Chromebox is the Best Selling Desktop Computer, Followed by Mac Mini

Samsung has just released Chromebox, a mini desktop computer running Google’s Chrome OS.  How does the market think about this new device?  I found an answer in Amazon:

Chromebox - Best Selling Computer in Amazon

 

As of today, 31 May 2012, two days after the launch of this product, Chromebox becomes the best selling desktop computer in Amazon.  Is this may be a new product phenomenon?  On one hand, I believe this product is something the market has been waiting for – a set top box for internet browsing and casual computing use connected to a TV, very suitable for couch surfing and daily simple use.  On the other hand, its $329.99 price tag may be a little steep, considering it mainly a browser instead of a full computer.

Another interesting thing observed is what comes second.  It’s Apple’s Mac Mini!  Another small desktop computer in the size of a set-top box.  Is it a coincidence?  Or customers are really hunger for this a computer of this size?  While we know that many people use Mac Mini as home theater PC (HTPC), it is not surprising at all to see the popularity of Chromebox.

We shall see if Chromebox could maintain its status as the best selling computer for the weeks and months to come.  I do believe that, given the much lower price of Chromebox, it could certainly attract some potential Mac Mini buyers who simply want a living room computer for casual use.

Do you think Chromebox could challenge Mac Mini’s position?  Do you like Chromebox?  Share your views here!

New Samsung Chromebook and Chromebox Hit the Market!

Today (30 May 2012), Google formally announced the new Samsung Chromebook and Chromebox.  Customers from US, UK, Germany, France, Italy, Netherlands, South Korea and Spain can find links to online purchase from Google’s official page.  US customers can directly buy Chromebook and Chromebox from Amazon and Newegg.

Samsung Series 5 550 Chromebook (3G)

Samsung Series 3 Chromebox

The price of Chromebook is $549.99 for 3G version and $449.99 for WiFi only version.  The price of Chromebox is $329.99, as listed on Amazon.  The 1st generation Samsung Chromebook is still available for purchase in Amazon with a price tag of $349.99 (3G).

It was once expected that these new Chrome devices would be released during the Google I/O 2012, but it looks like Google and Samsung wish to see them in the market not later than June.  What do you think about the price?  Do you think they are expensive?  Share your view here!

Samsung Chromebox and Chromebook

Amazon Kindle Fire Tablet Pre-order Opened, Carry the Cloud With You Anywhere

As a Kindle user, I’m so excited to see the announcement of Kindle Fire, Amazon’s latest 7″ multi-touch color tablet.  It is slim, ultralight and most importantly, give users a shortcut to the cloud at anytime and anywhere.  The best of all, Kindle Fire is only $199, a truly bargain price for an Android tablet.

 

Amazon Silk: A Cloud-accelerated Browser on Kindle Fire

The most impressive thing about Kindle Fire is Amazon Silk, the built-in browser of this tablet.  Amazon claims that Silk is much faster than other browsers due to the support of the cloud.

Amazon Silk Browser on Kindle FireEvery time there is a page request Silk determines what tasks to be handled by the tablet and what data to be processed by the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) server, taking into consideration factors such as network status and page complexity.  And Amazon said that they had peered with major internet service providers and top web sites, so many of the web pages you browse actually has a cached copy on Amazon’s server.  This shortens the loading time of web pages.

Besides, Amazon’s server learns from billions of web sites so that it can push associated content to the tablet, without having to wait until the whole page has been loaded to determine what to download.  This again accelerates the whole loading process.

This is not the first time we see similar technologies.  For example, SKyFire is a browser that converts flash content into iPhone compatible format before pushing the content to iPhone, to make iPhone “flash-enabled”.  This is a clever design because the iPhone hardware may be incapable to process the data.

Watch this video for an in-depth (5 mins+) explanation of Silk:

 

Amazon Content with Free Cloud Storage

Kindle Fire fully utilizes the rich content pool of Amazon (the existing Instant Video and MP3).  There are over 100,000 movies and TV shows and 17 million songs users can enjoy on Kindle Fire.  Besides, Amazon released color digital publications including magazines, books and children books.

Kindle Fire Free Cloud StorageThe huge collection of content is stored on Amazon’s server for free, meaning that users can “buy” the contents without having to spent any local disk space for storage.  Only when needed the contents are streamed or downloaded to the tablet.

Again, this is not a completely new concept.  Since the first generation Kindle, Amazon keeps all books I bought online, I can delete the local copy and re-download at anytime.  Now Amazon pushes this forward to all other multimedia content.

And with the Whispersync technology, Amazon keeps track of your reading and watching progress.  If you finished playing 25 minutes of a TV show, when you switch on Kindle Fire, it plays from the 26th minute onward.  This is a truly remarkable design that brings convenience to users.

 

Summary:  The Cloud on Hand

Cloud High Club is not a gadget blog, I’ll leave the many other attractive features of Kindle Fire to you to explore on Amazon.  I simply want to point out that Amazon truly “invented” a product that effectively integrates the cloud with a tablet.  Not to mention the rich multimedia content that Amazon brings.

Why?  Although there are many tablets (iOS and Android) out there, that all “connect” to the internet.  On the other hand, I have the impression that Kindle Fire is built to “utilize” the net.  It’s like a simple terminal that delivers the best of the internet contents to users.  To a certain extent this matches the belief behind Chromebooks.  And Kindle Fire is slim (0/45″ or 11.4mm thick) and light (14.6 ounces or 413 grams).  It truly makes the cloud portable while enjoyable.

If you are a heavy web user who enjoys watching and listening to multimedia content, reading books and games, Kindle Fire is a must-have tablet.  Of course, it’s not a truly Android tablet, since the OS is custom-tweaked to run Amazon Apps only.  Perhaps users would soon find out that Fire could be “androidized” as easily as for Nook.  But even running the stock OS, I could see huge potential of Kindle Fire being a killer cloud-centric tablet.

Buy one or check out more at ==> Amazon

Kindle Fire at $199 only

 

 

[chrome web app] Amazon Kindle Cloud Reader: good but not great web-based ebook reader

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Amazon announced its latest attempt to the cloud reading market, Kindle Cloud Reader, that delivers the popular Kindle book collection to the web for all reading lovers.  As a Kindle user for almost 3 years, I truly like the e-reading tool and the convenience it brought to me.  Does Kindle Cloud Reader offer the same enjoyable experience?  Let’s find it out.

 

How to Use Kindle Cloud Reader

Install Kindle Cloud Reader from Chrome Web Store

Same as other popular web apps, you can find Kindle Cloud Reader in Chrome Web Store.  Just go to the following link to install it.

https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/icdipabjmbhpdkjaihfjoikhjjeneebd

Alternatively, you can directly buy books or ask for sample chapter from Amazon and order it be sent to the Cloud Reader via Amazon.  You would be brought to the book you downloaded rightaway.

Download to Kindle Cloud Reader

A third way to use it is to go the its web site directly: https://read.amazon.com/.  Unfortunately it supports Chrome and Safari only.

Read more »

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