Thursday, 29 September 2011

Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “Android on a Budget: Behold the HTC Explorer”

Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “Android on a Budget: Behold the HTC Explorer”

Android on a Budget: Behold the HTC Explorer

Posted: 29 Sep 2011 02:21 AM PDT

You can say a lot of things about smartphones, but you cannot say they’re cheap. Enter HTC Explorer, the latest Android smartphone from HTC, which aims to satisfy your smartphone needs with less than stellar specifications and a very affordable price.

HTC Explorer is a compact Android 2.3 smartphone, with a 3.2-inch HVGA (480 x 320) screen, a 3-megapixel camera, a 600 MHz CPU and 512 MB of memory, which can be further expanded via memory cards. It’ll come in three colors: metallic black, active black and metallic navy.

The device will be available in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East in October; there’s no word on when or whether it’s coming to the U.S.

The price hasn’t been officially confirmed at this point, but Engadget reports it will be well below $290 (sans contract), which is the price of HTC’s other mid-range smartphone, the Wildfire S.

More About: android, htc, HTC Explorer, smartphone, trending

For more Mobile coverage:

Down By the Sea: 25 Brilliant iPhone Photos From the Beach

Posted: 28 Sep 2011 09:00 PM PDT

As we say a sad goodbye to the summer of 2011 and welcome the fall, we thought it would be a good time to look back on the sunny season with a collection of iPhone photographs.

More specifically, beach pics galore. We’ve assembled a gallery of 25 fabulous photos snapped at the seashore by some of our favorite iPhotographers — and by some fresh new faces too. In addition to iPhone photos, we’ve also included a handful of pics processed with iPhone apps — a growing trend.


Take a look through the photo gallery below for our best-of beach imagery. To celebrate fall we’re looking for your autumnal iPhone photos for our next compilation. Submit your images for consideration in the comments section below.

1. Not Your Typical Sicilian Beach by Lindsey Thoeng

Taken on Brighton Beach in Brooklyn, New York, this strikingly framed Lo-Mob shot has been enhanced with a touch of tilt shift.

2. Never Never Land by Jaime Ferreyros

"The idea also was to capture the joy any beach brings out in people, especially the young ones," says Jaime Ferreyros of his arresting photo. "Nothing beats a life at the beach."

3. Beach by Myrthe Mosterman

This moody Instagram photo offers a monotone view of the island of Texel shore of the Dutch Wadden Sea.

4. Clouds by Jim Darling

This dreamy photo was shot in Corolla, North Carolina, otherwise known as "The Outer Banks."

"The poles in the sand mark the end of Route 12 at the north end of the Outer Banks; as well as acting as a barrier to keep the wild horses on the other side," explains Jim Darling. "Beyond this point, it's '4-wheel drive access only'."

5. Burns Beach by Mark Finley

Burns Beach at Perth in Western Australia provides a perfect setting for this stunning sunset.

6. Weymouth Beach by Scott Salter

The photographer captured the soft colors of a Dorset beach as the deckchairs wait patiently for the rain to stop.

7. Florida Keys by Mark Ferrer

The TiltShift Generator app adds some miniature fun to this timeless beach-scape.

8. "Come What May, I Will Love You as There Is the Light of Day" by Sion Fullana

A young Spanish couple are oblivious to the photographer's eye in this great candid photo.

9. Beach by Ida Söderfjord

Lovely lines make a long pier look very inviting at Malmö, in southern Sweden.

10. Instagram Ocean by Kim Holloway

This great capture of a white horse wave at Fort Lauderdale beach is refreshing on the eye.

11. Steppin' Out by Daniel Berman

You can almost sense the swimmer's reluctance to leave the water. Taken on Key Biscayne island in Florida, the PictureShow, Camera+ and Noir apps assist in creating the final image.

12. Instagram Beach by Tatiana Nasser

Taken with a Nikon and processed using Instagram on an iPhone, this photo is representative of a trend we're seeing: people app-up their "standard" photography. The result is great!

13. Wade in the Water by Jenny Markley

Captured this June at the beach in Cape May, New Jersey, Jenny Markley used the CrossProcess app to achieve the beautiful colors. The amazing composition is her own.

14. Sunset at Hayama Beach, Japan by Lance Shields

We're in Japan for this next pic -- at Hayama Beach, about an hour south of Tokyo.

"I chose this rough-edged film to give the sunset a raw, physical look," explains Lance Shields. "The Hipstamatic app over-saturated what was already a very intense late colorful sunset. I was surprised by the colors and gravity of the light."

15. One Last Seagull Before We Go... by Andy Royston

This is an image from the @FtLauderdaleSun iPhotography project. Andy Royston snaps a photo at sunrise every morning, then processes and uploads it to Twitter from the beach. There's a ton of great shots to enjoy, but these seagulls lit by a sun flare caught our eye.

16. Instagram Beach Sarasota, Florida by Lynn-Anne Bruns

This lovely shot looks like a still from a happy childhood.

17. Newport Beach Palms by Corey Miller

This wonderful crop snapped in Newport Beach, CA boasts crazy saturated colors thanks to Hipstamatic's John S lens and Kodot XGrizzled film.

18. Summer Vacation by Jennifer Ford

Don't you just want to follow Jennifer Ford's daughter into the inviting water? The colors and textures are superb.

19. Robert Moses Beach by Antonio Carusone

Taken with the iPhone's default camera, this image's beautiful, muted tones were edited afterward in Photoshop.

20. Catch the Sun by Stephanie Chappe

There's a little bit of magic captured in this image. It was taken at York Beach in Maine and edited using several apps, including Photo fx and LensLight.

21. A Walk on the Beach by Kai

The TiltShift Generator iPhone app adds great effects to this DSLR shot. You can almost hear the waves crashing on this beautiful Spanish beach.

22. Balboa Pier by Dirk Dallas

"I loved all the X's the wood beams made in this in this shot," says Dirk Dallas. "And the detail in the beams added such a wonderful texture to this picture."

23. Otherworld by Colin Vincent

Colin Vincent demonstrates why the early bird gets the worm -- this was taken at dawn on the west shore of Maui at a surf break called Thousand Peaks.

24. Monterey, CA by Ted Anthony

"This was taken in May in Monterey, California, a few yards away from the Pacific Ocean. It was a hotel's boardwalk desk, late in the afternoon, and I loved the textures of the chairs against the wood below, and the shadows cast by the angle of the sun completed the composition," says Ted Anthony.

"It implies the water without actually showing it, and the clean, hard lines are a contrast to the undulating waves you're thinking about that are just a few more feet west."

25. Brothers at the Beach by Michael Barbato

Finally, a moment captured at Fort Myers Beach, Florida was later run through Instagram's Sutro filter and tilt-shifted slightly, creating an image that looks like a memory.

Thumbnail courtesy of Dirk Dallas

More About: features, gallery, iphone, iphotography, photography, Photos

Crisis Tracker Maps Atrocities in Africa

Posted: 28 Sep 2011 08:30 PM PDT

lra victim image

Nonprofit groups Invisible Children and Resolve have created a service called Crisis Tracker to document and map atrocities committed by the Lord’s Resistance Army, a military group in Africa.

Invisible Children and Resolve both seek to end the violent conflict in Uganda. The Crisis Tracker is designed to raise awareness of the assaults committed by the LRA. Information from the site comes from Invisible Children’s Radio Network, local NGOs and UN agencies. Reports can then be filtered by type of attack such as looting, LRA sighting, abduction and civilian injury, among others. Users can also report attacks by emailing Invisible Children.

The tracker has an impressive PDF explaining how the map is populated and how reports are thoroughly verified. The map is searchable by date or a sliding timeline. Users can also read and sign up for text updates.

While the map is designed for public use, it could also work for government agencies looking to curb the regional violence.

Take a look at the map and let us know what you think of plotting these atrocities.

crisis tracker image

Image courtesy of Flickr, bbcworldservice

More About: graphic, Social Good, World

For more Social Good coverage:

How Open Source Development Is Becoming More Social

Posted: 28 Sep 2011 07:59 PM PDT

Tim Yeaton is the President and CEO of Black Duck Software. He has more 30 years experience working in the software community. Contact him at

Most people do not think of software developers as being high on the "social" scale. In fact, the (misinformed) stereotype for a typical developer is that of the introverted geek. But in many ways, particularly with open source developers, this couldn't be further from the truth.

Contributing to open source software is a profoundly social activity. Some of open source's main tenets are collaboration, transparency and meritocracy, which require developers to collaborate and share at a highly productive level. And with over 500,000 open source projects on the Internet, there's a lot of collaboration going on. It's clear that by participating in open source communities, developers are engaging in productive social behavior.

While some people may picture open source developers as working quietly and in isolation, the reality is they may work on large projects with a wide community of collaborators. For example, Linux has nearly 10,000 contributors. Others may focus on small, personal projects, which may or may not draw the attention of the larger development community.

But even developers working on small projects are still working with other people. And virtually all new open source projects derive from those projects and the developers that preceded them, creating a vast body of work that accelerates innovation and fuels further collaboration.

Today's open source developers are contributing to projects in very different ways than just a few years ago. What has changed?

Search + Social Media = Social Development

Two developments — search and social media — have changed the way coders work to create "social development," a new style of software collaboration. Let's look first at social media's influence on it.

Social media's impact has forced change (some good and some bad) in nearly every sector of the economy — including open source development. While communities such as Slashdot and Stack Overflow provided an early glimpse of social media's impact on development in the FOSS community and encouraged developers to become more active within these and other communities, the effect took some time to achieve.

Today, it's not unusual to see enterprise software developers more active in social media circles, even as enterprises themselves are evolving socially. According to a recent study by Forrester, developers are engaging socially; they're joining communities to connect with experts, seeking answers to business problems and, like many people, networking for career advancement. The figure above shows the leading reasons developers join communities: to connect with thought leaders, gain expertise and engage in high quality discussions.

Web search has also enhanced the importance of social media among open source developers, affecting this new style of development. My company recently commissioned a study with Forrester to investigate the social habits of developers. As shown above, contributors to open source projects turn to online search first for information about development technologies, followed by social sites like networks, forums and other online communities.

Developers also share search results via open source or project forums, communities and more general social media tools like Twitter.

As a result, today's "social developer," even if not an employee of a large enterprise, is participating more than ever with enterprises – or more specifically, with developers in those enterprises who are increasingly involved with FOSS communities of various types.

Social development arms corporate developers with a new toolset for producing innovative and high quality software at enterprise scale faster than ever before. This style of development wasn't possible just a few years ago before search, social media tools and online collaboration tools made it possible to create software using social development techniques. Nevertheless, the evolution has been crucial to the success of businesses and individual developers.

Another pivotal change is the fact that enterprise IT organizations are now discovering the need to "go social" and join communities as a strategy for leveraging and using more open source software, especially mission-critical components. This significant trend reflects the reality that open source use is becoming a competitive requirement. Even within the firewall of an enterprise, the trend toward collaborative development to share best practices, facilitate code reuse, and enhance developer productivity is escalating rapidly.

Other environmental and technical changes have supported the emergence of social development. Communications between project committers — which until recently were conducted through IRC channels and wikis — have expanded with the increased number of social communities. And today more than ever, FOSS developers are actively seeking enterprise adoption of their code.

Another change is the emergence of sites like Ohloh, a free community resource, which was specifically designed to support and encourage social development and to allow developers to give each other kudos (literally). The figure above also lists the contributors for a project called Restlet, a Java REST framework for web developers. Shown on the page are the developer profiles, kudos and code commitments to the project.

While social development isn’t a challenge for Gen Y developers, it still presents management challenges for enterprises, especially larger ones. Moving at web speed and using social tools still requires some adjustment. For example, new college hires expect to be community participants, yet large enterprises may not be comfortable with this level of transparency. Although open source projects are based on the notion of transparency, collaboration and meritocracy, some corporate policies may prohibit or limit this philosophy, just like some corporate cultures may resist the trend toward openness in development.

Social interaction and social development offer tremendous new opportunities for developers and enterprises. The advent of social media tools has changed the nature of community participation as much as search. If you and your organization have not joined the growing number of "social developers," now is the time to start.

Disclosure: Ohloh is owned by the author’s company.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, Goldmund

More About: features, open source, Social Media, software, Web Development

Amazon’s New Kindles: What You Need to Know [PICS & VIDEO]

Posted: 28 Sep 2011 07:27 PM PDT

Amazon unveiled three new products at a press event in New York on Wednesday, including its much-anticipated first tablet computer, the Kindle Fire.

The new Kindles — and their unusually low price points — will likely have an impact on both the ereader and tablet markets. Here’s a concise guide to the new products and what makes them different from their predecessors.

  1. Like similar products from Kobo and Nook, the Kindle Touch allows readers to flip pages, search, shop and take notes by swiping and tapping the screen. It costs $139 with 3G, and $99 for the Wi-Fi-only version. Because it needs no extra room for buttons, the device itself is smaller than previous models of the Kindle. Here’s a gallery of the Kindle Touch:

    The $79 Kindle.

    The $79 Kindle.

    The $79 Kindle.

    The $79 Kindle.

    The Kindle Touch comes in two versions: $139 with 3G, and $99 without.

    The Kindle Touch comes in two versions: $139 with 3G, and $99 without.

    The Kindle Touch comes in two versions: $139 with 3G, and $99 without.

    The Kindle Touch comes in two versions: $139 with 3G, and $99 without.

  2. The latest version of the original Kindle costs just $79. It does not have a touchscreen, but it’s 30% lighter than its predecessors, 18% smaller, and turns pages 10% faster. Much of the size reduction is due to the absence of a keyboard. Here’s a video of the original Kindle from Amazon:

  3. Amazon’s new tablet, Kindle Fire, is an affordable tablet that focuses on content. While it runs the Android operating system and some apps including email, its interface looks nothing like the collection of apps that line the home screens of other Android tablets and the iPad. Rather, it looks like a bookshelf. Users can line its shelves with books, periodicals, movies and music they purchase from Amazon. New owners will also have free access to the Amazon Prime unlimited movie and TV streaming service for 30 days after purchase.

    The tablet has no camera, microphone or 3G capabilities, but at $199, it’s the most affordable tablet from a major player.

  4. Amazon designed a new browser for Kindle Fire. The “smart” browser is called Amazon Silk, and cuts down on load times by splitting the workload between the tablet and the Amazon Web Services Cloud. It also speeds things up by predicting what the user will do next. In a demonstration at its press event in New York, Amazon loaded 53 static file images, 39 dynamic files, 30 Javascript files and three Flash files within seconds. Here’s a video of Silk in action:

  5. Every Kindle is a sponsored Kindle by default. In April, Amazon launched a clever deal for its Kindle 3G: If users opt to receive ads on their Kindle screensavers when they aren’t reading, they can buy the Kindle at a discounted rate. Earlier this month, it announced that some of those ads would be offers from its daily deals site AmazonLocal — giving the service a distinct advantage over those that advertise deals mostly through emails.

    Now Amazon has made Special Offers a default option for its new compact Kindle, Kindle Touch and Kindle Fire. To get a new generation Kindle or Kindle Touch that won’t display ads when idle costs an extra $30. A Kindle Fire without Special Offers costs an extra $40.

  6. The Kindle Fire will be released on Nov. 15. The Kindle Touch will be available on Nov. 21. The $79 Kindle is already available.

More About: amazon, Kindle, kindle fire

iPhone 5: Here’s What It Might Look Like [PICS]

Posted: 28 Sep 2011 06:19 PM PDT

iPhone Evolution

Polish students designed this beauty, going with the curved back look. Found on VeteranGeek.

iPhone News Blog

This early mockup extrapolates from the current iPhone 4 design. It's a clean design -- one we'd be happy to slip into a pocket. Found on the German iPhone News Blog.

Nowhere Else

Those talented French artists at Nowhere Else envision the iPhone 5 having a rounded back, and accompanied this attractive illustration with an entire infographic full of iPhone 5 rumors and speculation.


On the left is allegedly the iPhone 5 in the hands of someone testing it on a train, and the white phone is allegedly the iPhone 4S, all found by 9-to-5 Mac.


MacRumors' mockup created by CiccareseDesign shows a slim cross section.

Antonello Falcon

Called the "Size Zero iPhone 5," Antonello Falcon's flight of fancy has a 4.6-inch screen, curved glass edges, a thin 8.4mm cross-section and a soft-touch Home button. Perhaps this is more akin to an iPhone 6. Found on VeteranGeek.

This is My Next

This mockup from ThisIsMyNext has been floating around for a while, but it latched on early to the teardrop-shaped cross-section and larger screen.

Roman Sima

Called the "Glossy iPhone 5," this ultra-lightweight design features a plastic cover. Here's Roman's website.


From MacRumors, this design echos the iPhone 4, but thinner.

Piotr Spalek

When iDeals China leaked a shot of a 4-inch screen that was alleged to belong to an iPhone 5, Italian designer Piotr Spalek put together a mockup that matched up with the screen.

What will the iPhone 5 look like? Outside of a certain office complex in Cupertino and a few other secret places around the world, nobody knows the exact answer to that, but many are willing to guess.

Here’s a gallery that shows the top 10 attempts at predicting the future — some educated guesses based on leaks, others wild yet beautiful stabs in the dark, and still others just wishful thinking. The truth must lie somewhere within. Will it have a rounded back like the iPad 2? Will its sides be squared off, will its cross section be teardrop-shaped, are those leaked case designs indicative of the iPhone 5′s final design?

Of course, all these questions and more will be answered on October 4 when the new iPhones are revealed, but until then, let’s take a look at this gallery of dreams, speculations, rumors and hearsay, putting it all together into an impression of what we might be seeing at the big rollout next month.

More About: apple, iPhone 5, mockups, rumors

A+E Uses Facebook to Connect You to the Stars

Posted: 28 Sep 2011 04:32 PM PDT

Facebook’s 800 million-member social graph should be able to show how you’re linked to celebrities and historic icons of yore. That’s the premise behind A+E Networks just-launched website.

The new, the online home of A+E’s long-running and Emmy Award-winning Biography series, shows visitors who log in via Facebook how they’re connected to notable figures. It’s a Facebook-based twist on the “Six Degrees of Separation” theory.

“The success of BIO through the years has demonstrated our fascination with famous people — not just from understanding what makes them different from us, but what we share in common with them," says Dan Suratt, executive vice president, digital media and business development for A+E Networks. "Now, we've re-engineered to leverage Facebook's social graph to highlight the personal connections that our visitors and their friends also share with those personalities of today and years past.”

The site matches more than 6,000 celebrity profiles — which include text biographies, video, photos and quotes — against your Facebook relationships to determine if you share a birthday, hometown, alma mater or other connection to any of the world’s most famous folks from past and present. You can view how your Facebook friends are linked to well-known figures, and see how celebrities are connected to each other.

The Facebook integration is melded into the entire experience and carried over to each and every famous person profile you visit. A visit to acclaimed golfer Phil Mickelson’s profile, for instance, shows that Mickelson and I were born in the same city. A few of my Facebook friends share the same connection.

The new site also features more than 150 full episodes from the Biography series, thematic photo galleries such as “Famous Lookalikes,” and gives visitors the opportunity to create and vote on their own celebrity shortlists.

Altogether, the site offers an interactive experience that couples the brand’s expertise with social relevance. We find it to be smart, interesting and engaging. Let us know your thoughts — or share your quirky celebrity connections — in the comments.

More About: A&E, Entertainment

For more Entertainment coverage:

Find a Job in Social Media, Communications or Design

Posted: 28 Sep 2011 03:36 PM PDT

If you’re seeking a job in social media, we’d like to help out. For starters, Mashable‘s Job Lists section gathers all our resource lists, how-tos and expert guides to help you get hired. In particular, you might want to see our articles, How to Leverage Social Media for Career Success and How to Find a Job on Twitter.

But we’d like to help in a more direct way, too. Mashable‘s job boards are a place for socially savvy companies to find people like you. This week and every week, Mashable features its coveted job board listings for a variety of positions on the web, social media space and beyond. Have a look at what's good and new on our job boards:

Mashable Job Postings

Community Intern at Mashable in New York, NY.

Graphic Design Intern at Mashable in New York, NY.

Editorial Intern at Mashable in New York, NY.

Tech Reporter at Mashable in San Francisco, CA.

Editorial Assistant at Mashable in New York, NY.

Mashable Job Board Listings

Integrated Research Manager at NEW YORK MEDIA in New York, NY.

Business Development Executive at New Relic in San Francisco, CA.

Social Media Account Coordinator at ABLE Social Media in New York, NY.

Director Social Media & Channel Strategy at Wyndham Vacation Ownership in Orlando, FL.

Director, Community Management at Estee Lauder Companies in New York, NY.

Web Application Engineer at Klout in San Francisco, CA.

Research Engineer at Klout in San Francisco, CA.

Platform Engineer at Klout in San Francisco, CA.

New Media Outreach Specialist at AFSCME in Washington, D.C.

Social Media Intern at C-4 Analytics in Saugus, MA.

Monitoring Tools Engineer at Synacor in Buffalo, NY.

Search Associate, Marketing at TrueAction Network in New York, NY.

Webmaster at The Cooper Union in New York, NY.

Systems Engineer at Synacor in Buffalo, NY.

Customer Marketing Manager at Lookout in San Francisco, CA.

Senior Software Engineer at Micro Focus in Troy, MI.

Manager, Marketing – Social Media at Cox Communications in Atlanta, GA.

Senior Account Supervisor – Digital at Edelman in New York, NY.

Sr. Director of eBusiness planning and Operations at Best Buy in Minneapolis, MN.

Digital Producer / Project Manager at Deep Focus in New York, NY.

Managing Director at at CFY in New York, NY.

Senior Vice President – Digital at Edelman in Chicago, IL.

Media Arts Specialist at Edens & Avant in Columbia, SC.

Lead UI/UX Designer at Veetle in Palo Alto, CA.

Front End Engineer at Veetle in Palo Alto, CA.

Social Media Manager for Nintendo at GolinHarris in Los Angeles, CA.

Digital Production Coordinator, Marketing at Legacy in Washington, D.C.

Account Executive – Direct Sales at adMarketplace in New York, NY.

Social Marketing Strategist at 360i in New York, NY.

Social Media and Content Development Manager at Loehmann’s in Bronx, NY.

Customer Service Accountant Rep. at W.F.H in Napa, CA.

Partner Marketing Manager at New Relic in San Francisco, CA.

Research Marketing Manager-Specialist at Logitech in Fremont, CA.

Digital Media Planner at The Reindeer Group Ltd in New York, NY.

Senior Content Developer, College Campus Lifestyle/Sports at MELT, LLC in Atlanta, GA.

Project Manager at LBi Health in New York, NY.

Senior Mobile Engineer at Synacor in Buffalo, NY.

Marketing Specialist-Web at Harrison College in Indianapolis, IN.

Sr. Digital Marketing Manager at Ubisoft in San Francisco, CA.

SEO Manager at TIG Global in Chevy Chase, MD.

Software Engineer at PayPal in Austin, TX.

Project Manager at OMD in New York, NY.

Project Manager/Associate Director at OMD in New York, NY.

Senior Media Relations Manager at Citizens Financial Group in Boston, MA.

Mashable‘s Job Board has a variety of web 2.0, application development, business development and social networking job opportunities available. Check them out here.

Find a Web 2.0 Job with Mashable

Got a job posting to share with our readers? Post a job to Mashable today ($99 for a 30 day listing) and get it highlighted every week on (in addition to exposure all day every day in the Mashable marketplace).

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, YinYang

More About: communication, design, jobs, List, Social Media

For more Social Media coverage:

Amazon Kindle Touch: First Impressions [PICS]

Posted: 28 Sep 2011 03:10 PM PDT

The $79 Kindle.

The $79 Kindle.

The $79 Kindle.

The $79 Kindle.

The Kindle Touch comes in two versions: $139 with 3G, and $99 without.

The Kindle Touch comes in two versions: $139 with 3G, and $99 without.

The Kindle Touch comes in two versions: $139 with 3G, and $99 without.

The Kindle Touch comes in two versions: $139 with 3G, and $99 without.

The Kindle Fire wasn’t the only new ereader Amazon showed off Wednesday. The company also announced a revamped lineup of e-ink Kindle devices, including the brand new Kindle Touch.

With the Kindle Touch, Amazon is addressing one of the most common complaints about the original Kindle — its navigation system. Touchscreen ereaders are already available from manufacturers like Sony, but Amazon’s approach is unique in its own right.

On stage, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos discussed the way that customers tend to use the Kindle today. After finding that users frequently use a Kindle by holding it in one hand, Amazon wanted to make sure that the Kindle Touch would be easy to use without requiring the user to use another hand to turn the digital page. As a result, the Kindle Touch has a new feature called EasyReach — narrow tapzones, about the width of a thumb, that allow the user to quickly flip forward or backward through a book with one hand.

Kindle Touch has other new features too, including something called X-Ray. X-Ray lets users dive into the meta-data of a book to quickly get access to information about the locations, characters and situations in a book.

The screen on the Kindle Touch is crisp and clear, thanks to eink. It’s also a lot faster than previous Kindles. Watching the demonstrations, we were struck by the quick response time and fast page loading speed of the new device.

Still, the most notable new thing about the Kindle Touch might just be its price. Starting at $99 for the Wi-Fi only Special Offers version (a Kindle Touch 3G will be available for $149 with Special Offers), the Kindle Touch finally pushes the device under that magic $100 price point. Amazon is actually also selling a $79 non-touchscreen Kindle as well, but we think most users are going to wind up going for the Kindle Touch or Kindle Touch 3G.

Personally, I don’t have an actual need for a Kindle — I have an iPad 2 and an iPhone 4. At $99, however, I can see myself picking one up for subway and beach reading. I love EasyReach. I think it perfectly captures how consumers use an ereader.

The Kindle Fire might be getting all of the buzz today, but the Kindle Touch is still worth keeping an eye on. The $99 price point truly does make the Kindle affordable to almost everyone. For users who already have an iPad or just want a high quality, inexpensive ereader, the Kindle Touch delivers.

Facebook Users Beware: Facebook’s New Feature Could Embarrass You

Posted: 28 Sep 2011 02:46 PM PDT

If you didn’t watch Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook announcements last week — and of course the vast majority of Facebook users did not — you may be in for a surprise. Aside from the dramatically redesigned Facebook Timeline profile pages, which roll out in the coming weeks (and which I’ve grown to love), Facebook’s new system to auto-share what you do around the web may catch many Facebook addicts off guard.

In fact, even those people who know exactly how this new feature works may need to be on guard against sharing some seriously embarrassing updates.

For those not in the loop: Facebook is making sharing even easier by automatically sharing what you’re doing on Facebook-connected apps. Instead of having to “Like” something to share it, you’ll just need to click “Add to Timeline” on any website or app, and that app will have permission to share your activity with your Facebook friends.

What activity, you ask? It could be the news articles you read online, the videos you watch, the photos you view, the music you listen to, or any other action within the site or app. Facebook calls this auto-sharing “Gestures.”

Can you see the possible issue here?

I’m pretty familiar with this auto-sharing function since it’s been a feature of The Huffington Post for a good while now. The way it works there: Once you join the site, every article you read is shared with your friends via an activity feed (unless you switch that feature off).

So right now I can see that someone I know professionally read “Scarlett Johansson Nude Photos” and a male colleague, who will remain anonymous, recently read the following:

1. “Conan O’Brien Stares At Nicole Scherzinger’s Cleavage”

2. “Heather Morris On Breast Implants”

3. “Perrey Reeves Shows Off Bikini Body (PHOTO)”

Now Facebook is bringing this functionality to every application out there.

I’m not saying this is a bad idea as such, but people need to be aware of what they’re signing up for when they add apps to the Timeline. Even my tech-savvy friends seem to set up these auto-share apps, completely forget about them, and return to doing things they wouldn’t necessarily want to share with all their friends.

Heck, I even find myself doing it.

Just a few days ago I added the Washington Post Social Reader app to my profile — this is one of many new news apps that auto-shares what you’re reading with your friends. Later, I returned to the app, forgot about that feature, read a ton of articles and realized they were all on my Facebook Timeline.

Now I didn’t read anything particularly saucy like my HuffPo friends did, but even that slight lapse was enough for me to uninstall the app completely.

So what can you do to avoid a Facebook privacy faux pas? Be aware that whenever you click a “Add to Timeline” button on a website or app from now on, you’re giving that app permission to post your activity to Facebook.

Most of the time you might be fine with this — like sharing the music you listen to on Spotify with friends (unless you like Rebecca Black) — but other times it might be worth disabling this function after you approve the app.

SEE ALSO: The New Facebook: How to Take Control of Your Privacy

Also note that when you add an app to your Timeline, you get the option to share your activity with “Public,” “Friends” or “Custom.” By clicking “Custom,” you get the option to hide your activity from everyone but yourself — see the steps below for more information on controlling your privacy with the new sharing features:

Adding an App to Your Facebook Timeline

Whenever an app wants to add updates to your Facebook Timeline, this box will appear.

Controlling Who Sees Your Activity

Clicking the people icon next to "This activity is visible to:" lets you control who will see your activity from the app. You can share your activity with the Public, Friends or specific Friend Lists.

Custom Privacy Settings for Gestures

If you click "Custom", you get more privacy options, including the ability to block certain people from seeing your activity.

Only Me Privacy

If you feel uncomfortable sharing your activity from the app, you can select "Only Me". This means that your will see your activity from the app on your Timeline, but no one else will.

Should you worry about Facebook’s new Gestures functionality? No, but even the most technical among us should be aware that sharing everything is not always wise, and that selecting the right privacy settings can protect you against any mistakes.

READ THIS NEXT: Facebook Privacy: 3 Fights to Expect When You Get the New Timeline

This post reflects the opinions of the author and not necessarily those of Mashable as a publication.

The New Facebook Profile: Timeline

Timeline is a radical departure from previous versions of the Facebook user profile. The most prominent feature is the addition of a cover photo at the top of the page. Users can change this to whatever they'd like it to be.


In 1987, my sister was born. Facebook knows these life events and includes them in your timeline.

Being Born

You can even add a picture and context to your birth, which starts the Timeline.

Timeline Interface

The Timeline is a two-column interface with top photos, status updates, friends and more.


Facebook has added a feature that lets you see where you have visited. This is powered by Facebook Places.

Photos in the Timeline

Here's how photos are displayed in the Timeline.

Friends in the New Timeline

Here's what the Friends page looks like.

Changing Settings

Some of the new Timeline's customization features.


More of the new Timeline

Getting Married

You can add life events, such as getting married, to your profile through the Publisher Bar. You can also announce that you broke a bone, got a new job, etc.

More About: Facebook, facebook timeline, privacy

Fashion Designer Rebecca Minkoff to Use Fans’ Instagram Photos in First Print Ad

Posted: 28 Sep 2011 02:29 PM PDT

New York-based fashion designer Rebecca Minkoff is running her first print ad in October, and she’s turning to her followers on Instagram to help her design it.

Minkoff, a relatively young designer best known for her line of handbags, is asking fans to tag photos of their favorite pieces on Instagram with “#RebeccaMinkoff” between now and October 1 to be considered for inclusion in the campaign.

The final ad, which will include professional shots from the designer’s accessories and Resort 2012 ready-to-wear collections, will run in the debut issue of Magazine.

Uri Minkoff, CEO of Rebecca Minkoff, says that the brand chose to use Instagram in part because of its editing and filtering capabilities, which render photos a distinctive — and arguably more polished — look. He adds that using Instagram also provides a way for the company to reward and involve the fans that have brought them this far.

“We’ve succeed because of our fan base, so it made sense to make this first print campaign about our customers,” he explains. “Our girls are the reason we’re here and we thought this would be a great way to let them share their impressions of the brand.”

We’d add that crowdsourcing on a public forum such as Instagram is a smart way to draw increased visibility to what might otherwise been a run-of-the-mill print campaign.

More About: Advertising, crowdsourcing, fashion, instagram, rebecca minkoff,

Groupon Launches Groupon Goods for Online Sales

Posted: 28 Sep 2011 02:17 PM PDT

Amazon has gotten into Groupon‘s daily deals business and now Groupon is repaying the favor with Groupon Goods, an online retail site.

Groupon sent emails to select customers on Wednesday promoting the new offering, which offered deals on pilates, coffee brewers and LED TVs. “(The offer is) already seeing good results,” a source told Reuters. “Groupon Goods is the buzz around Groupon. It can add significant impact to Groupon’s growth strategy.” The company has posted an FAQ with more details about the program.

An overture toward online retailing would come as Amazon has entered the daily deals market both as a LivingSocial investor and through its AmazonLocal service. The entry, which comes as Groupon also introduced a rewards program on Wednesday, looks to go public amid a turbulent stock market and at a time when the daily deals segment seems to have cooled since a few months ago.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, jbk_photography

More About: amazon, AmazonLocal, groupon, Groupon Goods, LivingSocial

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Facebook Privacy: 3 Fights to Expect When You Get the New Timeline

Posted: 28 Sep 2011 01:49 PM PDT

As an adult, you have responsibilities — an income, maybe a mortgage, possibly children. That's great! Congrats. Now is certainly not the time to be throwing caution to the wind — just know that Facebook will be doing that for you.

The Facebook Timeline resurfaces information you thought permanently buried, or at least, tucked away in a booze-soaked archive called college or your mid-twenties. Not anymore. Now, everyone's profile page will become an organized scrapbook, tidily filed and tagged in one convenient place, accessed by easy clicks.

SEE ALSO: Is Facebook Trying to Kill Privacy?

Just when you thought you'd survived all Facebook-related quarrels, the new timeline is sure to expose more hurt feelings and suspicions.

Here are the three people you’ll likely butt heads with, and some tips to ensure your post-Timeline privacy remains intact.

1. Your Significant Other

Deep down in your social graph, those old photos and status updates with ex-boyfriends or girlfriends are hiding. That's pretty much where you want them to stay — borderline invisible, right? Likely, you've purposely kept their presence vague and unintimidating, especially from your current significant other. The new Facebook profile, however, gurgles your exes back to the surface of a soup that may be bitter to begin with.

SEE ALSO: Facebook Timeline: Here's What It Looks Like [VIDEO]

Now each of our profiles will become a "virtual scrapbook." In other words, your already jealous girlfriend can easily peruse your college years, right around the time your ex-girlfriend wall-spammed you: "I love you bunches and gobs, pookykins!" Cue jealousy. As if relationship statuses weren't already fraught with drama, this new profile may antagonize many a good relationship. Make sure yours doesn't suffer.

My advice? Quickly survey the ex-thumbprint on your new Facebook. While I don't advise completely locking down your profile from your current boy/girlfriend, consider their feelings by hiding excessive ex posts on your timeline.

  • Hover your cursor over the top-right of the post where it says "edit or remove."
  • Then click "hide from timeline." Note that when you refresh, it won't appear on your public timeline.
  • However, you'll still be able to view a comprehensive (and private) log of all of your timeline activity over the years by clicking the "View Activity" icon underneath your profile cover, or by accessing

2. Your Parents

Think about how long it took your parents to find out about the magic that is (or "was," depending on your point of view) Facebook. Likely, Facebook wasn’t truly “Baby Boomed” until at least ’08 or ’09. For many of the Facebook generation, this is likely around the time we finally “grew up.”

Your parents joined Facebook at a time when pictures of your keg stands and 4/20 status updates were already nestled safely into the depths of Internet history (or at least a loooong scroll down the page). Not anymore. Now, mom can pore over 2006 with minimal effort.

Crank up the parental privacy controls soon, ideally before they figure out how to use their new profiles.

Therefore, I would suggest either following the steps above by hiding potentially offensive posts, or adding your parents to a list. By adding them to that list, you can restrict your future status updates or posts by editing "custom" settings each time. Here's how to create a new list:

  • Go to the homepage and click "Lists," located in the column to the left of the News Feed.
  • Click the "Create a List" icon at the top of the page and name it something like "Limited Profile" or "Parents."
  • Add said parents (and any other sensitive friends) to the list.
  • Now every time you share a post or update your status, you can choose to customize its audience. Click "Custom" from the drop-down box and choose to share with friends, but perhaps hide from a certain list — in other words, the Limited Profile list you just created. (Note: the custom option you chose will apply to all future posts until you alter it again.)

Unfortunately, Facebook doesn't allow you to edit the view option of posts already published on your timeline (wall) — unless they're your own. For example, you can't exclude certain lists from seeing a photo that your best friend posted to your wall three years ago without hiding the photo altogether.

However, you can change the view options of your own posts. Simply click "View Activity" under your profile cover to access your private log, then select "custom" view options on past posts you've published.

3. Your Boss

Let's assume the worst: Your boss is a total jerk with loads of time on his hands. He's itching to scan every last post on your Timeline, searching for any reason to fire you. While this example may be extreme, it does raise some privacy concerns for those who thought to friend their employer in the first place. Here are some options:

  • Type your boss' name into the "View As" option underneath your profile cover. At the very least, quickly scan each year you've been active on Facebook. If something embarrassing or incriminating surfaces, consider removing it from the timeline entirely – or, don't be friends with your boss on Facebook.
  • Or add your boss to Facebook's default "Restricted" list, that you can also find under the lists section on your homepage. Note, however, that this can severely restrict most posts they can see on your page. Your boss might take it personally?
  • Finally, you might choose to enable “Timeline Review," which allows you to approve or reject posts you're tagged in before they publish to your profile. They’ll appear as “pending posts” on your wall.

Now, I'm not bragging, but luckily I've retained privacy restrictions from my old Limited Profile list that I can still apply to bosses and the like. The people on that list still can't see any photos tagged of me whatsoever, even back in 2007.

Unfortunately, Facebook doesn't allow you to entirely restrict certain posts (like photos) from new lists anymore. Remember when you could go to privacy settings and select which people or lists were allowed access to certain items on your wall (e.g. tagged photos, posts from friends)? Not anymore. Now you only have the room to restrict friends from viewing your own posts on a case-by-case basis. No more blanket privacy options.

So, are you up to the task of conquering Facebook's new privacy settings? Let us know how you fare with bosses, parents and significant others as you adapt to Facebook’s latest changes.

A Closer Look at the Facebook Timeline

The New Facebook Profile: Timeline

Timeline is a radical departure from previous versions of the Facebook user profile. The most prominent feature is the addition of a cover photo at the top of the page. Users can change this to whatever they'd like it to be.


In 1987, my sister was born. Facebook knows these life events and includes them in your timeline.

Being Born

You can even add a picture and context to your birth, which starts the Timeline.

Timeline Interface

The Timeline is a two-column interface with top photos, status updates, friends and more.


Facebook has added a feature that lets you see where you have visited. This is powered by Facebook Places.

Photos in the Timeline

Here's how photos are displayed in the Timeline.

Friends in the New Timeline

Here's what the Friends page looks like.

Changing Settings

Some of the new Timeline's customization features.


More of the new Timeline

Getting Married

You can add life events, such as getting married, to your profile through the Publisher Bar. You can also announce that you broke a bone, got a new job, etc.

More About: Facebook, facebook timeline, features, privacy, Social Media, tips

Flickr Lets You Browse Photos With Friends on iPhone, iPad and Desktop

Posted: 28 Sep 2011 01:23 PM PDT

Flickr has introduced Photo Session, a new feature that lets a group of people browse photos together from multiple devices — both mobile and desktop.

Up to 10 people can view and chat about photos in real time with Photo Session. As photos are uploaded to the set, the group can view and comment on them. When one user moves on to the next photo, everybody moves.

The interface focuses on the photo, which is displayed in fullscreen on your desktop. But it also includes a simple chat interface. Another feature lets users sketch on top of photos — useful for pointing out something or just creating doodles.

One of the selling points of Photo Session is its interoperability. It is available for iPhone, iPad and the desktop. It’s especially elegant on the iPad, a device made for this type of media consumption.

In short, Photo Sessions is a fun but simple feature. The product is reminiscent of Cooliris, a Kleiner Perkins-backed startup that offers a robust and elegant way to experience photos with a group.

It seems Yahoo, which owns Flickr, wants to expand its social footprint in the photo-sharing space. With dozens of startups and several big players looking to make their mark in this space (Facebook and Google chief among them), Photo Session is one way for Yahoo to keep Flickr relevant.

More About: flickr, Yahoo

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YouTube Planet: Who’s Watching Videos Online? [INFOGRAPHIC]

Posted: 28 Sep 2011 01:19 PM PDT

Videos are just about the biggest thing on the Internet right now, according to a study from Wistia, a video-hosting company.

The infographic shows that 71% of Internet users visit video-sharing sites like YouTube and Vimeo. This number has shot up from just 33% in 2006. The graphic also shows interesting demographic stats like the fact that minorities and people with kids are more likely to visit video sites.

Perhaps the most surprising part of the infographic is that the stats seem to be similar across multiple demographics. For example, gender, household income and education level all have little impact on the amount of time spent visiting video sites.

Is video the great equalizer? Are we just spending too much time on YouTube? Check out the graphic below and let us know your thoughts.

video image

Image courtesy of Flickr, Andrew Stawarz

More About: Film, infographic, Video, YouTube

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Saudi Princess Tweets: Female Driver’s Lashing Sentence Revoked

Posted: 28 Sep 2011 01:00 PM PDT

Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah has revoked the sentence of 10 lashings that a woman was meant to receive for driving in the kingdom, according to a tweet from a Saudi princess’s Twitter account.

Princess Ameerah Al-Taweel tweeted the news Wednesday, saying, “Thank God, the lashing of Shaima is cancelled. Thanks to our beloved King. I’m sure all Saudi women will be so happy, I know I am.”

When another Twitter user asked if it was officially news, Al-Taweel tweeted again, saying: “Yes, it is official, Prince Alwaleed just confirmed it to me.”

Though the princess’s account isn’t verified, it does seem to be her official account. The Twitter account for Arab news channel Al Arabiya (@AlArabiya_Eng) is also repeating the princess’s words.

The news comes just one day after the sentencing, which took place when Shaima Jastaina was found guilty for driving without the government’s permission. Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world where women — Saudi and foreign alike — are not allowed to drive. Though no written law prevents women from getting behind the wheel, religious rulings against women driving have been enforced by the police. As a result, the social media-based Women2Drive movement formed a few months ago, asking Saudi women — specifically those with international driver’s licenses or licenses from other countries — to drive their own cars June 17. Numerous women have continued driving since that date, tweeting and posting YouTube videos as evidence.

Shelby Knox — director of organizing, women’s rights — at, which has worked with activist group Saudi Women for Driving on multiple occasions, says the organization has heard enough from people it trusts to believe the news is true.

“We’ve heard from Saudi activists on the ground that the king revoked the 10 lashings,” Knox says, adding that this typically means that the charges should be dropped. “We are hearing some reports that her husband was asked to sign a pledge that he would not allow her to drive anymore under a penalty to him.”

According to an earlier statement from Saudi Women for Driving, Jastaina holds an international driver’s license and claims she had been driving her car because a family member was sick and had to be taken to the hospital.

The sentencing itself came two days after King Abdullah, who is considered a reformer within his ultraconservative kingdom, declared that Saudi women would have the right to vote and run in local elections by 2015.

Saudi Princess Ameerah Al-Taweel's Tweet

Image courtesy of yfrog/Mai AL-Shareef

More Stories About Women2Drive

Flickr for Android Beats Instagram to the Punch

Posted: 28 Sep 2011 12:34 PM PDT

Yahoo’s Flickr is about to punish the popular photo-sharing iPhone app Instagram for not releasing an Android version yet. Flickr launched its Android app Wednesday — complete with Instagram-like filters.

The new Android app brings the Flickr photo stream to Google’s mobile OS. The company has included a new activity stream for viewing photos — one that’s essentially a newsfeed of activity among your Flickr friends. You can browse photo albums or check out the albums of friends.

“A photo is more than just a few pixels,” Flickr Product Manager Markus Spiering said at a press event at Flickr’s headquarters in San Francisco. “It’s also the context.”

Viewing an image on Flickr’s Android app is a different experience compared to its iPhone app. The Android app adds features such as likes, comments, photo data and a map showing where the photo was taken. Users can swipe left or right to browse a photo album. There is also a fullscreen experience for browsing photos that includes a slideshow feature.

The core feature of the app, of course, is photo-taking. Flickr has developed a new viewfinder screen (see above). But there’s one feature that will catch everybody’s attention: photo filters.

The photo filters feature is almost identical to that of Instagram. The app comes with 10 filters that Spiering says are designed to “beautify” photos. They’re automatically uploaded to Flickr but can also be shared via Twitter, Facebook and email.

The filters are Android-only for now, but we doubt it will be long until they make their way to Flickr’s iPhone app.

Flickr has 68 million registered users that have uploaded more than six billion photos. But newcomer Instagram has momentum and a very loyal user base. This should make for an interesting contest.

More About: flickr, Yahoo

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Amazon Kindle Fire: iPad Killer or Ereader Substitute? [POLL]

Posted: 28 Sep 2011 12:29 PM PDT

As tablet after tablet fail to gain significant market share against the iPad, many have attached their iPad-killing dreams to the Amazon tablet.

Amazon unveiled that tablet, the Kindle Fire, on Wednesday. While its functionality is significantly more restricted than that of tablets like the iPad, some argue that its relatively low price of $199 — $300 less than the least expensive iPad 2 — will mainstream the tablet market.

But the Fire is not your average tablet.

With a 7-inch screen, it is the size of the Nook Color and the Blackberry PlayBook. Most other tablets on the market, including the iPad, Galaxy Tablet, Motorola Xoom and HP Touchpad, have screens that are about 10 inches across.

The Kindle Fire also, like most tablets on the market, runs the Android operating system. But its interface works much differently than other Android tablets. It looks like a bookshelf instead of an app library — which makes sense, as the device’s design makes it much better for consuming content than for running Android apps.

There is no camera, no external microphone and no 3G option. The tablet does, however, come synced to your Kindle library and with access to Amazon’s movie and TV streaming service. Amazon will store unlimited content for users in the cloud too.

What the Kindle Fire most closely resembles is the Nook Color, Barnes & Noble’s “reader’s tablet.” The two devices’ specs match almost identically (including apps and email). Incidentally, Barnes & Noble stock fell 9% immediately after Fire was revealed.

Earlier this month, IDC estimated that Apple had almost a 70% share of the tablet market. All Android-based tablets combined had about a 25% share, and RIM had about 5%.

We’re curious to see what effect the Fire will have on the tablet market. Obviously Nook Color’s content-focused tablet has not heavily increased Android’s market share. But will the Amazon Fire’s more diverse content and much lower price point make more of an impact? And if so, will the app-sparse, 3G-less and camera-deficient tablet be stealing customers from Apple — or just bringing them from the ereader category to the tablet category?

What type of tablet will you be purchasing next? Cast your vote in our poll and share your thoughts in the comments below.

1. iPad 2

Manufacturer: Apple, Inc.

OS / Version: iOS 4

Screen Size: 9.7 inches

Screen Resolution: 1024 x 768

Processor Type / Speed: Apple A5 / 1.0 GHz

Storage: 16, 32, 64 GB

2. Blackberry Playbook

Manufacturer: RIM

OS / Version: BlackBerry Tablet OS

Screen Size: 7 inches

Screen Resolution: 1024 x 600

Processor Type / Speed: TI OMAP 4430 / 1.0 GHz

Storage: 16, 32, 64 GB

3. Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1

Manufacturer: Samsung

OS / Version: Android 3.1 Honeycomb

Screen Size: 10.1

Screen Resolution: 1280 x 800

Processor Type / Speed: Nvidia Tegra 250 / 1.0 GHz

Storage: 16, 32, 64 GB

4. HP Touchpad

Manufacturer: HP

OS / Version: webOS 3.0

Screen Size: 9.7 inches

Screen Resolution: 1024 x 768

Processor Type / Speed: Qualcomm Snapdragon APQ8060 / 1.2 GHz

Storage: 16, 32 GB

5. Motorola Xoom

Manufacturer: Motorola

OS / Version: Android 3.1 Honeycomb

Screen Size: 10.1 inches

Screen Resolution: 1280 x 800

Processor Type / Speed: Nvidia Tegra 250 / 1.0 GHz

Storage: 32 GB

6. Toshiba Thrive

Manufacturer: Toshiba

OS / Version: Android 3.1 Honeycomb

Screen Size: 10.1 inches

Screen Resolution: 1280 x 800

Processor Type / Speed: Nvidia Tegra 250 / 1.0 GHz

Storage: 8, 16, 32 GB

7. Lenovo IdeaPad Tablet

Manufacturer: Lenovo

OS / Version: Android 3.1 Honeycomb

Screen Size: 10.1 inches

Screen Resolution: 1280 x 800

Processor Type / Speed: Nvidia Tegra 250 / 1.0 GHz

Storage: 16, 32 GB

8. Sony Tablet S

Manufacturer: Sony

OS / Version: Android 3.1 Honeycomb

Screen Size: 9.4 inches

Screen Resolution: 1280 x 800

Processor Type / Speed: Nvidia Tegra 250 / 1.0 GHz

Storage: 16, 32 GB

9. HTC Flyer

Manufacturer: HTC

OS / Version: Android 2.3 Gingerbread

Screen Size: 7 inches

Screen Resolution: 1024 x 600

Processor Type / Speed: Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8255 / 1.5 GHz

Storage: 32 GB

10. Asus Transformer Eee Pad Transformer

Manufacturer: Asus

OS / Version: Android 3.2 Honeycomb

Screen Size: 10.1 inches

Screen Resolution: 1280 x 800

Processor Type / Speed: Nvidia Tegra 250 / 1.0 GHz

Storage: 16, 32GB

For Mashable’s Complete Amazon Kindle & Kindle Fire Coverage

More About: amazon, Amazon Fire, tablets

Amazon Fire Puts Barnes & Noble in a Tight Spot

Posted: 28 Sep 2011 12:06 PM PDT

Barnes & Noble has has asked investors for a while to be patient with its ebook initiatives, but Amazon’s Fire has turned up the heat.

B&N began testing its investors’ resolve in February, when the company suspended its dividend to plow more money into Nook. It’s a move that would have gone over better with investors if it had provided them with some more information about Nook sales.

Things improved earlier this month when B&N reported its fiscal Q1 sales. At that point, digital looked like a savior for the company, albeit one that wouldn’t turn a profit for a while. Brick-and-mortar sales fell 3% that quarter, but sales on, which include Nook, rose 37%. At the time, however, investors were wondering what Amazon was going to announce and how that would affect B&N.

Now we know. Amazon’s Fire tablet is $50 cheaper than Nook Color, and the entry-level Kindle is now $60 less. Not surprisingly, investors are freaking out and analysts expect the company to cut its prices right away.

That move, though necessary, is likely to be a tough one for investors to digest. Despite Nook’s strong sales, it’s a drag on earnings: For fiscal 2011 (which ended April 30), B&N posted an EBITDA loss of $163 million and a loss of $23.6 million for its fiscal Q1. Meanwhile, lost $204.6 million for the company in fiscal 2011 and lost $58.3 million for Q1.

To make matters worse, B&N’s strong gains on the digital side are the result of an unrepeatable situation in which the company’s Nook Color had the market for ereader tablets to itself. What will B&N do next? Reps from the company did return a call for comment, but Sarah Rotman Epps, senior analyst at Forrester Research, is among those who believe B&N will soon cut the prices on both Nook products because it has to. At that point, she says, B&N will have one advantage over Amazon: a big presence for Nook in its brick-and-mortar stores. Otherwise, a customer’s preference for Nook is likely to hinge on loyalty to the B&N brand, if anything.

Of course, B&N could also offer an out-of-left-field upgrade for Nook that could be a game-changer. So far, the only rumors that have surfaced on that topic are about a higher-end Nook Color called Acclaim that would sell for $349 in October. Could B&N outflank Amazon with a more expensive tablet? The company has to offer some sort of game-changing move if it wants to avoid the fate of Borders. That’s one part of the story a bookseller never wants to read: Chapter 11.

For Mashable’s Complete Amazon Kindle & Kindle Fire Coverage

Image courtesy of Flickr, Hey Paul

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Yahoo’s Strategy After Bartz? “Deeply Personal Digital Experiences”

Posted: 28 Sep 2011 11:52 AM PDT

Yahoo has begun outlining a new strategy to become the “world’s premiere digital media company.” And to explain it, the company is invoking the periodic table of elements.

During a presentation at Flickr headquarters in San Francisco, Yahoo VP Steve Douty said that Yahoo has refocused its mission in the wake of major leadership changes — in other words, the firing of former CEO Carol Bartz. To that end, it is doubling down on its new mission: “To build deeply personal digital experiences,” according to Douty. That’s a vague statement to say the least, but at least it gives the troubled company some some sort of direction.

Yahoo’s strategy is composed of five “elements” — an idea the company was putting together towards the end of the Bartz era. Displayed in the form of the periodic table, the “elements” are as follows:

- En: To engage and delight users.
- Be: To be where the customer goes.
- Si: To deliver personal meaning through science and data.
- So: To own real social relationships on the web.
- Ec: To build an ecosystem.

Buzzwords and mission statements aside, Yahoo still has one solid asset: its traffic. It’s also way ahead of the game in mobile. Douty says that the company now has 137 million unique visitors every month on mobile devices, and is the number-three most recognized mobile brand with 50% reach in the U.S. Yahoo also has “42,000 unique homepage experiences at every five minutes,” he said.

More About: flickr, Yahoo

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Groupon Launches Rewards Program

Posted: 28 Sep 2011 11:01 AM PDT

Daily deals juggernaut Groupon expanded its product lineup Wednesday to include Groupon Rewards.

Groupon Rewards is a loyalty platform for the company’s merchants — and a set of incentives for its most active subscribers.

The product integrates with merchants’ Point of Sale systems to let them offer customers special deals whenever they spend above certain thresholds.

“Consumers earn rewards at participating merchants simply by paying with the credit or debit card they have on file at,” the company explains in a blog post about the new product. “After spending an amount set by the merchant, the consumer unlocks the ability to purchase a special Groupon for that business.”

The product has been piloted in test markets, including the Chicago area, and is now being released to Groupon merchants free of charge. Merchants can sign up to configure reward coupons and use the product to view new and repeat customers, as well as see how much customers are spending and how often they visit.

Groupon Rewards is being marketed as an alternative to the punch card and is designed to help merchants drive repeat business — instead of just attracting one-time deal-hungry patrons. It may help the pre-IPO company quiet naysayers who question its ability to drive quality customers to participating merchants.

Groupon joins other startups such as Foursquare, SCVNGR and Swipely, all of whom have experimented with loyalty initiatives that link a customer’s credit card info to automatic rewards for spending at merchant venues.

More About: groupon, loyalty program

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Amazon Kindle Fire: First Impressions [VIDEO]

Posted: 28 Sep 2011 10:46 AM PDT

Amazon just schooled the tablet market. The Fire, a $199, 7-inch color touch-screen tablet may be the first blockbuster Android tablet, though no one will care that it's running the Android OS.

On the outside (and I do mean "outside" — Amazon wouldn't let journalists touch or test drive the Fire), the all black device looks exactly like RIM's PlayBook, which should not be surprising since it was reportedly built by the same manufacturer that built the PlayBook for RIM. It has a single button on one side of the device, stereo speakers on the other. It's roughly 11.5 millimeters thick and does not include a camera. It's also Wi-Fi only. No media slots and just 8GB of internal memory. You only have access to six of them, but Amazon reps stressed that you have unlimited storage in the cloud

Inside the Kindle Fire, a Texas Instruments dual core processor powers the Android 2.3 OS, though there's almost no evidence that it's in any way related to any other Android device.

The Fire's interface bears no resemblance to any Android tablet (or phone) on the market. Its home screen looks like a bookshelf, with access to recently accessed content and Apps (books, movies and music) and another shelf to pin favorites or frequently used items. At the top of the screen is search and menu access to Newsstand (for magazines), books, music, movies, apps and docs.

The Kindle Fire, which ships Nov. 21, will arrive pre-registered and filled with access to all of your Amazon content, much of which may reside in the cloud. Unlike Apple's iCloud service, there is no limit to the amount of content Amazon will store for you or how long they will store if for you. Perhaps this is because you’re simply accessing your content from Amazon’s vast cloud-library of ebooks, movies, TV shows and music. It’s not as if the cloud needs one copy of each piece of content per user.

You won't, however, always be able to access your Amazon Cloud through the Fire. As previously noted, the tablet is Wi-Fi only. So Whispersync will work quietly in the background only when a connection is available. Leaving out free 3G access, which you'll find in Amazon's new Kindle Touch, is likely one way Amazon kept the Fire price down.

The Fire's 7-inch screen supports 16 million colors and from our vantage point, the screen looked great and responsive. It supports multi-touch, but only up to two fingers. Battery life is up to eight hours.

There is no camera or external mic, so forget video chat of any kind. Still, that's alright. This is really a content consumption device and Amazon has a ton of content. The $79-a-year Amazon Prime service, which offers free two-day shipping and unlimited streaming TV and video, comes as a free 30-day trial for every new Fire owner. There are no ports to connect the Fire to your HDTV, but if you have a device that supports Amazon Prime connected to your TV, you can switch from watching a movie on the Fire to your TV. Whispersync will ensure that the movie starts just where you left off. Obviously, we can't test how well this works in the real world, but will report back as soon as review units arrive.

SEE ALSO: Amazon Unveils First Ad for Fire [VIDEO] | Amazon Cuts Kindle Price to $80

Amazon didn't spend much time showing Android apps (there aren't that many for tablets, anyway), but it did show off a new Amazon store app, which the company has completely redesigned for Android. We got a quick look at it and it seemed well organized. Amazon is also promising a native email client where you can manage multiple accounts, but none of the demo devices on display were actually running it.

The biggest innovation of all may be Amazon Silk, the company's home-grown browser that uses the power of Amazon's own cloud servers to offload Web page building duties. It can even, Amazon promised, prefetch the next page it thinks you'll view. Our quick look at Silk offered no real hints of this speed prowess. Outwardly, it looks like your typically tab-based browser. It's also notable that, with the Fire only on Wi-Fi, It may be hard to assess how much the browser improves a truly mobile, say, 3G browsing experience.

In general, the Amazon Fire is an attractive tablet at a killer price point with instant access to all of your stuff. It could be a no-brainer purchase for Amazon customers. Will it beat the Apple iPad? Unlikely. It's smaller, has access to far fewer apps, can't scale up on storage and isn't intended to capture and manipulate personal media. On the other hand, it could be viewed as the best iPad alternative for those with simpler needs, like: reading books, watching TV and movies.

For Mashable’s Complete Amazon Kindle & Kindle Fire Coverage

More About: amazon, fire, Tablet

HOW TO: Make the Most of the New Facebook Timeline Cover Photo [PICS]

Posted: 28 Sep 2011 10:19 AM PDT

So you’ve got the new Facebook Timeline. What now? We suggest having some fun with “cover photo” creativity.

The new Facebook profile design gives you a lovely big space at the top of your page for an image of your choosing. Now your profile photo overlaps the cover photo at the bottom left. We think there’s a wealth of potential for anyone who wants to get creative with this space.

SEE ALSO: How to Enable the New Facebook Timeline NOW

Take a look through the gallery below. Here we offer you a quick tutorial on how to make the most of this new option, but what you do with it is up to you.

Share your creative Timeline cover photo designs in the comments below (we’ll need a link to a screengrab, rather than a link to your profile), and you may see your design featured in a forthcoming Mashable gallery.

1. The New Timeline Profile

We're big fans of the new "cover photo" option. It gives users a chance to be really creative with their profile page and express themselves more than the old design ever did.

2. Select Your Cover Photo

To get started, simply click on the "Add a Cover" option shown at the top of the new Timeline design.

The optimum size for this image is around 840 pixels wide by 310 pixels high, although Facebook will automatically re-size existing images.

3. Select Your Profile Photo

Next, to change your profile picture, simply click on the "Edit Profile Picture" drop-down menu to bring up your options.

This is a square image and has to be a minimum of 180 pixels by 180 pixels.

4. It's Not Just About Photos

What you create is, of course, up to you. Instead of a photograph you could use an illustration or get clever with text.

5. Show Off Your Interests or Get Creative

Your Facebook profile is all about you, so why not take advantage of the new design to show off your interests?

You could use the cover image to showcase your photography, or offer your friends a glimpse of your favorite nature scape.

A cover photo of your preferred sport, juxtaposed with a profile image of you in action would be effective too.

Alternatively, play around with the photo-over-a-photo possibilities -- we're looking forward to seeing some creativity!

6. TIP: Your Profile Photo Remains Your Avatar

Be aware that only your friends with the new Timeline enabled will be able to see the full-fat cover photo version of your profile.

In addition, anyone you're not friends with who stumbles on your privacy-protected Facebook page will only see your profile photo thumbnail.

Remember that your profile photo is still the little avatar image that appears on top of every page. You might want to consider keeping this a recognizable image of you.

7. TIP: Be Aware of the Default View

It's also worth bearing in mind that, as this grab shows, the default view when someone clicks through to your profile is a cropped version of the cover photo.

The cover photo isn't shown in its entirety unless the person scrolls up. So, if you want to be really clever, you need your creation to look effective in this view as well.

8. TIP: See Who Can View Your Timeline Design

By heading over to Facebook's Timeline page (and scrolling down) you will be able to see how many of your friends can view your new design.

9. Now Show Us Yours...

So, now you know how to create a cool Timeline cover photo.

We want to see yours! Link us to an appropriately-sized screengrab of your shiny new profile and you might end up starring in the next Mashable gallery.

More About: Facebook, features, gallery, how tos, photography

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5 Tips for Getting Celebrities Involved With Online Cause Campaigns

Posted: 28 Sep 2011 09:32 AM PDT

The Stars of Social Good Series is supported by CITGO and the Fueling Good Campaign, helping to change the world through contributions to local charities.

celebrity imageIt’s one thing to say that celebrities can help non-profits raise money and awareness. It’s another thing to actually call a celebrity like George Clooney or Brangelina and get them onboard.

As much as the debate rages for and against celebrities getting mixed up with charities, there is a fine art to getting them involved in the first place. Mashable spoke with two non-profits with an amazing track record of grabbing top talent. Malaria No More‘s “Comedy Fights Malaria” managed to snag dozens of celebs, including jokesters from The Office and musicians like John Mayer. has had similar success getting a cadre of celebs including Usher, Rihanna, Olympic athletes, Lennox Lewis and more.

So how’d they do it? Read on for some tips on how to get celebrities involved with your online charitable work and make a difference.

1. Do Your Homework

This is one of those tips that everyone knows and nobody does. “Do your homework” doesn’t just mean figure out who is the most famous celebrity but figuring whom to approach and how to approach them for success.

“When you reach out, you need to be really specific as to why you’re reaching out,” says Joel Goldman, Malaria No More’s director of entertainment industry relations (read: “celeb guru”). For example, Goldman keeps an eye out for any celebrities traveling to Africa whom he could approach about issues surrounding malaria.

The best way to reach celebs is still to send emails and place calls to their representatives, but a pitch that clearly explains the goals of the campaign and why that particular celebrity is a great fit have a better chance at success. The more research you do and the more detailed the pitch, the more success you’ll have.

“Doing your homework and really knowing the right person for the right campaign is so important,” says’s Editor-In-Chief Betsy Fast. “[Celebrities] are just way, way too busy to deal with a request that isn’t really suitable.”

2. Find New Talents

Celebrities come in all shapes and sizes, so reach out to a range of people, from A-listers to B-listers to even hometown heroes who can really evangelize your cause. “A lot of times my best advice is not to go for the obvious that everyone is sending invites to, like George Clooney or Angelina Jolie,” Goldman says. “I try to find fun people across a different spectrum.”

That strategy helped Malaria No More bag a ton of top-rate comedians like BJ Novak and Ed Helms, instead of just aiming for one or two mega-stars like Robin Williams. “I don’t try and discount anybody that’s trying to get involved,” Goldman says.

There are additional benefits to reaching for new talent, says Fast. “Up and coming stars are loyal and more flexible, time-wise. And because they have more time, they’re better able to understand [the charity]. They can take another five minutes to learn about the cause.”

3. The Pitch

So what do you send? Every pitch will be different, but both Goldman and Fast advocate for precision and persistence. “For every ‘yes’ I get, I probably got about 10 ‘nos,’ It’s a lot harder than it looks,” Goldman says.

It’s important to reach out to a large number of potential celebrities, but make sure that each one will actually fit into your campaign. “I think press and donors really see when people just sign their name to something as opposed to when they’re really committed,” Goldman says.

It’s a similar problem for Fast: “It’s important to be able to back up why a particular celebrity is on it. It could be because the name is so huge and anything that his or her name is associated with does well. But with a super-duper A-lister, you may not be able to rely on him or her to continue to carry the torch for you.”

To wit, both Fast and Goldman are putting together a Celebrity Corps for their respective charities. The idea is to have a group of spokespeople that the charity can call on across several genres. By having a mix of athletes, musicians, actors and personalities, the charities can break into an equally large range of demographics to drum up support.

4. Are Celebrities For Everyone?

Having a celebrity sponsor rarely hurts a cause, but the time and energy needed to maintain that relationship can stretch smaller organizations. Celebrities aren’t a necessary part of the non-profit world, even though they can deliver big results.

A lot of the decision comes down to scale and being reasonable with who you approach. Large organizations like Malaria No More or can reach for the Ushers and John Mayers of the world, but local groups might have just as much, if not more success by finding spokespeople that speak specifically to their audience. “It’s not just about celebrities that I like,” Fast says. “You really have to understand your target audience and find celebrities that are appealing to them … is it appropriate for that shelter in Idaho to be making an ask for Ashton Kutcher? I’d say no, but there might be a smaller celebrity that could be so helpful and be really loyal.”

5. Is It Worth It?

Celebrity spokespeople are a blessing and a curse: A great relationship can bring in tremendous results, but a poor relationship can also cause undue headaches and stress. Still, Goldman and Fast say that their celebrity ambassadors have helped their cause. “To me, it’s kind of sad — as a personal opinion — that we need someone on [the Ellen DeGeneres Show] to say something … but that’s what our society is. We care about what we care about and what the people we see on TV care about,” Goldman says. But he stays optimistic: “If you work in a non-profit and want to make a difference, celebrities are just a great tool to do that.”

Series Supported by CITGO and the Fueling Good Campaign

The Stars of Social Good Series is supported by CITGO and the Fueling Good Campaign. It all starts with one person helping another. Then that person helps two more. Pretty soon you have a neighborhood, a community, an entire city – one act of kindness inspiring another. That's why CITGO donates thousands of gallons of gas to worthy charities. It's our way of keeping the momentum going.

More About: features, How-To, mashable, non-profits, Social Good, Stars of Social Good Series

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Want to Get Into the Guinness Book of World Records? Play Some iPhone Games

Posted: 28 Sep 2011 09:01 AM PDT

Achieving a high score in your favorite mobile game could soon earn you a spot in Guinness World Records.

Thanks to a partnership with Kiip, a startup that provides real-world rewards for in-game achievements, Guinness will begin listing the most talented mobile game players in future editions of its famous world record book. Every Kiip-enabled game will be tracked and has the potential of becoming a world record. Kiip will maintain the leaderboards that determine the world record holders.

“At Kiip, we’ve built an entirely new ad model around achievement moments,” Kiip CEO Brian Wong told Mashable. “As a network, we wanted to find continuous ways to accelerate growth and to broaden the brand of Kiip to be more than just rewards, but to be simply rewarding. We wanted to find the ultimate recognition for the moments that fuel our network. And what could be more recognizing than a world record.”

To kick things off, Guiness and Kiip are launching a five-day competition for the popular iPhone game Mega Jump. The person who achieves the highest score between September 28 and October 3 will be placed in the 2012 Guinness World Records 2012 Gamers Edition for “The Highest Score Achieved on Mega Jump.”

The partnership is a big win for Kiip, whose network of games continues to expand. While it was nice to win some Pop Chips for previous in-game achievements, having the chance to win a world record will likely take game engagement to a whole different level.

Would having the opportunity to achieve a world record motivate you to play an iPhone or Android game more? Let us know in the comments.

More About: aming, Gaming, guinness world records, iphone, Kiip, mobile gaming

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The New Facebook: How to Take Control of Your Privacy

Posted: 28 Sep 2011 08:49 AM PDT

Facebook took a huge step toward ubiquitous sharing with its new timeline and sharing features. And it rightfully creeps some people out.

Not everybody wants to share their life story on their profile, see their friends’ activities in real time or have their preferences in music, movies and reading shared as they’re consuming media.

But to Facebook’s credit, it has tread into a new level of sharing with some caution. In many ways, its privacy settings are more accessible. A new private activity log, for instance, allows you to review all past activity in one place to easily hide it from your Facebook Timeline, change the privacy setting on individual stories or delete posts altogether.

If you’re bothered by some new features, however, it might take a couple of clicks that are less than intuitive to opt out of them. Here’s how to avoid three of the new Facebook’s potential privacy concerns.

Your Friends See What You Watch, Listen to and Read

Adding an App to Your Facebook Timeline

Whenever an app wants to add updates to your Facebook Timeline, this box will appear.

Controlling Who Sees Your Activity

Clicking the people icon next to "This activity is visible to:" lets you control who will see your activity from the app. You can share your activity with the Public, Friends or specific Friend Lists.

Custom Privacy Settings for Gestures

If you click "Custom", you get more privacy options, including the ability to block certain people from seeing your activity.

Only Me Privacy

If you feel uncomfortable sharing your activity from the app, you can select "Only Me". This means that your will see your activity from the app on your Timeline, but no one else will.

Through partnerships with more than a dozen companies, Facebook has added TV, movies and music. You can, for instance, watch a movie from Netflix or stream a song from Spotify without leaving your News Feed.

The Washington Post has also created “social reader” apps that encourage users to connect with each other around the news from its content partners and discover content from friends. Other publications have built similar experiences.

After you connect to any of these apps, however, they will by default publish your activity to friends’ news tickers. In some cases, it will automatically create a box in your Timeline that outlines the content you’ve been consuming. If you’re not ready to announce that you listen to Justin Bieber on repeat or just finished an article about the top 10 quotes from the season premiere of Gossip Girl, this might strike you as a problem.

How you can opt out: While many of these apps have not yet been released, the good news is that those that have been released seem to provide sufficient opt-out mechanisms. With the Washington Post‘s social reader, for instance, there’s a “Mark as Unread” button at the end of each article that will remove it from all streams.

You can also go to Facebook’s settings page for apps and edit settings specific to that app. You can set the option, “Who can see posts and activity from this app?” to either public; friends of friends and networks; friends and networks; friends of friends; friends; specific people; or just yourself.

Apps Can Share Your Activity Without Asking

With the new Facebook Open Graph, apps no longer need to ask permission each time they post to your wall. Instead, apps detail exactly what type of information will be shared the first time it asks for permission and, after you agree to the terms, can automatically update your profile.

Kobo’s new e-reading app, for instance, will tell your friends when you’re reading and what you’re reading. Nike+’s app will do the same for your running habits.

This doesn’t mean that you’re about to get slammed with a ton of notifications from your friends’ FarmVille games though. Automatic updates will be posted to the news ticker and observable in real time, but the News Feed is still reserved for important events.

How you can opt out: The easiest way to control who can see updates from individual apps is the app setting page.

It’s now more important than ever to read an app’s permission screen carefully before you authorize it, as that permission is not on an action-by-action basis anymore. We’ve asked Facebook whether apps that have already been authorized on your profile will need to ask for permission before they can start posting activity automatically. We will update this article when we hear back.

Your Default Timeline Makes It Easy to See What a Dork You Were

When you get the new Facebook, your Timeline will automatically populate. If you’ve been a long-time user, this means that a whole array of past bad hairstyles that formerly resided on page 30 of your photos are now featured on your front page. Since Facebook highlights friends who were tagged in many of the same photos as you, it’s likely that your exes will be featured prominently too.

How to opt out: It’s easy to delete individual stories from your Timeline by clicking the drop-down menu in the upper right-hand corner of a box and selecting “Hide from Timeline.” A good way to review all of your past information at once is through a “view activity” tab at the top of the Timeline. This tab is only visible to you and allows you to easily delete or adjust privacy settings for individual stories that have been posted since you began using Facebook.

Your main privacy setting (public, friends or custom) only applies to new posts. Old posts that were not shared publicly will remain private, but if you’ve updated your setting from a more public setting to a more private setting, the posts that were created when you used the more public setting are still public. To restrict the visibility of your entire Timeline in this case, there is a separate setting that you must select. Go to your privacy setting page and select “Limit the Audience for Past Posts.”

More About: Facebook, facebook timeline, trending

Amazon Unveils First Ad for Fire [VIDEO]

Posted: 28 Sep 2011 08:34 AM PDT

Amazon has revealed the unlikely inspiration for Fire‘s and Kindle‘s names — Voltaire — in the first ad promoting its new tablet.

The ad revolves around Voltaire’s quote: “The instruction we find in books is like fire. We fetch it from our neighbors, kindle it at home, communicate it to others and it becomes property of all.” The spot employs the quote to illustrate the evolution of media, from longhand with pen and ink to typsetting to its e-reader. The connection between the quote and Kindle’s name was revealed previously, but is not generally known.

Simultaneously, Amazon has also rolled out an ad (below) positioning its $80 entry-level Kindle as a gift for the holidays. The ad shows a perky young couple that have appeared in previous Amazon ads bantering about the device. The female of the pair (a.k.a. “Happypants”) has bought two Kindles at that price — one for her father and one for herself. The ad doesn’t overtly evoke the holidays, but is timed for the start of the holiday season.

What do you think of these ads? Let us know in the comments.

For Mashable’s Complete Amazon Kindle & Kindle Fire Coverage

More About: Advertising, amazon, fire, Kindle, Marketing

Amazon Launches Silk Web Browser for Tablets

Posted: 28 Sep 2011 08:14 AM PDT

Amazon has unveiled Silk, a brand new web browser that lives both on the tablet and in the cloud.

The browser, which will be available on the Amazon Fire tablet, dramatically cuts down on load times and request times by splitting the workload between the tablet and Amazon’s EC2. This infusion of cloud computing is the secret sauce that makes the Silk browser load pages quickly.

Silk also invokes predictive technology. It utilizes machine learning to detect user behavior and predict what the user will request next.

In a demonstration at its press event in New York, Amazon loaded 53 static file images, 39 dynamic files, 30 Javascript files and three Flash files within seconds.

Amazon engineers say that they called the browser Silk because “a thread of silk is an invisible yet incredibly strong connection between two different things,” which describes the relationship between Amazon’s browser and the cloud.

Check out the video that Amazon has produced to learn more about the new cloud-based browser.

For Mashable’s Complete Amazon Kindle & Kindle Fire Coverage

More About: amazon, Amazon Fire, Amazon Silk, Kindle, web browser

Barnes & Noble Stock Falls 9% After Amazon Tablet Launch

Posted: 28 Sep 2011 07:55 AM PDT

Amazon‘s Fire has claimed a victim: Barnes & Noble.

The bookseller’s stock was down more than 9% this morning after Amazon introduced its $199 Fire, a tablet that undercuts the Nook Color’s price by $50. Amazon also cut the price of its e-Ink Kindle to $80 from $119. The Nook Simple Touch, Barnes & Noble’s competitor to that device, sells for $139.

Digital sales, led by the Nook, were a bright spot in Barnes & Noble’s fiscal first quarter earnings, which were reported in August. Sales through jumped 37% for the quarter, compared to the same period in 2010.

Barnes & Noble Price Stock Chart

Barnes & Noble Price Stock Chart by YCharts

For Mashable’s Complete Amazon Kindle & Kindle Fire Coverage

Image courtesy of Flickr, Hey Paul

More About: amazon, Kindle, nook, nook color

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Amazon Announces Kindle Touch: $149 With 3G, $99 Without

Posted: 28 Sep 2011 07:36 AM PDT

After disclosing details about the Kindle Fire, its $199, 7-inch Android tablet device, Amazon revealed updates to its line of eink ereaders.

The most expensive of these is the Kindle Touch 3G, an eink reader with 3G connectivity and touchscreen support, for $149. A Wi-Fi-only version is available for $99, and a regular eink Kindle — i.e., one without a touchscreen — is priced at $79.

At 5.98 ounces, the last of these is 30% lighter than its predecessor, the Kindle 3, and is simply called the “Kindle.” It’s also 18% smaller (although the 6-inch screen has not been sized down) and turns pages 10% more quickly.

Interestingly, all three devices will sport screensaver advertisements, a la Kindle With Special Offers — which may explain in part why Amazon was able to price them so competitively. Those who want a Kindle without ads will have to pay an extra $30 for the regular Kindle, and $40 more for the two Touch devices, respectively.

All three devices will be made available for pre-order Wednesday at and ship on Nov. 21.

For further details, catch our live blog from the Amazon event.

The $79 Kindle.

The $79 Kindle.

The $79 Kindle.

The $79 Kindle.

The Kindle Touch comes in two versions: $139 with 3G, and $99 without.

The Kindle Touch comes in two versions: $139 with 3G, and $99 without.

The Kindle Touch comes in two versions: $139 with 3G, and $99 without.

The Kindle Touch comes in two versions: $139 with 3G, and $99 without.

For Mashable’s Complete Amazon Kindle & Kindle Fire Coverage

More About: amazon, Kindle, kindle touch

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