Archive for December, 2011
Kobo Customer Service is a wicked and harsh mistress! You only have to look as far as a few of our posts HERE and HERE with thousands of comments to see peoples utter disdain on the entire Kobo customer service experience. The company outsources all of its support to India and most of the call center representatives have never had a Kobo in their hands, in their life. This insures that most common questions and concerns are read from notes. Many people have sold us first hand experiences with waiting weeks to hear anything back from elevated support and most of the time they just bring their device back to the place of origin for a refund.
Kobo recognizes that many people are unhappy with the level of customer support they receive via email or telephone calls. A few months ago the company issued a press release to us and mentioned they are revising their technical support and customer service departments. This may have something to do with the Japanese company that purchased them a few months ago. There has been zero news or movement on what the company is actually doing to fix the many problems people are facing.
If you want to ring in the new year in style and speed, you only have to look as far as a tablet with a LTE connection. This gives you a tremendous boost in connection and data transfer speeds and now is a good time to buy. Verizon is giving a $50 discount on the DROID XYBOARD, Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and a few others. You can check out what tablets are discounted in your particular state by clicking HERE.
WH Smith is a UK based bookstore that sells ebooks and many people have been doing business with the company. We reported a few months ago that the company has entered into an agreement with Kobo and will divert all existing members to shopping with the new website. WH Smith has been sending emails to its customers for around a month prompting them to backup their ebook purchases to their computer. The reason is many of the books the company sold were Geographically Restricted. Which means Kobo does not have the publishing rights to sell these books and if you don’t back the books up locally to your computer you might lose your purchases forever.
WH Smith is not only transitioning its ebook store to be powered by Kobo but the company is also selling the Kobo e-readers in most of its stores. You can find the latest generation Kobo Touch and Kobo Vox fairly easily at hundreds of locations around the UK. Many of the sales staff are trained in the use of the device, so you should have all your rudimentary questions and concerns addressed in short order.
Early next year there is high probability of Pantech launching its first Honeycomb tablet in the US. They would be doing so in association with AT&T. A Korean publication reports that the tablet would have an 8 inch display and also have LTE connectivity. The first sight of the Pantech had been via a leaked benchmark test result way back in September. It had thereafter appeared at the FCC site and had AT&T compatible LTE bands.
Details are sketchy right now though though there are some aspects of the tablet that has come to the fore. Like from the information that was available via the leaked test result, the P4100 tablet device runs on a 1.5 GHz dual core Snapdragon processor . The 8 inch display is of 1024 x 720 p resolution while other features of the tablet include a built-in camera, HDMI output port along with flash capability. Apart from this, jkn.co.kr also reports that along with the Pantech P4100 tablet, there is also the LG Optimums Pad LTE that is being made available in the US market.
If you are in the US and are fond of Android Honey, Archos has some good news. Their 80 G9 Turbo Honeycomb tablet has now gone on sale in the US for $370. What you get for that is an 8 inch tablet that runs on a 1.2 GHz dual core processor, 512 MB of RAM, and a massive 250 GB of internal storage. When the tablet was first announced, it was supposed to have been based on a 1.5 GHz dual core CPU. This, however, met with some snags that led to the delay of the launch from the expected date in September. Now the real device comes with a slightly down-rated 1.2 GHz dual core processor.
The 8 inch capacitive display has a resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels. Also, as has already been mentioned, the 80 G9 Turbo runs Android 3.2 OS. To order the tablet, simply visit the Archos US store. For those in the UK, pick up the tablet at Play.com and Comet.co.uk at a price of 239.99 GBP.
Publisher’s Weekly posted an article on its blog that allowed various publishing industry professionals from a variety of outlets to expand on the generally accepted prediction that ebooks will make up 50% of total trade book sales within five years.
Each of the executives spoke to how the shift to digital reading is having an impact not only on the publishing business, but also specifically to their individual companies. The overwhelming attitude that has been adopted by the industry is that ebook sales are already significant in their numbers and are only expected to grow; the publishing industry must be ready to adapt to whatever format books are selling in.
David Young of Hachette Group made what was possibly the most profound statement of the piece by beginning his explanation with the importance of readers and authors to the industry. In so much of the finger pointing and scandal mongering involving pricing and digital rights, it often feels like the customers are the overlooked participants in publishing, but Young placed a supremely high importance on the industry’s need to reach its consumers on any platform.
Dominique Raccah, president of Sourcebooks and a sought-after panelist at many of the digital publishing events that GoodEReader attends, was very open in her excitement about where digital publishing is taking the entire industry as a whole.
“I’m incredibly excited about what the book and storytelling itself will look like in five years, and how broad readership might be by then. That’s probably the thing that excites me the most. We (the publishing industry) are at the center of a remarkable conversation. This is in some ways a glorious time for books—with more readers, more writers, and more outlets than ever before.”
Unfortunately, the attitudes expressed by some of the publishing professionals weren’t all as eager to embrace digital reading. Robert Gottlieb, chairman of Trident Media Group, mentioned Amazon and its efforts to deteriorate the industry five times in as many paragraphs before going on to explain about Trident’s own digital publishing platform for indie authors. Jed Lyons of Rowman & Littlefield actually compared e-reading devices to the “brown paper bags” that customers used to hide their soft-core porn material in, despite his announcement that Rowman & Littlefield is currently working to digitize every backlist title that the publishing group has sold since it opened its doors in 1975.
One key point that the article brings up is the shift in attitudes towards digital. Where publishers were once afraid of ebooks as the end of paper, or scorned the popularity of digital reading as a flash in the pan, more publishers than ever are working towards a happy medium within the two halves of the industry in order to bring quality book, in whatever format that may be, to the readers.
We receive countless emails from users who are looking to either buy an e-reader for the first time or seeking to upgrade. The main problem is that there are many on the market and to the untrained eye they could leave you facing many problems.
There are many e-readers on the market that customers should best avoid if they are looking for the optimal reader. Many on the market do not have WIFI or a built in shopping solution that warrant you jumping through a ton of hoops in order to buy content and load it on your device. Some of them are billed as e-readers but are really just cheap LCD Android based devices.
e-Readers to Avoid
Jetbook Mini and Jetbook Lite – These two e-readers have no content distribution system on the line of devices and even take batteries instead of using a rechargeable power source. They are billed as e-readers, but feature flimsy LCD based display that doesn’t do the reading experience any justice. They are cheap and cheerful in terms of cost, but in this case, you get what you pay for.
BeBook Club S This e-reader warrants our “avoid at all costs” label and with good reason. If you turn it on when you take it out of the box you will brick your unit. Almost every e-reader on the market comes out of the box fully or half charged, which gives you an opportunity to use it. If you power it on for the first time when you’re opening it up, you get a loading screen that locks your device and you just wasted $169.99. When you power it first before loading, the experience does not get much better. It uses wonky navigation pads and the page turn experience is lackluster. It features no content distribution system and no easy way to buy books. Battery life is also weak at around 10 hours.
Kobo WIFI – This was the second generation Kobo to hit the market and the one everyone was selling before the Kobo Touch came out. You will see these for sale at around $99 at most major retailers and you might say “Kobo is a good brand name, why not?” Design wise the e-reader looks awful and will win no awards for design. It uses a D-Pad to navigate and features page turn buttons to switch forward and back while reading. Browsing menus, settings, or reading is tremendously slow. You will often turn a page and nothing will happen for 10 to 15 seconds, so you will hit the button again because you think you might not have hit it correctly, which skips two or three pages and you lose your place in the book. This e-reader is one of the slowest and worst performing ones on the market. It does have WIFI and allows you buy books from the Kobo store, but the entire experience is a gamble with a cheap device and its lag.
Pandigital Nova – This was one of the first e-readers that really was a very cheap Android Tablet. The entire saga of this device was fraught with controversy and alienated many customers. The company released the device with critical problems in the software. They did a mass recall and a month later released a new model with updated firmware. The problems did not stop there. It was loaded with the Borders App if you had purchased it in the USA and Canada, and since Borders went out of business that resulted in people wondering where all of their books went. Apparently, Kobo took over the customers and their books are accessible with Kobo now. This tablet is very slow and outdated with a antiquated version of Google Android. It does not have an app store that is shipped with it, and the book reading app it comes with does not work. You can’t download or browse for applications and there is no easy way to load them on yourself. If you are super tech savvy you will be able to figure it out, but the hardware is feeble and slow. Avoid this device at all costs, even if it’s on sale.
Aluratek Libre and Libre Air – These are two devices that were launched this year and the main difference are the sizes of the screens. These two devices are much like the Kobo WiFi in the fact they are slow and unresponsive. The screens do not use e-ink but a grey LCD screen that the company bills as mimicking paper. This is simply not the case, and the book experience in conjunction with the screen is terrible. These two devices range over $100 to buy them and don’t allow you to buy anything on them. You may see them on sale and think to yourself, “hey this might be good, I like to read.” Stop right there, and listen to reason. These two devices, when we reviewed them, made my head hurt. They are not user friendly at all, and the company provides little to no online resources or community.
Amazon Kindle DX – Yes, an Amazon e-reader has made the list of e-readers to avoid at all costs. The main reason is service and support, which the company does not provide. The DX is the black sheep of the Amazon family and while its entire line of e-readers has seen constant firmware updates and new social features, the DX does not. It has been almost a full year since any new patches were released to give it enhanced functionality. It has a large screen and is good for reading technical documents and PDF files, but that is it. It is very expensive at the regular price $399, but you can often find them for around $200. Amazon provides a great ecosystem to buy books, but the device feels outdated and is already two years old. Rumors abound of Amazon officially discontinuing it and this does not bode well for people getting into the game late. I would avoid this and any other e-reader that the company refuses to support and never states any intentions on upgrading it in the here and now or the future.
Velocity Cruz Reader – This is another very cheaply made tablet that is billed as an e-reader and should be avoided like the plague. It runs an outdated version of Android right out of the box and is around a year old. The company does little to increase the functionality via firmware updates or provide support for the army of angry customers. This e-reader receives the most comments on our Youtube channel and most people are underwhelmed with the purchase. The cost is cheap and many people say, “well i want an iPad, but this is cheaper, I’ll buy this.” DO NOT BUY THIS! Listen to me! Save yourself tons of hardship and toiling in internet forums to get even basic help and support. Save yourself from this e-reader and head for hills in the other direction.
HP’s plans of making its WebOS as open source has not been as spontaneous as it might seem, new details on this reveal. This since the real plans of HP appear to be selling off its failed venture without incurring any loss. HP had purchased the WebOS as well as other Palm assets for a quite hefty $1.2 billion. HP had first tried to sell if off to anyone who paid it the exact same amount to ensure they do not incur any losses on it.
However, that there haven’t been any takers to date for the WebOS shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. The epic failure of the webOS on the TouchPad, as well as the other devices from HP like the smartphone Pre3 and Veer, is yet fresh in everyone’s mind. It is for this reason that players like Amazon, Samsung, Intel, Facebook, and others—though being approached by HP—have not yet displayed any interest in the deal. Of course, expecting the same $1.2 billion over a year after it was first purchased may have been too big an asking price. Anything below $500 could have done the job, though that was too low for HP to come down to. So the best thing that HP could do was to make the OS open source, something that would save HP from allocating further resources to it. That HP also wanted to continue using the WebOS for use in its printers could have been another good reason to scare awaw potential suitors, though in any case, the real hurdle could not have been anything else besides the high price tag.
Here is one more rumor coming our way, though certainly not the last before we get to see the iPad 3 in flesh and blood. This time it’s all about the battery pack, and not the next gen iPad’s screen resolution, that is believed to power the new iPad. Digitimes, citing various industry sources, points out the new iPad will be powered by a large 14,000 mAh battery, a steep jump from the 6,500 mAH that powers the current iPad 2. However, neither of Apple’s battery suppliers Simplo Technology and Dynapack have offered any comments so far.
We have already heard rumors of the new iPad to be slightly thicker than the present version, and if such a battery pack needed to be packed in, we might indeed be looking at a stouter iPad in future. Weight will be another factor as we already are getting used to light weight and slim tablet devices such as the Galaxy Tab 10.1 and such. Against these, Apple will be seen reversing the trend, if the new iPad 3 is indeed thicker and heavier than the current iPad 2. That said, what is also undeniable is that this can be a small price to pay if the battery backup time also increases more than two fold, just as the battery’s power rating.
We are also expecting a smaller sized iPad in the next few months, one that is likely to sport a 7.85 sized display which will act to bridge the gap between the iPhone and 9.7 inch sized iPad. The new smaller iPad will also enable Apple to have a product in the burgeoning 7 inch tablet segment, that is characterized by low initial costs even if it means less on features.
Anyway, our wait for the new iPad 3 is getting shorter with each passing day and we soon will be getting to know what the real thing will be like. Plus the upcoming CES might have some pointers as well.
HP TouchPad could well be labeled as dead inventory as of now. Even if there are only a few available, the price is certainly not the sweet $99 that has propelled the tablet to instant stardom some months back. That, however, does not deter the online community of HP TouchPad holders from going ahead with their dream project of having on board the tablet a version of the Android OS. Much like the CyanogenMod 7 project the TouchPad project in its MIUI version is yet in the making. For those who are interested the MIUI is available at RootzWiki.
The ROM in its present state is functional and has very few bugs as of now. Also, a nice aspect of MIUI is that it resembles the webOS in its look and feel. Among the bugs, the Launcher2 has been found lacking, though there is the GO Launcher to make up for that. There is also the issue of navigating through the menus, which has been made tough by the presence of just one key button in the TouchPad. To overcome this issue, SoftKeys or Button Survivor have both been made available in the modified OS. To flash the OS, one needs to do so via ClockworkMod similar to CyanogenMod.
These apart, there are no other major bugs that have been reported in the MIUI.
Click here to download MIUI for the TouchPad.
Best Buy not only sold out stock of the HTC Flyer, but stopped further sales of the device thereafter. This had been the only source where one could pick up the HTC Flyer. There is, however, the HTV EVO View that is still available and by the looks of it will be available for some time now. This more so, as the device is about to receive a Honeycomb update, as per the site Good and EVO.net. The EVO View for those who are not aware is in reality an HTC Flyer with the additional features of WiMax for Sprint’s network.
However, the future of the HTC EVO is not very bright, either, and there are several reasons for that. The main culprit is the high price of the EVO View, which is way too high, more so at a time when there are much cheaper options such as the NOOK and Kindle Fire tablets. Sure it now has been provided the Honeycomb treatment, but it perhaps has been a bit too late in the day as the focus has now shifted to Android 4.0 ICS. Also, if the high cost of the tablet isn’t enough, buyers will have to shell out extra for the pen which should have been made free with the tablet. Sprint, on its part, did the tablet no good by abolishing unlimited tablet data plans.
So in the end, it shouldn’t come as a surprise if within the next few months we come across the EVO View in the tablet obituary list. Rooting efforts on the tablet might prolong its life a bit and efforts are currently on at XDA towards that. What should be kept in mind is that the Flyer or the Evo View is never as bad as all the above can make one to believe it is. Some deep discounts might just prolong its life a little bit more.