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amazon

Today, Amazon is holding a press conference. We’re not entirely sure what’s going to be announced, but rumour has it that the company is planning on showing off at least one new Kindle Fire tablet, possibly two (7-inch and 10-inch), and maybe even an Android-powered “Kindle phone”. (We may also see a new e-ink Kindle, but presumably that wouldn’t be running Android.)

Okay, the phone doesn’t seem too likely, but now that Google has released the Nexus 7 it’d be a smart move for Amazon to release an update to their budget Android tablet. As I said at the time, “the presenters made it very clear – without ever actually saying the word ‘Amazon’ – that the Nexus 7 is going after the Kindle Fire market. They spent a long time talking about the Google Play Store, emphasising that it sells movies, books, and songs, not just apps and games.”

Living in the UK, I’ve never even seen a Kindle Fire – they’re only sold in the USA – but I found it interesting to read the opinions of others. Many review sites criticized the device for having a poor build quality and confusing UI (compared to the iPad), but I noticed that many actual people said that they loved it, or that their non-techie friends and relatives (who didn’t want to shell out for an iPad) loved it.

I expect great things from a second Kindle Fire. Google and ASUS have proven that it’s possible to produce a high quality Android tablet at a budget price, and Amazon have proven that once they’ve shown a piece of hardware has a place in the market, they can make it truly great by iterating on it. The first generation e-ink Kindle was pretty ugly, but popular; the second was a great improvement; and the third nailed it. I have one myself. As far as I’m concerned, it’s a good buy.

I’m going to be totally upfront with you: I’m as big a fan of Amazon as I am of Google. I think they do a lot of great things, including MP3 selling, digital video streaming, app sales, and of course, e-readers. I’ve had my Kindle for about 2 years, and love it. When I read a print book, I sometimes miss the Kindle for its ease of use and annotation capabilities. It’s true that a lot of people haven’t jumped on the e-reader bandwagon (most of my students, college freshmen, don’t like them), but I think Amazon has a good opportunity to change that with their latest Kindles.

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Amazon is going to be bringing out a tablet soon, and TechCrunch got the scoop on the details. We’ll go over the specs in a moment, but what’s important is that it’s a 7″ Kindle successor that runs a heavily modified port of Android – without the Market. But, honestly, that doesn’t matter. What does matter is that this Kindle tablet will not equal the iPad’s price, nor surpass it. It will cost just $250.

The Kindle is an extremely popular device, even if not in sales numbers. While I don’t personally own a Kindle, I know people who do and they love their device when it comes to its primary purpose: e-reading. And it’s became very evident that Android’s chance at success is not trying to “kill” the iPad, but trying to target specific markets, like the Kindle does.

I think Android is failing in the tablet market, and I don’t think they are going to improve fast enough to turn a profit. However, I also think there’s a massive potential for Android to move into brand new markets and take over the world. (more…)

Rumors about new tablets from Amazon and Sony have been floating around for a while, but — perhaps due to IFA 2011 kicking off this week — we’ve seen a lot of new information released.

First up are the two new Sony tablets (pictured above; more images here): the wedge-shaped S1 and the hinged S2. According to CNET UK, the S1′s doorstop shape makes it easier to read lying down on a desk, but apart from that it seems par for the course. The S2, on the other hand, has two 5-inch touchscreens in a clamshell design, which makes it quite different from other tablets; for example, the keyboard, when activated, takes up the entire bottom screen. (Sounds like Sony’s been taking tips from the Nintendo DS range.)

Both tablets run Honeycomb, though the S2′s version is obviously modified to cope with its unique design, and are “PlayStation Certified”, like the Xperia Play handset. Neither are really trying to compete on price; the S1 is the same price as the iPad 2, while the S2 is set to cost £100 more in the UK (which usually translates to around $100 more in the USA).

Then there’s Amazon’s new tablet. Okay, this hasn’t been officially announced, but the rumors are so numerous that it’s fair to assume they’re working on something. PC Advisor’s rumor roundup suggests that there’ll be both a 7-inch and a 9- or 10-inch model, with built-in support for Amazon’s Android Appstore and its Cloud Player, and will be priced far cheaper than other comparable tablets on the market. Presumably this, along with the great reputation of the Kindle, will help sell huge numbers of tablets.

Other recently-released tablets may have flown under your radar, like the Eee Pad Transformer with its detachable QWERTY keyboard. Keep an eye on the site for our official review!

All of this is pretty much the same story that we see in the mobile industry: Apple has one current device at any given time — which is incredibly popular — and Android has a wide range of devices with different designs, features, and capabilities. It works well in the mobile industry, but perhaps that’s because everyone wants a handset; can this strategy scale to the luxury market of tablets? Vote in the poll and leave a comment to let us know what you think!

The Amazon Appstore launched fairly recently and it’s really cool — offering a paid app for free every day — but unfortunately it’s limited to US customers, making the rest of us feel like that kid who’s not invited to the cool party down the street.

I recently got a new Android phone and I realised that it’s crazy that I, living in the UK, can’t access the Amazon Appstore. So I did some searching around and discovered that there is a fairly easy workaround to give access to their store to everyone, not just those in the USA.

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I was pretty excited when Amazon launched their Appstore for Android. On top of a healthy bit of competition, they offer exclusive apps like Angry Birds Rio and, most recently, Plants vs. Zombies for Android, and they offer a free app download everyday. That means you check Amazon daily, and there’s a chance you’ll save at least 99 cents (USD).

Well, I’ve gotten into the habit of checking every day (though I could also follow them on Twitter at @amazonappstore), and even if I don’t install the app right away, more often than not I will “purchase” it, in case I want to try it later. Today I’m going to give you my favorite apps offered as part of Amazon’s Free App of the Day — if not for these offers, I might not have discovered them!

One Amazon fan has put together amzndeal.com, a website which keeps you updated on the daily free MP3 and app downloads from Amazon through Facebook, RSS, and Twitter.

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The IGDA (International Game Developers Association) has warned Android game developers about Amazon’s Appstore, telling them to read Amazon’s terms carefully. They have been told to “educate themselves on the pros and cons of submitting content to Amazon”.

In their “important advisory“, the IGDA’s main concern is over the payment terms with Amazon. Amazon pays developers “the greater of 70% of purchase price or 20% of list price”. For reference, Amazon does not allow developers to set list prices in the way they can on other marketplaces. Like other Amazon-sold products, from TVs to toasters, the list price is set by Amazon. (more…)

Perhaps you’re wondering why there’s been no full review of Amazon Cloud Player on Android.AppStorm? It’s because we’re waiting to see whether Amazon is going to be allowed to continue. Last week, the streaming music app Grooveshark was kicked off the Android Market, and we’re wondering whether the same thing will happen to Cloud Player.

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Amazon launched their own Android application marketplace recently, dubbed the “Appstore” (to the dislike of Apple). The marketplace allows users to download and purchase applications for Android handsets right from the Amazon website, in a similar manner to Google’s own Android Market.

Android’s strength has always been in choice. Choice of handset, choice of skin, choice of carrier, and so on. And while there have always been some third-party app discovery sites and marketplaces, nothing like Amazon’s offering has came along. Now there’s choice in marketplace but also choice in payment method too. Amazon already has the strength and the scale to bring their store to a wide audience, which is an immediate advantage over Google’s fairly-tucked away store.

In this article, we’ll discuss how the Amazon Appstore can benefit you, the consumer.
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As we reported yesterday, Amazon Cloud Player for Android was released this week. It lets you store your music library in the cloud, and download any track to your phone at any time. Great concept, although it’s only available in the USA at the moment.

Are you using it? Vote in the poll, and if you use another similar service, let us know what you think in the comments below!

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