While Android powers the Kindle Fire HDX, Amazon has fully skinned the tablet with its own overlay, called Fire 3.0 “Mojito.” The outward appearance looks very similar to last year’s Kindle Fire HD, but Amazon has gone hog wild with features.
Familiar to previous Fire owners is the carousel view of recently opened content or apps that sits at the top of the screen, just above a more traditional grid view. But this year, Amazon has added the Quick Switch feature from within apps; with a side swipe, you can reveal a tray of open apps without going back to the home screen. The carousel view still seems a bit My First Tablet to us.
The top bar of the screen shows some basic info, such as wireless setting and battery status. Below that is a row that separates your content by type — games, apps, books, music, videos, newsstand, audiobooks, Web, photos and docs. Naturally, you can access the Amazon store from this bar. It’s an obvious and clear system of navigation that we found helpful.
Pulling down from the top reveals some quick access settings, such as brightness, auto-rotate, wireless and settings. Under settings, you can open another window to tweak everything from sounds and security to parental controls. For dedicated readers, there’s a Quiet Time switch that allows you to prevent notifications from interrupting your reading time.
Screen Reader, Explore by Touch and Screen Magnifier are new accessibility features for the visually impaired. Screen Reader features Ivona’s natural language text-to-speech voice. Explore by Touch describes items when you tap the screen. Screen Magnifier allows you to zoom in quickly.
Amazon isn’t stopping with these enhancements. A Fire OS 3.1 update is planned for mid-November, and will add Cloud Collections, Goodreads and some enterprise-level enhancements. Cloud Collections allows you to group similar content and then store it on Amazon’s server instead of your tablet’s memory. Goodreads is a social network for bookworms that will allow members to see what their friends are reading, share highlights and rate books.
On first glance, the Samsung Galaxy S4 design appears little more than a carbon copy of its predecessor. On closer inspection, however, it quickly becomes clear that Samsung has made a number of small, subtle improvements over the S3 that, when combined together, make a considerable difference.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 design shuns the option of a premium, brushed metal or unibody design in favour of a largely plastic body. It doesn’t look or feel like a £600 phone, but it doesn’t feel offensively cheap as some have suggested or feared, either.
Build quality is reassuring, too. The Samsung Galaxy S4 feels less rigid and unforgiving than its predecessor, with just a little flex in its body when faced with large amounts of pressure, but not so much as to cause concern. The Gorilla Glass 3 protective screen, meanwhile, does its job, with no visible marks left on the screen having let the handset rock about our pockets in company with keys and coins, two things we do not recommend you do on a regular basis. Fine, so it’s not waterproof like the Sony Xperia Z, but the Sony unusual in that respect.
Compared to the S3 it replaces, it has a slightly squarer, flatter finish, while the faux-metal trim on the outer edge is a simple alteration that gives the S4 a visual one-up on the S3. More striking is incredibly slim bezel – the reason the S4 is no larger than the S3 despite its extra 0.2-inches of screen real estate. It looks fantastic and is a welcome improvement, even if it results in accidental presses from time-to-time.
Having faced manufacturing issues with last year’s ‘Pebble Blue’ Galaxy S3 colour scheme, Samsung with the S4 has opted for new White Frost and Black Mist hues. In a further effort to aid the S4’s premium appeal, it’s adorned with a fine checkerboard effect that, surprisingly, does look considerably nicer than the bland plastic approach of the S3.
So far the Samsung Galaxy S4’s design is a marked improvement over the S4, but despite these improvements, removing the handset’s rear plastic panel in order to insert a SIM or microSD card is still an unpleasant, nerve-wrenching experience that is best avoided whenever possible.
It may be more resilient to knocks and drops than the glass backing found on the likes of the iPhone 4S and Google Nexus 4, and less likely to show scratches than the brushed metal of the iPhone 5 and HTC One, but the plastic back panel of the Samsung Galaxy S4 feels unnecessarily fragile, flexible and a likely snap hazard.
The saving grace, of course, is the removable battery and customisation the removable rear case allows. It’s down to you decide which you’d rather have.
1. Create urgency. Set expiration dates.
All good marketing includes a call to action – you need to prompt the customer to act. If your coupon is open ended, busy people have a way of letting life’s other distractions interfere. So, put an expiration date on the promotion and communicate that loud and clear. This will create a sense of urgency around taking your offer. If you can, send a reminder when the promotion is expiring. If your customers are like most humans, they won’t act until it’s their last chance.
2. Offer a coupon as incentive to sign up for your newsletter.
We often talk about having a goal to “convert” people when they visit your website. This goal doesn’t always have to be “buy a print.” Would you benefit from getting more names to add to your monthly newsletter? If you would, why not give people an incentive to register with you? Offer a “10% off” coupon to everyone who signs up for your newsletter. You can email them the coupon and use the email to tell them more about your products and services. You now have a new prospect in your marketing database for regular follow up.
3. Tie coupons to holidays and other seasonal occasions.
From a marketing perspective, the best thing about a promotion is that it gives you a reason to re-connect with prospects and clients. You’ve got something to share with them that is of value – it is a welcome intrusion. Connecting this discount to a moment when people are likely buying things makes it extra powerful. “You previously expressed interest in my fine art prints, and I thought you’d appreciate a personal discount for your holiday gifting.” Or, “For Valentine’s day, here’s a special offer to purchase some additional prints from your wedding.”
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