Saturday, October 14, 2017

All-New Kindle Oasis E-reader finally. Waterproof, 7" high-res - 300 ppi, with built-In Audible. Updated.


Amazon's "All New Oasis" (UK,  Canada) was announced today.

What's not new is that it's pricey, as it's Amazon's
premium-featured Kindle E-reader.

New features: First waterproofed Kindle (IPX8 rating); twice the amount of basic storage as the other Kindles and you can choose 32 GB if you need it (for an additional $30) "to hold more magazines, comics, newspapers, and audiobooks"; dedicated page-turn buttons on an ultra-thin 3.4mm 7" display that shows 30% more text; and, as before, adjustable front-lighting that's said to be twice as effective as the ones in other Kindle models.

How effective is the water proofing?
Amazon explains that it's "rated to protect against immersion in up to two meters of fresh water for up to 60 minutes.  And it's built to withstand getting splashed at the beach or dropped in the bathtub, hot tub, or pool."
  They give more details on what to do if it gets wet; what steps to take to dry it; and how to reduce the likelihood of water damage."

  A waterproof Kindle has been a long-requested feature, so it's likely to generate a lot of interest.

As with the basic Kindle model for 2017, this one comes with Audible for those who prefer to listen to their books when that's more convenient.

Here's Amazon's comparison table of its various E-readers as of October 2017.  (See UK and Canada.)

Note that the Oasis has 12 LEDs (said to give more contrast and darker letters) + adaptive light sensor, while the others have either 0, 4, or 6 LEDs.

The Kindle Voyage has the "page press" feature (less definite action), while the Oasis has actual page-turn buttons, a feature that many miss from the original Kindles (eons ago, it seems).

The Paperwhite, Voyage and Oasis all have the option of free Cellular Connectivity for an additional $50 (with the Oasis), BUT when trying out the 'Customization' of purchase options, I cannot choose the cellular-connectivity capability without the package now being automatically 32 GB (rather than 8, even if not needed) and then $30 more, AND the process also selects "without special offers" (ads on the lock screen) -- an option that is valued at $20.  These all add up to the $100 difference, instead of just $50 for the cellular option.

  My guess: they probably prefer not downloading graphics-heavy ads over cellular-networks as data that Amazon would be paying for, so they are foregoing the 'special offers' in this case by automatically charging the $20 to not see them, and it all gets rolled into the $100 additional cost to be able to download data while at the beach or on the bus, etc -- unless the customization limits are in error, but I don't think they are.

ALSO NOTE: The official Amazon 5W USB Power Adapter is NOT included with even this premium E-reader.  It's been a policy for some time to not include the power adapter, since many already have them for other or earlier Amazon E-readers or Kindle Fire tablets, and so Amazon includes only the USB cable that connects to a power adapter.  Therefore, the cost when you want to add that adapter is another $20 (UK, £17).

I still read on a Paperwhite3 (and still love the old thing).  Since I don't read around water, although I know many do, I'm not likely to upgrade, even if reviews of the first Oasis found it easier to hold and a pleasure to use.  I also don't send for review copies, as I don't have the time these days, but I'll watch the reviews and forum discussions and bring back any interesting info I find.

The premium leather standing cover and the "Water-safe Fabric" standing cover ($15 less than the premium cover) are shown when you get to the Customization page that's now a part of the 'Add to Cart' process.  Inescapable :-)

Expected delivery date
While this new Oasis is "Available" for pre-order now, I've not yet seen an official delivery date, BUT on a listing I saw that includes "not-for-retail" (yet) models, the date given is October 31.  That includes an int'l page designated "not for retail" so I'll give the link to that when it is ready.

  Will update this blog as I get more info.  Be sure to read the linked-Oasis page for details on the new software - enhanced layout and formatting features.

  If you have questions on any of this, let me know in Comments section, and I'll try to find answers for you.




Check often: Temporarily-free recently published Kindle books
  Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.  Top 100 free bestsellers.  Liked-books under $1
UK-Only: recently published free books, bestsellers, or £5 Max ones
    Also, UK customers should see the UK store's Top 100 free bestsellers.

  *Click* to Return to the HOME PAGE.  Or click on the web browser's BACK button.



Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

Send to Kindle


(Older posts have older Kindle model info. For latest models, see CURRENT KINDLES page. )
If interested, you can also follow my add'l blog-related news at Facebook and Twitter
Questions & feedback are welcome in the Comment areas (tho' spam is deleted). Thanks!

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Enhanced All-New Fire HD 10" tablet due Oct 11, 2017. What are its features? Updated 10/1/17.


Amazon is releasing October 11, 2017 the All-New Fire HD 10" tablet, with higher resolution, speed, and Alexa voice control.

Also, many are not aware that the latest Fire tablet models (FIRE OS 5+) can be set up to use Google Play Store.  I'll do a separate article on that soon.  No rooting or system modifications are involved.

10/1/17 Update - Original article 9/26/17
  I've found that the earlier, simple instructions to add Google Play Store and Services to Fire tablets with Fire OS 5 and above, now require somewhat different Google files, depending on which generation Fire tablet you have or will have soon.  There are also situations in which older files work better now for many, but some of the Google Play files will auto-update with time.  There are workarounds for various minor problems encountered by some, and I'll explain these, although maybe not until after a deadline I have for mid-October.  I've updated the general reference chart of current available Kindle eReaders and tablets internationally.

  Of interest, maybe: Amazon is still showing the 2016 Fire HD 6" tablet available in the 16 GB version, adding "Only 1 left in stock (more on the way)" and citing Oct 3 as a possible delivery day for the one still in stock.  I've seen unhappiness that this pocketable and light, book-sized tablet might be ended, so this could be good news (or just a mistake).

Here is 1) Amazon's current Fire tablet comparison table for the 3 main tablets
  (7", 8" 10" models but not the special "Kids Editions")
and 2) their tablet comparison page for all 5 editions.


All New Fire 10
    The "Essentials Bundle" saves $15.
This new 10" Fire tablet has 1080p full HD display (1920 x 1900), a fast quad-core processor, doubled memory (2 GB RAM), 32 or 64 GB internal storage plus up to 256 GB expandable storage via a microSD card slot, up to 10 hours mixed-use battery life, and more tested durability than the iPad Pro 10.5" at considerably lower cost.  The cameras are modest, keeping that cost down, while it offers FLING (to TV) technology.  The bundled option adds the Amazon cover and screen protector at $15 less than if bought separately.
    This is the first Fire tablet with the Alexa Hands-free voice feature. "... pause videos, play music, open apps, show sports scores, display the weather, and more — just ask (available soon via software update)"

All New Fire HD tablets released earlier in 2017

All New Fire 7

Thinner and lighter, improved 7" IPS display, battery life now up to 8 hrs, faster performance, improved Wi-Fi connectivity. 8 GB or 16 GB. Up to 256 GB expandable storage via microSD card.

All New Fire HD 8

Over 1 million pixels, widescreen 8" 1280 x 800 HD display, up to 12 hrs of battery life, and 16 GB of storage. Up to 256 GB expandable storage via microSD card.


All New Fire 7 Kids Ed.

As above, but with 16 GB of storage and with a year of Amazon FreeTime Unlimited* (see article explaining benefits, a kid-proof case, and a 2-yr worry-free guarantee.


All New Fire HD 8 Kids Ed
As
, now with an 8" screen, with 32 GB of storage and with a year of Amazon FreeTime Unlimited* (see article explaining benefits), a kid-proof case, and a 2-yr worry-free guarantee

* Amazon FreeTime Unlimited, Amazon adds, "now offers over 15,000 age-appropriate books, videos, educational apps, and games, plus access to over 55,000 hand-curated websites and YouTube videos, plus Parent Dashboard and Discussion Cards."


Accessories for the tablets
(also, UK page)



For now -- For those in the UK, you'll see the same new tablets HERE.   Canadian and International Fire tablets are probably ordered from the U.S. pages above, these days, unless sold direct by Amazon in your countries.  See direct links for international Amazon stores


Amazon's All-New Fire tablet announcements highlight the following:

Features that each "All-New Fire" tablets have(and the "kids" versions of course)
Alexa - Just press and ask to play videos, enjoy music, listen to audiobooks, ask questions, shop, find news, display the weather, and more on your Fire tablet.  The new Fire HD 10" tablet being released October 11, 2017 has "Hands-Free feature -- no need to press a button, instead, "just ask" (I assume you preface the Alexa requests with the word "Alexa" (to wake up that feature) as is done on the original Amazon Echo.

Quad-core 1.3 GHz processor - Quickly and easily switch between apps, stream movies, and browse the web without waiting for your tablet to catch up.
Durability - As measured in tumble tests, Fire 7 and Fire HD 8 are both more durable than the latest generation iPad.
Front- and rear-facing cameras - Video chat with friends and family with the front-facing camera; take and share photos, and save them for later with free, unlimited cloud storage for all photos taken on Fire devices.
Fast Wi-Fi connectivity - dual-band Wi-Fi with support.
Screen Sharing customer service - let an Amazon expert guide you remotely through any feature on your screen, available 24x7, 365 days a year - for free.
Amazon-exclusive features - Alexa, ASAP, X-Ray, Second Screen, Amazon FreeTime, Family Library, Blue Shade, On Deck, Prime Video downloads, and more.
World-class content ecosystem - Access to millions of movies, TV shows, songs, books, magazines, apps, and games - with free, unlimited cloud storage for all Amazon content.
New color options - Black, Punch Red, Marine Blue, and Canary Yellow.




Check often: Temporarily-free recently published Kindle books
  Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.  Top 100 free bestsellers.  Liked-books under $1
UK-Only: recently published free books, bestsellers, or £5 Max ones
    Also, UK customers should see the UK store's Top 100 free bestsellers.

  *Click* to Return to the HOME PAGE.  Or click on the web browser's BACK button.
Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

Send to Kindle


(Older posts have older Kindle model info. For latest models, see CURRENT KINDLES page. )
If interested, you can also follow my add'l blog-related news at Facebook and Twitter
Questions & feedback are welcome in the Comment areas (tho' spam is deleted). Thanks!

Friday, May 19, 2017

Amazon's new, updated Fire tablets for 2017, their features, and Amazon's special introductory offer


Amazon actually came out with some new, updated tablet models

All New Fire 7

Thinner and lighter, improved 7" IPS display, battery life no up to 8 hrs, faster performance, improved Wi-Fi connectivity. 8 GB or 16 GB. Up to 256 GB expandable storage via microSD card.

All New Fire HD 8

Over 1 million pixels, widescreen 8" 1280 x 800 HD display, up to 12 hrs of battery life, and 16 GB of storage. Up to 256 GB expandable storage via microSD card.


All New Fire 7 Kids Ed.

As above, but with 16 GB of storage and with a year of Amazon FreeTime Unlimited* (see article explaining benefits, a kid-proof case, and a 2-yr worry-free guarantee.


All New Fire HD 8 Kids Ed
As above, now with an 8" screen, with 32 GB of storage and with a year of Amazon FreeTime Unlimited* (see article explaining benefits), a kid-proof case, and a 2-yr worry-free guarantee

* Amazon FreeTime Unlimited, Amazon adds, "now offers over 15,000 age-appropriate books, videos, educational apps, and games, plus access to over 55,000 hand-curated websites and YouTube videos, plus Parent Dashboard and Discussion Cards."


Accessories for the tablets
Promo Code FIRE3PACK - Amazon's special introductory offer
The tablets are available in a multi-pack option ... Buy any three Fire tablets and save 20 percent.



For now -- For those in the UK, you'll see the same new tablets HERE.   Canadian and International Fire tablets are probably ordered from the U.S. pages above these days.


Amazon's announcements yesterday highlight the following:

Features both the tablets have(and the "kids" versions of course)
Alexa - Just press and ask to play videos, enjoy music, listen to audiobooks, ask questions, shop, find news, display the weather, and more on your Fire tablet.
Quad-core 1.3 GHz processor - Quickly and easily switch between apps, stream movies, and browse the web without waiting for your tablet to catch up.
Durability - As measured in tumble tests, Fire 7 and Fire HD 8 are both more durable than the latest generation iPad.
Front- and rear-facing cameras - Video chat with friends and family with the front-facing camera; take and share photos, and save them for later with free, unlimited cloud storage for all photos taken on Fire devices.
Fast Wi-Fi connectivity - dual-band Wi-Fi with support.
Screen Sharing customer service - let an Amazon expert guide you remotely through any feature on your screen, available 24x7, 365 days a year - for free.
Amazon-exclusive features - Alexa, ASAP, X-Ray, Second Screen, Amazon FreeTime, Family Library, Blue Shade, On Deck, Prime Video downloads, and more.
World-class content ecosystem - Access to millions of movies, TV shows, songs, books, magazines, apps, and games - with free, unlimited cloud storage for all Amazon content.
New color options - Black, Punch Red, Marine Blue, and Canary Yellow.


I'll update the special Kindle eReader and Fire Tablets sheet or table probably this weekend.




Check often: Temporarily-free recently published Kindle books
  Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.  Top 100 free bestsellers.  Liked-books under $1
UK-Only: recently published free books, bestsellers, or £5 Max ones
    Also, UK customers should see the UK store's Top 100 free bestsellers.

  *Click* to Return to the HOME PAGE.  Or click on the web browser's BACK button.


Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

Send to Kindle


(Older posts have older Kindle model info. For latest models, see CURRENT KINDLES page. )
If interested, you can also follow my add'l blog-related news at Facebook and Twitter
Questions & feedback are welcome in the Comment areas (tho' spam is deleted). Thanks!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Beam n Read reading and general travel light - Reprise for those who don't know about the around-the-neck light. Updated 4/17/17, 11:00 pm for current models + the new BnR USB Power Kit.

BEAM N READ 3-Led light, made by ASF Lightware Solutions.

As regular readers will remember, my personal favorite in reading lights (I've bought too many different types) has been the Beam N Read "LED 3 Hands Free Travel Reading Light; for Kindle, Power Outages & More" that I first wrote about in early October 2010.  I'm still using the 3-led light version nightly, as it does well enough so that I almost never need the 6-led light one.  I definitely use it when walking outside at night.

  I'm including much of what I wrote at the time.

Note updating information: The company saw my blog article and wrote to add updated information on both lights.  The 6-LED-light link to the older model still works and, if used, the newer model is sent, along with their BNR CL1M magnifier kit which contains one lens, but the new 6-LED model ordered direct at the revised link is sent along with the two filters and delivered using PRIME shipping.

  As before, I'm including a couple of photos below to show light coverage on my older non-lit Kindle with its Amazon cover, with built-in light (no longer available) vs. using what became my favorite light for the various Kindles I have.

This portable light is worn around the neck and has an adjustable strap.  The 3-LED light model is now said to last about 100 hours (based on the ANSI/NEMA FL-1 Standard: continuous runtime on high to 10% of initial brightness), and I do use it nightly for weeks before needing to change batteries.
   Normal intermittent use (I can't imagine anyone running a light like this for 2 to 4 days straight) will result in actual runtime over 120 hours shining 3 LEDs, they've found.

  The 3-LED model no longer comes with batteries but ships with two blue-light blocking filters (orange and red, softening the light, helpful for partners at night too).  The company added the orange filter because many use the light to read or stitch late in the evening.  Removing the batteries eliminated the occasional problem of battery leakage in the box and helped keep a lower retail price despite increases in manufacturing cost.

  (See the new USB Power Kit at the end of this blog report.)

 Because it's very lightweight and flexible with a patented flip-up design, reflector, and the adjustable strap, I usually have it on when I'm home.  Going downstairs at night or to a less well-lit room, or when I just can't see something well enough, I can just turn this on briefly, which is done by flipping up the hood/reflector. I also use it to read fine print.

For reading a book or an e-book reader, you can also reverse its positioning if you prefer (as I do) to hold the book higher than on your lap, and then flip the reflector down instead, so that the light angles up.  But if someone is sitting across from you, that may not be very comfortable for that person, as the Led lamps would be directed at their eyes too.

 I do love that it's always available when I need extra light.  No, I'm not associated with the company that makes them.  I was just tired of clipping on a light and adjusting it, as much as I love the ease of external lights like the Mighty Bright Xtraflex 2 which has the little foam pad where the clip-on meets the top of the Kindle's bezel.  The Beam N Read is pretty good at keeping the light from reaching the other person for night reading in bed.  There are times that I would like a somewhat brighter light, and when I do (not when reading a Kindle), I've used:

  The 6-LED version (Updated 4/17/17, evening, to link to newer version)
  Their newest 6-LED version is VERY bright and probably overkill for reading a Kindle 6" reader, though I've sometimes used it for situations where the light is just dim.  I tried one for other uses, and for my Kindle DX in Landscape mode.  The batteries for this last, they say, about 50 hours, vs the 100 to 120 hours of the 3-LED model.  This 6-LED model never came with batteries included although it has a magnifier for short-session, detailed craft work.  I personally found the magnifer texture quite hard to see through and it's not a feature I'd use.

  I DO use both Beam N Read units for piano music though, depending on how well the room is lit.

  I had bought a head lamp for a trip I took in October 2011, since we needed to go into some unlit places (Egyptian tombs!), but I don't at all like wearing something around my head just to read so I wondered if there was anything like this.  Amazon doesn't make this easy to find, but I've found it extremely useful for any e-reader. And when out at night I'm often asked what that is that I'm wearing. Having slipped in the rain recently on a rain-filled metal cover I stepped onto, I'm even more apt to use this when I'm out and the lighting is bad.

Here are photos of the effect of two reading lights on my Kindles.

Lit by the now-discontinued Amazon cover with built-in light, the upper right hand corner of my Kindle 3 (UK: K3) ("Kindle Keyboard") is brighter than the lower-left area, of course, and the light isn't as bright as I like but it's useful if you're out and need a light for reading.  That special cover light needed no batteries, as it ran off the Kindle's own battery, and it did shut off automatically if the Kindle went into sleep mode after about 10 minutes.

The second picture is of the same Kindle lit by the Beam N Read 3-LED light -- the lighting on my Kindle 3, in this case (no flash was used, as you can tell from a click of the image that leads to the EXIF camera data included with the larger image at PBase) is very even and brighter overall than from the one built into the Amazon cover, but one would seldom wear the Beam N Read when out, probably, though I've definitely done it :-).

Again, I hope this helps some who are looking for good lights to use with the Kindle.  I did the various photos, as choice of a light has been one of the most asked questions on the Kindle forums.

Here are reviews and user feedback cited as well as a page on "Uses" of this unique light, at the company's website, collected from several types of communities, including gadget and e-reader blog sites.  At the Amazon product page, the light, though not promoted by Amazon as a Kindle light, has customer reviews with a high average rating.

I do use this light daily, as I don't have to worry anymore about which light fits which Kindle model and because I use it for other purposes as well, as mentioned.
  Remember that I like to reverse the way it's worn when I'm reading in sitting position as I prefer to hold the Kindle higher than some do.

UPDATE for new product offered by the company:
Beam N Read USB Power Kit
This power kit allows plugging into USB for external power.  From the company: "The kit includes a 6 foot Beam n Read-to-USB cable plus a 6 foot USB Extension cable enabling one to plug in up to 12 feet away from the power source.  The cables can be plugged into the included USB/AC adapter or into a USB hub, USB car adapter, the USB port on a computer, the USB socket on your airline seat, and other devices" - USB adapter/chargers, etc.

So, Beam n Read is a portable, personal light that delivers extra long battery runtime and, now, the ability to use external power via USB.  As the company points out, most lights can’t plug in; some can be plugged in for recharging but have relatively short runtimes; a few can be plugged in for external power but those also have relatively short battery runtimes.  And while most older models of other brand lights can’t use USB, older model Beam n Read lights CAN use the USB Power Kit.  I'm going to try one out.

  While I receive many offers of products for review, I don't do actual reviews, writing only about products I've bought and really enjoy.  In this case, I've bought some for friends, and friends have bought them as well.  It's just an unusual, generally very-useful product.




Check often: Temporarily-free recently published Kindle books
  Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.  Top 100 free bestsellers.  Liked-books under $1
UK-Only: recently published free books, bestsellers, or £5 Max ones
    Also, UK customers should see the UK store's Top 100 free bestsellers.

  *Click* to Return to the HOME PAGE.  Or click on the web browser's BACK button.


Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

Send to Kindle


(Older posts have older Kindle model info. For latest models, see CURRENT KINDLES page. )
If interested, you can also follow my add'l blog-related news at Facebook and Twitter
Questions & feedback are welcome in the Comment areas (tho' spam is deleted). Thanks!

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