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yotaphone

The Yotaphone is one of the most unique smartphones on the market due to its secondary e Ink display screen. There is only a one single reading app that is compatible with it and Yota is hoping to remedy the situation. The company has announced that they are working on a new app store and it will be ready in Q3 2014, about the same time as their second generation Yotaphone will be released.

One of the drawbacks of the Yotaphone is that there are not many apps that have been made to take advantage of the secondary screen. There are a few on Google Play that uses the e Ink screen as a virtual controller for the main color LCD touchscreen. CEO Vladislav Martynov notes that YotaDevices has already discussed concepts for a wide variety of specialized software for the second screen with app developers. By way of example he notes a program that displays recipes on the smartphone’s second screen and a program that controls the front-facing color screen using the back touchscreen.

The Yota App Store is not meant to be revenue driver for the company. The main intention is not to sell apps or to charge developers to list apps in their store. Rather, it hopes the store will attract additional attention to YotaPhone from users and shore up interest in the device, which is new to the market.

App Stores are big business and encourage developers to utilize the ecosystems to make some serious money. Apple noted that in 2013 over three billion apps were downloaded and generating over $10 billion in revenue. The Samsung App Store is installed on 100 million Android devices, SlideMe is installed on 20 million devices, and the Amazon App Store runs on 33% of tablets in the U.S. Good e-Reader is also the largest app store in Canada with over 80 million visitors in 2013.

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Customers in the Philippines will now have access to the Kobo Touch via Smart Communications. Starting today the Kobo Touch is available will be given away for free to subscribers of their new data plans.

Available under Plan 499, the Kobo Touch e-Reader will come bundled with 30 Internet hours every month via the Smart Bro Pocket WiFi, delivering up to 7.2 Mbps of download speeds powered by the country’s largest broadband network. A free e-Reader just for signing up for internet access, not too shabby.

The Kobo Touch e-Reader is a great new addition to our quickly expanding lineup of premium mobile devices available through Gadget Plus Plans, which makes it easier for Filipinos without a credit card to get the latest gadgets that they want,” Michele Curran said in a statement.

Kobo has been running an online bookstore in the Philippines since mid 2013. Customers can purchase the devices in major bookstores across the country and buy millions of books.

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Kobo has just signed a new deal with Hibernia CDN to boister the performance of their global eBook network. This will basically speed up browsing the companies online bookstore and syncing data from the Kobo servers to your ereader or tablet.

HiberniaCDN is now available in Kobo’s over 190 points of presence spanning North America, South America, Europe and Asia/Pacific. The CDN leverages deployed infrastructure that is integrated with Hibernia’s IP network. The HiberniaCDN platform enables users to access anytime, anywhere media and applications, including VOD and Live streaming video, website acceleration, video downloads, software updates and releases, music downloads, online game releases and updates.

“The emergence of HiberniaCDN as a global platform for secure, cost-effective delivery of content services satisfies the needs of media providers whose end users increasingly demand content on an anytime, anywhere and any device basis,” states Bjarni Thorvardarson, the CEO of Hibernia Networks. “Our agreement with Kobo not only reflects an evolution in how digital content services are delivered, but also confidence in Hibernia’s IP network to establish, deliver and sustain an exceptional user experience to Kobo’s readers worldwide.”

Ok what does this all mean for your average Kobo user? Likely if you just use their standard e-reader you might notice a slight increase in speed when you purchase and download an ebook. This is because there is now a proxy between the main Kobo servers and your own WIFI network. Since there will be less network congestion the overall speed will increase on delivered media.

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There is a big reason why Amazon issues a number of press releases every single month on the things they are doing with Prime or the Kindle. Today for example, Amazon signed a deal with HBO to bring a number of its most popular television programs, sans Game of Thrones to Amazon Instant Video.  Prime and Kindle owners statistically spend the most money on Amazon, which is why these are the top priorities for media coverage and customer adoption.

According to a recent survey by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners  The two programs “have become significant drivers of Amazon sales, even in light of the recent Amazon Prime price increase and significant competition in the tablet computing market,” the company said.

“Both serve as superb affinity programs for Amazon, as Kindle owners spend 30% more, and Prime members spend twice as much, as the rest of Amazon’s customers,” said CIRP co-founder Mike Levin.

The Amazon Kindle Fire and Kindle e-Readers drive the bulk of digital book sales.  Of the 500 people surveyed 23% owned a Kindle Fire tablet, 13% owned a Kindle e-reader, and 12% owned both for an overall 48% ownership rate. Overall, in the US there are currently 31.3 million Kindles in circulation.

Amazon Prime drives sales to the Kindle so customers can take advantage of the free eBook given out every month and encourages tablet adoption so people purchase them to watch Instant Videos. When you buy a new piece of hardware you get a month of Prime membership for free, which Amazon normally includes in their overall registered user figures. Currently there are currently 27.8 million Prime members in the U.S.

“These newer Amazon Prime customers have not yet made their first renewal decision, so they may not have completely considered whether Amazon Prime shipping and video benefits are worth it to them them, and thus are susceptible to churn,” CIRP Partner Josh Lowitz said in a statement. “However, our analysis suggests that 85% of current customers were already aware of the increase in price to $99 per year. And, even with the price increase, almost 90% of current Amazon Prime members say they will ‘definitely’ or ‘probably’ renew their membership, just 5% less than the responses we saw prior to any discussion of a price increase.”

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The Spanish eBook market have increased between 300% and 400% in the past three years. This has prompted a number of e-readers to be announced to take advantage of the digital boom. The latest entrant to the market is Szenio, who is best known for their line of tablets and smartphones. The company has just unveiled their first e-reader, the Szenio DC 1600.

This e-reader uses outdated TFT technology, which is the same screen that the Ectacto Jetbook employed four years ago. The resolution is an abysmal 800 x 600 pixels.

Underneath the hood is a robust ARM9 DualCore 600 MHZ processor and 128 MB of RAM. You have 4GB of internal memory to store your books and it supports a myriad of formats, including; TXT, PDF, HTML, CHM, RTF, FB2, EPUB.  One of the unique aspects of this device is that there is a built in comic book rendering engine. There is no bookstore loaded on it though, but you can use the accompanied internet browser to purchase content via WIFI.

You can see by the design of the reader that it bears a slight resemblance to the Kindle 5th generation. You navigate around via the D-Pad and also turn pages. There are forward, backward and settings to call up various functions.

The Szenio DC 1600 has high availability in Spain at various tech stores and is being sold for 79 Euros. I would give this one a miss if I were you. It is using really outdated screen technology and does not have a touchscreen. There are plenty of Spanish exclusives that are way better than this model, at the same price. I would recommend the Papyre 630 instead.

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The Sony 13.3 inch e-reader, otherwise known as the Digital Paper is hitting the US in MAY. In order to build hype around the $1100 PDF Reader Sony has signed an agreement with Ease Entertainment to have it used in the production process of Hollywood films.

Starting in May, the pilot will be conducted in collaboration with Ease Entertainment, a leading payroll and accounting company serving the motion picture and television production industries. Ease Entertainment will bundle Digital Paper with its Digital Start Paperwork, resulting in significant time-savings and increased efficiencies for studios and production companies.

“Storytelling is a global business,” said Glenn Gainor, President of Production for Screen Gems, a Sony Pictures Entertainment division. “I travel the globe scouting locations, visiting sets and overseeing production teams. Sets have traditionally been buried in paper, from scripts, call sheets, production notes and more. I’ve been testing Digital Paper for months and now I can’t imagine myself being without it. I can now keep ideas, notes and other great ideas in one device.”

According to Ease Entertainment, critical aspects of the entertainment industry such as production management and corporate oversight have significantly lagged in the adoption of new technologies that can offer considerable economic and operational benefits.

“We are committed to taking what is still a ‘paper and file box’ industry and moving it into the current generation of tools, a key part of which is Sony’s Digital Paper,” said Michael Rose, Chairman and CEO of Ease Entertainment. “The combination of our technologies will substantially streamline and improve the onboarding process, which will ultimately lead to reduced production costs. The uses in and around a shooting set, within production offices and at the corporate and legal level, are countless: enhanced regulatory compliance, fewer errors, reduced environmental impact and an increased level of efficiency.”


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LittleLostKindle

Kindle e-Readers and tablets tend to be one of the sole joys of a voracious readers life. You carry your entire library of books that you have read, intend to read or want to buy next. It can be devastating if you lose your Kindle Fire or Kindle e-reader or someone steals it. What should you do if this situation were to occur?

If you lose your Kindle, chances are it’s going to be very hard to track down who found it or get back again. The first thing you want to do is deregister the device,  you do this by visiting Amazon.com and clicking on Your Apps and Devices.  Next, click on your devicesClick the Actions button, and then click deregister device. Deregistering your device prohibits Appstore purchases on that device, and disables the use of any app purchased from Amazon Appstore for Android and downloaded to that device. You can re-enable purchasing from the device by signing in to the Amazon Appstore for Android again.  Once you deregister  your device someone can’t make any purchases via the One Click Checkout or access anything to do with Whispernet.

When you unregister your Kindle, you do not lose any of your past purchases or digital content. If you were to buy another Kindle Fire or an e-Reader you can simply use your login and password on the new hardware and sync all of your past content. One of the big drawbacks of newspaper and magazine subscriptions is that you can’t get the back  issues via sync, instead you can only get the most current one.

If you want to insure that a stolen Kindle cannot be sold on the blackmarket, eBay, Craigslist or the local pawnshop you may elect to blacklist it.  The best thing to do is phone Amazon, and ask them to “blacklist” the device. When it is blacklisted, it can not be registered by someone else. You can do this by calling Toll free: 1-888-280-4364 or international: 1-206-266-2992. If you manage to find it, or someone returns it in a lost and found bin, you can call  Amazon back  and they can unblacklist it so you can re-register it.

If you want to be an especially vigilant and upstanding citizen, you may elect to file a police report. Chances are if the value is less than $400, it is considered a petty crime and normally the boys in blue move slowly on this. So it might not be the best course of action to file for that lost Kindle Keyboard, but might be worth it for that shiny new 4G Kindle HDX 4G.

Most of Kindle loses occur on while flying and you just want to get off the plane after a long trek. If you realize you left your Kindle on the plane, you don’t want to call the airline or talk to them in person. Instead, most major airlines all have online claim forms that you can fill out. This normally takes weeks to reach a resolution but many customers have found that they get an email eventually if they have found it and then pay the postage to ship it back to you.

Kindle Fire tablets work a bit differently than most of the e-readers. If someone finds it they do  have access to all of your apps and email accounts that you have on file. I recommend that you add a password to your device, to provide a barrier for a bandit. Try and make a password that is not “password” or “123456789.” Find my Kindle is next to useless and should not be depended on.

Tablets are the type of item where it is next to impossible to get back once its stolen or lost. Blacklisting it from accessing core Amazon services would be a sufficient strategy to insure that a thief cannot use the device for their own dark ambitions. Often, a thief quickly resells it on Craigslist, and an unknowing customer cannot actually do anything with it. In this situation, normally Amazon will open a dialog with the new owner and get them to send it back in return for a discount on a new model.

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 zeus

One of the downfalls of a dedicated e-reader is that you are limited in dealing with the company who sold it. When you buy a Kobo, Nook, Sony or Kindle you are locked into that ecosystem. This presents challenges when Sony closes their North American bookstore and forces customers to switch to another retailer. Tablets overall are a bit more agnostic, because readers can choose what app they want to download and can deal with more than one company. The new Onyx Zeus e-Reader is poised to bridge the two worlds and offer a new experience.

The Onyx Zeus is a new 9.7 touchscreen e Ink Pearl Reader with a resolution of 1200 x 825. It lacks the frontlite of the competition, which will warrant customers investing in a reading light.

Underneath the hood of the Boox M96M Zeus  is a 1GHz Freescale i.MX6 Solo Lite processor and 512 MB of RAM. You can store your data efficiently with the 4 GB internal storage and boost it up via the MicroSD.

The most compelling aspect of the Zeus is the fact it is running a pure version of Android with version 4.04. This means you can easily load in your own apps and not do business exclusively with a specific company. It does not have access to the Google Play market obviously, but you can load in the Good e-Reader App Store and install things like Amazon Kindle, Kobo, Nook, Sony or a number of indie apps. Speaking of indie, the e-reader comes bundled with a bunch of notable ones such as FBReader, Cool-ER and more.

This e-reader is fairly expensive at $400 and is available exclusively in Russia. You can order it directly from Onyx in a few weeks for 14990.00 p. We will try and get a copy of this and do a hands on review shortly.

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entitle-the-netflix-for-books

eReatah originally launched their Netflix for eBooks subscription service back in September and changed their name to Entitle a few months later. The service heavily competes with Scribd and Oyster for users wanting to subscribe to their websites and download books  on a monthly basis.  While the competition relies on iOS and Android apps to appeal to the widest demographic of readers, Entitle is now supporting dedicated e-readers, such as the Kobo, Nook and Sony. 

Entitle has been testing their e-reader system for a number of weeks and now the books are available for primetime. In order to get started you first need to download Adobe Digital Editions. This is a free app and allows you sync paid and borrowed eBooks directly to your e-reader. Once the book has been downloaded to your computer, you can use ADE to copy it to your Kobo Aura or Nook Glowlight. Once its on your device, it will pop up under your library and you can begin reading on the go.

The support for e-readers when it comes to dedicated eBook subscription services is quite weak. Amazon is the only company to offer this functionality with their Prime Kindle Lending Library. Scribd offers apps for iOS, Android, and Kindle Fire, while Oyster is limited to iOS. Entitle has apps now for Android, iOS and now dedicated e-readers. Obviously when it comes to reading, sticking with an e Ink device is better for long reading sessions.

Entitle manages their eBook subscription service quite differently from their competitors. The company only offers a limited number of books a customer can borrow on a monthly basis. For $9.99 you can download two books a month and lots of big name publishers are supporting the efforts.  The company has deals with major publishers including Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, HarperCollins Christian, and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, with more than 100,000 professionally-published titles from authors like Stephen King and Dan Brown. Basically, it is a book of the month type club for a digital world.

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There has been a number of Papyre e-readers available in Europe for quite sometime. It has never really been a household name because its normally found in Spain. Their earlier devices suffered from sluggish performance and ugly aesthetics. The new Papyre 630 is breaking this mold and might be a solid device to look at if you are interested in loading in your own books.

The Papyre 630 has a six inch e Ink Pearl HD display screen with a resolution of 1024 X 758 pixels. One thing readers will dig is the inclusion of a full touchscreen display and physical page turn keys that will appeal to right or left handed readers. This edition will let you read in the dark with the built in front-lit, interesting enough the LED lights are on the bottom of the screen, similar to the Nook design.

Underneath the hood is a 1.2 GHZ single core processor, and 4 GB of internal memory. There is support for an SD Card, so you can expand it if carrying a copious amount of books appeals to you.

When it comes to reading, you have support for DRM ePub or PDF eBooks that are purchased from other retailers. You can also download and load them in yourself, the formats supported are TXT, PDF, EPUB, PDB, FB2, RTF, MOBI. Its nice to see a reader that will read a Kindle friendly format, in MOBI.

There is no store loaded on the device to buy digital books from. Instead, the company that  makes the e-reader, Grammata, has a web-based store.  This forces you to rely on the WIFI and internet browser to download books from the online store or use other websites or even Dropbox. You can buy this e-reader now for 119 euros.

In the end, this device will likely appeal to people who want a simple e-reader with no defined store. If you don’t like the other major e-reader brands, this might work for you. If you buy it for someone who is not tech savvy, I would recommend just load it up with books.


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Amazon has introduced new functionality for Kindle ereaders and tablets with Cloud Drive. Starting today, all personal documents that you have archived in your Kindle Library will be available to access, delete, organize, and share from your Amazon Cloud Drive. You can see these documents in a new “My Send-to-Kindle Docs” folder on Amazon Cloud Drive alongside all of your saved content, such as photos and personal videos.

The syncing of personal documents is done automatically and requires no management on the users part. Also starting today, new documents that you save to the cloud with Send to Kindle will be kept in their native format (e.g. MS Word, RTF, TXT) so you can access them anywhere from Amazon Cloud Drive.

Amazon recognizes that often their customers use the send to kindle plugins for major web-browsers to send interesting bookmarks or RSS feeds to their device. The company is also keenly aware that most of their users get heavily invested in their ecosystem and have more than one in the household. Being able to sync your documents and user uploaded content into your main account means you can access it on the existing hardware but also the new Amazon Smartphone.

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Texet has bucked the trend of the standard six inch e-reader in Russia with the advent of the eight inch TB-418FL. The company has released numerous e-readers over the course of the last few years and this one is the best one yet.

The Texet TB-418FL features a eight inch screen with a resolution of 1024×768. It has a the same front-lit display that Amazon and Kobo employ in their latest generation models. It has a 800MHZ processor and 4 GB of internal storage. There is no WIFI or built in bookstore, instead customers are reliant in loading in their own eBooks. It does support a myriad of formats including DOC, DJVU, TXT, PDF, EPUB, PDB, FB2, HTML, RTF, MOBI, CHM.

The vast majority of e-readers in Russia have no established ecosystem to purchase books. The market is plagued by rampant piracy and Pocketbook is the only major player that actually runs a bookstore, but tend to just have copyright free editions. iMobilco is currently one of the most notable digital bookstores in Russia and currently has 20% of the market. The largest entity is LitRes, which is the most dominant and controls 60% of the market. Sergei Anuriev, the general director of LitRes, believes that by 2015 the entire ebook segment will increase to 5%, which will be equivalent of $90 million in sales.

One of the main reasons digital sales are so paltry is because of piracy. Eksmo, Russia’s largest publishing house, recently commented that 95% of all ebooks are pirate copies. This results in close to $120 million in losses for the entire digital publishing industry. It is currently estimated that between 100,000-110,000 titles are available as pirated editions, compared to just 60,000 available legally.

The Texet TB-418FL is available now and costs 7499 rubles.


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Welcome to another Good e-Reader Round Table Discussion. Today Michael and Peter discuss the merits of reading on a dedicated e-reader and tablet. There is a ton of confusion on the virtues of each device and what they excel at doing. Today, the two lads dispel popular myths and give you their perspective on what is better for reading.

e-Readers have been around a lot longer than tablets have. Early on, if you wanted to read eBooks, newspapers and other content you wanted to have a Kindle. When tablets started to come out, like the iPad and Android devices the lines started to blur on what an e-reader is.

Michael and Peter rundown what each device does best and talk about some of the technologies on the market that make reading more enjoyable. Pixel QI, Plastic Logic, e Ink, and other displays are explained in great detail.