Today, an email was sent out to all Amazon Student members offering them a $50 discount code for the 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HD. Amazon has discounted their premium tablet a couple of different times since the beginning of December, leading some to speculate that the company has a few more units on-hand than they would like. The only time I have seen Amazon discount their Kindle devices or accessories has been when they were trying to clear out excess inventory, like with the Kindle DX.
The previous discounts were rather brief in duration; a (supposedly) limited number of units were available, and the price went back up after two or three days. This time, Amazon Student members will have a full month to decide if they want to make the investment or not. The offer is good through January 30th, or “while supplies last.”
$249 for an 8.9-inch tablet is a pretty nice deal, especially for students who might already be invested in the Amazon ecosystem. The updated reading application features a great text-to-speech engine that would be perfect for students who have a hard time staying focused on their freshman English assignments. The new ‘Immersion Reading’ capability is also a helpful reading option, but you would have to buy both the ebook and the Audible audiobook to do this. ezPDF Reader is available in the Amazon App Store, and the larger screen dimensions of the 8.9-inch Fire HD make it optimal for document viewing. With the addition of a bluetooth keyboard and case, you could take notes in class without having to lug around your heavy laptop.
As a side note, if you are a college student and you haven’t been taking advantage of the Amazon Student program, you should use some of the money you saved buying the Fire HD 8.9 and spend it on a membership. For only $39 a year, you get full Amazon Prime benefits (normally $79 annually) including free two-day shipping on all orders and access to a huge library of free ebooks, TV shows, and movies. Amazon physical book prices will almost always be better than what you will find at your local university store—I once found a $75 textbook on Amazon for $20—and the fast, free shipping really sweetens the deal.
Does anyone know if Amazon has plans to make the app for online classrooms, Blackboard Learning, available? Currently it is only offered (for my school) through Google Play and for iphone/ipad. This is a huge factor in which tablet/ereader I purchase since I am in a 2 year online AA program.
The Blackboard app is not available in the Kindle App Store, and it doesn’t look like there are any plans to add it in the near future. Many students have complained about this on the Kindle Forums. You can access Blackboard through the web browser, or you could try to side-load it, but I have read that many important features don’t work when you do this.
Blackboard Mobile is available at the Google Play store, but it might just be a blown up smartphone version, not a dedicated tablet app. My university stopped using Blackboard a couple of years ago, and the software we use now easily operates within Firefox.
Kathy H says
Well now it makes me wish I were a student! I actually purchased the 8.9 but returned it a week later when I realized that it was a little too big and awkward for reading in bed at night. I bought the hd 7 and really do love it, except now I can see the benefit of the larger screen for web surfing. I’m thinking I’ d like to have a larger tablet to work with for certain things!
Andrew, thanks for the info. I have accessed my classroom with the iPhone app because it is 4g. But it does not pinch/zoom. I sometimes use it to check deadlines.
Currently I have the original Color Nook, which I find cumbersome for web use but love as an ereader for leisure reading. Not so much for productivity. Or entertainment 🙂
Trying to decide my next purchase. Maybe I shouldn’t put so much weight into Blackboard as a decision-maker factor. I’m not in a hurry so I will think on it.
Linda, you are welcome!
Yeah, I definitely wouldn’t base my next tablet decision on one feature alone. Different tablets have different strengths, but with some things, like the Blackboard app, they are almost all insufficient (the Blackboard app isn’t very well developed).
If you like the form factor of a 7″ tablet, but want more freedom when it comes to the operating system, I would recommend the Google Nexus 7. I have used the Nexus 7 (and later the Nexus 10) since the it was released this past summer, and it is simply the best Android tablet available on the market today.
For your purposes, a 10.1″ tablet (the Nexus 10) might be more beneficial for school work, but you will lose some of the comfort of a 7″ tablet, like Kathy H stated above. There will be some give and take with any device, but your best-loved features should make up for that. That is the balance you need to find.
Take your time, check out some of Nathan’s video reviews, and really get to know the features of each leading device as best you can before you pull the trigger.
So, while pondering which tablet to purchase I checked into the above mentioned Prime Student account. I have been a Prime member for 2 years now (I had a Kindle Fire for 2 months before it was stolen, I have not replaced it). I kept the Prime membership because I purchase enough from Amazon to make it worth it. My membership renews January 22nd and I thought I could seamlessly change my membership to Student. No such luck. I have to cancel and re-sign. The reason: If the regular Prime changes it’s offering price in the future, I will be giving up my current price if I take advantage of the Student price and it will ultimately cost me more when I am no longer a student. Bummer. On another note, as Andrew suggests, the Nexus is probably going to be my choice. How does it compare to the Galaxy? I have a couple gift cards for Best Buy, but Nexus isn’t sold there? Anyway, thanks for the suggestion Andrew! Nexus looks great! If I can use Best Buy, I’ll go with the 10.
Brittany Lea says
I won a kindle hd 7″ at work and I have had it maybe 6 months and its kind of boring now especially that i cant customize it they way I would want it to look is there any way to customize it the way i want it to look as in back grounds for the home screen like you could do on an android compatible phone i have you tubed it but all i am getting is help for the 1st generation an im not so sure this is the 1st generation and everytime i follow the steps I can’t seem to get mine to do what theirs is also it isn’t letting me pick what launcher I want to use can you please email me some help or direct me in the direction i need to go. you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment hear i will try an figure my way back lol sorry if im inconvience let me no yes or no if you will or something