Kindle Fire

Spotify launches app for Kindle Fire, issues update to support upcoming iOS 6

Wednesday, August 8, 2012 - 1:30pm

Kindle FireOn-demand music service Spotify has launched an app for Amazon's Kindle Fire tablet. It includes the service's free customizable streaming radio service (RAIN coverage here), as well as 320kbs listening. Engadget has more coverage here.

Spotify has also issued an update for its iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad apps with support for iOS 6. That's Apple's upcoming new operating system for iOS devices. The update also includes bugfixes and lets iPad users "see more stations," reports CNet (here).

Amazon, Apple may accelerate smartphone and tablet adoption with new rumored devices

Friday, July 6, 2012 - 11:20am

Mobile devicesNew devices rumored to be coming soon from Amazon and Apple may aim to put smartphones and tablets in the hands of new consumers, like those who have so far stuck with "dumbphones." That means more people potentially accessing apps and streaming web radio.

Amazon is rumored to be building its own smartphone. Not so far-fetched, considering it already offers the Kindle Fire -- an Android tablet device (RAIN coverage here).

GigaOM predicts the goal of a smartphone from Amazon "would be to go after the 50% of people who don't have a smartphone." Indeed, "a survey earlier this year found that consumers were more interested in a phone from Amazon than they were in one from Facebook," points out All Things Digital (here). 

"If Amazon can give consumers a dirt cheap but very capable smartphone, it could attract a number of users at launch and set it up for better success as it puts out more capable phones down the road," comments GigaOM (here).

Meanwhile, a myriad of publications report that Apple will soon launch a smaller (7" screen), cheaper (around $200) iPad. Such a move would not only hurt competitors like Google -- which unveiled its own relatively small tablet recent, more here -- but also get more consumers using tablets.

iPad

"As you drop the price point and size, you are opening up consumers you weren't addressing before," said Brian White, an analyst with Topeka Capital Markets. "Having something you can hold in one hand seems to matter to some people and may matter in emerging markets," said Frank Gillett, a Forrester Research analyst.

In June, a study found that around a third of U.S. Internet users owned a tablet (more here). A recent Gartner survey found that 40% of mobile users listen to music on their devices (more here).

Tablet ownership in U.S. nearly doubles over holidays

Monday, January 23, 2012 - 11:00am

TabletsThe share of U.S. adults who own a tablet device just about doubled over the holiday season. A new survey from the Pew Internet & American Life Project found that 19% of U.S. adults owned a tablet in early January, up from 10% in mid-December.

Amazon's Kindle Fire, Barnes and Noble's Nook Tablet and Apple's iPad all helped drive the growth, Pew states.

MacRumors points out (here) that the expected release of the iPad 3 in coming months -- coupled with Apple's recent moves in the education and textbook markets -- may help push iPad ownership even higher.

Some find Amazon's Kindle Fire makes a great dedicated Internet-radio device

Monday, November 21, 2011 - 1:05pm

Last week Amazon made big news when the latest version of its Kindle e-book reader, the Kindle Fire, shipped. Actually, all the new functionality of the Kindle Fire makes it more like a tablet computer than a mere e-reader. And apparently, it's a really good Internet radio device.Kindle Fire

"The Kindle Fire is almost perfect for my favorite kind of media: Internet radio," wrote industry observer Matthew Lasar in Radio Survivor. "Its relatively small size, nice WiFi interface, attractive display, and simple speaker outlet make it a great dedicated broadband radio device."

The device is built on a "forked" version of the Android mobile OS, and as such, can run various Android apps (available in the Amazon Appstore). It can stream video, and offers a full-function web browser and built-in e-mail application. 

Taking advantage of the Kindle Fire's smaller size and lower price-point, it's more logical to use it for a dedicated, specialized purpose like Internet radio than, say, and Apple iPad, reasons Lasar. Internet radio Android apps also apparently work well, and look good, on the device.

"Pandora looks much classier on the device than it does on either my Droid X or my desktop screen. Leaning the Kindle horizontally against a paper book (oh the irony) just above my keyboard gives me easy access to the standard Pandora choices: like, dislike, skip, pause, and next. There’s plenty of blank space across the screen—no visual crowding, even with the ads... Ditto for TuneIn Radio... (It) looks and sounds great on the Kindle Fire. For me, TuneIn’s desktop interface is too big and its smart phone interface is too small. But on Kindle Fire it looks just right—just like an Internet radio interface ought to display."

Our own AccuRadio, by the way, worked and sounded great when we accessed it through the Kindle Fire's web browser (AccuRadio does not yet offer a dedicated Android app). What works even better is the beta version of our new AccuRadio user interface, available at new.accuradio.com

And, if you're a fan of on-demand streaming service Rdio: You can access it through the Kindle Fire. Or, might want to pick up the new Kobo Vox tablet, as it comes preloaded on that device (read more here).

Lasar, who wrote the Radio Survivor piece, teaches U.S. history and broadcasting/telecommunications policy at the UC Santa Cruz. He's written two books about Pacifica Radio, and also writes for Arstechnica.com. Read his column in Radio Survivor here.

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