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The Skinny: Why Would You Want a Kindle Fire if You Love Your eInk Kindle?

By Steve Windwalker

Okay, short and sweet. And just my opinion.

Over the next few weeks, and certainly including this issue of The Weekender, you’ll see plenty of information and opinion about the new Kindles, how to use them, what to use them for, and so forth.

But there’s a simple question that’s on a lot of people’s minds. You already own a great Kindle (whichever Kindle it is). Why would you want to spring for the new and improved model?

The answer involves all of the other digital content that’s online these days, including but not limited to the music and video content that Amazon sells. For everything you might want to enjoy — movies, tv shows without commercials, music, Audible.com audiobooks, email, Youtube, Netflix instant streaming, games, online magazines and newspapers, productivity apps, everything on the web including Kindle Nation Daily, and, yes, ebooks — the Kindle Fire’s the best, most elegant, best value proposition for easily, seamlessly enjoying all of that while in a, er, relaxed posture. Nothing else comes close, assuming you don’t want to throw your money away.

I was concerned about whether the Kindle Fire 7″ display would match the experience of the iPad’s 10-inch display. The Kindle Fire wins in visual experience, handheld weight, speed of content delivery, and form factor. When you factor in price, it’s not even close.

For reading books, I still prefer my eInk Kindles, but even that could change: the jury is at lunch, watching a movie on the Kindle Fire between bites.

If you are like me, (perish the thought), you may have tried a number of devices looking for a truly portable, relax-on-the-sofa computer that didn’t cost thousands. The Kindle Fire is not exactly that, just as the Netbook and the iPad and the Kaypro and the Osborne were not that. I’m not going to write my next book on the Kindle Fire, just as I am not going to write it on the iPad. But I have to say that the Kindle Fire comes closer than anything else I have experienced to providing a truly portable and easy environment for me to enjoy what I enjoy when I am not creating content.

As I told Len Edgerly on his podcast this week, the Fire tablet is like a direct line or portal between our brains and our senses and everything else in the world, or at least everything in Amazon’s store. And that may often seem like a distinction without a difference.

Don’t miss this week’s interview with Kindle Nation Daily founder Steve Windwalker on The Kindle Chronicles podcast, all about the new Kindles and more!

          LAUNCHThe Launch of the Kindles

(and a nice story that holds up against any Honest Abe tale we’ve heard)

They came in trucks. Brown trucks, red white and blue trucks, whatever trucks Amazon could hire. They came early, and in a few cases they came late.

Amazon shipped millions of Kindles earlier this week, between the Kindle Fire units ordered by customers and shipped a day early on Monday, the Kindle Touch units ordered by customers and shipped a week early on Tuesday, and the truckloads of Kindles shipped wholesale to many of the 16,000 brick-and-mortar retailers that have lined up to sell these new models.

Here at Kindle Nation we had ordered about a dozen new Kindles between our Kindle Fire sweepstakes giveaways, staff needs, and early-decision holiday gifts. All but one arrived on Tuesday — the one that came a day late was the one I was sending myself just in case Amazon’s promised review unit didn’t show up. And guess what, Amazon’s promised review unit arrived late too, but happily Kindle Nation Daily’s new Kids Corner editor Candace Cheatham made a lightning-quick run to Staples to grab us the first Kindle off the shelves at the Fresh Pond store. Thanks, Candace, and thanks to Staples associate Jason for giving us a call the minute the Kindle Fires arrived!

So it’s here, and what do I think?

I’m ecstatic.



Pick your own e-word for this aesthetically pleasing embodiment of electronic excellence.

We;re weighing in above and below with more particulars, with important things to do before you totally lose yourself in the experience (as if we’re on time for that assignment!), and with some discussion of why you might want a Kindle Fire if you already own a Kindle 1, 2, 3, 4, etc.

And over the coming days we’ll shine a light on a few relatively small issues that Amazon might target for improvement, although it’s entirely possible that some of these concerns may vaporize as we, our brains, and our individual and collective muscle memory grow accustomed to the challenges of learning these new devices.

Let’s be clear: we’re only going to scratch the surface here, but there’s lots more to come in upcoming issues, Kindle Nation Daily posts, and the latest comprehensive Kindle guide* on which my collaborator Bruce Grubbs and I are working round the clock to prepare for you.

But first, back to the trucks for a moment, for a  story that warmed my heart, from Kindle Nation citizen Kathi C. of the nearby city of Lynn, MA. (For anyone familiar enough with local culture to be aware of a certain four-line piece of doggerel about Lynn, suffice it to say that Cathi’s exemplary behavior gives the lie to that particular verse!)

As Kathi wrote in on Thursday:

My kindle Touch arrived today, my friendly UPS Guy handed me TWO boxes marked kindle! My inner devil’s response was yippee but my good angel said bad girl!


The two boxes had identical UPS Tracking Numbers but the Serial Numbers on the end were different (only by the last 4 characters).


From Manage My Kindle I figured out which of the serial numbers was preregistered to me.


The typical very friendly and helpful CSR at Amazon sent me a label to return the ‘extra’ kindle. I shudder to think how many of the millions (?) of k-Touches will be duplicated today. What a nightmare that must be for all the people like me that have tracked their shipment or are just eagerly watching for the UPS truck!


Thought you would be interested…


Keep up the good work!

Kathleen C.
Lynn MA

Brava, Kathi! And if there’s anyone at Amazon reading along at the office, we think that woman deserves a nice little Kindle Store gift card!
(We will only disclose Kathi’s full name to authorized Amazon officials.)

* If you’d like a heads-up notice when our new guide to all the new Kindle models is available in the Kindle Store, just shoot an email to kindlenation+KGuides@gmail.com, and thanks!


Kindle Touch Pre-Orders to Begin Shipping Early: Tuesday Nov. 15, Same as Kindle Fire Pre-Orders

Big news this afternoon for those of us who were among the first to order the new Kindle Touch when it became available for pre-order on September 28! The original release date for the Kindle touch was to have been November 22, but Amazon has begun sending out emails like the one below, letting customers know that some Kindle Touch shipments will begin going out as early as this Tuesday, November 15, the same day as the announced release date for the Kindle Fire!

Please click here to place your order for a Kindle Touch or a Kindle Fire. For orders placed right now, Amazon is showing that the Kindle Touch will ship in 8 to 9 days and the Kindle Fire will ship in 3 to 5 days.

Here’s the email that Amazon is sending out to some Kindle Touch buyers today.


We have good news! We’re able to get this part of your order to you faster than we originally promised:

“Kindle Touch 3G, Free 3G + Wi-Fi, 6″ E Ink Display – includes Special Offers & Sponsored Screensavers”
Previous estimated arrival date: November 23, 2011
New estimated arrival date: November 16, 2011 – November 17, 2011

If you want to check on the progress of your order, take a look at this page in Your Account:


We hope to see you again soon!


Customer Service Department
Check your order and more: http://www.amazon.com/your-account


Thanks for making Kindle Nation Daily your point of access for all things Kindle, including your next purchase of a Kindle Fire, Kindle Touch, Kindle Keyboard, Kindle accessories, or a warranty to protect your Kindle investment.

Now Available on Kindle: A Kindle Fan’s Report from the Front Row At Amazon’s NYC Press Conference, by Len Edgerly

by Len Edgerly
5 stars – 3 Reviews
Lending and Text-to-Speech: Enabled


We were very grateful last week when podcaster extraordinaire Len Edgerly of The Kindle Chronicles agreed to live-blog the Kindle Fire/Kindle Touch press conference for Kindle Nation readers. Our gratitude remains, but not it is matched by great admiration for Len’s accomplishment in bringing out a short-form Kindle ebook version of his reportage and thoughtful commentary less than a week after the event. It’s a worthy addition to every Kindle library, and at 99 cents it will not cut deeply into your Kindle budget.

Here’s the set-up, directly from Len:

In this 30-page article, I invite you to join me in the front row at Amazon’s press conference in New York city on September 28, 2011. That’s when Jeff Bezos introduced the next generation of Kindles, including the Kindle Fire tablet. Just being at the event was a major thrill for a book lover whose life has been changed by the Kindle. I thought I’d seen the future when I bought a Rocket eBook in 1998. That didn’t work out too well, but the Kindle in 2007 looked like the real thing.

The next year, I started a weekly podcast, The Kindle Chronicles, to participate in the revolution in reading that I was sure would follow. Since then, I’ve interviewed 165 people representing all parts of the Kindlesphere–from Amazon executives to nervous writers, from technologists to school administrators, from the editor of the New York Times Book Review to my wife Darlene, who reads three times as many Kindle books as I do but is an endearing skeptic about technology.

I traveled by train to New York City worried that Amazon executives might get so excited about their shiny new color tablet that they would forget to keep improving the monochrome e-ink Kindles. In the event, I need not have worried. Jeff Bezos started the press conference by telling the Kindle story in a way that touched me as highly personal and revealing. Come join me in the front row, and I’ll show you what I mean.

They’re Here, and They’re Gamechangers! Amazon Announces Four New Kindles at Stunning Prices, Including a $199 Kindle Fire Tablet, a $99 Kindle Touch and a New $79 Kindle Base Model

Kindle Family


By Steve Windwalker

September 30, 2011

Amazon held a press conference in New York Wednesday morning, and Kindle Nation was well represented by correspondent Len Edgerly of The Kindle Chronicles, who provided our readers with a live blog of a truly dazzling event marked by the launch of four brand new Kindles — include the new Kindle Fire tablet — at prices that shocked us all.

There’s a lot of information to share with you, but we’re going to try to strip it down and proceed from the simple to the sublime, with links in this week’s Kindle Nation WEEKENDER to more information and video for those who want to read more.

In that spirit, let’s begin with a very simple comparison chart for the hardware Kindle models that were unveiled Wednesday:



Model Kindle* Kindle Touch* Kindle Fire
Price $79.00 $99/$149 $199.00
Connectivity Wi-Fi $99 Wi-Fi Only; $149 Free 3G+Wi-Fi Wi-Fi
Release Date Available now 11/21/2011 11/15/2011
Covered by 30-day no-hassle return policy Yes Yes Yes
Content Millions of

books, newspapers,

magazines, games,

and docs

Millions of

books, newspapers,

magazines, games,

and docs

18 million movies,

TV shows, apps,

games, songs,

books, newspapers,


magazines, and docs

Web browser Experimental




Amazon Silk



Display 6″ E Ink Pearl 6″ E Ink Pearl 7″ Vibrant Color IPS
Text-to-Speech No Yes No
Battery Life 1 month 2 months 8 hours continuous reading or

7.5 hours

video playback

Cloud storage Free for all

Amazon content

Free for all

Amazon content

Free for all

Amazon content

Dimensions 6.5″ x 4.5″

x 0.34″

6.8″ x 4.7″

x 0.40″

7.5″ x 4.7″

x 0.45″

Weight 5.98 ounces 7.5/7.8 ounces 14.6 ounces
Interface 5-way controller multi-touch multi-touch
*Models with Special Offers Kindle Kindle Touch Not yet
*Prices with Special Offers $79.00 $99/$149 Not yet
*Models without Special Offers Kindle Kindle Touch Kindle Fire
*Prices without Special Offers $109.00 $139/$189 $199.00

Now Available for Pre-Order: Amazon Launches the Kindle Tablet – It’s the KINDLE FIRE, for just $199!

Now Available for Pre-Order:

Amazon Launches the Kindle Tablet:


By Steve Windwalker

September 28, 2011


Click here to pre-order your Kindle Fire


Amazon has just announced that, at long last, its Kindle tablet — the Kindle Fire — is now available for pre-order. You can place your pre-order right here, right now to have it shipped starting November 15 for a price of just $199.


How’s this for a value proposition? Amazon announced 4 new Kindle models today, and you can buy all four of them for less than the cost of a 32GB wi-fi only iPad.


Here’s the rest of the story on the new device:

  • What is the new Kindle tablet called? The Kindle Fire.
  • How much does the Kindle Fire cost? $199
  • When is the Kindle Fire available for pre-order? Right now.
  • When will the Kindle Fire ship? Starting November 15.
  • Will it sell out before Christmas? We won’t be surprised if it sells out this week, but if that happens it should be available again within a few weeks.
  • How should one balance one’s reservations about buying version 1.0 of the Kindle Fire with the fear that one may be left behind if it goes out of stock. Amazon’s no-hassle, no-questions-asked 30-day return policy makes this a no-brainer. Grab it, test-drive it, and make your decision at the 25-day mark, two weeks before Christmas. We’ll be very surprised if you don’t want to keep it, but if you don’t want it and Amazon does sell out, you might even end up being able to decide whether to return it to Amazon or to sell it for a profit on eBay.
  • Is the tablet the only product that is being announced with this event? No, Amazon also announced a $139 e-Ink Kindle Touch with a touch screen (just $99 with special offers) and a $79 base model e-Ink Kindle. These all ship at various points in November and are available for pre-order today.
  • How large is the Kindle Fire display? 7 inches on the diagonal, and yes, it is color and backlit with capacitative touch.
  • How much does the Kindle Fire weigh? 14.6 ounces.
  • What’s the battery life? It’s be a little hard to get a handle on this given the different effects on battery life of reading, listening to music, watching streaming video, websurfing, and other uses, but if you are going to get full enjoyment from the Kindle Fire you’ll probably find yourself charging the battery at least as often as you charge your cellphone.
  • Does it come with 3G? No, but we won’t be surprised to see a 3G or 4G option in 2012.
  • If Amazon is selling a tablet for $199, a touch Kindle for $99, and a base model Kindle for $79, how can it possibly make a profit? Covers, content, e-commerce, and special offers sponsorships.
  • As a content delivery system, what are the Kindle Fire’s areas of strength? The Kindle Fire will allow seamless, wireless delivery from the cloud of Kindle books and periodicals, Amazon MP3 music files, Audible.com books, streaming movies and television programs with Amazon Prime Instant Video, and a wide range of Android-compatible Apps available from Amazon’s own AppStore for Android.
  • What about YouTube, email, VOiP, Angry Birds, Facebook, Twitter, texting, web browsing, word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, blog posting, gaming, Groupon, LivingSocial, Woot, Windowshop, Amazon Mobile, Amazon Local, Amazon Fresh, and everything else you’ll ever want to do on the Kindle Fire? In just about every case, there’s an app for that.
  • Is the Kindle Fire essentially a closed environment controlled by its manufacturer, like the iPad and the Nook? Essentially yes, but operationally it may be far more open than those competitors, given selection and pricing in Amazon’s content platforms, the growing scale of Amazon’s AppStore for Android and the easy access that content providers have to platforms such as Kindle Digital Publishing and, ultimately, Amazon’s MP3 and video platforms. 
  • What’s the unlikeliest word that we can expect to hear repeated by Jeff Bezos and his minions as they describe the Kindle Fire in the next few days? Best guess: “Sofa.” As in shopping on the sofa, reading on the sofa, watching movies on the sofa, etc. This is probably not a good thing for the future of laptops, notebooks, netbooks, and even some other tablets.
  • What special “value proposition” features might be bundled with the Kindle Fire to entice buyers. Best guess: free or cheap Amazon Prime, a $79 a year value that would underline importance of the Kindle Fire as the sofa shopper’s favorite gadget.
  • So which is it, a content delivery device or a sofa shopping portal? Both, but if the Kindle Fire’s primary uses list too much away from ebooks and toward shopping, a nice countervailing value proposition would involve the offering of some form of a Netflix-type bundling of free ebooks to steer folks toward reading.

But here’s the bottom line for the Kindle Fire:


There is an understandable tendency, when new products like the Kindle, the iPad, and the Kindle Fire are launched, for many of us to focus too narrowly at first on hardware specs and feature sets. It is important to remember that it wasn’t only hardware features that set the Kindle Revolution aflame, it was Amazon’s remarkable edge in each of the 4 C’s of customer base, catalog, convenience and connectivity. The Kindle capitalized dramatically on each of those unfair edges, and so will the Kindle Fire.


No single competitor can touch Amazon in more than one of these areas.


Wall Street Journal Reports: Kindle Tablet, Kindle Touch, and Kindle Basic to Ship in August or September

By Steve Windwalker

The Wall Street Journal’s website is reporting this evening that Amazon will release three new Kindle compatible devices between now and the end of September, including:

  • an Android-based tablet with a screen that will be close in size to that of the Kindle DX and the iPad;
  • an e-Ink Kindle with touch screen; and
  • a new base model e-Ink Kindle with a new low price.

The K-Tab, which is the name we at Kindle Nation have given to the tablet device for which we have projected a late July announcement and a late August ship date, “will allow Amazon customers to easily watch videos, read electronic books and listen to digital music they purchase or rent” from Amazon, the Journal piece said.

WSJ reporters Stu Woo and Yukari Iwakani Kane take an authoritative tone in a report whose anonymous sources are “people familiar with the matter,” suggesting that Amazon planned the leak.

“The new tablet will intensify a growing clash between Amazon and Apple,” the Journal opined. “The two tech-industry titans are already fighting for customers for their respective digital book, music and video businesses. Now Amazon will have a device that will compete closely against Apple’s popular iPad, as well as other tablets such as Samsung Electronic Co.’s Galaxy Tab.”

Amazon announced earlier today that its KINDEAL 3G – the 3G+wi-fi Kindle with special offers, is now available for $139 due to sponsorship or subsidy by AT&T. As Amazon attempts to clear out existing inventory prior to the launch the aforementioned new devices, we expect to see a base-model wi-fi Kindle offering at $99 for the first time in time for the back-to-school market in late August or September.

As Jeff Bezos said a few weeks back when asked about a new Kindle tablet launch this year, “Stay tuned.”