The family of Kindle digital readers and tablets has three more members staring this week. The first, called Kindle Fire, is an improvement over the previous version: a 7” inch tablet with ability to surf the web, play music and movies and of course, read digital books.
The second is the HD version of Fire, a powerful tablet, for $500, becomes an interesting competitor for the iPad.
The last of the devices is a digital book reader e-ink, but also takes orders by touch. All devices will show advertising for products sold by Amazon to be blocked or at rest. According to the company, this is the reason we can sell the devices at a lower price than the competition.
The new Fire
During their press conference in Los Angeles this week, Amazon introduced the new version of its Kindle Fire tablet, with notable hardware improvements, and the not-so-pleasant surprise is that they will now implement a system of ‘compulsory advertising’ when the equipment is not in use.
In terms of technical features, the new Kindle Fire has a multitouch 7” inch screen, dual-core processor and a battery that lets you play 7 ½ hours of video. Unfortunately for readers, the battery life is only half an hour longer when the device is used to read eBooks.
The tablet, which has double the memory than its predecessor, weighs 410 grams, as opposed to 650 grams of the Apple iPad 3, and 565 grams for the Samsung Galaxy Tab.
The price of the device, available in presale from Thursday, is $160, $40 less than the previous version.
Subsidized by advertising
The high-definition version of the Kindle Fire has a multitouch 8.9” inch screen, and a much higher price. Available for Pre-order this week, the device costs $500 or $600, depending on if you buy the 32 or 64 gigabytes of storage. But the value becomes attractive when compared with other high definition tablets, like the iPad 3, the cheapest version with 32 gigabytes of storage, costs $730.
Those who buy a Fire HD will find that the device also shows special offers and sponsored listings of movies, books and music on your screen when idle, or in locked mode. Amazon, however, said that advertising does not hinder the use of the device.
Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s chief executive, says his company is different from companies like Apple trying to make money by providing services, not selling their devices. So this is how they can can offer them at a competitive price without obsessing over them for huge profits.
Indeed: the reduction of the company’s net profit during the third quarter of last year made Amazon think that they where losing money for every Kindle Fire it sells.
(Almost) no distractions
The third and final version of the Kindle that Amazon will launch in the coming weeks is called Paperwhite: a tablet that can not play videos or pictures in color, and only uses its battery when a user moves a page or access a menu.
This is possible because it has an LED screen but with digital ink, a white surface where the dots that make up the letters and pictures are magnetically ordered, and then remain in that position naturally.
Although this model has a feature missing from previous versions: lighting of its screen, you can read even with no external light sources.
Priced at $70, The Paperwhite is also the cheapest version of the Kindle, designed for those with reading as a priority to access over the Internet or buying items from Amazon.
With regard to advertising, the model also shows product announcements from online store offers, but Amazon said that in the future will give your users the option of paying for to disable advertising in the device.
Pi: a PC for $25
The Raspberry Pi is not the first computer with a price less than $100 in the market, and the first with a price below $50, but promises to be one of the most popular. This week, the makers of the PC announced that its prototype is ready to be mass produced, and that the production will take place in the UK.
Last year, a team of British engineers discovered that they could buy the parts needed to build a incredibly small PC for just over $20.
After joining the team and prove they could run a modern version of Ubuntu, an operating system completely free, the team calculated that the system could hit the market at a price of $25, with a version a bit more powerful for $35 dollars.
While the Raspberry Pi became popular on the Internet, its creators discovered that the only way to maintain the desired selling price, the equipment was to be manufactured in China. But this week the team announced it will begin manufacturing the computer in England, keeping its cost unchanged.
Unfortunately, managing to make the Raspberry Pi in the West delayed the release of the computer almost a year. The team, which could become a favorite among governments and educational institutions, faces competition from models such as the Cubieboard, which for $50 gives four times more RAM, and a faster processor.