Barnes and Noble has collaborated with Samsung for the latest generation Nook tablet. Samsung provided the hardware and B&N designed custom reading apps for Android, which gives users a very unique experience. How does this new device compare to the Nook HD or Nook Tablet and is it a viable upgrade?
The Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook features a seven inch capacitive touchscreen display with a resolution of 1280 x 800. The resolution overall is a big of a downgrade from the Nook HD, but not enough to be noticeable for your average user.
Underneath the hood is a 1.2 GHZ quad-core processor, 1.5GB of RAM and 8GB of storage, plus support for MicroSD (up to 32GB) The Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook features a 3Mp rear camera and 1.3Mp front-facing webcam, with the former capable of 720p video recording at 30fps. This is the first time a Nook device will have front and rear cameras.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook measures 186.9x9x107.9mm and weighs 276g. Part of this weight comes from the 4000mAh battery, claimed to allow for up to 10 hours of video, 190 hours of audio, or 10 hours of internet usage.
When it comes to the audio experience there is a single speaker on the back, but it is in stereo. This allows you to listen to audiobooks, music, video or the read aloud feature in kids books.
Barnes and Noble tried to stem the tide of constant financial losses in their Nook division by outsourcing the hardware to Samsung. This is a double edged sword because there is no Nook branding on the tablet at all. If the device is totally powered down, you would have no idea that it is anything else but a Samsung Galaxy Tab 4.
Every single tablet that Barnes and Noble has even released ran a heavily skinned version of Google Android. This was the same tactic that both Amazon and Kobo employed to make their devices stand out in the crowd. The Samsung Galaxy 4 Nook is the first time users get a vanilla Android experience, allowing them to install live wallpapers and even change their keyboards.
Instead of heavily augmenting Android, Barnes and Noble has firmly embraced it. They company has developed a series of custom apps that get users participating in the booksellers ecosystem. There is a dedicated store, Nook Video, Library, eBook Reading Apps, Nook Search, custom settings menu and the ability to view all of the notes and annotations you have ever made.
One of the strongest benefits of the new Samsung tablet is the ability to finally download apps from outside the US and UK. The Nook App Store used to lock customers out of purchasing or downloading apps, due to geolocation. This seems to be disabled in the new Nook, which allows users to download apps not only from B&N but also Google Play. The only limitation placed on customers is Nook Video, you still have to be in the US to buy or rent videos or television shows.
The Home screen mainly comprises of all of your Nook Reading App, Nook Store and a bunch of official Google ones. Chrome, Gmail, Google Maps, Play and all of the standard Google apps are all included in a mini folder. If you swipe the screen from the right to the left on the edge of the bezel there is a side screen full of apps. By default, its all the official Google ones, but you can add or remove any of them there, adding to the customization capabilities.
The one thing I really want to focus on during this review is the Nook content and not really dwelling on the standard Android functionality.
The Nook Library houses all of the purchases you have made from Barnes and Noble. This includes eBooks, comics, magazines, newspapers, television shows. There is a shop button on the top right hand corner, which opens up their online store that sells all of the content.
eBooks are opened by the quintessential Nook app for Android, which has been available on Google Play for years. One of the things I always liked about reading on the Nook is the different backgrounds. Kobo and Kindle have always just had three different background colors, but Nook has six. You can easily change the bright white background to Sepia or different shades of off-white. This makes it easier to read in the dark, without having to strain your eyes. I also dig the way Nook handles animated page turns, wikipedia lookups and built in dictionary.
Magazines and Newspapers are opened via a special Nook for Magazine app that has been completely revised for this new Samsung model. The one thing I really like, aside from the animated page turns is “article view.” This strips away all of the images and CSS and turns a magazine into an eBook.
The Nook Shop was designed as a standalone app that lets you browse books, magazines, movies & TV, Kids, Apps, Newspapers and Comics. The only thing international users cannot access is media content, but all others are completely viable. The Home screen is curated content by the Nook team, currently they are hyping “Passion for Passion” and “Your Favorite Heroes.”
Nook Search is a standalone app that allows you to type in key terms that you want to look for in the shop. You can look at specific keywords, such as “post apocalyptic” or “Potter.” It will then give you a huge list of titles matching your search results in everything B&N offers in their store.
Nook Today scans all of the content you purchase or samples you access from the online store. It then gives you a recommended reading list, which helps with discovery. In addition, it remembers your results from Nook Search and also recommends similar titles.
The last unique aspect of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook is the customized Nook Settings. Now it is important to note that you do have access to traditional Android settings too.
Nook settings allows you to control the way all of the dedicated Nooks apps behave. You can download alternative dictionaries and make them your default. Right now there is only six, but I was told more are on the way.
You can also control the way the magazine and eBook reading apps function. Cool options include turning off animated page turns, or two page layout in landscape. This is also where you can associate your Ultraviolet account with Nook Video to get the digital copies of the movies you buy from retail stores.
Good e-Reader has reviewed every single tablet Barnes and Noble has ever released, from the Nook Color to the Nook HD. This tablet is a step in the right direction. It gives you a unique e-reading experience and allows a deep level of customization.
I like the fact you can opt into dealing with Barnes and Noble, but aren’t exclusively roped into it. Google Play allows you to basically downloading any 3rd party reading app, Overdrive Media Console, Amazon Kindle, Kobo or thousands of others.
Reading digital books is impressive
Tons of unique Nook Apps
Allows you to download any app you want from Google
Live Wallpapers and Widgets
Setup involved a Google, Samsung and Nook account.
Speaker quality is not the greatest
No Barnes and Noble branding on the hardware
The second generation Icarus Illumina HD offers the ability for users to install their own e-reading apps. It also has its own built in eBook app and this allows you to load in your own books you have purchased from another store, borrowed from the library or simply downloaded from the internet. Today, I will show you how to use Adobe Digital Editions, Calibre and Windows Explorer. Along the way, you will get some bonus knowledge on how to add in your own book cover or even change the authors name.
The Kobo Aura H2O e-reader is coming out this fall and sometimes you want to load in your own PDF files, CBZ comics or ePubs you bought online. In this video tutorial you will learn how to load them onto your H2O using Adobe Digital Editions, Calibre and Windows Explorer.
Calibre is a free download and is used primarily not not only copy PDF or ePub files to your Aura, but also to edit them. If you are copying backs that do not have DRM, you can easily swap out the cover art or edit the authors name. Editing the metadata allows for more flexible control over the way the book is found in your library or searched.
Adobe Digital Editions is also a free download and is mainly used to copy books to your H2O that you purchased from another online bookstore or books you borrowed from the library.
Widows Explorer is the most commonly used way to copy and paste books to your Aura H20, but offers the least amount of flexibility. Still, you can get a sense of the internal directory structure.
Pocketbook has been pumping out e-readers in 2014, like nobodies business. The company has released the Aqua, Ultra, InkPad and has been showing off the Mobius enabled CAD reader at various tradeshows. Pocketbook has announced that at the upcoming IFA tech event in Germany, they have a bevy of new products such as ereaders and tablets.
Pocketbook intends on marketing a new e-reader to the fashionistas of the world. It was exclusively designed in cooperation with an internationally renowned fashion and design house. In addition, they intend on releasing a complete line of stylish accessories. The new e-reader is equipped with a e-Ink Pearl screen with a light sensor for automatic front light adjustment.
When you think of Pocketbook, you will likely think of e-readers. They actually been selling tablets for over four years, but often have been lowend garbage. They intend on remedying this situation releasing some very high performance hardware. All three tablets will pack a octa-core processor. There is no word yet on screen sizes, but they will all have 3G internet access, in addition dual band WIFI.
Over the course of the next few weeks we should get an indication on the full list of specs and naming conventions for their new products. Stay tuned to Good e-Reader for all the latest Pocketbook news.
The Sony Digital Paper 13.3 inch e-reader has been taking the business world by storm, with law, entertainment and tech companies embracing the whole replacement for paper concept. If someone wanted to purchase the $1,100 device they had to buy it from one of three strategic partners, and they were chronically sold out. Sony realized they had a potential hit on their hands and started to sell it directly on the phone, through their business unit. Today, Sony has unveiled a new website for the DPT-S1 and is now allowing anyone to order it online.
Sony has crafted a new landing page for the Digital Paper e-reader in order to address the key aspects or selling points. You can think of it as a replacement for paper and a secondary screen for your workflow. They have also populated the new site with a number of pictures that demonstrate the reader in action, among their key verticals: law, entertainment and education.
Anyone can now order the Sony Digital Paper e-reader directly off of the Sony website, but you have to live in the United States in order to have it shipped out. One thing that made me chuckle is during checkout, if you select Canada it says “We are happy to accept payment from international billing addresses, but we do not ship internationally.”
Sony may be selling the Digital Paper online, but this is a device certainly not for everyone. The company does not have a customer support system in place to address technical support or troubleshooting. It is aimed primarily at advanced users or businesses that have an IT department to handle this sort of thing, this is mainly why Sony has not issued a press release or hyped the fact they are now selling it online.
Zen Studios is readying their next masterpiece, based this time on Telltale’s The Walking Dead adventure game. While it is true that the typical pinball format rarely lends itself well to complex story-lines, this release does a surprisingly good job at capturing key scenes from the first season of the franchise (including a healthy sprinkling of ambulatory corpses).
Adding to the authenticity, the original voice cast has recorded a few new original lines to be enjoyed during table play as you navigate through familiar locations while employing choice-driven gameplay: decide who to save and who to leave behind (while trying to raise morale, search for food, and acquire much-needed tools).
The Walking Dead Pinball game is expected to be launched for Android any minute now, but until then you can whet your appetite with the official launch trailer.
Meet Stella, the fiercest and feistiest of the Angry Birds (and quite possibly the prettiest). Together with her closest friends: Dahlia, Poppy, Willow, and Luca, she will battle her used-to-be BFF, Gale –the Bad Princess who now has Minion Pigs at her disposal! Set on Golden Island in the Big Tree, Stella joins a long list of Angry Birds-themed games (with my favourite so far being Angry Birds Star Wars).
With a starring cast full of female protagonists, Angry Birds Stella looks to be a colourful and charismatic addition to the franchise. Gameplay should be familiar, with the requisite slingshot weaponry pitting good guys against dopey hog servants –which is just what we find comforting (and entertaining).
Angry Birds Stella will be available this upcoming September 4, 2014, but for those of you near to a Barnes and Noble, you can give the game a test-drive on one of their in-store Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook tablets beginning this Friday, August 29, 2014. Moves like this might be what keep brick and mortar style stores alive in this growing eCommerce age, with consumers looking for compelling reasons to actually step foot on a retail floor.
Thanks to a new trailer titled the ‘Legacy of Music‘, fans of the Final Fantasy franchise get a preview of some of the music to be included in the upcoming Curtain Call game (which should be familiar as being from the Ivalice universe taken from Final Fantasy XII and Final Fantasy Tactics).
Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call promises to be a rhythm-based game featuring music and characters taken directly from the Final Fantasy series. Acting as a sequel to the original Final Fantasy Theatrhythm that was released in 2012, the new game is expected to have 221 tracks and 60 playable characters (an increase over the initial 70 tracks and 41 characters players could choose from in the first installment).
For those of you excited for the release, North America should see it on September 16, 2014 while Europe will have to hold on tight until September 19, 2014.
Amazon’s Fire Phone has only been available since July, but usually the hype and excitement makes the initial launch of a new smartphone the most profitable sales period. Unfortunately for Amazon, that doesn’t appear to be the case for their device. While Amazon doesn’t release sales figures of their own (famously), analysts are able to draw their own conclusions by examining ad activity data from sources like Chitika.
Review of the ad network activity Chikita provided shows that in the 20 days following the Fire’s release, only 0.02% of activity can be attributed to the device. When combined with data from ComScore evaluating smartphone subscriber market share, these results suggest there are as few as 26,400 Amazon Fire phones in use. Using a whole bunch of calculations that would take ages to explain and possibly cause you to fall asleep, correcting for under-indexing and margins or error brings the estimated total up to a meagre 35,000 total Fire phones activated.
Amazon has yet to confirm or deny this guesstimate, but even at numbers exponentially higher, the news is bad. It might be failing because of the high price-point ($200 on contract, similar to other top smartphones), or the device’s exclusivity to AT&T as a carrier… or just as likely, consumers see it as a pet project for Amazon and not lasting or true competition.
It’s doubtful that Amazon can turn these results around in a meaningful way anytime soon, but should they decide to release a second generation of the Fire phone –they had better provide real innovation as an incentive for consumers to buy-in.
The Good e-Reader Android App Store has been growing steady, since 2011. In 2013 the store recorded 80 million visitors and have quickly become the largest app store in Canada. Good e-Reader is proud to announce that we have partnered with Icarus, and all new Illumina e-reader owners will be able to easily download their favorite e-reading apps.
Netherlands based Icarus has been selling e-Readers for the past three years and have quickly become a very solid company. Their second generation Illumina reader has Android 4.2.2 and allows users to craft their own experience. The Good e-Reader App Store allows Icarus owners to install their favorite e-Reader, comic, manga, newspaper or magazine app directly on their Illumina.
Many e-readers often lock their users into one specific ecosystem and makes it fairly difficult to load in your own eBooks or newspapers. One of the big benefits of an open Android reader is the ability to do business with any company you want.
Good e-Reader currently offers over 35,000 apps and has created a new section entitled “Apps Designed for e-Ink.” This dedicated catalog of great apps is right on the home screen and they have all been extensively tested on the Illumina e-Reader to insure the best user experience.
Roberto Damen, CEO of ICARUS stated “We are very proud to announce this cooperation with Good e-Reader. By integrating their App Store in our e-readers, we can offer our users easy to use access to all relevant Android apps. And thanks to the curated section of apps that are optimized for our device, the end-user can be sure that the apps they download offer them a great user experience.”All new Icarus e-Readers we have the App Store pre-loaded on their device when purchases after September 1st. Existing users can download the Free App today and manually install it.
If there was a flagship bearer of Windows 8, it would have to be the Microsoft Surface. The Redmond based company have released three different generations of tablets and the PRO 3 is the most recent edition to their family. Microsoft markets the Surface Pro 3 to different segments of people, depending on their budget.
The model we purchased was the 256GB Windows 8.1 Pro Tablet With Intel Core i7 Processor edition. All of the apps we tested performed moderately well, but this certainly is not a replacement for your laptop.
For one, it heats up super fast and the fan is permanently running at full throttle. Not only is this loud, but you can tell that it will drain your battery in short order.
This tablet also struggles with most games that people tend to play. League of Legends, Star Wars – The Old Republic and DOTA were 3 games we tested and even with minimal settings, the gameplay experience was sub-par. This is the kind of tablet you buy to play the dedicated RT style games from the Windows 8 store or run legacy apps like Microsoft Office, Photoshop or thousands of others. You can think of it as a productivity tablet, not a hardcore entertainment one.