Pokemon TV App Now Available for Amazon Kindle Fire

Pokemon TV App Now Available for Amazon Kindle Fire

Apr 24, 2014

Pokemon Company International has just released the Pokemon TV app for the Kindle Fire.

The app allows for users to watch select episodes which are updated weekly from a pool of 700+ episodes across 16 seasons; there are also special features, trailers and more.

From the press release:

There’s a new way to catch up on Pokémon animation anytime, anywhere on the Kindle Fire with The Pokémon Company International’s launch of the official Pokémon TV application for the popular tablet.

The Kindle Fire launch adds another platform for the Pokémon TV app, which has had more than 2.5 million installations since its 2013 launch on iOS devices, including iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, and Android devices.

Now featuring more episodes than ever before, the Pokémon TV app helps fans follow many of their favorite episodes from the animated television series. It is updated weekly from a library of more than 700 episodes spanning 16 seasons. Pokémon fans can also use the app to watch special features, trailers, and Pokémon movie events.

Additionally, fans can watch popular Pokémon animated episodes and movies on Netflix and Hulu and at Pokemon.com, providing more ways to catch up on the exciting adventures of Ash, Pikachu, and their friends

The Pokemon TV app is available for free on the Amazon Appstore for Android.

Why Samsung’s Actually the Quiet Leader in Android Tablets, Not Amazon or Google, According to Animoca

Why Samsung’s Actually the Quiet Leader in Android Tablets, Not Amazon or Google, According to Animoca

Apr 12, 2013

A lot of the discussion around Android tablets seems to cover the Nexus 7, being that it is an official Google device, along with the Kindle Fire line, since Amazon is a huge player as well.

However, Samsung, well-known for leading the market and headlines on the phone side of Android, are apparently the big fish in tablets as well, according to data collected from global app publisher Animoca. Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 represented 11.8% (across cellular and wifi-only models) of Animoca’s sample of 978,000 users (margin of error +/- .1%). The 10.1″ Galaxy Tab 2 was second with 8.3%, the original Kindle Fire at 7.5%, the Kindle Fire HD at 4.9%, the original 7″ Galaxy Tab at 4.8%, and the Nexus 7 and 3.8%. The Galaxy Note 10.1 comes in at 3.0% (second among 10.1″ tablets), followed by the Asus Transformer models TF101 and TF300 at 0.9% each. The Nexus 10 is nowhere to be found in the sample, taken from February 18th to March 20th, 2013.

The big takeaway is that not only are 7″ tablets the dominant form factor, at least among Animoca’s data, but also that Samsung definitely has exploited their massive marketing ability to be the leader in the Android space – they advertise their phones and tablets frequently, have widespread retail availability along with defined branding, and have managed to top the Android tablet charts, it seems. It’s fascinating.

Amazon Announces New 7″ and 8.9″ Kindle Fire HD

Amazon Announces New 7″ and 8.9″ Kindle Fire HD

Sep 7, 2012

While rumors of a new iPad mini spread, and the Nexus 7 enjoys its sales numbers, Amazon has laid dormant until now with the announcement of new Kindle Fire devices.

The flagship is the Kindle Fire HD. This will come in both an 8.9" variety and a 7" variety; the specs on the 7" are supposed to be the same as the 8.9", but Amazon was more keen to show off this version. It's got a 1920×1200 screen (true HD!) which is 254 ppi (compared to the iPad retina display's 264 ppi), to go along with a Texas Instruments OMAP 4470 processor, which Amazon claims can do 50% more floating point operations as compared to the Tegra 3 processor in the Nexus 7.

The touch screen has a laminated touch sensor, which Amazon claims will offer a better display with less glare. It has 2 wifi antennas, offering faster dual-band wifi performance. It also boasts a front-facing camera, an HDMI port, and Bluetooth. The 7" model with 16 GB of storage will go for $199. The 8.9" model with 16 GB of storage will cost $299. Even the original Kindle Fire has been given a minor update with 1GB of RAM, an upgraded processor, and a new $159 cost.

While the rest of the lineup is still wifi-only, there's one option for those who want network connectivity. The Kindle Fire HD 8.9 will be available with 4G LTE (powered by AT&T) for $499, and for $50 per year, it will come with 250 MB of data and 20 GB cloud storage access. Options to upgrade to 3GB and 5GB data plans will be available directly from the device for AT&T. The device also has 10 bands of cell access, so it can fall back to 3G/4G networks.

Amazon appears to be trying to regain any market space lost to the Nexus 7, and with the 8.9" size, may be getting in to competing with the iPad, thanks to their expansion of app content to go with their media library. It shall be an interesting holiday season for those competing in the tablet market. The 7" devices ship on September 14th. The 8.9" devices ship on November 20th.

The Hills Are Greener: Would the iPad Mini Kill Android Tablets?

The Hills Are Greener: Would the iPad Mini Kill Android Tablets?

Aug 6, 2012

So far, Android’s tablet advantage has been in the low-cost and 7" size space: the people want tablets, but don’t want to pay iPad prices for them, and because there’s nothing really to do with the BlackBerry Playbook, Android tablets like the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire are extremely popular.

However, the internets are currently quite abuzz with the possibility that Apple has reneged on keeping the iPad at 9.7“ – there’s a lot of smoke building around the idea of an ”iPad mini" and given the tenacity of the Apple rumor scene, there’s probably fire there.

It makes sense for Apple to release an iPad mini – while it may not be as productive of a device, it is fantastic for media consumption, and lest we forget that iTunes is the media supply behemoth. No matter what they do with the size. Will they do what the Nexus 7 does and use a special hybrid phone/tablet interface for the smaller screen size, or just stick with the standard iPad interface? Good question.

But the most important question for the tablet market will be price. The odds that Apple would release at $199 to compete with the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire seem unlikely, if they’re planning to make a profit, or make it as powerful as the 3rd generation iPad currently is. However, pricing at $299 could make it a compelling option: cheap enough to where people might rationally consider it over the cheaper Android options, yet expensive enough to where Apple could potentially make their profit off of it.

Now, there’s been hardly anything conclusive to prove that the iPad mini will exist, just a lot of rumors and these seeming photos of its shell. There’s been other seemingly-solid rumors out there that haven’t panned out. Plus, the iPad is pulling down a solid profit for the company and this is despite being at least $300 more than most 7" tablets. However, the big barrier to a $299 price point is the high cost of components that are in the current iPad, though smaller screen size and battery components will help lower the cost slightly.

Now, what about the market of Android tablets? Unless Apple somehow does get into the $199 range, there will be people who would rather save $100. And there’s always the “Anything but an Apple product” factor at play with some people as well. But, what obvious advantage would Android tablets have besides being lower cost devices? Phones come in a variety of price points along with being bigger than the iPhone (though the smoke signals with the iPhone 5 are that it will be a bigger device as well), and they provide a distinct product from the iPhone. But the reason why Apple has succeeded is that they’ve been able to compete on price with their competitors. The tablet market doesn’t have an obvious comparison, and the iPad already has such a huge advantage. An iPad mini could be disastrous for the Android tablet market.

Amazon Announces GameCircle for Kindle Fire, Bringing Leaderboards, Achievements, and Cloud Saves to Games

Amazon Announces GameCircle for Kindle Fire, Bringing Leaderboards, Achievements, and Cloud Saves to Games

Jul 12, 2012

Amazon has announced GameCircle, a service launching for Kindle Fire that hopes to bring social gaming features to the 7-inch tablet. It offers leaderboards, achievements, and progress synchronization for games that use their APIs. Temple Run, Triple Town, andTap Zoo are among the launch titles for the service, which has a signup for the API available to developers.

The important thing about this is that it provides a service that has yet to really have an equal on Android: Game Center. Yes, OpenFeint has existed on Android, but it’s something that is appearing in a dwindling number of games. This may be due to OpenFeint’s transition into the GREE Platform, as well as the fact that many games’ iOS counterparts no longer use OpenFeint thanks to Game Center. There hasn’t been an Android counterpart yet, so Amazon figures they can launch one. Right now, GameCircle is only on Kindle Fire, but given the rumors of new Kindle devices, there’s the potential for it to expand.

If Amazon did extend GameCircle outside of the Kindle Fire, there is a definite potential to cause some disruptions to Google Play. Because Google hasn’t launched a similar feature yet, developers may be tempted by the ability to add high scores, achievements, and implement cloud saving through this mechanism backed by a big company. If Amazon only offered GameCircle features through the Amazon Appstore, then gamers might find themselves buying apps on their devices through the Appstore instead of through Google Play. As well, given Amazon’s server hosting, the cloud saving could be a major component of their offering, if it proves to be reliable. iCloud on iOS has been anything but reliable so far, so Amazon does have a tall task ahead of them if they do extend out beyond the Kindle Fire.

Of course, this could serve to be the catalyst for Google to launch a similar service. The Nexus 7 probably does not exist without the threat of the Kindle Fire. Google may be tempted to strike back just to try and retain customers and developer efforts on ‘official’ Android.

Why the Nexus 7 Won’t Be Getting Exclusives Like the Kindle Fire Does

Why the Nexus 7 Won’t Be Getting Exclusives Like the Kindle Fire Does

Jul 3, 2012

Google has fired their official shot into the domain of 7-inch tablets, the Nexus 7. Naturaly, this stands in opposition to the Kindle Fire and Nook tablets, which use Android but don’t give any money to Google by using their own stores, all thanks to Android being free and open source.

Of course, the advantage that Google has over Amazon and Nook is that their store is still the largest, and big publishers like EA and Gameloft are going to publish their games on Google Play. For Google, getting Nexus 7 support will just be a matter of getting them to ensure that the games actually work on the device. Given that it’s got a standardized chip set in the Tegra 3 and stock Android, that shouldn’t be a huge burden. The question may just be if Google wants to try and get exclusives to the Nexus 7, if at least to keep publishers from going to the Amazon Appstore. At worst, the Nexus 7 serves as a gateway to all the Tegra 3-exclusive games that are out there. Odds are that if this does well, that Nvidia might hold off on pushing for games to exclusively support that next Tegra chip if and when it arrives.

EA and Gameloft just fired salvos back and forth with new titles that will launch for each platform: EA is bringing 8 titles including NBA Jam to the Kindle Fire, while Gameloft announced that they would be optimizing some of their recent titles for the Nexus 7, including N.O.V.A. 3 and The Amazing Spider-Man.

The thing that will stop Nexus 7 exclusivity is that the Kindle Fire does have a huge install base, so not supporting it for developers to make money. So, beyond any Tegra-3-exclusives, don’t count on the Nexus 7 to get much in the way of exclusive content, though Google will surely be working to make sure that they make it an attractive option for gaming, as its chipset already ensures.

CineXPlayer Makes the Jump to Kindle Fire

CineXPlayer Makes the Jump to Kindle Fire

Jun 20, 2012

iOS video player CineXPlayer has made the jump to Android, and it’s making its initial launch on the Kindle Fire and Amazon Appstore. The app is designed to play videos of all kinds of formats, including AVIs, XVID files, and files with SRT subtitle tracks. Heck, it can even provide 2D to 3D conversion.

This app should prove to be handy to Kindle Fire owners in particular. The device is designed for content consumption, and this should help with users who have extensive libraries already on their computers view them on their Kindle Fire, though the limited storage space on the device may make it difficult to store a lot of high-resolution videos. However, features like IMDB listing support should help users who want to keep them organized on that tablet of theirs. As well, for when users want to watch video but don’t have internet access, CineXPlayer is a definite option. *CineXPlayer* is available on the Amazon Appstore at a limited-time sale price of $1.49, with a regular price of $2.99. It is currently a Kindle Fire exclusive.

Big Win Slots Launches Today on Kindle Fire

Big Win Slots Launches Today on Kindle Fire

May 8, 2012

Mobile users love two things, apparently. One is spending money on the Amazon Appstore. The other? Casino games, which make up 5 of 3 of the top 5 grossing games on Google Play, and 5 of the top 20 grossing overall. This is hypothetically an apples-to-apples comparison, but top grossing numbers are unavailable for the Amazon Appstore, and the iOS App Store has 4 of the top 20 grossing games as casino-style games. They are popular.

As such, Mobile Deluxe is hoping to achieve a big win by launching the Kindle Fire version of Big Win Slots today exclusively on the Amazon Appstore for Kindle Fire. They will be using the Amazon Appstore’s new in-app purchase API to help generate revenue from users, who can buy coins and earn VIP points to unlock new machines and themes. According to Mobile Deluxe CEO Josh Hartwell, “As an early developer partner, we’ve been looking forward to Amazon’s IAP service. Amazon knows merchandising and knows that Kindle Fire users want to buy digital products with the same great experience they’ve grown accustomed to. We are proud that Big Win Slots is one of the first games to deliver that renowned Amazon experience to Kindle Fire users.” The game is available today via the Amazon Appstore.

Amazon Launches In-App Purchase Mechanism for Amazon Appstore Apps

Amazon Launches In-App Purchase Mechanism for Amazon Appstore Apps

Apr 11, 2012

While it was announced a while ago, the Amazon Appstore API for in-app purchases is finally live. This is a major milestone for Amazon’s store, as free-to-play games have previously had to use third-party payment processors in order to generate the kind of revenue that is driving mobile games as of late.

While revenues have been coming at better rates on the Amazon Appstore than on Google Play, the latter has offered IAP systems where the former did not. The real strength that Amazon’s IAP system will provide is the ability to one-click purchase content with Amazon accounts, which many users have accounts for – with credit cards on file. So if Amazon is empowering increased spending from users just by buying apps, and if now they’re enabling the revenue driver in mobile apps, then it could make the Amazon Appstore even more powerful of a market for selling Android apps than Google’s own.

There’s already evidence of this working – Storm8 saw a 1000% increase in sales when they were taking part in the beta of the API. Even if it doesn’t have the same impact for Amazon Appstore apps at large, it could still be huge for developers on that store. While total numbers are unknown, Amazon had 80 million customers monthly (as of 2010) compared to iTunes’ 210 million+.

Google might need to watch their back, or figure out just what Amazon is doing to improve their margins, if it is just a matter of having payment information on file. While they may want to push their own Google Wallet, there’s increasing evidence that not having as much payment information on file as their competitors at Apple and even Amazon (who are co-opting their own OS, remember) is a weakness to developers on the service. Partnering with PayPal, who may be running behind Apple nad Amazon but are still a massive payment processor, may help with this increasing divide.

Or maybe it’s not a matter of having credit cards on file. Maybe the structure of Apple and Amazon’s stores are what is making it easier to discover apps, or the Kindle Fire is going a long way toward improving Amazon’s margins. But Google needs to find something in order to make their market more friendly to developers and prospective customers.

The Hills Are Greener: How Google is Hindering Android

The Hills Are Greener: How Google is Hindering Android

Apr 9, 2012

I have become convinced that the biggest hurdle for Android right now is Google.

The weaknesses that Google has in selling directly to consumers are coming to hit them hard. Amazon is making developers more revenue per user than Google is, and it ain’t close. Google’s own internal product strategies are in flux, with a long public manifesto saying they need to focus on their core products being released. This is one of the giants of the tech industry, and they have the biggest mobile operating system in the world, but they have still found ways to bungle so much of it.

Now the latest rumor is that Google wants to sell the much-rumored-but-never-seen Nexus Tablet to customers directly on the web. That worked so well for the Nexus One, right? Granted, a low-cost tablet is different than a phone which confusingly costs more than a bigger screen device. But if Google goes with this strategy, then they’re making a huge mistake, especially if they want to really stand their ground in the market of the Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet.

Both of those devices are easy to find at retail – and for the latter, not just Barnes and Noble, either. Brick-and-mortar retail may be on a downswing, but the fact that someone can just go to a store and feel the device in their hands is a huge plus. Amazon is also the e-commerce leader, and that they can easily get the device in customers’ faces is a huge plus for them. Barnes and Noble has certainly been helped by having the Nook in not just their own storefronts, but by being in stores like Target as well. Having that public face is a necessity, and if Google follows through on their plan, it will backfire on them.

The Kindle Fire

Amazon’s other advantage is that they are very good at selling products directly to customers. They are a commerce company, they know how to get product to customers, and get the money from customers. While they also provide the pipeline to do so (and provide servers and web hosting for much of the internet, so that can’t be underestimated), and sell from third-party vendors on their website, the fact is that they know how to sell to consumers. The fact that they are dramatically outperforming Google on their own OS with a third-party store and ‘unofficial’ device is rather telling.

Google is an intermediary company. Google is what people use to get their info to them. They do that very well – their search is still king, and Gmail is still widespread. The point is that both of those products try to act as the pipeline that gets information to users that they want. Google’s failings come from when they try to be that direct provider. They’ve built an increasingly-capable operating system in Android, but they have shown their difficulties in getting quality products to customers. Google Play is struggling at making money for developers despite the number of Android devices out there. Heck, they can’t even get their stock operating system out there because the manufacturers and carriers have customized it to their whim, providing generally negative experiences.

They have failed to keep their phones up to date. They have sold phones that are underpowered and unsupported even when customers buy them. Google has found ways to make good hardware with timely updates (the Nexus devices have been critically well-received), but customers don’t have these devices.

So, with an idea that could have some viability – a graphically-powerful, low-priced Nexus Tablet? Instead of finding ways to put it in consumers’ hands easily, and having the natural ability to brag that they have more apps at launch, they’re going to try and sell it themselves? While it’s still rumor and it could be nothing, does it not reek of a patently Google decision?

Google has mismanaged Android to the point where they may actually make more money off of their services on iOS than they do on Android. The platform that they own. It’s crazy to think about, but it just might be reality.

I think the mobile market is far better than it was before Android came along. The problem is that because of Google’s own incompetence, it could be far better than it is. Google has the power to change things. They just seem unwilling or unable to use it.

The Hills Are Greener: All I Want for Christmas is an Android Tablet

The Hills Are Greener: All I Want for Christmas is an Android Tablet

Dec 19, 2011

This promises to be a huge time of year for Android tablets: between the Kindle Fire being the most gifted item on Amazon, Barnes and Noble launching their new Nook devices including the Nook Tablet along with the still-on-the-market Nook Color. Plus, the Nook Touch is actually an Android device with an e-ink screen, and it’s actually possible to run Android apps on it after rooting it. This is very unsupported functionality, though. This is along with other cheap Android tablets that are on the market at bargain basement prices, and those high-end models at the iPad’s price point.

While sales will obviously be a huge barometer for the success of these devices, the other question will be quite simply if users will enjoy these Android tablets. Like it or not, the iPad is still the champion of the tablet market and what users are going to compare these tablets to. If the tablets don’t perform up to snuff, will people lose any faith in Android? The greatest fear that Google and other Android supporters have to have is that the current rush on Android tablets winds up creating a greater demand for tablets, but a dislike of the Android tablets released causes people to just be driven to the iPad. Long-term, these cheaper tablets may be bad for Android.

I personally have been telling friends interested in tablets that the iPad is a superior choice to the Android tablets. In particular, the smaller app selection on the Nook and Amazon stores represents a stumbling block, especially as even with Market access these tablets still pale in comparison to the iPad in terms of apps. Cost is a concern with them, and that is where Android tablets will succeed – being a fraction of the cost is a humongous selling point that the iPad just can’t compete with.

As one Twitter user pointed out, many tablets like the Kindle Fire are being given as gifts, and if users dislike them and start to try and return them or sell them secondhand en masse after Christmas, Hanukkah, and Festivus, then Android vendors could be seeing a lump of coal come next year when the next round of Android tablets come out.

Glu and EA Mobile Begin to Publish Titles for the Amazon Appstore

Glu and EA Mobile Begin to Publish Titles for the Amazon Appstore

Nov 16, 2011

More so than any other Android device launching, the Kindle Fire is particularly newsworthy because of the separate ecosystem it is creating. This is also thanks to being a major Android device from a big-name company with the content library, technological backbone, and user payment information to become a behemoth. Of course, while their music and book libraries are massive, and their video library is expanding (along with support for other popular media services), app distribution is a big question still for the Kindle Fire. Many publishers have yet to support the Amazon Appstore for a myriad of reasons. However, it appears as if the launch of the Kindle Fire will start to spur support to the platform from big-name Android publishers not yet on the platform.

In particular, Glu and EA Mobile have announced that they are now offering their titles through the Amazon AppStore. Glu is launching Contract Killer, Bug Village, and Eternity Warriors on the Amazon Appstore; all were previously available on the Android Market. Glu will be releasing other titles on the Amazon Appstore in the future as well. all the titles were optimized for Android tablets, and should work as well on the Kindle Fire.

EA’s launch titles for the Amazon Appstore include several known titles: Bejeweled 2, SimCity Deluxe, Monopoly, The Game of Life, and Scrabble. All the game’s have been optimized for the Kindle Fire, and Bejeweled 2 is actually free on the 16th as well. The most notable title is Dead Space; while the game released a while back on iOS, and has been pre-installed on GameStop’s tablets, this is the EA title that should prove to be a test of the Kindle Fire’s horsepower, to see if it can be a capable gaming system as well as a media consumption device. All these titles are now available.