The “all-new” Kindle. (Amazon Photo) Even as Amazon’s hardware ambitions expand, the tech giant hasn’t forgotten about one of its original gadgets. The Seattle company is refreshing its flagship Kindle e-reader, opening pre-orders today for the “all-new” Kindle. The device, which comes with an adjustable front light, will begin shipping April 10 and sell for $89.99, which is a $10 price hike from the previous version. “Customers consistently tell us how much they appreciate having a front light on Kindle devices so they can read in any environment — from a sunny patio to their bed at night,” said Kevin Keith, vice president for Amazon Devices. (Amazon Photo) This is the first time Amazon has refreshed its original e-reader since 2016. The move comes less than six months after , the most popular device in the e-reader family. Like the current Kindle, the new model will have a six-inch, 167 pixel per inch display with 4MB of storage. The new device features an updated design, the latest electronic ink technology for better contrast, and comes with three free months of the Kindle Unlimited virtual library subscription service. Amazon is offering to let customers trade-in their Kindles for Amazon gift cards at the appraised value of their devices, as well as a 25 percent discount on a new Kindle. The new Kindle joins the refreshed Paperwhite as well as the $249 Kindle Oasis to round out the Kindle family.
Stadia controller (Google) Google’s new game platform, , promises to eliminate the need to buy a console by making games playable through streaming to any device, be it PC, TV, phone or tablet. But the competitive threat that Stadia poses to Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft will hinge on a key detail that Google is keeping secret, for now. The search giant did not disclose the expected price of the Stadia service and games during . While avoiding the cost of a console could be a big selling point for potential users, the savings could be diminished if they’re required to pay individually for games, plus a monthly subscription fee for the service. An answer to the pricing question likely won’t come until later this year. In the meantime, Google is touting the quality of the Stadia gaming experience, saying it has made the technical advances required to play Triple-A games in high-definition via the cloud, effectively eliminating the need to run them on a local console or computer. Both Stadia and Microsoft’s upcoming streaming service, announced in 2018, make a lot of the same promises, but neither has announced its pricing yet. Another key question is how games will be released. Microsoft has recently convinced some third parties to release their games on Xbox Game Pass, its new game subscription service, at the same time they debut in traditional form, known as a day-and-date release, but it’s not the norm. While Google announced a lot of third-party game support, it’s unclear if that means day-and-date releases, as well. Even though Stadia doesn’t require a console, gamers will need to purchase a controller to take advantage of some of the service’s features. The cost of the controller also wasn’t revealed. Cloud gaming service offered this option back in 2010. In order to use the service, players needed to purchase a special console in addition to paying a subscription fee for its service and an additional fee that varied by game. That was more than many gamers were willing to pay and OnLive went defunct in 2015. The main difference Google is touting about Stadia is that there’s no need to purchase a console. That could end up being a big difference. While Microsoft hasn’t released all of the details surrounding Project xCloud, at the time it seems it will be limited to Xbox games, meaning the console purchase is necessary. Google promises Stadia will be launching this year, giving them the first-to-market advantage, but Microsoft could potentially come out with a lower price for Project xCloud, which is scheduled for beta this year, but doesn’t have a final release date.