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800px-Courtbeans_Kindle_FireVery close now, so few shopping days left….

A few words to read about the Amazon masterpiece, the Kindle and its impact on this season and others.

It is reckoned that of the nearly 1.5 million e-readers gifted last Christmas, 92% were Kindles. One in every 40 adults had one.

Certainly Amazon are hoping that they can pull that off again, and to be sure now have out a newish product, the Kindle Fire which is all-singing, all-dancing and starting at £129 certainly looks set to take on Apple’s iPad, which retails around £330.

Come on Baby, Light My Fire

Surf the web, stream and watch movies, TV shows and songs on the 7-inch LCD colour screen, send emails as well as read a book, the new Kindle enables on a broad front. Despite 8GB of storage, users can access unlimited cloud storage for everything bought from Amazon.

You can check out data supplied by IMBd on actors, directors, histories, sets, costumes, writers and links as you watch films. The Whispersync for Voice allows switching between reading and audio versions of the same book to take account of where you are, move and then move again.

Equally, you can read and listen to the same book, which allegedly aids concentration.

The HD version carries virtual stereo sound, a built-in camera and packs 16GB storage and trades at £159. Without wishing or intending to sound like an Amazon advert, it is all very impressive.

Any downsides? Well, the colour screen is harder to read in bright sunlight than the original Kindle, but you can read in darker conditions well.

For those who loathe and detest being assaulted by endless adverts, in the US customers can pay $15 to turn off advertising screensavers. In the UK £10 will opt you out of screensavers screaming ‘special offers’.

Any rivals coming up? Well, already you can wait for the Apple Mini or grab Microsoft’s Surface or Google’s Nexus 7 tablet. Permutations of the Kindle Fire are coming along – the thinner Paperwhite, 4G compatible versions and the 8.9 inch Fire screen.

First in the Race Always a Head-start

As Apple has proved over the years with their pioneering devices from the Macintosh computer to the iPhone and the iPad, first in gets maximum exposure in the market-place. Amazon pulled that one off with the Kindle.

Their battle to sustain it has been helped by a call from Anthony Horowitz, who wrote the Alex Rider children’s series, for the government to use fines levied on British banks to give every school child a Kindle!

He said it’s to ‘encourage reading amid fears that they will never discover the pleasure of a good book otherwise’. It was one of 57 ideas that he put to the Department of Education as reading is ‘an essential part of learning’.

Few could argue with his aims. Reading is vital. But the suggestion of a free Kindle for all implies that today’s tech-savvy youngsters can ONLY tackle reading if on some electronic device. The gift of a real paper book could achieve the same purpose.

Then it would repeat the kind of scheme that World Book Day did a few years ago – make a real book affordable to youngsters at least once every year. Plus, has Horowitz heard that many schools have cupboards stuffed with unused techno-gizmos for one or more of the following reasons:

  • teachers don’t know how to use them
  • schools can’t afford their upkeep
  • schools went with the crowd pressure to buy them, but didn’t want them

Still, it gets Anthony Horowitz in the news and should shift a few more of his own works, in paper or screen versions, and that’s no bad thing, surely?

Don’t miss:

Amazon Delivers Jobs, New Technology and Efficiency Besides Parcels, 11 December 2012

Amazon Is Not Yet Quite the Biggest Beast in Retail Jungle, 10 December 2012

It’s the Season to Give Away Lots of Valuable Personal Data, 5 December 2012

Hidden Charges Are the Sting in the Tail of Online Shopping, 4 December 2012

Image: Courtney Boyd Myers
Will 1 in 40 adults get a Kindle Fire for Christmas?