Opinion

Amazon Adds More Apps for Kindle Fire and Consumer Interest is High – Is It Time for Apple to Start Worrying?

Amazon today announced that its new $199 Kindle Fire, which will go on sale next week, will feature apps from Facebook, Netflix, Rhapsody, Pandora and Zynga. Several thousand more apps will follow next week. Until now, there really wasn’t much of a market for tablets, there was really only a market for the iPad. Clearly, that’s changing very quickly, though. With Amazon and Barnes & Noble getting into the market, their cheaper (and smaller) tablets could hurt Apple’s position as the dominant tablet player.

catching up

Catching Up: This Weekend’s Must-Read Tech Stories

Weekends tend to be rather slow when it comes to tech news, but thanks to the launch of Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs, even those sites that usually don’t cover Apple news in detail kept pumping out stories as more and more details from the book leaked before today’s release date. The book, in its various e-Book and hardcover editions currently dominates Amazon’s sales charts, just as it dominated the tech news over the weekend. Having read about a quarter through the book by now, I have to say that it’s definitely worth a read – not just for the insights into Jobs’ life and thoughts, but also because it’s a fascinating history of Silicon Valley and the players that made it what it is today.

Amazon

Amazon Announces $199 Kindle Fire Tablet, $149 Kindle touch 3G, $99 Kindle touch and $79 Kindle

Amazon today unveiled its long-rumored tablet: the Kindle Fire. Based on Android, but with a custom-designed user interface, the Kindle tablet will cost $199 and go on sale on November 15. It’s available for pre-order now. The company’s founder and CEO Jeff Bezos also announced a new version of the Kindle eReader: the Kindle Touch….

News

Next Stop for Google Street View: The Amazon

Google has been taking its Street View cars and trikes to some interesting locations lately. You can already get a close-up look at Stonehenge and meander through the National Museum of Iraq. The next project for Street View, though, looks like the most adventurous Google has taken this technology, though: the Amazon. As part of this new project, Google will “pedal the Street View trike along the narrow dirt paths of the Amazon villages and maneuver it up close to where civilization meets the rainforest.” In addition, the Street View team will also take pictures from a boat as it travels down the river.

News

Back to School for Less: Amazon Launches Textbook Rentals

Amazon today (finally) launched its textbook rental program for the Kindle ecosystem of apps and tablets. With the new Kindle Textbook Rental program, students can now rent textbooks from publishers like John Wiley & Sons, Elsevier and Taylor & Francis for far less than the price of the physical textbook (with saving that can be as high as 80%). One nifty feature of Amazon’s program is that the pricing is flexible and based on how long you want to keep the book. Rental periods range from 30 days (for the highest savings) to 360 days.

Reviews

Reactions to Amazon's Cloud Drive Music Locker Launch

Amazon just launched its online music locker last night and the discussion around it is already dominating the tech world this morning. Did Amazon get a jump on Apple and Google here in launching a service these two tech giants can’t yet offer? What about the legality of the service? Or is it really just a copycat product that quite a few other startups are already offering. Here are some of the most interesting reactions to the launch.

News

AmazonTote Goes the Way of Webvan – Shutting Down in March

Last year, Amazon started a pilot project in one Seattle neighborhood that allowed its customers to order products online and have them delivered to their homes (in a reusable Amazon bag) twice a week. As TechFlash’s John Cook noted at the time, this service “conjured images of Webvan.” Indeed, just like Webvan, a poster child of all that was wrong with the first Web bubble, Amazon is now shutting this service down and is redirecting its customers to AmazonFresh instead. AmazonFresh, too, is only available in the company’s hometown of Seattle. Fresh offers users free delivery – either pre-dawn before 6am or later in the day.

News

Apple's Rejection of Sony Reader App Sows Confusion

To buy a Kindle book and read it on your iOS device, you can’t use an in-app bookstore. Instead, you have to go to Amazon’s website to buy your book. The same holds true for virtually every other iOS e-book reader. Yesterday, however, Apple rejected Sony’s e-reader app for the iPhone, arguing that apps that offer users to buy content outside of the app also have to make their virtual goods available through in-app purchases (read: purchases that allow Apple to take its 30% cut)