Kindle Fire

Seen in a comment thread this morning:

Person 1: “Anyone know: what planet or star system is Jeff Bezos from?”

Person 2: “Kindle.”


In all seriousness, the Kindle Fire looks like a very interesting device.

The iPad and Kindle Fire are two different things and will appeal to two different types of users. My guess is there will be plenty of room for both devices: the iPad will continue to grow its already large user base and the Kindle Fire will grow a large user base as well, some of which will be iPad users who want both devices.

It’s not all or nothing, one or the other. Framing it that way is a mistake. There will be room for many devices and different operating system styles in this category.

These types of devices are the first steps toward replacing general purpose and cumbersome computers with smaller, cheaper, and much less cumbersome tools for doing the same things. I use my iPad in places I would never carry the MacBook Pro and have used a MacBook Pro for many years in many places where one could not use a desktop computer. The fact that these devices are getting smaller and cheaper coupled with the fact that access to the internet is getting cheaper (free in many places) and more widespread seems to me to be a leveling of what used to be a rather tilted playing field.

I like the fact that people are tweeting the Green Revolution from the streets of Iran (with smartphones) and these tablet devices are another category of device that allows computing anywhere.

Never sell Jeff Bezos short, he may not be as charismatic as Steve Jobs (his laugh is hilarious) but he’s done amazing things with Amazon and I’m pretty sure the Kindle Fire is the beginning of something important for the industry and for us users, whether we ever buy one or not.

Public Library Books for Kindle

Public Library Books for Kindle

You can borrow Kindle books from more than 11,000 libraries in the United States to read on any generation Kindle device, free Kindle app, or in your browser with Kindle Cloud Reader. Public library books for Kindle provide the same unique features as Kindle and Kindle books, including Whispersync technology that synchronizes your notes, highlights and last page read, real page numbers, and more. This feature will become available to libraries nationwide in the coming days.

This is a very big deal. Amazon is really on to something here.

More iPads Take to the Sky With Qantas In-Flight Trial

More iPads Take to the Sky With Qantas In-Flight Trial

A new Qantas trial pilot program will see one of the airline’s Boeing 767-300 jets outfitted with one iPad 2 for each passenger, according to the Australian Business Traveller. Each of the aircraft’s 254 seats will have its own iPad 2, and there will also be several spares kept on hand just in case. All seats pockets will carry an iPad 2, but business-class travelers will also get a flexible stand to use with their fold-out meal tray.

The pilot program is about testing Qantas’ in-flight Wi-Fi streaming capabilities, Qantas Executive Manager for Customer Experience Alison Webster told the ABT. The ultimate goal is to be able to provide passengers with access to the Q Streaming service through their own devices, be they Apple’s iPads and iPhones or Android tablets and handsets.

I love using my iPad on United PS flights cross country but I must say, gogo inflight internet isn’t the greatest (yet). I buy and use it to keep up with email and RSS and comments at this site but for anything serious like a video download it’s useless. I don’t know where the bottleneck is but no doubt this kind of deal is the beginning of working it out.

Apple’s iPad Replacing Cash Registers at Major Retailers

Apple’s iPad Replacing Cash Registers at Major Retailers

At larger stores cash registers are connected to an inventory server either locally or in the cloud. At some point someone’s going to write an app that allows an iPad to hook into that system.

I’m reminded of what Apple does in their own stores: employees carry around small devices that allow the entire transaction (including credit card swipe and signature) to take place anywhere in the store wirelessly.

Then we have “near field communication” and the ability to pay for things with a smartphone by simply having an account and being near a terminal and saying “ok.”

This is just the beginning of a new way of transacting business, how it looks ten years from now will be quite different.

Hardware software disintegration

HP’s webOS Reportedly Runs Significantly Faster on iPad 2 Than on TouchPad

It’s old news that HP has decided to sell off its computer business. The fact that the tablet and smartphone OS that Palm had in the works that HP bought runs faster on an iPad (iOS) or even as a web application under Safari is significant. What’s even more significant to me is the reason for the sluggishness:

The report notes that the TouchPad hardware had essentially already been designed when HP acquired Palm last year, with the engineers tasked with getting webOS running on the existing design. The resulting handicap of outdated hardware reportedly crippled the webOS team’s ability to innovate for the tablet platform and ultimately led to the poor market reception.

This strikes me as a blunder of enormous proportions and this is the place where Apple has consistently done better than the competition: Macs are designed to run OS X and OS X is designed to run on Macs. iPhones and iPads (and other devices) are designed to run iOS and iOS is designed to run on these devices.

Tight integration between hardware and software is one of the many ingredients of Apple’s success. It seems a shame that webOS, what many have considered a decent operating system, is orphaned because HP didn’t built hardware specifically for it. Why they didn’t do that is no doubt all about internal politics.

Which leads me to this: Steve Jobs is certainly a genius when it comes to product innovation and marketing but what may be his most important attribute is his ability to cut through the politics and push through what needs to be pushed through to get well designed products shipped.

Line2 and the sea of communications apps

Line2 is an app for the iPad that offers voice over IP and other integrated communications for $10 a month.

Whether this particular application does well or not this class of application coupled with the explosion in smart cell phone use is putting even more pressure on land lines. Skype, FaceTime , iChat, iMessage, and no doubt many more communications tools running on IP including those from Google will make the breakup of AT&T seem like a non-event. May the best one win and may there continue to be plenty of competition. So far competition isn’t keeping prices down anywhere but maybe we’ll all live long enough to see inexpensive or even free ad-supported communication over IP.

I continue to use and love iChat for text chatting and video but am using FaceTime as well. And, yes, I do text on my iPhone although I’d prefer texting and chatting merged at some point.

[via endgadget]