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On this blog we will track down the latest Amazon Kindle news. We will keep you up to date with whats hot in the bestsellers section, including books, ebooks and blogs... and we will also bring you great Kindle3 tips and tricks along with reviews for the latest KindleDX accessories.

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October 2016
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Kindle Fire Games Publisher Sells 1 Million Downloads In 3 Months

While it may not precisely stack up against Apple’s recent announcement of their 25 Billionth App download, Amazon’s App Store has a new success story in the form of Kindle Fire game publisher G5 Entertainment.  They have recently announced their millionth download for Amazon’s new table in a report that also listed the company’s total downloads over the length of their business at over 40 million.  G5 develops and publishes a fairly large selection of casual game selections for mobile platforms and PCs including both Android and iOS, and since the holiday season of 2011 has seen notable success in their releases specifically for the Kindle Fire.  The same release from the company notes that six to eight of their first twelve releases are constantly present in the Amazon Appstore’s Top 100 Paid Games.

We have had indications from some analysts for a while now that despite the added complications for app developers when dealing with Amazon’s guidelines and review process, apps sold through the company’s store are likely to make significantly more money than even in the general Android Marketplace.  Considering other analyses regarding the Kindle Fire user’s likely spending habits across the life of their device, it makes sense to specifically target this portion of Amazon’s user base in an effort to efficiently appeal to the most profitable audience.  If nothing else, the evidence of success in this case would seem to justify the approach.

While the Kindle Fire is not primarily a gaming console in the way Nintendo and Sony’s portable video game systems are, there are a number of popular casual game genres that are easily adapted to the low power touchscreen device.  In the case of G5, many will likely be familiar with their Hidden Object, Puzzle, or Time Management game.  Their titles tend to favor an addictive but quick format that allows the user to step away as needed with no trouble and pick up again in a free moment without confusion.  Perfect for the casual time waster, which fits the Kindle Fire’s status as a media consumption catch-all.

It should be noted that at least one of G5′s games was released as an Amazon Free App of The Day.  While companies do not get reimbursed for these offerings, they often make an appealing option for publicity when properly exploited by the developer.  This was an especially good move for once, since it allowed for the inclusion of the G5 Games Navigator as a portal for every customer to download the game.  While it clearly opened the door to tens of thousands of downloads that did not directly earn the company any money, many of these were also from users that may not have taken an interest otherwise and who are now presented with suggested purchases in a move reminiscent of Amazon’s own sales methods.

The Kindle Fire is going to be a big deal for some time to come, despite any potential competition arising in the near future.  It is a big market for Amazon to tap and they are unlikely to let it slide away.  News like this just helps to confirm for developers that there might be something to their product specifically besides as just another budget Android tablet.  As we learn more about the next generation of Kindle Fire, chances are good that it will only get more distinct from the competition and hopefully this is a sign that it can be even more profitable in some cases.

Kindle Fire Apps: Game Recommendations

Tablet PCs are neat devices and the Kindle Fire is no exception.  While they’re great for watching videos on, and even pretty good for reading and listening to music in a pinch, I’ve not found games to be all that functional before now.  Maybe it was just the fact that my iPad is a bit too large and heavy for comfort, but anything more complex than Angry Birds gets old pretty quick.  In this respect, the smaller form of the Fire makes a huge difference.  It’s been a lot of fun to play with the past couple weeks, so I thought I would share some of my new favorites.

Plants vs. Zombies (Kindle Fire Edition)

Plant flowers quickly and strategically in order to protect your house from a zombie invasion.  You get a variety of stages, loads of seeds, and hordes of zombies who just can’t wait to pick your brain for a minute or two.

I’m sure this one doesn’t surprise many people.  It’s available on pretty much every platform in existence, yet it always manages to impress.  The Kindle Fire edition is particularly well done, in my opinion, and will provide hours of fun to new players and old fans alike.

Dabble HD

A while back I picked this one up for the heck of it when Amazon offered it up as a daily freebie.  Word games are neat and it looked essentially like a Boggle clone, so why not?  It turned out to be incredibly addictive.

You are given five rows of what are basically Scrabble tiles, each row slightly larger than the one above it (ranging from 2-6 letters from top to bottom).  From these, the goal is to use all your letters.  Rather than simply finding all possible combinations, you need to find the one combination that will allow all lines to be filled.  There are elements of strategy that enter into it, particularly if you’re having a very good game and can be picky about which row gets your highest scoring tiles, but even when you can’t figure out that last piece in the puzzle it is hard to put down.

Quell

Quite possibly the most highly rated game in the Amazon Appstore at the time of my writing this.  It’s a fun little puzzle game that’s so simple to learn how to play that you almost don’t realize how complex it can become.

The controls are simple, and the concept is likely to be familiar.  You swipe in the direction that you want to go and then move in a straight line until you hit a wall.  The idea is to achieve the highest possible efficiency while achieving your goals.  Definitely not as flashy or fast paced as many other options you’ll find in the store, but sometimes a simple, elegant option will be more appealing.  Supposedly a sequel is right on the horizon as well, just in case the 80 or so boards you have to solve in this version don’t do enough for you.

 

Kindle Meets Video Games: Ambitious Fan Makes Skyrim Book Compilation

When it comes to video games, Bethesda’s The Elder Scrolls franchise is a giant and the latest installment, Skyrim, received an almost ridiculous amount of attention in the months leading up to its release.  It’s one of the largest, most ambitious developments in the genre so far and the depth of the game world is such that you’re faced with around 16 square miles of highly detailed world space packed with interactive content.  Now, fans can take some of that to go on your Kindle thanks to a big fan who took the time to reformat some of the in-game text for eReaders.

In various places throughout Skyrim players are likely to come across books.  Some are obvious, others might require some fairly extreme efforts to get to.  Regardless of their “physical” situation, they serve to enrich the game world by offering interesting bits of history and culture built up across thousands of simulated years.  The writing is surprisingly good, if predictably cliched for the most part.  When put together they make up a huge collection of relatively short stories and articles.

The eBook that Skyrim fan Capaneus put together contains literally every bit of book text in the game.  It seems that upon inspection it was discovered that the entirety was contained in unencrypted text files that were somewhat easily broken down and arranged. As a result, interested readers can now check it all out on their eReader of choice.  There is even a table of contents to make it simple to find whichever piece of literature might be particularly interesting to you at the moment.

The whole file is just over a megabyte worth of text, amounting to slightly less than 2,000 page turns on my usual reading settings.  Your own may differ, of course.  It has been made available both in EPUB and Mobi, so practically any modern eReader, phone, computer, etc. should be able to display it without trouble.  While it is entirely possible that the legality of this distribution is questionable, given that it is game data that might be picked up by people who don’t own the rights to use the game, real problems seem unlikely.

This is, when it comes right down to it, exactly the sort of added value content that many media distributors would kill for.  Owners of the Kindle w/ Special Offers might recall an ABC offer back in October that allowed users to pick up a free copy of the script to one of their new pilot episodes.  This is essentially the same idea.  While I consider it unlikely that this will set the trend for future use of eReaders as venues for promotional material built along these lines, it’s also hardly the first time that fans have found ways to bring content to the Kindle in unexpected ways.

Should the Kindle Fire take off in the long run, of course, things may be very different.  Allowing a TV network or publishing company to throw up additional content for limited periods of time via an app might just make it worth the effort in a way that is not currently the case.  Time will tell, but either way we can see the importance of Kindles as advertising avenues increasing.

To get a copy for yourself, head over to http://capane.us/2011/11/24/dovahkiin-gutenberg/

Thoughts on the Latest Kindle Releases

I want to add my two cents here on the newest upgrade on the Kindle product line.  I am excited about the much anticipated Kindle Fire, the Kindle Touch, and the fact that the prices have taken a huge nose dive over the past two years.  Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) has done a great job of addressing competition and listening to what its customers want.

It is hard to believe that in December of 2009, I got my Kindle 2 for $259.  Now the cheapest Kindle is a very affordable $79.  It is overwhelming to observe how quickly the competition has ramped up and caused such a dramatic drop in prices.

The Kindle is very much a reading device to me.  I curl up on the couch with it and treat it as I would any old book. I don’t want it to serve as a computer.  I have my own PC and iPad for that.  So, I have been eagerly awaiting to release of the touchscreen version of the Kindle in November.  I look forward to quietly turning pages with my fingers instead of the click of the page turner buttons.  The e-ink display has improved dramatically over the past two years to become much crisper, clearer, and easier on the eyes.  All of these factors create a pleasant reading experience.

I think deciding on whether you want a Kindle Fire, Kindle Touch, or mini Kindle is determining what YOU want from it.  Some go for the visual, interactive, multifunctional feel of the Kindle Fire.  Others, just want a device that serves one purpose: reading.  Then there’s wi-fi and battery life to consider…

I think the Kindle Fire is awesome and has a lot to offer, especially considering how much cheaper it is than the iPad.  I think the Kindle gaming platform is going to really take off here.  Not to mention audio, video, and internet access.  There are a couple of things that it would need to have in order for me to consider it in the place of my iPad: external keyboard compatibility and long battery life.  I use my iPad as a laptop to write with an external keyboard, and that has worked very well for me so far.  Who knows what I’ll be saying in a  couple of years.

So, all in all, it doesn’t really come down to “iPad Killer”, “tablet wars” or even “price wars”.  It just boils down to what the users want from the device.

I am so glad we, as consumers, now have such a huge variety of e-reader and tablet choices at the prices to beat!

Apps and games that run on Kindle 4

While majority of Active Content for Kindle currently doesn’t run on new Kindle 4 device without the keyboard. Some apps do run. Here’s a full list:

This list will expand as new apps are released and Amazon certifies existing ones for use without keyboard. The list will be updated here: Kindle 4 Apps.

Dots and Boxes for Kindle

dots and boxesDots and Boxes is the latest free game in the Kindle game collection.  Sounds like a great long car ride or doctor’s waiting room game.

How to Play

You are basically racing against either the Kindle, or another player in pass n’play mode.  You start with a 5 X 5 grid of dots.  You connect the dots horizontally and vertically to make a box.  The person who creates the most boxes in the grid wins.

As with most other Kindle games, Dots and Boxes comes with an easy, medium, and hard level.

Dots and Boxes comes with helpful hints and instructions to guide you during the game.  You can also track your standings for each difficulty level.

Michael P. Gallagher

“If you’re looking for a quick “get away” game for your Kindle, you’re probably going to like this and the price (free) is certainly worth it. Go ahead and pick it up and give it a try!”

Samuel

“I feel that this game makes very good use of the controls on the Kindle. It uses the five-point cursor in order for the player to select a slot to place a line. First, you use the five-way controller to select the “box” you want to place a stick, then you select whether you want to place the “stick” on the north, south, east, or west part. Due to the comfortable interface, it makes the game fun and easy to play.”

So, a great deal, and a good quality game that is free.  You can’t go wrong with free.

Minesweeper for Kindle

Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) recently added Minesweeper to it’s growing list of free Kindle games.  If you’re ready to try something other than Every Word and Shuffled Row, and are looking for a familiar game, check out Minesweeper. Minesweeper is most well known on the Microsoft Windows platform and as a great way to kill time.

Did you know that the Kindle comes with a built in version of Minesweeper?  I discovered this fact when reading the reviews of the new version of Minesweeper and decided to try it out on my Kindle.  Press Alt + Shift + M, and it will take you into the game from your Kindle‘s home screen.

The built in version is minimal and the graphics aren’t that great.  The latest version is much much better and more complex.  The awesome graphics on the third generation of the Kindle give this game a boost I’m sure.

The goal of Minesweeper is to uncover all of the mines hidden under the blocks on the game grid.  You win the game if you correctly identify all of the mines and uncover all of the locations that do not have mines.  If you uncover a mine that you have not identified, you lose.

“I a lot of work to have do this afternoon. Those mines aren’t going to sweep themselves.”  – Jim Halpert, The Office

You have thousands of different puzzles and three levels of difficulty to choose from.  As you get into the more difficult levels, the squares on the grid get smaller.  The small squares are still easy to read, however.  The game is pretty easy to learn, and can get quite addicting.  If you need a little help, turn on the tips.  Minesweeper also comes with a score and play time tracker.

The reviews for the game are great overall.  Some reviewers were pleasantly surprised at how good of quality the game is.  You’d think it would be hard to navigate the grid just using the keyboard and 5 way button, but that is not the case.

Best of all, this app. Is free.  Who doesn’t like free?

New, Free Kindle Games

Amazon recently introduced two new free games for the Kindle called “Every Word” and “Shuffle Row.”  “Every Word” is a speed game where you try to make as many words as you can in empty spaces on a board from a scrambled list of letters.

In “Shuffled Row,” you race to see how many words you can make from 60 letter tiles.  Both games are fun but maintain a literary element.  The best part?  Both of these games are free!  Hopefully, there will be more free or low priced games to choose from in the near future.  Unfortunately, these games are not available for the original Kindle.

The reviews are very positive.  Both games are a lot of fun and addictive.  Even the graphics got good reviews, contrary to the complaints about graphics on Kindle magazines.  As word games, they seem to enhance the core goals of what the Kindle is meant for, which is reading.  Both games are also good fillers for when you are in between books or not in the mood to tackle a whole book.

Has anyone tired these new games?  So far, Amazon is only emphasizing the literary aspect of the Kindle.  It will be interesting to see if Amazon continues to take that route, or whether they will add more games that are not literary in nature.



nook on the Web – First Impressions

Today the latest content patch for the B&N nook rolled out and it’s made a fairly impressive showing.  I played around with it for a while earlier and found little to complain about.

The most important point is, of course, performance.  The screen refresh isn’t any faster, but navigating the device has been sped up considerably.  There is nearly no discernible delay moving from one menu to the next anymore.  Adding onto this the fact that the update is supposed to fix the freezing of nook units(couldn’t say since mine never froze in the first place), and I think many people are going to like the upgrade for this alone.

The most widely touted feature of this update was the web browser.  Now, as you would expect from the first release of a browser for a device that was never really an optimal sort of avenue for that sort of thing in the first place, there are some bugs.  First, page navigation is a bit slow.  Both moving from page to page and simply scrolling from one part of the page to the next.  I love that I can check my email easily through the device.  In fact, that was the first thing I did, just to make sure I could.  It causes problems when you try to do anything involving a pop-up or new tab though.  Just bumps you out to the main menu.  Personally I’d rather just get a message saying “No, go do something else instead.”  Anyway, it’s still a nice addition.  With the color on the touchscreen, the web isn’t nearly as bland as it could be.  It’s a small window to the full color spectrum of the web, but it makes a big difference.

Finally, we have the games.  Why did B&N add games?  No idea.  Not that they’re bad.  I mean, they’re really not.  Heck, the sodoku is one of the most pleasant versions to play that I’ve ever found, and I hate sodoku.  I just don’t exactly see the point just now.  Maybe when downloadable games demonstrate the potential better somehow?

I’d say nook owners should be very pleased for a bit.  This is a major improvement in the device.  I still feel the lack somewhat, since the keyboard is a little less sensitive and harder to use than my Kindle‘s, but it isn’t too bad.  This eReader’s definitely going to get a bit more use than it has been for a while now though, I can assure you.