I'm in a hanger at the Santa Monica (Calif) airport where Amazon's press conference is about to get underway. The company is expected to announce a successor to its Kindle Fire 7-inch tablet.
The event is now over (ended at 11:55 PT). Please pardon any typos in this live blog
The press turn out for the event is good but nowhere near as many press as at an Apple event.
Event starting with a promotional video "Creating kindle, our 4-minute mile."
Jeff Bezos is speaking now. "Hope you enjoyed new TV spot ... We love to invent ... We even like going down alleys that turn out to be blind alleys."
Bezos: Last year there were more than two dozen Android tablets and nobody bought them. Why? Because they were gadgets People don't want gadgets anymore. They want services." "Kindle Fire is a service."
Bezos going on and on about all the services available to Kindle Fire users.
Introduced Kindle PaperWhite -- a backlit screen that also works in direct sunlight. Bezos says that people will love that light and will leave it on in bright rooms. 8 weeks of battery life even with the light on.
There is a time to read function that estimates how much time it will take you to finish a book or chapter. It tracks reading speed and adjusts times accordingly
Xray features gives you details about the characters in the book. An author bio including other books he or she has written (which you can of course buy from Amazon).
Bezos says it's the first ever paper white reader. It comes with free storage in Amazon cloud (true with existing Kindles too).
Cost $119. Ships Oct 1 but taking orders now. A 3G model for $179.
Upgrading the $79 Kindle but it's now $69. Ships Sept 18.
Bezos talking about Kindle direct publishing (KDS) -- authors can publish in ours and for me and receive more royalties. Twenty-seven of top 100 Kindle books are from this program. Showing a video fro an author who sold 300K books via KDS.
Bezos talking about Kindle Singles -- bigger than a magazine article and shorter than a book. Lots of people publishing them.
Introducing Kindle Serials -- buy once, receive all future episodes. Readers can use social media to discuss the serias. Authors can adapt next installments based on first ones.
Bezos is talking about Kindle Fire. He says Kindle Fire has 22 percent market share.
New Kindle Fire
Twice the RAM
Price reduced to $159
Amazon Kindle Fire HD
8.9 inch display
1920 by 1200 resolution
"true wide polarizing filter."
Full spectrum at all angles
HD has a processor with 12 billion floating point processes per second. Higher than Tegra 3. Bezos says its smooth and snappy.
Has dual stereo speakers and Dolby Digital plus -- first tablet with it.
Other tablet makers, such Bezos, are not paying enough attention. He says that the 2.4 mhz band is too crowded. So adding 5 Ghz and two antennas to improve Wi-Fi.
Also adding Mimo to improve range and speed. Bezos said that until today only a few high-end laptops had Mimo but the HD is the 1st tablet to incorporate it.
Claims that Kindle HD wi-fi is 40 percent faster than iPad and >50 percent faster than Nexus 7.
The HD's OS takes up 2 GB of storage and content takes up space. "For a HD device, 8 GMB is dead on arrival. We're starting HD with 16 GB.
Making a strong case for audio books -- listen while driving, etc
Adding Whisper sync for audio. Keep your place between devices when listening to audio books. Adding 100K new audio books.
Tap the screen on your Kindle Fire to find out who actor is and other details. X-ray for movies would be impossible if IMDB weren't part of the Amazon family.
Whispersync for games. Let's you pick up where you leave off on games.
All new email including Microsoft exchange.
Facebook and Skype built custom apps.
HD has front facing camera
Kindle FreeTime lets you set separate time limits for different types of content. You can have no limits for books but limits for TV, video, games, etc. Multiple profiles for different kids in family.
Screen turns blue when it's locked in Kindle FreeTime mode so a parent can tell from across the room.
Showing a demo of the device. Claiming that tight integration of hardware and content allows for smooth access to HD content. You can pin apps, content and websites to favorites.
Playing a movie and showing how X-ray gis details bout the actors when you pause the movie.
Of course they're recommending products based on what customers who have watched the same movie you watched are watching. Great selling opportunity for Amazon.
Claims that audio is amazing. Playing it here in hangar but its going out over very large auditorium speakers -- kind of a fake demo if you ask me. I'm looking forward to finding out what the device itself actually sounds like.
Showing games. Says gaming is where the fast floating point comes in handy.
When you tap on a game you can get offers for products -- like toys associated with games - that you can buy with one click. All about selling.
Now showing x-ray for tet book which he calls "like a smart glossary." Pulls up YouTube videos, Wikipedia articles, etc.
7 inch and 8.9 inch displays
dual speaker HD sound
$199 for 7 inch
$299 for 8.9 inch
We want to make money when people use our devices, not when they buy our devices.
We don't need you to be on the upgrade treadmill. Calls it alignment that we make money when you use the device. Again, all about selling content.
Talking about what they could put in a $499 tablet.
$499 kindle fire HD 4G LTE tablet
The only thing would be the ultimate tablet feature -- 4G LTE wireless.
The kindle fire HD 4G LTE is $499 with $50 a year for 250 MB a month service plan. Also includes 20 GB of cloud storage and a $10 app store credit
Follow Larry Magid on Twitter: www.twitter.com/larrymagid