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Welcome back to another installment of the Good e-Reader Round Table Discussion Series! Today, Michael and Peter talk about all of the new Amazon products that were announced last week. They break down all of the e-readers and tablets to let you know if they are worth upgrading or what new features Amazon is bringing to the table.

Good e-Reader has reviewed every single Amazon e-reader and tablet since the Kindle 2. We are in a great position to look at the evolutionary growth of the Kindle hardware and software to let you know, is this worth buying?

In this video, Michael and Peter discuss the new Kindle Voyage, Kindle Basic, Kindle Fire HD6, HD7, Kids Edition, Kindle Fire 8.9 HDX, the new Sangria operating system and features like Kindle Family Sharing! If you missed the announcement last week, we break it down!


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The new Amazon Kindle Voyage e-reader is experiencing ravenous demand since pre-orders went on sale last week. The device is poised to ship this October and already is sold out. New orders on the basic WIFI model with Special Offers will not be shipped out until November 28th and the 3G edition without Special Offers will be available December 7th 2014.

Amazon tends to release new e-readers and tablets every year, close to the holiday season. This insures that the demand will be very high to purchase them for yourself or a loved one. Since new orders will not be shipped out until December, shipping may take longer than normal due to the inundation of packages all couriers have to deal with.

The Kindle Voyage is the only e-reader that is basically sold out on Amazon. The new Kids Tablet, Fire 6,7 and 8.9 models will all be shipped out on the October 2nd. This proves beyond a shadow of a doubt, that there is still a strong market for e-ink based readers.

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Many companies involved in the e-reader sector are paying attention to what Amazon has created with the new Kindle Voyage. This new device has a number of innovative hardware features such as Page Press and the front-lite controlled by an ambient light sensor. Amazon has also developed exciting new software that even allows you share content with family members. Has Amazon set the bar so high now that no one else can compete?

The Kindle Voyage features a six inch e-ink carta display with a resolution of 1430 x 1080. It has 300 PPI, which is the highest we have ever seen for an e-reader. The upcoming Kobo H20 has a 6.8 inch screen with the same resolution but a lower 265ppi. The Barnes and Noble Nook Glowlight is the most affordable one, but only has a resolution of 1024 x 758 and 212 PPI.

Lets face it, people are used to interacting with touhscreen smartphones and tablets on a daily basis. All prior Kindle models had a sunken screen and employed infrared touch. The Voyage has the screen completely flush with the bezel, which is the same sort of tech that the Kobo Aura and Tolino Shine used. A capacitive touchscreen allows for better interaction and better pinch and zoom capabilities.

Instead of physical page turn buttons, the new Kindle Voyage has a feature called PagePress. This is a custom-designed force sensor made of carbon and silver, which reacts to a subtle increase of pressure, triggers a page-turn, and provides a haptic response only your thumb can perceive. Because PagePress has no moving parts, the haptics provide you with the most minimal indication that you have pressed the button, to reduce distraction from reading.

The Kindle Paperwhite 2 had one of the best illuminated screens in the world. Unlike tablets and smartphones that have light emitting from behind the screen, most e-readers have five small LED lights on the bottom of the bezel that project light evenly access the screen. Many companies got this technology wrong, by having splotches all over the screen, or by a pale blue hue, as seen on the Nook Simple Touch with Glowlight. The new adaptive front light automatically adjusts the brightness of the display based on your environment, and can even be fine-tuned further to your personal preferences. When reading in the dark, the adaptive front light slowly lowers the display’s brightness over time to match the way the eye responds to darkness.”

According to The Verge “The ambient setting is actually smarter than you’d expect. If it detects you’re reading in the dark — say, in bed — it will slowly lower the brightness. The idea is that your eyes naturally adjust to darkness over time, so what seems bright enough at first will be too bright once your pupils dilate. It’s a thoughtful, clever feature, and Amazon also says that you can fine tune the behavior if you don’t like the default.”

Sure, the hardware is really good on the new Voyage, but what improvements has Amazon made on software front? Likely the most important one is the Kindle Family Library, which allows users connect their Amazon accounts to share content with family members. The new feature “links your Amazon account to that of your spouse or partner so you can easily share apps, games, audiobooks, books, and Prime Instant Video content,” according to the company. What is even better about the sharing program is that Amazon says it will work across Amazon devices and Amazon’s third-party apps for platforms including iOS and Android. It can link the accounts of two adults, who can, in turn, manage up to four child accounts.

Amazon has also improved their internal searching feature to work smoother when browsing the Kindle Store to discover new books. It previews results based on your past purchases and GoodReads. In addition Amazon has added a small timer on the books you are reading. Based on your reading habits it will let you know how long it will take you to complete the chapter or the book itself. Take THAT traditional page numbers! I really like the About the Book function, which tells you all about the author and if the eBook apart of an established series.

Amazon has many advantages over their competitors. Apple sees the iBooks business as an afterthought. During their entire iPhone event they never mentioned their bookstore once. Barnes and Noble is floundering, continuing to lose money and is still piggy backing technology from late last year. Kobo is going to release their H20 e-reader very soon and is likely going to generate strong revenue. Many of the smaller companies such as Onyx, Ectaco, Tolino, Bookeen and Pocketbook are very hard to come by. They are mainly sold by small websites in Poland, France or Russia. Shipping alone to the US or UK is enough to frighten off any prospective buyers.

When you buy the Voyage e-reader you are going to have access to over 600,000 titles, by legitimate bestselling authors and indie ones. It has arguably the best eBook social networking site, in the form of GoodReads firmly integrated into the entire eBook discovery experience. I think one of the big strengths of Amazon, that no one really talks about is their user review system. Whenever someone leaves a written review, its automatically populated in their e-readers, tablets, apps or websites. Companies like Kobo fetch their reviews from 3rd parties, and even their Android app is comprised of reviews left just on that specific platform.


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Sep
18

Top 5 e-Readers of the Summer

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A reader uses her Nook ereader
The summer of 2014 saw many new e-readers get released and some old favorites get used on the beach and cottage. Today, we take a look at the top five e-readers that either came out during the summer or remained perennial favorites.


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A few days ago Good e-Reader broke the news that there was a 10 page note taking limit on the Sony Digital Paper DPTS1 e-reader. This prevents people from making a note from scratch and going beyond 10 pages. Today, Sony has responded  to this limitation with a promise that a future firmware update will remedy it and also provided us with a 25 page PDF document, that can be used to bypass the limitation.

“Sony is highly aware of the 10 page limitation and we already have plans to address this limitation in a forthcoming release of firmware which will be available toward the end of the year.  Users will no longer be limited to 10 pages of notes.  The improvement will be available to everyone via Over The Air update (or by connecting Digital Paper via USB to the computer).” said a Sony rep.

Ray Zwiefelhofer and his team at Worlddox has done some experimentation and they have developed some fun forms and other features from which Sony Digital Paper users might enjoy http://www.worldox.com/products/sony_digital_paper_tools and if you are looking for a 25 page PDF that can be used to take bigger notes, you can download it from HERE.

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Amazon has updated their Kindle e-reading app for iOS and added a ton of new features to take advantage of the new iOS 8 that was released yesterday. It makes reading multiple books easier with the handy Kindle Today Widget. Customers also get the ability to copy passages from their books and paste them into text messages, e-mail, and other applications on iOS outside of Kindle. Readers who encounter words or phrases in other languages can quickly comprehend the author’s meaning with a convenient translation feature.

New Features

Kindle Today Widget (iOS 8 only) – Multi-book readers can now surf between books from anywhere on the device by pulling down the ‘Today’ view and tapping on one of the three titles in the Kindle Widget. They can choose from their most recently opened library titles, like the ‘jump’ function on a TV remote.

Copy & Paste – Customers asked and we listened. Version 4.5 includes the ability to copy passages from your books and add them to the iOS clipboard for pasting into a text message, e-mail, social media, or other iOS applications outside of Kindle.

Smart Lookup Translation Card – Authors often include phrases in other languages to add depth or meaning to a story. Readers can now get a full understanding by selecting the word or phrase and viewing the translation card.

iOS 8 support, bug fixes, and stability improvements.

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FireTablet_Family

Amazon has enhanced their operating system to pave the way for the new line of Fire tablets. It is entitled Sangria and upgrades the Android OS to Kitcat and packs a number of money functions.

The latest version of Fire OS, “Sangria,” continues Fire OS’ content-forward user interface that delivers easy and fast access to your favorite books, songs, videos, and games—open them with one tap rather than hunting through folders and apps. Fire OS 4 updates the visual design of the UI and adds Profiles so each family member can have their own individual email, Facebook and Twitter accounts, settings such as display brightness, bookmarks, spot in a movie, and game levels.

Fire OS 4 is based on KitKat and adds features and services to make it faster and easier to use. For example, Fire OS includes ASAP (Advanced Streaming and Prediction) which predicts the movies and TV episodes you’ll want to watch and starts them instantly, and Smart Suspend develops a device-specific profile for when the tablet is typically not in use and proactively turns wireless off and on to deliver up to 25% more standby battery life.

Fire OS is not just a device OS—it deeply integrates with the Amazon cloud to further improve performance and ease-of-use, to enable cross-platform syncing, and to power services that require more processing than is possible on a mobile device. Examples of new cloud services in Fire OS 4 include Family Library so you can share your apps, games, audiobooks, books, and Prime Instant Video content with other members of your household; Firefly so you can identify and take action on artwork, text, and audio instantly—available for over 100 million items; and free unlimited storage in Cloud Drive for photos taken on Fire devices.

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Amazon has revised their HDX 8.9 inch tablet with a brand new version of 2014. It has a startlingly light design and stunning HDX display with a new, more powerful processor, exclusive Dolby Atmos and the latest Dolby Audio, and all-new Fire OS 4 “Sangria” features and services.

The Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 2014 edition has a capacitive touchscreen display with resolution of 2560 X 1600 and features exceptional pixel density (over 4 million pixels, 339 ppi) for vivid, lifelike images.

Fire HDX 8.9 features an 8MP rear-facing camera that allows for high-resolution photos and 1080p HD video. The rear camera includes an LED flash, Electronic Image Stabilization to remove hand jitters, a wide-aperture lens, and support for panorama and High Dynamic Range (HDR) imaging. The front facing 720p HD camera, perfect for Skype HD video calls and taking photos to share via Facebook or email.

Underneath the hood is a Quad-core 2.5 GHz processor, Dual band WIFI, and comes in 16, 32, or 64 GB variants. Even with a faster, more power-hungry processor, Fire HDX delivers incredible battery life—up to 12 hours of reading, surfing the web on Wi-Fi, watching videos, and listening to music—without adding weight or thickness to the design. The new Fire HDX also has weeks of standby battery life, so you don’t have to worry about waking up in the morning to find your tablet battery depleted because you forgot to plug it in. This standby battery life is made possible by combining power-efficient hardware components, low-level software improvements, and a new feature called Smart Suspend. Smart Suspend develops a device-specific profile for when the tablet is typically not in use and proactively turns wireless off and on to save power. Smart Suspend will still turn on Wi-Fi periodically to fetch new emails or app notifications, so when you pick up your tablet it’s ready to go and up to date.

There are a number of new software enhancements that make the new 8.9 HDX a compelling tablet. If you are tired of waiting for a video to buffer every time you hit “Play.” a new service called Advanced Streaming and Prediction learns what movies and shows you like and gets them ready for you to watch. The more you view videos on your Fire tablet, the more accurate ASAP becomes, dynamically adapting to your viewing habits. It also has a custom variant of Firefly, which was the main selling point of the Fire Phone.

The new Fire HDX is available for pre-order starting today for just $379


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Amazon has unveiled a new brand entry level Kindle model for $79 that should appeal towards gift buyers and the price conscious. For the first time ever, the basic model Kindle will forgo the D-PAD and include a touchscreen.

The all-new Kindle includes a 20% faster processor, twice the storage, and now features a touch interface and all of the latest features customers love about Kindle, including Kindle FreeTime, Goodreads, and Smart Lookup. The new Kindle is small, light, and portable—toss it in a beach bag or put it in a pocket to always have your reading with you. The new Kindle is great for anyone who’s new to e-reading.

Most of the advancements other than the touchscreen have to do with new software driven features. You can see at a glance how long it will take to finish a chapter or book with Time to Read. It is completely personalized based on your reading speed, and is constantly updated as your speed and habits change. Word Wise, available on many popular English language titles, makes it easier to enjoy and quickly understand more challenging books. Short and simple definitions automatically appear above difficult words, so you can keep reading with fewer interruptions. Tap on a word to bring up a simple card with definitions, synonyms, and more. You can adjust the number of hints you see with a simple slider. In the next few weeks About the Book will be pushed via a firmware update that will let you see information about the book as you start to read, including its place in a series and author information, plus mark it as “Currently Reading” on Goodreads.

We don’t know much about the internal specs, but unlike the Kindle Voyage this model is employing an e-Ink Pearl screen and Neonode IR Touch. The new Kindle is available for pre-order today for $79 for the special offers variant and $99 without it. They will begin shipping in October.

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The Amazon Kindle Voyage was leaked earlier in the day and now it has been officially unveiled and it seems like the best e-reader ever made.

The new Voyage e-reader features a six inch capacitive touchscreen display with the latest generation e-Ink Carta. It has an adaptive front light that adjusts automatically, 300 ppi, optimized font technology, 16-level gray scale. I really liked the fact that the screen is flush with the bezel, all prior Kindle models have a sunken screen. This means that Amazon has fully abandoned Neonode IR Touch technology for their flagship e-reader model.

feature-crafted-popupInstead of physical page turn buttons, the new Kindle Voyage has a feature called PagePress. This is a custom-designed force sensor made of carbon and silver, which reacts to a subtle increase of pressure, triggers a page-turn, and provides a haptic response only your thumb can perceive. Because PagePress has no moving parts, the haptics provide you with the most minimal indication that you have pressed the button, to reduce distraction from reading.

Apparently the front-lit technology has undergone a radical advancement, and the Kindle Paperwhite 2 had the best one in the business? How could Amazon top it? They mentioned “in order to more closely resemble reading on real paper, we researched and hand-tuned the optimal brightness setting for every lighting condition. The new adaptive front light automatically adjusts the brightness of the display based on your environment, and can even be fine-tuned further to your personal preferences. When reading in the dark, the adaptive front light slowly lowers the display’s brightness over time to match the way the eye responds to darkness.”

Most of the enhancements on the new Kindle Voyage have to do with the new software features. You can see at a glance how long it will take to finish a chapter or book with Time to Read. It is completely personalized based on your reading speed, and is constantly updated as your speed and habits change. Word Wise, available on many popular English language titles, makes it easier to enjoy and quickly understand more challenging books. Short and simple definitions automatically appear above difficult words, so you can keep reading with fewer interruptions. Tap on a word to bring up a simple card with definitions, synonyms, and more. You can adjust the number of hints you see with a simple slider. In the next few weeks About the Book will be pushed via a firmware update that will let you see information about the book as you start to read, including its place in a series and author information, plus mark it as “Currently Reading” on Goodreads.

There is no word yet on hardware specs, such as the processor and RAM. It does have 4 GB internal storage in the stock configureration and is available in the WIFI or 3G variants. Pre-orders are available now and it starts shipping in October.

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FireHD_KidsEdition

Amazon has realized that making tablets geared towards kids is big business. Samsung, V.Tech, Fisher Price and a number of other entrants consistently release new hardware with bright, bubbly interfaces and are aimed primarily at the little ones. In order combat these companies, Amazon has just unveiled the Fire HD Kids Edition.

The Fire HD Kids edition comes in two different sizes and price points. You will lay down $149 for a 6” tablet and $189 for a 7” and both come with an unlimited two year warranty, because kids break stuff right? Parents will also be able to choose between three different colors, blue, green and pink.

The Fire HD Kids tablet comes with the same hardware internals as the HD6 and HD7 tablets announced today. It has a different interface and comes with a kid-Proof Case is designed to be the perfect solution for parents who need worry-free protection against drops, bumps, and the typical mayhem caused by kids at play. Designed to be durable and lightweight, the Kid-Proof Case fits perfectly in little hands without adding unnecessary weight to your Fire HD tablet.

Fire HD Kids Edition comes with Amazon FreeTime, which offers innovative parental controls that encourage learning before play and that help manage screen time. With FreeTime, you select all of the content your kids can see, and you can limit your kids’ screen time by content type—for example, you may choose to limit videos and games, but make reading time unlimited. FreeTime blocks stores and in-app payments, so you don’t have to worry about additional expenses. There is currently 5,000 books, movies, TV shows, educational apps, and games—at no additional cost available.

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Amazon has announced a new entry level Kindle Fire HD tablet featuring a quad-core processor, front and rear-facing cameras. There are two different models available—6” for $99 and 7” for $139—and five color choices: black, white, cobalt, magenta, and citron.

These two tablets are fairly similar when it comes to the hardware. The HD6 and and HD7 both have capacitive touchscreen display with a resolution of 1280 x 800 (252 ppi).  Users will enjoy a brighter display and more  vibrant colors and whiter whites. Unlike prior modfels of the Fire, both the six and seven inch models have  IPS (in-plane switching) technology, an advanced polarizing filter, and anti-glare technology. All of this is powered by a Quad-core  1.5 GHz  processor are available in 8 GB or 16 GB models.

Also available for the Fire HD are new accessories, including a new protective cover that is available in six colors and can stand in both portrait and landscape orientations, as well as a series of adapters that allow you to connect Fire HD to an HDTV, monitor, or mass storage device via HDMI, VGA or USB.

The new Fire HD is available for pre-order starting today for $99 for 6” and $139 for 7” and will begin shipping in October. Visit www.amazon.com/fire-hd to learn more.

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Amazon is planning on releasing a new Kindle e-Reader November 4th, called Voyage. This news comes from the Amazon Germany and Japan websites posting product information, before an an official announcement was made. Recognizing this error, Amazon quickly pulled down the product listings, but not before we have key insight on what this new e-Reader is all about.

The Kindle Voyage will have a six inch capacitive touchscreen display and have 300PPI. It will include an ambient light sensor to automatically adjust the brightness of the front-lit display. It will also have a new page press sensor to turn pages by pressing lightly on the bezel.

Amazon is due for another new e-reader, as they tend to announce them every year around this time. Likely one of the big reasons it was not officially unveiled sooner was because of the new Nook, Kobo and Apple devices capturing the medias attention. Likely, we will have some sort of media event in the next few weeks, where the Voyage will be formally introduced.

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