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Archive for September, 2012

Amazon Kindle Fire HD vs Barnes & Noble Nook HD tablet – Mini Tablet war begins

It is a great time for consumers especially if you are on a lookout for an affordable Tablet. On Monday Barnes and Noble introduced their Nook Tablet as a direct competitor to Amazon’s Kindle Fire.

If you compare the two tablets on cost, both are economical. However which Tablet one must choose depends solely on his tastes, lifestyle and technical needs.

The Nook tablet costs $199 and offers same RAM and 8 GB of memory. The Nook Tablet also has a microSD slot for an additional 32 GB of external memory. Kindle Fire and Nook Tablets both offer cloud storage for the users.

To be fair to Kindle fire is priced $199 and offers over 22 million movies, TV shows, songs, magazines, books, audiobooks, and popular apps and games.

The Nook Tablet comes with Netflix and Hulu plus and if the user has already subscribed to these, it will be better to get a Nook Tablet. If the user has an Amazon Prime membership he will naturally choose the Kindle Fire. The deciding factor could be with which service the user is hooked on to.

EPUB files will not be supported by Kindle Fire while the Nook Tablet will not support AMZ files. Both the tablets will not support Sony or Microsoft‘s eReader file formats.

Other features of Nook include Ad free experience which is not the case with Kindle Fire. The Nook also boasts as being the lightest Tablet and also has the highest resolution screen.

 

The Nook comes with a wall charger while Kindle Fire does not have it and has to be purchased separately for $9.99. The screen of the Nook Tablet has a resolution of 1440-by-900, Displays HD @ 720p, 243 pixels per inch.

The screen of Kindle Fire has a resolution of 1280-by-800, Displays HD @ 720p, 216 pixels per inch. The Nook has a 1.3 GHz Dual-Core, OMAP 4470 Processor while the Kindle Fire has 1.2 GHz Dual-Core, OMAP 4460 Processor.

Overall both the tablets are almost equal in most features except a few like expandable memory and processor where the Nook scores slightly more than Kindle Fire.

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Barnes & Noble launches new Nook HD

Barnes & Noble is rolling out two new versions of its Nook tablet with sleek new hardware and a sharper high-definition screen. The bookseller’s move heightens the already intense tablet wars heading into the holiday season.

NEW YORK —

Barnes & Noble is rolling out two new versions of its Nook tablet with sleek new hardware and a sharper high-definition screen. The bookseller’s move heightens the already intense tablet wars heading into the holiday season.

Barnes & Noble said Wednesday that its new Nook HD will come in two sizes, one with a 7-inch screen (measured diagonally), starting at $199, and one with a new 9-inch diagonal screen, called the Nook HD+, starting at $269.

In addition to the new HD screen and a lighter body, Barnes & Noble is also increasing the services the Nook offers, adding a video purchase and rental service, allowing users to maintain different “profiles” and making it easier to browse titles in its book and magazine stores.

New York-based Barnes & Noble, the largest traditional U.S. bookseller, has invested heavily in its Nook e-reader and e-books. In its most recent fiscal quarter, sales of digital content surged 46 percent, but revenue from devices dropped partly due to lower prices. Nook prices in the May-July period were about 23 percent lower than a year ago.

The company is seeking to offset tough competition from online retailers such as Amazon.com, as consumers increasingly move away from traditional books and DVDs to electronic books and streaming video.

The Nook HD is an upgrade to the hardware and services offered by its previous tablets, the Nook Tablet and Nook Color, which Barnes & Noble is phasing out. The company will continue to sell its smaller black-and-white e-reader, called the Nook Simple Touch, for $99, and a backlit Nook Simple Touch for $139. The Nook HD runs on Google’s Android 4.0 system and includes Barnes & Noble’s own app store and browser.

Tablets are -once again- expected to be hot items this holiday. The new Nooks come on the heels of Amazon.com’s announcement earlier this month that it will offer four new varieties of its Kindle, including a high definition version of its Kindle Fire tablet with an 8.9-inch diagonal screen, which starts at $299. That compares with Apple Inc.’s iPad with a 9.7-inch diagonal screen and $499 starting price.

Apple’s iPad is the most popular tablet, and that is not expected to change. Seven out of every 10 tablets sold in the second quarter were iPads, according to IHS iSuppli. Meanwhile Amazon.com has a 4.2 percent share of the tablet market, while Barnes & Noble has a 1.9 percent share, according to iSuppli.

Even so, the category is growing rapidly. An estimated 112.5 million Americans, one-third of U.S. adults, are expected to have tablets by 2016, according to Forrester Research.

And tablet makers are jockeying to gain share on Apple. On specs alone, the new Nook presents a tough choice for consumers seeking a cheap option to the iPad this holiday, analysts say. The 7-inch Nook HD is slightly lighter and narrower, with a sharper display than the similarly priced 7-inch Kindle Fire.

“If the decision the consumer is making is whether to buy based on hardware, these new Nooks will beat out Amazon,” said Forrester analyst James McQuivey. “But that’s not the decision every consumer is going to make – hardware is only as good as the services the hardware enables.”

So far, Amazon offers more services, McQuivey said, with a bigger app store, and more extensive video library, not to mention Amazon’s vast product offerings and its Amazon Prime free-shipping service.

In an attempt to measure up, Barnes & Noble is launching a video service this fall that lets users buy and watch movies and TV shows on their mobile devices and televisions. The offerings will come from major studios including HBO, Sony Pictures, Viacom and Warner Brothers. Scrapbook and catalog browsing features have also been added.

One wild card working in Barnes & Noble’s favor this holiday: Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Target, increasingly threatened by Amazon’s online retail operations, won’t carry the Kindle. The retailers will sell Barnes & Noble’s Nooks, as well as other tablets like the iPad.

“This is going to be a lot of fun to watch over the next year,” McQuivey said.

The new Nooks are available for pre-order online and in stores beginning on Wednesday and will begin shipping in late October and begin arriving in stores in early November.

Amazon’s new Kindle line-up has eyes on growing e-reader market in the UAE

Dubai:

While all of the attention has been taken up by Apple and Samsung, the Amazon’s Kindle is getting ready to make a splash of its own in the UAE.

The 7-inch Kindle HD is likely to be in stock by the end of this month itself, according to a top official at Jumbo Electronics, which is selling the tablet here. The other models within the expanded Kindle line-up — the Fire HD 8.9-inch in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB with 4G — will be in stores by mid-October.

“Customers with an existing Amazon account can easily access the digital content for their Kindle,” said Vishesh Bhatia, CEO at Jumbo. “New users who have a US postal number can also register and start using the device.

“Once you are registered, it’s a very simple process of choosing the digital content, be it books, newspapers or magazines.”

How Apple missed the rise of the mini tablet


Google and Amazon have stolen the show with 7-inch tablets like the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire HD 7, leaving Apple uncharacteristically behind on the season’s biggest trend.
About this time last year, if you had tried to convince a major company to produce a 7-inch tablet, they would have laughed in your face. At the time, these tablets were seen as “tweener” products that wouldn’t and couldn’t sell. Only idiots would bring them to market. You’d probably lose your shirt.
Then the Kindle Fire shipped and spiked hard in the holiday season. Earlier this year, Google announced the Nexus 7, and proceeded to sell buckets of them. Just weeks ago, Amazon followed up its original hit with the Kindle Fire HD 7, which is even more advanced, better priced, and reportedly selling at even a more aggressive pace. Around a month from now, the iPad mini will ship in the same size, and suddenly we’ll be up to our armpits with products that are successfully selling, in a segment that many thought was stupid just a year ago.
We also thought big screen phones were stupid before the iPhone shipped successfully. And even Steve Jobs said tablets were stupid before Apple shipped the iPad. So how does an idea go from idiotic to brilliant? And how come Apple didn’t lead the way on this one?

We don’t like “different”

It often takes us a while to get comfortable with a new idea. For instance, one of the most unsuccessful cars in history was the Ford Edsel, which was based on massive market research, but bombed. Yet compared to cars that came out a few years later, the Edsel just appears ahead of its time.
Microsoft had tablets long before Apple did, Philips was showcasing smartphones like Apple’s in the 1990s but couldn’t get support to bring them to market, and LG had the Prada in 2007, which Apple basically ripped off.
But once we see something, we slowly get comfortable with the idea. Eventually, it isn’t so different, and we have a new market. Apple isn’t the first to see an opportunity; it’s often just the first sense when the market is ready for it, and willing to spend the time and money to ride the resulting wave.
Apple seemed to time the iPhone and iPad perfectly in that regard, but with the 7-inch tablets, both Google and Amazon beat it to the punch.

Kindle blazed the trail

The process of making consumers comfortable with 7-inch devices started with e-readers, and Amazon lead that trend. In fact, Steve Jobs thought e-readers were stupid at the time, because he believed no one read anymore. While he was right in that e-readers never became the success that smartphones or the iPad, they sold enough to familiarize people with this smaller size. When the Kindle Fire showed up on an e-reader vector, it sold. When the Nexus 7 showed up, it expanded the vision for this form factor to a full tablet, and the market suddenly woke up to the advantages of 7-inch tablets, which are actually in many ways better than their 10-inch siblings. We should have seen this coming, because when 7-inch and 10-inch e-readers hit market, buyers gravitated toward the smaller product the same way.
What makes the 7-inch product better
There are a number of advantages to 7-inch tablets. They cost about half as much as 10-inch tablets. They’re vastly more portable and actually fit in jacket pockets and purses. They’re far lighter, which makes them much more comfortable for personal entertainment. Mostly, they don’t try to be laptop computers, which is the curse of their larger cousins.
To me, the 10-inch iPad is now the real “tweener” product: too small to be a laptop, too big to be truly portable.

Nexus 7 vs. Kindle Fire HD

Following that logic, while both the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire HD are good products, the Kindle Fire is more Apple-like in its focus on the user experience. That makes it, in my opinion, the better product. It may not have all of the sensors that the Nexus does, but chances are you won’t use them anyway if you already own a smartphone. Amazon focused on things like a more expensive case and better screen instead. As a result, the Kindle Fire HD diverges sharply from the Nexus 7, is easier to use, and does core things better. But it doesn’t do as many things, so the two products likely appeal to different audiences.
Interestingly, the team behind the Kindle Fire is largely from Microsoft. They licensed Microsoft’s technology, stole the OS from Google, and executed an Apple-like marketing strategy, right down to the high-profile announcement. That alone is pretty damned amazing.
Missing the boat

I think 7-inch tablets will be the big thing in the fourth quarter, which leaves Apple uncharacteristically behind. Not only did Apple miss the chance to set the bar here, it will be third to market with a very similar product, which doesn’t bode well for its ability to seize market leadership in this segment. Apple no longer leads with the iPhone either: Where vendors used to follow and copy the iPhone, now they are leading it with larger screens, better antennas, and faster radios. The iPod, meanwhile, is last decade’s news. That “Apple TV” thing better be a hit, or Apple could be screwed.

Guest contributor Rob Enderle is the founder and principal analyst for the Enderle Group, and one of the most frequently quoted tech pundits in the world. Opinion pieces denote the opinions of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views of Digital Trends.

Kindle Fire HD 7″ Video Review

The Kindle Fire HD 7″ tablet is Amazon’s follow-up to the successful $199 Kindle Fire (now reduced to $159 and rechristened the Kindle Fire SD). The HD Fire improves just the things we wished for as first gen Fire users, but it’s not the power monster that the also $199 Nexus 7 is. And that’s fine with us because the tablets go for two very different kinds of users. The Kindle Fire HD is for those who want a tablet primarily for easy content consumption; primarily Amazon’s content though Netflix and Hulu Plus are here too. In fact, you can even side-load the Android Nook app if you like!

The Kindle Fire HD 7″ runs Android OS 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, though you’d barely guess from looking at Amazon’s highly customized user interface with the big carousel of content and tidy bookshelves. No geeks, there’s no way to make this look like standard Android without hacking the tablet. It has a very sharp IPS 1280 x 800 display that’s very noticeably better than the 1024 x 600 Kindle Fire SD display. Movies look so much better! Text in books is extremely sharp and clear. Graphically rich magazines in page view mode actually have readable tiny text.

The Fire HD has a new TI OMAP CPU clocked at 1.2GHz, and the tablet feels more responsive, though that may in part be due to better software tuning. On Quadrant, it scored 2174, which would be par for the course among last year’s Android tablets, but falls way behind the mid 4000’s we see in Tegra 3 tablets. Still, that’s a bit faster than the original Fire and it’s more than adequate to power the apps and services on the Fire HD. Movies render fine without stalling (the dual band WiFi with MIMO certainly helps too), web pages render much more quickly and games run smoothly. The UI lags less than on the first generation Fire.

In terms of looks, Amazon isn’t going to turn out a design contest winner for $199. That said, this is a very nice looking tablet, though it still manages to look chunkier than it is (its’ the same thickness as the Nexus 7 but appears thicker). The tapered sides look modern and attractive and we like the racing grille that traverses the soft touch back and showcases the excellent stereo speakers with Dolby audio. The bezel is wide and that makes the 7″ Kindle Fire HD look less modern and aggressive, but ergonomically it gets the job done by giving you a place to grip the unit when reading.

Here’s our Kindle Fire HD 7″ video review. Our full written review will follow soon.

The Kindle Fire HD And Second Gen Kindle Fire Both Have Locked Bootloaders

So, you were thinking about picking up a Kindle Fire HD, rooting it, and throwing a ROM on it for an impressive $200 tablet? Turns out that idea may not work out as well as we initially thought: both the Kindle Fire HD and the second gen KF have locked bootloaders. Bummer.

This may not mean that custom ROMs are impossible on these devices, only that it’s more improbable.

For those who may not know, the bootloader is responsible for checking the firmware’s signature before a device boots. In this case, if it doesn’t match what Amazon says it should, then it simply won’t do anything. In order to make it work, this key needs to be cracked or otherwise bypassed, which isn’t always an easy task.

It’s worth mentioning here that this probably won’t make the KF and KFHD unrootable, as we’ve already heard that a root method is currently in the works.

What this does mean, though, is that you should probably hold off on putting your order in until the development community can spend some time working with the new Kindles to judge how difficult a hack is going to be. With that said, initial reports aren’t looking good.

How does the Amazon Kindle Fire HD compare to the Apple iPad

Having established itself as Apple’s top tablet competitor by going smaller and cheaper, Amazon will now go head to head with the category-defining iPad on its own turf.

Even as Google’s new Nexus 7 challenges the Kindle Fire for dominance in the small-tablet category, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos on Thursday introduced a new, 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HD.

That pits the new device, which will ship in late November, against a device with which Apple has, thus far, squashed all direct competition. No tablet that has tried to match the iPad feature-for-feature has gained more than a token foothold in the market.

So, how do the latest version of the iPad and the Kindle Fire HD stack up? Because only a few people have gotten their hands on the new device, some questions can’t be answered yet. But here’s a look at what we do know so far.

Price

The Fire comes out way ahead on this one, as is to be expected from Amazon, which has targeted customers looking for the basic features of a tablet but not willing to pay Apple’s heftier price tag.

For the cost of the lowest-end iPad (the 16GB, WiFi-only model), a buyer can get a 32GB version of the Fire HD with a 4G LTE connection on an upgraded cellular network. Both devices cost $499.

The 16GB version of the Fire comes in at $299, or $200 less than the comparable iPad.

Size

While Amazon obviously closed the gap significantly, the iPad still has a bigger screen than the Fire.

Apple’s iPad screen measures 9.7 inches diagonally, while the Fire is at 8.9 inches. That’s less than the difference between the screen sizes on the iPhone 4S and the larger Samsung Galaxy S III smartphones. (There’s speculation the iPhone 5 will have a larger screen).

But competition between Apple and Amazon could heat up on another front if rumors that Apple plans to release an “iPad Mini” turn out to be true.

Display

Both tablets feature high-definition screens, although the details vary.

The iPad’s “retina display” featured a total of 3.1 million pixels, with a resolution of 2,048 by 1,536. By contrast, the Fire HD measures 1,920 x 1,200 pixels, with custom features designed to reduce glare and improve color saturation.

Both Apple and Amazon boast that the resolution on their tablet is so sharp that it’s impossible for the human eye to discern individual pixels.

Data plans

Until now, the Kindle Fire has been a WiFi-only device, and some of its new models remain that way. But Bezos announced that the top-end version of the Fire HD is available in 4G.

The plan is offered at an attractive price of $50 a year. But that price gets you 250 MB of data per month — not a lot for a device designed in large part to stream movies and other media.

It was unclear Thursday what the charges will be for going over the allotted data.

The $50 is well under what AT&T and Verizon charge for a year of data on the iPad.

When the first iPad launched, AT&T offered data plans starting at $15 per month, or $180 per year, for 250 megabytes of data.

Currently, Verizon offers a variety of plans, from 1GB of data per month for $20 (or $240 per year) all the way up to a massive 8GB per month for $80 ($960).

AT&T offers a 250MB per month plan (the same as the Fire) for $15, or $180 per year. For $5 more, customers can get up to 2GB per month.

There are obviously lots of permutations of plans customers can seek out for iPads, based on carrier and special offers. It’s safe to say Amazon’s is going to be less expensive, although it offers a minimal amount of data.

Apps

It’s hard to compete with Apple’s App Store.

There are more than 225,000 apps designed specifically for the iPad. Many work to take advantage of its display and screen size. Add the more than a half-million apps that run on mobile devices and you’ve got a lot from which to choose.

Amazon, of course, likes to play up the movies and books that make up its universe of content (and the sale of which make Kindle prices possible). Bezos lumped together more than 22 million movies, TV shows, songs, apps, games, books, audiobooks and magazines available from Amazon’s store.

He showcased a few, nice-looking new apps. But while the Kindle Fire runs a modified version of Google’s Android operating system, it only runs apps available from Amazon. That cuts the number available down to several thousand — more than enough for many users, but nowhere near what the iPad offers.