Tablet PC News

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Barnes and Noble is heavily invested in the Microsoft Windows 8 ecosystem with their Nook Reading app. It allows customers to purchase eBooks and magazines and read them on their computer or tablet, such as the Microsoft Surface. Recently, B&N expanded their Nook Press self-publishing program into a few different companies in Europe. It allows indie authors to distribute their eBooks all over the world. One of the downsides, is that if you live outside of the US and UK, you can’t read indie books on your Nook e-Reader or tablet, the only way you can is via the Windows 8 app. Microsoft has publicly announced the Nook App will be removed in the near future and a new reading app will be developed called Microsoft Reader.

Microsoft Reader will be powered by Barnes and Noble and will allow customers to read and purchase books. There will also be solid PDF functionality so readers can load in their own titles. This entire situation is going to haunt Barnes and Noble because their own customers will have to use a competitors app and implore their base to buy Windows 8 tablets to read the books on the go.

Barnes and Noble has always ran Android in their e-readers and tablets. This worked out well when the only market they focused on was the US. B&N ran software to geographically restrict the ability to buy books from outside the States and UK. This means the actual Nook hardware is tremendously limiting and can only be used in two countries. When Microsoft scuttles the Nook Windows 8 app, where does that leave readers who want to buy and read Nook books? Apparently the situation is more complex.

The only way Barnes and Noble can avoid an unpleasant situation on behest of their Microsoft overlords is if the new Nook Tablets run Windows 8. I seriously doubt this will happen, but it would be the only way Barnes and Noble can sell its hardware outside of their two core markets and allow people to buy and read books on their device. Currently the Nook Windows 8 Reading app is the ONLY way readers in Canada, France, Germany, Spain can buy and read books. Why do you think B&N continues to lose over a billion dollars on Nook hardware sales? They are not appealing to a global audience and actually prevent people from doing business with them. Going the Windows 8 route on their new devices will solve this issue and make them more accessible. If they can develop the first Windows 8 Reading Tablet, it will be a great marketing ploy. Amazon and Kobo both bill their line of Android tablets as reading tablet, running Android. Nook can say, we have the worlds first Windows 8 reading tablet.

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The vast majority of tablets only employ WIFI connections to give you access to the internet. There are only a spartan few on the market in the USA that have data plans to not be so reliant with public hotspots. We reported a few weeks ago that data tablets are going to be hitting the market in greater numbers in 2014 and T-Mobile is ready.

T-Mobile is offering $10 off its most popular internet data plans starting April 12th through the end of 2014. For voice customers, what that means is you can get up to 1GB of 4G LTE data free every month through the end of the year. Combined with the 200MB of free data you already automatically get every month with T-Mobile’s previously announced “Free Data for Life” offer that comes to nearly 1.2GB of free 4G LTE data every month through the end of 2014. If you love living beyond the Wi-Fi zone – and want to keep enjoying that tablet freedom beyond 2014 – you can get it starting at just $10 a month with voice service next year.

This promotion is obviously appealing to people who have a smartphone and want save money on data. This should get more people switching to the network who want to get free data, for the times they are outside WIFI areas. Tablets owners can merely get a very basic plan, inject the SIM card and automatically get 200 MB of free data. If you want to attach the barebones voice plan you can get over 1 GB of data, which is fairly compelling. I Know of a bunch of people who just use their tablet as their primary phone now, using Whatsapp, Line and Skype to make voice calls via Bluetooth.

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Freemium Games Barely Retain Users

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Swrve, a leader in driving engagement, retention and revenue in mobile apps and games, released a 90 day study of freemium games that demonstrated a significant and quick drop off rate of users, providing developers with only a short opportunity to monetize.

The study stated that within 24-48 hours of the first session, only 33.9% of users were active. On day 7, only 16.4% of users were active and as few as 5.5% were playing 30 days later. Furthermore, 45% of new players had less than five session within the game.

Swrve’s results demonstrated that it takes, on average, almost 63 hours till a user’s first purchase. 55% of those who make a purchase do it within the first week of playing and 36% of revenues are produced in just three days. A positive is that 60% of users who buy make more than one purchase.

Swrve stated that it it’s “imperative to make every effort to put the right experiences and offers in front of players from the very moment they begin play in order to maximize the revenue generated in what can be a very short window.”

Swrve calculated that total average spending was $20.62 which helps to produce revenue per install of $0.45. Only 1.5% of players producing 50% of revenues. Furthermore, only 2.2% of all new players make at least one purchase over the time period.

The study can be downloaded here


60% of Teens Own an iPad

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There is no denying that the Apple line of tablets is the most successful. A new report surveyed 7,500 teens and asked them about what phones and tablets they have or plan to buy.

61% of teens now own an iPhone, compared to 55% from a survey conducted in October 2013 and 40% in the fall of 2012. When it comes to tablets, 60% of teens own one, up from 56% in the fall. When it comes to iPad tablet ownership group 66% of teens have one, 55% full-sized, 11% iPad mini. 18% percent of teens who don’t own a tablet expect to buy one in the next sixth months and of those prospective buyers, 66% plan to choose an iPad.

Last summer Samsung ran a campaign of advertisements that portrayed Apple users as being uncool. The plan seems to have backfired as iPads and iPhones are still the most popular out there.

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Welcome to another Good e-Reader Video Review! Today Peter takes a look at the Skytex SkyPad 7S. This is the company’s latest generation tablet running 4.2 Jellybean.

The Skytex SkyPad 7S has a 7 inch capacitive display screen with a resolution of 1024×600. Powered by a 1.2GHz Dual Core processor, Android 4.2 operating system, 1GB RAM, 8GB of storage, 32GB expandable MicroSD card slot, Mali-400MP2 graphics processor, and Wi-Fi that are all optimized to bring lightning fast experiences for music, videos, and games.

I like the fact it has solid grip on the back of it, which makes it easy to hold when reading an eBook. Customers may dig the fact this device is brimming with different App Stores to tap into. SKytex has their own App Store, and there is also 1Mobile and a link to download the Amazon App Store. Check out the full unboxing and video review below to see how the SkyPad handles eBooks, movies, gaming and internet searches.

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The vast majority of tablets on the market only have WIFI capabilities and only the odd one has cellular data. The Apple iPad is the most successful when it comes to not relying on wireless signals to surf the internet or download apps. Emerging markets are starting to embrace cheap Android tablets thanks to the prices coming down in China and Taiwan.

Many indie companies in the US, UK and Canada often deal with white label tablets to get their products to market. The average company simply cannot afford to devote the resources to design and contract out the manufacturing to an existing fab. Instead, they contact existing companies with the hardware already built, load in a splash screen and customize the software. Companies like Monster, Pocketbook, Pandigital, Pioneer, Skytex, Wexler and many others all do this.

In the second half of the year it is estimated that out of the 12 million tablets intended to be shipped out in the second quarter of 2014, half will have cellular functionality. This is critical to emerging markets such as South Africa, Vietnam, Philippines and the Middle East. These countries have little to no infrastructure to WIFi and being able to use the tablet and use a cheap data plan is essential to have everyone connected.

via Digitimes

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Inkling, a leader in the reimagining digital publishing, has released a beta version of its app for Android. Once downloaded, users have access to Inkling’s entire library of learning content both online and off.

The company’s catalogue, which focuses on innovative learning, can now be read and synced across Android and iOS devices as well as on your PC or Mac. The ebooks promise a rich media experience, which includes access to embedded videos, images and audio.

“Today marks an important milestone for us,” said founder and CEO, Matt MacInnis. “We’ve realized the promise of build-once, publish-anywhere reflowable content on virtually any device. For consumers, that means buy once, access anywhere. In a multi-platform world, this is critical to both our partners and our consumers.”

Users must remember that the app is a beta version, so functionality is still limited. For example readers cannot highlight content or make notes within the ebooks. We view this as a major limiting factor for textbooks. Nor can they adjust the brightness of the screen to provide a custom level of brightness for their eye’s comfort. Furthermore, videos cannot be viewed offline as they are streamed in order to reduce the size of the ebook file.

If you’re a price sensitive shopper, like a student accessing textbooks, you may not be that excited. In a random sample of six books we noticed that only once did Inkling provide a cheaper alternative than Amazon Kindle’s offerings. However, the company does provide the ability to purchase a book by chapter and offers one free chapter to every book it has available.

In our view, the reading experience on Android is seamless and provides an intuitive interface both on the phone and tablet. The media within the ebooks allow for a more indepth understanding of concepts and breaks up the tiresomeness feeling of seeing a wall of words. The company is sure to provide frequent updates, adding in features like highlighting, as it focusing on growing the Android platform.

Inkling provides publishers with a collaborative publishing platform called Inkling Habitat to build and distribute media rich ebooks. The company has signed leading publishers like Pearson, McGraw Hill, Wiley, Kaplan, Elsevier, DK and Lonley Planet. It is also backed by Sequoia Capital.

You can download Inkling eBooks for Android from the Good e-Reader App Store.

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New research by Kantar Worldpanel ComTech has revealed Apple, Amazon, and Samsung are the key players in the US tablet market,  controlling 43, 24,and 11 percent of the user base respectively. However, the market itself seems to be losing steam, with the slowdown being attributed to market saturation. The findings reveal tablet growth reached 37 percent, a 54 percent growth over 2012. A sizeable 53 percent of consumers stated they won’t buy a new tablet in 2014, while another 34 percent said they are yet to make up their minds. Nearly 67 percent of those who said they are unsure about buying a tablet claim to know very little about tablet devices. Thankfully for the manufacturers, tablet awareness as a whole is considerably higher in the US, with just 4 percent stating they’ve never heard of the devices.

Of the 53 percent who ruled out buying a tablet in the next 12 months, the majority (72 percent) said they are pleased with their current laptop or PC, while 42 percent said they aren’t attracted to tablet devices; another 31 percent said they don’t think owning a tablet makes much of a difference.

A common reason for many (47 percent of those who are unsure and 25 percent of those who said they won’t buy a tablet ) to not invest in a tablet was the high price, despite the fact that the average cost has dropped to $300.

As for particular brands, the iPad is on top with 32 percent claiming to use it daily. Samsung’s Galaxy Tab and Galaxy Note devices come in second with 24 percent claiming to use it every day. Kindle Fire makes up the third slot with 10 percent claiming to use it regularly.

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One of the pitfalls of a heavily curated app store, with an emphasis on quality, is that sometimes Android or Blackberry apps are out of date. In the past, we had to rely on people pinging the Admin Team on message boards, or our Youtube Videos. This resulted in some popular apps being hopelessly out of date and people expressed their general disdain. We now have a new system that makes letting us know an app needs an update quickly, easily, and anonymously.

The Good e-Reader app update notification system just went live on our website and will be coming to our fleet of apps soon. The flag resides next to the version number, in the app description. If you have installed an app on your Android or Blackberry device and get a message that it needs an update, you can now let us know. We promise that any requests will be resolved within 12 hours.

Visit the App Store today and check it out. Comment below if you have any problems using the tool.

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Microsoft is not content to let Android and iOS tablets dominate the landscape. The Redmond company is rather bullish with orders totalling 25 million units in 2014, from Taiwan manufacturers. This no doubt will be a tall order considering just five million of these got shipped in 2013 . Experts too have expressed skepticism at Microsoft being able to achieve the target and have stated 18 – 20 million would have been a more achievable goal. Microsoft has also stated they wish to see shipment of its own Surface range of tablets to rise to six million from three million in 2013.

To help achieve the figure, Microsoft plans to provide incentives to vendors manufacturing Windows tablets. It will be good to see some of it passed down to the customers with a lower price, to help compete against Android.  Among the manufacturers, Asus and Acer have already shown interest in manufacturing a new product line. Asus said they plan to ship 12 million tablets in 2014, with Windows making up one-third of their units.  Acer, meanwhile has set a slightly realistic goal of of ten million tablet shipments in 2014, with Windows making up just two million.

HP, Toshiba and Del have also expressed interest in throwing down with Microsoft. However, companies like Sony and Lenovo seem to be lot less enthusiastic  and will likely just stick with Android.

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Office For iPad Already a Hit

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Microsoft’s move to launch Office on the iPad seems to be paying off rich dividends, with the app already featured among the top free apps for iPad. Word has emerged as the most popular at the No. 1 slot, followed by Excel and PowerPoint at the 3rd and 4th slots, respectively. The Office app is a free download but that will only allow for opening and viewing documents; an Office 365 subscription is required to do anything meaningful, including editing or formatting a document or creating one from scratch.

The Redmond-based company is also benefiting from a new and steady stream of income from Office 365 subscriptions that costs $9.99 a month or $99 a year. Of course, Apple is benefiting from a 30 percent share for every in-app purchase, creating a win-win situation for both Apple and Microsoft.

Microsoft, it seems, is open to adapting to a fast changing tech scene. As for the app itself, Office for iPad impresses with the features and functionality that it offers, all of which has been optimized for touch based operations.

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Office Mobile

Close on the heels of Microsoft launching its Office software suite on the iPad, the tech giant made its Office for Android free to use. Unfortunately, this only applies to Android phones and not tablet devices, enabling users to create and edit documents that earlier would have required an active Office 365 subscription. Interestingly, this latest move has made Android phones on par with their Windows counterparts so far as usability of the Office app is concerned.

Apart from the risk of losing subscription money, the Windows phone will now be deprived of a competitive advantage and may translate into adding greater adoption of Android phones. You can download this app today from the Good e-Reader App Store.

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Excel for iPad

Finally, Microsoft has launched its Office software suite for the iPad which brings to an end the years of speculations and rumors. Thankfully, the Office for iPad is a mature application compared to the almost half-hearted attempt that the Office for iPhone was. Users will have at their disposal many advanced features lacking in the iPhone app, such as the ability to add rows or columns in an Excel spreadsheet thanks to the iPad’s larger screen. Users will also get to choose from almost the entire range of fonts andformatting options as well.

The Office app – which offers Word, Excel and Powerpoint – though free, will require a subscription to use the advanced editing options. Right now, users are free to open and view documents but are required to have an active Office 365 subscription to edit or create a document from scratch. Microsoft is also offering a free 30 day trial of the Office app.

Overall, the launch of the Office app for iPad is long due, and it’s the first major move since the changing of guard at Microsoft. Now what remains to be seen is whether the Office app will be able to hold its own in the face of Apple’s iWorks app, which offers an array of features and most important of all, is free.

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