Amazon has yet another service to hook you into their cyber clutches. FreeTime Unlimited provides Kindle users with ebooks, games, movies, TV shows and Android apps for the entire family. For $6.99 monthly, an entire family gets access to unlimited access to ad-free content while individuals pay only $2.99. The family friendly subscription includes age appropriate, child friendly offerings from the likes of PBS, Nickelodeon, DC Comics and Disney. If you are planning to purchase a Fire or Fire HD this holiday season, you get a 1-month free trial to the service.
Amazon Prime is morphing into a monthly streaming service with a bonus of a free Kindle ebook once a month. After a 30 day free trial, you pay $7.99 monthly ($95.88 yearly) for the viewing privilege as well as getting free 2-day shipping on anything you purchase from them with no minimum limit. It remains to be seen if those who frequent Amazon shopping will turn to them for their streaming needs as well.
Pre-orders are now available for the November arrival of Kindles. The new WiFi Kindle Fire 4G has 8.9" display, Dolby audio, dual stereo speakers and 4G LTE. Amazon is offering a $49.99 monthly data package with a one year commitment. A WiFi only version is available for those on a budget.
If you want a basic reader without the bells and whistles, try the Kindle Paperwhite or Paperwhite 3G with built-in front light. The claim is that there are 62% more pixels and a 25% better contrast and each comes with free wireless service.
Sony has released its latest eReader earlier than its expected September debut. Available in white, black or red , the PRS-T2 has a glare-free touchscreen, 2GB storage, preloaded dictionaries and translators, Facebook and Everclear access and a 2-month battery life. The eReader also comes with a voucher for the first Harry Potter ebook. As with its previous version, it can access Sony's library that allows borrowing from more than 15,000 public libraries. The PRS-T2 carries a $129.99 price, with optional cover and cover with light also available.
Following last week's todo concerning the price of eBooks, Apple seems to have welcomed the chance to go to trial over the allegation that the company allowed five of the major publishing houses to set their own prices to compete with Amazon's lower rate of e-books. Two major publishers, Hatchette Book Group and HarperCollins have already settled out of court, and Simon & Schuster is working on an agreement.
Apple lawyer Daniel Floyd said, "We believe that this is not an appropriate case against us and we would like to validate that" although the price hike came right before they released the iPad. Should Apple and the other two companies be found guilty, watch for the floodgates to open to class action suits and lower prices for the rest of us. The European Comission is looking into the problem and some Canadians are already filing suits. The U.S. District Court hearing is set for June 22.
If you noticed the price of eBooks rising a couple of years ago when Amazon set a price of $9.99 for most titles, so did the Justice Department as they have finally issued a lawsuit against Apple and five of the major publishing houses. Three of them have acquiesced and settled so expect to pay less in the future.
With the savings, you can invest in Barnes & Noble's new Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight designed for those who insist on reading in bed. The light is instant turn-on and easily adjusts by touch. It also has an anti-glare screen protector for daytime reading. Pre-order now for a May 1 delivery for $139 and shipping is free.
There are plenty of accessories coming out for the Kindle Fire, including Grace Digital's FireDock available in July, a stereo speaker/dock which can rotate and play your e-book both horizontally and vertically.
Reader Dock's FireStation is also coming soon for the Fire at a pre-order price of $54.99 as well as the N-Station dock for Nook Color/Tablet.
Move over, Skymall, there's a new shopping service in the friendly skies. Delta will soon offer free access to Amazon as part of its overall WiFi service. Shop for shoes, watch a film, grab an app or download an eBook. Delta has been offering WiFi service via GoGo for a while now and users can choose between a Day Pass for $12.00, a monthly Traveler Pass for $34.95 and an Annual Pass for $399.95.
Sony's double-screened Vaio P Tablet has arrived. AT&T is offering the device that is 4G capable. It may take a while to get used to the dual 5.5" touchscreen displays but there are plenty of apps to play with. The tablet runs Android 3.2 and can be used for gaming, music, video and reading eBooks. It has both a front and rear camera, WiFi or Bluetooth connection and can transfer to a compatible PC or TV. Plan on a $399.00 price with 2-year contract and monthly data plan.
Amazon has gone one step further in its newly established video streaming service. They bargained with Disney ABC to get Prime Instant short term access to some of their broadcast channels as well as their cable channels. They have also worked out deals with CBS, Sony, ABC Universal, Fox and Warner Bros. This is a good move on their part as it should help boost Fire sales.
As further incentive to get their tablet going, Amazon has "opened" a Lending Library. Kindle owners are allowed one title per month. Although the "Big Six" publishers have not signed on because of pricing disagreements, there are still over 5,000 books that can be downloaded. The bad news? Borrowers have to subscribe to Amazon Prime, a service that costs $79 yearly.
Okay, like most of the world we want an iPad, but we gotta admit, Amazon has a whole lot of PR going for it with their Fire commercial, so much so that between that and the price, guess what we want for Xmas/Kwanza/Chanukah this year...
We want the full color experience along with the ability to escape into a movie, game, magazine or simply being able to check our email. The Fire features Amazon Silk, their cloud-accelerated browser that supports flash. And with 17 million tunes, millions of books and 1,000s of movies/TV shows, we might never get to those to-do lists.
If you opted for the least expensive "special offers" Kindle but they are driving you bonkers, Amazon will let you give them an additional $30.00 and wipe them out. Go to the Manage Your Kindle page, click Edit in the Subscribe column and follow the instructions. This upgrade is much easier than trading up just when you got used to the device you have now. So far the option is only for the latest keyboard-free Kindle, but should be available for the Touch when released.
With 'nary the hoopla that other companies display, 4 new Amazon eReaders are now upon us. The latest Kindle is available now and holds 1,400 books, weighs less than 6 ounces, has a 6" screen and can fit in your pocket or backpack. The Touch and Touch 3G have text-to-speech and, in addition to being a reader, can play audio books and MP3s. The literally colorful Fire can handle books, games, movies, TV, music, surfing, magazines and apps. We shall see if the inexpensive reader can contend with its Appleish competition. The Touches and Fire can be preordered for a November release.
iRiver has just released its Story HD with Google eBook integration. This means you can purchase several thousand titles as well as having access to 3 million freebies. The eReader has a convenient QWERTY keyboard, a 6" high res e-ink screen, a battery life of about 6 weeks and can hold up to 1,500 titles in its mere 7.3 lb. weight. Libraries can also be stored on a cloud once WiFi is connected. No doubt Google eBook capability will soon become available in other devices.