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Archive for the ‘Kindle Fire 2’ Category

How to Hear Podcasts on a Kindle

Kindle e-readers were not initially designed to directly support podcast downloads. The 8GB Kindle Fire, 4GB Kindle Touch, Kindle DX and Kindle Keyboard, 2GB second-generation Kindle or 256MB first-generation Kindle all support MP3 audio. The internal capacity of each Kindle model influences how many podcasts and audio titles you can install along with book titles. For all models other than the Kindle 4 which does not support audio, this has the additional benefit of music play back as well as podcasts. Adding podcast audio allows you to increase your Kindle’s versatility, mimicking a full-featured tablet rather than simple an e-reader.

Step 1

Navigate to a website featuring podcasts you may want to listen to by entering the address into your Web browser’s search engine. Many news organizations and technology sites, including the Kindle store, feature free and premium podcasts for download.

Step 2

Save the podcast to a folder on your computer. Drag the downloaded files into folders on the desktop for fast reference later on. The Kindle Fire, Kindle Touch, Kindle DX, Kindle Keyboard as well as first and second-generation Kindles support unprotected MP3, Audible Audio Format 4 and Audible Enhanced AAX files.

Step 3

Connect the Kindle to the computer with the Kindle’s USB cable. Allow the computer to recognize the device. The Kindle says “USB Drive Mode” at the top of the display when the connection is made.

Step 4

Click the Start button and select “Computer” a Windows PC to view the Kindle, or find it on the desktop as a mounted drive on Apple machines.

Step 5

Double-click on the “Kindle” drive on your computer. Look for the “Audible” or “Music” folder on the device.

Step 6

Drag the individual podcast files or the entire folder into the chosen folder on the device.

Step 7

Use the five-way controller or directional buttons on your Kindle to highlight and select the “Audible” or “Music” folder. Tap the “Audible” or “Music” folder with a Kindle Touch or Kindle Fire. Look for the “Audio” label attached to the podcast files.

Step 8

Tap on the icon of the file you wish to listen to. Click “OK” to play the file.

Tips

  • Organize the files into collections on your home screen to consolidate multiple podcasts into manageable folders.

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.

Amazon Readies Kindle Fire Update To Keep Up In Tablets

Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) is readying an updated Kindle Fire tablet, seeking to revive demand for the 10- month-old device as the market crowds with competing machines from Apple Inc. (AAPL), Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) and Google Inc. (GOOG)

Amazon is holding an event tomorrow in Santa Monica, California, where it is likely to announce the newest versions of its line of Kindle e-readers and the Kindle Fire tablet, according toAnthony DiClemente, an analyst at Barclays Plc. The company said it sold out of the Kindle Fire last week.

Last year’s holiday shoppers helped vault Amazon’s share of the market to 17 percent in the December period, according to research firm IDC. Demand for the Kindle Fire has since stalled — the device’s first-quarter share slipped to 4 percent. To stay relevant in tablets, Amazon needs to tap consumers’ desire for streaming movies and video games they can’t find elsewhere, said Edward Williams, an analyst at BMO Capital Markets.

“There’s a big opportunity for Amazon to design digital content that specifically exploits the Kindle Fire,” Williams, who is based in New York, said in an interview. “People who own the Kindle Fire are probably watching content that was repurposed for it. Apple has done a phenomenal job at this. There’s room for another player in the market, and Amazon has a good chance, but we’re definitely dealing with version one right now.”

New Entrants

In June, both Microsoft and Google announced their own tablets, pushing into a market that may reach $66.4 billion this year, according to research firm DisplaySearch. And Apple plans to debut a smaller, cheaper iPad by year-end, two people with knowledge of the plans said in July.

Google, which makes the Android software that runs the Kindle Fire, is entering the running with the Nexus 7, a tablet that is thinner, lighter and has better screen resolution than the current Kindle Fire for the same $199 price. Both have 8 gigabytes of storage and a 7-inch display, though Google buyers have the option to upgrade to 16 gigabytes for $249.

The Nexus 7 also boasts Bluetooth connectivity, GPS and a camera — features Amazon’s tablet now lacks.

Microsoft’s device, the Surface, has a 10.6-inch display and also is slimmer than the Fire. It will run on Microsoft’s revamped Windows operating system and has a cover that serves as a full keyboard with a track pad. Microsoft hasn’t yet announced the Surface’s price.

“There’s still room for improvement” in the Kindle Fire, Williams said.

Digital Content

Amazon started selling the Kindle Fire in November, seeking to extend its success in e-readers into the fast-growing tablet market, where shipments may almost double to 116 million units this year, Gartner estimates. Still, its entry came at a cost to profitability — Amazon spends $139.80 to make each Kindle Fire, according to IHS.

Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos is pushing sales of digital content — movies, books, music and other media — on the device to make up for the low price. To gain that loyalty and woo buyers, the company needs to ensure users become addicted to a digital experience they can only get at Amazon. Games may be an easy way to do that, Williams said.

Amazon has “the books, they’ve got the videos, they’ve got the music, but where they’re still lacking is on the game side of it,” Williams said. “I think that’s probably an area that can get a little more focus on the next-generation device.”

Social Games

Amazon announced GameCircle in July, which gives developers the ability to make games more social by adding leader boards and a way to track trophies and achievements. The ability to make more sophisticated games may draw more app makers to Amazon’s device. For every $1 generated for developers in Apple’s iTunes App Store, they earn 89 cents in Amazon’s and 23 cents in Google’s, according to Flurry, a provider of app- analytics software.

Amazon, based in Seattle, said in August that exclusive Kindle books have been purchased, downloaded or borrowed from the company’s virtual lending library more than 100 million times. Amazon doesn’t give revenue figures for purchases on the tablet. The company’s sales of all digital media last year reached $17.8 million and accounted for 37 percent of revenue, datacompiled by Bloomberg show.

To sweeten the selection of movies and TV shows available on the Fire, the company has been striking agreements with content providers. Amazon reached a deal with pay-television channel Epix this week to offer films such as “The Hunger Games” through its instant video service.

New Features

At tomorrow’s event, Amazon may announce more than one tablet and offer the option to upgrade memory for a higher price, Barclays’s DiClemente said in a note to clients this week. The company may also add a built-in camera and let users connect to the Web through a cellular network. Right now, the device can only access the Internet through a wireless connection.

An updated and aggressively priced tablet “could be very attractive to the lower end of the market, and may help to stave off some share gains from the Google Nexus 7 and a possible iPad mini entrant,” DiClemente wrote, noting that the original Kindle e-reader cost about $400, compared with a $79 price point for the cheapest version today.

Loyal Members

To drive purchases of the Kindle Fire as well as movies, music and other content, Amazon can further leverage its millions of users with registered credit-card numbers, a one- click payment option and loyal Prime members, who pay $79 a year for free shipping and free access to some movies and videos — advantages Google doesn’t have, said Atul Bagga, an analyst at Lazard Capital Markets in San Francisco.

The company may have sold about 7 million Kindle Fires since the device’s release in November and will control 10 percent of the worldwide tablet market by 2016, Bagga estimates. Digital sales on the device will help boost an operating margin that narrowed to 1.79 percent last year, lower than 96 percent of companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

“Digital media — selling apps, selling music, selling games — that’s a high-margin business,” Bagga said. “These things position Amazon as a very strong contender in the digital media space. I wouldn’t be surprised to see some meaningful changes to the Fire.”