Instant Video for Prime members.
The shiny new Nexus 7 may be the current king of the 7-inch jungle, but that doesn't mean you should pass up a good deal. The Kindle Fire HD - that's the upgraded 720p tablet, not the newer non-HD Fire - is $40 off for all models at the moment. The Amazon storefront shows "For a Limited Time," so we have no idea how long this price will last.
The price drop applies to all the variations of the 7-inch Kindle Fire HD.
Amazon tends to be a bit focused on the United States because, well, it's a US company. But they're expanding the reach of both the Amazon Appstore (which now works in almost 200 countries) and the Kindle itself. A press release this morning announced that the Kindle Fire HD is now available for pre-order in more than 170 countries, in both the standard 7" model and the premium 8.9". Hardware will begin shipping out to customers on Thursday, June 13th.
Earlier this year, Amazon announced that it was preparing a proprietary virtual currency specifically for its Appstore. Then the incorrigible Eric Ravenscraft spent a few thousand words explaining exactly why Amazon Coins, and any system that substitutes real money for meaningless points, is just a pretense for sucking money out of people's wallets. If you can't wait to pay Amazon's tax on those without common sense, you can now hand over your real dollars for fake ones to spend on apps and in-app purchases.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Amazon is working on making not one, but two smartphones. And one of them will have some kind of awesome quasi-holographic glasses-free 3D display. That sounds like the kind of 3D people might actually want! The other one is... a phone of some kind. That's literally all the detail that was provided.
The one you're actually interested in, though, did come with a few extra tidbits about this glasses-free holographic voodoo magic.
Amazon's Kindle app has just received a significant update, bringing the reader up to version 4 and introducing a refreshed UI, among other things.
Just when I'd decided to try switching to Play Books (despite giving up things like quick two-finger brightness adjustment), Amazon has introduced a redesigned library that's much more lively than a simple grid of book covers. The new library interface has your books plus a nice "carousel" up top for recent items.
At the moment, the Amazon Appstore is available in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, and Japan. But that's hardly enough for Amazon's global ambitions. In a press release, the company announced plans to widen the Appstore to "nearly 200 countries" across North and South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. A specific timeframe was also absent, but prospective developers can manage their international distribution on the Mobile App Distribution Portal.
The Kindle Fire HD is, at the moment, the best Android tablet that's not really an Android tablet but is still kind of an Android tablet. The LTE model, while pricier than the others, is handy for those that still need to download on the go. Now, AT&T is going to start selling the connected model for $399.
As a temporary introductory offer, AT&T has a "deal" that allows customers to sign a 2-year contract in exchange for $150 off.
For each device, the update provides enhancements for viewing textbooks, with the 2nd generation Fire and the Fire HD 7" getting "X-Ray for Textbooks". This feature allows users to access the most important terms and concepts, with glossary definitions and links to relevant pages within books.
If you're a new AT&T U-Verse internet customer (or considering becoming one), listen up – the service provider announced yesterday that it is now offering a selection of devices free when new customers package internet service with either U-Verse TV or Voice. Customers can choose between a Nexus 7, Kindle Fire, Sonos Play:3 (with WiFi bridge), or an Xbox 360. What's more, customers will get access to AT&T's WiFi network free of charge.