Easter Special! A Kindle Fire HD for $119

An Easter Egg marks Amazon's discounts on the Kindle Fire tablets

Surprise! Amazon’s offering more discounts on their Kindle Fire tablets. This week, to mark the Easter holiday, they’ve lowered the price on their color, high-definition Kindle Fire HD tablets to just $119! And they’re also offering big discounts on their newer Kindle Fire HDX — both the 7-inch and 8.9-inch models!

For a shortcut to Amazon’s discounts, point your browser to

I guess when you’re Amazon, the word holiday is pronounced “limited-time offer”. But apparently Amazon can’t decide how much money to let you keep. Below the Kindles, they describe the offers like this.

     Kindle Fire HDX 8.9″ from $379 $339.
     Kindle Fire HDX from $229 $199
     Kindle Fire HD 16 GB from $169 $129

But the final price is actually $10 cheaper for the Kindle Fire HD if you’re willing to settle for the 8-gigabyte model. That’s just $119 — while the higher price tag ($129) is only for the 16-gigabyte version of the Kindle Fire HD. And it’s only $70 more to try Amazon’s newest version of a multimedia tablet, the Kindle Fire HD. The low Easter prices tempted me into doing a head-to-head comparison of the devices!

So what’s the difference between a Kindle Fire HD and a Kindle HDX? Well, there’s 50% more pixels per inch in a Kindle Fire HDX, for one thing — so their picture should be even sharper! The Kindle Fire HDX also ships with a faster quad-core processor (versus the dual-core processor on the regular Kindle Fire HD) — though I imagine you need a fast processor just to handle all those extra pixels. With the Kindle Fire HDX, you also get a front-facing camera (and a built-in microphone) for video chats — and the larger 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HDX also comes equipped with a rear-facing camera. When you put them all together, you end up with very high-resolution images that you can broadcast in real-time using your Kindle Fire HDX — and it’s even equipped with 4G capabilities, so you can use the latest high-speed mobile networks.

So if you get tired of hunting for Easter eggs this weekend, you can treat yourself to a high-tech gift. Maybe it’s Amazon’s way of saying… Happy Easter!

Remember, for a shortcut to Amazon’s discounts, point your browser to

New Amazon Kindle Fire ad

New $40 Discounts on Kindle Fire HD!


Wow! Amazon’s just started offering a $40 discount on their Kindle Fire HD tablets! This is the high-definition version of their 7-inch color tablets, and it normally sells for $199. Amazon’s slashed the price to just $159 in what they’re describing as a “limited-time offer”.

For a shortcut to the sale, point your browser to:

Amazon’s promising “the ultimate HD experience” — though what’s really strange is this high-definition version of the Kindle Fire now costs just as much as a plain Kindle Fire tablet (which Amazon’s also selling for $159)! But the HD tablet offers twice as much storage space — 16 gigabytes — even though it actually weighs 2 ounces less than Amazon’s original (non-high definition) Kindle Fire tablets. The high-def model also will last three hours longer than the original version without needing a recharge, according to the specs posted on its web page at Amazon. That’s 11 hours of continuous use — versus just 8.5 hours for the original Kindle Fire.

There’ve been rumors that Amazon’s about to release an even better model of their Kindle Fire tablets, and these discounts may just be part of a larger plan. When CNN’s Money site reported Amazon’s new $40 discounts, they reported “That shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. Considering Amazon has unveiled a new tablet in September of the past two years, chances are they’re just trying to clear out inventory before it rolls out an updated model.” And they also pointed out a big advantage with Amazon’s high-definition tablets. ..

I was never convinced that I needed a high-definition screen — even though it offers a high “pixel density” of up to 720 pixels per inch. But CNN’s Money site points out that’s a great feature if you read a lot of ebooks and magazines on your Kindle, because it reduces the strain on your eyes. Of course, you can also use the tablets for watching movies and TV shows, and playing the games that you’d usually play on your phone — but on a much wider screen. When I first got my Kindle Fire, I even told a friend of mine that there was really only one drawback to owning a color multimedia tablet-styel Kindle. “There’s so many more things to do on a tablet. How do people ever get back to just reading their ebooks?”

But if you’re already in the market for a high-definition Kindle, now you can get one for $40 less!

For a shortcut to the sale, point your browser to:

Get a New Kindle Fire for $169!

July 4th Kindle Fire HD sale at Amazon

Wow! Amazon’s just announced a big $30 discount on their 7-inch Kindle Fire HD tablets. Normally they’d cost $199, but Amazon’s just lowered their price to just $169. “Save $30 on the ultimate HD experience,” reads the announcement on the front page of Amazon.com.

For a shortcut, just point your web browser to

This is a “limited time offer,” Amazon warns in the fine print, so I can’t say how long this offer is going to last. One shopping site reported this was part of Amazon’s larger sale for the 4th of July — though they had trouble getting that officially confirmed. (“Amazon does not provide an end date for this Kindle Fire sale,” they noted in their article, adding that “We contacted them to ask about this, but have not received a response by publication time…”)

Amazon’s also giving away $5.00 worth of free game and app downloads now with each Kindle Fire through their special “Amazon Coins” program. If you already own a Kindle Fire, Amazon’s already applied that credit to your account, but it’s nice to see that they’re also making the same offer available to new Kindle Fire owners. Remember, you can browse Amazon’s selection of apps for the Kindle FIie at tinyurl.com/FreeAmazonApps. And the apps will also run on Android smartphones and tablets.

It’s nice to save $30 on a Kindle Fire – and it’s a bigger discount than Amazon usually offers. On Mother’s Day, Amazon announced a special code for a twenty-dollar discount on a Kindle Fire. Usually Amazon only offers larger discounts are only available on the expensive large-screen Kindle Fire tablets — like the 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HD.

Maybe Amazon’s calculated that they’ll earn back that $30 when their customers start using the tablets to buy all their ebooks (plus music and videos) from Amazon. Or maybe they’re just willing to lose a little money if it gives them a chance to steal some customers from other tablets, like the iPad and the Nook. But whatever Amazon’s game plan, they managed to sum up the significance of this sale in just three words they’re displaying now on their page for the Kindle Fire HD.

“You save $30…”

For a shortcut, just point your web browser to

Amazon Denies Rumors of a $99 Kindle Fire HD

kindle-fire (via Reuters)

Wow! Wouldn’t it be awesome if you got a color, touchscreen Kindle Fire tablet — with an HD screen — for just $99? And one well-respected technology blog reported just that possibility on Wednesday. “We’re now hearing that a $99 Kindle Fire 7″ tablet is in production, and will be shipping this year,” wrote Sarah Perez at the technology blog TechCrunch.

But just hours later, a business news blog was reporting that Amazon had already issued an official denial of that report. “It’s not happening,” BusinessInsider quotes Amazon as saying. “We are already at the lowest price points possible for that hardware.” Of course, BusinessInsider had already run their own story about the possibility of a $99 high-definition Kindle Fire Tablet — citing as their source that first blog post which appeared on TechCrunch. It now appears below Amazon’s official denial, and BusinessInsider is probably glad they’d added a few skeptical sentences (noting, for example, that TechCrunch had called the story a “rumor” that she was “hearing”.)

It’s a really fun idea, though, so I enjoyed reading the rest of the analysis from BusinessInsider. (“It’s a stunning price point, but it’s not totally crazy from Amazon…”) They note that TechCrunch reported Amazon may have gotten a discount on the chips for their tablets, and adds that “it’s not hard to envision Amazon selling a Kindle Fire tablet at or just below its manufacturing cost.” BusinessInsider‘s best estimates are that Amazon spends $174 to build the 7-inch version of their tablets, but their reporter also notes that Amazon’s CEO “says he wants to make money when people use a Kindle, not when they buy one.

“This makes Amazon completely different than Apple, which makes money on hardware, and picks up some additional revenue from apps and content…”

It’s almost obligatory for articles like this to ask who wins and who loses. Microsoft and Google would both be threatened by a $99 tablet, BusinessInsider concludes, because neither company has significant traction yet in the market for selling tablets. Apple wouldn’t be threatened now, but “In the long run, like in five years, it will be a problem for Apple because the price of an Amazon tablet isn’t going up. The software and hardware aren’t going to get worse, they’re only getting better.” And what’s fascinating is that all of that is absolutely true, even if Amazon isn’t releasing a $99 version of their high-definition Kindle Fire tablets.

Inevitably, reporters have to play these elaborate games of “What if…?”, because it’s all part of sorting out whether the rumor really is plausible. But it’s also a fun exercise on its own, reminding us that we do indeed living in interesting times, where you really never know what’s coming next. Wow! Wouldn’t it be awesome if you got a color, touchscreen Kindle Fire tablet — with an HD screen — for just $99?

Yes, it would….

Amazon Discounts Their High-Definition Kindle Fire Tablets!

Amazon discounts the Kindle Fire HD with a red gift bow for the Christmas holiday

Amazon’s just lowered the price on their large-screen Kindle Fire HD tablets! Now the 8.9-inch tablets are just $269 (for the Wi-Fi only version), and $399 for the version with built-in connectivity to Amazon’s 4G wireless network. Len Edgerly, who does the Kindle Chronicles podcast, described it as “big developments for Amazon’s biggest Kindle Fire HD model”. And Amazon’s also announced that these large-screen tablets will now also be available in England, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, and Japan.

Check out the tablets at

Amazon calls the 8.9-inch tablets “our highest resolution, largest high-definition display”, and in a press release Wednesday they bragged that it’s “perfect for web, apps, movies, games and magazines.” My girlfriend complains that the 7-inch version of the Kindle Fire tablet is too small for enjoying a big-budget Hollywood movie, but these larger tablets also have dual stereo speakers with Dolby audio, which according to Amazon will deliver a “crisp, rich sound”. There’s even a front-facing camera for taking high-definition photos and making video phone calls. And there’s an extra significance in the way Amazon is now releasing these high-def tablets to the rest of the world.

Less than two months ago, a research firm noted that the Kindle Fire “practicaly doesn’t exist” outside the United States. Localytics had determined that 89% of all of Amazon’s tablets where in America, with most of the rest were in the United Kingdom, “After those two, no other country has even one percent of worldwide Kindle Fires,” their report concluded. But where Amazon had made their tablet available, it had been a big success — for example, in America, where Amazon’s Kindle Fire made up one-third of the entire market for Android tablets.

Based on that, the researchers concluded that if Amazon comes up with a good plan for distributing their tablets globally, Amazon “could quickly dominate the Android tablet market worldwide!

Amazon Discounts their 8.9-inch Kindle Fire!

Amazon discounts the Kindle Fire HD with a red gift bow for the Christmas holiday

I just noticed a surprise announcement at Amazon.com. They’re offering a 10% discount on their 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HD tablets through Friday. It’s apparently Amazon’s way of encouraging customers to buy one as a Valentine’s Day gift. “A deal you’ll love,” reads the message on the front page of Amazon.com. “A tablet they’ll adore.”

You can view the special offer at tinyurl.com/Save50onAKindleFire . Enter the discount code FIRELOVE

It’s a $50 savings if you purchase the model with the built-in 4G wireless connectivity (which normally costs $499). But you can also save $30 on the WiFi-only version of the Kindle Fire HD. Usually it costs $299, but through Friday Amazon’s discounted it to just $269 . That’s just $69 more than the cheaper 7-inch Kindle Fire HD, which still sells at its regular price of $199. And of course, you can buy one of Amazon’s original (non-HD) tablets for just $159.

Ironically, Amazon’s stock dropped nearly 2% today, though I don’t think it’s related to the sale. (Amazon’s involved in a lawsuit over whether or not it’s going to pay state sales taxes in more jurisdictions.) But if you’re thinking about buying a high-definition tablet from Amazon, this is a nice way to save a little extra money.

I asked my girlfriend if she wanted to use my original Kindle Fire, and she said she really didn’t like the smaller screen. I hadn’t really thought about it before, but it made me realize that there are some drawbacks to reading web pages and watching videos on on a 7-inch display. I was going to surprise her with a larger tablet for Valentine’s Day, but she already went out and bought one for herself!

Surprise Discount on the Kindle Fire HD!

Amazon discounts the Kindle Fire HD with a red gift bow for the Christmas holiday

“Today only,” Amazon’s just announced on a special web page, “save $50 on Kindle Fire HD 8.9-inch”. That means you can pick up the 16-gigabyte model for just $249 (WiFi-only) — and even the 4G + WiFi version, with 32 gigabytes of storage, now costs just $449.

You can view the special offer at tinyurl.com/Save50onAKindleFire . Enter the discount code FIREHD89 when checking out.

Remember, these are the “high-end” models with an 8.9 inch screen. (The original models — which are still available — only offer a 7-inch screen.) Amazon warns that this deal is limited to just one Kindle Fire HD per customer — and while the sale ends Monday, it’s also only available “While supplies last.” It’s the kind of sale that makes you wonder if Amazon is considering an upgrade to their line of high-definition Kindle Fire tablets. Are they trying to clear out their inventory before replacing them with an upgrade model?

But I think there’s an even simpler explanation: Amazon wants to attract shoppers who are looking for a nice Christmas gift. They plastered this discount on the front page of Amazon.com, describing it as their “Deal of the Day.” Historically Amazon has always showned a big spike in their sales during the month of December. Maybe this year they want as many people as possible to buy a Kindle Fire HD.

There’s a couple of reasons why Amazon wants you to buy a Kindle Fire HD. The biggest one is it makes it easier to buy more things from Amazon! Even if they sell the tablets at a discount, they’ll still earn more money from those customers when they start downloading movies and music to the devices from Amazon’s store. Plus, Amazon’s probably even more interested in “mind share.” Once all those purchases are tied to your account, it makes it harder to switch to a tablet from another vendor — like Apple — because you’d lose access to all of the media that you’ve already purchased from Amazon!

I’m sure Amazon’s given it a lot of thought, but in the end, that’s their problem to deal with — and we as consumers are the ones who are going to benefit. Because if you were looking to purchase a Kindle Fire HD, you can now do it for $50 less!

See the special offer at tinyurl.com/Save50onAKindleFire . Enter the discount code FIREHD89 when checking out.

Can the Kindle Catch the iPad?

Apple iPad in a hand

There’s an old saying that journalists love a horse race. Current events are more interesting when there’s one side that’s winning and one side that’s losing. That’s why blogs like to focus on the “war” between the iPad and Amazon’s own Kindle Fire tablets. Unfortunately, neither company releases their sales figures, but periodically you’ll get some good estimates from the “market analysts” at professional research firms.

And that’s what happened on Monday, when some surprising new numbers were released by the technology analysts at IDC. It’s a research firm that focuses specifically on consumer technology, and they’d made two interesting observations. In just three months — July, August, and September — they’re estimating that 27.8 million tablet computers were sold. And that means that nearly three tablets were sold this year for every two tablets that were sold in the same period in 2011.

Even if you just compare tablet sales to the previous three months, total tablet sales have now still increased by 6.7%. But what’s even more interesting is that Apple’s share of the tablet market is getting smaller, IDC notes. According to their calculations, more customers are now choosing instead to buy devices with the “Android” operating system — like Amazon’s Kindle Fire!

Of the 27.8 million tablets sold between July and September, 14 million of them were from Apple (all the various versions of the iPad). That barely gives Apple half of the new sales for tablet computers, with a share of 50.4% (versus 65.6% in the previous three months). The next-biggest vendor was Samsung, who sold 18.4% of the tablet computers bought between July and September. But Amazon’s share of the market during that same period was 9% — which was nearly double what it had been in the previous three months!

That may not sound like much, but Amazon waited until September, the last month in the quarter, before announcing their newest tablets. “Here’s why Amazon’s tablet share is going dramatically higher,” writes a blogger at ZDNet, noting that Amazon’s newest version of their Kindle Fire tablet can compete with the iPad on both price and features. He also notes that during September, Amazon was only selling their Kindle Fire HD tablets within the United States. But as Amazon expands their sales to the rest of the globe, their share of the market should increase.

Of course, there’s also another story behind Apple’s figures, according to the analysis by IDC. “We believe a sizeable percentage of consumers interested in buying an Apple tablet sat out the third quarter, in anticipation of an announcement about the new iPad mini. Now that the new Mini, and a fourth-generation full-sized iPad, are both shipping we expect Apple to have a very good quarter.” But they note that the iPad Mini is still relatively expensive at $329, which opens up a market opportunity for Amazon and their Kindle Fire tablets.

Now with the Christmas shopping season approaching, IDC reports that Apple’s missteps “leave plenty of room” for companies like Amazon to “build upon the success they achieved in the third quarter!”

Free Halloween Kindle Fire/Android app – with Charlie Brown!

It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown Halloween Kindle Fire Android app

Here’s a Halloween surprise! Amazon’s giving away a free app today for both Kindle Fire and Android devices. And it’s a special Halloween app that’s sure to bring back some fond memories of hallowed evenings past. The name of the free app they’re giving away?

“It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!”

You can download the free app today in Amazon’s app store. (For a shortcut, just point your web browser to tinyurl.com/CharlieHalloween .) It’s an interactive version of the famous TV special that finds Linus spending Halloween night in a pumpkin patch. You can actually poke your fingers into the drawings, to make all the Peanuts characters jiggle around. And it’s narrated by Peter Robbins, who provided the voice for Charlie Brown in the original 1966 TV special!

Because it’s an Android app, you can play it on your Kindle Fire or any Android phone. And I was impressed by the smooth interface, which includes an old vinyl record on the game’s menu page to represent the narration (which you can turn on and off). It’s got all the sequences you remember from the TV special, with some of the artwork laid out like a newspaper comic strip. It was a real thrill to see Charlie Brown’s pile of autumn leaves again — and then to see Linus trying to jump into it while holding a wet lollipop!

If you don’t have a Kindle Fire, there’s still some other Halloween games available at Amazon. Yesterday I wrote about “Futoshiki Halloween Edition, and there’s also a Halloween version of the game Blossom. There’s even a Halloween version of Mahjong Solitaire, and if you’re looking for something scarier, there’s also a text adventure “Choice of the Zombies”.

But I have fond childhood memories of watching “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown”. So if you’ve always wanted a free app that revives this Halloween tradition…there’s a special treat waiting for you tonight in Amazon’s appstore.

Remember, for a shortcut, just point your web browser to tinyurl.com/CharlieHalloween

Brand New Ads for Amazon’s Newest Kindle Fires!

Two children play with a touchscreen Kindle in Amazon's new TV ad

Amazon’s just released two slick new ads to promote their new Kindle Fire HD tablets. You can watch them all on YouTube at youtube.com/kindle — and they provide some interesting glimpses into the way Amazon is planning to sell these new devices — as well as Amazon’s own view of their role in the 21st century.

When I discovered these ads Thursday on YouTube, only 300 people had seen them. But soon Amazon should start broadcasting them on TV during prime-time commercial breaks, where they’ll presumably be seen by millions. So what does Amazon want to tell these people about their new Kindle Fire HD tablets — and about Amazon? Here’s a transcript of the text for their new ad for the Kindle Fire.

“We’re the people with the smile on the box. We’re the re-inventors of normal. We dream of making things that change your life, then disappear into your everyday. Of making the revolutionary routine.

“Our accomplishments are things you barely think about, but can’t imagine not having. Connecting your mouse to your front door was our moon landing. Creating Kindle — our four-minute mile. Customer reviews – our light bulb. And when we build you something new, you can expect everything to change a little more.

“Look around. What once seemed wildly impractical is now completely normal. And ‘normal’ just begs to be messed with.”

There’s some touching footage in the ads of a family receiving an enormous box from Amazon, and another one showing a small box from Amazon — presumably a new Kindle — arriving as just another package in a stack of mail. It shows children touching the screen of a Kindle, and even a woman who’s reading her Kindle while brushing her teeth, all to make the point that now Kindles are becoming part of our lives. And I thought Amazon came up with a great way to tout the fact that you don’t even need a light now to read on one of their new Kindles. They show someone relaxing in a hammock on their deck overlooking the city — enjoying their Kindle outside, at night, without even needing a reading lamp.

Amazon TV ad shows Kindle in a hammock on a city deck

But I wondered if, when Amazon created this ad, they were thinking of Steve Jobs. Apple’s legendary “Big Brother” ad in 1984 helped to launch the whole personal computing revolution, and Steve Jobs himself helped write Apple’s inspiring “Think Different” campaign (which showed footage of famous people as the narration explained that “they change things. They invent. They imagine… They create. They inspire. They push the human race forward…”) The grandiose comparisons created an aura of excitement around Apple’s new products, and now that they’re competing directly with the iPad, maybe Amazon’s now trying to claim some of that same gravitas for themselves. They’re basically equating the ability to shop online at Amazon.com with the first time humans walked on the moon!

Both the classic Apple ads and Amazon’s newest ads use “change” as their theme, trying to capture the excitement that a new technology can bring into the world. Interestingly, Amazon has also filmed a shorter version of the same ad that starts with the same first two sentence — “We’re the people with the smile on the box. We’re the re-inventors of normal…” — but then cuts straight to their point. “So when we bring you a new Kindle Fire, you should know that normal is going to change. Again.” Despite the fact that this ad is a full 30 seconds shorter, it still actually lists out more of the specific selling points for Amazon’s newest tablet. (“With an HD screen, HD camera, and dual-speaker Dolby sound, and 22 million movies, TV shows, songs, apps, books and more…”) And I thought the way that they ended this commercial made all of Amazon’s points with just four scrappy words

“Hey normal — take that!”