Kindle Fire & Kindle Odds & Ends

A mixed bag of Kindle Fire and Kindle items today.

Qualcomm showing off 2560 by 1440 Mirasol Display (reflects ambient light)

Qualcomm’s Mirasol Display was supposed to be used in a Color Kindle way back in 2011. Well, there was no Color Kindle so there was no Mirasol color eReader eInk. The last we heard was that Mirasol had gotten a $2 billion investment to set up a manufacturing facility. No news after that.

Now, it seems Qualcomm is trying other things. Engadget covers Qualcomm Mirasol 2,560 by 1,440 displays demoed at SID Display Week (They have a video).

  1. It’s a 5.1″ smartphone display.
  2. The resolution is 2560 by 1440. That gives an effective pixel density of 577 pixels per inch. For reference, 27″ displays with 2560 by 1440 resolution are considered QuadHD. I’m not sure what to think about a 5.1″ display that has 2560 by 1440 screen resolution.
  3. This is the same magical Mirasol Display which reflects nearby ambient light. It’s great for devices that want to use less power and/or for eReaders.
  4. The actual technology is still a few years away from being ready for market. Qualcomm, that does not surprise anyone. You seem masters of demoing technology that is ‘still a few years away from being ready for market’.
  5. Qualcomm also demo’ed a 1.5″ screen used in an always-on smartwatch. That actually sounds more interesting.

Eletronista also has some coverage and Qualcomm Mirasol photos.

Kindle Worlds – Amazon starts a Fan Fiction initiative

Amazon has stumbled upon what is either a brilliant idea or a disastrous one – let people make money from fan fiction, officially.

Geekwire has some details on Amazon’s Kindle Worlds initiative. You can write fan fiction about established books and series. You get a cut. The royalty owner gets a cut. Amazon gets a cut.

Some Warner Brothers properties like Pretty Little Liars are already available to fan fictionize.

Here’s what Amazon says –

You will own the copyright to the original, copyrightable elements (such as characters, scenes, and events) that you create and include in your work, and the World Licensor will retain the copyright to all the original elements of the World. When you submit your story in a World, you are granting Amazon Publishing an exclusive license to the story and all the original elements you include in that story. This means that your story and all the new elements must stay within the applicable World. We will allow Kindle Worlds authors to build on each other’s ideas and elements. We will also give the World Licensor a license to use your new elements and incorporate them into other works without further compensation to you.

If I’m reading this correctly, it would have meant that Stepahnie Meyer could start writing 50 Shades of Grey titles without having to pay the 50 Shades of Grey author anything.

Amazon says it will pay a royalty of 35 percent of revenue for accepted fan fiction of at least 10,000 words. Shorter pieces (5,000 to 10,000 words) will receive a 20 percent royalty. The company says it expects most of the “Kindle Worlds” fan fiction titles to sell for 99 cents to $3.99.

As it’s Amazon, an ‘exclusivity’ clause is also included.

Jealous, overprotective girlfriend/boyfriend on steroids.

Did we forget controlling?

Amazon Publishing will set the price.

Overall, it’s a very interesting move.

Amazon seems very focused on a few elements when it comes to books and content – creating new content sources that it owns, maintaining control over pricing, creating exclusive agreements.

It’s interesting. It’s almost as if Amazon thinks it can control a market into existence. A perfect market where customers behave perfectly and everything goes according to plan. You know what they say about plans – If you want God to laugh, show him your plans.

Penguin Pays Up $75 million for Agency Model Case, Only Apple left standing now

Penguin’s settlement with the DOJ means Penguin has to pay $75 million. This leaves Apple as the last company standing out of the Agency Model Cartel.

It’s quite interesting that –

  1. None of the Publishers are left.
  2. Apple still refuses to settle.
  3. DOJ is painting Apple as the instigator of the Agency Model.

Apple is also under fire for its elaborate tax avoidance schemes (avoidance = legal; evasion  = illegal). This includes gems like – paying less in taxes than it reports as ‘Taxes’ in its annual reports, a cash routing scheme so elaborate that economists are calling it ‘unbelievable chutzpah’, no one being sure of how Apple pays just 2% tax in Ireland when the official rate is an already low 13%.

At some level, it seems Apple has become so big and successful that everyone is going after it. Whether it’s Microsoft in the past or Apple now, you have to wonder – Are they being punished for their actual misdeeds, or just because they got too good and too successful.

The Tax Avoidance case is just avoidance and completely legal. The only cost will be some amount of PR. Until the law changes companies like Apple and Google and pretty much every big company will keep on ‘avoiding’ taxes.

The Agency Model case would perhaps be a few hundred million dollars. That’s less than Apple makes in profits in a day.

Amazon stops selling Kindle Keyboard

Thanks to a blog reader for pointing this out. I forget who (remind me if you’d like a mention).

Kindle Paperwhite and Kindle WiFi (just Kindle) are the only eInk Kindles available to buy now.

Kindle 3 was the favorite Kindle for a lot of people. Hopefully it’s only been removed to be replaced by something else.

Kindle 3 really was the best eReader ever made. It’s sad to see it gone.


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