Follow-up: $199 Kindle Fire: Android 2.3 with specific UI layer and cloud services [Sept 29, 2011]
– E Ink Holdings (8069.TWO) Initiate at Buy: Dual Growth Engines to Propel Earnings [comprehensive 32 pages evaluation by Citi Investment Research & Analysis, a division of Citigroup Global Markets Inc., Aug 4, 2011] HIGHLY RECOMMENDED READ and NOT ONLY FROM PURE SHARES AND FINANACIALS
POINT OF VIEW
Updates: E Ink suspending FFS panel production cooperation agreement with LG display [Nov 25, 2011]
E Ink Holdings (EIH) will suspend a cooperation agreement it signed with LG Display for the production of FFS (fringe field switching) LCD panels and will buy back a sum of corporate bonds (CBs) issued by its Korea-based subsidiary Hydis Technologies from LG Display, according to EIH.
EIH’s production of FFS wide viewing angle panels will not be affected by the suspension of cooperation as EIH has teamed up with Taiwan-based Chunghwa Picture Tubes (CPT), utilizing the panel maker’s 6G production line to produce FFS panels, said industry sources.
Hydis will also continue to hold the patents pertaining to the production of FFS panels although it may lose some orders from clients in Korea, indicated the sources.
The book value of Hydis’ CBs held by LG Display totals KRW34.257 billion (US$30.5 million), EIH revealed. EIH’s board of directors has approved the company’s plan to invest US$30.5 million for the purchase of Hydis CBs, according to a Chinese-language Commercial Times report.
– CPT sees small-size flat panels increase in July [Aug 11, 2011]
CPT will begin volume production of 10.1-inchFFS LCD panels soon, with 7-inchFFS models to follow in September, the company said.
– Amazon 10-inch tablet PC to start mass production in 1Q12 [Aug 31, 2011]
Mass production of Amazon’s 10.1-inch tablet PC reportedly will be conducted in the first quarter of 2012 with Foxconn Electronics (Hon Hai Precision Industry) to handle the orders, according to sources from upstream component suppliers.
In addition to the tablet PC, Amazon also outsources its Kindle e-book reader to Foxconn with an estimated volume of 15-18 million units, accounting for 60-70% of global e-book reader shipments of 25-30 million units in 2011.
Amazon’s 7-inch tablet PC, which is supplied by Quanta Computer, is expected to start shipping in October, the sources added.
– Amazon Tablet rumour round-up [Aug 31, 2011]
Specification details for the tablet PC are sketchy. The Boy Genius Report claims there will be an entry-level tablet (presumably the 7in device), codenamed ‘Coyote’ that will feature a dual-core Nvidia Tegra 2 chip, while the ‘Hollywood’ will be the larger higher-end tablet PC and will sport the new ‘Kal-El’ quad-core mobile chip.
First announced in February during Mobile World Congress in
Barcelona, the new Kal-El quad-core chip is capable of displaying 1440p video on a 2,560×1,600 pixel display. Nvidia also claimed the chips can help deliver up to 12 hours of battery life.
Researcher at Forrester, Sarah Epps, speculated that the Amazon tablet could come with a $299 price tag in the US, that nearly half the price of many existing Android tablets, and while the price would initially result in a loss for Amazon, it could help to send sales soaring. There’s no doubt that a cheaper price point can cause a surge in sales. After all, HP recently revealed it will manufacture another batch of its TouchPad tablet PC, following “unfulfilled demand” after it slashed the price to $99 in the US and £89 in the UK on announcing it was to discontinue the device. Epps says the $299 (£183) price tag closer to what most consumers want to pay for a tablet, based on a Forrester survey. However, some rumours on the web suggest the tablet PC might be a little higher in price.
Chunghwa Picture Tubes, Ltd. (TAIEX: 2475; “CPT”) and E Ink Holdings Inc. (TAIEX: 8069; “E Ink”) jointly announced today that each of their board of directors had passed a resolution, enabling E Ink to make an investment into CPT with a view to strengthen their collaboration in technology and in production capacity. Through this investment and cooperation, both companies expect to further expand electronic paper and FFS (Fringe Field Switching) panel business. The strategic alliance will further solidify their existing leadership position in eReader, tablets and other mobile devices markets.
The investment will be a total of NT$1.5 billion [US$ 52M] in the form of unsecured convertible bonds issued through private placement in Taiwan. The conversion price will be at NT$3.25 per share. This issue, expected to be completed by the end of July this year, is for a period of 3 years.
This investment enables the expansion of panel production capacity and exchange of related technological information between the two companies. This investment is also aimed at improving the utilization of CPT’s production lines and enabling them to focus on higher-end value-added products.
“This cooperation will strengthen E Ink’s capacity to meet the demand of the fast-growing eReader market while CPT can better utilize their 6th-gen fab,” says E Ink’s Chairman Scott Liu. “More importantly this strategic alliance will expand the relevant markets for both companies”.
The co-operation is expected to result in an integrated supply chain. CPT will also manufacture FFS LCD displays, thereby expanding Hydis’ FFS manufacturing capacity. FFS technology based LCD are the market share leaders in displays for tablets and other mobile devices, just as E Ink’s dual pigment ePaper technology is the market share leader for eReader displays. E Ink’s investment will secure a steady supply of display panels for both its EPD and FFS business.
How Amazon Could Disrupt the Android Tablet Market [Aug 8, 2011]
… the center of its design would be on reading books. That appears to be true, as multiple sources tell me that it will have the best reading experience of any tablet on the market. … Apparently, the company’s key goal is to make the tablet very inexpensive and then use a new business model to own the Android tablet market.
… while its tablet could marginally compete against Apple, this is not the company Amazon is going after with its tablet offering. It is smarter than that. Rather, I believe Amazon’s goal is to be the market leader in Android and be the top seller of tablets with this mobile OS.
… Amazon may actually sell it for as much as 20 to 25 percent below cost. In this situation, think of the tablet as a razor and the Android Appstore, UnBox movie service, and music service as the blades, which can be sold to users over and over again.
Now imagine how this could affect the other Android vendors that are making tablets. If Amazon provides a product that is sold under cost with the goal of making up the rest of the cost and profit from apps, services, and even advertising, it could give all of the other Android vendors a serious run for their money. And, given Amazon’s deep ecosystem, other Android vendors would find it very difficult to compete against it. When measuring by units shipped, this method could make Amazon the king of Android tablets very quickly. In fact, I would go as far as to say that it could “own” the Android tablet market.
Amazon to launch tablet PCs in August-September, say Taiwan component makers [June 22, 2011] (emphasis is mine)
Amazon is poised to step into tablet PCs and will launch models as son as August-September, with targeted global sales of four million units for 2011, according to Taiwan-based component makers.
The timing of launch is to meet the peak sales period prior to Thanksgiving in the US and the year-end holidays in the US and Europe, the sources pointed out.
Amazon adopts processors developed by Texas Instruments, with Taiwan-based Wintek to supply touch panels, ILI Technology to supply LCD driver ICs and Quanta Computer responsible for assembly, the sources indicated. Monthly shipments are expected to be 700,000-800,000 units.
Amazon will provide streaming movie services for users of its tablet PCs, the sources noted.
End of Updates
Quanta receives tablet PC orders from Amazon, say upstream sources [May 3, 2011] (emphasis is mine)
Taiwan-based notebook maker Quanta Computer has recently received OEM orders from Amazon for its reported tablet PC and the device will also receive full support from Taiwan-based electrophoretic display (EPD) maker E Ink Holdings (EIH) for supplying touch panel as well as providing its Fringe Field Switching (FFS) technology, according to sources from upstream component makers.
The device’s monthly orders during the peak season are expected to reach about 700,000-800,000 units and Quanta is expected to start shipping as soon as the second half of 2011 with the orders to contribute more than NT$100 billion (US$3.5 billion) to Quanta’s annual revenues in 2011, the sources noted. In response to the report, Quanta declined to comment on its clients.
In addition to Amazon, Quanta is currently also the tablet PC OEM partner of RIM and Sony, while the company has also been aggressive in contact with Lenovo in hoping to land orders from the company for its second-generation LePad.
The sources pointed out that Amazon’s Kindle still has strong sales, but the e-book reader is currently still unable to successfully cut into the markets outside of North America and Europe; therefore, Amazon internally plans to reduce Kindle’s market price to attract consumer demand from the education and consumer market, while will push tablet PC using its advantage in software and content resources to challenge iPad2.
EIH has also recently been in contact with a Taiwan-based small- to medium-size panel maker [presumably CPT, see below] and is aiming to book up the maker’s full capacity through a private investment and will fully supply the capacity to Quanta and such strategy will allow EIH to gain more profit from the patents of its FFS technology.
Update: Amazon Turns to Taiwanese Manufacturers for Tablet Rollout [June 1, 2011]
Planning to roll out own-brand tablet PCs in September this year, online store Amazon.com has reportedly contracted Taiwan`s manufacturers to supply components and assemble the computing devices.
E-Ink Holdings Corp.`s Hydis Technologies Co., Ltd. will supply the unique Fringe Field Switching (FFS) display technology; TPK Holding Co., Ltd. and HannsTouch Solution Inc. will supply touch panels; and Quanta Computer Inc. will assemble the computers.
Informed sources pointed out that Amazon.com will ship around 800,000 tablets a month as the first step of its plan to snatch up over 20% of global market for non-iPad tablets, which numbers around 15-20 million systems a year.
Industry executives estimated Amazon.com`s tablet contracts would bring in Quanta revenue of NT$24-30 billion (US$827.5 million-US$1 billion at US$1: NT$29) and boost its earnings this year alone. They said Amazon.com purposely contracts Quanta instead of Foxconn Electronics Inc. because Apple Inc. has signed up the No.1 contract electronics manufacturer to assemble its iPad and iPhone.
Industry executives estimated Amazon.com`s tablets would be more attractive than Motorola`s Xoom and Samsung`s Galaxy for their lower prices.
Update: Why Amazon Will Enter the Overcrowded Tablet Market [May 23, 2011]
In a recent interview with Consumer Reports, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos was asked if Amazon would make a tablet. He coyly responded with the comment “stay tuned” but gave no other specific details about a product of this nature. He basically confirmed, however, that something like this was in the works. He also pointed out that if Amazon made a tablet device, the reading experience would be at the center of its design.
My sources in Taipei say that the actual product is set to debut in time for the holidays and that the device will use a display similar to the one in the Nook and the Galaxy Tab. They also tell me that the original RFQ wanted a screen that could switch between an easy-to-read black and white E Ink-like display and a color LCD, but that this type of screen, which is already in the works by at least two vendors, will not be ready for the market until at least 2012 or early 2013. So Amazon was forced to use a 10-inch screen that was available now, which is LCD-based. It will also reportedly have a 7-inch model. And I am hearing it will sport a new version of Nvidia’s Tegra quad-core chip and will be using Android as its OS.
E Ink April revenues down sequentially [May 9, 2011] (emphasis is mine)
Taiwan-based electrophoretic display (EPD) maker E Ink Holdings saw April consolidated revenues of NT$2.465 billion (US$84 million) decreasing 26.59% on month but increase 45.41% on year. January-April revenues of NT$12.551 billion rose 87.11% on year, according to the company.
The sequential drop was because Hydis Technologies, its subsidiary in South Korea, delayed shipments of FFS panels to the third quarter of 2011, E Ink indicated.
So manufacturing capability seems to be under significant overhaul to prepare for the H2 CY11 en masse delivery (higher yield) of FFS panels and/or higher quality versions (see below ex. AFFS V, AFFS+).
CPT develops FFS panel and aims to cooperate with E Ink [Jan 21, 2011] (emphasis is mine)
Chunghwa Picture Tubes (CPT) has started development of FFS (Fringe Field Switching) panels and expects to cooperate with E Ink Holding (EIH) and support EIH’s Korea-based subsidiary Hydis’ production capacity to fulfill demand.
Panel makers noted that IPS and FFS panels are not easy to produce, hence CPT will not be able to start mass production immediately. Furthermore, capacity for wide viewing angle panels such as IPS is limited, and panel makers will need some learning time before going into mass production.
E Ink`s Subsidiary Hydis Wins Big Order from International Customer [August 16, 2010]
Hydis has ramped up production of FFS products to 75% and lowered that of e-paper products to 25%, compared to 50:50 before.
LG Display Inks E-Paper Deal [Dec 29, 2009] (emphasis is mine)
The agreement will allow LG Display to tap Hydis’ fringe-field switching technology, which enables liquid crystal displays to be viewed under sunlight and improves their viewing angle.
In return, LG Display will provide consulting to Hydis on production efficiency and quality. Both companies will also work together to source for materials.
Apple’s iPhone 4: Thoroughly Reviewed [June 30, 2010] (emphasis is mine)
The display panel itself uses a subset of IPS (In Plane Switching) display technology called Fringe Field Switching (FFS). Where IPS switches the crystal polarization in the plane of the display with two opposing electrical substrates composed of semi opaque metals (which decreases transmission and viewing angles), FFS uses considerably less metal by arranging the electrodes in a comb [fésű] like structure.
The result is that there’s considerably less metal in back and in front of the pixel, resulting in much higher transmission of light through the display, and higher brightness for a given backlight level. Using FFS to drive pixel switching is critical here because of the high dot pitch in the iPhone 4’s display.
… IPS (In Plane Switching) was introduced to try and improve on some of the drawbacks of TN Film. It was developed by Hitachi and was dubbed “super TFT”. They improved on viewing angles up to about 170H. This was done by controlling liquid crystal alignment slightly differently, but unfortunately, can affect response rate of the pixels. As such they are not as good for gaming as TN panels. IPS panels were later developed into Super-IPS (S-IPS) panels by their main manufaturer now, LG.Display (formerly LG.Philips). Production costs were lowered which has meant they have become more widely used. S-IPS offer perhaps the most accurate colour reproduction available in the TFT panel market, and the widest viewing angles as well. They are also free of the off-centre contrast shift which is evident on VA matrices, and as such are commonly the choice of graphics and colour professional displays. Response times were traditionally behind those of TN Film and VA panel variants, but modern IPS panels using response time compensation (RTC) including the new generation of Horizontal IPS (H-IPS),Enhanced S-IPS and Advanced Super IPS (AS-IPS) panels can offer responsiveness to rival both. For more information, see our detailed panel technologies guide.
Hydis website: Greater Outdoor Readability ¦ Tablet Applications
The AFFS technology applied in VIEWIZ tablet applications ensures perfect readability in any environment, even under bright sunlight, and allows you to enjoy the entertainment longer with low power consumption, high brightness, and a fast response time. AFFS’ outdoor readability is significantly improved through lowering the reflectance level of the panel surface. (<1% at white and <0.5% at black)
Hydis website: Low Power Consumption ¦ Mobile Applications
For portable applications, the lower the amount of power needed; the better. Commonly mobile LCD manufacturers must sacrifice transmittance for cost-effectiveness, or reduce the viewing angle to lower power consumption. However, due to its effectiveness in transmittance technology, AFFS manages to reduce power consumption by 30 percent than that of TN for mobile phone applications without sacrificing any of the visible benefits.
More AFFS information from the Hydis website: AFFS Technology, AFFS Progression, AFFS Concept, Technological Benefits, Sunlight Visibility ¦ Mobile Applications, Fast Response Time ¦ Tablet Applications, Scratch Prevention ¦ Tablet Applications, Low Power Consumption ¦ Notebook Applications, Increased Color Reproduction ¦ Notebook Applications, Increased Transmittance ¦ Notebook Applications, AFFS+: True Evolutionary Progress, AFFS+ Concept: True Mobile Lifestyle Technology, Technological Benefits: True Viewing Pleasure
Motion Computing F5 [review] — Superior display technology [Sept 15, 2009]
While the original Hydis AFFS was not an outdoor display, AFFS+ adds reflective areas to what is essentially a transmissive design, and also adds special polarizers and cell design optimized to reduce surface reflectance. As a result, AFFS+ screens are bright and vibrant indoors while being amazingly vibrant and readable outdoors, combining the best of both worlds better than any of the older transflective displays can.
One problem we faced when reviewing this latest version of the Motion F5 was that the original was already so good. The Hydis AFFS display with Motion’s View Anywhere technology on our “old” F5 was already excellent, and so the difference between it and the latest AFFS+ with all the trimmings was not as large as it would have been comparing the new F5 with a standard display.
That said, below are some comparison shots. The first picture shows the new (black housing) and the older F5 (gray housing) side by side outdoors, facing away from the sun. The first thing you notice is that, at full brightness, the new display is considerably brighter. That can make a difference in readability.
Motion Computing J3500 [review] — Fantastic display [June 22, 2010]
The LCD in the J3500 uses AFFS+, an evolutionary advance to AFFS that lowers power consumption and increases outdoor readability. It has a resolution of 1280 x 800 pixel and uses an LED backlight. Brightness is about 320 nits, but thanks to the AFFS+ technology you’d swear it was a lot more than that. Since the display essentially uses transmissive technology with certain transflective features, the screen is bright and crisp indoors while being amazingly vibrant and readable outdoors.
In everyday use, the J3500 display’s outdoor performance is excellent. The perfect viewing angle from all directions means you never have to tilt and angle the tablet to see what’s on the screen. The display itself excels in eliminating unwanted reflection or diffusion. Where other displays appear matte or milky or are overcome with reflections, the J3500’s stays perfectly readable. In head-on, direct sunlight the display is still readable, here thanks to the inner reflectance of the Hydis LCD.
How does it all work? Hydis claims that the reflective polarizer used in AFFS+ displays lowers surface reflectance and minimizes screen scattering. They claim a screen reflectance of under 0.3% (and here I assume the value supplied by Hydis means total reflectance of all surfaces). Given that the effective contrast ratio of an LCD used outdoors is computed as 1 + (emitted light / reflected light) and that average sunlight is about 10,000 nits, the J3500 screen has an effective contrast ratio of 1 + (320 / >.003 x 10,000) = 1 + >10.66 = >11.66. On our scale that means “definitely readable in sunlight” and subjective viewing tests confirm that.
Gartner has already indicated Amazon’s Android/tablet strategy 6 weeks ago: Curated App Stores, Security, And Why The Next Kindle Will Be An Android Device [March 23, 2011] (emphasis is mine)
There has been some serious rhetoric against Apple’s “walled garden” approach in recent months but, like it or not from a philosophical standpoint, it certainly provides more protection for users than the Android Market.
… from the point of view of the user – particularly the non-computer savvy user – all of this just works. Couple of clicks to search for your app. One click to purchase, download and install. And – most important of all – Trojan-free once it arrives. Curated app stores are essential to the well-being of the ecosystem.
Google needs to emulate that experience with its Market, though its very credo seems to suggest that will never happen. Yet without it the store will descend into anarchy, with users scared to purchase for fear of what new and terrible piece of malware they might be introducing to their phone or tablet.
So along comes Amazon from nowhere, and in one fell swoop it might have beaten Google at its own game. Amazon has the position of trust. It has the customer review infrastructure in place. It already has our credit card details (who hasn’t bought anything from Amazon?) And now it has an Android Appstore (TM) to go with it. Now all it has to do is make sure that the stuff it sells is safe.
It has promised to do that, by applying both quality control and security vetting to the app review process. So why wouldn’t you buy from there rather than the Google Android Market? Well, I would – I already have. But my Auntie Edna probably wouldn’t. It is way more difficult than the Apple process, and right now requires a multi-step process just to get the Appstore app on your phone. It is not that difficult, but it is certainly a sub-optimal user experience compared with the “It Just Works” approach of Apple.
So what needs to happen for the Amazon Appstore (TM) to succeed? Simple – it needs to arrive pre-installed on Android devices. Lots of them.And while I am sure Amazon is probably in discussions with a bunch of carriers to achieve that objective, what better way to make sure it happens than to ship it in huge numbers on Amazon’s very own Android tablet – The Kindle IV?
Give us that great Kindle experience with Android flexibility at a super-low price point, and you might just have your iPad-killer… I certainly haven’t seen one among the devices announced so far.
Introducing Amazon Appstore for Android [Amazon press release, March 22, 2011] (emphasis is mine)
Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) today announced the launch of the Amazon Appstore for Android at www.amazon.com/appstore. Customers can now find, discover – test! – and buy Android apps using the convenient shopping experience that Amazon customers know and love. An innovative new feature called “Test Drive” will enable customers to test apps on a simulated Android phone. Customers control the app through their computer using a mouse.
“Test Drive lets customers truly experience an app before they commit to buying. It is a unique, new way to shop for apps,” says Paul Ryder, vice president of electronics for Amazon.com. “Our customers have told us that the sheer number of apps available can make it hard to find apps that are high quality and relevant to them. We’ve spent years developing innovative features that help customers discover relevant products. By applying these features – plus new ones like Test Drive – we’re aiming to give customers a refreshing app shopping experience.”
In addition, the highly anticipated Angry Birds Rio for Android debuts today, exclusively in the Amazon Appstore. For a limited time, customers have the opportunity to download it for free. In fact, the Amazon Appstore will offer customers a paid app for free every day.
Customers can shop in the Amazon Appstore from any computer using a Web browser. They can also access the Amazon Appstore directly on their Android phones or tablets, once they’ve installed the Amazon Appstore application. When customers purchase an Android app from the Amazon Appstore they can use the app on any of their Android devices.
The Amazon Appstore will include popular Amazon features like personalized recommendations, customer reviews, and 1-Click payment options. There will also be detailed product descriptions, including screenshots and video content that shows apps in action. In order to ensure customers have the best possible experience with the apps they purchase, all apps are Amazon-tested before they’re made available in the Amazon Appstore.
For the first time ever on the Android platform, ad-free versions of Angry Birds and Angry Birds Seasons will launch today exclusively in the Amazon Appstore. The Amazon Appstore also features a selection of bestselling and new apps from top developers, including Pac-Man, Doodle Jump Deluxe, Evernote, WeatherBug Elite, Zagat to Go, TweetCaster Pro and more.
“The Android platform’s openness provides a great opportunity to reach new customers,” said Mikael Hed, CEO of Rovio, the maker of Angry Birds. “We are thrilled to offer the Angry Birds suite of Android games using the easy and trusted shopping experience that Amazon is known for.”
Developed in conjunction with Twentieth Century Fox, Angry Birds Rio features the animated stars of the studio’s upcoming motion picture, RIO, debuting in theaters worldwide on April 15. Angry Birds Rio will launch with 60 dedicated levels, with more content to follow via app updates.
Visit www.amazon.com/appstore today to get Angry Birds Rio for free and browse thousands of apps at great prices.
Note: all apps are Amazon-tested before they’re made available in the Amazon Appstore
Amazon Introduces New Kindle Family Member: Kindle with Special Offers for $114 [Amazon press release, April 11, 2011]
Millions of people are reading on Kindle, Kindle has more 5-star reviews than any other product on Amazon, and in just five months the latest-generation Kindle became the bestselling product in the 16-year history of Amazon.com. Today, Amazon introduced a new member of the Kindle family – Kindle with Special Offers for only $114. Kindle with Special Offers is the same #1 bestselling Kindle, plus special offers and sponsored screensavers. Kindle special offers and sponsored screensavers display on the Kindle screensaver and on the bottom of the home screen. Learn more about all three latest-generation Kindle family members–$114 Kindle with Special Offers, $139 Kindle, and $189 Kindle 3G–at www.amazon.com/kindle. Kindle with Special Offers is now available for pre-order to customers in the U.S. and will ship on May 3.
“We’re working hard to make sure that anyone who wants a Kindle can afford one,” said Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com Founder and CEO. “Kindle with Special Offers is the same #1 bestselling Kindle – and it’s only $114. Kindle is the best deal in consumer electronics anywhere in the world.”
Buick, Olay (Procter & Gamble), Visa, and Amazon.com Reward Visa Card (Chase) are sponsoring the first series of screensavers specially-designed for Kindle’s high-contrast, no glare electronic ink display (for screensaver examples, visit www.amazon.com/aboutkindlespecialoffers). Examples of deals that will be delivered directly to Kindle with Special Offers devices in the initial weeks include:
- $10 for $20 Amazon.com Gift Card
- $6 for 6 Audible Books (normally $68)
- $1 for an album in the Amazon MP3 Store (choose from over 1 million albums)
- $10 for $30 of products in the Amazon Denim Shop or Amazon Swim Shop
- Free $100 Amazon.com Gift Card when you get an Amazon Rewards Visa Card (normally $30)
- Buy one of 30 Kindle bestsellers with your Visa card and get $10 Amazon.com credit
- 50% off Roku Streaming Player (normally $99)
To make sure customers don’t miss any of the offers, a full list of active offers will be available from the menu of Kindle with Special Offers at any time.
Amazon is also introducing “AdMash” – the free Kindle app and website where customers choose the most attractive and engaging display advertisements that will become Kindle sponsored screensavers. Kindle’s sponsored screensavers are specially-designed display advertisements that take advantage of Kindle’s high-contrast, no-glare electronic-ink display. Before these advertisements can be presented to Kindle customers, they are first previewed by customers using AdMash. Users are presented with pairs of sponsored screensaver candidates and asked to select which one they prefer. Screensavers with the most preferred votes qualify to become sponsored screensavers. The AdMash Kindle app will launch in the coming weeks – for a preview, visit www.amazon.com/aboutkindlespecialoffers.
In addition, Kindle with Special Offers customers can give Amazon hints on the style and types of sponsored screensavers they would like to see. From the Manage Your Kindle page on Amazon.com, customers can use Kindle Screensaver Preferences to indicate whether they like to see more or less screensavers that include elements such as landscapes and scenery, architecture, travel images, photography, and illustrations. Together, AdMash voting and Kindle Screensaver Preferences help Amazon present sponsored screensavers that customers find attractive and engaging. For screenshots of Kindle screensavers, AdMash and Kindle Screensaver Preferences, visit www.amazon.com/aboutkindlespecialoffers.
“The opportunity to offer custom-designed Kindle screensavers was a natural fit for Buick because Kindle is such a unique device surrounded by a community of intelligent, passionate people,” said Craig Bierley, Director of Advertising and Promotions, Buick. “Kindle’s high contrast e-ink display eliminates glare and is perfect for emotionally engaging and impactful brand imagery, allowing us to connect with Kindle readers wherever and whenever.”
Kindle with Special Offers includes all the same features that helped make the third-generation Kindle the #1 bestselling product in the history of Amazon.com:
- Paper-like Pearl electronic-ink display, no glare even in bright sunlight
- 8.5 ounce body for hours of comfortable reading with one hand
- Up to one month of battery life with wireless off eliminates battery anxiety
- Kindle Store with over 900,000 books – largest selection of the most popular books
- Seamless integration with free “Buy Once, Read Everywhere” Kindle apps for iPad, iPod touch, iPhone, PC, Mac, BlackBerry, Windows Phone and Android-based devices
Learn more about all three latest-generation Kindle family members–$114 Kindle with Special Offers, $139 Kindle, and $189 Kindle 3G–at www.amazon.com/kindle. Advertisers and agencies interested in learning more about Kindle sponsorship opportunities can contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Amazon to Sell the Kindle Reader at a Lower Price, but With Advertising Added [The New York Times, April 11, 2011] (emphasis is mine)
The newest Kindle is $114. Amazon will sell its e-book reader at the lower price by showing ads as screen savers and at the bottom of the home screen, and by selling special offers, similar to Groupon and other daily deal sites.
The ads are the latest step in Amazon’s transition from e-commerce retailer to full-fledged digital media company. By selling ads that will show up next to digital content, Amazon is laying further groundwork that could enable it to someday sell tablet computers that would compete with Apple and Google Android tablets.
The ads and offers appear to be another significant step toward Amazon building its own tablet and competing more directly with the iPad, said James L. McQuivey, an analyst at Forrester Research who studies digital media and consumer electronics. Amazon opened an Android app store last month and has been hiring Android software developers.
An Amazon tablet could tie together the seemingly disparate parts of the company’s business, Mr. McQuivey said, including e-commerce, e-books, video and audio.
“I can so easily see them selling a tablet in the future at a dramatically reduced price,” he said. “To me, this is a way for them to test that out and to start talking to advertisers.”
Details [as of May 3, 2011]New, Lower Price
Get the same bestselling Kindle for $25 less—only $114.Special Offers & Sponsored Screensavers
Receive special offers directly on your Kindle. Examples include:
- $10 for $20 Amazon.com Gift Card
- $6 for 6 Audible Books (normally $68)
- $1 for an album in the Amazon MP3 Store (choose from over 1 million albums)
- $10 for $30 of products in the Amazon Denim Shop or Amazon Swim Shop
Special offers and sponsored screensavers display on the Kindle screensaver and on the bottom of the home screen—they don’t interrupt reading.
Kindle for Android Now Tailored for Tablet Computers [Amazon press release, April 21, 2011] (emphasis is mine)
Today, Amazon announced an update to Kindle for Android that brings new features and adds support for tablet computers running Android’s Honeycomb, including the Motorola Xoom. The latest version of Kindle for Android includes an integrated immersive shopping experience tailored for tablets, a new layout for newspapers and magazines designed for the unique interface of Honeycomb, and dozens of other new enhancements that take advantage of the larger screens. Like all Kindle apps, Kindle for Android includes Amazon’s Whispersync technology, which saves and synchronizes a customer’s books and bookmarks across their Kindle, iPad, iPod touch, iPhone, Mac, PC, BlackBerry, Windows Phone and Android-based phones and tablets. Customers can learn more about Kindle for Android at www.amazon.com/kindleforandroid and download the app from the Amazon Appstore for Android or Android Market.
“We’ve taken all the features customers love about Kindle for Android, and created a beautiful new user interface and a seamless shopping experience tailored to the look and feel of Honeycomb tablets,” said Dorothy Nicholls, Director, Amazon Kindle. “As always, Kindle customers ‘Buy Once, Read Everywhere,’ so Kindle for Android is the perfect companion for the millions of customers who own a Kindle and a way for customers around the world to download and enjoy books on their Android phone or tablet even if they don’t yet own a Kindle.”
New features of Kindle for Android include:
- Seamless integrated shopping experience tailored for tablets gives you quick access to personalized recommendations, customer reviews, and more
- Refined newspaper and magazine layout including full color images
- Ability to pause, resume download at any time
- Enhanced word look-up capability (for Android-based phones and tablets) with built-in dictionary with over 250,000 entries and definitions.
The Kindle Store offers the largest selection of books people want to read, including 110 of 111 New York Times Bestsellers and New Releases from $9.99. Millions of older, out-of-copyright, pre-1923 books are also available to read. Kindle for Android offers customers many features that are unique to the Kindle and Kindle App experience, including:
- “Buy Once, Read Everywhere” – sync and read your books, last page read, bookmarks, notes and highlights across Kindle devices and the most popular devices and platforms
- Worry-Free Archive – Amazon automatically backs up your books and highlights online in your Kindle library where they can be re-downloaded wirelessly anytime on any Kindle device or app
- Unparalleled shopping experience – Get all of the features you love about shopping on Amazon.com, including customer reviews, personalized recommendations, and instant 1-click buying using your Amazon account information
For over two years, Amazon has been building and introducing a wide selection of free “Buy Once, Read Everywhere” Kindle apps for iPad, iPod touch, iPhone, Mac, PC, BlackBerry, Windows Phone and Android-based devices that let customers read and sync their reading library, bookmarks, notes, and highlights with the device or platform of their choice. Learn more about Kindle apps at www.amazon.com/kindleapps. Customers can download Kindle for Android from the Amazon Appstore for Android or Android Market.