Internet giant Amazon announced the Fire HD6 tablet, at a price of £79 for the base model. It also introduced the Fire HDX8.9 at £329, and two Kindles.
The cheap and cheerful Fire HD6 comes in two configurations, an 8GB and a 16GB version – the latter costs £99.
The device comes in a range of five colours, uses a 1.5GHz quad core processor, a six inch HD display, and front and rear cameras.
It also includes unlimited cloud storage for photos taken with all of its Fire devices. It gives access to Android apps and is compatible with most of the digital content on the interweb.
The device weighs 290 grams and has a claimed battery life of eight hours. Full charge via a micro USB port – supplied in the box – takes six hours.
It also has a Slimport USB 2.0 microB connector that lets you plug it into HDTV or VGA monitors or to PCs and Macs.
The Fire HD6 has a limited guarantee of a year.
The Kindle comes with touch now and costs £59, while the Kindle Voyage costs from £169.
Bad news for readers of ebooks, a team of boffins have worked out that if you read information on a tablet you are less likely to take it in.
A new study which found that readers using a Kindle were “significantly” worse than paperback readers at recalling when events occurred in a mystery story.
The study gave 50 readers the same short story by Elizabeth George to read. Half read the 28-page story on a Kindle, and half in a paperback, with readers then tested on aspects of the story including objects, characters and settings.
Anne Mangen of Norway’s Stavanger University, a lead researcher on the study, was looking for differences in the immersion facilitated by the device, and in emotional responses.
What she found was that Kindle readers performed significantly worse they were asked to place 14 events in the correct order.
The researchers think that “the haptic and tactile feedback of a Kindle does not provide the same support for mental reconstruction of a story as a print pocket book does”.
Mangen said that When you read a paper book, it is possible to make sense of the flow of the book because your fingers feel a pile of pages on the left growing, and shrinking on the right. This gives the reader a tactile sense of progress.
A similar test in Norway gave kids texts to read in print, or in PDF on a computer screen, followed by comprehension tests. She and her fellow researchers found that “students who read texts in print scored significantly better on the reading comprehension test than students who read the texts digitally.”
What is worrying is that “research shows that the amount of time spent reading long-form texts is in decline, and due to digitisation, reading is becoming more intermittent and fragmented”, with evidence indicating that the use of devices might negatively impact cognitive and emotional aspects of reading..
Mangen said that there needed to be research and evidence-based knowledge provided to publishers on what kind of devices should be used for what kind of content; what kinds of texts are likely to be less hampered by being read digitally, and which might require the support of paper.
In the buildup to Christmas it seems that the hot item for Santa’s stocking are tablets.
That’s according to nevouchercodes.co.uk, which today reports there’s an 18 percent increase for people searching for tablets.
But the white box buys may not fare so well, because the company says most of the searches are for iPads, Samsung Galaxy tablets and Amazon Kindles.
MD of the company Steve Barnes said that whiole people are searching they’re not buying yet. Tesco and Argos entering the fray makes tablets more affordable as a gift, he said.
People are also searching for deals on Xbox360s and PlayStation 3s because they’re expecting older models to be discounted in advance of the release of new consoles.
While the humble desktop PC emits a death rattle across Europe, consumers are flocking to tablets – devices which tend to be much more comfortable to keep on your lap when channel surfing.
According to analyst house Context, tablet sales have increased an enormous 350 percent in a single year, proving a boon to retailers who had the foresight to invest in the devices. Global MD of retail research at Context, Adam Simon, pointed out that there is a shift away from online-only retail channels, giving bricks and mortar stores the opportunity to capitalise while the consumer embarks on its cheap-and-cheerful tablet frenzy. Amazon is an example, which now stocks the Kindle in regular stores.
Click and collect is an emerging trend which is also helping the traditional retailers. Rather than waiting for the postman to stealthily drop in a “Sorry you weren’t at home” card in the nanosecond he or she was at the door, customers order online and pick up their product from a designated site. This is a pretty neat option because you don’t need to take a week off work to make sure you catch your delivery. Argos has enjoyed success with this model.
Of course, Apple is still very popular, but Context pointed out that top tablets in Western Europe also included the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0, the Galaxy Tab2 10, and the Nexus 7. Samsung’s laughing.
Context tablet analyst Salman Chaudhry said in a statement that Apple’s show and play concept “was a real leader and taught consumers to enjoy experiential purchases while also creating links between their own stores and other retail outlets”.
“Various tablet vendors are now following these footsteps by making more devices available in stores for people to trial before they buy, with even Google getting in on the act with their stands in PC World,” Chaudhry said.