Amazon Goes After Apple with Updated Kindles

While Apple builds the buzz over their up-coming press conference, Amazon has slipped in with some big news of their own. CEO Jeff Bezos met with the press this morning to unveil a new line of Kindle Fires and a new Kindle e-reader and what I saw made me weak in the knees. I love my iPad but Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD is calling me with one feature I’ve been craving for a long while.

For the first time, Amazon shouldered its way into Apple’s space with a high end Kindle Fire HD model that retails for $499. This is well above the price points they were hitting and seems to go against the grain of Bezos statement:

“We want to make money when people use our devices, not when they buy our devices.”

Search Engine Smackdown: Bing Invites You to Bing It On!

Bing has always been aggressive and creative with their promotional strategies. They’ve run clever, pop culture commercials, paid out rewards for loyal usage, and they’ve even forced actors to use their search engine on TV as if it was a natural part of the show (sigh.)

Now, they have a new tactic. They’re out to prove that they really are the better search engine with a blind test they call “Bing It On!”

When I first saw the press release on it, I laughed over the concept of a “blind” search engine study. Well, Bing, if I can’t see the results, you have a 50-50 chance of coming out on top!

The Written Word Stumbles as Photo Sharing Tops Link List on Twitter

Now that the whole world is walking around with a digital camera in their pocket, photo sharing is booming. According to Diffbot, photos are the most commonly shared item on Twitter.

Just look at this graph from eMarketer. There’s nothing coming close to images, including articles. Think about it. Twitter already reduces our thoughts to 140 characters, now bit by bit, images are replacing all the words. As a writer, I find that frightening, but I’ll bet the photographers are shouting, it’s about time!

Twitter usage is around 27.7 million right now but eMarketer thinks it will cross 30 million next next year. A nice number, but that’s still only 13% of the population and 16% of all internet users.

Smartphone App and Browser Usage Cross the Half-Way Point

It’s a real sign of the times when you can’t watch an hour of television without seeing a couple of cell phone or tablet commercials. These handy-dandy devices are no longer a luxury item, they’re rapidly becoming as common as that TV you’re seeing the ads on.

comScore just released their latest set of numbers in the July 2012 MobiLens report. Nothing startling, but there are a few interesting items to note.

Let’s start with the kinds of phones everyone is using.

Samsung and LG still rule for pure number of devices in hand but look at Apple. They’re the only one showing an appreciable rise in sales. Last year, they only had 9.5% of the business, coming in second to last after RIM. (Notice RIM is now off the chart.) Apple has now topped Motorola and is closing in on LG. Think they can best them by the end of this year? With more Apple announcements coming our way in about a week, it’s possible.

Majority of Consumers Would Trade a Facebook Like for a Discount

Speaking of Facebook likes. . . it’s National Coupon Month and RedPlum has just released the results of their annual Purse String Study. The overwhelming conclusion? People are so used to looking for deals and coupons, it’s “become second nature to them.” But instead of just heading to the newspaper for circulars and inserts, they’re using the internet to save more money and save time.

Here’s the best news for ecommerce folks:

Look at that happy orange strip; 67% of consumers said they’d like a page on Facebook in return for a 25% discount. That’s huge and way more than I would have said if you asked me (which nobody did.) With all the grumbling people do about Facebook, here they are willing to sell their soul vote of confidence in order to save money.

Excuse Me, Klout. I’m Having a Moment

Last month, Klout pulled the wraps off a new design and new backend that is supposed to be more transparent and more accurate. I just got the email.

I’ll be upfront here and say, I’m not a big Klout user, so I can’t really remember what the site used to look like. But I think it’s now cleaner and more colorful and everything is bigger but not necessarily clearer in the non-visual sense of the word.

The crux of the redesign is the Moment, as in “We’re having a. . . ”

This is not my page. Since my page was full of pictures of other people, I decided to go with the example Klout published. (But consider this fair warning to anyone who follows me on social media, you could show up in a post one day.)

Almost Half of All Smartphone Users Have Purchased Digital Entertainment Products

American’s have a bad case of Johnny-Five syndrome. So named for the robot in the movie “Short Circuit,” the disorder’s one and only symptom is the intense craving for more digital input. Movies, TV shows, podcasts, webseries, music, ebooks — they can’t get enough.

According to the new Mobile Intel Series report from Millennial Media, 47% of smartphone users have purchased digital entertainment in order to halt the cravings, but sadly, the fix is only temporary. One season of “The Vampire Diaries” isn’t enough. The entire catalog of films starring George Clooney won’t do it. Even the massive collection of free ebooks on Amazon can’t fill that empty feeling a Johnny-Fiver gets once the data has been consumed.

This is good news for all you entertainment content sellers out there.