Yifan Lu jailbreaks Kindle Touch, uses a special MP3 file to do so (video)

http://www.engadget.com/2011/12/11/yifan-lu-jailbreaks-kindle-touch-uses-a-special-mp3-file-to-do/We’ve seen a fair share of Kindle Jailbreaks over the past few years, but Yifan Lu’s (evidently the first) for the Kindle Touch is certainly novel in its approach. As The Digital Reader points out, a sizeable chunk of the Touch’s software is essentially a string of pseudo HTML5 and JavaScript webpages — differentiating it from Kindles prior — which led Lu to notice an exploit rooted in its browser. It’s there where he found a function titled nativeBridge.dbgCmd(), which’ll run any ol’ shell command as root. Armed with that knowledge, Lu crafted the jailbreak by cramming his payload of HTML and JavaScript into the ID3 tags of an easily downloadable MP3 file. There isn’t much to be gained from “playing” that MP3 just yet, but Lu’s looking forward to developers using the tools needed to write programs for the device. Full details about the jailbreak can be found at source link below, but before you head off, you can catch the video proof after the break.

Continue reading Yifan Lu jailbreaks Kindle Touch, uses a special MP3 file to do so (video)

Yifan Lu jailbreaks Kindle Touch, uses a special MP3 file to do so (video) originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 12 Dec 2011 09:46:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink The Digital Reader  |  sourceYifan Lu  | Email this | Comments

Amazon focusing on ‘lifetime’ Kindle revenue, anticipating record device sales for Q4

Today’s Amazon earnings were decidedly split — the company revealed both a 44-percent increase in net sales and a 73-percent decrease in net income. So, why the discrepancy? It may at least partially be due to the much discussed suggestion that the company actually loses money for each Kindle sold — a trend which, if true, has likely only been compounded by the release of the uber-cheap ad-supported version of the device. The company addressed the matter in part, suggesting that it is focused on “the lifetime value [of the Kindle], not just the economics of the devices and accessories.” The total economic picture of the Kindle includes the device itself, accessories, downloaded content and ad-revenue.

Things are apparently looking up for the company, as well, with Amazon anticipating “a record quarter in terms of device sales” for Q4. The positivity is a reflection, in part, of greater than anticipated Kindle pre-orders. Says CEO Jeff Bezos, “In the three weeks since launch, orders for electronic ink Kindles are double the previous launch. And based on what we’re seeing with Kindle Fire pre-orders, we’re increasing capacity and building millions more than we’d already planned.”

Amazon focusing on ‘lifetime’ Kindle revenue, anticipating record device sales for Q4 originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 25 Oct 2011 17:45:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink   |   | Email this | Comments

Amazon net sales up, net income down for Q3 2011

Amazon pulled back the financial curtain for Q3 2011, revealing $10.88 billion in net sales for the quarter, a 44 percent jump over this time last year. Net income, on the other hand, decreased 73 percent year over year, down to $63 million. The quarter also saw the company’s “biggest order day ever for Kindle,” according to CEO Jeff Bezos — September 28th, the introduction of three new reader devices from the company. The company’s Q4 report will likely be affected by the coming launch of the Kindle Touch and the long-awaited Fire tablet.

Continue reading Amazon net sales up, net income down for Q3 2011

Amazon net sales up, net income down for Q3 2011 originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 25 Oct 2011 16:30:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink   |   | Email this | Comments

ViewSonic Budget Tablet to Battle Amazon Fire

Amazon’s upcoming Kindle Fire aims to upend the tablet industry with its low cost and smaller form factor. The Fire has been dubbed the one serious contender to the iPad, which should have a holiday season stranglehold on tablet sales to the tune of 73 percent of the worldwide market. It’s no surprise, then, that we’re seeing other manufacturers following Amazon’s lead into the 7-inch display space.

The ViewPad 7e is ViewSonic’s new budget tablet option, matching the Kindle Fire’s relatively low price of $200 dollars.

Specs-wise, the 7e isn’t terrible for a $200 mobile device, but it doesn’t compare favorably to the Fire, at least in terms of raw processing power. The 7e runs a 1GHz single-core chip based on ARM’s A8 architecture, whereas the Fire runs a dual-core 1GHz chip. Both tablets will include a modest 512MB of RAM.

There’s only 4GB of internal storage in the 7e — 4GB less than the Fire — but that storage can be augmented with a microSD card, expandable up to 32GB. The Fire, meanwhile, is not expandable. The 7e also sports both rear- and front-facing cameras, two items that Amazon’s hardware lacks.

But all this hardware talk is arguably inconsequential, as taking on Amazon in a specs war is a losing battle. Amazon’s hardware is backed by a vertically integrated app store, a movie and TV show rental service, and a free month of membership to Amazon’s premium shipping service, Amazon Prime. What’s more, the ViewPad 7e won’t even ship with the Android Market app because ViewSonic’s hardware doesn’t meet Google’s requirements. Instead, the 7e will rely on Amazon’s Appstore for content. Ironic.

We’ve seen tablets from ViewSonic before, and they haven’t been pretty. The ViewPad 10 — a dual-boot Android/Windows device intended to appeal to many, though loved by few — was a disaster in our testing, freezing up often when we attempted to boot into Android. What’s more, the 7e lacks Adobe Flash support — a feature typically seen as one of Android’s main draws over the iPad — and its battery life clocks in at a dismal three hours per charge.

So that’s what we know at this point, and there’s nowhere to go but up for the 7e. Expect to see ViewSonic’s tablet in stores come this November.

Amazon’s new e-book format brings HTML5 support to your Kindle library

“Great looking books.” That’s what Amazon is promising to deliver with Kindle Format 8 (KF8) — a new, HTML5-based file format for Kindle books. According to the company, KF8 will allow publishers to produce picture books, comics and graphic novels with greater ease, thanks to the platform’s rich formatting capabilities and design elements. In fact, this format brings more than 150 new formatting tools to the table, including fixed layouts, nested tables, sidebars and Scalable Vector Graphics, among others. It should be noted, however, that audio and video are not included on the list of supported HTML tags and CSS elements. At first, content creators will only be able to use KF8 for the Kindle Fire tablet, though Amazon says it’ll gradually expand to its entire lineup of devices and apps “in the coming months.” No word yet on when KF8 will become available as an update to Amazon’s Kindle Publisher Tools suite, but you can find more details at the source link, below.

Amazon’s new e-book format brings HTML5 support to your Kindle library originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 24 Oct 2011 08:38:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink AppleInsider  |  sourceAmazon  | Email this | Comments

Amazon Now Accepts Old Kindles in Exchange for New Ones

Cash for Kindles! Cash for Kindles! Sell ’em here!

Now Kindle owners can trade in their old models and receive credit for a new one, or anything else that Amazon sells. It’s kind of like taking your old, read books to the bookstore and trading them in for new ones. Almost.

Any Kindle can be traded, from the white elephant that is the oversized DX to the original Kindle. As with all traditional trade ins, you won’t get much for it. The DX is at the top of the heap, and will fetch you $135 in mint condition. The last-gen Kindle Keyboard Wi-Fi can get you up to $37.75, and the OG Kindle brings in a surprisingly high $28.

Oddly, the Special Offers versions are about a dollar more or less than their full priced counterparts, depending on the model.

Thus, the Kindle joins all manner of other electronic cast-offs which are eligible for trade-in. The HP Touchpad could even make you money. If you managed to get one in the fire sale for $50, you’ll profit by almost $30 if you let Amazon take it off your hands.

Kindle Trade-In [Amazon]

See Also:

Amazon adds e-readers to Trade-In program, ebook lovers pass the old Kindles to the Bezos side

Early adopters are usually SOL a few months into owning their new doodads. After helping make products successful, their version 1.0 devices are often cast aside to make room for the newer, better, faster kit waiting in the pipeline. If you happened to jump on the Kindle bandwagon early on or even just a short while ago, you may be feeling these very flames of tech fury whenever you consider the company’s newly refreshed line. Well, buck up bookworms, a partial solution to your economic woes is now available. Amazon’s accepting your used and abused e-readers in exchange for a gift card applicable to any purchases you make on the site. It’s the same old trade-in program the Bezos-backed company’s been running for years, only now you’ll have a more sensible way to upgrade your E Ink or tablet game.

Amazon adds e-readers to Trade-In program, ebook lovers pass the old Kindles to the Bezos side originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 21 Oct 2011 08:23:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink TechCrunch  |  sourceAmazon  | Email this | Comments

Kindle Update Adds Read Position Sync, Cloud Storage

Amazon will now sync your reading position for personal documents

A somewhat innocuous update for the Kindle looks like it’s not even worth a press release, but a closer look reveals it to be a pretty big deal. Kindle Keyboard Software update v3.3 brings Whispersync and cloud storage to personal documents.

While some might frame this as an answer to Apple’s iCloud, it seems like an obvious move for Amazon. Right now, you can redownload any purchased content — like ebooks, music, movies — from Amazon any time you like. This update (already included in the new Kindle and Kindle Touch) does the same for any content you add yourself.

If you e-mail documents to your Kindle, or add them via USB, they’ll now show up on the personal documents section your Kindle management pages at Amazon. From there, you can delete them or send them to one of your devices. You get 5GB of space, which should be more than enough, even counting PDFs

What’s more, if the file is in “Kindle format” then your reading progress will be synced between devices. Thus you can read a converted ebook on the Kindle in bed, and switch to the Kindle app on your phone when you’re waiting in line at the store.

Or you will. The new services only work with the actual Kindles right now. Updates are coming soon for the various Kindle apps.

There are two more new features in this update. You now get local deals included in ads if you own a Special Offer Kindle, and the Voice Guide can now be started by pressing the shift and space keys together. I tried this last one and it seems buggy at best. I could only get it to work once.

The update is free, and don’t panic if your Kindle seems to go into an endless loop of restarts. It will end eventually. I promise.

Kindle Keyboard Software Update Version 3.3 [Amazon]

See Also:

Kindle 3 gets software upgrade, ready to soar into the cloud

Amazon has pushed out a new update for the Kindle 3, now operating under the alias of the Kindle Keyboard. This gives the well-buttoned e-reader access to some of the cloud features found on its freshly unboxed younger brother, and includes the ability to view any archived documents, notes and highlights you’ve added to that intangible pile of books and articles. You’ll need to tether the Kindle to your PC, point your browser towards Amazon, and download the file corresponding to the right region and model. Excitable annotators can grab the upgrade now at the source link below.

Kindle 3 gets software upgrade, ready to soar into the cloud originally appeared on Engadget on Sun, 16 Oct 2011 08:31:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink SlashGear  |  sourceAmazon  | Email this | Comments

T-Mobile’s SpringBoard Tablet Aims to Snuff Amazon’s Fire

SAN DIEGO, California — 2011 was supposed to be the year of the tablet. After the 2010 launch of the iPad demonstrated there was a lucrative market for consumer-class slates, all the key consumer electronics manufacturers strapped Android to their would-be iPad killers, hoping to catch up to Apple’s massive lead.

But Android tablets aren’t selling. iPads still claim over 60 percent global market share, according to IDC research. As technology web site AllThingsD claimed, “Consumers don’t want tablets, they want iPads.” And, indeed, comparably priced Android competitors haven’t stood up to Apple’s two tablets.

Now there’s a new approach: Aim low. In September, Amazon wowed us with the unveiling of its Kindle Fire tablet, the first low-priced, high-quality consumer-class tablet to look like a formidable competitor to iPad. Even if it sucks when it finally debuts this fall, at $200 the Fire is priced low enough for casual consumers to risk an impulse buy — and now we see other companies chasing that same price-conscious buyer.

Following Amazon’s lead, T-Mobile teamed up with Chinese computer company Huawei to create the SpringBoard, a sub-$200 tablet positioned to undercut the glut of other Android slates currently shipping. We got some hands-on time with the SpringBoard before it hits the shelves, and overall, it checks out well enough.

I didn’t expect a sub-$200 tablet to feel as substantial as the SpringBoard. It’s got the look of an HTC-made slate, with a sturdy exterior casing and smooth, brushed metal finish. It’s almost as if the HTC Flyer was revamped (or, perhaps, copied). Just like the Fire and the Flyer, It’s a 7-inch tablet, deviating from the norm of 9- and 10-inch competitors. With the modest heft of a trade paperback, and the shape of one to boot, it’s comfortable to carry.

Under the hood, the SpringBoard sports a 1.2-GHz dual-core processor of yet-to-be-named pedigree. I was able to zip through Android’s Honeycomb menus with relative ease, and regardless of whatever chip Huawei eventually sources for the final shipping product, it’s clear that the hardware I played with wasn’t skimping on core processing power.

The SpringBoard comes with a few features that Amazon’s Fire doesn’t include: Cameras. Equipped with a 5-megapixel front-facing camera and a 1.3-megapixel back-facing camera, SpringBoard adopters can snap pictures at will. Image quality from the 5-megapixel camera is about what you would expect (i.e., nothing that would compel you to ditch a DSLR), but the very inclusion of dual cameras at least puts this tablet in the picture-taking game.

That said, taking pictures with a tablet just feels weird. I’ve been put off by tablet-based photography since first using the Motorola Xoom and Samsung Galaxy Tab — when shooting a pic, it feels like I’m defending myself from flying meatballs with a cafeteria tray during a food fight. Amazon decided we aren’t ready for cameras on tablets (or, at least, aren’t basing our buying decisions on whether cameras appear on spec sheets). Huawei thinks we are. As both tablets haven’t been released, we’ll have to wait on the market to see who’s right.

Finally, the SpringBoard offers the usual array of ports — HDMI, micro-USB and microSD card slots (you can use microSD for an extra 32GB of storage). HDMI doesn’t come standard on all tablets, so it’s a nice feature.

The SpringBoard is slated to go on sale “in time for the holidays,” says T-Mobile’s spokeswoman, though the company isn’t saying whether that means sooner rather than later. Though we don’t know exactly how much it will cost, be prepared to spend less than two C-notes — with a two-year T-Mobile contract, of course.

Photos: Mike Isaac/Wired.com