iSuppli: Amazon Kindle Fire Sold at a Loss

iSuppli has broken down the bill of materials for Amazon’s new tablet, confirming what we all suspected: the device is sold at a loss. The total production cost of a Kindle Fire is $209.63, but Amazon sells the device for just $199. This means that the company is banking on increased digital content and physical good sales to make a profit. The 32GB 3G iPad 2, which retails for $729, only costs Apple $326.60 to produce. Obviously, Apple is operating at a significantly higher profit margin, which shows how much the competition has to sacrifice in order to succeed. The TouchPad only sold when its price was slashed by $400, and many other tablet manufacturers are reducing prices in effort to push a few units out the door.

The importance of this strategy cannot be underestimated. So far, no retailer has managed to create an umbilical link between digital content and a more conventional retail environment. With Kindle, Amazon has created the most convincing attempt at this yet, and it is doing so by using established retail tactics: deploying content to get shoppers in the door, and then selling them all sorts of other goods. This is exactly how Walmart, Target and others use a similar weapon—in their case, DVDs. If doing this means that Amazon must take a loss on the sales of digital content and tablet hardware, it will be well worth it in the end.


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iPod Classic Click Wheel Games No Longer Available

There was once a day when people played games on their iPod Classic and Nano devices to entertain themselves while listening to music. Older iPod models came with preinstalled games including ping pong, solitaire and paratroop drop; and in the newer generations, iQuiz, Klondike and Vortex. Users could purchase additional games in the iTunes Store for around $7.49 – this was before the existence of the App Store that we know today. It now seems that the games are no longer available from the iTunes Store, as AppleInsider reports today. While there have been multiple rumors of the iPod Classic’s end to be near, there hasn’t been any solid proof until today.

So now we say goodbye to games like Battleship, Tetris and Texas Hold’Em on this generation of iPod Nanos as the times change and people shift towards a new type of touchscreen device that has far more capabilities than anyone in 2001 would have imagined. Also say goodbye to the iPod with more than twice the storage of anything else out today. Who knows, Apple could surprise us with a new 128 GB device at the next event, but it probably won’t be this soon. Now we wait for the imminent release of Apple’s next big release and the end of a once amazing device. Out with the old, change has come again.


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iTunes 10.5 Beta 9 Seeded to Developers

Apple has released another beta for iTunes 10.5 to their developers. Beta 9 adds some performance enhancements and bug fixes, as well as the needed support for users to continue using iTunes Match beta. I have also found that it brings the bounceback scrolling to the music pages, which was previously just like all the old iTunes with stop-scrolling.

The release notes also mention that all iCloud libraries will be erased after this beta, so if you value your data, go back it up now. There are known issues in this beta, which means that there is yet another to come – unless Apple plans to issue a final release before the event next Tuesday.

If you’re a developer, head over to the Apple Developer Center to download this update as you will need it to continue testing.

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Amazon in Talks to Buy Palm

Sources for VentureBeat claim that Amazon is currently in the process of acquiring Palm from HP. After webOS’s “failure” HP has been scrambling to figure itself out. Leo Apotheker had a short and brutal 11 month stint as chief operating officer before being replaced by ex-eBay CEO Meg Whitman (who doesn’t seem like the greatest choice, either).

The Palm division has been circling the drain for quite some time, but webOS was a very real chance for the company to bring itself back from the brink and become relevant again. But poor hardware coupled with an intensely creepy advertising campaign ensured the platforms demise before it even had a chance.

Amazon revealed their hand this week with their new lineup of Kindles, and showed that they are fully capable of playing the OS game. The Fire’s heavily modified version of Android could benefit from some webOS flare, don’t you think?


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As Promised, AT&T Begins Throttling Users

AT&T users have begun to receive text messages from the carrier letting them know that they are consuming the top 5% of bandwidth. This differs from the messages they recently sent out regarding tethering, since it also applies to on-device data usage. There doesn’t seem to be a set threshold as to the amount of bandwidth a user needs to use in order to warrant a disciplinary message, but some subscribers are reporting as little as 10GB a month—which isn’t much when using services like Pandora and Spotify on your daily commute.

Sprint still offers unlimited data plans, and is expected to get the iPhone 5 in October. There is always a possibility that they will also cap usage under the increased load due to Apple users, but for now, Sprint is the last haven for bandwidth hogs.


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Nexus Prime, Ice Cream Sandwich to be Announced October 11th?

Samsung is holding a Google flavored event on October 11th with the tagline “What’s new from Android?“. This is right around the time we expect the Nexus Prime/Ice Cream Sandwich combo to be released, so it’s only fitting to assume that the event will revolve around the next major Android update. The specs of the Prime are unknown, but if history tells us anything, it’s that Google won’t hold back in the hardware department. 4.5″+ screens and dual core processors are now standard on high-end Android devices, and we’re sure that the Prime will be able to keep up with anything that’s currently available.

Ice Cream Sandwich will merge Gingerbread and the tablet-optimized Honeycomb into one single OS capable of running on all form factors. Android has a major issue with fragmentation, and ICS should unify the experience and bring Android’s UI up to par with iOS.


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Appeals Court Rules in Favor of Apple in Battle Against Psystar

Psystar has finally been put down by the U.S. Court of Appeals in their legal battle against Apple. In 2008, the company began selling PCs with retail copies of OS X pre-installed. Naturally, Apple was not too flattered by this, and filed a copyright infringement suit against Psystar to stop selling the Mac clones. The courts originally ruled in Apple’s favor in 2009, but in true judicial fashion, Psystar appealed the decision as a last ditch effort to save the business. Today, the appeals court decided to uphold the previous ruling, permanently shutting down Psystar.

The hackintosh community is still alive and well, but we don’t expect to see retailers selling OS X on unsupported hardware anytime soon.


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Apple Releases Fix for Flickering Thunderbolt Display

Apple has issued an update for the Thunderbolt display that fixes a problem some users were having with the display flickering randomly. For reasons unknown, the new firmware has not been officially published or pushed out to users through Software Update, but rather disclosed covertly on the support discussion board. If you can’t wait any longer for a fix, try the linked .dmg and let us know how it works, but it’s recommended to wait for an official announcement just in case there are any lingering issues with the patch. A reboot or power cycle may be needed to apply the update.

[Apple via MacRumors]

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Amazon Silk Web Browser Harnesses the Power of AWS

Earlier today, Amazon announced their new line up of Kindles, including a $199 Android-based tablet. One of the key features of the device is Silk, a browser powered by Amazon Web Services capable of turbo charging the net. Like Opera Mini, the browser is able to compress data server-side before handing it over to the user. But, unlike current solutions, Silk is able to intelligently decide whether to render the content on Amazon’s powerful servers or locally, giving users the best possible experience. Pages that are loaded frequently are cached on AWS, so request and load times are reduced to just milliseconds.

Sadly, Amazon will be reserving the Silk tech for Kindle users on their home grown build of Android—but the hacking community may be able to change that.

We sought from the start to tap into the power and capabilities of the AWS infrastructure to overcome the limitations of typical mobile browsers.  Instead of a device-siloed software application, Amazon Silk deploys a split-architecture.  All of the browser subsystems are present on your Kindle Fire as well as on the AWS cloud computing platform.  Each time you load a web page, Silk makes a dynamic decision about which of these subsystems will run locally and which will execute remotely.  In short, Amazon Silk extends the boundaries of the browser, coupling the capabilities and interactivity of your local device with the massive computing power, memory, and network connectivity of our cloud.

Video at the source.


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The Humble Frozen Synapse Bundle is Live!

The Humble Indie Bundle team has launched their next pay-what-you-want game package, and as usual, the proceeds go towards your choice of charities and developers. The flagship game is Frozen Synapse, a turn-based strategy game for Windows, Mac, and Linux, with Trine, Shadowgrounds: SurvivorShadowgrounds, Splot, and Jack Claw pulling up the caboose as bonus games for those who are generous enough to donate more than the current average. The games are DRM-free, and include a Steam key so you can import them into your centralized game library.

The sale will last another 14 days, which is more than enough time to scrape together a few bucks to support a very worthy cause.

Pay what you want. Frozen Synapse normally costs $25, but we’re letting you set the price! The Frozen Synapse soundtrack is also included with your purchase (normally $6). Plus, if you pay more than the average price, we’ll throw in the entire Humble Frozenbyte Bundle — a $45 value!

[Humble Bundle]

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