2011 December - Part 2

Archive for December, 2011

Christmas has come and gone and many people were lucky enough to have Santa drop off a new e-reader under your tree. You have accomplished the mighty first step and attained a new device designed to read books. Many brands like Kobo, Barnes and Noble, Sony and others rely on their own store for you to buy your books. We receive a ton of emails from people asking if their new Nook can be used to buy books from other online bookstores. The short answer is yes, if your reader was designed to read the EPUB or PDF format, you have a wellspring of options in order to shop around and get the best deals, or support indie authors. Here is our shortlist of alternative bookstores that have solid deals and allow you to get both free and paid books.

If you intend on purchasing books from other stores there are a few factors you have to bear in mind. You need to install Adobe Digital Editions, which is a free download. This program is used to facilitate the transfer of purchased ebooks online to your device. We have a ton of video tutorials teaching you how to do this on a case by case basis on our official Good e-Reader Youtube channel. Here is our select picks of the best alternative ebook stores and what e-reader models they support.

Smashwords – The leading indie author website on the internet. They support a multitude of book formats including TXT, RTF, PDF, MOBI, EPUB and more. This means whether you have an Amazon Kindle, Nook, Kobo or Sony, these books are compliant. This website is mainly populated with indie authors and their works of fiction and non-fiction. They have a great submission process that gives authors free ISBN numbers and will submit your work to the leading bookstores like iBooks, Sony, Amazon and so on. A great site, with generous options to sample the books before you buy.

Google Books – Google recently opened their bookstore outside of the USA into Canada, Australia and the UK. You can download millions of paid and free books and not only transfer them to your e-reader but also read them on your PC or web browser. They have an amazing selection for USA based residents and you can find all of the latest best sellers. This is millions of free books that are mainly classics and open source material. Google has been very busy during 2011, scanning books for the British Library and many other partners, this is adding to their copious list of titles.

Project Gutenberg – One of the largest sources of free books anywhere on the internet. They have high quality ebooks and fair quality scans of most of the books that are considered open source. You will find most books published from the 1800’s to the current date. If you ever wanted to catch up with a book you read in school that was part of your English class, this is the place to get them. They support almost all major EPUB based readers and have easy to follow tutorials to transfer books to  your e-reader.

Xinxii – A German based site with tons of books in that language but also features thousands of books in English. You can find a ton of non-fiction law type books here and also classic books optimized for e-readers and tablets.

Txtr – Another German based company that focuses on the European market but also has TONS of books available in English. This company is very solid for bestsellers such as James Patterson, Sara Gruen, and Rachel Caine. They have apps for many of the leading devices such as iOS, Android and more. You can buy the books easily and transfer them right to your device. Prices are on the high side but is a good choice if you live in Europe or want localized books.

Diesel Books – One of the leading independent booksellers that have agreements with most of the major publishing companies. You can find all of the latest books like the Steve Jobs Autobiography, Michael Connely, Lora Leigh and many more! Prices are fairly competitive with the major bookstores and this company has been in business for a long time. Their website is one of the best in terms of organization and you should have no problem aimlessly browsing for a new book or zeroing in on something specific. They have daily deals for books, that will save you around 80% of the list price.

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Amazon has set a company record with Kindle sales in the month of December with 4 million units sold. This entails both of the e-ink and Kindle Fire models that were only just launched within the last few months. To give you an idea on how well the products did, you only have to look at the companies best selling charts. The new Kindle family held the top three spots on the Amazon.com best seller charts – #1: Kindle Fire, #2: Kindle Touch, #3: Kindle. The Kindle Fire is the #1 best-selling, most gifted, and most wished for product across the millions of items available on Amazon.com since its introduction 13 weeks ago.

Not only are the e-readers selling tremendously well for the company but their gifting of ebooks proves to be popular as well. Gifting of Kindle books was up 175 percent between this Black Friday and Christmas Day compared to the same period in 2010. Christmas Day was the biggest day ever for Kindle book downloads.

So it looks like Amazons sales records were a resounding success this year, but why was it so strong, compared to last year? The company made inroads with lots of companies to put their devices in a retail environment. You only have to go to Walmart, Best Buy, Circuit City, Target and many others to buy the products. What this does is increase the visibility of the line of devices and build brand awareness. Speaking of branding, the company has also released a record number of television commercials hyping up the Amazon Kindle Fire and e-ink readers. The most famous one that picked up lots of mainstream attention was the Kindle vs. the iPad.

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Bookeen has developed a new e-reader that has been out a few months, it is called the Cybook Odyssey. This is a product of a full year of research and development and uses new HSIS technology. What this really does is give you faster page turns, the best internet web browsing experience on e-ink and one of the quickest on the market. The sad part is Bookeen is making zero effort in getting this device outside of Europe. The last we heard from the company was back at the beginning of December when they were trying to get it passed by the FCC for sale in North America. Something must have gone awry because Bookeen will NOT sell them outside of Europe. Even 3rd party markets like EBAY have hardly any of them available. I have been checking almost every day and have yet to see even one come on the market. Considering how much Bookeen is hyping this e-reader with press releases and trying to draw in customers, it is an exercise in futility if they can’t tap into one of the worlds largest tech markets. Repeated interview requests with the company continued to receive no answer.

Categories : e-reader, e-Reader News
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Reports from industry sources has pointed out that tablet PCs are going to be the device in demand in future when it comes to touch controlled devices. The tablet market right now is almost entirely dominated by the iOS and Android operating system and the entire segment is set to be buoyed further with the coming of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and Windows 8.

Presently there are tablets like the iPad 2 and Kindle Fire which conform to these OS and there is Sony with plans to come into the scene with devices that would be integrated with their existing gaming consoles. Even Samsung Electronics, HTC and Asutek Computer are also planning to come out with Android 4.0 and Windows 8 based tablets in the coming year.

Also, it is the smaller screens that are making bigger entry into the market as per reports published by supply chain sources. The 7 inch tablets are making greater headway into the segment that till now has been dominated by 9 inch or larger sized displays. The likes of the Kindle Fire and the NOOK Tablet has been witnessing increased acceptance, so much that Apple too is forced to have in place a smaller tablet, one that is likely to have a 7.85 sized display. Price factor has been one good reason (apart from increased portability) for the sales of the smaller sized tablets recording the increase in sales. These tablets are now available anywhere between $200 and 250, which makes it quite a bit less than the Apple tablets.

Acer has made it known they are there for the long run in the tablet business negating earlier rumors that claimed they are ready to quit the tablet game on the back of lackluster sales. RIM is still soldering on with the PlayBook tablet device while HP has already thrown in the towel. Interestingly, HP has also dropped enough hints in the last few months that they might still make a comeback in the tablet race even after the TouchPad fiasco. Whether these companies bring in better products in 2012 or actually walk out is to be seen.

Apple may not be able to hold its dominating position in 2012 given the presence and progress of the Kindle Fire and Nook tablets. The size of the overall tablet market would only increase in 2012 as per the market sources.

The research firms put down 100 million units of tablet devices to be the coming year’s sales figures compared to 60 million units for 2011.

via digitimes

Categories : Tablet PC News
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While Samsung may have showed signs, albeit unofficially that it is ready to at least consider coming up with an upgrade to Android 4.0 for the original 7 inch Galaxy Tab, that it has been out of sheer compulsion is increasingly becoming evident. There is the chance that what Samsung would be giving may not be the full blown Android 4 OS but one that contained all the features available in the full version. Duam, a South Korean news agency reports that the Samsung provided Os would be called “Android Value Pack”. What the value additions that one would get from this upgrade from Samsung are improved web surfing, better multitasking, new widgets, camera improvements to prevent shake during shooting and so on. There has been no official confirmation on any of these aspects from Samsung as such.

Samsung had earlier tried to wash its hand clear of an Android 4.0 upgrade for the Galaxy Tab citing hardware incompatibility issues only to have backtracked (sort of) in view of public outrage. However, the real villain has turned out to be Samsung’s very own TouchWiz user interface. Of course, Samsung won’t ditch it completely while what seems certain is that they would be doing all they can to have Android ICS on board while still sticking to the custom Samsung UI. Will be really interesting to see what comes out of the entire episode.

Categories : Tablet PC News
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Data Conversion Laboratory issued a press release earlier this week that indicates that reading consumers are speaking out against poorly formatted and error-ridden ebooks, sometimes even those works that have been commercially produced through major publishing houses. In a survey conducted by DCL, over four hundred respondents cited quality as the number one issue of concern in digital reading. GoodEReader spoke with the CEO of Data Conversion Laboratory Mark Gross in an interview today.

“DCL has been around for thirty years. Our business is converting all kinds of documents so they can be used electronically. We have clients who are publishers, as well as the military, government agencies, insurance companies, and pharmaceutical companies. Over the last three to four years there’s been a movement to go into ebooks, but in the last year it’s become quite interesting to see what’s going out there and what our customers are thinking.”

Gross blamed the wealth of free converting software titles as well as the rush to get ebooks onto the market, even among bestselling titles, for the often poorly formatted ebooks.

“There are a few utilities out there that will convert books for free. A few months ago one of our staffers sat down with a document that contained novel-like text material to try some of them out. Even with the simple document, a lot of formatting errors came through. It’s something we’ve also seen in commercially produced ebooks.”

“There’s been a push in the last year or so to get as many ebooks out as possible and the quality shows. The survey that we did shows people’s attitudes towards this. The overwhelming thing respondents demanded in the survey was quality, even above cost of the ebooks. When a market first develops, the early adopters are willing to forgive things because they’re the techies and they know this is new, but as the market broadens the people who usually read print books aren’t going to stand for this. You’re going through a larger audience of people who aren’t just the early adopters. It’s also not just simple books any more, but also books that are mission critical. The publishers we’re working with produce textbooks and medical books.”

And those technical books are becoming very important to the market. The survey showed a surprising number of people—64% of those who responded—are interested in trade manuals and textbooks that have been digitally published. Non-fiction was included in that response number.

“The public will punish those ebook publishers buy simply not buying their titles. I’ve seen articles about people returning ebooks because of the errors in formatting, and you see blog comments and reviews on books that mention these mistakes. I’ve heard authors talk about a particular publisher they were using due to very low cost, but the errors made them rethink it. The market will dictate the readers’ demands for error-free reading.”

For indie authors interested in the findings of DCL’s survey and the steps that can be taken to ensure formatting quality, their site offers a webinar on the information and the following press release outlines the suite of tools available to authors and publishers alike. Most of the conversion applications being used today were developed by DCL in the course of its thirty years, although the company still relies on manpower to review its formatted content.

BlackBerry has been selling the PlayBook tablet devices for the discounted price of $199 for quite some time now in North American markets though the same in India continued with the rather high Rs. 27,000 price tag. However, if that has been holding you from buying the otherwise superb tablet device, well your time starts now. For the PlayBook has just been given a heavy price cut — to the tune of Rs. 12,500 — so its just Rs. 13,490 that can fetch you a brand new PlayBook. Also, that’s the price for the base 16 GB version of the tablet while its 32 and 64 GB versions will set one back Rs.15,990 and Rs.24,490 respectively. Also, as it is with all good things, there is a rider attached in that the offer is valid till just the end of this year. So you have time till 31st Dec to go for the BlackBerry PlayBook at a price that’s normally reserved for budget tablets in India. The same even a day ago had been selling for Rs. 27,990, Rs 32,990 and Rs 37,990 for the 16 GB, 32 GB and 64 GB versions. From 2012, these prices will come into effect once again which means less than 72 hours to go for the PlayBook.

Also, if you need a quick refresher, the PlayBook comes with a 1 GHz dual core processor, 1 GB of RAM, a 7 inch 1024 x 600 capacitive touch screen display capable of multi-touch and gesture support, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, dual cameras along with microHDMI and microUSB ports. However, while all of the above is good, what is not is the tablet’s BlackBerry OS which has proved to be its weakest link so far. RIM though has said it is making amends so that a remedy in the form of PlayBook update 2.0 should be available withing February itself.

What this means is that making use of the discounted price can make perfect sense in the meantime.

via tech2

Categories : Tablet PC News
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Samsung has announced that they would not be coming up with the Android 4.0 update for their Galaxy Tab devices, something that caused quite a bit of stir among users of the company’s 2010 flagship tablet. There is however news that Samsung is reconsidering their stand and there is indeed the possibility of Android 4.0 ICS update being made available for the Galaxy Tab users.

Ajnews and MSNBC, both news casters based in Korea have confirmed this change in thought process on part of Samsung, which they say has resulted due to strong pleas raised by the users of the company’s first tablet device. The main reason for Samsung to have decided against the Android 4.0 update for these devices had been the custom UI that exists on these devices, namely TouchWiz. This software at present does not gel or is not compatible with the Android 4.0. Samsung has earlier cited hardware incompatibility for not upgrading the Galaxy Tab to Android 4.0. Of course getting rid of TouchWiz would be the easiest way out to have Android ICS on board the 7 inch tablet though what is also true is that its something that Samsung is least likely to do.

Samsung has not yet confirmed this bit of information though a word on this is expected soon.

via the verge

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A pre alpha version of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich has been made available by Notion Ink for developers to try out and give their valuable feedback. The company right now is in the process of integrating the latest Android version on their Adam tablet. One can download the OS and test it out for helping the company in trouble shooting the problem areas.

Also, with all of it still in a work-in-progress state, its needless to say the number of things that aren’t functional as yet is far more than those that’s functional. Like there is no audio, camera, Bluetooth or even 3G working as yet. The OS in its present state supports graphics, GPS and Wi-Fi. Also, the most common feedback received as of now is that the OS has a bug that places the device in sleep mode.

To get instructions on how to download and install one has to visit the Norton Ink forum. There is news that the source code also would soon be made available to the public at large.

Notion Ink has also released a video to show how things are in the Adam with Android 4.0 on board.

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The world leader in children’s publishing, Scholastic, Inc., has made tremendous strides in 2011 to incorporate a transmedia experience for today’s young readers. Fans of the book clubs will fondly remember the excitement of the monthly book order forms, and today’s school-aged readers are no different. Except, of course, that books now compete with various forms of interactive entertainment for today’s readers’ attention, a fact that Scholastic has embraced.

Several months ago, GoodEReader reported on a few of the initiatives that Scholastic was launching in order to keep its content current in the minds of children’s and young adult readers, including the pending incorporation of ebooks into the book club offerings and the additional 39 Clues content that came out in time for fans of the series to need reading entertainment over the December school holidays.

Now, Scholastic has announced to new features for digital devices and the transmedia reading experience. The first, an arcade-style app game based on the popular and award-winning I-Spy series of books, has released its first title for iPhone and iPod Touch and Android tablets and phones, with three more titles in the series coming one-per-month beginning in January. The multi-level object matching game requires young users to take out objects based on a variety of schematics, such as beginning letter sounds, color, and rhyming words, while the clock ticks faster and faster to end the game.

Scholastic is also releasing a joint book and interactive gaming experience in September 2012 called Infinity Ring, an alternate time travel saga. As with Scholastic’s bestselling 39 Clues series, each of the seven books in the series will be written by one of six different authors, with the first and last book in the series being penned by YA author of The Maze Runner series, James Dashner.

“Scholastic has been a part of my reading life for over thirty years, and it’s both surreal and exciting to now be working on this project together,” said James Dashner. “I’m so honored and looking forward to launching Infinity Ring. I know readers and gamers of all ages are in for a unique and unforgettable experience.”

Each of the seven books will include an interactive map whose code unlocks special features on the online game. The object of the interactive experience is for readers to play online as characters who are attempting to travel through time to right the inconsistencies throughout the storyline that have altered history as it was actually written.

“As an innovator and publisher of breakthrough multi-media properties including The 39 Clues, Skeleton Creek, and Trackers, we are excited to launch Infinity Ring —: a thrilling new series with relatable characters, fast-paced adventure with fun and educational content, and an online game developed with the latest in gaming technology, giving kids a wholly interactive reading experience,” said Ellie Berger, President, Scholastic Trade.

“People like to think that reading and gaming are two very separate experiences for kids, but with Infinity Ring, we’re crashing them together into something that’s deeply satisfying for both their reader and gamer sensibilities. The web experience is going to be unlike anything you’ve ever seen before, creating a fully immersive reading and history experience,” said David Levithan, Publisher and Editorial Director, Scholastic Press.

Crayola has been known for decades for its crayons and markers, but in the last several years the children’s art supply manufacturer has been branching out with more and more amazing creative tools for kids. Earlier this year the company developed an app with Griffin Technology that allowed kids to color with their fingers or with an optional iMarker stylus on tablet devices, but that app had a lot of competition from a multitude of free and paid drawing programs for small hands.

Now, Crayola has partnered with Ruckus Media Group to develop coloring ebook apps for both iOS, due to release in January, and Android, which will come out later in the year. Three titles for young children will launch at the onset to smartphones and tablets with more ebooks to follow later.

“What’s intriguing about this partnership is the strength of the brands and our ability to work with children’s authors and illustrators in partnership with Crayola to inspire children’s creativity,” said Rick Richter, Ruckus Media Group’s President and CEO, in a press release. “Parents and children expect the highest level of quality in everything Crayola does — our intent is to delight and inspire kids in new and innovative ways.”

Richter formed Ruckus Media just over a year ago after stepping down as president of Simon&Schuster Children’s Books. The new global company has already forged partnerships with several major names in children’s content to bring digital and ebook content to those companies’ catalogs. A program is underway to develop e-content with Scholastic, the largest publisher of children’s books in the world, through an imprint called Scholastic Ruckus that will create interactive enhanced ebooks for young readers. The app creator has also partnered with Hasbro to develop children’s material based on its My Little Pony, Tonka, and Transformers lines of toys and entertainment.

That Intel wishes to have its footprints engraved in the mobile computing segment as well is all too well known though we got to wait till CES 2012 to have a clearer idea of what is in store for us. For its there that we are getting to see first hand and for the first time devices built around Intel’s new Medfield chip. The 32nm chip is the first true blue SoC (System on a Chip) from Intel and has been the work of the newly formed division within Intel named ‘Mobile and Communications’ that is dedicated entirely for the development of chips to be used in mobile computing devices.

However, while we still are some time away from having a go at devices powered by the new Medfield chip, here are some benchmark figures that can give us an inkling of what’s been going on inside Intel.

As VR Zone has found out, Medfield scored 10,500 in the Caffeinemark 3 Java benchmark, which isn’t bad when compare to similar figures for dual core Qualcomm Snapdragon, Tegra, and Samsung Exynos 2 that returned figures of around 8,000, 7500 and 8500 respectively. What makes the Medfield score further less impressive is that its real battle will be with the likes of Tegra 3 (and not Tegra 2) and Qualcomm’s next generation of processors. It will be interesting to note that the Samsung Exynos chip is the only processor among those mentioned above to be manufactured in 32nm process similar to the Medfield.

However, another aspect, and a crucial one at that, that can make the Medfield go pale against its competitors is its power consumption figures. Like the reference tablet Red Ridge is consuming 2.6W when idle (target – 2W). This goes up to 3.6W when watching 720p video against a target of 2.6W. In contrast, the Tegra 3 chip can make do with just 2W even in full load.

The benchmark tests were performed using devices running Android Honeycomb though the target device when launched would be sporting the Android ICS version.

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Acer has made available its latest Iconia Tab A200 tablet device in the UK for 299GBP. The price point is attractive no doubt though the rest of the thing about the tablet is not too exciting. Like its got a Tegra 2 chip inside — something that we perhaps have seen too much of this whole year round and are keenly awaiting Tegra 3 — 1 GB of RAM, 8 GB of internal storage, 10.1 inch display, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS. Also, the tablet runs Android 3.2 Honeycomb (another hangover of 2010) though the good thing here is that Acer has promised the upgrade to Android 4.0 will made soon. Also, it is the last bit that might be considered the lone silver lining in an otherwise a quite bland spec sheet. However, another exciting aspect of the A200 is that it is available in not only the more usual black color option but also a more exciting red as well.

The A200 is currently available from Very.co.uk.

via eurodroid

Categories : Tablet PC News
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