Archive for Google
Microsoft is said to be actively exploring the idea of dropping license fees for its Windows RT and Windows Phone operating systems. This they hope will help device manufacturers to ward off the twin challenges posed by the Apple iOS on the one hand and Google Android on the other. The above is still being deliberated upon though seems to be the only way to keep Windows Phone and Windows RT versions relevant at a time when consumers are more inclined to pick up either Android or iOS devices.
While Microsoft is still hard-pressed to make buyers as well as developers to swallow Windows RT that seems to be the most distasteful Microsoft development in recent times, things are a bit sweeter with Windows Phone 8 that has seen increased levels of acceptance. However, even with Windows Phone, Microsoft is in a no-win situation considering its Nokia, Microsoft’s latest acquisition that holds sway over 80 percent of the Windows Phone market. As for Windows RT, it is again Microsoft and Nokia that are the only vendors for the platform, which means zero revenue earned via license fee while the products itself have very few takers.
So where does the money come from? As per OS chief Terry Myerson, its revenue generated from services and ads that they hope will offset the waiving off of license fees. Microsoft has already been experimenting with ads placed in Windows 8 based apps and a similar sort can also be replicated with Windows RT. Luring consumers to subscribe to additional services such as Skype, SkyDrive, or Office as well as integrated Bing search results can open up another revenue stream for the company.
Microsoft has already been drawn to the Google model of generating revenue where ads contribute a significant portion while the Android platform is doled out free. This has acted as the catalysts by drawing more manufacturers and app makers to invest in Android, which in turn makes devices running the Google OS all the more appealing.
Meanwhile, Microsoft has earlier in the year announced record growth in revenue owing largely to a robust performance of its commercial arm that comprises of consultations, volume licensing and so on. However, it’s Devices and Consumer segment has seen its revenue flow getting restricted a bit. The Devices and Consumer segment comprises the entire gamut of consumer oriented devices, services and software. However, even for a tech behemoth such as Microsoft, shifting to the new strategy of driving in revenue solely from ads, subscriptions and services is not expected to bring in the desired results overnight.
Welcome to the first ever tablet to earn the Google Play Edition moniker, the LG G Pad 8.3. Those who have been craving for a relatively new tablet that offers the stock Android experience know where to head to. Price quoted is a quite competitive $349.99 and is already on sale in the US via the Google Play Store. For that amount of money, what you get is a new tablet running the latest Android 4.4 KitKat which together with its Full-screen Immersive mode makes the most of the brilliant 8.3 inch HD display.
Another positive quality of the G Pad 8.3 is that with its expanded 8.3 inch display, the tablet is unlike many in the market, including even the Nexus 7 2013 that looks likes an expanded smartphone. The thick bezels along the top and bottom make the 2013 Nexus 7 a bit ungainly, something that is non-existent on the LG tablet.
The G Pad 8.3 also includes a micro SD card slot which will let users add some more memory in case they run out of the built-in 16 GB of storage. This happens to be another extremely positive aspect of the device considering all Nexus branded devices miss out on this.
LG’s other most recent venture with Google, the Nexus 5 has already taken the market with storm though sources maintain the G Pad 8.3 should not be confused with the 8 inch tablet that Google is actively rumored to be developing. However, while that is still in the nebulous stages, buyers have an excellent tablet option to consider in the form of the G Pad 8.3.
Google has come up with a new app aimed at optimizing the use of tablets in classrooms in sync with its Google Play for Education program, introduced earlier in the month. The Google Edu Device Setup app is meant to be used exclusively by the administrators to help them make the most of the Nexus tablets in the classroom. Also, the app is compatible with the Google Education purchase program and it is imperative for the user to have an administrative account at Google Play for Education.
The new app will guide the user in connecting to the school wi-fi network, as well as offer child-appropriate values for key settings, among others. Administrators will also have the option to enable or disable particular groups from receiving content from Google Play For Education.
Amazon has unveiled another of its popular services, Instant Video, in Japan as it attempts to match up to the local player Rakuten. On offer will be more than 26,000 films and TV shows that are either of foreign origin or sourced locally. Of these, about 15000 are in HD and are available for streaming or download on compatible devices. Movies or TV shows can be rented for 100 yen for 24 hours, though this applies largely to the older titles. Newer films such as Monsters University, can be picked up on rent for $5 or outright purchase will cost $25. Apart from its Instant Video service, Amazon also offers ebooks and music services in Japan.
The timing of the launch of the Instant Online Video service is interesting in that it comes just a day ahead of the official launch of the Kindle Fire HDX in that country, slated to happen tomorrow. So it’s hardly surprising the tablet that has been priced will also accompany a 2000 yen (about $25) coupon to entice buyers into trying the service instantly. Amazon also stated there is a single 100,000 yen coupon as well to be picked up.
However, with the debut of its Instant Video platform, Amazon will be up against some established like Hulu, Apple, and Google. There are also several domestic companies offering video services that Amazon will have to contend with. These include GyaO Corp, Tsutaya TV and NotTV.
Shochiku Co. and Toho Co will serve as Amazon’s content partners while NHK and Fuji TV will be the local broadcasters.
Research firm Canalys has predicted the rise of tablet PCs to continue unabated in 2014, by which time it could be seen emerging as a level player vis-à-vis the notebooks and desktop PCs. Canalys has pegged the rise in tablet shipments to settle around the 50 percent mark of all PC shipment, with the desktops and notebooks together making up the rest of PC shipments. Of the latter two, it is again the notebook devices that are expected to hold a greater sway of the market than desktops, signaling a shift in user preference towards systems that are portable and handy.
To put the above perspective in figures, it is 285 million tablet devices that are expected to be shipped in 2014, compared to 192 million notebooks and 98 million desktops. Canalys also predicted a continued upward trajectory for tablet PCs and has projected its shipment to increase to 396 million by 2017. While the above should be sweet news for tablet makers, it is predicted to be not quite so for Apple that could be seen losing its dominant position to Android toting devices in 2014. Apple’s market share could drop down to 30 percent while Android tablet will grow to make 65 percent of the market. Microsoft will have to remain contend with just 5 percent of the tablet market in 2014.
Apple has just upped its ante in the tablet segment with the new iPad Air and iPad Mini with Retina Display and both have received extremely positive response so far. However, the entire Apple tablet strategy is centered around premium offerings which appeal to the high value consumers. This in turn has ensured it remain highly profitable so far as tablet devices are concerned, with the California company making dollops of money not only from sale of its tablet but from the entire tablet ecosystem. As such, a further shrinkage of its market share by a few more percentage points should be of little worry for Apple.
In contrast, the Android tablet strategy is based on low cost devices with some of the best selling Android tablets typically priced well below the $300 mark. For instance the new Kindle Fire or the Nexus 7 range starts at $229, several notches below the $299 that the cheapest first gen iPad Mini sells for. Also, the Android app market has to cater to those who buy the relatively cheaper tablet devices and are also flooded with more affordably priced apps. This makes it imperative for the Android tablet makers to have volumes on their side to remain profitable.
As for Microsoft, they have just started the tablet journey and it could still be some years before it gets to a position to pose a strong challenge to either Google or Apple. Its iPad Pro 2 has received some positive reviews though could be of little trouble to the iPad given the cross-segment position it is slotted at.
Auckland University Press has released more than 240 classic books from the region in ebook format. This can be considered a significant development considering many of the books that have been launched in digital format have ceased to be in print for long. Not only do the literary works get a new lease of life, the newer generations too get the chance to get acquainted with past works of literature. This has been made possible thanks to the efforts of Creative New Zealand, the country’s national arts developmental agency, Copyright Licensing New Zealand and the Vice-Chancellor’s Strategic Development Fund at the University of Auckland.
Among the titles that has been released in ebook format include ‘Keith Sinclair’s Origins of the Maori Wars and M. P. K. Sorrenson’s three-volume, collected letters of Apirana Ngata and Sir Peter Buck, Heather Nicholson’s award-winning story of knitting The Loving Stitch, Ian Wedde’s Spells for Coming Out and Roger Horrocks’s superb biography of Len Lye.’
“Over a hundred of the titles were published long before PDFs, so we sent hard copies off to India for conversion and then checked them back in New Zealand. For many of the old books, our information on the author and the title was shaky. Finding covers, updating websites, contacting authors and their estates – all of this work allowed us to get to know again the amazing depth of the Auckland University Press list,” the press release revealed.
Auckland University Press also stated all of their ebooks are available with major ebook retailers, which includes Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Google, Apple, Whitcoulls and so on.
“Along with our US distributors IPG, we have been fortunate to partner with Faber Factory who handle our digital distribution outside North America. Rooted in one of the world’s great publishing houses, the Faber Factory team have developed innovative ways to make sure ebooks get out to multiple retailers in multiple formats around the world, to monitor availability, sales and pricing in real time, and to promote ebooks to readers,” the press release stated.
The ebooks are available in epub and mobi ebook format along with PDF for many of the titles.
Queens Library in New York will start offering tablet devices for free to its members from next week, or Nov 20 to be precise. The generosity can be attributed to Google donating 17,000 of its new Nexus 7 devices to the New York State Community Action Association to commemorate one year of Hurricane Sandy hitting New York and adjoining areas. Of these, Queens Library will be getting 5,000 units of the Nexus tablets. Valid card holders of the library will be able to retain the tablet for a month and can be renewed thrice at the most. What this means is that each member will be able to keep the tablet to themselves for four months at a stretch.
The tablets on offer from Queens Library have proprietary software running on top which is based on icons. Further, each of the Wi-Fi capable devices being lent out by Queens Library will come pre-loaded with educational content, job searching resources, information on immigration and citizenship, information about health, and so on. The tablets also come loaded with curated content, which means users have access to lots of information irrespective of them being online or offline. Also, Queens’s move to lent out tablets running its proprietary software is perhaps a first among public libraries in the US.
The other locations in Queens that will be lending the Nexus tablet devices include Howard Beach, Broad Channel, Arverne, Far Rockaway, Queens Library for Teens in Far Rockaway, Rockaway Beach and Rockaway Park.
“Google is excited by the Queens Library innovative use of technology to engage their community and patrons,” said William Floyd, Head of External Affairs for Google. “With this tablet donation, we hope that the residents of this borough will have access to the information and resources they need to strengthen their communities.”
“Public libraries are all about lifelong learning. The tablets provided by Google, coupled with innovative work by Queens Library, puts information and educational resources into the hands of Queens residents. It is a first step toward our strategic goal of bridging the information divide through digital resources, coupled with educational partners. We expect to advance adult learning, language learning, student resources, and more.”
Calvin & Hobbes, the famous comic series has finally entered the digital realm. This applies to three titles as of now: The Indispensable Calvin and Hobbes, The Essential Calvin and Hobbes, and The Authoritative Calvin and Hobbes which makes up the most read and treasured titles of the comic strip. The three volumes, which have been priced at $13, also covers the majority of what the comic strip offered for the ten years (1985 – 1995) it ran. The titles have made their debut at the Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Apple iTunes. Unfortunately, the Google Play Store is not among the recipients as of yet, which means a sizable community will be kept out of all the fun. The comic strip has been seen in numerous newspapers all over the world–even in digital form–though this is the first time that it will be available as an ebook.
Google has included South Africa as the list of nations that have access to its online book store. With this, it is now 39 countries world wide that will have access to the Google online ebook store. Users will have access to millions of ebook titles that include both bestsellers and classics with everything in between. Also, the other inherent benefit is that users can read the books on a variety of devices, which can be PCs or any other tablet or smartphone running Android.
Among the other benefits of reading online is that users can start reading on one device and carry it forward on other devices. That is not all for users will also be able to highlight, annotate, search, create bookmarks or translate the contents. eBooks listed at the online store are also priced competitively vis-a-vis their print counterparts.
“Holistically, the app had to be compelling across the board, and pricing is a key attribute,” said De la Mora, Google’s regional director of print product partnerships.
However, self publishers won’t be able to upload their content to the Google Play Store just yes though the feature will be made available soon, promised De la Mora.
Google is intending to release their Play Newsstand by the end of the year where they will offer newspapers and magazines side by side in their online store. Right now their section just comprises of magazines and it will also include thousands of newspapers for people to purchase single issues or subscribe to on a monthly basis. Google is betting on offering the same sort of digital content found on the Apple Newsstand.
Play Magazines is thought to be merging when the Newsstand app when it comes out at some point this year. It would be tremendously redundant to have two different apps, and many sources are claiming they will merge them under a single banner. A recent tear-down of the new code for the Google Play Store has found the company will also offer free trials for newspapers.
Here’s the introduction text: “Your favorite magazines and news are right here on Google Play. Pick up the latest issues or try out a free trial subscription. Read instantly with the Play Newsstand app, even offline.”
via Android Police
Originally founded in Denmark, digital publishing platform Issuu has become one of the fastest growing global companies for digital magazine publication. Today, the company announced not only the launch of its US operations in Palo Alto, California, but also named some former executives with companies like Yahoo! and Google in key leadership roles.
Joe Hykin, formerly with companies like Gaia Interactive, Yahoo!, Flickr and Virage, has been named as Issuu’s new CEO, while Bradley Horowitz, Google’s Vice President of Product Management, Social Products Division, has been named to the board of directors.
Hykin spoke to Good e-Reader last week ahead of this announcement about what some of the directions the leadership intends to take the company will be.
“We’re about providing access to the depth around content ideas and subject matter that people are passionate about,” explained Hykin when discussing the role of Issuu in providing content. “It’s less about the immediacy of current news, and much more about connecting people with the content for which they have a huge passion.”
“We’re announcing that we’re expanding our presence and our operations, and we’re bringing on Bradley Horowitz to our board. He has an extensive background in content distribution and combining access to content with cutting edge digital technology. We look at Bradley coming on the board to demonstrate the seriousness for which we want our platform and access to the transformation that we’re making available to the digital publishing world.”
“Our focus is really about connecting readers to content that they love. In order for that to happen, we have built a platform that lets publishers from around the world to have a set of tools and services to make that content available digitally and to be discovered. What we’re really looking to do is to expand access to content digitally, to facilitate the ability to distribute efficiently and effectively, and to help publishers monetize it while readers can discover content that they love. We’re think about this from an audience perspective.”
Issuu has over sixty-five million unique visitors per month, and uses that customer base to ensure that they are providing individualized content for a broad reach of interest areas.
“I’m less focused on various other players in this space and much more focused on the breadth and depth of what we’re able to provide. We want to keep growing and building, and giving great tools to publishers to give really cool, fun content to readers.”
Google has just filed for a new patent that would make eBooks come alive with sounds. The sounds would be triggered by events within the book, such as lapping waves, an ominous crescendo, or maybe an outdoor market. The new application would have the sounds stored on a server and would be pushed out to the eBook users are reading at the time.
The patent application outlines the main abstract. “Trigger point information is generated for an eBook to play sounds in an eBook. A request for trigger point information is received from a client. The eBook is analyzed to determine trigger point information for the eBook. The trigger point information includes location information identifying a location of a trigger point in the eBook. The trigger information also includes sound information indicating a sound to play at the trigger point. The determined trigger point information is transmitted to the client in response to the request for trigger point information. The client is configured to track a user’s reading location in the eBook and play the sound indicated by the sound information responsive to the user reading the eBook at the location of the trigger point.”
Text to Speech could actually benefit from this new patent. Many e-Reading apps from Kobo, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble don’t support it, and consumers who have vision problems may want the book to be read aloud. Instead of purchasing an audiobook at three to six times the cost of a normal eBook, the new functionality added to apps might allow people to take advantage of TTS.
Another sector this new technology may excel at is kids books. Most enhanced books right now have interactive elements and a narrated reading experience. The Guardian ran a focus group recently that found out, “Children reading enhanced ebooks also ‘recalled significantly fewer narrative details than children who read the print version of the same story,’ said the researchers, speculating that the extra features may be distracting. interaction.” The fact that readers can experience very specific narratives or sound effects, without using “interactivity” as a crutch and core selling point, is very compelling.