After a year of speculation, today Amazon took the wraps off its first tablet device, the Kindle Fire. The Kindle Fire is a skinned Android tablet with a dual-core processor, a 7-inch IPS touchscreen, Wi-Fi, and software geared for Amazon-powered content consumption.
Of course, the Kindle Fire will have an eBook reader app, much like tablet versions of the software already available, but there will also be support for watching streaming video, and purchasing and listening to music. And, of course, there’s a web browser.
Unlike many Android tablets on the market, the Kindle Fire isn’t trying to be all things to all users; it’s a content consumption device first and foremost.
You can add additional software to the Kindle Fire via the Amazon Appstore.
The Kindle Fire will sell for $199 and will include a one month trial of Amazon Prime(Review), the $79 yearly membership that allows $3.99 per item overnight shipping of Amazon-stocked products as well as streaming movies and TV shows from the Amazon Instant Video library.
A new touch-enabled version of the eInk Kindle, called the Kindle Touch, was also announced.
When we think of Android software, we most often picture those applications that run on the devices themselves; but there are also useful titles that run on PCs and Macs which help you get more out of an Android phone or tablet.
We’ve put together a list of our favorite applications of this type – including syncing tools, video encoders, and media management software – to help you find your way. And we’ll continue to add to the list over time. Have a suggestion we missed? Let us know in the comments section.
Read: Android Device Utilities & Software Tools for Windows & Mac OS
We’ve known it was coming for, well… years – and today Google Music has been released to the masses. Er, well, to the potential masses at any rate. The new service, currently in beta, is available by invite only for the foreseeable future and only in the United States.
So, what exactly is Google Music?
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Given the success of Android in the smartphone market, we’ve been surprised, frankly, that not one of the tablets powered by Google’s OS has been able to make the iPad so much as flinch; iPad continues its dominance in the tablet space as surely as if it were the only available option.
But this reality won’t be last. Eventually, a viable competitor will emerge. So, could Amazon be the company to finally offer an acceptable alternative, at least from consumers’ standpoint, to Apple’s iPad?
For months there have been rumblings that the retailer would, building on its success in the eReader market, release its own tablet device. And for several reasons, Amazon might just stand the best chance of challenging iPad. But what exactly would such a tablet offer? Would it feature a color eInk touchscreen (unlikely), an LCD-eInk hybrid (also questionable), an entirely new display technology, or simply a color LCD touchscreen like the Nook Color and other current tablets? What software would it run? How much would it cost?
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While Apple has steadily increased the number of iTunes tracks that sell for $1.29, Amazon MP3, Amazon.com’s online music store, has just lowered the price of many popular songs from 89-or-99 cents to just $0.69.
And these aren’t newly-encoded 1950s tracks 9 out of 10 octogenarians never heard of – the new price is for many current bestselling songs like Katy Perry’s E.T. and Bruno Mars’ The Lazy Song. In fact, if you take a look at the list of Amazon MP3’s bestselling MP3 songs, more than 50% of the top 60 are now selling for $0.69 – costing listeners roughly half what they’d shell out for iTunes purchases.
Amazon MP3 sells unlocked .MP3 audio files which will play back on iOS devices (iPhone, iPad, iPod touch), iPods, Android phones, Windows Phones and virtually every other device designed to handle digital audio. And the online retailer recently launched their Cloud Drive, an online “digital locker” for files and media, along with Cloud Player, a Windows, Mac OS and Android app that allows users to playback the audio files stored there over an internet connection.
We’re disappointed Amazon still hasn’t released an iTunes-like application for PCs which would allow users to purchase and manage Amazon MP3 content outside a browser, but with savings this substantial the extra effort required to separately download and manage music purchased from Amazon, particularly in this economy, will be worthwhile for many users.
Now let’s see if enough people make the switch to Amazon MP3 for Apple to take notice.