Tablet PC News

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Consumers and business customers often find themselves relying on PDF files in order to view and edit documents. We live in a world of Kindle Books, Nook Books and proprietary formats, but PDF’s have been the longest lived format in the digital space. Sony made the Digital Paper (DPT-S1) with the sole intention of reading and editing PDF files, while Microsoft baked the functionality into Onenote and Microsoft Reader. Today, we look at the core PDF viewing and editing experience on these two devices.

These devices have a fair amount in common, such as screen size and cost. When it comes down to it, the Surface is reliant on 3rd party apps to get the job done, and this tablet was not designed just to view or edit documents. Instead, it is a multipurpose gadget, fully capable of being your replacement PC. You will find your battery life being drained the more programs you install and the number of background processes that are running.

The Sony Digital Paper is using e-Ink Mobius, which does not draw power if you have a static image on the screen, which you are not interacting with. This gives you a solid month or TWO of battery life, which will certainly not make you a wallhugger.

The video below documents the different ways these two devices get the job done in viewing and editing PDF files. We show you the pressure sensitive pen with the Surface and the Stylus with the Sony. Onenote, Adobe Acrobat X and Microsoft Reader are the three programs on the Surface we pit head to head against the DPT-S1


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In the last four years we have seen the entire publishing industry embrace eBooks. In 2013, Nielsen’s Books & Consumers survey shows that among U.S. buyers of adult fiction and nonfiction, 25% of book buyers bought an eBook and 31% of new books purchased in adult fiction and nonfiction were eBooks. e-Readers have traditionally been the best way to read these titles, because of the long battery life they provide and the lack of eyestrain due to e-paper. Sadly, it seems that the general public does not seem as enamoured anymore with these core benefits and new research points to the mass adoption of multifunctional tablets and smartphones.

Forrester’s World eReader and eBook Forecast reported in June that just five years after Amazon released the original Kindle, more than 25 million people in the US owned e-readers in 2012. But that figure is set to decline to seven million users by the end of 2017.

The seismic shift from e-readers to smartphones and tablets are seen by some to be a natural evolution of the technology cycle. Like the PDA, the digital camera and the iPod, it was once the hottest gadget around, but have now been given way to large screen tablets and high powered smartphones.

Amazon currently leads the charge in the eBook space and sells the most e-readers globally. Modern research points to them controlling 75% of the US eBook market and 79% in the UK. It did the smart thing in the companies transition from selling print books, to selling eBooks. The Kindle managed to appeal to the voracious reader, who saw the transition of book to e-book as a progression.

The most recent data from IDC shows that for Q3 of 2013 Android made up 81% of devices shipped. You read that right—four out of every five smartphones shipped in Q3 were built on Android. Meanwhile, Apple’s iOS scraped by with a sad and distant second place figure of only 12.9 percent. Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Kobo are starting to all see more users employ their apps to buy and read books, than the dedicated readers. All of these companies apps are normally much easier to navigate than their hardware.

Amazon saw the writing on the wall early on and have successfully marketed their line of Kindle Fire tablets to younger users. These are the type that casually read, but normally use the device for music, movies, social media and playing games.  In 2014 the Seattle based company tapped into two new verticals, with the advent of the Fire TV and Fire Phone.  The problem the company faces is how do you transition the older readers to embrace the new technology?

Barnes and Noble and Kobo are two major players in the digital book space and in recent years have been slowly producing more tablets than dedicated e-readers. B&N recently unveiled the brand new Samsung Galaxy 4 Nook, and they continue to market the Nook HD and HD+. The only e-reader in their modern portfolio is the Nook Glowlight, released last year. Kobo primarily markets their e-readers via international markets and has created a huge demand for their legacy e-readers, such as the Kobo WIFI, Kobo Glo and  Kobo Touch. They still sell the Kobo Aura and Aura HD, but their latest offerings are 3 tablets, all released last year.

Forrester may be proclaiming that the age of e-readers is nearly over and more users have been embracing tablets, but other research is not completely counting them out. Pew Research reported that during the 2013 holiday season the rate of tablet ownership rose to 42% of American adults, up 8%  from September. Ownership of e-book reading devices like Kindles or Nooks similarly increased to 32% as of January 2014. Some 50% of adults now own at least one of these devices.

Wrap up

At Good e-Reader we have been chronicling the e-reader industry since 2008 and often talk with e-Ink, Freescale, Amazon, Kobo, Barnes and Noble and a host of European companies, both on and off the record. It is quite evident that the race to the bottom, in terms of price, is still generating strong sales with e-readers. The main problem, is that the core e-reading technology is fairly static and has not really offered a compelling enough reason for people to upgrade their units. Every year, processing power, resolution and app ecosystems get stronger in tablets and phones. It is quite normal to see someone with a three year old e-reader, but seeing someone with an old Nokia flip phone or  Blackberry Bold will incur scorn.

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The Microsoft Surface Pro Windows 8 is currently in the third generation and has some revisements with the way the digital pen works. Cased in aluminum, Surface Pen looks and feels more like a fountain pen than a traditional stylus for a natural writing experience. Today, we look at how the Pen is able to handle drawing via Onenote.

Microsoft Onenote for Windows 8 allows users to write documents from scratch and save them to their Skydrive accounts. Whenever you click the top of the Stylus, it automatically opens Onenote. In the video below, we give you a quick overview of the day to day tasks that can be accomplished in OneNote and give you an in-depth look at the stylus.


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Amazon-Local-Register

Amazon.com today announced Amazon Local Register, a secure card reader and mobile app that provides local businesses with the tools they need to quickly and easily accept credit and debit cards from a smartphone or tablet and keep track of their growing business.  Amazon Local Register customers will have access to the Amazon.com award-winning, fully dedicated customer support team, as well as in-app tracking tools.  Customers who sign up for Amazon Local Register before October 31 will also receive a low promotional rate of 1.75 percent per card swipe on all major credit and debit cards until January 1, 2016. Additional details are available at localregister.amazon.com.

“From clothing stores to contractors, food trucks to accountants, businesses and organizations using Amazon Local Register will enjoy industry-leading low rates, trusted and secure payment processing, and access to award-winning customer support,” said Matt Swann, Vice President of Amazon Local Commerce. “We understand that every penny and every minute counts, so we want to make accepting payments so easy and inexpensive that it no longer gets in the way of a business owner doing what they love – serving their customers and growing their business.”

Customers can get started with Amazon Local Register in three simple steps: create an account on localregister.amazon.com, purchase a $10 card reader, and download the free mobile app from Amazon Appstore, Apple App Store or Google Play.  Starting today, the card reader is available with Free Two-Day Shipping on Amazon.com.  Beginning August 19, customers can also purchase a card reader at Staples retail locations nationwide. The Amazon Local Register card reader and free mobile app are compatible with a variety of smartphones and tablets, including Apple devices running iOS7, Kindle Fire tablets, select Android smartphones, and coming soon to the new Fire phone. Each customer’s first $10 in transaction fees will be credited back to the customer’s account once Amazon Local Register is in use – allowing customers to fully recoup the cost of the card reader.  Money from transactions can be deposited directly into a bank account within one business day, or spent on Amazon.com within minutes – see the website for more details.  Amazon Local Register also provides:

Exceptional value: Amazon Local Register accepts all major credit and debit cards for a low, flat rate with no hidden fees. Plus, there are no long-term contracts. Customers who register before October 31 will receive a low promotional rate of 1.75 percent per card swipe until January 1, 2016. Customers who sign up after this promotional period will pay a flat rate of 2.5 percent on all swiped transactions.

Amazon customer support: Access the award-winning, fully dedicated customer support team, available by phone and email. Plus, Kindle Fire HDX owners can take advantage of the Mayday button to connect to an Amazon tech advisor 24 hours a day, 365 days per year – for free.

Secure and stabilized card reader: A stabilized card reader limits swivel, making it easier to swipe once and go. Plus, each transaction is backed by the same services that securely power Amazon.com purchases.

Business tracking tools: In-app reporting enables a business to quickly check bottom line performance, sales trends, peak sales times and more.  All reporting is easily accessible from a smartphone or tablet and is password-protected.

Compatible accessories:  Shop for compatible accessories including cash drawers, receipt printers, smartphone cases and stands.  Find everything needed to build a point-of-sale system including massive selection, available at the best price, all on Amazon.com.

Early users of Amazon Local Register share their experiences:

“Amazon Local Register has simplified, organized and improved efficiency for my business.  The feature I am most impressed with is the outstanding customer support I receive any time I have a question or for whatever help I need.  The reports are easy to understand and help me figure out how my business is performing.” Erin H, hair & makeup artist

“I’m always looking for ways to reduce my business expenses. Amazon Local Register’s low price means that I can invest more in my business, while still ensuring that I’m accepting customer payments safely and securely.” – Kevin L, gallery and event venue owner

“My customers used to always ask if they could pay with a credit card and I always said no, as it always seemed too complicated to set up.  It was easy to get started with Amazon Local Register, and taking payments is a breeze. My customers are VERY happy and prefer to pay with their card.   Another benefit is that I don’t have to deal with going to the bank to deposit cash and checks.” Jannine H, massage therapist

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Good e-Reader is proud to announce that we have implemented a new system to allow developers to upload large Android apps. This new feature will allow big developers such as Disney, Rovio, EA, Warner Bros  to upload their big budget game titles and allow users to install the games and have them work.

Many of the top Android games out there have very large OBB files, which is a fancy way of saying Data Files. Take Angry Birds Epic, if you just install the APK (Android File) the game will not work, you also need to install the data file and have it installed into a very specific directory. The new Good e-Reader 1.72 App now allows users to be able to download small and large games at the click of a button, all the real work is done behind the scenes.

Many of the top Android app stores such as 1Mobile and Getjar do not allow developers to upload data files. Amazon does allow people to upload OBB files but makes them self-host them, which can amount to hefty data costs. This puts us in a very unique position among all of the other Android App Stores out there.

Good e-Reader hosts all of the data files on their own server clusters, which allows for super fast download speeds. If a game requires a large data file, the user is notified of it during the app download and everything just seamlessly installs in the background. Many of the top games only have super small data files, like Sega of America’s Crazy Taxi, others such as Injustice – Gods Among Us have a 1.2 GB data file. So basically, some games will download very fast, others will take a bit of time.

I am very excited about this new feature on the App Store, it really opens a wide array of AAA titles that can finally be added to the site. Developers can benefit by being able to tap into the largest Canadian App store. But really, when it comes down right to it, It’s the users that really benefit the most! A whole new world of content is available to them that used to be exclusively available only on Google Play.

Download the latest version of the Good e-Reader Android App Store Today! Developers can make a new account and start uploading their games today by clicking HERE.


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Welcome to another Good e-Reader Daylight test. Today, we take a look at the entire lineup of Apple products to see how they perform under direct sunlight. iPad Air, iPad Mini with Retina and the iPhone 5 are all pitted head to head to see what one reigns supreme.


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The tablet industry is currently on the downward trend as customers start embracing ultrabooks, Chromebooks and cheap laptops.  Best Buy, one of the last chains of its kind has admitted that their tablet pc sales are starting to crash.

According to the retail chief Hubert Joly tablet companies are not giving customers a reason to upgrade. “Tablets boomed and now are crashing. The volume has really gone down in the last several months. But I think the laptop has something of a revival because it’s becoming more versatile. So, with the two-in-ones, you have the opportunity to have both a tablet and laptop, and that’s appealing to students in particular. So you have an evolution. The boundaries are not as well defined as they used to be.”

One of the big reasons Best Buy has noticed tablet pc sales flatlining is due to the concept of showrooming. This is where customers come into the store to see the devices in action and then purchase it from Amazon, Newegg or TigerDirect. Joly mentioned that they have started to price match online orders from Amazon and other companies, they really want your business and cited Geeksquad and in-store pickups as being compelling factors.

“Tablet PC demand in 2014 is being affected by falling demand for the 7” class in emerging regions and in China, where many local white-box brands have experienced lower-than-expected shipment growth,” said Hisakazu Torii, vice president, smart application research at NPD DisplaySearch. “Most major brands have recently reduced their business plans for 2014. There is a risk that the replacement cycle for tablet PCs will lengthen beyond the one to two year range unless brands can develop more attractive usage scenarios.”

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Chitika.iPad.June2014

The complete line of Apple iPads are totally dominating North America. It is said that they control %78 of the total market and everyone elses market share is fairly negligible.

Chitika Insights published its latest figures on the tablet market in Canada and the United States. The firm basically tracks internet traffic from tablets to gauge what devices are the most popular for mobile web browsing. The report also notes that the Amazon Kindle Fire, has an abysmal one tenth the share of iPad, has moved into second place ahead of Samsung and Google, both of whom are selling ‘pure Android’ tablets.

Apple’s iPad share is only down slightly from peak figures from last year, despite relentless discounting by competitors and frequent promotions that give tablets away. Amazon frequently mentions their monthly payment program, where customers can pay off their device a few dollars at a time, in monthly installments.

IBM and Apple recently reached an agreement to co-develop a series of next generation business apps. This should appeal more to the corporate crowd and should further cement Apples market position.

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The US Federal Trade Commission is suing Amazon for not having enough safeguards in place to prevent children from racking up millions of dollars worth of virtual currency and in-app purchases.

FTC chair Edith Ramirez said in a statement: “Amazon’s in-app system allowed children to incur unlimited charges on their parents’ accounts without permission. Even Amazon’s own employees recognized the serious problem its process created.”

Amazon  keeps 30 percent of all in-app charges, the FTC said in its complaint. The case “highlights a central tenant” of consumer protection laws in the U.S., that companies should get customer permission before charging them, said Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Consumer Protection Bureau, during a press conference about the lawsuit.

Amazon, in a letter to the FTC July 1, said it was “deeply disappointed” that the agency was moving toward filing a lawsuit. “We have continuously improved our experience since launch, but even at launch, when customers told us their kids had made purchases they didn’t want we refunded those purchases,” wrote Andrew DeVore, Amazon’s associate general counsel.

This is not the first time the FTC went after a company over in-app purchases by children.  In January 2014 Apple  provided full refunds to consumers, paying a minimum of $32.5 million, to settle a Federal Trade Commission complaint that the company billed consumers for millions of dollars of charges incurred by children in kids’ mobile apps without their parents’ consent.

Likely Amazon will have to make a token payment to make the FTC complaint go away. Given that Apple has the larger ecosystem and more user engagement, the likelihood of having to pay the same amount or more is not viable.

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Samsung has been releasing so many tablets this year, its hard to keep track of the good, bad and the ugly. The Galaxy PRO, the Galaxy Tab and now the Galaxy Tab S are all vying for your attention. Is there anything compelling about this new one worth writing home about?

Bad puns aside, the Galaxy Tab S comes in a 8.4 and 10.5 inch edition. These models have ultra high-resolutions (2560 x 1600) with a Super AMOLED display. This certainly puts the iPad Air on notice, as they only have 2,048 x 1,536 pixels. According to Samsung, the Tab S’s display has a more accurate color range, better contrast, and higher outdoor visibility than an LCD display. Maybe with resolution like this, we may finally start seeing some of the Retina enabled magazines and comics finally make the jump to Android.

The Tab S models weigh slightly less than their iPad counterparts, with the Tab S 8.4 coming in at 10 ounces or 294 grams, compared to the Mini Retina’s 331 grams. Meanwhile the Tab 10.5 is a solid 465 grams, or 4 grams less than what the iPad Air weighs. Samsung is touting the fact that these are the lightest and slimmest tablets they have ever made.

Underneath the hood is a Exynos 5 Octa, an octa-core mobile CPU that splits duties between a 1.9 GHz quad-core processor and 1.3 GHz quad-core processor. It has a 64 bit architecture, so it should solidly multitask and play any game you can throw at it. It also has 3GB of RAM, 16GB of internal memory and SD Card support for up to 128GB. It is obviously running Android, and the latest version with 4.4 Kitkat.

You can shoot some video with the 8-megapixel rear-facing camera (with flash) and a 2.1-megapixel front-facing camera for selfies and video chats. It also has a neat fingerprint sensor, that will allow it to take advantage of all the companies now offering fingerprint unlock functionality. The big rumor right now is that PAYPAL is spearheading a new system to take advantage of this.

Samsung has been going into overdrive with making arrangements with content providers. These tablets will be bundled with Kindle for Samsung, Marvel Unlimited, Milk and Paperfold. Other apps such as Group Play, S-Note, S Translator, Samsung Link, Scrapbook, Story Album and Video Editor are pre installed, while Gear Manager, Gear Fit Manager, Samsung Smart Switch, Samsung Level, E-meeting, Kids Mode, Kids Piano, S-Console, Hanshow, Hancell and Hanwrite are available to download.

Are these new tablets worth it? Well it is the lightest and thinnest they have ever made, it also has the highest resolution. 3GB of RAM and a super quadcore chip is actually fairly solid. If you have something a few years old and like Android, this may float your boat. The downside is not much content takes advantage of this high resolution on the Android ecosystem. Likely, you will not have a ton of developers porting their content exclusively for this, like they do the iPad Mini with Retina or the iPad Air.

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prime music

Amazon has officially unveiled Prime Music, which is exclusively available to members who pay the annual $99 Prime subscription fee. The service is competing against a number of established players in the market, such as Spotify and Beats Music.

Prime Music has a catalog of over one million tracks, contributed from Warner Music Group and Sony Music – as well as from large independent labels.The largest label in the world, Universal has not contributed any material.

Amazon has their work cut out for them competing against Spotify, Deezer and soon to be acquired by Apple, Beats Audio. These two companies have over 20 million tracks, and have highly developed curated playlists.

With millions of music tracks to choose from, it can get overwhelming when you try and discover new music. Amazon Prime Music is launching with hundreds of “Prime Playlists” created by Amazon’s editorial team, grouped by genre (Pop, Alternative & Indie Rock) as well as context (Happy & Upbeat, Party Time & Entertaining, Work, Study & Reading and more) Most of the playlists have older tracks on them and new ones will take six months from their release to become available on the new Amazon service.

Amazon Prime Music will be available to listen offline and doesn’t need an internet connection once the content is downloaded. You will also be able to scintillate your ears on any of the Kindle Fire tablets, and iOS. I was told an Android app is incomming, but is not available yet.

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The iPad Air 2 is poised to hit production next month and a number of manufacturers have chimed in on what will be different on the next iteration of the Apple tablet. The overall design should remain consistent with the first generation Air, but the internal components and hardware will be upgraded.

The iPad Air will maintain the same LG display screen with a resolution of 2048×1536 pixels. This will insure that magazines and comics will continue to be delivered in the HD format, making content look more vibrant than Android.

Many industry analysts agree that the rear facing camera will be enhanced from the current 5 MP version to an updated 8 MP edition, which will also include a larger sensor for improved low-light performance. iOS 8 will also bring photography updates to both Apple’s existing and next-generation iPad Airs, in the form of new panoramic and time-lapse modes.

Finally, the iPad Air 2 will have a new A8 processor which will speed things up, but also draw less power, so battery life will be increased. It will also include the same Fingerprint Sensor/Touch ID that was included in the iPhone 5S.

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Amazon has been running an installment program for the last six months for their e-readers and Fire tablets. It allows customers to pay monthly for the device instead of all at once. In order to drive more sales to the new Fire TV the company has quietly unveiled a new installment plan starting at $19.20 US.

The Fire TV is only available in the US and features a 1.7 GHZ quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage. It comes with a remote control that has voice functionality and X-Ray for Movies. It retails for $99.99 straight up and likely Amazon is offering this installment plan in order to surpass Apple TV and Roku in the valuable Electronics category.

Reviews of the Fire TV have been largely positive, and Amazon has been on a rampage to promote its new device. Earlier this week, the company released an advertisement for the box featuring 15 minutes of Gary Busey talking to things in his house in order to promote the Fire TV’s voice search function.

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