Tag Archive | Latin America

Amazon’s 7-inch Tablet Wonder


All the tablet pundits predict that tomorrow Amazon will formally announce their 7-inch Android tablet which is rumored to be called the Kindle Fire. The predicted price is $250.00 and the machine will be geared towards surfing the net but mostly for buying more stuff from Amazon and streaming Amazon’s movie content but only in the US as Amazon is not permitted to stream to folks in this part of the world. Amazon Prime members in the US are currently able to stream many movies at no extra cost but Prime member outside the US will just have to suffer without any extra benefit for the same price. The Amazon device most likely will not have the E ink screen, but a color touch screen like any other tablet. The 7-inch tablet is supposedly designed to be addictive and cause people to be more tied to Amazon than they already are.  It is expected there will be a huge rush to buy this tablet as the mindless gift-buying for those special someones season approaches. On a related issue, Netflix is now allowed to stream to the Caribbean and Latin America but if you are a typical movie and TV series viewer from Trinidad and Tobago, you will find half of Netflix’s content is in Spanish with no English option. The other half is mostly garbage. However you can sign up to Netflix for the first month free and see if you have to stamina to weed through the garbage to find the odd gem.

I noticed only today there was a sudden price drop at Amazon of the Samsung Galaxy 7-inch, 16 GB, Wi-Fi tablet  from $350 to $300, indicating a tablet price war may be looming as tablet makers come to terms with another potential Amazon bulldozer. Hooray for the strong-minded consumer who is strong enough to survive outside the Amazon box.  I am not very sure how useful a 7-inch tablet will be in becoming a person’s soul mate but I think a 10-inch device will perform much better than a 7-inch one despite  being more expensive and  a shorter battery life. Good things will come to those who wait for the early-adopters bugs to be ironed out.

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The Kindle in Trinidad and Tobago – The Nook, The Bad and The Ugly


I held and cuddled a Kindle in the palms of my hands on more than a few occasions and it made no emotional connection like the paper book it was designed to replace. The Kindle is supposed to be an alternative and an improvement to the paper book but I am not sure if people who are addicted to the mysteries and smells of books and bookshelves will appreciate Amazon’s creation.  I think one of the problems Amazon is trying to solve with the Kindle is not only how to make books more accessible but how to make more money by turning a want into a need. What you can’t do as easily with a Kindle compared to a real book is sniff the paper, ruffle the pages, put dog-ears on them or enjoy the thrill of breaking down a friend’s door to retrieve your long overdue book. I am not sure how resilient a Kindle is to the spilling of rum and Coke or withstanding a leaking chicken roti but most real books survive these everyday occurrences if acted on promptly. If these spills happen to a Kindle it might have to be returned to its makers for evaluation, deodorizing and a hefty repair bill. I would hate to think I can’t read any of my favorite books because the curry went out of control.

The Kindle is affordable to those who can easily afford to blow TT$320 at Movietowne twice a month. For those who can’t see or read too well, the Kindle can read to you in a voice reserved for curing bouts of insomnia. It is easy to read a book on a Kindle and the adults of tomorrow will wonder how people ever read a paper book without audio.  The Kindle is now US$189 down from US$259. Only yesterday on Amazon’s recently acquired popular online store, Woot, the Kindle was being sold for US$149 but those sold out in record time.

A common message in Trinidad and Tobago

The Kindle will work in Trinidad and Tobago as Amazon has negotiated worldwide roaming data charges with cell providers.  In Trinidad and Tobago we do not have the fast 3G networks like some parts of the US and Colombia which means we will have to settle for our books being delivered at not significantly slower times using GPRS/EDGE. What customers and potential Kindle customers in Trinidad and Tobago must also note is that not every Kindle book that is available to US customers will be available to us. Many new bestsellers will not be available and we in the backward Third World may have to wait months or forever to have these books on Kindle. Of the top ten bestselling Kindle titles today, only one is available in our region. Don’t blame Amazon for this but blame the wicked and greedy book publishing and distribution mafia. Also blame yourself for being a Third World citizen. Don’t panic too much as Amazon has made 417,446 Kindle books available to the Caribbean and Latin America. But when you consider US customers can buy around 620,000 books,  you feel you are being discriminated against.  A few newspapers are also available for subscription via kindle like the Shanghai Daily in English at US$9.99 a month and Brazil’s Jornal de Santa Catarina in Portuguese at US$11.99 a month.

There is one very serious issue which makes the Kindle unattractive to US residents and ugly to people not living in the US – the new Kindle has to be shipped back to Amazon to have the battery replaced.  The battery may last years but that is a hope and a guess. I can’t recall ever having to return a real book to Amazon or even RIK to so that I can read it. One other issue with the Kindle in Trinidad and Tobago and most countries outside of the US is that web browsing is blocked probably because of the high roaming data charges, so blogs are obviously not supported via the Kindle in our region. If the Kindle had Wi-Fi, web browsing may have been possible outside the US.

As far as the international market is concerned, Amazon has nearly all of the portable ebook market. Their major competitors in the US is the Nook from Barnes and Noble which is still a US-only device.  The Nook has nice features that are not present in the Kindle such as a colour LCD touch-screen, SD memory expansion, and Wi-Fi. Despite the Nook having Wi-Fi for downloads of books, any attempt to buy books using a foreign IP address or non-US issued credit card will be blocked. We are not a global society as some like to boast and people in the Third World should always know their lesser place. You can also get Kindle books on your iPad, iPhone, PC or laptop but the Kindle is pencil thin and easier and cheaper than an iPad to fall asleep with. Kindle for Google Android phones are supported in many countries but not as yet in Trinidad and Tobago. Kindle for Blackberry is not supported for customers outside the US, including illegal US immigrants who don’t have a US credit card account.

30 million dollar bikini

I doubt I will be getting a Kindle soon since the Kindle doesn’t solve any problems I have or satisfy any cravings except the need to show off. The Kindle is however a good device to travel with since airlines are now charging extra for every ounce of overweight luggage and bookshelves.

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