Despite releasing a Kindle app for the iPad, Amazon isn't giving up on their own hardware just yet. Lab 126, the Amazon department responsible for the Kindle hardware, has been on a hiring spree as of late. Many of the new positions are for testing and product creation. This indicates that Amazon may be readying new hardware.
This is further evidenced by their recent acquisition of Touchco, a touchscreen technology startup. Sources at Amazon that could not speak on record also indicated Amazon is working with publishers to discuss adding games to the Kindle platform. This could signal a direct assault on the iPad.
It's clear the Kindle needs to evolve. Compared to the iPad, it's looking a little dated considering the current price of $260. Even though the Kindle is meant for only one thing, we feel like it could stand to gain a few new features. It doesn't have to compare spec for spec with the iPad, but it has to change or risk obsolescence.
Advertising, love it or hate it seems to work, but just how much money does it cost to get your point across? The exact marketing budget of the big tech companies has typically been difficult to track down, but the folks over at Businessinsider.com claim to have the inside scoop. Based on numbers collected from Kantar Media we now know what each company spent in 2009 across all advertising mediums, and some of the results might just surprise you.
Ebay for example had a pretty modest budget in 2009 of only 89 million, but had the highest percentage by far when compared to the amount of revenue they generate. This either means that the ads aren't working, or the business itself is on the decline. Not surprisingly Apple seems to get excellent mileage with an ad budget of only $249 million, a number that pails in comparison to the whopping $518 million spent by Microsoft.
The rest of the results are pretty straightforward except for Google, who only spent approximately 11 million in 2009 on traditional advertising. That number might sound a bit low, but when you consider that almost all online ads are served by the search giant anyway, what's the point of rolling a TV commercial right?
It would seem that Jerry Seinfeld was no match for Justin Long when it came to ad spending efficiency, but even the most hardcore PC enthusiast can usually agree that the Microsoft's ad agency should probably be sacked.
Barnes and Noble had grand visions for its Nook ebook reader when the device first launch at the tail end of 2009, but other than an initial flurry of sales, the ebook reader hasn't been able to pluck the crown off of Amazon's market-leading Kindle. Maybe things are starting to turn around.
According to DigiTimes Research, ebook reader shipments to Barnes and Noble jumped ahead of shipment numbers to Amazon for the first time in March, indicating that demand for the Nook might finally be starting to pick up. Looking at figures from upstream suppliers, the Nook accounted for some 53 percent of ebook readers shipped to US vendors last month.
The Nook's future now looks a little brighter than it has been. B&N just recently released another firmware update -- version 1.3 -- which, among other things, purports to kick performance up a notch yet again. In addition, B&N recently struck a deal with Best Buy to carry the company's ebook reader both in the electronic chain's brick and mortar stores and website.
Reading a chapter or two before bed is a time honored tradition for most winding down at the end of the day, but if you ask a sleep expert, he'll probably tell you to put down the iPad and pick up a Kindle. According to those in the know, the iPad's bright LCD display could be reducing your body's ability to produce melatonin, an important compound that helps our bodies fall asleep.
"The take-home lesson is that insomnia and electronics gadgets emitting light should not [be] mixed before bedtime," UCLA Neurology Clinic Director Alon Avidan, also an associate professor at the university, wrote in an e-mail to the Los Angeles Times. However, "Kindle is better for your sleep." When it comes to straight up readability, a recent Wall Street Journal study concluded that it really comes down to personal preference. Neither technology technically damages the eye, or flickers the way an old fashioned TV does.
So when you're looking for your next e-book reader, the Kindle vs. iPad debate might just come down to when you like to read. If a good book is the way you like to close out your day, your in luck, there are literally hundreds of options that are getting more and more affordable everyday.
Any iPad insomniacs in the audience care to chime in on the debate? Grab a coffee and let us know what you think after the jump.
In a time long ago, Amazon was a book seller. They've continued to sell paper books while becoming the leader in ebooks, but they also sell a multitude of other products. In the past, most of Amazon's business was selling media like books, music, and movies. Now those "other" products make up the majority of the online retailer's sales. The news came in Amazon's earnings call today when it was also announced that they smashed projections by rocking a 46% revenue increase over last year.
Overall, Amazon took in $3.43 billion in sales from media, and $3.51 billion from everything else. Many analysts have expected this so-called "inversion point" to occur eventually. Amazon benefits from this in that they have a solid buffer in the face of the changing media landscape. It's no secret that Amazon liked having the eBook business all to themselves, but they'll never have that kind of comfortable perch again.
Certainly people are buying all sorts of things from Amazon. What are getting there? Still just books and DVDs? Or have you started buying your electronics from Amazon as well?
Beginning April 25, you'll be able to stroll into Target's flagship downtown Minneapolis store or one of 102 south Florida stores and purchase Amazon's Kindle ebook reader, Target announced today.
"We’re excited to be working with Amazon to help even more readers discover Kindle, in-store only at Target," said Mark Schindele, senior vice president, Target. "We strive to enhance our product offerings to include surprising products and services at great values so we’re proud to be the first brick-and-mortar retailer to sell Kindle, allowing our guests to feel how lightweight and easy on the eyes Kindle is."
Prior to this, Kindle has only been available online direct from Amazon. But that was before the ebook reader wars got a lot more interesting when, earlier this month, Best Buy confirmed plans to carry Barnes and Noble's Nook. What's more, Apple's iPad and a flurry of other handheld tablets on tap threaten to cut into the Kindle's market share, and we suspect this limited brick and mortar run will end up expanding to other markets.
The Kindle will sell for the same price ($259) in Target as it does online.
We're still a day away from the much anticipated launch of Apple's iPad, but already the tablet from Cupertino has managed to make its presence known. According to an AFP report, Amazon has agreed to let two more major publishers raise the prices of electronic books for Kindle readers in deals similar to those Apple struck for its iPad.
The deals with Simon & Schuster and Harper-Collins allows for ebook prices to be set at $12.99 or $14.99 rather than the $9.99 price point Amazon has tried to maintain.
This marks a major win for publishers, who previous to the iPad had little leverage in negotiating deals with Amazon. Amazon might have been on borrowed time anyway with the deluge of ebook readers expected to flood the market this year, and perhaps no one is happier right now than Rupert Murdoch, chairman and managing director of News Corp., the parent company of Harper-Collins.
"Without content, the ever larger and flatter screens, the tablets, the e-readers and the increasingly sophisticated mobile phones would be lifeless," Murdoch stated earlier this year. "Without content these ingenious and wonderful devices would be unloved and unsold."
Are you prepared to pay up to $15 for an ebook, or is the publishing industry shooting themselves in the foot?
When Apple announced its iBook store there was one publisher conspicuously absent: Random House. In case you don’t keep up with the wheelings and dealings of the publishing industry, Random House is the largest publisher in the world. Now we’re hearing the strange truth about why they won’t be jumping on the iPad bandwagon. According to the Financial Times, Random House doesn’t want to start an ebook price war.
We certainly find this confusing, as most other publishers are moving ahead full speed with the apparent intention to cause just that. The Amazon model has always rubbed publishers the wrong way. Amazon simply buys the book licenses and sells them for whatever they want (usually $9.99). Many in the industry feared that ten bucks would just become the default price for a book, much as $.99 became the price for music. Apple will allow them to pick their price, and pay Cupertino a 30% cut of that.
It could be that Random House just wants to stay above the fray until the whole thing is worked out. Maybe if the iPad really takes off, Random House works will deluge the iBook store. Are you concerned about this impending of future of siloed content? Will we ever be able to just get everything in one place?
Apple isn't the only one who stands to make a lot of money off of its iPad tablet - app developers do too. Enter Amazon, who along with Barnes & Noble, revealed to The New York Times plans to create new digital readers and storefronts for the iPad.
"We have actually developed a tablet-based interface that redesigns the core screen and the reading experience," said Ian Fred, vice president for Kindle at Amazon. "Our team had some fun with it."
According to NYT, the Kindle app for the iPad allows readers to slowly turn pages with their fingers. The interface also introduces a couple of new ways for owners to view their ebook collection, including a view where large thumbnails of book covers are displayed on a backdrop of a silhouetted figure reading under a tree. What's cool about the backdrop is that the sun's position coincides with whatever time it is.
Amazon has also set up a page to promote "Kindle Apps for Tablet Computers," which includes all tablets.
"Tablet computers, including the iPad, are coming and with our free app you'll be able to read more than 450,000 Kindle books," Amazon claims. "Like all Kindle apps, Kindle for table computers will include Whispersync technology, which automatically synchronizes your last page read, bookmarks, notes, and highlights across your Kindle and Kindle compatible devices including PC, Mac, iPhone, and BlackBery."
It’s a challenge trying to parse what a company might be up to. It’s obvious, for example, that Amazon will need to respond to recent events in the tablet PC market to keep its Kindle competitive. But what exact path it might take for this endeavor isn’t necessarily obvious. Unless, of course, you happen to be a keen observer of the want ads.
Michael Calore, at webmonkey, thinks Amazon is working to improve the browser engine of the Kindle, which he likens to “taking a step backwards in time.” According to Calore, a job posting for a “browser engineer” at “Lab126” is a dead giveaway that an upgrade is in the works. Lab126 is the Amazon division that develops the Kindle, and it is on the hunt for a person to “develop “an innovative embedded web browser” for a consumer product.”
Calore suggests that once the iPad hits the market, allowing for a fuller web browsing experience (and the HP Slate not too far behind it), the Kindle will look pretty lame. Looking lame is no way to hang onto market share.