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back to article Why I've got a sync'ing feeling about Amazon's new Kindle Fire

While Amazon's Jeff Bezos took the stage to show off new Kindle Fire devices, the magic of these devices isn't in hardware or software. The magic is what happens between disparate devices, and it's what continues to make Amazon the most credible competitor to Apple's iPad sync. Amazon may be a control freak in its end-to-end …

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For all the reasons you listed to buy one is the reason why I avoid them.

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WTF?

Funny....

"Every Kindle Fire comes deeply integrated into Amazon's retail experience, which is why I wasn't tempted by the release of Google's Nexus 7"

Funny, but that's the reason WHY I bought a Nexus7 and would never buy anything Kindle.

I like to choose where I shop. Something that forces me to shop in a single place is BAD. That's why Apple and Amazon never get any business from me.

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Re: Funny....

"Something that forces me to shop in a single place is BAD"

I agree.

I have a Kindle (e-reader, not tablet), which my other half bought me. I have bought books from Amazon. I have also bought books from several other stores, downloaded freebies from Amazon and elsewhere, as well as "illegally" downloading electronic copies of some books I already own as hardcopies (I'm not buying them again just to have the ebook).

Although it is not as easy to buy books elsewhere, you are certainly not locked in. Callibre makes it very easy to organise and convert books, and will even push them over the air (using the device's email address). It's no more difficult than many other ebook readers*.

I tend to be more tempted by a slightly higher price on Amazon as it is much easier to use, but if there is a large disparity, or I can't get what I want on Amazon, I can go wherever I want.

*In comparison, I have seen the interface for a friends ereader. With no wireless, it must be connected to a PC by USB and books loaded onto it using proprietry software. If I buy/download a book elsewhere, I just drop it in my Calibre library, press a button, and the next time I enable wifi on my kindle it is almost immediately there.

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I must say that I don't care what the manufacturer intends, I'm more interested in the hardware specifications and how easy it is to root etc. If the next kindle fire fits the bill then I won't rule it out.

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Re: Funny....

"Funny, but that's the reason WHY I bought a Nexus7 and would never buy anything Kindle.

I like to choose where I shop. Something that forces me to shop in a single place is BAD. That's why Apple and Amazon never get any business from me."

Oddly enough, I was attracted by the Nexus 7's openness and slightly geeky desire to see Android according to Google. That's not to say, as a long time, regular Amazon customer that I don't find the Kindle Fire and its ecosystem attractive. I just see it for what it is and may even buy one. However, the fact I bought the Nexus 7 didn't exactly have my crying into my beer over the new Kindle since the comparisons stop at the largely similar hardware and the user experience is different.

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kb
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Its not for you..

Yet for people like my mom, that just want to have their cheesy horror paperbacks in an easy to carry form? It'll be perfect. The problem is you are comparing Apples and oranges, the Kindles are simply devices to consume Amazon content...no different than Apple in that respect. If you want a "do anything" pad frankly you shouldn't be looking at a Kindle OR an iPad, but an unlocked Droid you can do whatever with, no different than an X86 laptop.

Not everyone is the same, and for people like my mom a Kindle is perfect for the one task she has for the thing, reading books. If you buy a Kindle Fire and don't care for buying from Amazon then its nobody's fault but your own for buying the wrong device.

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Indeed

> It didn't have the Amazon experience welded into its DNA.

And this is the reason I *did* buy a nexus 7. But I guess it's up to you what you want.

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So the reason you didn't buy Google's 7 inch device is that it doesn't sync with your current 7 inch device. Hmmmm yeah.

Until they make a phone their device sync means nothing to the vast majority who have fewer than 2 tablets.

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WTF?

Immersion reading...

>> 'as you read, your book is narrated to you'

I evolved past that aged about three... why on earth would I want to go back?

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Re: Immersion reading...

This is pretty much what i thought when i read about it last night.

Why not play the movie version of the book to you instead and really dumb the whole thing down to a level we can understand.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Immersion reading...

What did you evolve into? A dolphin?

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Re: Immersion reading...

Narration good, Reading good, combination bad. Much like molten lead and sex.

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Re: Immersion reading...

And combination expensive. You have to buy both the audio and text version in order to do this.

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Re: Immersion reading... maybe you aren't the target market

I would think that this would be a wonderful evolution of the See-And-Say (or whatever it's called) and be a great tool to teach reading and pronunciation to children.

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Re: Immersion reading... maybe you aren't the target market

It did occur to me that this might be something for children, but to be honest I'd rather read to my granddaughter in person than supervise her being read to by a robot.

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Human narrator

>> 'as you read, your book is narrated to you'

It's better than using synthetic speech, I suppose, as that turns 'reading' 50 Shades of Grey into getting an inordinately lengthy obscene phone from Professor Stephen Hawking.

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@Neil Barnes Re: ".............. than supervise her being read to by a robot."

Indeed. I love tech but the human aspect is still far more important, thank God. Apart from anything else your granddaughter will remember long after we are both gone her granddad reading to her - that you cannot get from any piece of tech regardless of how shiny it is.

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Anonymous Coward

Hmm

"you listen to the first three and a half chapters of The Graveyard Book and turn to the digital book to finish reading that fourth chapter"

No you don't, because it's a children's book, and you're not a child

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Unhappy

Re: Hmm

So I take it you haven't read it then? It's a good read, creepy stuff.

Don't dismiss stuff like this just because it's classed as a children's book, some of the scariest and most descriptive writing can be found in places like those (particularly Neil Gaiman's stuff)

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Meh

Sooooo

Man who works for cloud-based data analysing company says we should buy a device that uses the cloud extensively. News at 11.

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LDS
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Both Apple and Amazon want to control the contents....

Both Apple and Amazon want total control of the content they sell to you, and that is unacceptable for most users. If I buy a book, I don't want Amazon to control on what I can read that. Sure, it has a device, or an app for devices it can't ignore, but you're still stuck on its content control. Could you read Amazon books on a Kobo? Or can you read other ebook formats on a Kindle? That's the same reason I don't use iTunes or Zune or whatever to buy music and buy plain old CDs - and being able to access my books without being strongly tied to a "supplier" is even more important than music. Of course if you just read the latest trite "bestseller" probably is not a problem, but for those buying books that have to last in time Amazon is an unacceptable supplier.

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FAIL

Re: Both Apple and Amazon want to control the contents....

Are you living in 2005? iTunes downloads are DRM free and you can copy them to anywhere and play them on anything.

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Linux

Re: Both Apple and Amazon want to control the contents....

Are you living in 1996?

There's more to multimedia than music files.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Both Apple and Amazon want to control the contents....

Guess who makes the media? not Apple.

Guess who dictates the DRM? not Apple.

These horrible restrictions the media companies force on companies are one of the reasons Apple never bothered to implement Blu-ray playback. They would need to add all sorts of horrible security options and downscaling of resolution when using VGA etc.

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"It didn't have the Amazon experience welded into its DNA."

If I want Amazon, I go to their website.

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WTF?

Apple? You've got competition.

A new genre appears - the Amazon fanboi.

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Re: Apple? You've got competition.

I would like to retender that proposition and change the terminology to Fanazonian.

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Joke

Re: Apple? You've got competition.

I'd be inclined to call them "Amazon slaves" though I'd be playing too many stereotypes to pull it off (the image is that of strong Amazons--women--enslaving geekish men).

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Re: Apple? You've got competition.

Too late. She Who Must Be Obeyed has already succeeded in this.

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WTF?

"Everything from databases to Hadoop"

wat.

From the Hadoop wiki -

"Hadoop is a free, Java-based programming framework that supports the processing of large data sets in a distributed computing environment."

Matt, I realize you make money by providing us with a buzzword bingo card every week but just because it's distributed and SQL-deficienct doesn't mean it's not a database.

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Anonymous Coward

WIll it be possible

to Jailbreak/flash or whatever its called and then put vanilla android?

Then theres no worries about walled garden and now almost sickening cliche "experience".

Could become very compelling buy, then.

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Re: WIll it be possible

That may take a while. Amazon's probably learned some lessons from last year and will be hardening their new tablets to reduce the likelihood of exploits. The hardest of the lot, the Nook Tablet, is still being worked on, as while there are roots in place, some things still remain locked down. Plus with their Whispersync system they may be better able to detect rooted tabs via MAC addresses or other mostly-immutable hardware info and cry foul.

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Anonymous Coward

Google Fanbois...

making Apple fanbois seem rational since 2008...

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Contradiction

"Amazon is happy to run others' applications, and to have its applications (with their associated content) run on Kindles, iPhones, iPads, Androids, or other form factors."

"Every Kindle Fire comes deeply integrated into Amazon's retail experience, which is why I wasn't tempted by the release of Google's Nexus 7"

If Amazon is so happy for its content to be used on any device, why would you have a problem with the N7 or any other tablet?

I'm not knocking your choice of hardware, but this seems like a contradiction to me.

What is it about the Kindle Fire's "deep integration" that's so different to using Amazon apps on A N Other tablet?

Perhaps it's different for the US though. They after all get to benefit from awesome extras like unlimited movie streaming for having a Prime account, while all we get is free delivery.

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Re: Contradiction

I think the main reason is market lock-in and security. Lock-in means Amazon doesn't have to worry so much about people who "shop around" and use multiple apps on their devices. It's not like you can install the nook app on a Kindle Fire or the Amazon app on a Nook Tablet (at least, not without some serious tinkering).

Security is one reason the Nook Tablet is so locked down (it was the only way to convince Netflix to allow HD content on it--no spies sniffing the streams, hint hint). If Amazon wishes to stream HD content as well, they have to match Barnes & Noble's level of security at least and probably go one better since it's already known the Nook Tablet's showing chinks. IIRC, none of the "outsider" apps allow for HD streaming.

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Re: Charles 9

The DRM aspect is why it is so important to keep TPB afloat - so they learn that DRM is bad for *paying* customers and the pirated sort is a better experience, you know, the sort you would actually prefer to pay for.

It took years for the music industry to accept DRM-free once the realised that the battle was lost and that the majority of customers, when treated nicely, are happy to pay for content.

So far we may have got past the "you are probably a thief" non-skipable crap with DVDs, etc, but we don't have freedom legally to use media on any platform we want and to skip crap like trailers as we wish. The move to HD and streaming is a new battle ground for DRM and it must be the public at large that wins this one, unless we all want to be digital sefs to the few biggest of corporations who hold the DRM-forged manacles.

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@ LDS

To answer the questions: yes!

The free Kindle app allows you to read ebooks from Amazon on your desktop, Apple or Android devices. That's what the article explained.

Similarly, you can transfer simple epubs to your Kindle via USB connection or email, as explained by another poster.

Kindles also natively support PDF, for document viewing (a bit restricted in scaling, etc.) And, Android devices have a quite nice Acrobat reader.

I use my Kobo VOX as a small Android tablet, so could read my Amazon ebooks on it if I wanted to (I prefer the e-Ink Kindle, however), but I also did the trick of using Calibre to convert an ebook I bought from El Reg and read that there. You have lots of choices, no matter which way you go.

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Re: @ LDS

@Chris Gray 1

Violently agreeing with you there Chris. SWMBO is a fanazonian, or whatever we agree to call them. Incidentally, a fanazonian is gender neutral, which a fanboi clearly isn't.

A voracious reader, I'm talking 3+ books/week, she uses the page synch feature all the time and across Kindle, iPad2 and Phone (HTC), depending what is to hand and most appropriate. An added bonus is a house free from mountains of paper backs.

Locked in then? Well, yes, but from her perspective in a good way because it's so easy. And certainly device neutral.

However! Amazon needs to sort out lending of books to friends. It needs to be easy. Shirley it's not beyond them. Revenue considerations, i.e. lack of, probably makes that a non-starter though.

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Re: @ LDS

you can transfer all the epubs you like but there is no native support for them on a Kindle, you would have to install something like Aldiko or use Calibre to convert the epub into a mobi.

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Re: @ LDS

I take it Amazon's market is distinctly empty of direct epub readers...

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Re: @ LDS

Of course, nothing that would ever compete with Amazon's buisness model would ever appear. No no EPUB readers, nothing that would allow content or formats that Amazon don't sell for.

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Apple and hardware

"Ultimately, Apple is a hardware company"

No, ultimately Apple is a solutions company. They came up with a complete solution to music: iTunes to organize and rip/mix/burn, the iPod for taking it with you, and the iTunes store for purchases, particularly the impulsive ones. That's but one example, albeit the best known and one that has changed since that time.

When Jobs and Gates appeared together with Walt Mossburg at (IIRC) All Things D, Jobs pointed out that PCs were about the only electronic device where the software and hardware are made and designed by different companies AND that is the successful paradigm. So the integrated approach is what generally works, at least market terms.

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Re: Apple and hardware

No, ultimately Apple is a solutions company.

Step away from the marketing koolaid, you're in a safe place we all want to help you..........

There's no such thing as a 'solutions company', every business that provides some service or product is providing a 'solution'. The problem needing a solution is different, sure, but anyone looking to sell something (i.e. a business) is providing a solution. Given that every company is a 'solutions company' the term becomes moot, and we use the easier label: a business.

Apple is a hardware business, yes that hardware includes software, but at their core what they are trying to sell you is the new iPad/iPhone/Mac etc.

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Re: Apple and hardware

But what term would you give Apple? It isn't just a hardware company, nor a software company, and it even has tendrils in consumer electronics (Apple TV, et al). And it's not just electronics anymore as iTunes is a service.

So why not a "solutions" company if Apple's reach is so broad that no other name fits it?

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Re: Apple and hardware

I'd call them a business for the reasons explained.

If you want to categorise them, they are a hardware company. Yes they have software, but then Bosch also sell you software with your washing machine (even if you don't see it).

It's possible to be one company in many categories, so Apple are

- A hardware company

- A software company

- Consumer electronics (personally I bundle this with hardware but YMMV)

- Cloud provider (iCloud)

We don't refer to any other company as a 'solutions' company, it's only every marketing droids that tend to use that term (for the reasons explained above). It's not unusual for companies to operate in different segments of the market, look at Microsoft, Toshiba, Samsung, BMW, Playboy (to some extent), Google etc. Do you hear them being referred to as a solutions company?

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Pint

Brooker already used this pun i'm afraid

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/feb/28/charlie-brooker-pfroblem-with-macs

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They Binged it up

They came with this ridiculously inexpensive cool technology, and then they had to integrate Bing. Why? Why would you DO that? Was drool-worthing right until then.

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FAIL

DATA Plan reverts to AT&T's higher pricing after the year one teaser

>> 'insanely low pricing on its data plan ($50 per year)'

That should read 'teaser rate of $50 for year one followed by a 360% increase when you will then be required to purchase a LTE DATA Plan from AT&T at the $14.99 per month price for the same 250mb"

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The metaphors - they burn!

It didn't have the Amazon experience welded into its DNA.

How does someone write a sentence like that without their Broca's region leaping out through their skull in a desperate attempt at honorable suicide? "The Amazon experience" is a vague, vapid generalization, but let's leave that aside. The Kindle Fire does not have "DNA". Oh, there's DNA in it, courtesy of microorganisms and the slough-offs of handlers, etc; but it does not have any of its own. So that's tired, cliched, unevocative metaphor #1.[1] And since one does not in any useful sense "weld" DNA, nor "weld" experiences, we have tired, cliched, unevocative metaphor #2 (twice), and in combination a doubly-mixed metaphor. And all in ten words.

There's a mildly interesting thesis here (device "synchronization"[2] will be Amazon's chief competitive advantage in the tablet market). I'm not convinced, but that's partly because I don't personally care about synchronization. What I would like to see, though, is this sort of piece written without leaning on all the feeble tropes and verbal styles of the marketeers.

[1] Though not nearly as tired, etc, as the construction "powered by x", where x is not a source of power. As in, say, "its awesome Whispersync technology will power synchronization". Next to the freewheeling use of "energy" to mean "some abstract or intangible quality that I cannot at the moment be bothered to think of a proper term for" (eg "emotional energy", &c), this has to be one of the most obnoxious phrasings currently in vogue.

[2] Another poor metaphor, but so well established that there's little point in complaining about it now.

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