But uptake has slowed.
Get ready to see more Amazon Kindles at work
Amazon is rolling out a new line of Kindle Fires, this time with a handful of features designed to make them more attractive to business users. The company has been moving in this direction but now is offering a host of features that should make IT shops happy.
For consumers, when you compare the newest Kindle Fires to the Microsoft’s Surface 2, also introduced this week, or the iPad Mini, it’s hard to beat the price.
Two of the most important additions are a native VPN client, and compatibility with a host of leading mobile device management services, including AirWatch, Fiberlink, Good Technology, Citrix, and SOTI. It also comes with secure hardware data encryption.
Amazon made a point of mentioning all the productivity apps that people can use on the new Kindle. It updated the email client to try to make it easier to set up and group conversations by subject. It mentions using the Kindles to securely access SharePoint, and that any Android app -- including GoToMeeting, Evernote, and Documents To Go -- can be downloaded to the tablets.
The new Kindle Fire also comes with a novel service that could be particularly interesting to smaller businesses. Hitting a "Mayday" button connects to Amazon customer service for help using any of the features on the tablet. Amazon is hoping to connect users with help within 15 seconds.
The new Kindles also come with a front facing camera that Amazon noted is good for making Skype video calls.
The Kindles come with OfficeSuite, an app for using Microsoft’s Word, PowerPoint, and Excel apps.
While the company is interested enough in the business market to put out a separate announcement detailing these features, business users may not have been the number one priority – a number of the features won’t be available out of the box but will come with a future software update in mid-November, the company said.
Given that the new Kindles are being introduced during the same week that Microsoft came out with its upgraded line of Surface tablets, it’s hard not to compare the two. The Surface 2, which runs on Windows RT, is the more consumer-focused but still has some productivity apps, like Office.
But users comparing the two might have a tough time going with the Surface, given the price difference. The 7 inch, 32 GB Kindle Fire HDX will run for $269 while the 32 GB Surface 2 will set you back $449. The 32 GB 5 inch iPad Mini sells for $429. If users want a tablet primarily for fun but with some basic capabilities for getting work done, the Kindle is hard to beat.
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