Archive for Tablet PC News
The battery life of a tablet is one of the biggest factors you have to consider when selecting a tablet device and the best in the business is good for no more than half a day of run time. Tablets can be a great companion just about anywhere, but not for camping holidays where you are away from charging facilities for days. It’s here that the Earl fits in. The creation of a Seattle based company Squigle, the Earl’s claim to fame is its around 20 hours of battery time. What’s even better is that the tablet also includes a solar panel that can charge the device in 5 hours.
While fascinating, there is no new breakthrough technology in use here to produce the best battery backup times. The Earl’s secret of the 20+ hours of battery times is its 6 inch front-lit E Ink display sourced from LG. Another cool aspect of the tablet is its IR touch array that allows for the tablet to be operated even with gloves on. Also, the tablet is unlike any other on the market, what with its 0.6 inch thick covering that is water and mud resistant. The tablet lacks an integrated camera, though.
The Earl boasts of the usual connectivity options of Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and NFC. The tablet will also tune in to AM and FM radio once completed. Also, to live up to its claims of being a true “backcountry survival tablet,” Earl will also come pre-loaded with a 100,000 topographic maps of the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. The tablet runs a customized version of Android 4.1 operating system.
However, these features are still in the developmental stages and the Earl’s makers are looking for a $250k funding to ensure the tablet enters the production line and debuts in the market, where it’s expected to be priced $249. If it indeed comes together, you will have the goodness of both an e-reader and a tablet without having to recharge so frequently.
Amazon announced back in February that it was intending to launch a new virtual currency program, called Amazon Coins. This allows the public to forgo using traditional greenbacks and instead using coin stacks. If you tend to use the Amazon Android Market or have a Kindle Fire, this is something you may want to look at. You can buy in-game features, enhancements, or just use your coins to buy a paid app. All existing Amazon users now have 500 free coins, which carries a monetary value of $5.00. You can purchase more coins with various incremental values, and get discounts the more you spend. App Developers are encouraged to integrate coins into their Amazon apps and will earn 70% commission on any in-app or app purchase customers make with coins.
“Today we are giving Kindle Fire owners $5 worth of Coins to spend on new apps and games, or to purchase in-app items, such as recipes in iCookbook, song collections in SongPop, or mighty falcon bundles in Angry Birds Star Wars. And with discounts of up to 10% when you buy Coins, this is a great way for customers to save money when they buy apps, games and in-app items,” said Mike George, Vice President of Apps and Games at Amazon. “We will continue to add more ways to earn and spend Coins on a wider range of content and activities-today is Day One for Coins.”
“Today we are giving Kindle Fire owners $5 worth of Coins to spend on new apps and games, or to purchase in-app items, such as recipes in iCookbook, song collections in SongPop or mighty falcon bundles in Angry Birds Star Wars. And with discounts of up to 10% when you buy Coins, this is a great way for customers to save money when they buy apps, games and in-app items,” said Mike George, Vice President of Apps and Games at Amazon. “We will continue to add more ways to earn and spend Coins on a wider range of content and activities-today is Day One for Coins.”
Amazon Appstore developers will earn their standard 70% revenue share when customers make purchases using Amazon Coins. No Coins-specific changes are required for developers with apps and games currently in the Amazon Appstore. Developers not yet in the Amazon Appstore should submit their app today through the Amazon Mobile App Distribution Portal (https://developer.amazon.com/welcome.html).
Amazon Coins is the latest offering in an array of services that make Amazon the most complete end-to-end ecosystem for building, monetizing and marketing their apps and games. These capabilities include:
The ability for app developers to use Amazon Web Services’ (AWS) technology platform for their infrastructure needs. Building blocks such as Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), and Amazon DynamoDB allow developers to focus on what differentiates their app rather than the undifferentiated heavy lifting of infrastructure.
App submission for distribution to nearly 200 countries globally enables developers to reach millions more Amazon customers worldwide.
In-App Purchasing on Kindle Fire, Mac, PC and web-based games. This enables developers to sell virtual items in their apps and games while allowing their end users to simply use their Amazon accounts to make the purchase.
GameCircle, which includes capabilities like Achievements, Leaderboards, Friends and Whispersync for syncing games across devices, and leads to better engagement with games.
Game Connect, which lets developers list their virtual goods for sale on Amazon, increasing discoverability of their games and making the purchase of virtual goods as easy and convenient as possible for customers, leading to increased monetization for developers.
Remember Notion Ink and its ubiquitous Adam tablet device? The Indian startup had built excellent pre-release hype, though it wasn’t long before the buzz fizzled out. What followed next was a hibernation period that was quite long for tech standards. However, the lull is now broken with the Adam II making it to big scene.
Notion Ink chose the National Technology Awards event held in India to launch the Adam II. Fortunately, the company has provided clear insight for the tablet, including its price, though the only missing piece is its availability details both within and outside the country.
As for the specs, the Adam II will be seen sporting a 1.5 Ghz Dual Core ARM Cortex chip and 1 GB RAM. NI didn’t mention how much internal memory the tablet will have, though the company pamphlet does mention of a microSD card slot with a max capability of 32 GB. The tablet will be powered by a 6000 mAh battery, and Notion Ink claims that’s enough to deliver ten hours of “nonstop entertainment.” The tablet also includes a 2 megapixel HD camera along the front and the rear, which means the company might have given up on the unique swivel camera design seen on the first gen Adam. Upfront, it’s a 10.1 inch display lit up by 1280 x 800 pixels. The tablet runs Android 4.2.2.
However, if you thought that’s all the new Adam II has to offer, there is a nice little surprise in the form of a secondary display along the spine. The monochrome display is designed to provide the user with all Android notifications and will save the user from firing up the entire device each time there is a notification available. A sim card slot, a micro USB port, and a HDMI port pretty much round off the spec sheet for the newest Adam. Also, the Adam II marks a changed strategy for Notion Ink, which is aiming the tablet for the mass budget segment, priced as it is at a quite decent ₹ 12,000.
Tablet shipment figures for the first quarter of 2013 are already here and they present an interesting scenario. For instance, according to a Digitimes report, tablet shipment reached 31.93 million for the first three months of this year, which represents a decline of 26.1 percent on quarter but increased by 66.1 percent on year. However, IDC is reporting an even more optimistic shipment figure of 49.2 million for the quarter.
However, both Digitimes and IDC seem to be unanimous regarding the iPad, reporting shipments of 19.5 million of the Apple tablet during the period. However, while the iPad continues to be at the top of the heap, the trend seems to be on the slide. Apple still has 39.6 percent of the tablet market to itself, though it used to be 43.6 and 58.2 in the last two preceding quarters. Analysts claim it’s quite normal, as Apple generally records a weaker first quarter after strong sales during the holiday season. Apple has recorded a year over year growth of a healthy 65 percent.
Samsung and Asus make up the second and third slot with sales of 8.8 and 2.7 million respectively. The individual figures might not be too inspiring, but both companies have reported 288.7 and 267.6 percent increases in sales respectively compared to the same period a year ago. Microsoft, according to IDC, managed to make it among the top five tablet makers with shipment of 900,000 of its Surface devices.
However, there are some contradictions that come to the fore that pertain to the operating system that dominates the tablet segments. While Digitimes is claiming the Apple iOS accounts for a dominating 61 percent of the total tablets shipped in Q1, IDC is pegging the figure at lower than 40 percent for iOS, with the Google Android making up 56.5 percent of all the tablets shipped. According to Digitimes, Android and Windows make up 31 and 8 percent of the total tablet shipment.
Another interesting finding of the Digitimes research is that the smaller tablets measuring 7 inches or so that are in greater demand, accounting for 56 percent of the tablets shipped in Q1. Tablets measuring 9 and 10 inches make up 22 and 20 percent of the shipments.
Flipboard is a popular news reading application that is doing battle with Pulse Reader for market supremacy. Today, the app has been updated on Google Play, which gives people the ability to craft their own digital magazines with text, audio, and video.
Being able to make your own magazine and share it with your friends is something most people have a passing interest in. You can document your trip or adventure by adding videos from your tablet or smartphone and tapping into your pictures folder. You can add content from other people by grabbing YouTube videos, or other content from Pinterest. Flipboard also launched a web based editing tool called Flipboard Editor, which can be used to manage magazines and view the statistics. This is a handy online tool that is fairly excellent for checking out who is reading what.
When Flipboard announced its curated news feature last March, it hit iOS first. Since then, it has garnered 6 million new users and its network of 56 million users have created one million magazines so far. You can download Flipboard for Android from the Good e-Reader App Store.
There has been a massive leak of internal documents today from Barnes and Noble that claim Microsoft has made a one billion dollar offer to buy the entire Nook brand. This includes all the ebooks, tablets, and e-readers that the company currently offers.
Barnes and Noble has sold over 10 million Nook devices since first launching in 2009. Over 7 million people are actively using the eBook Store, downloading apps, or purchasing television and movies. It is no secret that Barnes and Noble is losing money with losses of $262 million for the fiscal 2012 year. B&N is also projected to lose an additional $360 million in 2013, so things look dire.
The mounting losses have spurned the vultures to encircle the embattled brand, with Pearson and Microsoft buying equity stakes in the Nook Media venture. This investment basically spun the digital division away from the brick and mortar stores. Microsoft kicked in $300 million at the time and gave B&N an advance of $190 million to make Nook branded apps for the Windows 8 OS.
Some of the documents also point to Barnes and Noble suspending all Android tablets in 2014 and instead licensing out its content platform to eligible buyers. This would be basically be a white label solution for conglomerates like HTC, Samsung, Acer, and others. The intention is for them to operate their own ebook stores that would tap into the Nook ecosystem to facilitate content delivery. Going this route would cut down on the hardware losses, which due to competition from Amazon, Kobo, Samsung, and Google makes sense. Its very hard for companies in today’s climate to make ANY money from hardware and instead have to rely on digital sales.
Microsoft owning a large e-reader, tablet, and ebook store could really help grow its Windows 8 brand. It would stimulate sales for its line of smartphones and tablets using the OS. It could integrate the entire Nook ecosystem to be bundled into the next build of Windows RT and Windows 8.
Barnes & Noble has some suggestions if you have been wondering what would make the best Mother’s Day gift this year. The company has reduced prices for its lead offerings, the Nook HD and Nook HD+ devices, so that kids can pamper their mothers without breaking the bank. The 7 inch Nook HD can be purchased for $149 and $179 for the 8 GB and 16 GB versions respectively. This marks a reduction of $50 for both the versions. Similarly, the bigger 9 inch Nook HD+ is now up for grabs at a more affordable $179 and $209 for the 16 GB and 32 GB respectively. The discount there is even steeper at $90. The price revision comes within just a week of both the tablets being made accessible to the Google Play Store, which means there is a vast source of online digital content that the tablets can access. Both the Nook tablets are reading oriented and lack front and rear cameras. However, the lower cost should make up for those, more so since there are now more than 700,000 apps to tap into along with millions of songs, reading material such as ebooks and digital magazines, and video to keep engaged. The deal lasts for only a week and will be effective for purchases made through the B&N online stores as well as retailers like Best Buy and Target.
Major bookstore chains such as Barnes and Noble, Chapters , Waterstone’s, and many others have gravitated towards selling toys to make up for slower book sales. Toys are not just for the big players in the industry, but many indie bookstores are finding that offering children’s toys is bringing new customers into the shop. Indie bookstores have great resources to find e-readers, ebooks, and the traditional book, but where do they look to find toys?
Indie bookstores are finding themselves needing to diversify out of selling just books and following the trends of the major bookstores. Booksellers who are interested in adding or expanding their toy offerings are recommended to check out the major toy awards lists for ideas. Many of the top booksellers often look at the ASTRA Best Toys for Kids, Mensa Select, and The National Parenting Center Seal of Approval. If you want to actually get some solid hands-on time with the toys before you invest in them, indie booksellers are recommended to visit the the ASTRA and Toy Fair shows.
What are the the big toy trends for 2013 for indie bookstores? HABA Lilliputiens‘ new line of of high-end soft toys with a wholesale cost from $6.50 to upwards of $30 were going to be big this year. The Learning Center is finding great success with the Magformers and Magna-Tiles product line. Also, Hogwild Poppers and Pocket Disc round off the best recommendations for small bookstores.
Toy selling is not just reserved for the big stores like Barnes and Noble, who only got into the game in 2010. They aren’t just for comic book stores, either, though they have been selling models, toys, and action figures for decades. Indie bookstores are strongly encouraged to start offering children’s toys to offset the demand for books and the strong competition in the ebook segment. Honestly, for as many book shows that I visit, selling toys is never on any speaker’s list and you would be hard-pressed to find any professionals actually talking about it. Most just tend to lament that digital books are cannibalizing the small bookstore, but in order to compete, you have to look at alternative revenue sources. It is important for stores to look at the success of the chains and European bookstores and adopt those strategies into your own book shop.
Barnes and Noble has seen a decreased interest in their Nook line of e-Readers and Tablets during the last calender year. The company verified that holiday sales were down 12.6% over the previous year and their entire digital division lost $262 million dollars in 2012. B&N also expanded out of the United States for the first time, setting up shop in the UK. There was a time when the Nook Color and Nook Tablet were very popular, but then Google, Amazon, Apple and Samsung all have captured a huge market share. Now that Barnes and Noble has launched Google Play on their tablets, can they woo customers back?
When Barnes and Noble first launched the Nook tablet in 2010, tablets have yet to hit the mainstream, other then the iPad. There was over three million Nook Colors sold right away and sales were good. Towards the end of 2011, Barnes and Noble announced a new tablet, and generated almost $220 million in sales during the holiday quarter. The Nook HD and HD+ were released in 2012 and had the dubious distinction of being the least successful.
Barnes and Noble has been running a ton of promotions lately, giving away the Simple Touch e-Reader for free, with the purchase of the Nook HD. They also slashed their prices in the United Kingdom significantly to compete better. B&N announced last week that were integrating Google Play to run into conjunction with their app curated app store. I can’t remember a time when the Nook brand had this much attention on it. Most of the major eBook and e-Reading communities have been discussing Google Play non-stop and many users have now pulled the trigger and bought one.
Jersyman from Mobileread said “I was going to run down to B&N and get the HD+, but now I will wait to see what this announcement is on Monday. This is a very good move. Now I can get a large tablet for a very good price and it has full access to Google Play. What a deal” Meanwhile Greenmonkey said “B&N needed to do this, instead of trying to grab the whole closed marketplace scheme ala Apple or Amazon. I’ve owned a Nook color (Which I put CM7 on about 6 months into ownership). We had two more with CM7 for a while before I upgraded my daughter to a Galaxy Tab 2. Overall they’ve been great hardware and very durable. Being able to use the native Nook books that read to you AND the Google store is a big win. Our last Nook Color is due up for replacement – when my daughter turns 6 I’ll likely get her a Nook HD for her birthday.”
By the looks of it, most former Nook owners are switching back to the brand and even prompting new customers to switch over. Google Play is a big draw, with almost 700,000 apps, magazines, movies and TV. In the past, if you wanted Google apps, you had to root your device or buy a special SD card that had Android loaded on it. This was more confusing for your average user and most just decided to gravitate towards tablets like the iPad Mini, Kindle Fire or Nexus.
Is it too little too late for Barnes and Noble to regain its market share due to the fact that it has Google Play? My gut feeling feeling is that in the short term, its going to see a small spike in sales, but long term, it will give people confidence in the Nook brand. I remember when the Kobo Vox came out, it did not have Google Play, instead they tapped into the Getjar market, as a source to get apps. It was not until almost a full year later that they got a license for Play, by then it was too late. It was already an outdated tablet, but when the Kobo Arc launched, it was the total package. Barnes and Noble is in a similar situation, I don’t think their sales will dramatically spike until they release a new tablet and hype the fact it runs Google. Right now only internet readers are aware of this change, your average buyer has NO IDEA.
The Apple App Store is about to reach an important milestone: the 50 billionth app download. To celebrate the landmark, Apple has announced a $10,000 worth of gift cards to whomever downloads the 50 billionth app. The download figure now stands at 49.2 billion and counting, which means there are about 800 million downloads to go before the benchmark is reached. The last time Apple has doled out such a prize money was when the 25 billion apps download figure was reached. The amount offered then was also $10,000, which went to Chunli Fu from China. Interestingly, that happened in just last March, which means the next 25 billion apps are being downloaded in just over a year’s time. The next 800 million downloads could take place in another 15-20 days. Apple has also stated those who download the next 50 apps will be rewarded with a gift card worth $500.
Hotels are starting to adopt tablets more and more into the business and guests are starting to benefit. In our last article we talked about a recent survey of 53 hotels across the USA found that 82% of guests who had access to the in-suite tablets used them an average of 11 times per stay. Of the guests who used the hotel in-room tablets, 41% ordered in-room food, 21% requested a wake-up call, and 7% called for a housekeeper, according to the study by Intelity. Many guests who were surveyed said they would visit the same hotel again during their travels, because hardly any hotels actually make them available to their guests.
One of the best examples of a hotel adopting tablets is a high-tech boutique hotel called CitizenM, in London. The hotel forgoes the traditional concierge. Instead, guests check themselves in and out on touch computer screens. In each room, a personalized Samsung Galaxy tablet greets guests and lets them control everything from the blinds to the lights on the tablet. Internet access is free and there’s no password. Netflix movies can be watched on the TV from the tablet for no charge. CitizenM says it wants to make guests feel like they’re at home.
Today, we are going to look into each aspect of tablet integration in the traditional hotel and make suggestions on how they can easily be implemented into the existing structure without a ton of investment.
Tablets at the Concierges
Often the concierges need to know the lay of the land and point out local attractions and must see events. Tablets can benefit this sector because they don’t need to carry around bulky maps or outdated pamphlets. Digital tablets can give guests the ability to utilize Google Maps on how to get to a particular destination. Often digital is the best way to go because maps and guidebooks often get outdated very quickly, new restaurants pop up all the time and digital is the way to go.
InterContinental Hotels was the first hotel network to supply their concierges with tablets in April, 2010 in order to provide rapid response to their clients’ requests.
I would recommend not only to outfit your front-end staff with with tablets but to make them available in the hotel lobbies. There is plenty of out of the box Guide software that would inform the guests of local area activities and businesses, including restaurants, bars, nightclubs, spas, and retail stores. Each station would contain a tablet with touch screen technology that allows hotel guests to navigate through activity categories, find where they want to go, and make the most of their time in the city. This is perfect for high-traffic hotels and give guests a chance to interact with a person for advice if they want, or figure things out on their own.
Tablets at the Bar or Hotel Restaurant
More hotels are starting to employ digital menus instead of the more tangible editions. The digital edition allows the hotel to update their menus more often, and cuts down on printing and design. The big buzzword in the hospitality industry is being Eco-friendly. There is nothing more most cost effective and good for the environment then going digital. Hotels can simply make a web version of their menu and have it pop up by default, the tablet locks the customer into only the web-browser and prevents them from accessing any other part of the tablet.
Hotels can update their menus on-demand by making simple front-end web-adjustments, without the need to rely on complicated programing. Drink specials, seasonal specialties, and chefs recommendations often change often, having outdated menus limits a hotel in appealing to their guests. This is also perfect for boutique hotels that have wine tasting sessions and the bottles often change.
I would recommend that hotels invest in a good pedestal and tethering system. This would allow guests to easily interact with the tablets and would prevent theft, but also make them look stylish.
Tablets in the Hotel Rooms
Many hotels are starting to adopt tablets in their boutique hotels, because fewer rooms have a lower overhead than a larger hotel with hundreds of suites. I would recommend if an established hotel is looking to get into offering tablets in the rooms that they be made available in select rooms that are geared towards VIP guests. Guests can gain access to the same data the main concierge offers.
If a hotel is more connected or wired, the tablet would allow customers to adjust the room temperature, air conditioning, order room service, or automatically checkout. They could let the maid know their room is available to be cleaned and even access Netflix and other streaming services on their television to cut down on cable costs. Obviously, most hotels are not really wired too well and it would warrant an investment in a solid wireless solution.
I would recommend that if a hotel wanted to make tablets available in the rooms that you adjust the wording in the check-in document, so that it is clear that if they abscond with it, the cost of the device and software is billed directly to their credit card. Hotels can also charge extra fees to have them in their rooms. Normally $9.99 per day is the industry standard and free for VIP clients.
“For a lot of hotels, it’s an extension of the kiosk mentality,” says Michael Planey, a travel technology analyst. “The app economy is about giving people control of their own environment.”
There is a new app for comic fans out there. YACReader is only compliant with iOS, so it only can be used to read comics on the iPad, iPhone, and iPod. Created by Luis Angel San Martín, the app brings along a fresh perspective to the dozens of comic apps already available in the market. The library lists all the comic books available, which includes a generously sized image of the comic available. A tap on a comic will launch it for reading. Buying a comic is also a simple process and they can be downloaded within seconds on the device.
Catch up with the video below for a more in depth exploration of YACReader!
Good e-Reader is very pleased to roll out our new online APK to BAR convertor that is integrated with our own Good e-Reader BB10 and Playbook App Store. This new convertor will allow the general public to convert Android Files to Playbook and Blackberry 10 friendly ones. We make the process very easy and intuitive and are very happy to provide this free service.
BAR files are the primary format for Blackberry 10 phones, like the Q10 and Z10, or the Playbook tablet. All of these devices have an Android emulator that will allow many apps to fully work, which helps make up for the lack of quality apps in Blackberry World.
Normally, to convert APK files to BAR files, you would have to attain signing keys from Blackberry and use a few complicated programs to convert the files for you. This involves hours of troubleshooting and is a very laborious process that many people can’t wrap their heads around. Our convertor is simple; you browse your computer for an APK files and we do the rest!
In conjunction with our new APK to BAR Online Convertor, you can view the last 21 apps that have been uploaded to our site. These apps are not a part of our main app store, but you can download anyone else’s converted apps, if they tickle your fancy. We also have a voting system that will help the community gauge if an app is working or not.