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Amazon Launches Kindle Fire HDX Tablets

Unknown Lamer posted about a year ago | from the a-little-faster dept.

Android 88

New submitter casab1anca writes "In classic Amazon fashion, without much fanfare, a bunch of new tablets just popped up on their homepage today. The new range, dubbed HDX, is available in the usual 8.9" and 7" versions, with improved hardware and software, but perhaps equally interesting is the revamped 7" Fire HD from last year, which goes for just $139 now." Compared to the Kindle Fire HD, the new models feature a jump in display density (216 PPI to 323 PPI for the 7" and 254 to 339 PPI for the 9"), a switch from a dual-core TI OMAP Cortex-A9 (at 1.2/1.5GHz) to a quad-core 2.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon, and a bump from 1G to 2G of RAM. On the software side, Android has been upgraded from 4.0 to 4.2.2 and Amazon added a few new features to their applications. Businessweek has an interview with Jeff Bezos running today too (starting a bit down the first page).

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bootloader still locked? (0)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#44949585)

Is it safe to assume the bootloader is still locked and I should continue to avoid these?

Re:bootloader still locked? (3, Informative)

geekoid (135745) | about a year ago | (#44949891)

Is it safe to assume you don't own a microwave, TV, and car becasue there not easy to change the boot?

Ownership is being able to modify (3, Insightful)

cervesaebraciator (2352888) | about a year ago | (#44950039)

I'll not complain that my truck has no unlocked bootloader since it doesn't boot. But I wouldn't buy a truck that had only proprietary, locked bolts that no standard set sockets could turn.

While my truck does not boot, it does start up and I can change the starter motor or anything else as I please. I can swap out the engine entirely, convert it biodiesel or electric, or take it apart and sell its components as spares. That's how I know I own it: however it may have come, I can make it as different as I want.

Re:Ownership is being able to modify (2)

MightyYar (622222) | about a year ago | (#44950343)

Your truck almost certainly has a computer running the show, and that computer is almost certainly not open.

Re:Ownership is being able to modify (3, Insightful)

cervesaebraciator (2352888) | about a year ago | (#44950561)

Yes, quite. That's part of the reason I added the bit about being able to change out the engine.

Indeed, I'm not terribly happen that vehicle computers are often locked down. But relative to, say, and iPad, the vehicle computer is one small, closed, replaceable part on a far more open system. In other words I was saying OP was not irrational or inconsistent in wanting an unlocked tablet, even if he/she happened to own a car.

But, then, now that I put it that way I don't know why anyone would object to someone wanting a more open tablet. Likewise I can't see why one ought to be regarded as hypocritical for wanting an open platform if he happens to own some things which are closed. It's a rather odd response to OP's post really.

Re:Ownership is being able to modify (2)

coinreturn (617535) | about a year ago | (#44950815)

...the vehicle computer is one small, closed, replaceable part on a far more open system.

Wait, you're under the illusion that you could replace your vehicle's computer with some other computer? So your manufacturer gives you all the specs and protocols to control the engine, transmission, ABS, entertainment system, airbags, climate control, etc? Wow, nice.

Re:Ownership is being able to modify (1)

cervesaebraciator (2352888) | about a year ago | (#44951161)

There's no illusion at all here. The engine control computer in my vehicle has more than one aftermarket manufacturer. In other words, it's replaceable. I didn't say it was replaceable with a Raspberry Pi, only that it was replaceable. As a matter of fact, I can drive out to the nearby bypass and find multiple stores that stock or order by tomorrow options from several different manufacturers. That's more than one can say for most components in most consumer electronics. For some vehicles, including my brother's early mid-life crisis car, one can buy aftermarket computers which can be set to give different performance profiles. Do either of these add up to an open system? No. Notice I said it was both replaceable and closed. Do both give the end-user more options to modify than he have will with most locked-down tablets? Yes. Can one go further and change the engine or large parts thereof entirely? Yes. Can analogous modifications be made practically some consumer electronics today? No. Is OP wrong to prefer relatively open consumer electronics? No. Is OP a hypocrite if he happens to own other goods that are less open? No.

Re:Ownership is being able to modify (1)

coinreturn (617535) | about a year ago | (#44951611)

The engine control computer in my vehicle has more than one aftermarket manufacturer

Interesting. What make/model is your car?

Re:Ownership is being able to modify (1)

cervesaebraciator (2352888) | about a year ago | (#44952123)

S-10. Most you'll find out there are remanufactured and most of them are from Cardone, but you can find ACDelco and some other brands which, frankly, I've never head of, but you have to look.

Re:Ownership is being able to modify (1)

coinreturn (617535) | about a year ago | (#44958083)

S-10. Most you'll find out there are remanufactured and most of them are from Cardone, but you can find ACDelco and some other brands which, frankly, I've never head of, but you have to look.

If the parts are remanufactured or from ACDelco (owned by GM since 1944), you really are just able to replace a broken component, which is much different than being able to substitute an alternative. The fact that you can have some parameters altered is much like buying apps for it. Before you bang out more rant, I am not the poster that claimed anything about irrational, inconsistent, or hypocritical.

Re:Ownership is being able to modify (1)

cervesaebraciator (2352888) | about a year ago | (#44965731)

If the parts are remanufactured or from ACDelco (owned by GM since 1944), you really are just able to replace a broken component, which is much different than being able to substitute an alternative.

Note what I said:

[...] one small, closed, replaceable part on a far more open system.

And again:

In other words, it's replaceable . I didn't say it was replaceable with a Raspberry Pi, only that it was replaceable .

If by "substitute an alternative" you mean anything other than replace, at least as far as my own vehicle is concerned, I never claimed as much except insofar as I claim and maintain that you can replace the engine entirely, including with things other than a gasoline engine.

Re:Ownership is being able to modify (2)

MightyYar (622222) | about a year ago | (#44951807)

That's part of the reason I added the bit about being able to change out the engine.

You can't do that without voiding the warranty, though. If you are going in that direction, then you can just root the Kindle HD. You can't unlock the bootloader, but AFAIK that is not a real impediment, since you have root you just boot "twice" and load whatever code you want.

I don't know why anyone would object to someone wanting a more open tablet.

I don't object to that. I object to every story about a proprietary toy getting polluted with "but it's not open!". Yeah, we know, but if it doesn't impact our use of the tablet then it isn't even a mark in the "negative" column. And historically, the Kindles seem to get rooted so it REALLY is immaterial.

Re:Ownership is being able to modify (1)

cervesaebraciator (2352888) | about a year ago | (#44952199)

I don't object to that.

Fair enough. But my original reply, the intent of which I reiterated for context in my response to you, was to one who seemed to do so.

Re:Ownership is being able to modify (1)

davester666 (731373) | about a year ago | (#44956443)

Unless it's a fairly old truck, it certainly does have a computer that 'boots', and if it is at all recent, good luck with modifying it to run different code.

If you are lucky, your manufacturer will have 'blessed' specific third-parties with ability to modify specific parameters.

You can not make it as different as you want. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44961227)

At some point, it wouldn't be street legal.

Re:bootloader still locked? (1)

KingSkippus (799657) | about a year ago | (#44950047)

That logic would be fine if all the OP wanted to buy is just a proprietary Amazon front-end, which means that the value of the device is significantly lower than what would justify the price. But assuming that he wants a "tablet" in the traditional sense of the word, a general-purpose device that he can customize to suit his particular needs that can be obtained from other companies at comparable prices and that can also run the same Amazon-available applications but also other stuff as well, then he is correct in that he should continue to avoid these.

Re:bootloader still locked? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44950059)

It is safe to assume your TV shows you specific news channels, your microwave will only cook certain foods and your car takes you to certain place

Re:bootloader still locked? (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#44950081)

My car will take me where I choose, the microwave will cook what I want, and the monitor will display what I want.

This tablet is not like those. If I could buy bootloader unlocked versions of all of those I would as well.

Re:bootloader still locked? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44955423)

My car will take me where I choose, the microwave will cook what I want, and the monitor will display what I want.

the point of an unlocked bootloader is to change the operating system, can you do that in your car, microwave or monitor?

This tablet is not like those.

why not? it provides the functionality designated by the parameters of its design, just like your car, microwave or monitor. if you don't like operating within those parameters then modify it, just like you would your car, microwave or monitor.

Re:bootloader still locked? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#44958881)

The point of an unlocked bootloader is to do what I want.

If those things did not meet my needs I would.

Re:bootloader still locked? (1)

MDMurphy (208495) | about a year ago | (#44951381)

It's safe to assume:

The microwave will cook food no matter what store it was purchased from.
The TV will play programs from any cable, satellite provider or appropriate OTA station.
The car will work with fuel purchased from any station.

I own all of the above but do not own a Kindle or iDevice specifically because part of their reason for being is to limit the owner's choice in apps or media content. Generic Android also limits apps to those coming from the Google Play store by default but has an option to remove that restriction that's no more difficult to change than adjusting your backlight brightness.

If there was a new Kindle that had a combination of features and price that was so compelling I wouldn't mind getting it and hacking it then I'd be tempted. But it would have to be a very attractive combination of factors.

Re:bootloader still locked? (1)

PraiseBob (1923958) | about a year ago | (#44952701)

Just for the record, there is a checkbox in the settings for "Allow 3rd party software", and you can download and install any reasonably compatible android program you want. I've done it many times, there is no need to root the device, etc.

You can also play almost all types of media with the free players available on the amazon marketplace. It is trivial to download/copy whatever media files you want onto the device, and watch or play it. I really don't understand where this perception of it being "locked down" comes from.

Re:bootloader still locked? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44955527)

there is a checkbox in the settings for "Allow 3rd party software", .

Still on the new model?
You will always be just one forced-update away from the possibility of having that disabled.

Don't forget that Amazon is the company who retrospectively wiped 1984 from peoples kindles.

Re:bootloader still locked? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44951727)

"Is it safe to assume you don't own a microwave, TV, and car becasue there not easy to change the boot?"

I don't see the equivalence. You get the key to the boot when you buy the car. You can open up a car's boot and you can load or unload it at will.

Re:bootloader still locked? (4, Informative)

coinreturn (617535) | about a year ago | (#44950781)

And it's priced accordingly. Amazon is willing to accept meager profit on hardware under the assumption you will buy software from them. It's like the wireless providers subsidizing phone prices, except the contract never ends.

Re:bootloader still locked? (1)

exomondo (1725132) | about a year ago | (#44955537)

Is it safe to assume the bootloader is still locked and I should continue to avoid these?

Really these days the product is the combination of hardware and software so it's about whether that product serves your needs, an unlocked bootloader is just a means to an end, it's nothing on its own so the question really is: what is the task you want to accomplish? If the product isn't capable of that task you have 2 choices:

-Modify it, which in this case would be along the lines of cracking the bootloader, flashing the ROM chip or some other hack
-Buy a product that can help you accomplish the task without modification

Re:bootloader still locked? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44955601)

this place has become the bastion of the lazy, unintelligent geek: the one that isnt willing to hack stuff, the one that wont modify anything if doing so voids the warranty, the one that wants everything to work their way out-of-the-box and for that to be the mainstream product.

what happened to the geeks of old that actually *did* stuff? dismantled devices, flashed chips, cobbled together devices with parts of other devices and wrote software to make it work? not just complained about how things are locked down and i need a special screwdriver to open shit (lord knows *that* is too hard) and the warranty might be void even if i do and oh no if i do that the dmca men might break my door down!

Google Play Store (1)

Frankie70 (803801) | about a year ago | (#44949707)

I was recently looking for a tablet and the Kindle 8.9" Fire HD ticked all my requirements. The only reason I didn't buy it was because you cannot access the Google Play Store from it.

Re:Google Play Store (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44949885)

Get a Nook HD tablet. Their refurbs are cheap and great quality. I just picked up the 9" model for $110 shipped and the 7" model was just on Ebay for $85 shipped. And you can buy stuff from the Google Play store besides the Nook store by default.

The other crappy thing is that Amazon pushes adds on hardware you purchased. I don't know what they are doing today, but a year ago you had to pay an additional $15 to opt out of ads. Huh?

Re:Google Play Store (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | about a year ago | (#44950031)

Or if you don't need much tablet at all, get the older Nook Color for $50-$70. Dual booting is as easy as putting Cyanogenmod on a microSD card... returning it to factory settings is as easy as removing the microSD card. There's no microphone or camera, but it runs Netflix quite well and web browsing is snappy. I've had mine for almost 2 years and I think it hits the perfect balance of price, size and performance for a good majority of tablet users, although most Slashdot readers want something a bit more powerful than the average tablet user.

Re:Google Play Store (1)

afidel (530433) | about a year ago | (#44950647)

The 8GB NookHD is a better deal at $109 IMHO because it's got a significantly better screen. It's cheap enough that I'm seriously considering it now that they've added Playstore support despite the fact that I have a KindleHD, I figure I'll let the kids have the Kindle with FreeTime and keep the Nook for myself.

Re:Google Play Store (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44951863)

Original AC here... wife and I have the older Nook Tablet. Mine has CM10 on it, wife's version is stock since she mainly reads books from B&N (shocking isn't it). Picked mine up used on Ebay with a nice case for $80 about a year ago. There's a lot of these on Ebay because idiots think they must have a Kindle or a "better" tablet.

Just picked up the HD+ refurb. Now just trying to decide who gets it. My point being, the Nook is far more versatile than the Kindle, especially because of Google Play store. If I end up keeping it then I can't think of a reason to install Cyanogenmod (for me at least).

Re:Google Play Store (4, Informative)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about a year ago | (#44949939)

You can. You just can't do it without sideloading the Play Store App. It does require gaining "root", in order to sideload the play store APP.

This alone should cause the"average" user to balk at Kindle anything. If you look at any other Android Tablet, and find one that uses Play Store, then you can add the Kindle App to it, and it becomes essentially the same thing (all other spec being the same).

Re:Google Play Store (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | about a year ago | (#44950079)

The Nook app doesn't feel as smooth or integrated as using the actual Nook Color/tablet and from what I've seen from store displays, the Kindle app vs Kindle Fire is much the same way. Not a big deal for casual readers, but hardcore readers will probably prefer the smoother experience of the Fire/Nook compared to the app on a generic Android device

Re:Google Play Store (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about a year ago | (#44950379)

But that is always the case. The specialized "reader" platforms will perform better than just "apps", because they can be tailored to reading. However, given that one could use a normal Android Tablet, and have all three (Android, Kindle, Nook) on one device, rather than a singular specialized platform, IMHO, makes all the difference in the world.

Re:Google Play Store (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | about a year ago | (#44951519)

Same here. My kids were buying tablet computers with saved up money and the Kindle Fire looked great. I especially loved the built-in parental control software. But locking into the Amazon store was a deal breaker. We got Galaxy Tab 2 tablets and supplemented them with apps for parental controls. I even added the Amazon App Store onto the tablets to take advantage of their free app of the day.

They're calling it Fire OS now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44949733)

Website says it runs "Fire OS 3.0". Guess they're tired of calling it a custom skin and are admitting that they straight-up forked Android...

Death of the Desktop (1, Troll)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year ago | (#44949751)

If anyone is still wondering why the Desktop(Including Surface) is struggling...Hint its not the iPad; That is an incredibly powerful device for very little money. Why is nobody but Google reinventing the PC after Microsoft/Apple dropped the ball?

Re:Death of the Desktop (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44950163)

What are you talking about? Surface RT, purely by virtue of the fact that it runs Windows RT, is a failure. But Surface RT isn't a desktop and doesn't pretend to be: its software is unrelated to desktop software (except in the appearance and functionality of Modern UI apps between Windows RT and Windows 8 x86), and the hardware in a Surface RT is more similar to a Kindle Fire than a traditional laptop/desktop. You said "Surface", so your argument is not valid. Surface RT is little more than an attempt to compete with other "tablet" OSes like iOS and Android, using similar hardware and software.

In case you meant Surface Pro, you might want to know that Surface Pro sales are doing just fine. Surface Pro isn't anything like the Surface RT at all, because it can run all your Win32 x86 applications. Not only does it have a ridiculous profit margin, but supply actually outstripped demand for a significant period of time. Ultrabooks and hybrids such as the Surface Pro and the Lenovo Yoga may end up being the "new desktop", replacing the full ATX tower for most users, but the Win32 legacy is safe and sound with the new form factor propping it up for the foreseeable future.

Oh, and until a FULL-FEATURED port of Adobe Creative Suite, MS Office, and zillions of line-of-business enterprise apps exists for some platform other than Windows desktop, don't count on the desktop going the way of the dino. If anything, I expect sales of Win32 OSes (Windows 7/8/8.1 for x86 / x86_64 processors) to experience an uptick as people send their ATX towers to landfills and recycling centers, replacing them with something like a Surface Pro 2.

There will be holdouts of course in high-end gaming, HPC, and engineering fields for decades more, for applications where ultraportables with 8 GB of RAM just aren't enough oomph (yet), but while the full-fat workstation may be losing market share, I don't see the de facto desktop *software platform* -- Win32 -- going anywhere. And the high price of Surface Pro won't deter users who know that they need desktop software for which there is simply no equivalent on Android or iOS, and probably won't be until ARM64 is common and typical tablets start shipping with 8 GB of RAM or more (assuming that most of it isn't eaten up by background services that you can't turn off).

Not a shill, and in fact I'm generally not a big MSFT fan, but I own a Surface Pro and have read up on the sales and margins on these things, and there's just no comparison between the Surface RT and the Surface Pro. The former is a complete failure of an attempt to enter into the low-powered ARM tablet market using a Windows-ish interface; the latter is just a small laptop with a cool snap-on keyboard, a touchscreen, and a kickstand. I wish that Microsoft had originally unveiled what we now know as the "Surface RT" as the "Failed Kindle Fire Competitor", and leave the "Surface" brand name untarnished for the Surface Pro to stand on its own merits. The amount of misinformation about the Surface Pro, its differences compared to the Surface RT, and its financial success, is staggering.

You asked about the reinvented PC: well, Intel themselves are driving that in a big way. By continuing to support the x86 architecture on smaller and smaller (lower power) chips, while still having the same advanced instruction set support as the big boys, Intel is providing the hardware support that companies like Microsoft, Lenovo and Asus need to develop devices that are as light and thin as an iPad or a Nexus 10, but with an x86 core, and an OS that can run all the user's ~20 years of accumulated computing habits (also known as Win32 proprietary desktop applications) -- no virtualization, no remote framebuffer, but natively on the device itself with minimal latency.

As for the cost, well, you have a point, but also consider that even the cheapest current-gen Intel Atom CPU on the x86 instruction set runs circles around the most powerful ARM SoC when benchmarked. You get what you pay for. The CPU in a Surface Pro is in a totally different league than the CPU in a Kindle Fire. They're meant for different classes of use cases. The Kindle Fire is for reading webpages, listening to music and audiobooks, and watching videos. That's about it. A Surface Pro, on the other hand, can completely replace an average corporate desktop workstation with 4 GB of RAM and a dual core processor, possibly even exceeding the performance of the workstation, due to the SSD. The Surface Pro can maintain good performance while having dozens of Excel and Word documents open, editing an image in Photoshop, and several instances of Visual Studio open, plus countless browser tabs (I know, because this is my daily workload). There's just no way a Kindle Fire's hardware could support that workload, even assuming that the desired software applications were available.

Re:Death of the Desktop (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44950211)

Demand outstripped supply is what I meant to write. Oops.

Re: Death of the Desktop (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44951327)

Please let us know which device you are pointing it to ????

Re:Death of the Desktop (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,28 days | (#45012691)

Yea Google reinvented the desktop. Who wouldn't want a thin client where all your data is hosted by an ad network's cloud. What a genius move.

Also you're a bit of a bigot mate http://reddit.com/user/tuppe666

Screen resolution (5, Insightful)

ardmhacha (192482) | about a year ago | (#44949791)

"Exclusive 8.9" HDX display (2560x1600)"

Dear Laptops

Please increase your screen resolution to something usable.

Thanks

Re:Screen resolution (2, Informative)

Russ1642 (1087959) | about a year ago | (#44949863)

They can't because people are still on Windows, which heavily depends on bitmaps. If you increase the screen resolution that much it screws up lots of existing applications to the point of being unusable.

Re:Screen resolution (1)

0123456 (636235) | about a year ago | (#44949995)

They can't because people are still on Windows, which heavily depends on bitmaps. If you increase the screen resolution that much it screws up lots of existing applications to the point of being unusable.

Ah, I still remember the good old days when telling Windows you had anything but a 72dpi monitor would cause most of the applications to render incorrectly.

Re:Screen resolution (1)

Russ1642 (1087959) | about a year ago | (#44950903)

Now, not all applications will 'break' in the traditional sense but I consider text too small to read, or having to position your mouse within a 1 pixel wide area to move something like a divider, a broken application. Windows applications just aren't resolution independent.

Re:Screen resolution (1)

sylvandb (308927) | about a year ago | (#44951575)

And Microsoft could fix windows apps to work with very high pixel densities in a way similar to how Apple fixed OSX and iOS apps and the way hardware upgrades have been hidden from applications for decades now: 'Aware' applications must call a new API to get the high-resolution. If they do not call the new API, the OS will scale everything for them when they use the old APIs. It's a trivial and obvious fix at least for applications. Making those scaled apps look decent is a bit harder task for the OS implementer but such is life.

Re:Screen resolution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44955019)

Which is exactly what Windows does as of Windows 7 (and probably Vista, but I've never tried it). It always annoyed me that XP didn't do this right, but Microsoft fixed that bug years ago.

Re:Screen resolution (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44950101)

You are correct. My new Dell 15" laptop I bought in March of 2007 had a 1920x1600 screen. It was unusable with Windows. Even with pointer trails and the extra large mouse cursor, it was still very hard to find the mouse cursor. I ended-up selling it at a $1k loss less than two months after buying it because I simply couldn't read most of the text.

Re:Screen resolution (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44950891)

You're nothing but a damn troll. The text on Windows is Fisher-Price gigantic. It's too big for adults. I had one of the old Latitudes. The text size was perfect for a professional. I set my right margin with Eclipse to 450. That makes for much more productive programming when you can see all of a line on the screen at the same time.

Re:Screen resolution (1)

bored (40072) | about a year ago | (#44951555)

They can't because people are still on Windows

Yawn, I've heard this before, and its not that big a deal with to change the scaling and it mostly works. I have a laptop with a 180PPI display running windows XP from ~2006 and it works fine with display scaling. Te problem is the removal of exactly x2 mode in win7 (added back with 8.1).

Heck an OEM could probably rig a deal with the GPU manufacture to produce a driver that 2x scales the display to windows same as Apple does and white-list applications that understand higher resolutions displays with a GDI hook even without Microsoft support. With Microsoft support adding a HIGH DPI flag in the applications manifest or similar to allow native scaling can't possibly be that hard. In fact I bet there is a way for an application to bypass the windows scaling today (if nothing else you detect it enabled and resize components as necessary).

Re:Screen resolution (1)

stenvar (2789879) | about a year ago | (#44951763)

Apple had the same problem; if the resolution is high enough, you can just double the pixels.

Re:Screen resolution (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about a year ago | (#44949973)

Dear Laptops
Please increase your screen resolution to something usable.

True story: I've looked into building a head-mounted rig to hold an HD phablet 10" from my eyes. The current limitation is the refresh rate possible with screen sharing on 802.11n, but -ac might solve that and is only a year or two out on phablets.

I wound up needing to work on a 6-hour bus ride a few months ago, and was frustrated by the difficulty of seeing the screen in ever-changing light conditions, the power drain of the big screen, the low resolution, and the weirdo in the seat next to me who kept asking me about things on my screen. At first I thought about those polarizing filters, but then figured, why carry a big laptop in the first place when a small compute widget will do fine? My bag can certainly handle a bluetooth keyboard, and a wider one, even, than I can accept on my laptop.

I'd love some goggles that would do it all for me, but those are still made of unobtanium. Occulus VR is on the right track, but their pixel density is too small and it's too close for LCD (windowscreening). Perhaps OLED can fix this. Besides, I don't need stereo.

Re:Screen resolution (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44950407)

You're talking about strapping a Kindle to your face and some stranger making conversation on the bus is the weirdo?

Re:Screen resolution (3, Funny)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about a year ago | (#44951971)

I don't like when weirdos on the bus keep asking me questions about the hentai movies I'm trying to watch.

Re:Screen resolution (1)

Dimwit (36756) | about a year ago | (#44950011)

HDTV was the best thing to ever happen to laptop manufacturers. My CRT monitor in 1997 had a roughly equivalent resolution than my laptop today (1366/768). With the advent of HDTV, computer display manufacturers went out and rebranded everything as "True HD", implying to consumers that these are really high resolution displays because, well, HDTV is so much better than SDTV, a True HD monitor must be really great too! Hiding behind those letters made it easy to mislead customers about the actual resolution of their displays.

I would love to have a QHD laptop. Hell, I wish there were more than just a few 1080p laptops out there. The QHD laptops are finally starting to arrive, but they're slow coming. I wish I could get a Chromebook Pixel without the, you know, Chromebook part.

Re:Screen resolution (1)

geekoid (135745) | about a year ago | (#44950015)

Dear Consumers:
Stop being a bunch of cheap asses and buy them when we put them out.

Thanks.

Re:Screen resolution (1)

Sqr(twg) (2126054) | about a year ago | (#44950055)

The macbook pro has 2880x1800, which is ok, and other laptop-makers are going to have to follow suit sooner or later.
On the other hand, how come a $2000, 27-inch iMac, or a $1000, 30-inch monitor doesn't have more pixels than a $400 tablet?

Re:Screen resolution (1)

Teckla (630646) | about a year ago | (#44950303)

On the other hand, how come a $2000, 27-inch iMac, or a $1000, 30-inch monitor doesn't have more pixels than a $400 tablet?

It's because of viewing distance and lack of demand in the marketplace.

Re:Screen resolution (1)

Sqr(twg) (2126054) | about a year ago | (#44956941)

The viewing distance of a 30-inch monitor is not three times that of a 9-inch tablet. Most often, it's not even two times, so the monitor should have at least twice the number of pixels to give the same angular resolution.
"Lack of demand in the marketplace" is just an assumption. Nobody has actually tried selling a high-res monitor at a reasonable price.

Re:Screen resolution (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44950665)

Hello tablets? It's laptops. You win!

I don't see the appeal (1)

Drew617 (3034513) | about a year ago | (#44949877)

Now that we can get very good devices with unmolested Android (Nexus 7) for similar money.

The original Fire made sense, and I considered one, a couple years back when most options in the price range were compromised in some way.

These days I don't get it, though. Even assuming some Amazon lock-in - books, music or whatever - don't they have apps that make those things work on any Android?

Re:I don't see the appeal (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | about a year ago | (#44950155)

There are Kindle/Nook apps for generic Android, but the Nook/Fire gives a much more integrated experience. So if you're looking for tablet that can also do ebooks, get an Android tablet and use apps. If you're looking for a (color) e-reader that can also do tablet things, get a Kindle/Nook tablet. The Fire/Nook still make more sense if your primary use of the device is as an e-reader because the integration makes it much smoother than their respective apps.

Re:I don't see the appeal (1)

walterbyrd (182728) | about a year ago | (#44954365)

I agree completely. For $200 you buy a Nexus 7, and not bother with all the proprietary junk.

Study Shows Solar Manufacturing Costs Not Driven P (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44949883)

Production scale, not lower labor costs, drives China's current advantage in manufacturing photovoltaic (PV) solar energy systems, according to a new report released on September 5 by the Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Although the prevailing belief is that low labor costs and direct government subsidies for PV manufacturing in China account for that country's dominance in PV manufacturing, the NREL/MIT study shows that a majority of the region's competitive advantage comes from production scale—enabled, in part, through preferred access to capital (indirect government subsidies) —and resulting supply-chain benefits. The study's findings suggest that the current advantages of China-based manufacturers could be reproduced in the United States.
"Assessing the Drivers of Regional Trends in Solar Photovoltaic Manufacturing," co-authored by NREL and MIT, and funded by the Energy Department through its Clean Energy Manufacturing Initiative, was published in the peer-reviewed journal Energy & Environmental Science. By developing manufacturing cost models, the team of researchers examined the underlying causes for shifts from a global network of manufactures to a production base that is now largely based in China. The study shows that China's historical advantage in low-cost manufacturing is mainly due to advantages of production scale, and is offset by other country-specific factors, such as investment risk and inflation. The authors also found that technology innovation and global supply-chain development could enable increased manufacturing scale around the world, resulting in broader, subsidy-free PV deployment and the potential for manufacturing price parity in most regions.

PDF reader (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44949901)

I use apple's kindle app on my ipad to read pdfs. as a pdf reader for reading books and papers, the kindle app is pretty good despite having some mindnumbingly stupid restrictions (lack of ability to organize files into folders) and the 'send to kindle' app for pc is quite convenient (one click and the pdf is on my device). i'd be happy to do the reading tasks though to a lower-cost / higher battery life device when going on long trips. does anybody know whether the kindle bookreader on a kindle device can also read all pdfs like this and is the battery life any better?

and i have experience with the amazon app store from a business perspective - to call it a clusterfuck run by power mad, mentally defective idiots would be too kind. i otherwise like amazon as a company, but their appstore is a non-starter. amazingly, they send us a check every month for a few thousand, but we stopped caring or uploading new versions there years ago simply because their processes and tools are insanely dumb.

Re:PDF reader (1)

larry bagina (561269) | about a year ago | (#44950237)

Yeah, one of Bozo's quotes is "Your margin is my opportunity." Which is true, but it's also true for amazon 3rd party sellers and their app store.

Slashdot likes to complain about Walmart's business tactics but Amazon is just as bad if not worse.

Where is my Amazon Streaming Video app? (3, Interesting)

CosaNostra Pizza Inc (1299163) | about a year ago | (#44950147)

Nice but when are they going to release an Amazon Streaming Video App for Amazon Prime customers who use Android (other than Kindle) devices?

Re:Where is my Amazon Streaming Video app? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44950291)

Ditto. I actually like Amazon's streaming video service, and I am an Amazon Prime customer, but I feel slighted because Amazon is going to make me buy another tablet that I don't want to play my video collection, instead of letting me play it on a Nexus 7 tablet or a Motorola Droid Maxx smartphone.

I'm not going to buy a Kindle Fire just on principle, because I don't agree with Amazon strong-arming their customers to buy one of their hardware devices in order to take advantage of a software/content service. In the mean time, you can just install Dolphin browser on any Android device, get it running with Adobe's Flash plugin (now unsupported, but it still plays), fake a desktop user agent, and play standard definition video from Amazon's streaming video library. Sucks if you invested in HD content (you can still watch the SD version), but most stuff in the free Prime collection is SD anyway, so that's always available on your generic smartphone or tablet.

Re:Where is my Amazon Streaming Video app? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44950735)

Never, obviously; it's literally the only value-add that the Kindle Fire tablet has over a Nexus.

Re:Where is my Amazon Streaming Video app? (1)

bmh67wa (1211394) | about a year ago | (#44952783)

They just announced today that they added AirPlay support. http://techcrunch.com/2013/09/17/amazons-instant-video-app-adds-airplay-support-for-streaming-to-apple-tv/ [techcrunch.com] and that their UK customers can stream purchased albums from the Amazon Cloud Player to their Sonos systems. http://www.expertreviews.co.uk/audio/1302640/sonos-gains-amazon-cloud-player-to-instantly-stream-your-purchased-albums [expertreviews.co.uk] I think other devices and OS choices are in the making. We should be able to stream all Amazon content to a variety of devices soon if these early steps are any indication.

Where is a tablet with no lock in? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44950271)

I keep reading how lame it is that Kindle locks you in to Amazon, but every other tablet locks you in to Google or Apple. How do I get an ereader that won't tell big brother that I have read 1984?

Re:Where is a tablet with no lock in? (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year ago | (#44950879)

Apple locks you in, but Amazon and Google don't. You can install apps from any source on a Kindle Fire and most (all?) other Androids with the tick of a box. Admittedly, I haven't found a way to replace the home app on an unrooted Kindle Fire, but it's not like Apple's prison.

Re:Where is a tablet with no lock in? (1)

Godwin O'Hitler (205945) | about a year ago | (#44953591)

You get cool reader, that's how.

Paperwhite? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44950349)

I'm asking this here because I know that Amazon's launches are (intentionally?) low-key, but does anyone know if they have recently refreshed their Paperwhite product (e-Ink), or are about to do so in the near future? Potentially in the market for one as a holiday season gift. Don't want to buy something that'll be obsolete in a few hours; I'd at least like it to survive til next week before the next iteration comes out.

Re:Paperwhite? (1)

radio4fan (304271) | about a year ago | (#44950837)

The new Paperwhite starts shipping on September 30th.

Says it right there on Amazon.com [amazon.com] .

Is it still just Amazon content consumption? (5, Insightful)

water-and-sewer (612923) | about a year ago | (#44950921)

I have a Nexus 7 and like it, so after a year of playing with an Android tablet, I figured I knew what all tablets were like. Then a friend let me try his Kindle and I was bewildered how locked down and confusing it was.

It was great for downloading books and movies from Amazon but from no where else, and I wasn't overly impressed by its other features. It was also freaking HEAVY.

I concluded it was simply a window/screen through which you send your money to Amazon, and not good for much else. Give me a stock Android tablet any day. On my Nexus I've got a Nook app, but I've also got several other ebook readers (Aldiko is great). And I guess I could put a Kindle app on it if I wanted.

Amazon has a great book store and lots of other media too. But if the new Kindle is just a better version of their last Kindle, they can keep it - give me stock Android and a choice of apps any day of the week over a device that's been locked down to be a simple content consumption (hate that word) device.

Re:Is it still just Amazon content consumption? (2)

Optic7 (688717) | about a year ago | (#44953373)

Exactly, I came on here to say basically the same thing. The new Kindle Fire HDX 7" is the same price as a Nexus 7 of the same configuration (16GB, WiFi): $229. Why on earth would anyone buy a hobbled, locked down thing that does nothing beyond what the more open option does (in fact, it does a lot less)? In fact, that price on the HDX is for the "special offers" version, which forces you to have ads. If Amazon was subsidizing it to be under $100 to compensate for all the shortcomings it would be a different story, but at the same price? I just don't get it.

Ok, so I just did a search for a comparison between the two, and apparently the HDX has an upgraded CPU and GPU vs. the Nexus. Big flipping deal. They should still make it $100 or less if they want us to put up with major lockdown and ads. Talk about one being born every day.

WTF, where is my laptop with a 9" (3, Insightful)

bored (40072) | about a year ago | (#44951345)

2560x1600 display.

Dell, Hp, Asus, etc????? Hello!!!!!!

Idiots.

Re:WTF, where is my laptop with a 9" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44952729)

Shocking, isnt it?

No epub support (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44951653)

Still no epub support, not that I expected it. And that means I'm even happier with my nook HD+ that I bought on one of the recent fire sales.

But in general, tablets are today barely more than the 21st century version of Harlan Ellison's "glass teat" -- consumption only devices for the masses. I love some of the things I can do with my Android tablet, but the limitations are pretty staggering unless you're willing to add on HW (like a kb and mouse) and also adopt a lot of new SW.

Here's where MS, if it had the common sense seen in the average turnip, could really shake things up: Release a version of the Surface Pro with Win7 installed. Even at the current Surface Pro price that would sell as fast as MS could pay someone to screw them together.

Re:No epub support (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44953607)

Still no epub support, not that I expected it. And that means I'm even happier with my nook HD+ that I bought on one of the recent fire sales.

But in general, tablets are today barely more than the 21st century version of Harlan Ellison's "glass teat" -- consumption only devices for the masses. I love some of the things I can do with my Android tablet, but the limitations are pretty staggering unless you're willing to add on HW (like a kb and mouse) and also adopt a lot of new SW.

Here's where MS, if it had the common sense seen in the average turnip, could really shake things up: Release a version of the Surface Pro with Win7 installed. Even at the current Surface Pro price that would sell as fast as MS could pay someone to screw them together.

What's how things played out With XP why would Win 7 do better?

Kindle Fire Root (1)

BaerGriggs (1890000) | about a year ago | (#44952793)

The Kindle is really easy to root and make nearly the same as every other Android tablet. The screen is beautiful on my Kindle Fire HD 8.9" right now and I'm sure it's even better with the HDX. They've nearly automated the whole process of rooting and installing the Play Store now with the Kindle Fire Utility or with the Bin4ry Tool. At the price you pay for it and with a little bit of work it's hard to beat what the Kindle brings to the table.

Can the connection to amazon be turned off? (1)

smoothnorman (1670542) | about a year ago | (#44954575)

I've got an ~series2 Kindle that i use for pdf etc viewing; but the catch is that I often have review articles on it that must not be accessible by anyone but me for the time that I've got them (or else the lawyers start to parachute from black helicopters). A Kindle with the wifi off is an great solution for me and my colleagues for this purpose; but color would be *sweet*... so my question: if one buys one of the new Kindle Fire models can one be tolerably be sure of turning off all external access? Is there still a wifi *off* option? ...doesn't really sound like it.

Re:Can the connection to amazon be turned off? (1)

bakes (87194) | about a year ago | (#44956589)

Yes, you can turn the Wifi and Bluetooth on/off (independently) whenever you like. There is also an aeroplane mode, I guess this stops you turning on Wifi accidentally (??).

For your purposes, I suppose you might potentially leave the Wifi off all the time, and just load files on through the USB cable.

Re:Can the connection to amazon be turned off? (1)

smoothnorman (1670542) | about a year ago | (#44960669)

Thank you! that's exactly the information that i was seeking, (and not finding via any of the 'official' specs). huzzah for devices that can, at least, have the fenced-garden fenced off.

Amazon Unveiled The Kindle Fire HDX High Resolutio (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44958705)

Kindle Fire HDX Tablets features with High Resolutions Screen. These Tablets are available in 7-inch and 8.9-inch sizes with an updated version of OS 3.0 and is known as “Mojito”. For more detail visit: http://outfresh.com/tech-trends/amazon-unveiled-the-kindle-fire-hdx-high-resolution-tablets/

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