Category Archives: Apps/Android

“Package X-Ray” Feature Lets You See What’s Inside Your Packages

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shipping-_cb331800190_Lately, Amazon has been rolling a bunch of crazy deals as part of their “35 Days of Black Friday Shopping” which I’m pretty sure a lot of you have already took advantage of.  If you haven’t yet, then you still have until December 22nd to get your hands on a lot of crazy discounted items from toys, electronics, Amazon Devices and a lot more!

With all the multiple packages that you will be receiving on your doorstep, wouldn’t it be nice and convenient to know what’s inside the box without opening it? Continue reading “Package X-Ray” Feature Lets You See What’s Inside Your Packages

E-Reader Technology is now “Good Enough” and “Affordable Enough”

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I am a relatively recent convert to digital format books. For a long time after the first e-readers came out, I didn’t consider the technology good enough, but I knew the day would eventually come when it would be.

The last time I moved, the weight of my books was roughly half of the weight of my entire household. And that was after I donated a bunch of them to the local libary. It doesn’t take very many of the medium-size “book” boxes (I learned quickly that you don’t use the largest available box for books!) to weigh more than a couch or a king-sized bed.

Now, I have more titles loaded on my Kindle than I own in dead-tree form. I also have a 10-inch tablet with a Kindle app, which has some advantages (and disadvantages) over my PaperWhite (which now is available with a better screen than the one I have). The technology of those devices is good enough — barely. It’s good enough that I have been won over to e-books, and I now only purchase a dead-tree edition if I can’t buy it in Kindle format (or can’t borrow it from my local public library).

Amazon just announced yet another advance in the technology, which combines the best parts of the PaperWhite with my Android tablet app, at a compelling price point. It looks like I’m going to have to buy the new Kindle Fire HDX.

Here’s what you can now get for $139 (from their press release):

  • High-definition display with 1280×800 resolution and 216 pixels per inch, making movies, TV shows, books and games vivid and detailed. 66% more pixels than the previous generation Kindle Fire.
  • Powerful, dual-core 1.5 GHz processor, 60% faster than the previous generation Kindle Fire.
  • Dual stereo speakers with Dolby Digital Plus audio—the standard in high-end audio.
  • All-new slim design that matches the look and feel of the new Kindle Fire HDX.
  • Fast streaming, downloads, and web browsing with built-in dual-band Wi-Fi.
  • Powered by the latest version of Fire OS—Fire OS 3.0 “Mojito”—with hundreds of new and upgraded features, platform updates, and Amazon-exclusive services.
  • Kindle FreeTime extends parental controls to give parents a simple, engaging way to manage the way kids use Kindle Fire—parents select content and set time limits by content type.
  • Exclusive new features such as X-Ray for Music, Prime Instant Video downloads, Second Screen, expanded X-Ray for Movies and TV, and more.
  • Stay connected and productive with all-new email, calendar, and Silk web browser.
  • World’s best content ecosystem—over 27 million movies, TV shows, songs, apps, games, books, audiobooks, and magazines.

Some of those new features aren’t all that big a deal for me, but at the $139 price, it’s a pretty good feature set. However, I will probably go for the 8.9-inch model with the extra memory, since I consider my PW slightly too small, and my 10-inch Android tablet slightly too big.

Only problem: It’s not available yet. But you can pre-order it.

Who is Amazon Going to Buy Next? And Other AZ Happenings

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Amazon was recently in the news for the buyout of Goodreads. But Goodreads is the 42nd company to be absorbed into Amazon since it started in 1998. Over in Software Advice, David K. Wolpert has written a very interesting article with some speculations on 8 different possible buy-out targets that might attract Amazon’s attention, and gives some detailed reasoning for each of those possibilities. He also invites readers to participate in a poll naming the buy-out target you consider most likely (including “other” in case you disagree with his list of 8). By the way, at least one prominent blogger has dissed Mr. Wolpert’s research. I think it’s a bit difficult to forecast things like that, but it’s fun (and probably harmless) to speculate.

Wednesday, US District Judge Denise Cote ruled that Apple “brilliantly” organized a conspiracy to raise prices and thwart competition — mainly aimed at Amazon. Naturally, Apple will appeal, so don’t expect much change in e-book marketing anytime soon. Not to second-guess the court, but I think Judge Cote got it right. However, Apple has enough money to fight and drag this out for while. It’s not really clear why they would want to, though. The whole thing is more of a PR embarrassment than anything else. It seems to me that they should give up, write the necessary check, and let the whole thing blow over as quickly as possible. The consensus of the legal beagles watching the case is that Apple has very little chance of winning.

Meanwhile, Apple has dropped an unrelated lawsuit against Amazon. Back in 2011, Apple sued Amazon over the use of the term “App Store.” Now, the two companies have suddenly settled out of court. My guess is that “App Store” has now joined the ranks of “Escalator,” “Kleenex,” and several other trademarks that got so popular that they became un-trademark-able. The folks in the accounting department probably told upper management that they were pushing on a rope.

Photo Credit: darrenjsylvester via Compfight cc