Will Amazon add Google Play Store to Kindle Fire?

B&N has really shaken things up by adding Google Play to Nook HD and HD+. Have been reading comments on articles and forums. It’s interesting to see the number of people who -

  1. Now think Nook HD is the best pure Android Tablet. This includes some big tech bloggers like the one at Verge who ‘wanted to make sweet love to iPhone 5′ (Yes, he actually wrote that).
  2. Have now added Nook HD and HD+ to their list of ‘options to consider for their next tablet’.
  3. Have decided to add a HD or HD+ to their set of Tablets and/or devices.

A LOT of people suddenly are claiming that they will buy and/or consider buying a Nook HD.

Of course, all these data points come with a giant question mark. The people most likely to appreciate Google Play Store on a Nook HD, also happen to be the ones most likely to read tech blogs and comment on them.

It is, however, not out of the realm of possibility that B&N has expanded its market by 50% to 100% with one move. If there are a bunch of tech journalists (and we do use the word journalist lightly) now applauding Nook HD as the ‘Best Android Tablet’ then that will translate into sales sooner or later.

All of this presents quite a big problem for Amazon.

The Tablet Decision Earlier Versus the Tablet Decision Now

Before B&N added Play Store, the Tablet Buying Decision was (think Holiday Season 2012) -

  1. iPad or Something Else. 50% to 60% chose the iPad.
  2. If Something Else, then Google Nexus 7 or Kindle Fire or Samsung or Nook.
  3. If Google Play is a factor, then Nexus 7 or Samsung. Neither of which are super impressive (You have to factor out the ‘OMG it’s pure Google’ factor which makes a lot of people assume Nexus 7 is better than it is). That left two impressive and impressively cheap Tablets – Kindle Fire HD and Nook HD.
  4. Kindle Fire HD had a much better ecosystem than Nook HD. This meant it became the BEST Android based tablet for anyone who didn’t absolutely have to have Google Play Store. It became a strong #1 choice overall because NONE of the Android Based Tablets with Google Play Store were as good as Kindle Fire (Nexus 7 does not really compare with Kindle Fire HD).
  5. All of this meant that Kindle Fire HD was the ‘Best non-iPad Tablet’ for enough people. This led to great sales for Kindle Fire HD.

Now that B&N has added the Play Store to Nook HD and Nook HD+, the Tablet Buying Decision becomes -

  1. iPad or Something Else. 45% to 50% will choose iPad.
  2. If Something Else, then Nexus 7 or Nook or Kindle Fire or Samsung.
  3. If Google Play is a factor, then Nook HD is now the BEST Android Tablet with Google Play. If you detach any personal feelings you might have about the companies, it’s a very clear decision.
  4. If Google Play is not a factor, then Nook HD compares very favorably to Kindle Fire HD because it has fixed its ecosystem disadvantage. You get Nook Store, Google Play Store, and apps for Kindle and Kobo. Nook HD’s Ecosystem is now a major strength instead of a major weakness.
  5. This means that Nook HD is now ‘Best non-iPad Tablet’ often enough to lead to solid, solid sales. It also means that Kindle Fire is no longer the most frequent choice for ‘Best non-iPad Tablet’.

Think of it as – The automatic #2 choice in the Tablet Market is now Nook HD and not Kindle Fire HD. For the majority of people.

Will this really impact Kindle Fire HD and Amazon

Yes.

Firstly, just a 45% to 60% share of the Tablet pie is available for Android Tablets. Rest goes to iPad.

Secondly, that non-iPad Tablet share of the pie is split between LOTS of Tablets. It’s also being eaten into by Windows 8 Tablets.

Thirdly, only the #1 and #2 Android Tablets (#2 and #3 overall Tablets) are going to do well enough to lead to future profits and developer mind share and a consistent stream of apps.

Kindle Fire was the best Android Tablet because of three main reasons – Solid device, Amazon brand and trust, Solid ecosystem.

Nook HD was losing to Kindle Fire because of – Weak Software, Weak Ecosystem, no ‘Nook Tablet’ brand or association.

By adding Google Play, it fixes two things – Firstly, it has a Very Strong Ecosystem now. Secondly, the Press love it and will create a ‘Nook is the best Android Tablet’ narrative.

Keep in mind that a lot of Android Tablet promotion is tied to the ‘open, do no evil, sharing is caring’ party line. Android people just LOVE the magical ‘openness’ of Android. B&N becoming ‘open’ means Nook HD is suddenly in line with the aspirations and dreams and identity of Android people.

It’s a pretty big deal. You can read the posts and see that people are so happy that B&N has ‘seen the light of openness’. It’s not just in the comments. Lots of the articles themselves have this rather interesting ‘finally, you have seen the light, my dear lost B&N’ quality about them.

People love someone who has ‘seen the light’ more than those who never strayed from the path of righteousness

Google Nexus 7 now becomes boring. Where’s the story and magic in a device that was always open?

On the other hand, Nook HD and HD+ present the press and Android people with the perfect opportunity – Look, it really does help to be open and good and do no evil. B&N Nook was closed and was dying. It then embraced openness and it prospered.

The Press are absolutely going to pump up Nook HD and HD+. Android people are 100% going to buy Nook devices.

Nook HD and HD+ succeeding now becomes part of the Android Dream.

What does that mean?

Android loving press and people will put their weight behind Nook HD and HD+.

Nook sales will increase at least 50% just from Android People and from gushing Press Coverage. Instead of talking about the ‘sluggish software’ (which is only an issue on closed tablets), the Press will talk about the Strong and Open Ecosystem.

Sales might even double. Plus the normal every day user will hear ‘Nook HD is Best Android Tablet’ so often, that sales to everyday users might increase too.

There wasn’t really a beautiful hardware Android Tablet. Nexus 7 was good but not beautiful. Now there is. And it’s OPEN.

B&N’s Nook HD and HD+ now have 710,000 Apps Versus Kindle Fire’s 50,000 to 60,000 Apps

Here’s the actual break up (assumptions) -

  1. Tablet optimized Apps – 10K from Nook Store and 20K from Play Store. That’s 30K for Nook HD. Kindle Fire HD – 15K out of the 50K apps are tablet optimized.
  2. ‘Work somewhat decently on Tablets’ Apps – 10K from Nook Store and 50K from Play Store. That’s 60K for Nook HD. Kindle Fire HD – 25K out of the 50K.
  3. Total Apps (whether or not they work) – 710,000 for Nook HD. 60,000 for Kindle Fire HD.

Guess which comparison the Press will fixate on?

Keep in mind that Nook HD is now the prodigal son who has returned home. The Press will magically forget to mention that only 30,000 out of those 710,000 Apps are actually optimized to work well on Android Tablets.

How long will it take Kindle Fire Store to get from 60,000 total Apps to 710,000 total Apps. Well, it might never happen. There might never be 710,000 apps in the Kindle Fire HD store. If Kindle Fire HD Store actually hits 710,000 total apps it might take 3 to 4 years. Android Store will have 2 million Apps by then. It’s really, really hard for Amazon to catch up.

Amazon has well and truly lost the ‘We have more Apps that will never work on your Tablet’ battle. The Press will never mention that it’s actually 15,000 Tablet optimized Apps on Kindle Fire HD Versus 30,000 Tablet Optimized Apps on Nook HD. It’ll always be 50,000 Versus 710,000.

Anyone who wants Play Store, or for whom Apps are a big deal – Nook HD wins almost every time over Kindle Fire HD.

Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD is in a LOT of trouble

Notice all the Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ sales? Notice the price drop of the Kindle Fire HD? Notice how Amazon is, for the first time ever, discounting Kindle devices within 3-4 months of launch?

Take a look – Amazing Shrinking Price of Kindle Fire HD 8.9″.

That suggests Kindle Fire HD and Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ sales were already under pressure from iPad Mini (and to an extent from Nexus 7).

Nook HD just went from ‘beautiful device with buggy software and tiny ecosystem’ to ‘beautiful device with massive ecosystem and buggy software’. It’s become very compelling.

There will now be three devices cutting into Kindle sales – iPad Mini, Nook HD, Nexus 7. It’s also worth nothing that Nook HD has WAY more retail distribution than any other Android Tablet. It’s also sold in WalMart and Target while Kindle Fire HD is not.

B&N has put its own ebook and movie revenues streams in danger. However, it has ensured good sales for Nook HD and HD+. At least until a markedly better Android Tablet comes along. It has also put Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD in a lot of trouble.

Will Amazon add Google Play Store to Kindle Fire?

Well, it doesn’t really have an option. It either adds Google Play Store to Kindle Fire or it loses a significant amount of market share.

  1. If Amazon doesn’t add Google Play Store then it’ll slowly and steadily lose market share. This might not seem like a big deal, at first. However, over time, this would mean less developers want to make apps for Kindle Fire (they would all flock to iPad and Windows and Android).
  2. We now have iPad which has the most and the best apps, Android which has the 2nd most apps (though not really very good ones), and Windows 8 which is adding apps at a ridiculously high pace (10K per month). After all of those, we have Kindle Fire which has a low number of apps and the quality isn’t as good as iPad. That means Kindle Fire becomes, in effect, the Tablet with the WORST choice of Apps. It doesn’t make up things in Quality either – because most of the apps are apps ported over from Android.
  3. Amazon will have to open up Kindle Fire HD to the Google Play Store. Sooner or later.

It can’t continue without Google Play Store unless it’s willing to lose market share. It could avoid Google Play Store while it had the best ecosystem out of the two non-iPad Tablets that were very good. But now B&N has that distinction.

Amazon will be very, very, very reluctant to give up its ecosystem and customers to Google. That means it’ll wait for one more Holiday Season. Which means it will suffer some market share losses. Depending on how aggressive Google is with Nexus 7 pricing, and depending on how aggressive B&N is with Nook HD pricing, Kindle Fire HD might lose a lot of market share.

What will Amazon do?

It’s hard to say. There are 4 major paths forward -

  1. Drop the prices of Kindle Fire HD and Kindle Fire HD 8.9″.
  2. Ignore lost customers and focus on customers loyal to Amazon.
  3. Add Google Play Store.
  4. Ramp up the rate at which Apps are added to its store.

The 2nd and 4th are very painful to do. That leaves just the 1st and 3rd.

Note: The 2nd would not be painful for Apple. For a company like Amazon that wants and needs large numbers of customers, it is very painful to lose potential ‘socks & sink buying’ customers.

My prediction: Amazon first tries a price drop and a ramp-up in the number of apps added. After 6-9 months it realizes the futility of it and adds Google Play Store. Which would mean that Google’s Android OS gets a really good shot at becoming the dominant Tablet OS and staying that way for a long time.

Will Kindle Fire, Tablets be around in 5 years?

Blackberry CEO Thorsten Heins made quite a bold prediction regarding the future of tablets today (Courtesy Bloomberg) -

“In five years I don’t think there’ll be a reason to have a tablet anymore,” Heins said in an interview yesterday at the Milken Institute conference in Los Angeles. “Maybe a big screen in your workspace, but not a tablet as such. Tablets themselves are not a good business model.”

At first glance, it seems to be wishful thinking. The CEO of a company that failed quite spectacularly in the Tablet Market (with the Blackberry Playbook) assumes that -

  1. In 5 Years there won’t be tablets. Though the precise statement he made was – In five years I don’t think there’ll be a reason to have a tablet.
  2. Tablets themselves are not a good business model.

It’s interesting that Bloomberg didn’t choose to mention -

  1. The amount of profit Apple is making from the iPad.
  2. Whatever amount of money Microsoft is making from Android Tablet makers (Patent Licensing Fees).
  3. Whatever amount Google is making from iPad users and Android Tablet users via search revenues.

Surely, those are all ‘good business models’?

The Blackberry CEO’s statement seems like the Fox saying the Grapes are Sour and He never wanted them anyways.

Here’s the problem though – Tablets have never really had any Unique and Irreplaceable Function.

First, let’s try to play Devil’s Advocate and figure out if the Blackberry CEO’s wishful thinking might be closer to reality than we realize. Then, we’ll look at the opposite argument and see if Tablets have a very long future. Finally, we’ll look at whether Kindle Fire can survive or not.

What if the Blackberry CEO is right and Tablets won’t have a reason to exist in 5 years?

Here are a few points to think about -

  1. Apple made the Tablet Market viable. However, before that we had Microsoft and others (including Apple themselves, with the Newton) try and fail to make Tablets a viable market.
  2. No one is quite sure what Tablets’ unique irreplaceable functionality is. This is getting even harder to figure out now that Phones are getting bigger and bigger.
  3. Tablets don’t really have any ‘Killer App’ that makes them irreplaceable.
  4. Phones are much better for portability. Laptops are much better for ‘doing things’ when mobile. Desktops are much better for doing ‘intensive tasks’. Tablets are consumption oriented and mobility enhancing – However, phones and ‘Phablets’ are quickly becoming a viable alternative.
  5. What if Apple had simply become very good at creating ‘technological fashion trends’ and iPad was a supreme demonstration of that. What if the iPad and the subsequent success of 7″ Tablets and the iPad Mini are just a ‘technology trend’ and not some great step forward?

Perhaps the most striking thing about Tablets is that they are, for lack of a better word, a luxury. Could you survive without your phone? Probably Not. Without your Tablet? Sure. The inconvenience of not having a Tablet to browse stuff on while watching TV is not that big an inconvenience (contrary to whatever our first world problems obsessed minds might think).

There is no equivalent to ‘making a phone call’ for Tablets. Nothing that’s ‘absolutely necessary and no other device is as well made for’. Watching Netflix on the couch doesn’t really qualify as absolutely critical.

In terms of the future, the most dangerous threats for Tablets are -

  1. Larger Phones. Now that we’re getting into 5.5″ and 6″ screens, what real difference is there between Tablets and Phones?
  2. Projection Screens and New Screen Technologies. The minute someone makes a viable screen (perhaps a pico projector based screen projecting technology), Tablets suddenly lose their one big advantage over phones (a larger screen size).
  3. Things like Voice Based computing and Gesture Based Computing also threaten Tablets (for the exact same reason – Tablet’s only real advantage is screen size).
  4. Wearable computing like Watches and Google Glass are a threat.
  5. As laptops become thinner and lighter, and (perhaps most importantly) get better battery life, they are a threat.
  6. Hybrid devices like Microsoft Surface are a threat. Of course, if you love Tablets you could claim Surface is an evolution of the Tablet and not really a separate device.
  7. Most of all, the ‘technological fashion trends’ are a threat. My guess would be that at least 50% of Tablet owners bought a Tablet due to non-enduring factors such as ‘buying the new, new thing’ and ‘coolness’ and ‘showing off their financial means’ and ‘buying it because everyone else is buying it’ and ‘because it’s more convenient for some stuff than laptops’. If Apple were to come out with an iWatch, or if Google Glass were to become the ‘new, exciting technology’ – What real reason would these people have to buy Tablets in the future?

What are we driving towards?

The realization that Thorsten Heins may or may not be right in saying – In five years I don’t think there’ll be a reason to have a tablet anymore.

However, we can’t really answer the question – What REAL reason do we have to have Tablets right now? Are they simply the result of Apple becoming super good at selling people stuff that makes them feel good and in possession of ‘technological coolness’? Are they simply a transition phase (like Netbooks before them were) to a more convenient personal computing device?

If we don’t have any REAL reasons, even right now, for Tablets to stick around. Well, then who knows what might happen in 5 years. Odds are that Tablets will become quite a bit less relevant.

Reasons why the Blackberry CEO might be wrong and Tablets might stick around for 10-20 years

There are actually quite a few good reasons that Tablets might stick around -

  1. The Momentum. We have a lot of Tablet sales plus we have lots of people who’ve been in the ‘I want a Tablet but can’t afford one’ bucket. It might take 10-20 years to fulfill that EVEN if much better technologies come out and make Tablets redundant.
  2. Worldwide Expansion. Tablets are still spreading. It’s worth nothing that there is one argument here in favor of ‘Tablets are going to go away in 5 years’ i.e. Tablet buying is limited to certain demographics and is not very widespread in countries where Tablets are popular.
  3. There might not be a new ‘super strong technological fashion trend’. Steve Jobs isn’t around to make iWatch or Google Glass or Talking iUnderwear the new must-have device. Who’s going to convince people desperate to find meaning and coolness from meaningless devices and Prada belts that this new Technology X is going to make them feel good and special and rich and beautiful (as Tablets supposedly make them feel)? Where are the cool dancing happy people convincing them to buy Technology Y? The Surface Ads do try. Wouldn’t that be crazy – Microsoft setting the new fashion trends in devices and making Surface RT the new conspicuous consumption flag bearer.
  4. Tablets might be the sweet spot for the 80% of the population that just wants to consume technology and not create anything. Perhaps the great next step in the evolution of the human race is a period of extended Entertainment Ingestion – where people sit around on couches all the time and watch reruns of Friends and marvel at how far humanity has evolved. That we can all sit around and do nothing with thousands of years’ worth of technological advancements.
  5. Tablets might be better than laptops and desktops for most people IF (and it is an IF) they mostly just surf the web and check email and check Facebook.
  6. People might want a device that is completely pointless. It’s like entertainment. The big winning advantage of Tablets might be that it’s the one device where you know there’s no danger of ‘work’ happening.
  7. Tablets might be the simplest thing ever invented for users unfamiliar or scared of technology. Again, Steve Jobs is gone so who’s going to create something that’s more ‘easy and accessible’ for normal human beings. Most technology people have the unique gift of thinking their grandmother had a time travel machine and used it to learn assembler coding.

Reasons 5 and 6 are the big ones. Tablets might be really good and might last precisely for the twin reasons everyone shafts them for – They are dead simple to use & They have no ‘productive’ use (perhaps most Tablet users want ZERO productive use from their entertainment Tablets/devices).

Tablets might survive for a long, long time precisely for those two reasons.

Quick Thought: My money is actually on Tablets going away in the long term. In 15-20 years. Keep in mind that we had a similar crazy ramp-up with Netbooks. They fell as soon as Tablets arrived on the scene. Technology cycles are getting shorter and shorter. PCs have stuck around for 30-40 years. Tablets might get just half of that – which would mean that by 2018 to 2021, Tablets might be completely gone. And then we will wish they hadn’t been beaten out by iContacts and StalkerGoggles.

What about Kindle Fire? Will Kindle Fire be around in 5 years?

That’s a really good question.

The reasons for it to be around in 5 years are -

  1. As long as there is a Tablet Market Amazon, is going to sell Tablets. That’s just my gut feeling.
  2. Kindle Fires are actually mini Amazon Stores. Amazon will keep selling them as long as people are willing to carry around a mini-Amazon store in their hands. Amazon’s motivations to sell Tablets are MUCH stronger than anyone else’s.
  3. Amazon isn’t a fashion company. What I mean is that Amazon doesn’t have to find the next technological fashion to survive. It can afford to sell uncool things like eReaders. It will perhaps sell Tablets long after people think Watches and Stalker Goggles are the Fashion of the Year.
  4. Amazon is going to cater to people who can’t afford the high-end Tablets and there are a lot more of those people. Which means Amazon’s Kindle Fire will have 5-10 years more life than high-end Tablets. Even if iPads die out in 10-15 years, Kindle Fires can go on for a further 10 years just by selling to people with lower incomes.
  5. Amazon might view Tablets as the best delivery device for digital items.

The reasons Kindle Fire might not be around in 5 years -

  1. Apple might, in a moment of desperation, release a very low priced iPad Mini. Apple has a terrible dilemma – Cut iPad and iPad Mini prices and lower profit margins OR Keep iPad and iPad Mini prices high and lose market share. We’ve already seen Apple is willing to massively lower its profit margins to prevent Android Tablets from doing a PC vs Mac repeat. It may very well do that again. If it comes down to $149 Kindle Fires Versus $199 iPad Mini 2s, Apple will probably decimate Kindle Fire.
  2. Android Tablets from Google might hit $99 within a year and that might really hurt Kindle Fire.
  3. Amazon might see more value in selling Phones and might shift focus to Kindle Phones. We just have to look at how Kindle eInk Readers are ignored currently – All the focus is on Kindle Fires. If Kindle Phone sells at 3-4 times the rate of Kindle Fire, Amazon would likely shift 100% to Kindle Phones.
  4. We might have World War III. There certainly seem to be enough global squabbles going on for something bigger to ignite. We’ll be sitting around bonfires and talking – Those were the days. We had running water and cheap electricity. Now this fancy smart phone makes for a nice paperweight.
  5. Amazon might cut costs and get rid of the Kindle Fire division. Not as inconceivable as it seems right now.

Interestingly enough, I think Kindle Fire might last a lot longer than the other Tablets. For a company like Apple or Microsoft - if it can’t make a big profit from hardware and/or software, then there’s little value in the market. For Amazon, it might just think of Kindle Fires as Customer Acquisition Devices and keep selling them long after everyone else.

Closing Thought – Is ‘Having No Valuable Use’ the Killer Feature for Tablets? Or are Tablets going to die out in 10-15 years?

Perhaps Tablets are popular precisely because they have no ‘Killer Feature’. Perhaps Tablets are popular because they are very malleable and are different things to different people.

Perhaps Tablets are the ‘Technological Flavor of the Year/Decade’. The PDAs of the 2010s? The Netbooks that followed Netbooks? Perhaps a testament to how much Technology has now become like the fashion industry.

The more I think about it, the more it seems that the Blackberry CEO might be on to something. He might be woefully wrong about the timeline (5 years). However, it’s hard to make a credible argument that Tablets (or for that matter any of today’s technology other than the Internet and things like desktop and laptop computers and phones) will be around in 10-15 years.

Word Search, Kriss Kross, Quote Falls, Hangman, Speed Words – Word Games Pack FREE! (Kindle Tablet Edition)

Word Games Pack App (Word Search, Kriss Kross, Quote Falls, Hangman, Speed Words) is now available for all Kindle Fires. Please download it and give it a try. Every download helps.

The Free version is, well, FREE. It has In-App Purchases to unlock locked categories. Approximately 8-10 categories in each of the 5 word games are free to play. For the rest, you can either buy stars to unlock them OR you can get the Paid version.

Please Note: The App lets you buy digital content using real money. You can turn off the ability to make In-App Purchases from the Amazon Store’s Settings Page.

The Paid Version of Word Games Pack is $1.

Word Games Pack Kindle Fire Game Apps

Word Games Pack – Word Search, Kriss Kross, Quotefalls, Hangman, Speed Words

Word Games Pack

Word Games Pack comes with 5 Word Games -

  1. Word Search – Search for Words in a Grid. Lots of options to make things very interesting.
  2. Kriss Kross. This is a word game where you have to fit words into a grid. It’s like Crosswords except you have no clues and no idea of what word goes where, but you know the words. It’s very fun and quite relaxing.
  3. Quote Falls. This is a logic puzzle word game where you have to figure out a quote by deciding where each letter ‘falls’ into place to make the ‘quote’.
  4. Hangman. Instead of saving a ‘Hangman’ you can save 10 interesting characters like Teddy the Bear, Lorelei the Mermaid, and Tiny the Elephant. Note: In the Free version just one character is available by default.
  5. Speed Words. This is a fun, fast game where you have a limited number of time to make X words from the letters of a given word. There are a bunch of game modes so you can pick the speed that you like most.

The Paid version of Word Games Pack in the Kindle Fire Store is rated 4.2 stars on 16 reviews in Kindle Fire Store. The rating is for the version that had just 2 games (Word Search, Hangman). There are 10 5-star reviews and 4 4-star reviews. Just a few complaints about things like it not working on all Kindle Fires (Note: this new version does work on all Kindle Fires).

The Paid version of Word Games Pack in the Nook Store (which has had 5 games for a while) has a 4.5 stars rating on 351 reviews.

Word Games Pack Screenshots & Features

The Main Page of Word Games Pack.

Word Games Pack Kindle Fire

Word Games Pack Main Page

Word Search.

Word Search Word Game for Kindle Fire

Word Search for Kindle Fire

Word Search comes with 50 different categories (10 are unlocked in the Free version). There are three difficulty levels. You can also choose to show only the first letter in each word to make it tougher, or even to hide the words. There are 17 trophies to win. You also get infinite hints to help you in case you get stuck.

Hangman.

Hangman for Kindle Fire

Hangman for Kindle Fire – Save Teddy! And 9 Others!

Hangman has two difficulty levels and 50 categories. There are 10 different characters to save.

You can choose 7 tries or 9 tries. You can use a single hint per word.

Kriss Kross.

Kriss Kross

Kriss Kross Word Game for Kindle Fire

Kriss Kross is a very interesting game where you have to a fill a grid with words. It’s different from Crosswords – you already know the words. You just don’t know where they go and there are no hints. There’s a very clear, illustrated ‘How to Play’ section to explain (same for all the other games).

Quote Falls.

Quote Falls for Kindle Fire

Quote Falls. Comes with Instructions. For Kindle Fires Only.

Quote Falls is a very interesting game. You get a quote except all the letters are jumbled up. You have to figure out what the quote is by unjumbling the letters. It helps to start with the shortest words.

Finally, Speed Words.

Speed Words Word Game for Kindle Fire

Speed Words. Beat the Clock. Make Words Fast!

Speed Words is a fast, fun word game. You’re given a long word. You have to make new words using the letters of that word. There’s a time limit. The higher up you go the faster and faster it gets.

Word Games Pack is Free to Play. There are 8-10 categories for each word game unlocked. If you like it, you can buy the Paid Version (which is just $1) or you can buy in-app stars to unlock the categories you want to play. Please download it and give it a try. Every download is a big help.

The Amazing Shrinking Price of Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ and Nook HD+

Those efficiences of scale Amazon was talking about. They must really be kicking in.

Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ was on sale at Best Buy for Easter (via Slick Deals via Roger Knights) for the ridiculous price of $220.

That’s $79 less than the launch price just 4.5 months ago.

Let’s ask ourselves some questions.

Have Amazon or B&N massively cut prices on ANY Kindle or Nook in the past? Have they done so within 3-6 months of launch?

Yes, both have. However, these massive price cuts usually happened 1 to 2 years after the product launches. Price cuts that were usually done to clear the way for upcoming models. The price cuts didn’t happen on the newest models and didn’t happen within 3-6 months of launch.

To the best of my memory, and to the best of Google’s search abilities, there have never been price cuts on NEW Kindles, Kindle Fires, Nooks, Nook Tablets within the first 3 to 6 months of launch.

All of that changed with the new Kindle Fire HD and HD 8.9″ and the new Nook HD/HD+. These devices have been getting price cuts left, right, and center.

Just how often have there been sales on Kindle Fire HD, Kindle Fire HD 8.9″, Nook HD, Nook HD+?

Off the top of my head (and confirmed via quick searches) we have seen the following sales -

  1. March 31st, 2013 – Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ down to $220 from its already reduced price of $269.
  2. Last week of March 2013 – Buy a Nook HD+ and get a free Nook Simple Touch eReader (price of $69).
  3. Last 2 weeks of March, 2013 – Nook HD+ came with a $50 gift card, making its price effectively $219.
  4. March 13th, 2013 – Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ LTE down $100 to $299. Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ down $30 to $269.
  5. Nearly every weekend in February and March 2013 – $25 and $50 gift cards or price cuts on Nook HD+.
  6. February 4th, 2013 – $50 off and $30 off coupons on the Kindle Fire HDs.
  7. December 10th, 2012 – $50 off Kindle Fire HD Coupon.
  8. Black Friday Sales on new Kindle Fire. Note: Amazon usually NEVER puts the new Kindles on sale. 2012 was the first time.
  9. Black Friday Sales on new Nook HD and HD+. Again, B&N usually NEVER puts the new Nooks on sale. 2012 Black Friday was the first time.

Just to make things crystal clear -

  1. Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ shipped on November 14th, 2012. So we are 4.5 months into its life. It’s down from $299 to $269 with sales of as low as $219. So we are already seeing price cuts up to 26%.
  2. Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ LTE was shipped the week of November 18th, 2012. We are 4.5 months into its life too. It is down from $499 to $399. So we are already seeing a permanent 25% price cut.
  3. Nook HD+ shipped in November 2012. We are 4.5 months into its life and already we have ‘Buy a Nook HD+, get a Nook eInk Reader free’ offers. Effective price is down $69. That’s a 25% price-cut.

These are pretty big price cuts to have on new models.

Most importantly, these devices were ALREADY competing on price and were priced MUCH lower than iPad. iPad was $499 and these were $299. At 60% of the price. Them having to cut prices by 25% already, just 4.5 months in, means they are now effectively at less than half the price of the iPad.

However, it’s not the iPad that’s killing Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ and Nook HD+.

The Device killing Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ and Nook HD+ is the same one that’s eating its way through iPad Sales

Hello, iPad Mini.

Apple decided that rather than letting 7″ Kindles and Nooks and Nexii eat into the iPad’s market, it might as well ship the iPad Mini and keep that market to itself. The plan might have worked too well.

Earlier we had -

  1. $499 iPad Versus $199 to $239 Nook and Kindle and Nexus 7 Tablets. Note: Nook Color was the first $199 Tablet that showed there is a Tablet market apart from the iPad Market.

Now we have -

  1. $329 iPad Mini Versus $199 to $299 Kindle and Nexus 7 and Nook Tablets.
  2. $329 iPad Mini Versus $499 iPads.

Guess what?

iPad Mini is winning all these battles. It is, for all practical purposes, a massacre.

People suddenly realized that the smaller form factor of the iPad Mini makes it much better than iPad, not to mention the lower price. People also realized that the larger app store, with lots and lots of Tablet optimized Apps, makes iPad Mini much more functional.

The price gap is too small now. $199 Tablets were 40% of the price of $499 iPads. The $329 iPad Mini is just $130 more than $199 Tablets and it is in the same price range as $269 and $299 9″ Tablets.

This might not end well for the Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ and Nook HD+

First, let’s think about what these tablets would need to be able to compete with iPad Mini -

  1. Lower Prices.
  2. More Apps made for Tablets.
  3. Smoother functionality.
  4. Better Usability.
  5. More reliability.
  6. Excellence in the core Tablet Functions.

Lower prices is tough because the prices are already dirt cheap with next to no profits. I’m pretty sure that at $219 the Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ is selling for a loss (do we really believe Amazon’s ‘economies of scale’ argument? if so, then why isn’t the higher selling Kindle Fire HD seeing such ‘economies of scale’).

How much lower than $219 can they get?

More Apps made for Tablets. Let me hazard a guess here – Developers would rather make apps that work on iPad and iPad Mini and reach 100 million+ people. That sounds less complicated and more profitable than making apps that work on Fire, Nook, Nexus 7 and reach perhaps 15 to 25 million people.

We also have the additional bonus that there are -

  1. 4 different Kindle Fires.
  2. 4 different Nook Tablets.
  3. 3 different Nexus Tablets.

So, to reach 15-25 million people, a development company would have to support 11 different Tablets. They really are different – different screen sizes, different resolutions, different app stores.

Or a developer could support 2 (at most 4 if you stretch it) iPads and reach 100 million+ users. Plus it’s a market that is growing rapidly. Plus it’s a market where the App Stores haven’t trained the people to expect everything for free (something Google is an expert at, and Amazon is rapidly learning to be good at).

As far as ease of use and smoothness – Android is still struggling. It doesn’t help that Fire and Nook add their own skins on top of Android. The more the code and layers – the higher the chance of loss of speed and smoothness.

Excellence in the Core Tablet Functions – Not really. Both Fire and Nook struggle to achieve this. It would really help if they tied down the OS. However, the underlying version of Android keeps changing and that means Amazon and B&N are working with almost new OSes each release. Compare that with Apple’s iOS which has been relatively smooth and steady since the iPhone.

There is no Free Lunch. That free Android OS that Amazon and B&N are getting – It’s guaranteeing they can never beat Apple on user experience and smoothness.

The uphill battle for Amazon and B&N is getting tougher & Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ and Nook HD+ might be the first casualties

You can’t envy Amazon and B&N’s position here – They were late to market, they haven’t yet made their devices better than iPad, they aren’t yet better at the core tablet functions, and the number of Tablet optimized apps they have doesn’t compare at all with iPad or iPad Mini.

You have to admire their ambition. It would have played out super well if Apple hadn’t released iPad Mini and killed the only real advantage the high-value tablets had – value for money (or, to be more blunt, low prices).

iPad Mini has hurt the smaller tablet market and almost decimated the larger Tablet Market. Yes, Android market share will improve. However, if it’s because of Amazon and B&N selling Tablets at below-cost prices, then that’s a pyrrhic victory.

What could Amazon and B&N do?

Firstly, they would do well to See Reality As It Is. People were not buying Nooks and Fires because of the range of apps or the smoothness or because they were the best Tablet. They were buying these tablets because they were 40% of the price of the iPad. Because they were reading tablets. Because they were plugged into the Kindle and Nook ecosystems.

40% of the $329 iPad Mini = $131.

The ONLY real solution for Kindle Fire and Nook is to release $100 to $125 ‘reading tablets’ and ‘general purpose tablets’ and compete via those. Meanwhile, they need to stay in the game long enough. So that when Apple loses direction and starts slipping, they can make their move.

The Final Twist

Being ‘better’ than the iPad and iPad Mini is a futile aim.

iPad and iPad Mini serve dual purposes – They are easy to use, useful Tablets with lots of Apps. Plus they are status indicators.

Amazon and B&N are not competing well on the first. They are non-existent on the second.

So going up head to head against iPad and iPad Mini serves no purpose. Even if Amazon and B&N beat iPad on core functionality and apps (and that’s not easy by any stretch of the imagination) how are they going to edge Apple on the ‘luxury/coolness/status signalling’ dimension.

Amazon and B&N have to change the battle. Apple’s ONLY real weakness is that it is wedded to profits. Its profits come from the devices. So it can’t fight on price and value for money. That’s the direction to go in for Amazon and B&N.

Apple is not going to get killed by someone trying to outdo Apple in Apple’s own strategy. Especially not if that company/person doesn’t even fully understand Apple’s strategy (to be fair, no one at Apple, after Steve Jobs, seems to understand it either). Perhaps Jeff Bezos and Leonard Riggio/William Lynch need to consider the truth in that statement and realize that they can’t win the Tablet Wars by fighting on Apple’s terms.

Kindle Fire Solitaire, Mahjong Solitaire, Spider Solitaire, 4 Rivers, FreeCell Solitaire, Memory Solitaire – $1 Solitaire Games Pack for Kindle Fire

Our Solitaire, Mahjong Solitaire, Spider Solitaire, 4 Rivers, FreeCell Solitaire, Memory Solitaire App is now available for Kindle Fire. It’s just $1 and has 6 fun, beautiful Solitaire Games.

Solitaire Game Pack Kindle Fire

$1 Solitaire Game Pack – 6 Solitaire Games

The main features -

  1. 6 Fun, Beautiful Solitaire Games. Very relaxing and enjoyable.
  2. Optimized for Kindle Fire 1, Kindle Fire 2, Kindle Fire HD, Kindle Fire HD 8.9″.
  3. Beautiful HD Graphics for Kindle Fire HD and HD 8.9″. Even Standard Graphics are beautiful – so it looks great on Kindle Fire 1 and 2 too. Most of the screenshots in the post are SD Graphics.
  4. Designed for Tablets and for Kindle owners – all buttons are large and easy to press, there are special large card front designs (like in above image) for easy visibility, and it’s optimized for use with Tablets. It’s not a phone app with just graphics stretched. Every design decision was taken with Tablets in mind.
  5. Very smooth game play with lots of options. We optimized a lot to make the game play smooth and to provide you lots of options – difficulty levels, settings, backgrounds, card designs, trophies.
  6. Detailed ‘How to Play’ sections. You can come in knowing just 1 or none of the games. Soon you’ll be enjoying all six of them. The How to Play sections are illustrated.
  7. Variety – Not only are there 6 Solitaire Games, they all have different difficulty levels and different customization options. So you can play each of them how YOU like to play them.

Let’s look at the individual games.

Solitaire that’s Fun, Easy to Play, Beautiful, Customizable

Here’s a screenshot (from Kindle Fire HD) -

Kindle Fire Solitaire App

Kindle Fire Solitaire

Here are the main features -

  1. Solitaire Draw 1 or Solitaire Draw 3.
  2. Customize this Kindle Fire (Klondike) Solitaire Game to your liking – 10 Backgrounds, 12 Card Back Designs, 6 Card Front Designs including two large font designs (one of them is shown in the above screenshot).
  3. A lot of useful features - Autosave, Infinite Undo, Infinite Hints.
  4. Easy and Intuitive Touch and Drag Gameplay. Please Note: There is no ‘Tap and it’s over’ option. You have to make the moves yourself.
  5. Optional Background Music.
  6. How to Play – Even if you’ve never played Solitaire before you can get started using the How to Play section.
  7. Stats and Trophies – Can you win all 3 Solitaire Trophies?

It is, in our opinion, the best and most enjoyable Solitaire Game available on ANY Tablet.

Mahjong Solitaire Built for Tablets

Here’s a Mahjong Solitaire screenshot (from Kindle Fire 1).

Kindle Fire Mahjong Solitaire App with 3 Tilesets

Mahjong Solitaire Kindle Fire

Mahjong Solitaire is a very strong offering -

  1. There are 3 tilesets to choose from. Each tileset is available in your preference of white, yellow or jade colors.
  2. There are also 10 Backgrounds to choose from including quite a few Mahjong Solitaire themed ones.
  3. You get 19 Levels – 6 Easy layouts, 6 medium layouts, 7 challenging layouts. Please Note: For the Medium and Challenging Layouts you might have to select the ‘Flowers’ tileset as that’s easiest to see.
  4. Lots of useful features – Autosave, Infinite Hints, Infinite Undo, Show or Hide Available Tiles.
  5. A ‘How to Play’ section with illustrations helps you learn to play Mahjong if you don’t know how.
  6. Stats Tracking, Stars to win, Trophies to win. Can you beat 15 of the Levels and become a Mahjong Genius?

Spider Solitaire that’s customizable and fun and challenging

Spider Solitaire is another polished, fun game you’ll get in our Solitaire Games Pack.

Spider Solitaire for Kindle Fire

Spider Solitaire App for the Kindle Fire

Here are the main things you get with our Spider Solitaire -

  1. 3 Difficulty Levels – 1 Suit (Easy), 2 Suits (Medium), 4 Suits (Hard).
  2. Customization – 7 backgrounds including Spider themed ones (like the one shown above), 13 Card Back Designs, 7 card front designs including 2 special Spider themed Card Front Designs. You can see one of them in the screenshot above.
  3. Lots of useful features – Autosave, Infinite Hints, Undo.
  4. A detailed ‘How to Play’ section teaches you how to play Spider Solitaire.
  5. Stats & Trophies. Track your best score, your best time, and try to win all three Spider Trophies.

4 Rivers – A Fun, Fast Paced Solitaire Game

4 Rivers is a very fun game that’s played using Mahjong Tiles. You have to match tiles. There are some rules. The App has a comprehensive ‘How to Play’ section with illustrations that teaches the rules.

Please Note: There’s a How to play section for EACH of the 6 Games.

A screenshot (this is from Kindle Fire HD). Please Note: Kindle Fire 1 & 2 have a different tileset for Fishes.

Kindle Fire 4 Rivers Game

4 Rivers – A Solitaire Game played with Mahjong Tiles

4 Rivers has turned out to be perhaps the most enjoyed game. If you’ve never played it before it’s well worth trying.

  1. Race against the clock or turn on Easy Mode and play at a relaxed pace.
  2. 3 Hints or Infinite Hints.
  3. 30+ Levels.

This is a really fun matching game. We get the most reviews mentioning this game. It also is very different in style from Solitaire and Mahjong Solitaire and thus adds a lot of variety. Very easy to get into and very relaxing to play.

FreeCell Solitaire – Smooth and Enjoyable

We have a very smooth and enjoyable version of FreeCell. Everything is easy and flows.

Here’s a screenshot.

FreeCell Solitaire for Kindle Fire

FreeCell Solitaire for Kindle Fire

This card design is one we built specifically for FreeCell Solitaire – to work well with FreeCell and be easy to use. It makes it easy to quickly see what cards are in each stack.

FreeCell Solitaire has -

  1. Useful features – Autosave, Hints, Undo.
  2. 4 special FreeCell Backgrounds and 6 more Backgrounds.
  3. 1 Special FreeCell Card Front Design and 5 more Card Front Designs.
  4. Track your Best Time and Number of Games Won.
  5. Detailed ‘How to Play’ section. Even if you don’t know how to play FreeCell Solitaire you can get started in 5-7 minutes.

This is one of the big benefits of having a 6-in-1 Solitaire Game Pack that combines Card Solitaire Games and Mahjong Solitaire games – you get to experience and try out a lot of different games and it adds a lot of variety.

Plus all of them exercise your mind and make you sharper.

Memory Solitaire – Match Cards or Tiles

Finally, we have Memory Solitaire. There are a few key differentiators that make this very fun -

  1. You can match either cards or Mahjong Tiles. That almost makes it two games in one.
  2. You can play in three modes – Normal Mode, Challenge Mode (Timed), Infinite Mode.
  3. There are lots of levels. Easy ones like 3 by 3 and tough ones with a lot more Cards/Tiles to match.

Here’s a screenshot (from Kindle Fire HD).

Kindle Fire Memory Solitaire

Memory Solitaire Game for Kindle Fire

Memory Solitaire adds a unique dimension. Most of the Solitaire and Mahjong Solitaire games exercise your mind, your ability to think fast, your ability to think creatively and your problem solving skills. Memory Solitaire adds the dimension of exercising your memory.

Kill two birds with one stone – exercise your memory and relax at the same time.

There are lots of levels so you can pick your preference of difficulty. The option of having 3 game modes – normal, challenge, infinite – means you can either race the clock or relax or see how long you can keep clearing the board.

Memory Solitaire lets you play with Limited Hints or with Infinite Hints.

Try out our Solitaire Games Pack – You’ll really enjoy it!

We’re so confident you’ll like the app we’ll do a ‘no-questions-asked’ refund if you don’t like the app for ANY reason. Just email us at booksummit@ymail.com. That’s also the email in case you have questions.

Solitaire, Mahjong Solitaire, Spider Solitaire, 4 Rivers, FreeCell Solitaire, Memory Solitaire App is now available for Kindle Fire for just $1.

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