Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Breaking News

Slate

September 7, 2012

Slate: Amazon makes tablets better

PALO ALTO, Calif. — Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos took the stage at a large airplane hangar in Santa Monica, Calif., this week and presented a dazzling, methodical, hourlong disquisition on the state of the technology business. He began by explaining why most of the iPad's competitors have failed: "They're gadgets," he said, "and people don't want gadgets anymore. They want services that improve over time."

He spent five minutes explaining Amazon's rock-bottom pricing strategy. The company, he explained, aims to "align with our customers," so the firm only makes money when people "use our devices, not when they buy our devices." Bezos beamed as he showed how Amazon is remaking the book business. In the first year after getting a Kindle, people buy nearly five times as many books, he said. That should put a stop to the snobbish argument that Amazon is killing "literary culture."

Along the way, Bezos introduced some new products_there's an e-reader, the Kindle Paperwhite, with a brilliant illuminated screen, and new Kindle Fire HD tablets that are decked out with faster processors and better displays than last year's Fire. But the particulars about the new gadgets felt like a sideshow to the larger story. Ever since it launched the Kindle, we've known that Amazon had ambitions to become a full-fledged hardware company. Last year, when it released the bare-bones Kindle Fire, we thought we had a sense of what kind of hardware company Amazon wanted to become_it would create low-end devices, sell them at cost, and aim to make money through content to read and watch on those devices.

This week Bezos turned that narrative on its head. Amazon, he declared, doesn't want to make devices that you settle for. Instead, it's going after the iPad directly, aiming to build tablets with better specs at lower prices. More importantly, he wants to build devices that people love to use just as much as anything bearing a fruity logo. "We are not building the best tablet at a certain price," Bezos said. "We have just built the best tablet at any price."

Text Only
Slate
  • baby-generic.jpg For millennials, out-of-wedlock childbirth is the norm

    This month brings us yet another reminder that, for young Americans, having children outside of marriage is very much "the new normal," as The New York Times once put it.

    June 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • May 2014 was the hottest may in recorded history

    According to new data released this week, May 2014 is officially the warmest May in recorded history.
    Both NASA and the Japan Meteorological Agency have tentatively ranked May at the top of historical measurements, though NASA's numbers are preliminary because crucial information is still missing from China.

    June 20, 2014

  • GM recalls soar past 20 million. Why don't consumers care?

    In case you thought there couldn't possibly be another General Motors recall so soon, you're just not thinking big enough. This week, GM said it was recalling 3.36 million more cars. The cause: an ignition switch defect that could result in keys carrying extra weight (read: a keychain) to slip out of position and shut the vehicle off abruptly during "some jarring event."

    June 18, 2014

  • No one is against devoted dads

    Father's Day is Sunday, which means that it's time for pundits and politicians to scold the American public - with special ire reserved for black members of the American public - for our supposed indifference to the wonder and awe of fatherhood.

    June 12, 2014

  • 74129880-graduates.jpg The fate of the overeducated and underemployed

    According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, about 44 percent of young bachelor's degree holders lucky enough to be working are employed in positions that technically don't require their degree. While that number isn't far off from the historical norm — 22-year-olds have always needed a little time to find their professional footing — the fraction stuck scraping bottom in truly low-paying jobs has grown quite a bit since the recession.

    June 4, 2014 1 Photo

  • Skype's real-time language translator

    This week at Re/Code's Code Conference, Microsoft announced a real-time, multilingual translation beta called Skype Translate. The service can mediate between two video chatterers who speak different languages by providing text and audio translation after each person finishes speaking. Currently the service works for English and German, but Microsoft says it will support other languages soon. The beta will be released later this year.

    May 29, 2014

  • New Orleans does away with traditional public schools

    The second-graders paraded to the Dumpster in the rear parking lot, where they chucked boxes of old work sheets, notebooks and other detritus into the trash, emptying their school for good.

    May 29, 2014

  • Amazon sells steroids and stimulants banned in sports

    I have by no means executed a comprehensive search of wares sold by Amazon directly or through its third-party sellers, but I found other prescription drugs for sale without a prescription, including the antibiotic norfloxacin and the muscle relaxant methocarbamol. Both compounds, like clindamycin, warrant careful oversight to avoid complications or endangering public health, such as by breeding antibiotic resistance.

    May 29, 2014

  • 2010-Winter-Olympic-Games-001.jpg Nobody wants to host the Winter Olympics

    If we end up watching slopestyle from the Central Asia steppes in 2022, it will likely be because it's becoming clear that nobody in Europe wants to host these Olympics anymore. Publics may finally be getting wise to the fact that the long-term economic benefits of hosting mega-events like the Olympics or the World Cup are usually negligible at best.

    May 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Woman sues a New York Hospital for forcing a C-section. Can doctors do that?

    Though Dray's doctor claims he did not force her to have a C-section, her hospital record included a note signed by the hospital's director of maternal and fetal medicine that said, "I have decided to override her refusal to have a C-section."

    May 21, 2014