Kindles are becoming close to ubiquitous. Get on any bus and chances are you'll see just as many people reading them as people with real books. But are you getting the most of your Kindle? Here's some top tips for getting the most out of your device.
So Tesco have announced that they're getting into the tablet game with the announcement of the Hudl tablet. Running Android Jellybean 4.2.2, has a 7" 1440x900 screen, and will only set you back £119. Presumably they can afford to be so competitive because the point of the tablet is to point you into the direction Tesco's built-in money-spinners, like the Blinkbox on-demand film service.
Personally, I'm looking forward to the inevitable Hudl Extra, which will be the size of an aircraft hanger, and Hudl Metro, which will be tiny but found seemingly every 300m in South London.
But what if you don't want to, well, Hudl? What if you want to go your own way? There's plenty of choice out there, and here are five of the most interesting alternatives.
I always thought that the best way to market music these days was to offer someone a CD and when they bought it give them an instant download of the tunes on it.
Well it appears that the team at Amazon have been listening for it has just announced the launch of Amazon AutoRip, a new service that gives customers free MP3 versions of CDs and vinyl music they purchase from Amazon, in the UK.
So when customers purchase AutoRip CDs and vinyl the MP3 versions are automatically added to their Cloud Player libraries where they are available, free of charge, for immediate playback or download.
It isn't just new labums though. Customers who have purchased AutoRip albums at any time since Amazon.co.uk first opened its Music Store in 1999 will find MP3 versions of those albums in their Cloud Player libraries - also automatically and for free.
It all depends though if the album is in the AutoRip category, as not all of them are. The company says it has 350,000 albums, including titles from every major record label, are available for AutoRip and that customer just need to look for the AutoRip logo. The AutoRip music is provided in high-quality 256 Kbps MP3 audio.
And while the service works for music Amazon has no plans to AutoRip for Kindle books or DVDs.
It has taken quite a while for the service to land in the UK. It went live in the US in January and is also available in Italy, France and Germany.
"What would you say if you bought CDs, vinyl or even cassettes from a company 14 years ago, and then 14 years later that company licensed the rights from the record companies to give you the MP3 versions of those albums... and then to top it off, did that for you automatically and for free?" said Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com Founder and CEO. "Well, starting today, it's available to all of our Amazon.co.uk customers - past, present, and future - at no cost. We love these opportunities to do something extra for our customers."
The company has also announced the top ten albums it has sold since 199 all of which are available for AutoRip
I Dreamed A Dream
Now That's What I Call Music! 83
Only By The Night
Kings Of Leon
Back To Black (Bonus track)
Sigh No More
Mumford & Sons
Now That's What I Call Music! 80
Now That's What I Call Music! 77
It might seem incredible but up until today you haven't been able to buy MP3s from Amazon to play on your iPhone. That has all changed with the announcement by Amazon that as from today its MP3 are compatible with iPhone and iPod touch devices.
The retailer says that its 25 million song catalogue is now accessible via the iPhone's Safari browser.
Music purchases are automatically saved to customers' Cloud Player libraries and can be downloaded or played instantly from any iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, Kindle Fire, Android phone or tablet, or any web browser.
"Since the launch of the Amazon Cloud Player app for iPhone and iPod touch, a top request from customers has been the ability to buy music from Amazon right from their devices. For the first time ever, iOS users have a way do that - now they can access Amazon's huge catalogue of music, features like personalised recommendations, deals like albums for £3.99 and songs for 89p and they can buy their music once and use it everywhere," said Steve Boom, Vice President of Amazon Music.
Ever used Facetime on your iPhone when in the bath? Thought not. Someone is though according to some research from a UK online bathroom retailer.
Apparently as many as two thirds of us are happy to use our prized and pricey gadgets in the bath and not just receiving phone calls either.
The report by www.UKBathrooms.com, who polled 1,241 adults also says that 1 in 10 of Britons admitted to having damaged electronic goods by dropping them in the bath water accidently.
The survey asked. 'Do you ever use technological equipment whilst in the bath tub?' to which 67% said that 'yes', that they did use gadgets whilst taking a bath with the majority using smartphones, ereaders and tablets.
We are using those devices to keep up to date with social media, speak on the phone, text and even read novels and play games.
Peter Gregg, director of UKBathrooms.com, had the following to say:
"It seems that nowhere is safe from technology. The bath used to be for downtime and relaxation. Now it seems that it's used for Facetime and social media. It seems that these days, we're never switched off from the world around us."
"With the high cost of some of these products, it's surprising that so many people are willing to run the risk of getting them damaged and it seems that a number of people have suffered from it. We would never advocate the use of electronic goods in the vicinity of water, but I can understand the temptation to listen to some soothing music whilst relaxing in the bath. Facetime or Skype though is beyond me!"
There is of course one phone you can use in the bath.
It is claiming that the retailer/maker is going to market a phone with a large 4.7inch screen.
This news comes from, ahem, industry supply chain sources, who said that Amazon had upped the size of the screen from 4,3 inches to compete with the larger handset screens that Samsung, among others, are now popularising.
The source also suggests that Amazon is hoping for a Q2 release, though issues with production might mean the phone's arrival slips until later in the summer. Given Amazon's track record for new product launches I would wager that it will be US-only to begin with.
The Amazon Kindle HD has been one of the biggest gadgets of the last twelve months. So not suprisingly there has been a huge demand for cases for the tablet.
Here is our pick of the bunch
There are rumours today that Amazon are on the cusp of launching a digital music streaming service to rival Spotify, Pandora and any other not yet launched services from Apple and Google.
The Verge is suggesting that Amazon, which is in talks with music companies, would integrate the service into its cloud music storage and Cloud Player products.
The big question for the retailer though is how much will a streamed service eat into its MP3 sales? I guess it might take quite a chunk if buyers are offered the chance to stream music rather than buy it?
The other big question is whether the service will be free to use or be paid for by a subscription?
I guess Amazon will wait to see what its rivals - Apple and Google (via YouTube) - both of whom could have services later this year - are planning. If it charges for the service it might also end up as a freebie bundled with the Kindle Fire and maybe even its rumoured new smartphone.
It does beg the question - will streamed music play an important part in the way that you shop for a tablet in the future? It could mean that if you buy a device (iPad/Nexus/Kindle Fire) that you get the service on board as freebie. Or possibly that you if you subscribe to the service then you get the hardware at a reduced price or even for free.
If this business model does develop then it could put a lot of pressure on Spotify to partner with a manufacturer too. Maybe a deal with Samsung?
Quick update from Amazon. The company has just announced the long promised launch of the Kindle Fire HD 8.9 in the UK (as well as a price drop in the US).
The tablet is similar to the seven inch version, the key difference being the screen is a tad larger at 8.9inches. It also has a higher pixel count at 1,920x1,200 which means it will playback video in 1080p high definition.
There are few under the hood tweaks too namely a speedier processor than the 7inch model and also longer battery life at ten hours between charges.
As for pricing goes £229 lands you the 16GB option, while £259 gets the 32GB model.
It is one of the hottest rumours in mobile and has been for well over a year now. The story is that Amazon is set to capitalise on the success of its Kindle tablets by launching a mobile phone version of the device that can also make and receive calls.
To be honest Amazon unveiling a handset of this type would be no great surprise given the number of big screen mobile phone handsets and also that tablets - like this one - can make and receive voice calls.
So what is the phone likely to be and when is it coming?
Well we don't know too many answers to the first question, but as for the second it now appears that the handset won't go on sale until at least the summer.
An anonymous Chinese source told industry news site DigiTimes, that Foxconn, which makes Amazon products, has hit a few problems in the manufacturing process of the phone.
'The production of Amazon's much-fanfared smartphone is still under its engineering verification test (EVT) period due to issues related to its mobile platform,' the report said.
'The development of the smartphone is being handled by FIH (Foxconn International Holdings) subsidiary Ensky Tech, which has been responsible for the production of Amazon's e-book readers and tablets.'
Amazon's original schedule pegged the device to finish its verification tests in Q1 2013, ready for mass production in Q2, but the sources suggest that these problems mean Ensky Tech won't be able to start volume production in June.
So if we do see a summer launch for the handset here are a few educated guesses as to what the handset will be like.
Much depends on whether Amazon is going to create a mobile phone from the ground up, or just tailor the device of one of its tablets by adding voice call functionality. I wonder if we will actually see both in 2013 with a dedicated Amazon phone as well as a seven inch Kindle HD Fire with added voice features.
If they go with the phone, expect the following
1 It will have a big screen - Everyone else (bar Apple) are producing large screen devices and the bigger the screen the easier it is to read Kindle books or watch movies. It will be at least 5inches.
2 It will run the latest version of Google Android - Amazon runs customised versions of the operating system on its Kindle HD Fire device, so it would make sense to use Android for the phone.
3 It will feature a lot of Amazon services - So expect to the see the Amazon interface for the device to be pre-loaded with the Amazon app suite, feature the Amazon app store and use Amazon's Silk browser instead of Chrome. There is also likely to be a big ttie-in with the Amazon owned Lovefilm.
This week Amazon launched its bright new Kindle, the Paperwhite, onto its online store sending the (still relatively new) Touch device off to an early retirement.
But how does the new eReader compare? And is the built-in light handy or just a gimmick?
Well luckily our sister site Tech Digest has reviewed the eReader, putting it head to head with previous devices, trying out all the new features and letting you know whether it really is the best Kindle ever made...
Last night Amazon's Chief Executive Jeff Bezos unveiled a number of highly anticipated new Kindle products and although they'd already been revealed in a US TV ad earlier in the week, the three new Kindle Fire tablets and Paperwhite eReader didn't fail to impress us.
Here's a quick and dirty guide to the main announcements from Amazon:
The Kindle Paperwhite is an eReader with a capacitive touch display, which is totally different to standard black and white Kindles because it's got a high resolution screen with 62% more pixels, 25% increased contrast, a 212 ppi display and a built-in light for reading in all kinds of conditions.
Jeff Bezos said at the event in California yesterday:
"Paperwhite is the Kindle we've always wanted to build -- the technology didn't exist to build a display with this level of contrast, resolution, brightness and battery life, so our engineers invented it."
The device has a pretty impressive 8 weeks battery life too, which Amazon claims will last even with the light on the whole time. There's also built-in Wi-Fi (and free 3G connectivity in some areas), Whispersync technology that works for audio too and a new feature called Time to Read, which tells readers the amount of time it will take them to finish reading a certain chapter or a whole book based on reading speed.
The Paperwhite is 9.1mm thick and 7.5 ounces.
We've only got US details about the new Kindle Paperwhite for now, it'll come in at $119 and the Kindle Paperwhite Wi-Fi + 3G is $179.
Kindle Fire HD
This high-resolution iteration of the Kindle Fire comes in two new sizes, 8.9" and 7". The larger version has a 1920 X 1200 pixel resolution and the 7 inch model has a 1280 X 800 resolution.
Both devices have super durable Gorilla Glass with a laminated touchscreen that Amazon claims will reduce glare by 25%.
They also have stereo speaks and an HDMI port for connecting up to other devices.
The Kindle Fire HD also has two wi-fi antennas and Mimo (multiple-input and multiple-output) technology to improve internet speeds and connectivity. The bigger tablet can also be bought with 4G connectivity with a heftier price tag over in the US.
The current Kindle Fire product has now been improved with all of the best features but with a faster process for 40% better performance, twice the amount of memory and a longer battery life too.
It's been reduced to $159 / £129 too.
Last night an Amazon ad aired in the US featuring a Kindle with a blacklight, which looks a lot like the new Paperwhite device that we've seen leaked images of over the past few weeks.
At the end of last month a picture of the Paperwhite made its way onto The Verge, looking very much like the button-free Kindle Touch, but boasting an edge-lit display while still retaining the easy-on-the-eye, paper-like E-Ink screen.
However, it won't just be all about the new backlit device later today, the ad also features a tablet with a larger screen, which we imagine is the new version of the Kindle Fire.
We'll find out for definite later today, but check out the advert above from The Verge for yourself.
[Via The Verge]
Amazon is set to launch something big at a San Diego press event on September 6th and as many of us are expecting the Kindle Fire 2, there are also rumours circulating that it'll be joined by other new eReader models, including the Kindle Paperwhite, which we've hear will be a new backlit E-Ink reader device.
A picture of the Paperwhite made its way onto The Verge, looking very much like the button-free Kindle Touch, but boasting an edge-lit display while still retaining the easy-on-the-eye, paper-like E-Ink screen. In other words, it'll work as great during the night as it will in direct sunlight.
The images leaked show some French text onscreen, which also hints at a few of the improvements made to the Kindle device. Contrast ratio should be slightly higher, leading to darker text on a lighter background, and the resolution should be improved too. That lighter background will no doubt be elevated by a slight illusion, with a new darker chassis making the digital pages appear lighter too. Battery life is expected to be still around 8 weeks long, regardless of whether or not the light is being used or not.
With September 6th just a week away, we'll soon have confirmation of the device's specs, and indeed whether or not it exists at all or is coming to the UK.
Today Amazon has rolled out its Appstore to the European market, bringing it to the UK as the "Amazon Appstore for Android", to Germany, France and Italy as "App-Shop" and to Spain as "Tienda Apps".
The Appstore is available for phones and tablets running Android via a new app download that can be accessed through Amazon.
Those in the US have been able to download apps from Amazon's Appstore for some time now, but from today those in Europe will be able to take advantage of its perks, including free app of the day promotions, one-click payments and a whole host of other cool features.
[Via The Next Web]
Today Amazon has finally brought its Cloud Drive online storage and back-up system to the UK.
The cloud storage service has been available in the US for over a year now and UK users will be getting the same 5GB of free space through the service as our US counterparts.
Cloud Drive is compatible with both PC and mac and the Amazon Cloud Drive App offers enough storage space for around 2,000 photos, free of charge, while 20GB of storage costs just £6 a year. £320 a year will bag you a giant 1TB worth of cloud-based storage.
All sorts of media, be they documents, videos, music files or images, can be stored and shared through the service.
The Amazon Cloud Drive lands in a now busy UK market for cloud storage services. Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft SkyDrive and Apple iCloud all offer similar features.
[Via Tech Digest]
Online retailer and king of the Kindle Amazon has revealed that, for the first time ever, more people are now buying eBooks from its website than printed books.
It's only been two years since Amazon introduced its first Kindle eReader device and in that time we've witnessed huge changes in the publishing industry, from ways established and up and coming authors release their work to ways the public choose to buy and consume them. According to The Guardian, Amazon customers are now buying more eBooks than both hardcover and paperback real life actual books combined. Figures released by Amazon today reveal that since the start of the year, for every 100 books sold from the site, customers downloaded 114 ebooks.
However, this shift doesn't necessarily mean that we're all ditching printed books in favour of modern Kindle equivalents (although we'd imagine a lot of you are), as Amazon also revealed that British Kindle owners are now buying four times as many books as they were before they owned the popular eReader. But are we all actually reading the eBooks we're downloading, or just filling up the Kindle in a spending frenzy because it's just so easy?
An Amazon spokeswoman told The Guardian:
"As soon as we started selling Kindles it became our bestselling product on Amazon.co.uk so there was a very quick adoption ... [And they] are buying four times more books prior to owning a Kindle.
"Generally there seems to be a love of a reading and a renaissance as a result of Kindle being launched."
Whether it's because they're small, convenient or hide our saucy/embarrassing/child-like reading habits, Kindles are clearly not the faddy gadgets many suggested they were around Christmas time, but if Amazon's recent stats are anything to go by it looks like they're taking pride of place in our front rooms, handbags and briefcases over the boring paperback.
So it's happened, we've finally had enough of Harry Potter wielding his magic wand around, it's now all about Christian Grey and his umm... Yeah you know the rest.
Harry Potter's spell over the UK reading public has finally been broken, as Amazon UK has today announced that all-time sales of J.K Rowling's entire seven book Potter series have now been eclipsed on the website by sales of E.L. James' Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy. Oh British people, you're all such secret dirtbags.
The "mummy porn" books have so far sold over four million copies in print and on Kindle since hitting the UK Amazon store in March 2012, making James the most successful author of all time on the British site.
The first book in the series, Fifty Shades of Grey, has been outselling the final Harry Potter book Deathly Hallows by a factor of 2-1 over the past few weeks.
Gordon Willoughby, Director EU, Kindle said:
"If JK Rowling was the literary phenomenon of the last decade then EL James looks certain to take that mantle in the current decade.
"In just four months, E.L. James has become Amazon.co.uk's biggest selling author of all time which is truly remarkable when you consider that we've been selling books for almost 14 years."
The Fifty Shades of Grey books are doing similarly well in the US, but have yet to beat American sales records.
[Via Tech Digest]
It's no secret that we're big fans of Case-Mate's Barely There range here at Shiny Shiny and now the brand has collaborated with designers and launched a bunch of new cases that we just can't peel our eyes away from.
You can check out the whole range of Case-Mate's designer cases over on Amazon (they're all £24.99), but scroll through the gallery below to see our favourites.
A few months ago Amazon launched a service for Windows users that allowed them to quickly and easily send documents to their Kindle devices and now HOORAY there's a new app for Mac users that does the same thing. And the good news is it's even more simple.
Send to Kindle for Mac is a new application that allows Mac users and Kindle owners (you lucky little devils) to send documents to their devices by simply dragging and dropping them onto a dedicated icon in the Dock or within the app itself.
Kindle owners have always been able to send various files and documents to themselves from a computer, but it relies on you finding out your Kindle's email address and sending things over like a regular email. So this way there's no need to use an email client and it doesn't have to even go to your Kindle device either, you can send files to the Kindle app on your iPad or mobile phone too.
Once you've downloaded the app there are a tonne of new options to make it easier to send things Kindle's way, you can select 'print' from any Mac app and see the 'Send to Kindle' option, or when you're in Finder you can press 'control-click' on one or more documents and choose 'Send to Kindle' again.
If you're one of the many people who jumped on the Kindle bandwagon earlier in the year or got given one for Christmas and haven't really made the most of it yet, then being able to view documents as well as novels, magazines and blog posts could be the extra incentive to ensure you and your Kindle become BFFS.
Download Send to Kindle from Amazon for free.