Friday, September 19, 2014

Amazon's NEW lineup of e-Readers and Kindle Fire Tablets - First Quick Look 9/17/14 - Updated 9/19 to include Tablet Comparison Table, Trade-in your Kindle page, and more basic information



NEW AMAZON LINEUP, with new Kindle eReaders and UltraFast Fire Tablets
The new lineup of tablets and an ereader was announced Sept. 17, so this was a very quick announcement that night -- details are still being explored for the blog entry I'm working on to expand on the differences.
  Here's a quick-chart of all current Kindles, globally.

  The new models are ultra-fast versions of Fire tablets + a unique, hardy model specifically for "kids," as well as a new higher-resolution and brighter e-Ink Paperwhite Voyage reader with more contrast and also a new basic low-cost Kindle eReader that's now touch-based for easier navigation.

Originally posted 8:57pm Sept. 17 - Updated Sept. 19

For those who want to just read
KINDLE E-Ink Readers 2014 - Kindle Voyage and new basic Kindle 2014
Amazon's press release blurb includes these descriptions:
"The new Kindle Voyage, our thinnest, most advanced Kindle ever, with our brightest, highest resolution, and highest contrast display, plus reimagined page turns - $199"

  [AB-Note: The 'reimagined' page turns can be activated by pressing on the bezel now without having to reach across the screen to do it, and getting a small vibration that lets you know you've made a page turn (in the way we used to get feedback from the side 'buttons' going down and back up.]

" - New $79 Kindle is small and light, with weeks of battery life, a
20% faster processor, twice the storage, and now with a touch interface" [Finally]


New Fire Tablets - an ultrafast, higher resolution 8.9" model (same pricing) + 6" and 7" basic HD models + a hardy one for "kids"
The new Fire HD 6" 2014 is available for pre-order starting today for $99 for 6” and the Fire HD 7" 2014 at $139 for the 7” model and will begin shipping in October.

ALSO, via BLURBS from Amazon.
" The new Fire HDX 8.9, now higher performance, exclusive new audio, the fastest Wi-Fi and still startlingly light with a stunning HDX display.
  New Fire HDX 8.9 is $379. It is available for pre-order starting today...and will start shipping in October.
  The 4G version is $479 -- you can pre-order today at" the HDX-2014 page "and it will begin shipping in October.

[The current] Fire HDX 7 will continue to be available and will receive the Fire OS 4 update with many of these features later this year.  [You can] order today at [current Kindle Fire HDX 7 page] for just $199. "

  And in more detail, from Amazon's press release:
" Fast and fluid—Fire HDX 8.9 is powered by the latest generation quad-core 2.5 GHz processor and a 70% faster graphics engine

Perfect color, 339 ppi HDX display features Dynamic Light Control which automatically adjusts the color of the display to make the pages of a book more closely resemble a piece of paper in any light

First tablet with Dolby Atmos, plus loud and immersive audio that is twice as loud as the iPad Air

Fire OS 4 “Sangria” adds hundreds of new features and platform enhancements, including Firefly, ASAP, Smart Suspend, and other Amazon-exclusive features

Family Library lets family members easily share apps, games, audiobooks, books, and Prime Instant Video content, even if they use different Amazon accounts [Blog note: a key new feature...]

Free, unlimited cloud storage for photos

New Fire Keyboard is the thinnest and lightest full-featured tablet keyboard, with a trackpad that makes productivity and navigation easier than ever."

They also have a seriously powerful "Kids Edition" of the Fire HD tablet (costing more than the $99 version)
Details are at Fire HD Kids Edition and looks to be made for more durability than the 6" $99 Fire HD version

FIRE Tablets COMPARISON TABLE
Click on this smaller image (here for convenience) to get the large version of the new Amazon Fire Tablet Comparison Table.
  Smaller version:


That's the skinny for now.  I'll be exploring the details more and will put them into a more organized blog article, with differences noted.  We have some current models that will stay current, for those who don't need the fastest and most-featured devices, and the new models look promising.


Did you know you can sell-back or trade-in used Kindles to Amazon?
Here's how it's done, with estimated $value for those in good condition.



Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Kindle News: What's Amazon up to? Amazon quietly cuts one E-Ink reader and the Kindle Fire HD 7" tablet. Also changes product pages for this year's Paperwhite models now showing as not-available currently but then shows the new product-detail pages for these as devices Available - there are NO new features mentioned for them. Also, be careful about downloading "Kindle" books from non-Amazon sites. Updated for info on Current Paperwhite 2's.

 


The two Kindles shown above are apparently discontinued without an announcement (the product pages show no way to order either one and there's no wording that either is "out of stock"), and they don't show up in the Kindle family header anymore.

  John Sauter alerted us about the Kindle "NoTouch" Basic e-Ink eReader's absence from the lineup.

  And there was a quick sale (of only $20) on the Kindle HD 2nd Gen 7" tablet the other day, and now that model is gone also -- but on this one, Amazon offers "Certified Refurbished" versions, which carry the usual 1-year guarantee (and usually a 30-day refund if the buyer decides not to keep it).

The current models as of last week are the 6" Paperwhite eReader and the Fire HDX tablets in 7" and 8.9" form.  But they show the PAPERWHITE models AS not available currently and point us to new pages for both Paperwhite devices, which ARE shown as available -- and yet there are NO new features mentioned.  So, what are they doing? Are those being set up for actual new models coming? It's the oddest product-page change situation I've seen for these devices.

I'm using the old links here, and Amazon has an orange stripe on each one to lead you to the new product-detail pages (no new products or new features are mentioned). You can compare them that way.

  For the record, the NEW product-detail pages for each are new Paperwhite WiFi page and new Paperwhite WiFi/3G page.
  NOTE added Sept. 19: These are new PAGES for the still-current older Paperwhite 2's (and not for the totally new Paperwhite "Voyage" announced a day after this blog entry.

  (It doesn't help that Amazon has described both as "or 3G" -- but ignore that.)

  Maybe they're coming out with mildly upgraded hardware.  Will update as I find out more.


An alert from The Digital Reader
Nate Hoffelder reports, "Your Amazon Account Can be Hacked via a Kindle eBook from a non-Amazon site." for
  The hackers involved insert a script into the e-book, which, when added to your Kindle library, can start the script when you open the Kindle Library web page.

  "As a result, Amazon account cookies can be accessed by and transferred to the attacker and the victim’s Amazon account can be compromised."  More details in the article.




Check often: Temporarily-free recently published Kindle books
  Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.  Top 100 free bestsellers.  Liked-books under $1
UK-Only: recently published free books, bestsellers, or £5 Max ones
    Also, UK customers should see the UK store's Top 100 free bestsellers.

  *Click* to Return to the HOME PAGE.  Or click on the web browser's BACK button


Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Amazon App for Android Phone finally gets Prime Instant Video Viewing. Fire TV (for viewing videos on TV) expanding to the UK and Germany.

Note that this app is optimized for the Android phone (different dimensions from tablets), which when run will install the Amazon Prime Instant Video viewer the first time you choose a video. The video viewer will then always run from inside the Amazon for Android app.

  The Android app's product page has an alternate title of "Amazon App or Android," which probably means the version specifically for Android tablets could be coming later.

Those currently trying to use this on Android tablets with the older Android app for tablets will tend to find this doesn't work and will need to use the Amazon App for Android Phone (quietly released August 28) that supports the Prime Instant Video viewing.  For some tablets, the phone-focused app works.

. Reports from users are that it works well on Nexus 5 and 7 (and Cast Screen to the TV works with Prime); and Galaxy s5 at high resolution.  These are from early reports I viewed.

. Devices reported by users to have problems with the app currently:
  Some Galaxy Tab 3 phones, Galaxy S4, HTC One M8, Galaxy Note 2014, LG G3

    (Until the problems on some devices are resolved, you can always use
      the old workaround while making sure that you use the Amazon setting recommended
    and linked to in that article -- 'Flash' rather than 'Silverlight.
    This recommendation is mainly for the workaround.)

A main source of discontent (already) is that the app does not support Google's Chromecast device (to send video to the TV).
  Any who are eager to get it working on their TV in the meantime are able, however, to get the Amazon Fire TV box, for $99, which is both faster and much more capable, performance-wise, and has far more features.  You can view the Prime Instant video on the TV and run it from the Cloud, freeing up your phone or tablet for other activity.  You can also do simple mirroring, without lag.

  Fire TV is UK and Germany bound
    The box is expanding to the UK and Germany, shipping Oct. 23 in the UK and Jan. 1, 2015.

  Some articles on the Fire Tv:
* "The Set-Top Box That'll Read Your Mind" - Huffington Post, UK
* "...possibly the best single set-top box available ..."
* "I bought the Amazon Fire TV, and I love it which ends with a link to the full, more balanced review.  The Voice search is getting some cooperation, by the way, from both Netflix (down the line) and from Hulu already.
*   Recent improvements for Prime Instant Video on Fire TV.

I like the Chromecast for its portability, but I think the FireTV is a natural for those (especially families) who want to watch Prime Instant videos on their TV's with no-fuss and no lag.


BACK to the Amazon App for Android Phone and its Prime Instant Video viewer


From today's press release
Title: Prime Instant Video Now Available on Android Phones -- Exclusively Via the Amazon Appstore

Date(s): 9-Sep-2014 9:00 AM

Prime members can now enjoy unlimited streaming of tens of thousands of movies and TV episodes on their Android phones, including HBO shows such as The Sopranos, True Blood and The Wire, as well as popular series like Downton Abbey, Under the Dome, 24, Extant, and Suits, and the Amazon Original series Alpha House--and for kids, exclusive subscription streaming access to SpongeBob SquarePants, Dora the Explorer, Team Umizoomi, and Amazon Original shows for kids, Tumble Leaf, Creative Galaxy and Annedroids

SEATTLE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sep. 9, 2014-- (NASDAQ:AMZN) -- Amazon today announced that Prime members in the US, UK and Germany can now enjoy Prime Instant Video on their Android phones. The latest update of the Amazon App for Android combines the fast and easy mobile shopping experience customers have come to know and love with access to unlimited streaming of tens of thousands of movies and TV episodes from Prime Instant Video. After updating their existing Amazon App for Android, customers wishing to stream Prime Instant Video movies and TV episodes can install the Prime Instant Video player app, which is delivered exclusively via the Amazon Appstore. Prime members can enjoy popular HBO series like The Sopranos, True Blood, and The Wire, as well as favorites like Downton Abbey, Under the Dome, and 24, on their Android phones at no additional cost to their membership. Eligible customers who are not already Prime members can sign up for a 30-day free trial to start receiving all of the benefits of Prime using the updated Amazon App for Android. Customers who don't yet have the Amazon App for Android can get the latest version at amazon.com/androidapp.

The new Amazon App for Android phones provides an award-winning mobile shopping experience on hundreds of millions of physical goods and now enables customers to discover and purchase all of Amazon's digital catalog.

The new Amazon App for Android includes:

Hundreds of millions of items for purchase, along with Customer Reviews, 1-Click purchase and access to account and delivery information
Tens of thousands of movies and TV shows available for unlimited streaming for Prime members, including favorite HBO shows such as The Sopranos, True Blood, Boardwalk Empire, Six Feet Under and The Wire, and Amazon Original series like Alpha House, Tumble Leaf, Creative Galaxy and Annedroids
More than 200,000 movies and TV episodes to rent or buy
Over 30 million songs
More than two million Kindle books, along with over 150,000 audiobooks and more than 600,000 exclusive books that customers won't find anywhere else
5GB of free photo back-up with Amazon Cloud Drive
"Tens of millions of our customers have installed the Amazon app on their Android phones in order to enjoy the ease and convenience of shopping Amazon on the go," said Paul Cousineau, Director of Mobile Shopping. "Now, the latest Amazon App for Android combines that award-winning mobile shopping experience with access to Amazon's digital products and services, including unlimited streaming of tens of thousands of movies and TV episodes at no additional cost for Prime members. At Amazon, we are always innovating on behalf of our customers and we look forward to receiving their feedback on this enhanced shopping experience."

Customers can visit amazon.com/androidapp for more information about the new Amazon App for Android.

Prime Instant Video Exclusives

Prime Instant Video is the exclusive online-only subscription home for a large and constantly-expanding selection of hit series, making it the go-to destination for Prime members who want to stay up to date on their favorite shows. Popular choices include HBO classics The Sopranos, The Wire, Deadwood, Rome and Six Feet Under, recent HBO favorites Eastbound & Down, Enlightened and Flight of the Conchords, and select seasons of current HBO series True Blood, Boardwalk Empire and Treme. Other hit TV show exclusives include PBS series Downton Abbey and Mr. Selfridge, FX dramas The Americans and Justified, as well as 24, Orphan Black, Falling Skies, Hannibal, Grimm, Workaholics, Suits, Covert Affairs, Teen Wolf, Veronica Mars, CBS summer blockbuster series Under the Dome and now, Extant. Prime Instant Video also offers an exclusive collection of kids shows from Nickelodeon and Nick Jr. that customers won't find on any other online-only subscription service, including favorites like SpongeBob SquarePants, Dora the Explorer, Team Umizoomi, Blue's Clues, and The Bubble Guppies. Airing now, Amazon's first original series Alpha House and Betas and first original kids series Tumble Leaf can be found exclusively on Prime Instant Video as well.

Customers can enjoy Prime Instant Videos on hundreds of compatible Amazon Instant Video devices, including Amazon Fire TV, Fire phone, Kindle Fire HDX, Kindle Fire HD, iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, Roku, Xbox, PlayStation and the Wii. Prime Instant Video is the only U.S. online subscription streaming service that enables offline viewing--on a plane, on vacation, and anywhere else where you may not have Wi-Fi. Customers can download tens of thousands of Prime Instant Video titles to their new Kindle Fire HD or Kindle Fire HDX.

About Amazon Instant Video

Amazon Instant Video is a digital video streaming and download service that offers Amazon customers the ability to rent, purchase or subscribe to a huge catalog of videos. Customers can choose from more than 200,000 titles to purchase or rent--movies range from new releases to classic favorites, and Amazon Instant Video offers major television shows, entire seasons, or even day after air TV. Prime Instant Video is Amazon's video subscription offer--it includes tens of thousands of movies and TV episodes selected from the full assortment available at Amazon Instant Video.

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The Amazon Fire Phone expands to UK and Germany - shipping dates

The Fire Phone is now expanding to the UK and Germany.

  UK page       Germany page

 This should go with yesterday's Fire Phone blog entry but it's already too large.


Bloomberg gives details under the headline "Deutsche Telekom, O2 Agree to Sell Amazon’s Fire Phone in Europe":
"Amazon will begin selling the devices on Sept. 30 in the two countries in deals with Deutsche Telekom AG (DTE), Germany’s largest carrier, and Telefonica SA (TEF)’s O2 brand in the U.K. Customers can pre-order the smartphones starting yesterday."
As seen on the product pages, they're available for pre-order there already.

The eteknix site reports that the phone has been updated and improved since its initial launch and that the "battery life has been improved upon as well and said to give around 10-15% more duration now.  The Amazon OS will get an update to its speech recognition software upon launch to handle the different British accents it’ll have to deal with now."

See yesterday's Fire Phone article for details on what's included with the phone.


Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
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Monday, September 8, 2014

Amazon's 3D Fire Phone now 99 cents with a 2 year data plan. A free year of (normally $99) Prime is included also. UPDATE1 for 64GB model price. UPDATE2 for AT&T Next 18 option

Amazon indicated today that the 3D Fire Phone is a key device for them and they've decided to be ultra competitive (the iPhone 6 is due to be announced tomorrow but it won't be a low-cost item nor have most of the features described below), and Apple is finally catching up to Android phones by making the larger phone so many have wanted but which Apple said was not the ideal size, until now. Those who rely on Apple apps should stay with Apple though!

At the top, I'm including most of the blog entry I made of the points made about the Fire Phone during their launch, with the original $199 cost now lower by $198, at 99 cents.

  Below that, I'll re-print the pertinent portions of their press release so you can read their new-pricing points, without interpretation.


  NOTE: Some reviews have said that the Fire Phone can't access Google Play for its apps.  However, as with the tablets, the phone has the regular Android Setting to enable installation of apps from "unknown sources" (meaning Non-Amazon store), I'm told (my review copy is late getting here), and that includes 1Mobile appstore, which has over 800,000 Android apps, most from Google, many from Amazon.  Get the apps from Amazon appstore when available there, as they go through heavy testing.

Here are added FIRE PHONE info-updates.


  Amazon still includes the Limited time offer that
offers a full year of Amazon Prime" (normal cost of Prime is $99)
  If you aren't a Prime member, you'll get a full year of Prime with Fire phone. If you already have Prime, we'll extend your membership for a full year."

UPDATE1 - 2:30 PM
  The Fire Phone starts now at $0.99 for 32GB and I received an answer to my question about the 64GB model this afternoon -- it'll be $99, down from $299, with a 2-year monthly data plan with AT&T.  That's for people who expect to store a lot on the phone, even with access to the Cloud storage.

  Essentially then, the phone with 32GB is is 99 cents with Prime also, thrown in (normally $99), with 2 yrs of a monthly data plan.
  And the 64GB model will be $99 (earlier it was $299).  The product pages are being updated.

UPDATE2 - 10:15 PM
Amazon's wording at the end of the Press Release mentions the cost of AT&T's "Next 18" plan (for those buying the phone and AT&T's new plan on a monthly basis and who plan to use only 2GB per month during a month):
' Fire is available exclusively on AT&T - the nation's most reliable 4G LTE network. Fire with 32GB is available for 99 cents with a two-year contract or $0 down and $18.75 per month (for 24 months) with AT&T NEXT 18. '
  The Nitty Gritty - Here is Amazon's Comparison Chart of actual costs for:
    the "Next 18" plan against the normal 2-year plan.
    BOTH require a 24-mo. plan.  However, after 18 mos. on the Next 18 plan,
      you're eligible to a free Update to a new smartphone, and the
    the activation fee is $0 vs the 2-yr plan's no free update plus $40 activation.
    It's a minor difference down the road.

  So, the normal 2-year plan saves almost $5 per month for 2 years, but there's no free update eligibility after 18 mos, and there's an activation charge.

  Phone-buying Reality -- As usual, even with $0 smartphones, one must pay the tax on the actual or normal cost of the phone, in this case $450 (even if paying just $0 or 99 cents for the phone).


The 3D-simulation on Amazon's product-page image is pretty impressive.  Am not placing it here, as eInk Kindle subscribers to the Kindle Edition of the blog can't view video. :-)  Thanks again to the subscribers for continued support of the blog.

Content described during launch is shown below

While the 3D aspects should be novel and fun for awhile, many were looking forward to a good plan but especially since it's been said to be exclusive to AT&T (which seemed a hint they may have worked out a good deal for customers and Amazon with AT&T to get that exclusive).

 The limited-time offer of 1 yr of free Prime made it a better deal than most even at the original pricing, and now the cost of a new, very high-tech smartphone with advanced features is only $1~, coming with a Bonus of free Prime ($99 value) for the first year as well, if you get a 2-year monthly data plan with AT&T.

In addition to the five total front cameras, the back camera uses optical character recognition that can capture and convert text (and will recognize many videos and songs by 'hearing' or 'seeing' them).

  Turns out that the Fire Phone can read an image to get, say, a phone number but, not only that, it can realize that a graphic element confused it and that the area code is not a valid one and then can fetch the information to correct it).

Prime apparently has "tens of millions" of subscribers -- and we know that Prime will be the big factor here, as we've seen with video and music features (along with Kindle book loans and 2-day free shipping) on millions of items.  As you saw in a previous blog entry here, the original 5,000 Kindle books in the Prime Library for free lending of one-book per calendar month has grown to over 500,000.

Opening PR at the launch reminded us that Foresee and YouGov branding charts both list Amazon as No. 1 in customer service.

The Fire Phone with FIREFLY scanning
Claims on slides shown, for the most part:  (I'll double space these after editing, and also highlight a few aspects that were more interesting to me, for easier reading.)
. Rubberized frame, Gorilla Glass, aluminum buttons.

. Premium materials, scratch resistant

. 4.7" inch IPS LCD HD display

. Quad core 2.2 Ghz processor, Adreno 330 graphics processor, and 2 GB of RAM.

. Designed to be "Beautiful, comfortable, durable"

. Injection-molded steel connectors

. Focus on making it Better than usual for outdoor viewing

. Great imaging hardware
      with 13 MP rear-facing camera, f/2 5-element lens, optical image stabilization

. "Don't miss the shot" -- instant fast access to camera from a button.

. Free Unlimited Photo Storage

. Dual stereo speakers (Stereo audio in Landscape), Virtual surround sound, Dolby Digital Plus

. Free Mayday Help/Support feature -- (video support by customer reps and AT&T reps within 15 seconds when you need help) is included.  You see the rep, who does not see you but you can hear each other, and the reps can not only show you how to do something, they can do it for you.)

. You can watch material on HDTV, 2nd screen, Miracast, plus Xray for movies and tv

. Flat cables, earphones included

. Netflix, HBO Go, ESPN, Youtube, and Showtime apps are included and ready to go.

. includes of course the new Prime Music feature (free for members) -
      over 1 million songs with unlimited free streaming.

. More than a few Music apps and services

. "Semantic Boosting" helps to get the phone number right by eliminating invalid numbers.

. Firefly scanning feature "scrapes" the image for relevant info [via optical character recognition], compressing a large image file to a smaller one with only small bits of info.  That helps the phone send the info to its cloud service to process the image and get appropriate info or answers quickly.

. Reminder about the X-ray feature, now using Firefly also.  As with tablets, if it recognizes the show, it pulls up info on the actors, specific episode, and scene via Amazon's IMDB database.  I expect this works with Amazon Prime but not with Netflix and Hulu Plus etc., as they control the stream with Prime video.

    HOWEVER, the Firefly scanning feature has had a lot of training by Amazon and itself can "recognize" movies, TV episodes, music, and get info for X-Ray.  I've added Amazon's description of Firefly functions at the bottom of this post, as it is a very impressive feature, activated by the press of a physical button on the phone.

. Firefly recognizes a hundred million different items in real-world situations.

. The image changes as you move your phone (or head) and perspective.

. A MAP application was shown next, in 3D

. They zoomed into the Empire State Building image, and it's said this looks a lot better than previous attempts at 3D on similar devices

. Various web sites are very impressed with the 3D implementation.  Most writers I read had been skeptical about it based on previous attempts by other companies.

. In the web browsing -- "auto scroll" - you can scroll by tilting the phone (I'm not sure I'd want that, but they pointed out that can be turned off when wanted, which is what I would do.)

. You can pin other apps to the app grid.  They have the Carousel with latest apps accessed at the top.

. Get in and out of apps with widgets (shown on slide) without having to load up a full app

. Music app.  As with the tablets, we can see the lyrics synchronized (highlighting current line) with songs for which they received the rights for that.
      Song info is in one panel - lyrics in a panel to the right.

. Games: You can tilt the phone to look at different perspectives in a game.

. "Dynamic Perspective" - They started working on this 4 years ago and had prototypes working in the first week.

. The phone has a wider range of view for the front camera to cover the area needed for tracking head movement and whatever else needed to make the 3D simulation work well.

. At least two of the Fire Phone's four corner cameras and center camera can find your eyes, creating stereovision.

. To have it work in the dark, they added infrared lights, one in each camera.

. Dynamic Perspective sensor system -- "uses four ultra-low power specialized cameras -- the smallest globally shuttered cameras in existence -- plus four infrared LEDs for invisible illumination, real-time computer vision algorithms, and a custom graphics engine rendering at 60 fps" [frames per second]."

. They used "millions of images from thousands of faces from all around the world" while testing this.

. While trying to find the user's head and eyes for perspective-use, the cameras -could- during development be fooled by another head that happened to be in the picture (as in an image on a t-shirt).  They say they fixed the usual problems with seeing multiple-faces in that case.

. Developers can develop 3D apps for viewing homes while shopping, etc.

. You can silence your ringer for 3 hours.  After that, it turns back on.
      This would help me since I forget to turn it back on and then can't use a landline to call my cellphone to find out where it is :-)

. Price: Now 99 cents for 32GB phone (to be $99 for a 64GB model), with a 2 year monthly data plan, and this includes a limited-time offer of a free one-year Prime membership, w/ 2 yr contract and same Prime deal.

Addendum: More about Firefly and what it does (from product page)
  You just press the physical button on the side of the Fire Phone to "take action on"
' Phone numbers, web, and email addresses
Firefly identifies printed text on posters, magazines, and business cards -- make calls, save new contacts, send emails, and visit websites without typing long addresses.

Movies & TV
Firefly recognizes over 240,000 movies and TV episodes, and 160 live TV channels.  Firefly uses X-Ray, powered by IMDb, to show information on actors, plot details, and related content -- add titles to your Watchlist or download to watch later.

Music
Firefly recognizes songs so you can access artist information, play related songs, download albums direct to your Fire phone, or add them to your Wish List to purchase later on.  With Firefly-enabled apps like iHeartRadio and StubHub, you can create radio stations based on an identified artist, or even find tickets for their next show.

Over 70 million products
Recognize household items, books, DVDs, CDs, video games, and more.  Access product details, add items to your Wish List, or order on Amazon straight from your Fire phone. '

Amazon's 3D FIRE PHONE at 99 cents with a 2-year plan is available here





From today's press release
Title: Amazon Fire Phone Now 99 Cents with Two-Year Contract

Date(s): 8-Sep-2014 11:11 AM
Plus, one year of Prime membership included
Free unlimited cloud storage for photos
World-class customer support with Mayday--24x7, 365 days a year
32GB Storage--Standard
SEATTLE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sep. 8, 2014-- (NASDAQ: AMZN)--Dynamic Perspective, Firefly, world-class customer support with Mayday, free unlimited cloud storage for photos, 32GB of storage--and, for a limited time, customers get 12 months of Prime membership with Fire phone, which includes unlimited streaming of tens of thousands of movies and TV episodes from Prime Instant Video, access to over a million songs to download or stream from Prime Music, over 500,000 books to borrow from Kindle Owners' Lending Library and free two-day shipping on tens of millions of items. Now there's another great reason to buy Fire--it's just 99 cents with a two-year contract. Customers can purchase Fire on [and at AT&T stores nation wide].
"Fire is now 99 cents with a two-year contract, plus customers get one full year of Prime included," said Ian Freed, Vice President, Amazon Devices. "With access to all of the Prime content, Mayday, 32GB of memory and free unlimited cloud storage for photos, plus the exclusive Dynamic Perspective and Firefly features, Fire is another example of the value Amazon delivers to customers."
See what Amazon Fire customers are saying:
  • "The best part of the phone is the integration with Prime - I've switched all of my iTunes music over to Amazon Music and have bought a few albums from my phone. The sound from the included headphones is amazing. I've watched some movies and read some books - all synced to my Kindle Fire HDX and the movies with my Fire TV."
  • "Mayday: I feel this truly separates this phone from every other phone in the market. It's like having someone available 24x7 to help you out with your phone...and, there is no charge for that 'ever.'"
  • "Love it, better than the iPhone I had, Better pictures and better screen...My wife is switching from her iPhone 5 to Fire since she has checked out my FIRE."
  • "I've had three Kindle Fire tablets, and this Fire phone hooks seamlessly to their ecosystem of books and videos, which I use heavily in my professional work so that's important to me."
  • "The Firefly feature is fun, and the camera takes fabulous pictures and videos."
  • "If you're an Amazon Prime user, it can't get better than this. The support for the Amazon ecosystem is amazing."
Fire is the only smartphone with Dynamic Perspective and Firefly, two breakthrough technologies that allow you to see and interact with the world through a whole new lens. Fire features an advanced, 13MP rear-facing camera with backside illumination, LED flash, 5-element f/2.0 lens, Optical Image Stabilization (OIS), and high dynamic range (HDR) capabilities for beautiful, crisp photos, even in low-light conditions. Fire also includes a 2.1MP front-facing camera, and photos taken with Fire receive free, unlimited cloud storage.
Additionally, the Amazon Appstore has seen tremendous growth with the rate of app submissions to the Appstore more than doubling in the weeks following the Fire phone launch in the U.S. Recent additions include: Fly Delta, Bank of America, MLB.com At Bat, Tetris Blitz, Uno With Friends, Venmo, and World Series of Poker as well as the tens of thousands of others already available for Fire - FacebookFacebook Messenger, Flixster, Instagram, Pandora, PinterestSpotify, StubHub, Twitter, and WhatsApp. Customers are also enjoying the use of Dynamic Perspective within apps and games--3 of the top 7 downloaded apps and games, incorporate features of Dynamic Perspective.
In the U.S., Fire is available exclusively on AT&T  - the nation's most reliable 4G LTE network. Fire with 32GB is available for  99 cents with a two-year contract or $0 down and $18.75 per month (for 24 months) with AT&T NEXT 18.
[ End of the press release segment ]

Note you can also buy it from AT&T at one of their stores.  But when buying a device, many prefer to buy from Amazon.

Again, in addition to the 32GB model at 99 cents with a 2-year data plan with AT&T, Amazon is pricing the 64GB model at $99 ($200 off the opening price in July), although the product page isn't updated for that yet.


Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

Send to Kindle


(Older posts have older Kindle model info. For latest models, see CURRENT KINDLES page. )
If interested, you can also follow my add'l blog-related news at Facebook and Twitter
Questions & feedback are welcome in the Comment areas (tho' spam is deleted). Thanks!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Free and low-cost Kindle books: Search-link options for September for contemporary, non-classics + less-known bargain pages + Kindle discount-alerts by customers + Kindle Unlimited Audible w/ Whispersync



September 4, 2014
- This includes a quick reminder that the free Kindle book search options in the reference section (right-column of blog) are updated for September.

Regular readers of the blog are aware of the following links, but I repost them (and often add new ones) each month, for those who are new to the blog or are looking for a refresher on what's available.

These include some less-known links for avid bargain Kindle book hunters

    August 2014  September 2014.
    Also, all currently free non-classics sorted by:
    Publication Date   Bestselling    High ratings

  There are only a few shown on the first few days of any month, and these include pre-orders due that month -- most of these are listed as "free preview" of whatever chapters chosen, some are short stories, and a few (overnight) not-entire-family-safe titles may show up. Since this is Sept. 4, the listing will include more already available, full books


    Highly rated, under $1

    In addition, Amazon still quietly carries: "Mostly 99c Kindle Books" page, which is a different Amazon listing from the one for highly rated Kindle books under $1.

    Amazon Top 100   (Also, UK-only)

    Amazon's own Limited Time Free Promos.


Two ongoing pages you may want to bookmark
1. Free Kindle Non-Classics - includes the above bargain links among other ones
2. KINDLE SUPPORT info
  This has an "Often Asked" section which has a lot of good info in it. Updated 7/2/14, 2:50pm


Also for newcomers to the Kindle or to this blog, here are the special monthly book deals for September 2014 -- where to find them, etc.

SEPTEMBER 2014's monthly Kindle Books deal, for $3.99 or less (See UK listing here.)

For those who want to quickly look first at only the ones that are star-rated at 4 or above, here is Amazon's page for exactly that.

  On the main monthly Kindle book deals page, separate categories are highlighted, using Amazon's usual horizontally-scrolling pick-lists, for the following topics highlighted on the main page. They link to "See all" at the bottom of each horizontally-scrolled category row [ I'm adding direct links to the full category listings ]:

  1. History and by Avg Customer Rating
  2. Science Fiction & Fantasy and by Avg Customer Rating
  3. Biography and Memoirs and by Avg Customer Rating
  4. Literary Fiction Deals and by Avg Customer Rating
  5. Religion and Spirituality and by Avg Customer Rating
  7. Whispersync for Voice and by Avg Customer Rating     Newer
        The Whispersync category has sometimes shown up with an explanation that the
        corresponding audio book is also sold at the monthly-deal price, if wanted.
  ' Now you can seamlessly switch between reading featured Kindle books and listening to them without ever losing your place...
  First, purchase the Kindle book for $3.99 or less. Then add the narration from Audible for $3.99 or less to enable the feature. '
  But the Whispersync category is no longer on the main Monthly Deals page, although the deals still exist (there are about 44 of these Whispersync-ready books in this month's deals, down from 74 for August's specials).  They ARE included in the overall scrolled monthly deals that can be sorted by several options at the bottom of that main page.

Note that the new Kindle Unlimited subscription program includes many of these as part of Kindle Unlimited so that there's no added charge for the Audible book.

The main monthly deals page also tends to show, on the right, two vertically-scrolling categories:
  1. A list of Bestsellers
  2. Mystery, Thriller, and Suspense highlighted + more in the linked full list w/ sorting options)
      Here's that fuller listing by Avg Customer Rating

THEN, at the bottom of the new main monthly Kindle book-deals page, they offer the FULL current monthly listing, defaulting to sorting by "New and Popular" and there are 101 in all, currently, but the number may vary.  It was 125 in August.

  Here's a direct link to that Full-listing (US), sorted by "New and Popular" for the month, so
    it's a good one to bookmark if you just want to jump to that) and
    you can choose another sort option for this full listing, such as
        Avg Customer Rating or by Price: Low to High

These options should make it easier to find books of interest to you.

The pricing for August's group of Kindle books ranges from $0.99 to $3.99, as is usual for this monthly deal.

  The Kindle books you'll see on this special monthly-deals page  (UK version here) are new for August.

(US Link: amzn.to/mkbooks-1to4,  UK Link: amzn.to/100kbooks-1to4uk)


The ongoing Kindle Daily Deals page
for any given day usually shows a lot of books since it includes children's books, a couple of genre-specific deals, and the monthly daily deals as well.




DISCOUNTED / Price Dropped Kindle eBooks III - the ongoing Kindle Forum message thread
  This is an ongoing message thread in which Kindle owners share information on recent drops in pricing on specific Kindle books, often with some added info by the person posting it.

  Here's a link to the thread, which includes many books with huge price drops.  I'm starting at an August 28 posting that includes books that are still on sale today, Sept. 4 (some are highly rated). The first posting is on "Kill or Cure: An Illustrated History of Medicine" which is $19.99 in print but $1.99 on Kindle at the current time.

  The books discussed in this forum thread tend to be very short-term discounts.

  That forum topic link is to a specific post to start, in this case, a book alert on Sept. 4, as mentioned.  You can browse previous posts or days, or keep up with ongoing alerts after that, because Amazon keeps track of the last message# that you read, so that you can start from there next time.
 While many of the better deals seem around $1.99-$4.99, there usually are a decent number of larger-publishing house deals included (primarily price-matching) that tend to end in a DAY, so you'd need to double-check the current pricing of ANY Kindle books that interest you to see if the discounts are still active.

  Again, Kindle book prices are discounted for only a very short time, too often, and are promos, and that's another reason to watch the list.  Most of the large-publisher discounts last only one or two days even when they originate the discount.


DISCOUNTS ON ACCESSORIES Amazon's current pages (some, ongoing) on accessories for Kindle e-Reader and Kindle Fire
  1. Up to 50% (higher discount than usual) on cases for Kindle eReaders
  2. Up to 50% on cases for Kindle Fire (Gen 2) and Kindle Fire HD tablets but NOT HDX tablets
  3. Accessories for all Kindles, with some discounted.


For larger discounts, there are the Goldbox and Lightning Deals which sometimes include bigger one-day sales.


Newish Kindle Outlet Store
In the meantime, Amazon recently put together a Kindle Outlet Store to feature their certified refurbished Kindle devices, at up to 25% off.



Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

Send to Kindle


(Older posts have older Kindle model info. For latest models, see CURRENT KINDLES page. )
If interested, you can also follow my add'l blog-related news at Facebook and Twitter
Questions & feedback are welcome in the Comment areas (tho' spam is deleted). Thanks!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Kindle Fire HDX and HD2 Tips: Software updates - general improvements for the Kindle Fire tablets are here - v11.3.2.5, v13.3.2.5, and v14.3.2.5.


Amazon has set a software update to go directly to the current line of Kindle Fire tablets
-- I noticed that mine was being received and installed today, August 15, 2014.   It suddenly turned on and did the update.  This will be true for most owners of these tablets.

The update hasn't been announced in the forums, possibly because it's considered a minor update.  Amazon's wording at the software update pages:

    "The software update includes general improvements and performance enhancements."

General instructions from Amazon's help pages


     To Download & Install Software Updates Automatically

Sync your Kindle Fire HD 2nd Generation, or Kindle Fire HDX 7", or Kindle Fire HD 8.9" to download the latest software update automatically.  
Your Kindle Fire needs to be fully charged and connected to a Wi-Fi network before you can download the software update.
  1. Swipe down from the top of the screen to open Quick Settings, and then tap Settings.
  2. Tap Device, and then tap System Updates.
  3. Tap Check Now. If an update is available, your Kindle Fire will automatically download the update.
  4. After you download the update, tap Update.
Your Kindle Fire will restart during the software update. After the restart, the message "Installing system update" will appear on the screen.
_______

However, some who haven't received an update yet may want to download and install these manually rather than wait for the automatic update.  They'll need to determine which software version is on the device...

  • Swipe down from the top of the screen to open Quick Settings, and then tap Settings.


  • Tap Device, and then tap System Updates.  If you have the latest software update, it should look like this: 11.3.2.3.2_user_323001620 [if for Kindle Fire HD 7" 2nd Gen tablet, in this case, or later.]




  • Here are the Current and Latest Update versions (August 2014)
      and the Update pages for those wanting or needing to manually install the updates:

      Kindle Fire HD 7" 2nd Gen - Update page
        11.3.2.5

      Kindle Fire HDX 7" - Update page
        13.3.2.5

      Kindle Fire HDX 8.9" - Update page
        14.3.2.5


    See other blog postings today (8/15/14) for Paperwhite2 and Kindle for Android updates



      For daily free ebooks, check the following links:
    Temporarily-free books - Non-classics
    USA: by:
       Publication Date  
       Bestselling   High-ratings

    UK: PubDate   Popular

    The Kindle Daily Deal

    What is 3G? and "WiFi"?       Battery Care

    Highly-rated under $1
    ,  Newest: $1-$2, $2-$3
    Most Popular Free K-Books
    U.S. & Int'l (NOT UK):
       Top 100 free
    UK-Only:
       Top 100 free

    Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.

    USEFUL for your Kindle Keyboard (U.S. only, currently):
      99c Notepad 1.1,   99c Calculator,
      99c Calendar,   99c Converter

      *Click* to Return to the HOME PAGE.  Or click on the web browser's BACK button


    Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
    -- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

    Send to Kindle


    (Older posts have older Kindle model info. For latest models, see CURRENT KINDLES page. )
    If interested, you can also follow my add'l blog-related news at Facebook and Twitter
    Questions & feedback are welcome in the Comment areas (tho' spam is deleted). Thanks!

    Kindle Tips: Kindle Reading app update for Kindle for Android (v4.6) - Lots of enhancements but some are reporting crashes with the update, so waiting for the next update may be a good option for some.

       

    Kindle reading-app for Android updated with Audible Integration improvements and several other feature enhancements

    A copy of the forum announcement:
    ' Initial post: Aug 12, 2014 3:00:21 PM PDT

    Megan H. - Forum Moderator says:
    (AMAZON) (AMAZON OFFICIAL)
    We have a new, exciting software update available for Kindle for Android. The latest version of Kindle for Android 4.6 has several new features and performance improvements.

    What's been improved?

    We've improved the listening experience for books with audio:
    * When you're listening from a Bluetooth device, playback will automatically pause if Bluetooth is disconnected. A new permission is required for this, "Pair with Bluetooth devices." More information about the device permissions we require and why, is available at: https://amazon.com/help/kindleforandroid/permissions
    * Go hands-free with Immersion Reading; enjoy automatic page turns without the screen shutting off.
    * Learn more about reading and listening with Whispersync for Voice.

    Helpful account information can be found on the Settings screen:
    * Rename your device to make it easier to recognize when buying books from the Kindle store.
    * Check your registration information, is the app registered to the correct email address?
    * Learn more about reading personal documents with Send to Kindle.

    Viewing options inside the book have been updated:
    * "Use system brightness" is a more intuitive option for a brightness settings. Tap the "Aa" icon at the top of the screen to choose this new option. If you're not finding the "Aa" icon, tap the center of the screen to have the menu bars slide into view. This improvement was made with the help of your feedback!
    * When the menus are hidden (tap the center of the screen to show or hide them), tap the bottom right corner of the screen. Do you notice a small padlock? Tap it to lock the orientation. Now you can turn the device in any direction so you read on your side or back.

    Improvements were made to the Table of Contents as well:
    * A direct link to the book cover is at the top.
    * "Front matter" is next. Funny name but this where you'll find the title, copyright, dedication and more. There's an arrow to the right of the label. Tap it to close the front matter section.
    * If a book has page numbers we'll show them alongside the chapter names. The current page you're on will be highlighted.
    * If another chapter is selected, you can always get back to your previous location by tapping one of the placeholders on the location seeker at the bottom.

    Lots of other improvements and fixes are included as a result of your feedback. Please keep the feedback coming, we're always listening and will be sure to send your comments to the Kindle for Android team. '


    REMINDER
    How does Whispersync for Voice work?
    Amazon's Whispersync for Voice page has a clear diagram showing the basics of how the parts relate and how you use this convenient feature (without relying on the computerized voice we heard with the older eInk Kindles that had audio).


    If this is a NEW Android app install
    If you've never installed the Android app,
    • go to Amazon's Kindle for Android app page
    • Select "Download now"
    • Follow the instructions to download the app to your device
    • After installing the Kindle reading app, you'll need to register it to your Amazon account.

    Kindle reading-app Updates - Where?
      . Kindle for Android Phone update page at Amazon appstore
      . Kindle for Android Tablet update page at Amazon appstore
      . or, if Google play was the original source anyway, Android Updates from Google play.




    Check often: Temporarily-free recently published Kindle books
      Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.  Top 100 free bestsellers.  Liked-books under $1
    UK-Only: recently published free books, bestsellers, or £5 Max ones
        Also, UK customers should see the UK store's Top 100 free bestsellers.

      *Click* to Return to the HOME PAGE.  Or click on the web browser's BACK button


    Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
    -- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

    Send to Kindle


    (Older posts have older Kindle model info. For latest models, see CURRENT KINDLES page. )
    If interested, you can also follow my add'l blog-related news at Facebook and Twitter
    Questions & feedback are welcome in the Comment areas (tho' spam is deleted). Thanks!

    Kindle Tips: Software update v5.4.5.1 for Paperwhite 2 is ready. REVISED for Footnote improvements.

    New software update for Paperwhite 2
    The description released August 11 at the software update page and at the forums just repeats exactly what the changes were for update v5.4.5 on July 28, 2014 (!)

    However, knowledgeable customers say that there were complaints that the footnotes were now not working properly after v5.4.5, and they report that the footnote functioning is working well with this last week's updated release 5.4.5.1.

    The links below will work for this update.  Below is a copy of what was posted for v5.4.5 on July 28.
      Bear in mind, that when it says "v5.4.5" all of it now applies also to v5.4.5.1.


    The changes that took effect for v5.4.5 and which still apply for v5.4.5.1

    NEW KINDLE PAPERWHITE 2 gets Software Update v5.4.5 has some general improvements and feature enhancements.

    Many report never getting automated updates on their E-Ink readers.  In that case you can download the update-file and install it manually if wanting to get the feature updates.  More on that below.

    This update was released last week.

    Kindle Paperwhite 2 Software Upgrade to v5.4.5

      Devices involved: See Paperwhite 2 (US),   UK Paperwhite 2: here; Global Paperwhite 2: here.

    The new, free software update available for Kindle Paperwhite 2 can be found here [U.S. and some international].

        [Here's the UK-only software update page]


    Amazon's software update page explains how to check the software version currently on your Paperwhite 2.  I'm usually one of the last to receive software updates, so sometimes I do follow the step-by-step instructions to do a manual download and install to my Kindle if the change is important to me.  In my case, I have the Paperwhite 1, and there's no current update for that one.

    This update normally automatically downloads and installs on the applicable Kindle Paperwhite 2 eventually;  however, as mentioned, you can also manually download the software and transfer the update to your device via USB cable.

    Here are the feature enhancements they describe for update v5.4.5 [Emphases below are mine]
    • Sync to the Most Recent Page Read
      Any books you are reading on your Kindle Paperwhite will now sync to the most recent page read across all Kindle devices and/or reading apps registered to your Amazon account. You can still manually sync your Kindle Paperwhite to go to the furthest page read.  To learn more, go to Sync on Your Kindle Paperwhite.
    • Preview a PDF in Pan-and-Zoom Mode
      When viewing a PDF in pan-and-zoom mode, you will now see a small preview window in the margin of the screen.
    • Read a Sample While Your Physical Book Ships
      While you are waiting for select physical books to arrive at your doorstep, you can start reading the book right away by adding a sample of the book to your Kindle library.  With this release, these samples will be now available for download in the Cloud tab of your Kindle Paperwhite in addition to your other supported Kindle devices and apps. Any previous samples you have claimed through a physical book purchase will also be available in the Cloud to download. To learn more, go to Read While Your Book Ships.
    A Reminder about how syncing of your reading between devices and apps is done
    In order for this to work reliably, the changes to your last page read and any new annotations done (highlighting, notes and bookmarks) must be 'seen' by the servers at Amazon -- this means that your WiFi or 3G wireless connection would need to be 'on' at the time you close the book by tapping the Home icon.
       Once the Amazon servers note the changes, they'll be available to the next Kindle-compatible reader or app you open (with Wireless on that device turned On also).
      You can turn 'off' the WiFi or 3G Wireless connection after leaving the Kindle book reading, which will help maximize battery use on that device.)

      When an eInk screen is displaying a page but there is no change to that screen, the display is having no effect on the battery.
      When you change what's being displayed (changing or adding anything on the page, as in tapping it on the side to get a new page or when an action brings a pop-up window or dialog box), the display IS using the battery.  That's why just pressing the power button for only ~1 second puts the Kindle to 'sleep' during which it displays an image, which doesn't use the battery, but the Paperwhite light turns off.

      Leaving it in this sleep state doesn't draw battery power as a result of the image display itself.  If, however, WiFi is On during Sleep state, any activity with subscription downloads or a Special Offers download -will- use battery power.

      There is always very slow battery drain in between charges even when a device is turned off.

      So, the "Screen Off" is an relatively new choice on mine, I noticed.  This just blanks the screen and puts it into sleep state.  SOME have requested a blank screen so they know it's "Off" but, in this case, it's only that there's no image seen - not even Amazon's default images during normal sleep-screens.

    Mentioned previously also:
      "Restart" acts more like a soft-reboot on a computer and clears up memory states that may be causing problems.

      There is NO option on my Paperwhite to completely Power Off or Shut down the Kindle.  My options are to (1) Cancel a longer key-press action, (2) Restart the Paperwhite (mine is a Paperwhite 1), or (3) choose "Screen Off."

      It could be that my dialog box for powering off is different from that seen by others because I chose not to get Special Offers sent to my Paperwhite (I accept Special Offers on my Kindle Fire tablets) and, therefore, blanking the screen with a "Screen Off" does not interfere with the marketing offers on the lockscreen.

      Some may choose to get the offers on the Paperwhite and, as a result, may not get the 'Screen Off' option.  That's just conjecture on my part.

      But, in that case, they seem to get the option to 'shut down' the Kindle.

      Also, in my case, holding in the power button for over 20 seconds (rather than 5 seconds) does still cause a Restart (and a clearing of current memory use), as in the past.


    IF you experience unusual battery drain
    Note that keeping your Kindle always connected to a Wi-Fi network can drain the battery faster under certain circumstances.  If you're experiencing that, then once you've got the update "over the air," put the Paperwhite back to "Airplane Mode ON" via the 'Settings' option on the Menu -- the option lets you toggle Wireless OFF, using the "Airplane On" choice.

      Amazon's Paperwhite development team won't return the Wireless Off/On choice to the front menu as they did last year for the Kindle Touch, removing the 'airplane mode' icon which confuses many.  It's very inconvenient to have the WiFi On/Off setting on a secondary menu and many, as a result, don't even know that they can turn WiFi Off if needed.

      Amazon probably prefers that we keep Wireless 'On' due to delivery of Special Offers but the battery-drain problem can occur when circumstances involve (1) subscriptions that are downloaded regularly (my New York Times Latest News subscription updates the Kindle edition about five times a day - $1.99/month)) or (2) due to a weaker connection that results from the distance from the WiFi router, in which case the device keeps trying to connect when a download is due (and that can be for the special offers that Amazon regularly needs to send for those who choose to opt for the less-expensive model with the special-offers feature) and is then constantly active.

      BUT, again, WiFi needs to be 'On' after you've read a book and made annotations for a session AND when you then want to be able to continue reading later, on another device (like a smartphone), starting at where you'd stopped.
      If WiFi isn't turned on, the Amazon servers won't have any way of knowing the last-page-read location nor any notes or highlighting you've made, which you'd want to be able to access on the other device.  So, a reminder on my usual recommendation:
    1. When you're finished reading, tap the top-toolbar and press the HOME icon.
      That will 'close' the book session and record the last page read and log the annotations.
    2. Tap the top of the Paperwhite to bring up the toolbar and menu icon.
    3. If you see an airplane icon at the top, your WiFi is Off (and you're in "airplane" take-off mode).
    4. Tap 'Settings'
    5. Turn Airplane Mode OFF, and that'll turn WiFi ON.
    6. At that point, the Kindle will try to sync your changes to the Server and will download anything that is pending (a subscription to a newspaper, magazine, or blog, usually).
    7. After that's done, you can go ahead and leave WiFi ON if you have no problems with faster battery drain
          OR you can turn OFF the WiFi if you need to save battery power.

    Only if you'd rather not wait -- DOWNLOADING and transferring the Update via USB
    US:  Go to the Kindle Paperwhite Software Update v5.4.5 download section to get the instructions for the download and transfer to your Kindle via USB:
    UK:  UK Paperwhite eReader owners can do the same for the UK-only page




    Check often: Temporarily-free recently published Kindle books
      Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.  Top 100 free bestsellers.  Liked-books under $1
    UK-Only: recently published free books, bestsellers, or £5 Max ones
        Also, UK customers should see the UK store's Top 100 free bestsellers.

      *Click* to Return to the HOME PAGE.  Or click on the web browser's BACK button

    Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
    -- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

    Send to Kindle


    (Older posts have older Kindle model info. For latest models, see CURRENT KINDLES page. )
    If interested, you can also follow my add'l blog-related news at Facebook and Twitter
    Questions & feedback are welcome in the Comment areas (tho' spam is deleted). Thanks!

    Saturday, August 9, 2014

    Free Kindle books: Search-link options for August for contemporary, non-classics + less-known bargain pages + Kindle discount-alerts by customers + Kindle Unlimited Audible w/ Whispersync


    August 9, 2014
    - This includes a quick reminder that the free Kindle book search options in the reference section (right-column of blog) are updated for August.

    Regular readers of the blog are aware of the following links, but I repost them (and often add new ones) each month, for those who are new to the blog or are looking for a refresher on what's available.

    These include some less-known links for avid bargain Kindle book hunters

        July 2014  August 2014.
        Also, all currently free non-classics sorted by:
        Publication Date   Bestselling    High ratings

      There are only a few shown on the first few days of any month, and these include pre-orders due that month -- most of these are listed as "free preview" of whatever chapters chosen, some are short stories, and a few (overnight) not-entire-family-safe titles may show up. Since this is August 9, the listing will include more already available, full books.

        Highly rated, under $1

        In addition, Amazon still quietly carries: "Mostly 99c Kindle Books" page, which is a different Amazon listing from the one for highly rated Kindle books under $1.

        Amazon Top 100   (Also, UK-only)

        Amazon's own Limited Time Free Promos.


    Two ongoing pages you may want to bookmark
    1. Free Kindle Non-Classics - includes the above bargain links among other ones
    2. KINDLE SUPPORT info
      This has an "Often Asked" section which has a lot of good info in it. Updated 7/2/14, 2:50pm


    Also for newcomers to the Kindle or to this blog, here are the special monthly book deals for August 2014 -- where to find them, etc.

    AUGUST 2014's monthly Kindle Books deal, for $3.99 or less (See UK listing here.)

    For those who want to quickly look first at only the ones that are star-rated at 4 or above, here is Amazon's page for exactly that.

      On the main monthly Kindle book deals page, separate categories are highlighted, using Amazon's usual horizontally-scrolling pick-lists, for the following topics highlighted on the main page. They link to "See all" at the bottom of each horizontally-scrolled category row [ I'm adding direct links to the full category listings ]:

      1. History and by Avg Customer Rating
      2. Science Fiction & Fantasy and by Avg Customer Rating
      3. Biography and Memoirs and by Avg Customer Rating
      4. Literary Fiction Deals and by Avg Customer Rating
      5. Religion and Spirituality and by Avg Customer Rating
      7. Whispersync for Voice and by Avg Customer Rating     Newer
            The Whispersync category has sometimes shown up with an explanation that the
            corresponding audio book is also sold at the monthly-deal price, if wanted.
      ' Now you can seamlessly switch between reading featured Kindle books and listening to them without ever losing your place...
      First, purchase the Kindle book for $3.99 or less. Then add the narration from Audible for $3.99 or less to enable the feature. '
      But the Whispersync category is no longer on the main Monthly Deals page, although the deals still exist (there are about 74 of these Whispersync-ready books in this month's deals).  They ARE included in the overall scrolled monthly deals that can be sorted by several options at the bottom of that main page.

    Note that the new Kindle Unlimited subscription program includes many of these as part of Kindle Unlimited so that there's no added charge for the Audible book.

    The main monthly deals page also tends to show, on the right, two vertically-scrolling categories:
      1. A list of Bestsellers
      2. Mystery, Thriller, and Suspense highlighted + more in the linked full list w/ sorting options)
          Here's that fuller listing by Avg Customer Rating

    THEN, at the bottom of the new main monthly Kindle book-deals page, they offer the FULL current monthly listing, defaulting to sorting by "New and Popular" and there are 125 in all, currently, but the number may vary.

      Here's a direct link to that Full-listing (US), sorted by "New and Popular" for the month, so
        it's a good one to bookmark if you just want to jump to that) and
        you can choose another sort option for this full listing, such as
            Avg Customer Rating or by Price: Low to High

    These options should make it easier to find books of interest to you.

    The pricing for August's group of Kindle books ranges from $0.99 to $3.99, as is usual for this monthly deal.

      The Kindle books you'll see on this special monthly-deals page  (UK version here) are new for August.

    (US Link: amzn.to/mkbooks-1to4,  UK Link: amzn.to/100kbooks-1to4uk)


    The ongoing Kindle Daily Deals page
    for any given day usually shows a lot of books since it includes children's books, a couple of genre-specific deals, and the monthly daily deals as well.




    DISCOUNTED / Price Dropped Kindle eBooks III - the ongoing Kindle Forum message thread
      This is an ongoing message thread in which Kindle owners share information on recent drops in pricing on specific Kindle books, often with some added info by the person posting it.

      Here's a link to the thread, which includes many books with huge price drops.  I'm starting at an August 3 posting that includes books that are still on sale today August 9 (many are very highly rated), one of them by Darrell Hammond, Saturday Night Live's "longest-tenured cast member," which is $25 in print format but $1.99 currently in Kindle edition.

      The books discussed in this forum thread tend to be very short-term discounts.

      That forum topic link is to a specific post to start, in this case, a book alert on August 3, as mentioned.  You can browse previous posts or days, or keep up with ongoing alerts after that, because Amazon keeps track of the last message# that you read, so that you can start from there next time.
     While many of the better deals seem around $1.99-$4.99, there usually are a decent number of larger-publishing house deals included (primarily price-matching) that tend to end in a DAY, so you'd need to double-check the current pricing of ANY Kindle books that interest you to see if the discounts are still active.

      Again, Kindle book prices are discounted for only a very short time, too often, and are promos, and that's another reason to watch the list.  Most of the large-publisher discounts last only one or two days even when they originate the discount.


    DISCOUNTS ON ACCESSORIES Amazon's current pages (some, ongoing) on accessories for Kindle e-Reader and Kindle Fire
      1. Up to 50% (higher discount than usual) on cases for Kindle eReaders
      2. Up to 50% on cases for Kindle Fire (Gen 2) and Kindle Fire HD tablets but NOT HDX tablets
      3. Accessories for all Kindles, with some discounted.


    For larger discounts, there are the Goldbox and Lightning Deals which sometimes include bigger one-day sales.


    Newish Kindle Outlet Store
    In the meantime, Amazon recently put together a Kindle Outlet Store to feature their certified refurbished Kindle devices, at up to 25% off.




    Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
    -- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

    Send to Kindle


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    Wednesday, August 6, 2014

    Fire TV and Prime Shipping Tips: The Fire TV app selection has more than doubled, challenging Apple TV's, and Prime Instant-Video-ONLY categories have been expanded ... Amazon expands Same Day Delivery to more U.S. cities ... Amazon also offers a SLOWER shipping option to Prime members in return for a $1 Instant video credit.


    Amazon's Fire TV's appstore has quickly become competitive with Apple's Apple TV offerings.

    The Motley Fool, an investing site, reports today that "Amazon Fire TV Just Leveled the Playing Field With Apple TV."

      The article by Steve Symington draws our attention to Amazon's announcement that
    ' ... the Fire TV app selection has more than doubled, with "hundreds" of new services and games added since the media streaming device was launched in April.  Among Fire TV's new games are Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Dungeon Quest, Castle of Illusion starring Mickey Mouse, and the official Flappy Birds Family -- the last of which is currently a Fire TV exclusive.  Meanwhile, new services include WATCH Disney Channel, WATCH Disney Jr., MLB.TV, Animal Planet Live, and WWE Network.

    If that wasn't enough, Amazon promised more significant Fire TV services to come by the end of the year, including WATCH ABC, WATCH ABC Family, NFL Now, A&E, Lifetime, Outside TV, Young Hollywood, North Face TV, Fashion TV, Green TV, and Dailymotion. '

    The Apple TV box has been reviewed as slower than the Fire TV, with much less memory, and with less advanced gaming capability (although the Fire TV is not going to be the equal of an actual $300-400 gaming console).  Curiously, Symington writes that an Apple TV advantage is its full-screen mirroring functionality.  But not only does Fire TV have that (and it's very smooth, with no delays), the Fire TV also has "Fling" a feature that allows you to use your Kindle Fire HDX or HD2 or Fire Phone to send a video to the TV where it will be streamed via Amazon's Cloud and not take up processing power while you can continue to do other work on the tablet or phone AND get X-Ray'd info on who is in a scene you're watching with Amazon Prime videos.

    Tips from other customers
    You can browse the customer reviews for tips on how to minimize your Cable bill by using the Fire TV offerings.
     There's a search box in the customer reviews area that lets you search the customer reviews for words like "cable" etc.

    Voice Search - Does it work for more than Amazon's videos?
    Hulu Plus's is now included in the voice search, for the most part (they're building the database, and most of it is working).
      Netflix will be integrated with voice search control later.  From a recent Amazon press release, a quote from CEO Jeff Bezos:
    '... innovative features like unified voice search, which we’re delighted is being adopted by so many new partners, including Netflix, HBO Go, Hulu Plus, Crackle and Showtime Anytime... '
      Anyone doing keypad searches knows how arduous searches can be.

    Finding Amazon Prime Instant Videos Only
    Searching for only Prime Instant Video -- This has not been possible but customers have of course been keen to have this capability, and Amazon has said, earlier, that they are working on making Prime Instant Videos easier to find on the Fire TV.

      As of mid-July, Amazon added more Prime-Instant Only browsing categories.  One customer review mentioned it's not a Search, but it's much more helpful than it was. (Note that Apple TV does not get Prime Instant videos.)

      On July 30, Amazon explained the new features in a reply to a customer review:
    ' The Amazon team says                           July 30, 2014

    . . . We wanted to let you know that we made it easier to find your favorite Prime content with the click of your remote.   You can now browse many more Prime-only categories, including
      Top Prime TV,
      Top Prime Movies,
      Prime TV for Kids,
      Prime Movies for Kids,
      Prime TV by Genre, and
      Prime Movies by Genre. '

    They don't mention a coming Voice Search that searches specifically for Prime Instant videos, and even then it would take forever to show results that included large segments of the 40,000 or so that are available for a search-results page.  The Genre category should be very useful, as long as Amazon doesn't limit greatly the number of videos that will come up.  You can of course search for a specific movie to see whether it carries a charge for Prime members or is included at no added cost.

    HOWEVER, there's another way to view what is available for Prime members at no added cost:
      You can use your laptop, desktop, or even tablet, to go to the Prime-Only pages, by categories and genres or by a listing that's sortable, with details.

    Generally, it would be faster to go through these on a computing device when so many items are involved.
      I've read that due to various Agreements that are for varying terms, a video can go in and out of 'Free' category, so that may be an additional reason to have fixed categories that include only Prime Instant Video content.

      Some are also just putting Prime videos onto their "Watch" lists and these will show up on that list on the Fire TV.

    If you're new to checking out Fire TV, see earlier blog articles for much more detail on the features and how to use them:
    1. Intro to Features of the new Fire TV - April 2, 2014
    2. Tips from further exploration of my Fire TV - April 8, 2014
    3. The amazing Frequency app - April 14, 2014.


    Amazon expands Same Day Delivery to more cities
    Press release details are cited in a story by Forbes's Jeremy Greenfield, who reports:
    ' Amazon has launched Same Day Delivery in six more major cities, making goods from baby supplies to textbooks available almost immediately for millions more shoppers.

    The program, which initially launched in Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Francisco and Seattle is now also available in Baltimore, Dallas, Indianapolis, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C.
      For an additional charge of $5.99, Amazon Prime customers can have as many items as they want delivered to their doors on the same day they’re ordered.  Not all Amazon items are available for delivery same day and orders must be placed before noon.
    . . .
    It’s unclear from the Amazon release whether trade books — that is, books widely read by the general public like fiction, nonfiction, illustrated books, etc. — are included in the new program.  The release specifically mentioned textbooks, however: “Fill-up the back pack with things like pencils, glue, text books, lunch boxes and other supplies.”

    Amazon has not yet replied to a request for comment. '

    From the press release:
    ' ... Prime members pay only $5.99 for all the same-day delivery items they can order.
    Pricing for non-Prime customers remains unchanged, with a $9.98 fee for the first item and $0.99 for each additional item. '
    "Metro" areas:
    I live across the bay from San Francisco but "the East Bay' (which includes Berkeley) is not considered part of the "metro" area of San Francisco, so it's not available where I am.  It's really rare that I ever need something in one day.  And I just received one item in 1 business day though it was estimated to take the usual two days.

      To view Same-Day eligible ZIP codes in select cities and see if your area is eligible:
        * East Coast & Midwest Cities
        * West Coast & Southwest Cities


    In the meantime!
    Amazon is encouraging Prime customers to opt for slower shipping if the item isn't needed in two days.
    Cnet's Lance Whitney writes that Amazon is offering Prime members a $1 credit toward an Instant Video rental (usually costing $1.99 to $2.99) if they choose free "no rush" shipping.

    It seems the expense of offering Prime benefits is having an impact on its bottom line, and this is one way to lower the costs for Amazon without having to raise the cost of Prime features any further.

      And it makes sense too.  Some commenters on news sites are saying that they can use their Prime to buy 3 separate items which will be delivered in slow motion :-) and get $3 toward video credits that way.  So far, it's being allowed.  Apparently some noticed that this option began to appear about 8 days ago.


    Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
    -- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

    Send to Kindle


    (Older posts have older Kindle model info. For latest models, see CURRENT KINDLES page. )
    If interested, you can also follow my add'l blog-related news at Facebook and Twitter
    Questions & feedback are welcome in the Comment areas (tho' spam is deleted). Thanks!

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