Frozen by Disney has become the 5th highest grossing movie of all time After sweeping theaters worldwide like a snowstorm for over half a year, Frozen has grossed a whopping $1.219 billion at the box office! According to Variety, the film raked in $400 million-plus in the U.S. alone and $194 million in Japan. Frozen has also become the top-grossing animated flick ever. This has promoted a new graphic novel to be commissioned and will come out November 29th.
The graphic novel costs $14.99 and will run a staggering 394 pages. Over 100,000 have been sold so far on a pre-order basis from customers on Amazon and comic book stores.
The graphic novel is basically retelling the same story that occured in the movie. “Fearless optimist Anna sets off on an epic journey – teaming up with rugged mountain man Kristoff and his loyal reindeer Sven – to find her sister Elsa, whose icy powers have trapped the kingdom of Arendelle in eternal winter. Encountering mystical trolls and a hilarious snowman named Olaf along the way, Anna and Kristoff battle the elements in a race to save the kingdom. Audiences who thrilled to the adventures of Anna and Elsa on the big screen can relive their favorite moments in this oversized graphic novel keepsake featuring an introduction by Leonard Maltin. With hundreds of movie stills and over 300 pages of adventure and laughs, the Frozen Cinestory will transport fans back to Arendelle time and time again!”
A frozen graphic novel will likely sell like gangbusters once it comes out in late November and many parents will be purchasing it for their little kids for the upcoming holiday season. A standalone comic is also planned by Disney for January 2015, and will clock in at 48 pages. No word yet if a digital edition will be available.
Barnes and Noble has just released the 10.1 inch version of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook Android tablet today, and it joins the 7 inch edition that came out two months ago. The Nations largest bookseller now has two devices that they are marketing across all of their sales channels, encouraging US and UK based readers to invest themselves in the Nook ecosystem.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook features a 10.1 inch screen and a resolution of 1280×800 and 149 PPI. The screen itself won’t win many awards in terms of picture clear clarity, but if you are only reading eBooks, magazines and newspapers it should do the job.
Underneath the hood is a quad-core 1.2GHz Marvell CPU with 1.5GB RAM and 16GB internal storage. This model does have support for a 64 GB micro SD, if you need to get more space for all of your music and videos. Unlike Nooks of the past, this model has two cameras, a rear facing 3 MP edition and front facing 1.3 MP for video calls. It weighs 17.28 oz. (489.9 g) and should garner you 10 hours of battery life via the 6.8 mAh battery.
Barnes and Noble is hyping the fact this tablet costs $299 and comes with $200 of free content. What exactly do you get? Well, there are three free eBooks that come bundled on the tablet; Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Stephen Dubner and Steven Levitt, The Wanderer by Sharon Creech and I am Number Four by Pittacus Lore. Customers can get an introduction to the Nook Newsstand system by selecting 4 digital magazines from a pool of 12 for a free two week trial. There is a ton of great content, including Cosmopolitan, Sports Illustrated, and US Weekly. Back issues are also available for your selected magazines at no extra cost. Finally, Nook Video is giving free content, such as the hit HBO Series Veep, Hannibal, and Orphan Black.
The resolution on this tablet is actually a downgrade from the Nook HD+ that many customers have, but it does have a modern version of Android 4.4, which will insure almost all of the apps from Google Play will work. I think the biggest strength that Barnes and Noble has when selling this 10.1 tablet is their support network. If anything goes wrong with your device, you can simply bring it back to any bookstore and they can take a look at it. In most cases, they can swap out your old model for a new one right then and there.
If you are passing through the San Antonio International Airport you can now borrow eBooks for free. Two Digital Library kiosks have been installed by the Friends of the San Antonio Public Library at a cost of $26,000.
The San Antonio Public Library has introduced a new innovative new feature into the kiosks that will allow out-of-town travelers to get a temporary library SAPL card that they can use right in the airport. The cards are good for 24 hours and have a limit of three items that can be checked out for seven days.
The kiosks are primarily used as a rapid charging station but also allow you to gain a library card. Once you attain a temporary card, you can use it to log onto the libraries main website to borrow audiobooks, eBooks, music or videos.
I really like this concept. The entire notion of a free library card that expires after three days of use, but allows a traveler to borrow media for a week is really excellent. I hope this idea catches on, it serves as a solid introduction to the library system and hopefully gets the traveler to use their own local libraries digital services when they get home.
Several years (decades) ago, when I was in high school, I remember teachers rather snidely telling us that we needed to learn all of these things because “it isn’t like we will be walking around with whole computers in our pockets.” The sassy teenager in me desperately wants to go back in time to wave her smartphone in their faces right about now. That same teenaged girl would have loved PhotoMath, an app that lets you use your smartphone’s camera to scan images of math problems from your textbooks.
Sure it lacks some of the old-school charm that those brick-sized Texas Instruments calculators had (I’m hoping at least a few of you can picture what I mean without having to use Google), but with the press of a button you can bridge the gap between hovering the viewfinder over your math homework and seeing the correct answer on the screen.
Math and science teachers are going to have very mixed feelings about this app. Usually their first retort is to point out that the answer is meaningless without showing the steps required to get you there –but PhotoMath shows you those too. That makes it a pretty fantastic cheating tool, but also a pretty remarkable teaching and learning one as well.
Initial reviews of PhotoMath are a little mixed, stating the app easily handles simple equations but can struggle with those that are more complex (though I’m certain this will improve with time).
Unfortunately for those using Android devices, PhotoMath is only available for iOS and Windows Phone right now –but a compatible version has been promised to us in early 2015.
It seems like the mobile device market is moving faster than ever, a point proven by yet another launch even this fall –this time it is BlackBerry with a round of enterprise branded announcements. CEO John Chen will join a few of his top executives in San Fransisco on November 13, intending to debut a selection of hardware and software. Given the theme, we may be lucky enough to see the release of their much-anticipated BlackBerry Enterprise Server 12 (that includes the company’s updated mobile device management solution).
It wasn’t that long ago that we last saw BlackBerry up on stage, with their Passport launch event happening this past September. That event brought consumers the Passport, which may be an unusual looking smartphone, but initial responses have been positive. To appease BlackBerry loyalists who may be less interested in something that looks so different, the Classic was also shown off (but not released) earlier this year, offering users the QWERTY keyboard they love combined with the touchscreen they need in this modern day… so maybe it’s time for a true launch now.
Last, but not least, BlackBerry users should expect to see the release of OS 10.3.1. This is especially good news for existing OS 10 devices that haven’t yet received the 10.3 update as they can dive right in with 10.3.1.
Keeping up this momentum may be the way BlackBerry stays afloat and corrects their course in this mobile marketplace. For those of us who really enjoy a Canadian technology success story, let’s hope it isn’t too late.
Apple seldom gives people a reason to upgrade to each new iteration of the iPad. The last major breakthrough was the Retina Display that made its way to the iPad Mini and iPad 4. This allowed readers to enjoy high-definition comics, magazines and digital media that Android users have been asking for awhile. Is the iPad 2 a worthy investment if you already have the one that launches last year?
The iPad Air 2 managed to shave off 18% off the thickness from the first generation Air; it’s now an almost impossible 6.1mm thick, and 1.4mm slimmer than the original iPad Air. At 437g, down from 469g, it’s one of the lightest large-screen tablets on the market.
Apple’s iPad Air 2 contains a new chip called the A8X, an SoC that’s faster than the A7 in the original iPad Air or the iPad Mini 2 and 3 and the A8 in the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Apple would only say that the chip’s CPU is about 40 percent faster than the A7 and that it has a GPU that’s 2.5 times faster. It also has 2GB of RAM to keep things speedy on a hardware level.
In practice, the iPad Air 2 is capable of running programs usually seen on laptop computers. This includes the impressive video-editing capabilities of iMovie and the newly launched app Replay that synchronizes photos and videos to music. The processing boost also comes into its own when playing big-name games like FIFA 15, Modern Combat 5: Blackout, or the 1GB download Asphalt 8: Airborne.
One of the new features, not found on an Apple tablet before is Touch ID, the easy-to-use fingerprint reader introduced on the iPhone 5S, which makes security better and is needed to use the new Apple Pay service for buying things without using a credit card or typing in a credit card number. Apple Pay only works when making in-app purchases online, not in stores. Could you imagine waving your tablet around in a store? Anyways Touch ID is even more useful now than it was before; iOS 8 enabled third-party developer support for the fingerprint sensor, so you can use it to access sensitive account information or passwords.
When it comes to cameras, I can’t stand to take photos on my tablet. I have been using iPads since they first came out and buy each new generation. I don’t think I have ever taken a single picture, but than again I am likely not the target demographic. The iPad Air 2 steps up to 8MP resolution, whereas the iPad Air 1 only had a 5MP rear facing camera. The new camera has a Image Signal Processor (ISP) as part of the new A8X chipset. On the software side, the new camera comes with Burst Mode, as well as slow-motion video capture in 720p at 120fps. There’s still no LED flash on front or back this time around, however.
Here’s what the iPad Air 2 doesn’t have: A higher-resolution screen, a bigger screen, longer battery life, a snap-on keyboard, Beats Audio, better speakers,or a lower base price.
Apple Introduces new SIM technology
Apple has introduced a new way to change carrier companies for data plans without having the swap out the SIM card. This convenience is limited to just a few countries and carriers at launch — Sprint, T-Mobile and AT&T in the US and EE in the UK — but over time, the selection of willing operators may improve.
The way this works is an option in the settings menu for internet access. You can change who you deal with on the fly and the SIM is automatically changed to the carrier you want to deal with. This may pave the way for incentives to keep people loyal or special events to get everything to switch to your company at once for a limited promotion.
The Apple iPad Air 2 has a staggering resolution of 2,048 x 1,536 pixels. Nothing much has changed since the iPad 4 and this tablet is still the flagship model that companies turn to, for HD content.
For example, Comixology a few years ago developed a new HD comics standard called CMX HD. This dramatically increased the resolution and vibrancy of digital comics. SD comics often take up about 80 MB of storage, but HD editions often are as large as 300-400 MB. This is a privilege only Apple users enjoy, and has still not crossed over to Android, due to the fragmentation of screen sizes and varying degrees of resolution.
Apple was able to ultimately trim down the iPad by using a laminated, optically bonded, no-gap display similar to the ones used on the iPhone and even the Microsoft Surface tablets. Not only does the new panel save vertical space by eliminating any gaps of air between the display layers, but it also makes the screen significantly less reflective. This is meant to reduce the amount of glare hitting the screen, whether you’re reading in direct sunlight or watching movies under harsh fluorescent lights. I’m happy to report that it works as advertised
The iPad Air 2 is not worth the upgrade if you already have the Air 1. Aside from the enhanced hardware, better camera and Touch ID, there simply isn’t anything compelling. The Absence of NFC relegates Apple Pay to being able to make App Store purchases, without having to type in your password. This might be useful for busy households with kids, who you don’t want them racking up thousands of dollars with Candy Crush micro-transactions.
The Air 2 is worth it to upgrade to, if you have a three or four year old Apple Tablet, you will notice a dramatic improvement when it comes to reading, but you are better off buying the iPad Air 1 if you can get a good deal on eBay or your local tech store.
9.7-inch, 2048×1546 display with 264 ppi
A8X 64-bit chip, M8 motion coprocessor
8MP iSight (front-facing) camera, 1.2MP FaceTime HD (front-facing) camera
802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0
6.1 mm thick, under 1 lb
MSRP: Wi-fi – $499 (16GB), $599 (64GB), $699 (128GB); Wi-Fi + Cellular – $629 (16GB), $729 (64GB), $829 (128GB)
Anti-reflection screen coating
Wireless Connection is faster
Very Minor Upgrade
No Mute button or rotation lock
Apple SIM does not work in Canada or Australia
The complete modern generation of Amazon tablets and e-readers are now available to be shipped when new orders are being placed. Pre-orders for the Kindle Voyage are also starting to ship, but new orders have a delay of a few weeks.
Amazon originally announced their complete modern lineup of devices on September 17th and actually never orchestrated a media event for it, which was a stark departure from previous product releases.
The Kindle Voyage is likely the most innovative e-reader to be released in quite sometime. It has very high PPI and a new page turn mechanism that is meant to provide haptic feedback.
“Kindle Voyage is designed to disappear so you can lose yourself in a story,” said Dave Limp, Senior Vice President, Amazon Devices. “This is the most advanced Kindle we’ve ever built. Customer response has been overwhelmingly positive, and we’re working to build more as fast as we can. We can’t wait to get Kindle Voyage into the hands of readers starting today.”
Onyx has been making e-readers for the last five years and has recently expanded their portfolio to include an e-ink based smartphone. The company is expanding into the smartwatch arena, and unlike the Pebble, it will have a true e-ink screen.
The new prototype features a 1.56 inch e-Ink display and is bundled with a plastic wristband. It was designed to be waterproof, so it should be able to deal with the daily trials and tribulations.
The Onyx smartwatch can synchronize with a phone over Bluetooth, includes a pedometer for tracking steps, and has three buttons on the side of the device for navigating watch faces, menus and other settings.
One of the obvious benefits of the SOSMART watch is the fact it has true e-ink display. This should dramatically increase the battery life, because the screen does not draw power unless activity is occurring. The Pebble, likely the poster child of smartwatches only has a two day battery life, the Onyx should last a month.
Charbax from ARMdevices got a chance to check out an early prototype at the HKTDC show in Hong Kong recently, where he found out that future versions of the watch could include touchscreens, GPS, and other features.
Simon and Schuster has just reached a new agreement with online bookseller Amazon, and empowers the publisher to once again establish their own prices on eBooks. The deal has been in the works since July of 2014, and has remained under the radar, as the Hachette saga has taken center stage.
One of the benefits of the new contract is that the royalties that authors earn will remain the same. It also allows S&S to determine the pricing of eBooks and print titles, but allows Amazon to give discounts as they see fit.
Simon & Schuster titles also will be well promoted on Amazon’s website, a source close to the situation has said. The contract that had been in place previously was set to expire in two months.
Amazon on Monday evening confirmed the deal, adding, “The agreement specifically creates a financial incentive for Simon & Schuster to deliver lower prices for readers.”
Over the course of 2015, Amazon has new contracts to negotiate with Penguin Random House, Macmillan, and HarperCollins. The Hachette dispute has been ongoing since May of 2014, and has still not been resolved.
Barnes and Noble is orchestrating the first annual the Readers’ Choice Newsstand Awards. This new program looks at the best magazines published over the last year and allows users to vote on the most compelling ones. Each category has four nominees to choose from and all nominated content will be available to be read for free online with a browser based reader or on your smartphone or tablet.
All of the magazines that Barnes and Noble has selected for the Newsstand Awards will receive a special in-store promotional display at Barnes & Noble stores nationwide for the print edition during the open voting period. If you have a Nook branded tablet, upon visiting the newsstand you will get a chance to check out all of the nominees.
Throughout the voting period, which occurs from October 20th to November 19th, readers can enter into a sweepstakes for the chance to win a fantastic grand prize of a trip for two to New York City and a $500 Barnes & Noble Gift Card, as well as other great prizes including $100 Barnes & Noble Gift Cards and Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK devices.
I think organizing a contest centered around magazines is a solid idea. There is certainly no shortage of movie, music and television awards. Once in awhile we have awards for the best author or best book, but seldom do we see anything for magazines.
The Newsstand Awards will accomplish a few things. It will give people a chance to discovery the online web-browser to read digital magazines, giving people a reason to subscribe. It also serves as an introduction to the Nook ecosystem of magazines, something that is rarely promoted. Finally, it is interesting simply to check out the shortlist of magazines that the editorial staff at Barnes and Noble has selected.
In a sea of mobile games with the now traditional match-3 styling (think Bejeweled), Sony has released its Fat Princess: Piece of Cake game. By matching gems (showing either cake or images corresponding to the four character classes: sporting warrior swords, ranger muskets, worker bombs, and priest healer) you can work to defeat the invading army using the attacks they bring about.
It’s the kind of game that could be addictive, but it’s not quite there yet. While many games feature a brief tutorial-mode when you first begin, I found that the intro to this game is so slow it’s almost painful; you have to complete quite a number of levels before the handy hints and descriptions stop interrupting your flow. If they could speed up the pace, it would be a lot of fun to play.
As an added bonus for those with a Sony Playstation 3: reach level 15 with your princess and you will get a code that gives you access to download Fat Princess for your console at no additional cost (as long as you also have vaid Facebook and Sony Entertainment Network accounts).
Fat Princess: Piece of Cake is free to download from the Good e-Reader App Store, but there are a number of in-app purchases like power-ups and character upgrades that will help you rescue the princess a little faster.
Only true fans of Marvel comic books will be familiar with Big Hero 6, at least until Disney releases their upcoming animated film based on the series next month. Based in imaginary city of San Fransokyo, Big Hero 6 is based on a team of crime-fighters led by Hiro Hamada and Baymax (his robot). Ahead of the movie, Disney Interactive has built a Big Hero 6-themed mobile game that will be available for Android, iOS, and Windows Phone on November 3.
When you hear that the game allows players to collect hundreds of bots and evolve them into higher forms, it’s possible you won’t need to hear more before you move to the edge of your seat. Using a match 3 style, players will do battle with their enemies by matching colored blocks together. It may sound exceedingly simple, but Disney Interactive producer Scott Humphries promises that the game will involve “strategy and depth,” making it complex (and probably addictive). Plus, it stars robots.
If you want a sneak peek into the game, as well as the Big Hero 6 franchise, check out the game-play video from TouchGameplay below.
Unlike the intensely flawed process for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus a few weeks back, Apple is successfully offering pre-orders for their recently announced iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3 tablets. Of course, calling it a pre-order is a bit misleading when customers can expect their tablets to ship within 2-4 days, arriving as early as October 23.
Pricing for the new iPads really hasn’t changed from previous versions, with a starting cost of $499 for the 16GB Air 2 and $399 for the 16GB Mini 3 models. If you want a little more storage, 64GB and 128GB models are also available in both sizes –all of which appear to still be available with a quick shipping time (and for once, colour doesn’t seem to play a part in how quickly you get your new device: with the silver, gold, and space grey all ready to go).
First impressions of the new iPads were pretty underwhelming, but it will be interesting to see if this changes at all once they are actually in our hot little hands. If nothing else, having Touch ID would be really nice –it’s amazing how that feature makes you wonder how you ever lived without it once you’ve given it a try.
It is pretty clear that Apple wanted these tablets out the door as soon as they were able, and while it seems they have done a good job… it may not be sitting as well with the hoards of iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus customers who are still waiting for their smartphones to arrive after pre-ordering the devices over a month ago.