Farhad Manjoo of The NYT: Apple hardware, Google services, Amazon media

iPad Air side

Farhad Manjoo is the latest recruit and editor of The NYT‘s technology section, and his first article is likely to cause something of a stir: Manjoo recommends buying Apple hardware, using Google services, and going through Amazon for your media needs. Ben Thompson agrees, and boils it down to pure economics: (more…)

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Amazon’s Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 is cheaper and lighter than the iPad Air

If you are in the market for a new tablet, the new Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 by Amazon deserves some consideration. With an 8.9-inch display that packs 1 million more pixels than an iPad Air, the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 is also 20 percent lighter and $120 cheaper than its competitor from Apple — starting at just $379.

One caveat to keep in mind is that the Amazon Appstore only has around 100,000 apps, whereas the App Store for iOS devices surpassed 1 million apps last month. But with an ultra-fast 2.2GHz quad-core processor, 2 GB RAM and 8-megapixel rear-facing camera, it’s worth reconsidering which tablet you want under the tree.

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Apple and Amazon End Lawsuit over the “App Store”

mac app store

While not the most high-profile lawsuit in the tech sphere, Apple and Amazon have quietly been engaged in a legal battle over the term “app store.” The case revolved around usage: Apple claimed that it had the sole right to use the term “app store,” as they believed that consumers immediately thought of Apple’s iOS or Mac software storefront when presented with the phrase. Amazon, who has boldly used the term in its own software offerings, claimed that the phrase is just a generic description of a service that any company can use.

Apple sued Amazon over that belief and their usage of “app store,” thus creating what ultimately amounted  to a wasteful lawsuit. Why wasteful? (more…)

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BGR: Amazon to Completely Overhaul its Kindle Fire Tablet Lineup This Year

Kindle Fire HD

While the iPad continues to be the dominant player in the tablet industry, Amazon has long been making a competitive push with its Kindle Fire lineup of devices. But as Barnes & Noble begins to cut back on its Nook tablet efforts, Amazon is looking to step up its game even further with a brand new set of devices that will debut in the coming months.

Amazon is prepping at least three new Kindle Fire tablets that will launch prior to the holiday shopping season, according to trusted sources for BGR. The first will be a replacement for the existing 7-inch Kindle Fire tablet, which retails for $159 as Amazon’s entry-level device. The new slate will have an upgraded 1,280 x 800 pixels display over the current 1,024 x 600 pixels IPS display.  (more…)

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Amazon Developing 3D Smartphone, Streaming iPod Competitor

amazon-android-devices-illustration

Amazon – a company that was best known for their online marketplace and hosting solutions until two years ago, when the company unveiled the Kindle Fire – is reportedly developing a new smartphone, as well as a competitor to the iPod.

The smartphone supposedly will include a 3D screen as a primary feature, while the iPod competitor will rely on Amazon’s admittedly-great online music streaming service. Both devices would likely follow Amazon’s recent trend of selling hardware at-cost in hopes of making it up later on content sales, which would make both devices very cheap to purchase outright.

One of the devices is a high-end smartphone featuring a screen that allows for 3-D images without glasses, these people said. Using retina-tracking technology, images on the smartphone would seem to float above the screen like a hologram and appear three-dimensional at all angles, they said. Users may be able to navigate through content using just their eyes, two of the people said.

[The Wall Street Journal]

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What Could Amazon Be Doing with a Siri Competitor?

Evi

When Siri was launched alongside the iPhone 4S, it was truly a unique product in many ways. While voice assistants had existed in similar forms, Siri was the first mobile voice interface that truly worked – but that title didn’t last long.

Users on Android, long accustomed to having an incredibly feature-rich device, soon were provided with an alternative in the form of Evi. Evi, which was also available on iOS, has apparently been sold to Amazon for roughly $26 million. (more…)

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Conditions are Slowly Improving in Chinese Factories

Final chapter of the I-Economy

Apple’s association with the “sweatshop” manufacturing plants of China and various other countries has been under intense scrutiny for the past few years. The scrutiny culminated in a series of articles by The New York Times under the overarching title of the “iEconomy,” where the technology industry – with Apple at the center – was slammed for their practices of employing cheap labor and allowing dangerous working conditions in return for higher profitability margins. Since then, various changes have taken place throughout the supply chain of nearly every consumer electronics company.

Apple, to their credit, has taken a lead in this charge. (more…)

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The Tablet Shot the E-Reader

iPad-Mini-Front1

The e-reader has had a hard year: shipments are projectedto fall 36% this year, with competition from cheaper, smaller tablets mounting. The trend of making a smaller tablet started with the BlackBerry PlayBook, which was a failure due to a confusing UI and a lack of apps. Various Android-based tablets in the smaller form-factor were then released, though none had a high enough build quality or the right software to become a popular tablet.

During all of this, Apple’s iPad was selling like gang busters and the idea of a 7″ tablet was widely scorned as being a failure. Also during this time, e-readers continued to experience growth as brands like the Nook and Kindle soared in popularity and sales.

Amazon then released the Kindle Fire, a $199, 7″ tablet which technically ran Android. The Kindle Fire was based on the PlayBook, and ran every Android app that was in Amazon’s app store. With Amazon’s extensive entertainment library and the thousands of available apps, the Kindle Fire was a popular device. However, it was criticized as being both underpowered and laggy, and not in the same category of devices as the iPad. Updated versions of the Kindle Fire were launched roughly two months ago.

New-Nexus-4-7-10

Google then released the Nexus 7, a much more full-featured tablet, for the same price at Google I/O this year. This tablet likely solidified the place of the 7″ tablet in the hearts’ of consumers, as the Nexus 7 struck the perfect balance between a small tablet and the features of a larger one. The Nexus 7 continues to sell well.

Apple’s iPad mini launched in November, and has also sold well. Many praise the mini as being the best sub-10″ tablet available, with its high-quality design and armada of powerful apps. However, the iPad mini is more expensive than other options.

With all of these great options, it’s easy to see why the e-reader is on track to see a hit in shipments. For about the same price, one can have a tablet which can browse the web, play games, and do dozens of other tasks that an e-reader simply can’t.

Still, some swear by the e-reader: the e-ink screen is useful for reading, as it eliminates the LCD which can cause eye strain in some people. However, these advantages don’t seem to be enough to stop the platform from experiencing a hit in sales, even after several big launches.

[Geekwire]

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Amazon Now Selling Unlocked Galaxy S III Mini

Amazon Now Selling Unlocked Galaxy S III Mini

Jordan Crook for TechCrunch writes:

The Galaxy S Mini didn’t make a splash hitting U.S. shelves, but the teacup version of Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S III has in fact arrived stateside.

Right now, we’ve noticed that Amazon is selling the handset for 409.95 unlocked. That’s actually relatively cheap for an unlocked device, meaning you aren’t tied down to any contracts.

This smaller Galaxy S III handset features a 4-inch Super AMOLED 480×800 display, a 1 GHz dual-core processor, 1 GB of RAM, NFC and a 5-megapixel rear camera. Better yet, it runs Android 4.1 Jelly Bean by default.

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Wrong, Amazon: iPad Mini Has Stereo Speakers

Although it is certainly not the most important feature of the iPad mini, Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller has made sure to debunk Amazon’s Kindle Fire comparison advertisement that lists the iPad mini as having mono speakers. Schiller, in response to a question emailed by a customer, said that “it is stereo” when asked if the iPad mini has mono or stereo speakers.

Amazon had attempted to advertise the Kindle Fire HD as having dual stereo speakers over the iPad mini’s so-called mono speaker, however that comparison now appears to be false. Amazon has since pulled the ad from its website, replacing it with a new spot that promotes the all-new Kindle family, consisting of the Kindle Paperwite, Kindle Fire HD and 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HD.  (more…)

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