Archive for e-Reader News
Barnes and Noble is offering a discount for online orders for the brand new Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook. US residents can order it directly from the Barnes and Noble website and get the tablet until September 14th for $169.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook is a stark contrast to all previous Nook tablets, because it has two cameras, a vanilla version of Android and the ability to really customize your own experience. Prior models of the Nook had a UI that was hard to change, this the Samsung Nook allows you to install your own keyboards, launchers and widgets.
International users can get value from the new Samsung Nook tablet, since you can download apps now from the B&N official app store and get expanded content from Google Play. The only limitations right now is renting to buying television shows or movies directly from Barnes and Noble. eBooks, magazines, newspapers, graphic novels and kids books are all easily purchased.
Kobo released the HD e-reader in April 2013 and the company expected it to only account for 3% of their overall revenue. This was primarily due to the 6.8 inch screen being unproved in the market and the premium cost. Within six months, it quickly became a bestseller and CEO Michael Tamblyn said now accounts for 25% of hardware sales. This has prompted Kobo to developer a spiritual successor, the brand new waterproof H20 e-reader.
Today, we take a look at the Kobo Aura HD and the Kobo Aura H20. You will get a sense of what the new model brings to the table and check out some of the advancements in e-paper technology. We also test the glowlight capabilities to see if there are any differences between the way the front-lit display functions. If you are thinking of upgrading from the HD to the H2o, you don’t want to miss this video comparison.
The Pocketbook Ultra is the newest e-reader on the market and it breaks a ton of conventions. It has a rear facing 5 megapixel camera and page turn buttons that are on the back of the unit. Readers will dig the six inch e-ink Carta touchscreen display, which will provide faster page turns and less full page refreshes. Today, we check out the Ultra and give you a sense on what the commercial packaging looks like and finally we power it on for the first time.
Sony has abandoned making new e-readers and fully closed down their online bookstore in North America, Europe and Australia. Sony always employed high build quality in their complete line of electronic readers, users still cling to their old models, as if they were a precious metal.
e-Reader technology does not enjoy the same robust innovation that we see in smartphones, tablets and smart watches. Apple, Google, Intel, Nvidia Samsung, LG and a host of others pour millions into new technologies that make products like the iPhone 6 Plus, Apple Watch or the Pebble possible. If you see someone with a four year flip phone, they tend to draw negative looks. e-Reader owners are a different breed, and tend not to be social outcasts if they rock a device from the same time period.
Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Icarus, Pocketbook, and Onyx tend not to lead the charge in e-reader innovation. This is mostly because its companies like e-Ink, Neonode, Sony, Qualcomm and Texas Instruments that develop all of the tech that goes inside the readers. They design everything from the processors to the e-paper or touchscreen technologies. All of the major players in the e-reader sector tend not to pour the type of money in new technologies, because not enough units are manufactured or have true mass market appeal like tablets or smartphones. The slow incremental update cycle for e-readers does not really give people a reason to upgrade.
Why are readers so enamored with a company that have completely abandoned the consumer sector? A number of users have weighed in from all four corners of the internet.
Ctop said “I started with the T1, got a T2 after that broke and just bought a T3 as a backup device. But in fact the T3 is so nice, that I will keep the T2 as backup instead. Over the years I have spend many hours with my Sony Reader and certainly don’t want to leave home without it. Especially with the T3 that is easily possible because it is such a small and light device. Although I also have an iPad, I much prefer the Sony for longer reading.”
katenepveu weighed in “when my Sony ereader died I went on eBay and bought the exact same one. (Someday I’ll have to get used to a new eInk-style reader”
Ripplinger has a panache for the older models “I still love my Sony 350s and it’s still the reader I judge all others by (nothing comes close). The design of the hardware is beautiful (especially since I managed to get my hands on 2 blue ones!), the software is rock solid (I don’t think I’ve had to do a reset more than 2x in over 4 years, and that was due to a badly formatted epub), and when you add PRS+ to the x50 line of readers it can’t be beat.”
Carolyn gushed “I have only had Sony ereaders and while I’m sure kindle is fantastic..I just love my Sony for it’s versatility – I am just an ereader only person, don’t need the gadgets…but want to read all electronic publications with ease and can do that with Sony. epub, pdf….etc. It takes many formats and is a pleasure to use. I can read old .pdf’s etc that someone gives me and usually, it works fairly well. I buy my share of books from SONY regardless… and I note how many more books I read since I have had an ereader. I hope these never go away! ”
Sony e-readers are still being sold through merchants that still have not run out. There is also a vibrant reselling market via eBay and Amazon for users looking to buy a backup model or two.
Good e-Reader has reviewed over 119 e-readers over the years. When I first got into the review game, it was well before Barnes and Noble or Kobo hit the market. Suddenly, CES 2010 was the tipping point, where suddenly there were hundreds of companies getting into the market. Some are still around, but others just capitalize on crazes, like phones, tablets, and now wearable tech. A few of the players still around just outsource everything to China and slap their own label on it.
Sony has always led the charge in e-reader innovation. They were the first ones with a front-lit display, the first ones to adopt a touchscreen and the only e-reader to integrate Overdrive, for easy library book lending. Their hardware has always been a shining beacon of hope in the dirge of cheap and crappy devices. It is no small wonder why users still love their Sony e-readers, even if Sony has given up on the users.
Barnes and Noble has just released their latest quarterly figures and things are looking fairly bleak. The NOOK segment (including digital content, devices and accessories) had revenues of $70 million for the quarter, decreasing 54.3% from a year ago. Device and accessories sales were $18 million for the quarter, a decrease of 78.6% from a year ago, due to lower unit selling volume. Digital content sales were $52 million for the quarter, a decline of 24.2% compared to a year ago, due primarily to lower device unit sales.
One of the big reasons why Nook has declined so much over the last few months was primarily due to the summer months and people not making big investments in technology. Things may pickup for the seminal holiday season with he release of the brand new Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook tablet.
Barnes and Noble is continuing its quest to officially separate the Nook division from their core bookstore business. This would make it easier for for an eventual sale. In a statement they said “In an effort to optimize the structure of the separation, the Company has been exploring various options and is in discussions with its NOOK Media partners to potentially restructure existing agreements; and with potential third-party partners. Such discussions could affect the structure and timing of the separation.”
Welcome to another Good e-Reader Drop Test! Today we are checking out the Onyx Boox T68 Lynx. We are conducting a series of tests to see how it holds up in real world conditions.
Here is how we normally conduct our Drop Tests, we stimulate the quintessential pocketbook miss from the 3 foot level. This is valid, because it may fall out of your bag or randomly drop if you are a klutz like me. We also drop it from the five foot mark on its side, rear and right on the screen. See how it holds up, more importantly, does it survive?
The Pocketbook Ultra e-reader has just been released and its the first device out there that has a built in camera. Its mainly used to snap profile pics or to scan books. It uses the exact same e-Ink Carta technology employed on the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite 2 and Kobo Aura H20, which will give you faster page turns and higher resolution. How exactly does this e-reader perform in real world conditions and is it a viable investment?
The Pocketbook Ultra features a six inch e-ink Carta display screen with a resolution of 1024×758. This device uses Neonode IR technology, so you won’t be able to pinch and zoom. Instead, users will have to employ single or double taps in order to access the menus or settings.
Underneath the hood is a 1GHZ processor and 512 MB of RAM. Users will have 4 GB of internal memory and the ability to enhance it further via a MicroSD Card.
This e-reader has a few things going for it, that make it stand out in a crowded marketplace. It has a 5 MP rear facing camera, that is ironically placed on the bottom right hand corner. There is a small LED light that assists in snapping photos, but the entire process is a bit convoluted.
Lets say you are outside and want to take a picture of a flower. You need to open the photo app on the home screen and wait around five seconds to get a sketch outline. You can think of this is a state that is not fully rendered. Once you take the picture, it will take another five seconds for the full image to give you full resolution. Photos are viewed in the gallery, and can be used for your boot up logo or can be exported to your PC.
The Ultra has a front-lit display that allows you to read in the dark. Unlike smartphones and tablets, the light does not emit from behind the screen. Instead, it has five LED lights on the bottom of the bezel that evenly distribute light across the screen. This lighting system is one of the drawbacks, it does not really illuminate the screen properly even at maximum brightness. In a side by side comparison against the Kobo Aura H20 or the Kindle Paperwhite 2, the Ultra gave a really lackluster experience.
The vast majority of e-readers these days have abandoned audio. Companies such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo are in a race to offer the most affordable hardware possible, and audio increases the overall cost. The Pocketbook Ultra does have built in audio, but the only way to listen to text to speech or MP3 files is via the 3.5 mm headphone jack.
Design wise the Pocketbook Ultra has 2 physical page turn keys, but they are on the back of the unit. Most e-readers have the keys right on the front, on the left and right hand side. Pocketbook went the non-conventional route and has them on the back. At first, I thought this was a weird design change, but when you naturally hold the reader in portrait mode, I found it actually worked. There are also 4 physical buttons on the front, that access the settings, home button and forward/backward.
In the end, the Pocketbook Ultra is a very sexy e-reader. The hardware and overall design principles makes it really stand out. Sadly, the 512 MB of RAM is really noticeable. It many cases you have to wait a few seconds for a new app to open and over the course of our review we had to reboot it. Still, an e-ink camera is very compelling and it really does take great photos.
Pocketbook has been focusing their efforts on developing proprietary in-house apps that make the Ultra extremely viable, right out of the box. The company has heavily invested in features such as Pocketbook Sync and Send to Pocketbook. These two apps allow you to send and receive audiobooks, eBooks and documents from your cloud storage. Pocketbook also wrote their own custom Dropbox app, using the public API. So if you don’t feel like using the Pocketbook cloud system, you can use Dropbox, which is more commonly used. The most interesting aspect about the entire Dropbox system is that you can create custom shelves in your library that house all of your cloud based content.
The Home screen comprises of your Library, Store and Camera, in addition to the eBooks you have recently added or purchased. There are two tabs on the bottom of the screen and top. The bottom ones access app such as your browser, calculator, chess dictionary, documents, gallery, Klondike, MP3 Player, Notes, Scribble and Sudoku. I especially liked the drawing app that has a bunch of different pen sizes and font options.
The top menu allows you to easily access the brightness levels of the font-lit display, task manager and deep settings options. I thought including a task manager was a really positive step forward for Pocketbook. Hitting this button allows you to view all of the tabs you have opened, with options to keep them open or to close them completely. If a certain aspect becomes irresponsible, you can close it and reopen it. This prevents the need to always reboot it. Over the course of the review, a big PDF file seemed to really slow down the Ultra, so we simply closed it and everything went back to working fine.
All the time, we are stuck with the stock button configurations of an e-reader. You might hold the e-reader in such a way, that it is always automatically switches from portrait mode to landscape. Other times you may inadvertently hit the wrong button, breaking immersion when reading a good eBook. To remedy this problem Pocketbook developed a key mapping tool that allows you to disable a specific button when reading or change it to a completely different function globally.
One of Pocketbooks strengths when competing in the global e-reader market is their inherent ability to support many languages. When Amazon or Kobo sell their readers in France, Italy or Denmark they sell localized versions to them, with custom firmware. All Pocketbook models support a ton of dictionaries and can change the entire menu system to Korean on the fly.
The new e-reader supports more than 20 popular text and image formats and also has a set of preinstalled ABBYY Lingvo dictionaries. It even has the official Websters 1913 dictionary.
Your virtual library is going to be the most commonly accessed area of the e-reader. Pocketbook is focusing on customization with the ability to filter by authors, genres, bookshelves, folders, formats or series. You can also change the visual prospective from showing cover art to a list view. Pocketbook sells the Ultra with over 60 preinstalled eBooks, you so will likely want to likely prune them quickly via Windows Explorer or an eBook manager program like Adobe Digital Editions.
The overall e-Book experience is solid with EPUB type files, it is stable and the process tend not to crash. You can either load in your own books or do business with the Pocketbook run Bookland bookstore. It does not have a ton of bestsellers, but they constantly add new content, such as new Don Brown. The majority seem to be royalty free type books, you would find on websites such as Project Gutenberg. Unfortunately, PDF books are severely hampered.
The Ultra does not have a capacitive touch screen and employs older Neonode IR touch technology. This prevents the ability to pinch and zoom, so when reading PDF files you have to hit various settings menu to manually find your optimal zoom level. This is very tedious because every time you turn a page, your options are not preserved. The Ultra is also prone to crash when reading PDF files over 80 MB in size, they cannot fully render properly.
When someone is looking for an e-reader, often they just want to occasionally read an eBook and not have to worry about anything else. I may fixate on the inner workings of the Ultra and let you know exactly how it performs in real life, but its all about just reading. It does a tremendous job with the e-Ink carta display. Page turns occur super quickly, and there is little to no ghosting.
I have been reviewing Pocketbook e-readers since their very first model. They tend to release three or four different models and Good e-Reader has really seen them grow over time. The Pocketbook Ultra is the best model they have ever released with a six inch screen. It perfectly blends hardware with unique software elements and has a camera.
This e-reader would come heavily recommended for people with disabilities and have a hard time reading. You can plug in a set of headphones and use the text to speech system. It is available only in English, German and French, but this is a big selling point. If you are looking for a cutting edge e-reader that will stand out in a crowd, the Ultra is for you.
Text to Speech
5 MP Camera
All buttons can be key mapped
e-Ink Carta Display
512 MB of RAM hampers a perfect score
Front-lit display is not on par with the Kobo Aura H20 or Kindle Paperwhite
Comes with too many eBooks in different languages
Large PDF files do not work properly
The Amazon Fire Phone will be released in the UK on September 30th 2014 via O2. New and existing customers for O2 can get the Fire Phone for free if they take out the £33 a month Refresh contract. For those who sign up to the Fire Phone contract before 31st December, Amazon will be giving away one year of Prime.
The Seattle based e-commerce giant hopes that its Fire Phone can challenge Apple, Samsung, Sony and HTC in the smartphone market, but its US launch has been underwhelming with only 35,000 phones sold.
“We think the Fire Phone will be a great phone for Amazon customers, amazing for Prime customers, but it’s a very competitive phone and good for people who want a new phone in general,” Cameron Janes, Amazon’s director of the Fire phone. “It’s amazing value with a bundled year of Amazon Prime giving access to 15,000 videos and 500,000 books, plus free unlimited photo cloud storage and customer support from the built-in MayDay feature.”
The Fire Phone trumpets Firefly as the main selling point, which allows people to scan barcodes & QR codes and automatically pull the product listing up on Amazon. “Firefly identifies printed text on signs, posters, magazines and business cards,” the company said, which it does through combining “Amazon’s deep catalog of physical and digital content with multiple image, text and audio recognition technologies to quickly identify a variety of items from the world around you.”
Amazon’s biggest difference from the Samsung Galaxy S5, the upcoming Apple iPhone 6, or Sony Xperia Z3 is its “dynamic perspective”, which uses four front-facing cameras to track the position of the user’s head to create a simulated 3D experience that moves as the user moves their head.
The United Kingdom is reaching a point of mobile phone saturation, with an estimated 70% of the population owning one. Can Amazon defy the odds and sell enough units to make entry into the UK viable?
The Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7 and Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook are two tablets that are exclusively geared towards reading. Today, we look at the core differences between the two devices to give you a sense on their overall capabilities.
Amazon tends to use a heavily skinned version of Android called Mojito. You cannot really establish live wallpapers or setup widgets on your home screen. The HDX was designed to integrate completely with the entire Amazon ecosystem, such as movies, television shows, apps and books.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook on the other hand is running Kitkat, and new Android updates should occur very quickly. Unlike prior Nook tablets, this one has two cameras and better sound. It also has Google Play to access new content, so you can do business with other bookstores.
The prime motivation behind this Good e-Reader comparison is to give you a sense on how the UI is all laid out, how eBooks look and what type of functionality you get with PDF files. We also demonstrate how the entire ecosystems perform, from a Canadian point of view.
The Pocketbook Sense has just been unveiled at the IFA event in Germany. This new e-reader is aimed primarily at women, as they have teamed up with Kenzo, a French Luxury House. When you order the e-reader it comes with a sweet embossed crocodile leather case.
The PocketBook 630 Fashion features a six inch touchscreen display with a resolution of 1024 x 758 pixels. One of the innovative design elements beyond this device is the built-in ambient light sensor. It will automatically adjust the front-lit display based on the surrounding conditions. So the brightness with be different outside in the shade then reading in complete darkness in bed.
The e-reader supports 19 popular text and image formats and provides a set of pre-installed ABBYY Lingvo dictionaries, which makes it easy to read books even in a foreign language. 4GB of built-in memory plus a microSD slot will be enough to keep even the largest collection of favorite literature. Using the device is simple and, which is more important, incredibly comfortable due to the multi-sensory display and the new PocketBook user interface. Access to the Internet via built-in Wi-Fi opens up limitless opportunities not only for reading, but also for social networking using via ReadRate service. The pre-installed Dropbox and Send to PocketBook services allow to transfer content to the device without connecting to a PC.
Custom leather cases are nothing really new in the world of e-readers, but often have to be ordered from 3rd parties, who specialize in artistic designs. It is rare that a company like Pocketbook will give away a very well designed case with purchase of the e-reader. One thing that made me laugh in the press briefings is how it ended “Meet PocketBook Sense with KENZO cover – the fashion trend-setter of the e-reading market, and remember: there is nothing more seductive and compelling than intelligence.”
The Sony Digital Paper (DPT-S1) is becoming a runaway success and hundreds of units are being sold on a weekly basis. Now that Sony is selling these e-readers directly to customers there will obviously have to be some sort of support network to handle warranty and troubleshooting. Today, Sony announced that they have created a new support system and also will be establishing a relationship with cloud storage provider “Box”.
Sony has revised their support site to provide information, drivers and software (including information about available updates in firmware), manuals and specifications as well as the latest support related news and tutorials for Digital Paper. Sony has not yet included video tutorials if they feel it is necessary they will be available on the support site.
When customers are in need of direct support, Sony has established a new method to talk to a CSR agent on the phone. There is a new button in the top right hand corner of the e-support page labeled “Contact Us”. This provides a dedicated telephone number (239-245-6320) for Digital Paper phone support, available to the user from 9 am -6 pm EST.
The Sony Digital Paper is a very costly device and in some cases something may go awry with the hardware. In an email to Good e-Reader Sony said “if we conclude that the unit is in need of service, our support team will instruct the user to send the unit to service, and if under the warranty, which is 1 year, the malfunctioning unit will be exchanged with the customer for a new unit. We have an advance exchange program that enables Sony to send a new unit to the customer prior to receiving the malfunctioning unit, thus minimizing the time the customer is without their Digital Paper.”
Finally, Sony has established a formal relationship with cloud service provider, Box. Sony confirmed “With the formal support of Box, we expect to receive more inquiries about the functioning and interaction of Digital Paper with the cloud and are making appropriate arrangements (given that the cloud is still quite new to many people). DP does not have a full app for Box yet, but can be connected via WebDAV.”
Today we look at the brand new Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook and the Apple iPad Mini with Retina. The main intention behind this video is to primarily evaluate the overall reading experience. This is accomplished by looking at a magazine, eBook and how you go about buying content. If you are looking to purchase any one of these devices for the purpose of reading, you don’t want to miss this!
Welcome to another Good e-Reader Comparison Video! Today, we look at the latest generation Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook and the Nook HD. If you are thinking of upgrading to the latest model, there are some important things you need to know.
The purpose of this comparison is to look at the Nook HD, which came out last year and the new Samsung Nook that was just released. You will get a sense on the hardware differences and what makes new model so compelling.