Cloud roundup and links of interest – July 19

Next Kindle Fire Expected to Be Thinner, With Better Display

As sales of the first-generation Kindle Fire cool off, Amazon is gearing up to launch its successor, a tablet that seeks to improve on the original while retaining a similar form.

Sources familiar with Amazon’s plans tell AllThingsD that the company hopes to debut the next iteration of the Kindle Fire in the second half of this year. To do so, Amazon has been approaching developers to bring them up to speed on the new hardware.

According to the report, key changes to the next generation Fire are expected to include:

- A thinner and lighter design than the original

- A built-in camera

- Much-improved display quality with an entirely new width-to-height ratio

Two Apps Keep Your iPhone and iPad Data Private

2 Apps Keep Your Information PrivateWhile the free Find My iPhone app can remotely wipe the data on a lost or stolen iPhone or iPad, a pair of $2 apps prevent prying eyes from viewing contact info and other sensitive information on an iPad or iPhone without having to erase everything, according to you share your iPhone or iPad, there’s probably information on the device you would prefer other users not see. Even if you don’t, you may still want to keep yourprivate information, well, private. Luckily, there are a few applications that can help you retain your info.

The Secure Folder app creates protected areas that other iPhone and iPad apps can’t access. Secure Folder installs a nondescript My Folders icon that you press to launch the app. After you enter your code, you see encrypted folders for photos and videos, addresses, notes, bookmarks, credit cards, and passwords. The files and information entered in the app’s folders are hidden from other programs on the device, according to CNET’s review.

Additionally, the ContactsPro app creates a private address book on an iPhone or iPad that the device’s standard address book doesn’t read. Creating a protected area and moving existing contact info to the ContactsPro address book, however, takes some work, CNET says. All the contacts on the iPhone or iPad are displayed in ContactsPro by default. When you create a group of contacts you can hide all other addresses or those in the groups you choose. You can either import addresses to the ContactsPro list or “connect” to existing addresses, which lets you store additional information about the contact that appears only in the ContactsPro entry.

Lenovo Ultrabook Targets Back-to-School Shoppers With $799 Price

If you’re searching for a reasonably thin Windows laptop with good battery life at a reasonable cost, you couldn’t have picked a better time, according to a review on

The Lenovo IdeaPad U310 is a perfect example: it’s an update to the IdeaPad U300s, a Windows Ultrabook that came with a MacBook Air-like $1,195 price tag. This time, however, the cost is a mere $799.

Students should consider the IdeaPad U310, especially if it’s on sale. You might want to comparison-shop the growing landscape of affordable ultrabooks at the time of purchase and see if you can do better, but the bottom line is this: It’s a good time to purchase a lightweight laptop with impressive firepower. Ultrabooks have larger hard drives (without SSD), and are cheaper than ever, according to CNET. (If you’re considering laptops with or without a solid state drive, check out this article from the Mozy blog.)