Major news websites such as Engadget, Gizmodo and Business Insider have been losing their reader base due to a series of articles on Audible piracy. They both gave instructional guides on how you could commit fraud and get access to 25 free audiobooks. Many readers have proclaimed that these types of stories are not indicative to true journalism and boil down to tutorials about how to steal.
A user by the name of GG agreed with me, by stating “It’s likely that Audible has to pay royalties to the authors each time a customer downloads a book, so by publishing this article, you’re literally taking money out of Audible’s pockets (and Audible is, in my experience, a useful company that I’d like to see stay in business). It’s a crummy thing to do, and it certainly makes me think less of both Lifehacker and Gawker.”
Meanwhile Jeff Lamoureaux commented I lost even more respect for Engadget with this “article” and finally CubeJockey lamented “I am sure that all authors are happy that BI perpetuated the fraud by explaining this step-by-step guide to its 17 readers how to exploit this “loophole.” (And since when is lying considered a loophole?)”
I think leveraging a well known news website to get clicks by instructing people how to engage in credit card fraud in order to get free audiobooks is insidious. Buzzfeed may get a bad rep for click bait type articles, but what these sites are encouraging users to do borderline illegal.
The Blackberry 10 operating system was a labor of love for the Waterloo based company and they spent untold millions developing it. It is their flagship OS that has been used in their entire line of smartphones over the last few years. Their market share is woeful, and according to a new report represents less than 1% in the US. One avenue that Blackberry could take is to freely distribute their OS to headset makers and allow phone and tablet companies to use the OS.
BlackBerry 10 is a proprietary mobile operating system developed by BlackBerry modern line of smartphone.Devices running BlackBerry 10 are the Z30, Z10, Z3, Q10, Q5, P’9982, P’9983, the BlackBerry Passport and the upcoming BlackBerry Classic smartphones. BlackBerry 10 is based on the QNX operating system, which is popular in industrial computers and used in many car computers, which was acquired by BlackBerry in April 2010.
There are a few compelling aspects of the Blackberry 10 OS that would be appealing to manufactures and smartphone companies. My favorite is the gesture based technology that allows people to swipe the bezel to view and close active applications. Users can also swipe from the top edge, to bring down a quick setting shade on the home screen, or an option shade on other supported apps. Also, while using any application, the upside down J-hook (starting from the bottom of the bezel and moving upward and right) allows users to peek at any notifications or messages on the BlackBerry Hub. Finally, swiping left to right scroll through the available screens.
If Blackberry were to take the Android route, it would provide some obvious benefits. One of them is their enterprise software BES and BIS that allows clients to be able to setup a secure solution to handle data and email. Likely, the more the Blackberry OS takes off, the more international governments and corporations would be likely to adopt it, which would increase revenues.
Many mainstream phone vendors are concerned about the growing power of Android. Samsung has been working on the TIZEN OS on their new line of smartwatches and are considering using it in some upcoming phones and tablets. Samsung currently accounts for 75% of all Android devices right now, so the fact they are looking at something new is telling. Think of what Samsung or HTC could do with a super high end phone with great audio, octacore processor lots of RAM, running Blackberry?
Security concerns aside, do you think it is viable to license out the Blackberry 10 OS?
The Blackberry Passport is a very innovative device in terms of overall design. It features a totally square display and a keyboard that doubles as a mouse. Blackberry loyalists see this phone as the resurrection of the brand and within hours has completely sold out.
Blackberry CEO John Chen has announced that the first run of Passport smartphones sold out in 6 hours after its announcement on BlackBerry’s website and in 10 hours on Amazon. The $600 unlocked phone comes with the Amazon App Store pre-loaded on it and many customers are attracted to the price and extensive app ecosystem.
Certainly Blackberry is not in a position to smash the recent iPhone 6, that sold millions in the opening weekend but does bode well for the Canadian company that many people wrote off as dead last year.
The European Aviation Safety Agency on Friday issued new safety guidance that now allows e-readers such as the Kindle, Kobo and Nook to be used on airplanes, without the need of putting them in airplane mode. This sets the stage for major airlines to offer on-board WIFI internet access to buy books, magazines and newspapers while in the air.
The use of e-readers, smartphones and tablets will be up to each airline to decide whether to allow them to be used gate to gate. Airlines will first need to go through an assessment process to ensure planes are not affected by signals from the electronics.
Now that the regletory restrictions have been relaxed in Europe it now sets the stage for e-readers to be used in most countries. Last October, the Federal Aviation Administration gave U.S. airlines permission to allow the use of electronic devices at all stages of a flight — including takeoff and landing, though they must be in airplane mode. Canada followed suit in May, and Australia adopted the more relaxed in-flight gadget rules in August.
Netherlands based e-reader company Icarus has just revamped their wildly successful 9.7 inch Excel e-reader with Android 4.0. This will allow users to not only have a very large screen display to take notes but also install their own e-reading apps.
The big trend of 2014 so far has been the open Android concept with e-readers. In the past, most of them all ran Linux and were physically unable to do anything, other than what the manufacturer intended. When it comes to smaller companies like Icarus, Onyx or Pocketbook, they all found it hard to compete against the juggernauts of the industry. Android levels the playing field, giving customers the option to deal with whatever ecosystem they want. I really like the freedom of choice concept to download Kindle, or Kobo or whatever 3rd party news app.
The Icarus Excel features a 9.7 e-ink Pearl display with a resolution of 1280×825 pixels and 167 DPI. It has a full touchscreen display, but only responds to the accompanied WACOM stylus. Underneath the hood lurks a solid 800 MHZ Freescale CPU processor and it has 256 MB of Ram. Storage gives you 4 GB to play around with and can be expanded up to 32 GB via the SD Card.
Not much has changed on the hardware front, as this is the same Excel that was released last year. The only thing that is different is the software running Android 4.0. Users can download and install apps from the Good e-Reader App Store, which comes pre-loaded.
Young people in the UK think that reading on paper provides a more holistic experience, especially when engaging with images and text which can’t be replicated in digital. A new report states that the 16-24 generation is still firmly in favor of print books, with 73% saying they prefer print over eBooks.
A new eye opening survey talked to 900 young people and three-quarters of the respondents said they prefer the print format and only a paltry 27% prefer e-books and 31% said they don’t buy e-books at all.
Luke Mitchell, director of Voxburner, said the research found people in the 16-24 age group think e-books are too expensive. “They told us they like to touch books and see the creases in the spine, but for bargain-driven young people the conversion to e-books will most likely be determined by price,” he said. “In our research, 70% said that £6.99 was a reasonable price to pay for a paperback but only 10% were prepared to pay the same for an e-book.”
The survey really drives home the point that there is a big disconnect between the prices of print books vs eBooks. When it comes to paperbacks, 37% of young people said they would pay £5.00-£7.00 and 35% said they would pay £3.00-£5.00. However, they are less willing to pay as much for eBooks, with 43% saying they should cost less than £3.00 and 27% saying they should cost between £3.00 and £5.00.
One of the big reasons young people are concerned with the price of eBooks is the clear lack of ownership. When you purchase the digital variant, you are merely licensing the title and it is not actually yours to keep. The printed version can be yours forever, for relatively the same price.
What devices are young people in the United Kingdom using to consume the digital versions? 39% use an e-reader such as a Kindle, 37% use reading apps on their smartphones and 36% prefer a large screen tablet device.
I think that this survey is tremendously valid, even though only 900 people answered the questions. Considering it was an online survey, it should drive home the point that young people are tremendously savvy when it comes to the digital life, but do not see a clear reason to read for pleasure on their electronic device. Online retailers like Amazon, B&N and Kobo tend to devote their marketing efforts not to teenagers or young adults, but with older readers who have the disposable income to buy a few books a month. I have yet to see a clear and decisive marketing campaign that is exclusively targeting young readers.
Barnes and Noble bet big when they decided to forgo hardware design on their latest tablet and instead sourced it to Samsung. This allowed the bookseller to focus on the reading experience and actually devote money to hyping the hell out of it. Apparently their blitz media has earned them the Internet Marketing Association’s (IMA) ‘Innovative Brand Award’ for 2014.
From subway ads to radio station and store integration, NOOK tapped into multiple avenues to get the message out about the new NOOK by Samsung. Created with a hyper-targeted focus in mind, the NOOK ads were designed to be engaging, enticing and inspiring, and to make people want to read even more. Leveraging most every contact channel including email, mobile, online, out of home (OOH) and an online and retail presence in an integrated manner, NOOK created an immersive experience with the goal of capturing the imaginations of potential customers. In addition, NOOK capitalized on the impact of word of mouth and social media by taking the campaign a step further for this launch with one of its most entertaining social media efforts to date, the #NOOKfaces campaign.
“We’re thrilled that NOOK has won the IMA’s ‘Innovative Brand Award.’ The Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK is the most advanced NOOK ever and we wanted to give this device the exposure it deserved with a creative and imaginative marketing plan that generated lots of excitement and buzz,” said Doug Carlson, Executive VP of Digital Content and Marketing at NOOK Media LLC. “Not only has NOOK demonstrated its commitment to innovation by partnering with Samsung, but we’ve launched the new device in a bold and exciting way that has really resonated with both existing and potential NOOK customers.”
eBook security is quickly becoming a contentious issue, as evident in the Barnes and Noble decision to remove the ability to backup your paid content on your PC. Kobo made headlines this week when they nixed their own proprietary KePub format from also being downloaded to a users PC. The Toronto based company is now assuring readers that this is a bug and they are hoping to remedy it soon.
Kobo CTO, Trevor Hunter, said “Kobo’s mandate of allowing people to read anytime, anywhere, on any platform remains unchanged. We are aware of the issue where a small percentage of books are not able to be backed up, and are working quickly to resolve it. We are currently working on other enhancements that will further embrace our open platform concept, which will give customers ever more options as it relates to reading and the backing up of ePub files.”
Kobo has not established a timeline when the backing up feature will be solved. But its nice to know that they are not following Barnes and Noble in eliminating backups altogether.
Even if you aren’t familiar with Rovio, you have almost certainly played their games. As the creators of the Angry Bird franchise, Rovio is one of the most successful mobile development stories out there. In addition to the classic title that made them famous, the development house is constantly releasing updates and additional spins on the original physics-based bird-tossing game. This go around, Transformers is the lucky franchise to receive their attention.
What’s interesting about this release, is that the Android version is slotted to follow the iOS version after a full 15-day exclusivity period. News that this was taking place came as a shock to many in the mobile world, especially considering that Android is dominating the smartphone market right now. The reason why this happened isn’t being publicized… it could be a deal struck with Apple, it could be Rovio snubbing Android, or it might just be that the iOS version is ready to go and they don’t want to delay release until the Android version is fully tested. Whatever the reason, it seems silly.
If you are curious what you have to look forward to, the official game play trailer is below. It looks to be a little ‘more of the same’ that we have become used to with other co-branded versions of Angry Birds, but if you are fond of Transformers, the graphics are great and very reminiscent of that franchise.
Are you still addicted to Angry Birds and loving it? Do you wish Rovio would give it up and stop trying to cash in with new versions of their hit game? If not, do you have a theme that you wish they would explore?
The Good e-Reader Radio Show was on a brief one month hiatus and we are back with a vengeance! Lots of new electronic readers have been announced and have either come out or will imminently be released in the next few weeks. On today’s show I discuss all of the new Kindles, the Samsung 4 Nook and Kobo H2O. What device is the best of the bunch and which ones should you not consider? In addition, the Blackberry Passport has been announced and we have some idea now on what other new phones they have up their sleeves for 2015.
We have been doing the Good e-Reader Radio show since 2009, covering the entire digital publishing, e-reader and e-paper sector! This is the only show of its type, where we dive deep into the issues and provide honest and candid information on the brands we write about. Join in on the fun and listen for free.
According to Flurry, mobile gaming has become the new global pastime. Self-described as a market leader in mobile analytics, Flurry uses data gathered from over 150 billion app sessions per month to provide countless developers with “the business data they need to understand their audience, usage and performance.” With the release of their latest report, a lot has been learned about Android gamers.
Time Well Wasted
Globally, Android users spend 37 minutes per day playing games. Broken down by country, the United States leads with an average of almost 52 minutes per day –the lowest being nearly 29 minutes per day for gamers in China.
Leading Game Categories
What games are most popular with Android gamers? The results vary by country, but overwhelmingly Arcade & Action and Casual games demand the largest amount of our attention. Brain & Puzzle games make the list to a lesser extent, much the same as Cards & Casino games. Surprisingly, the least popular genre of game was Sports –a category usually well represented by console gamers.
How many times do gamers in various countries open their favourite games each month? Germany leads the pack for Brain & Puzzle games with an average of 66 game accesses per user each month (while worldwide, this number drops to 26). Reviewing other genres: Russia tops Casual, South Korea dominates Arcade & Action, India rules Cards & Casino, and Brazilians love their Sports games.
Studying these statistics can help developers in their quest to create successful new Android games. To this end, new projects should consider their likely target market –and be aware that for certain titles to succeed in particular areas of the world, they must be extraordinary.
Before I begin, let me say that there are a lot of idiots on this planet… and with all due respect, a large percentage of them are outraged right now because if they put a smartphone the size of a small tablet in the front pocket of their skinny jeans, it might bend. Shocking to be sure.
The real question in my mind, is whether this same smartphone bends when being used in the manner for which it was intended. Unbox Therapy gives us a hand with this evaluation with two videos (linked below) showing how easy (or difficult) is it to bend an iPhone 6 Plus –and then following up by showing the same test on a Samsung Galaxy Note 3 (the newest Galaxy Note 4 is not yet available for testing purposes).
After watching these (and many other) videos on the subject, one thing is crystal clear: you should absolutely not take your brand new iPhone 6 Plus smartphone, grip it with two hands, and use all of the force in your adult, male body to try bending it in half. If you’d like to do that very thing with your Galaxy Note 3, it appears you can feel free –but why on earth would you want to?
I bet your iPhone 6 Plus would also break if you beat on it with a ball-pein hammer. Or dropped it from a third-storey window onto concrete. Or drove over it with your tank. So ideally, don’t do any of those things either.
It’s a big phone. It’s made of aluminum. Take good care of it, maybe even put it in a case to protect it… and stop expecting Apple to fix a problem that isn’t real.
Now with all of that said, regardless of the truth, one thing is for certain: Apple is messing up. Their silence is being interpreted as apathy. Even if their response was to say these claims are ridiculous, consumers would appreciate being acknowledged.
iPhone 6 Plus Bend Test:
Galaxy Note 3 Bend Test (iPhone 6 Plus Follow-up):
Android users have been using Google Play Newsstand instead of the older Currents app for quite some time, but thanks to an update this week, iOS users will get the same pleasure. Advertising itself as a way to “discover more of the news you care about,” Google Play Newsstand is more like a digital magazine and less like a traditional aggregator.
Now featuring the updated look and feel using Google’s new Material Design language, the redesign offers truly elegant navigation –though the interface isn’t always as quick and responsive as it should be (for instance, choosing to delete a category wasn’t executed and confirmed for almost 30 seconds after tapping the on-screen confirmation).
If you haven’t yet created a library of your own, begin by choosing to explore the suggested news feeds assembled by Google. You can add topics broadly for things like Art or Photography, or include individual feeds for more specific content. If you already have a favourite blogger or news site, you can add those individually as well. Once your library is assembled, flip easily through all of the new articles –choosing to read them now, share with your friends, open in a browser, or bookmark to review later.
Google Play Newsstand is trying hard to compete with popular news apps like Flipboard with the functionality of Pocket, and this new version is a good first step. In its current form, I feel that this app is best used for browsing news stories the way you would magazines in a waiting room and less useful for keeping current with your existing blog roll. I read a lot of news every day, and I need to be able to do it quickly –even if it isn’t always beautiful to look at. I also need something that properly syncs between devices and makes it easy to tell what’s already been read at a glance… and Google Play Newsstand just isn’t there yet.
If you already had Currents installed, you will be prompted to upgrade automatically –otherwise, download Google Play Newsstand now to give it a try.