Archive for ios
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.
Just in time for the holiday travel season, we have a ton of great digital comics deals. Load up your e-reader now, and you’ll be good until the holiday gift cards come in.
Indie publisher Top Shelf is having a big digital sale across all platforms—that’s comiXology, Kindle, Nook, Kobo, and Comics Plus. The sale includes steep markdowns on two of the most acclaimed books of the year, Rep. John Lewis’s March, the first volume of his memoir of the Civil Rights movement, and Rob Harrell’s Monster on the Hill, an all-ages tale (set in a delightful alternate Victorian England) of a monster who can’t quite sum up the energy to be scary any more. Pick up the two of them plus Diana Thung’s delightful Splendour in the Snow and you’ll get a couple of cents back from your virtual sawbuck. There’s plenty here for all tastes: Alan Moore, Eddie Campbell, Jess Fink, Jeff Lemire, Harvey Peckar—you can’t go wrong.
Here’s another cross-platform sale: Superman comics by Grant Morrison, on comiXology, Kindle, and Nook, for 99 cents an issue. This includes his much-loved All Star Superman, a good starting point if you’re new to superhero comics or maybe just haven’t read Superman in a while; it’s one of those comics that you don’t have to be a hard-core comics fan to enjoy.
There’s been a lot of talk about women in comics lately (just Google it!) so it’s nice that comiXology is stepping up with a Women of Marvel sale on titles with strong female leads, such as She-Hulk, Spider-Woman, and Captain Marvel, all for 99 cents each.
Over at Dark Horse, they’re marching to a different drummer, literally, with a selection of rock and roll comics for 99 cents each. Check out a couple of Gerard Way’s Umbrella Academy miniseries or his The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys (with art by the always awesome Becky Cloonan), or maybe Orchid, by Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine).
Digital Manga is having an Autumn Sale with 25% off 15 different manga titles; be warned that some of them are adult manga and the link may be NSFW. But there are also some teen-friendly yaoi titles and Harlequin romances available at good prices.
The best price of all, of course, is free. So check this out: You can get a free bio-comic about Alan Moore, in which writer Gary Millidge strings together panels from different Moore comics to tell the writer’s life story. You’ll have to download the Sequential app, which is iPad-only, but go ahead as it’s a nice app and they have some interesting free content (including a collection of lost Neil Gaiman comics) and they are also marking down some of Moore’s comics.
Finally, you can stay home on Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and all those other shopping holidays and pick up some free digital comics from DC—they will be giving away the first issues of a number of their digital-first series, including Batman ’66 and Adventures of Superman, but just one a day, so check the list and mark your calendar.
UPDATE: ComiXology just added another awesome sale: Big markdowns on the Love and Rockets graphic novels. Catch up on all the adventures of Maggie and Hopey, and see what everyone else has been talking about! The sale lasts through Monday evening.
But wait! There’s more! ComiXology has also marked down Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time. Individual issues are 99 cents, and you can get a bundle of 43 comics for $34.99.
Readly launched a new app that follows the Netflix model for reading emagazines. The subscribers pay $9.99 a month, which allows them unlimited access to all the magazines listed on the Readly catalog. The app is available for Android, iOS, and Windows 8, which pretty much covers the entire mobile devices landscape. Readly also allows each subscription to its app to be shared on up to five different devices, which mean enough reading material for the entire family.
“Readly opens a new era in digital magazine publishing,” said Per Hellberg, CEO of Readly International. “For people like me who love magazines Readly will become a new best friend. With so many people taking advantage of the power and convenience of tablets and smart phones Readly also offers an entirely new source of readers to magazine publishers with no additional investment.”
Also, an inherent advantage of the Readly app is that it provides a variety of reading material, which makes it redundant to keep separate subscriptions with separate apps for specific magazines. With the unlimited browsing offer, users no doubt will also be tempted to try out other magazines as well, something they perhaps would not have attempted had they been required to subscribe to them individually. There is also a huge collection of past issues which should prove handy for research purposes.
Readly stated they have also worked hard with the user interface which they claim has been made to mimic a print-like experience. The app also comes embedded with several advanced technologies such as “high-resolution graphics and reader interactivity” which optimizes the graphics to ensure the best possible reading experience. Users also have the option to bookmark pages or share articles with friends and associates.
“Interest in Readly among US publishers has been fantastic,” added Henrik Barck, Readly Co-Founder and VP Global Sales & Business Development, “we have forged agreements to add new titles to our catalog almost every week. It is a clear endorsement of our business model and speaks to a marketplace that is primed for what Readly offers. We are launching Readly with 75 titles and anticipate a major announcement regarding our catalogue in the very near future.”
There was some buzz about this last week, but now it’s official: Writer Matt Fraction revealed on Twitter yesterday that Apple will not carry the second issue of his comic, Sex Criminals, and he quoted Apple’s stated reason why: “We found that one or more of your In-App Purchases contains content that many audiences would find objectionable, which is not in compliance with the App Store Review Guidelines.”
On the one hand, that’s not terribly surprising: Sex Criminals, written by Fraction and illustrated by Chip Zdarsky, is a “sex comedy” about a couple who can stop time by having sex, which opens the door to all sorts of larcenous activities. Naturally, it includes a fair amount of sex. When he learned that the second issue was “under review” by Apple last week, Fraction actually commented “How the first book made it through and the second one didn’t, I don’t know.”
This doesn’t mean you can’t read Sex Criminals #2 on your iPad, though. Apple has a curious double standard when it comes to this kind of thing: While it won’t allow digital distributors such as comiXology to offer Sex Criminals as an in-app purchase, it is available in the iBooks store. ComiXology users can also go ahead and buy the comic via comiXology’s website, and it will sync to their comiXology apps on all their other devices. And finally, Sex Criminals publisher Image offers it as a direct download from their website.
Although it seems like censorship at first blush, Apple’s decision is really more about marketing. They are quite happy to sell the comic via iBooks, or to let app users sync it onto their iThings; they just don’t want to offer it as an in-app purchase. In general, they have a policy of not allowing super-sexy comics or other material for in-app purchase (violence seems to get a pass), perhaps because they see different audiences for the two types of reading—and it may be that younger readers are more likely to use in-app purchases than the grownups. That’s just a guess, but either way, it seems that Apple sees two different audiences for iBooks and apps, and they are only going to sell adult comics to one of them.
Ookbee which happens to be the largest online ebook store in Thailand is in an overdrive with major expansion plans being worked out. That is hardly surprising, considering every ebookstore around the world worth its salt is busy charting their own growth strategy. However, what has made things a bit sticky for Ookbee is that their keenness to have a bigger presence in the world ebook scene has pitched them against its own partner companies. While competition is healthy and promotes growth, for Ookbee, there does exist the risk of things getting ugly.
Now Ookbee has to its credit the lions share – read over 90 percent – of the Thai ebook market. It also has presence in Vietnam and Malaysia. The company had recently released an iOS app and hopes to launch an online subscription based Netflix-Style-real-all-you-can Ookbee Mee service soon. It shares a business relationship with B2S and AIS though all of their recent ventures have brought them head to head with its partners than being on their sides. From what seems evident is that it seeks to have a more active role to play in the ebook business rather than being on the sides lines with other calling the shots.
However, there have been ripples in the tech circles in the region wondering if there is a major shake up in the making. Ookbee CEO Moo Natavudh though brushed aside all concerns saying: “In terms of competition, Ookbee app aims to be a regional store, not only in Thailand. But locally there might be some competition with existing bookstore of ours. However, we think each bookstore has it own strengths anyway. For example, AIS has promotions for its users on its bookstore. B2S is known for its actual stores so it has a pool of loyal customers. Ookbee’s app tries to capture the remaining sector in general.”
What remains to be seen is whether Ookbee’s partners too are thinking along the same lines.
The digital comics and e-books platform NARR8 launched last November and has been downloaded 1 million times since then, on iPads, iPhones, Android devices, Facebook, Windows 8 devices, and Kindle Fire. This week, they expanded to the next frontier: The web.
NARR8 offers motion comics and e-books with an interactive component. When I spoke to vice president of business development Darya Trushkina last week, she used the term “gamification,” and that sounds about right: The reader swipes or clicks and the characters move or the scene shifts. In addition, readers can earn in-app currency, called Narrs, which allow them to read more comics (the first two episodes are free, subsequent chapters are not). They can also simply buy Narrs with real money. NARR8 is also encouraging users to submit their own comics to be published on the platform.
I interviewed NARR8 CEO Maxim Matveyko about the web version and how NARR8 is working so far.
You have established NARR8 on a number of mobile platforms. What does a web app add?
By bringing NARR8 to web browsers, we’ve opened up our app for millions of new users on browser-enabled computers. When we launched on Windows 8 and Facebook, we had amazing results. We also saw that our content looks great not only on mobile devices, but in a browser as well,. That’s why we decided to add a Web version. This makes NARR8 an completely multiplatform app available for any audience on any devices. To review, NARR8 is now available on web, Facebook, Windows 8, iPad, iPhone, Android, and Amazon.
Can this app be used on a mobile browser? Is that where you foresee people using it, or is this designed with personal computers in mind?
We developed the web version specifically for PC users—it’s optimized for use on computer-based browsers. We’ve found that mobile browsers didn’t give us the user experience we wanted, which is why we’ve developed separate, standalone app versions of NARR8 for each mobile platform instead.
Will the user experience be different from an app?
Users of the NARR8 web app get alternative features to zoom in on content (for example, our series are now available in full-screen view, and they look great!) and more convenient playback options to move from slide to slide. Web and Facebook users will also have more ways to make payments, since mobile platforms have their own specific methods.
Without the iTunes or Google Play stores, how will users buy new content if they choose to pay cash?
The NARR8 Web app includes many tools for making payment. Now, users can submit payments credit cards, e-wallets and many more. We also work with local payment providers—for example, in Russia, we plan to add support for the popular QIWI payment system.
How does your in-app currency work? How does that translate into real money, i.e., profit, at the end of the day?
Good question. Our own currency, NARRs, is a virtual currency that users can either earn for free with regular usage of the app, or purchase. NARRs can be used to unlock new issues and additional app features. But we discovered that many users prefer direct payments for content without buying virtual money. That’s why, for the Facebook and Web versions, we decided to make it possible to pay either with NARRs or directly for real money.
You let users read the first two episodes for free, then they have to pay for subsequent episodes. How much of a dropoff do you see in readership between episodes 2 and 3 of a typical app?
We’re very happy with how readers have read and continue to read NARR8′s series, which are constantly updated with new episodes every week. Again, episodes are unlocked with NARRs, which can be either purchased directly or earned for free over time with regular usage of the app.
In general, the jump from free to paid is a big one. How have you made it easier (or more desirable) for your users to make that leap?
As we mentioned, while new episodes of our various series are unlocked using virtual currency, this currency can be earned for free with regular usage. For instance, we regularly offer daily bonuses, which users can spend on new episodes. We also have virtual currency sales periodically, which makes episodes even more inexpensive for the audience.
At this point, how much of your content is user-generated?
Before launching our Story Builder editing tools, we produced a lot of professional content of high quality. We did it to set the bar for UGC stories, and now, all new UGC stories are moderated before publication in the NARR8 library. Nevertheless the number of user-created submissions is increasing each day. We hope that the launch of the Pro Editor, which will offer full-featured tools to serious content creators looking to make professional-quality content, will empower ambitious users to create even more fascinating and involving stories—which will mean even more high-quality content for our readers.
Do you pay users for that content?
We find users who create interesting, high-quality content and, where applicable, may offer a contract to distributing their stories on our platform with a revenue sharing model. We cooperate with professional artists, authors, and creators of interactive content and give them favorable conditions to let them produce and distribute their best content for our readers.
Our main purpose is to become the most convenient publishing platform for interactive stories. The Pro Editor will offer ample opportunities for serious creatives to build and distribute their content for a huge number of users on a variety of devices…as well as on Facebook and Web.
How did you arrive at the figure of 1 million users? Is that the number of people who have registered?
We have 1 million users who have installed and use NARR8 on their devices. We’re growing rapidly, having already reached top positions on the Russian and US Apple App Stores. We’re also very excited about launching the web version—we’re sure that it will bring us a new audience.
What direction do you plan to take with NARR8 in the immediate future, and what is your long term plan?
We are actively working on updating the app’s layout and visual design to make it more user friendly. We’ll also be making updates on payment solutions as well. In addition, we’re already working with huge copyright owners who produce traditional books and comics to help make their content come alive with interactive features and get them published on NARR8. In the future, we see NARR8 as a powerful tool for creating, publishing, and distributing interactive content.
BlackBerry has resumed its BBM services starting today, a few weeks after the company was forced to abort its initial roll out plan when an older version of the same got released in September, causing several issues. However, stung by the initial debacle, BlackBerry is holding on to the reins this time and has barred the service from being free to all right away. As such, it will be only those who signed up at the BBM site who will be getting to use the app right now on their Android smartphones or iPhone. Others who wish to use the service will be added to a virtual queue, though the Canadian company didn’t reveal how long they will be kept waiting, except that they won’t be kept waiting for too long.
“To help manage this unprecedented pent-up demand for BBM, we are implementing a simple line-up system to ensure a smooth rollout,” said Andrew Bocking, head of the BlackBerry BBM business, in a blog post on the official company website. About 6 million users signed up at the company’s BBM site and are rewarded by getting to use the service before others.
“If you are among the millions that took the time to sign up at BBM.com, you can start using BBM immediately without waiting in line. If you didn’t sign up in advance, don’t worry – we are focused on moving millions of customers through the line as fast as possible,” said Bocking.
BBM has been one of the star attractions of the Canadian company, one that had driven millions into buying their handsets in the past. Times have changed, though with BlackBerry handsets now facing a steep decline in sales worldwide. This has left the company deeply wounded, and experts believe the launch of the BlackBerry Messenger on a rival platform could be a last ditch attempt by the company to help stem the tide. There have also been reports of the company being put up for sale, but earlier rumors had said the company’s executives preferred to split it into several parts before offering it for sale. With BBM looking to acquire a separate identity, this could well be the case.
Meanwhile, BBM will have to face stiff competition from others who have already dug deep. These include WhatsApp, Viber, and Skype, as well as Kik, who has developed a dedicated user base that runs into tens of millions. It will be interesting to see what the equation will be now that BBM has entered the scene.
In the beginning, digital comics were just print comics scanned in and posted to digital devices, but as the medium has evolved, more and more creators are experimenting with adding features to native digital comics. NARR8 is an app that stretches the boundaries of comics, adding in motion, music, and gameplay elements. Sometimes the motion is as simple as a background of TV static, sometimes it’s as complex as a scene where the camera angle shifts while the characters are moving. The comics and picture book I sampled all used the full screen as a single panel, but with each swipe or page turn something happened: Word balloons dropped in, someone came crashing through a door, a squirrel dove from a tree. Once the main action is completed, the figures have a tendency to continue to move slightly, as if they were breathing heavily or maybe undulating underwater. But if you don’t linger on a page, the effect is fairly seamless.
NARR8 launched last November—I saw a preview of it at last year’s New York Comic Con—and according to vice president of business development Darya Trushkina, they have already reached 1 million users. I spoke to Trushkina and NARR8 PR associate Rebecca Buttle at this year’s New York Comic Con.
NARR8 launched as an iOS app, and now there are Android, Windows 8, Kindle Fire, and Facebook versions available. There are English, Russian, Spanish, and Korean versions, and it is available in 50 countries. And with NARR8′s Story Builder tool, anyone on earth can create stories and upload them, Trushkina said (although NARR8 does screen the stories before putting them on the app).
“We have 20 series, and you as the user can look at two episodes of every series for free,” explained Trushkina. Readers can purchase additional episodes with in-app credits. “You have to be active within the application to earn credits,” Trushkina said. “You have to be posting on Facebook and Twitter, interacting with other users on the forum, checking out new series—and you also can buy them with real money. The best part is the gamification of it. We have a background in games, we do mobile and social games, and they are only freemium. We have collectibles within NARR8, so you can read an episode and collect a favorite character.”
The comics and e-books on the app span a number of genres, including children’s comics, mysteries, science fiction, and horror, but Trushkina said they are putting a special emphasis on educational content. Next year, children’s content will take priority. “We are developing five series,: Trushkina said, “and we are also talking to the big guys, trying to get content based on their IPs [intellectual properties], so that is probably going to be a priority for the next couple of months. And sports content—it’s in development.” She described NARR8 as “for everybody, from 5 to 95.”
Also to come in the next year are improvements to the app’s rather confusing user interface. “The biggest improvement in terms of product is that we are going to structure it in a catalog more properly, so at login you see a young kids’ section, a teachers’ section,” said Trushkina.
The most important question about motion comics is why they exist at all—is this something readers want? Trushkina has a simple answer: “It boosts our retention rate and boosts usage significantly,” she said. “Our retention rate is 50%—that’s users coming back to the app. It’s not just logging in—how many times do you check Facebook? But you only check Facebook for 20 seconds. With NARR8, the average user session is 15 minutes, and it’s not just I’m going to my favorite comics or series or reading other episodes; [the users] interact within the app. They go into forums not just to complain but to talk about the series. We do see a lot of traction on social media, and it is all organic growth. For some people, 1 million downloads in a year might seem a little low, but if you think about it, we didn’t spend any money on marketing or user acquisition.”
“These days, it is very important to keep user interest in content,” Trushkina concluded. “That’s what NARR8 does. When you add motion and interaction to a simple book or text, that makes it interesting. It’s not just about storyline, it’s about the special details that we add to it.”
May the digital comics be with you! Dark Horse Digital kicks off the first weekend of October with a sale on Star Wars graphic novels, in particular, two kid-friendly series: Star Wars Adventures and Star Wars: Clone Wars. Both are on sale for $2.99 each, a considerable markdown from the list price of $4.99 to $6.99.
ComiXology counters with an Ultimates sale, with single issues of Ultimate Comics Captain America, Ultimate Comics Thor, Ultimate Comics Avengers, and of course, Ultimates and New Ultimates, all for 99 cents each.
And that’s it for traditional digital comics sales this week. Only two choices, although there are quite a few books available in each.
Here’s something new, though: Digital Manga is offering 100 points if you write a review of one of their manga on their eManga site. That’s a little odd because they don’t seem to actually use points any more, but in the standard equivalence a point is usually about a penny, so I’m guessing they are paying $1 (or giving a $1 discount) for each of these reviews. Which sounds terrible unless you know that most reviewers don’t get paid at all, although they do usually get the book for free.
And finally, here’s an excellent freebie to round out the weekend’s selections: The latest issue of Infinity, on the web or within the Sequential iPad app. This is a great digital magazine featuring news, reviews, and a big article about digital comics. It’s focused on UK creators, and every issue is free so if you like the latest issue, check out the earlier ones as well with material by and about David Lloyd, Alan Moore, and other prominent British creators.
In February of this year, Berlin-based two-year startup Readmill launched its e-reading app for iOS and was met with such response that the team decided an Android app was needed. Moreover, after getting feedback on how Readmill users–and staffers–were using the app, the developers decided that an app that was optimized for smartphone reading was in order as well.
Readmill co-founder and CPO David Kjelkerud said in a press release today: “After releasing our iPhone app back in February, we discovered something really interesting about reading behavior. First, we noticed it in the office: our tablets collected dust as people started reading more on their phones. The phone is simply more convenient. You always have all your books with you, and with the new high-resolution mobile screens, the typography is really great. Later, we started to see this in our numbers as well: People reading with our iPhone app are much more engaged, are reading more books and read more frequently. That’s why we decided to bring Readmill to Android.”
Some of the features of the Readmill for Android app include the ability to start and finish titles entirely in offline mode while still letting the location in the book sync through the Readmill app when wifi becomes available, the ability to important titles from the library of another reading app, and the option to start reading or simply browse with the swipe of a finger.
Readmill also announced today that it has forged two new partnerships to provide reading content: with popular romance ebook site All Romance and German publisher Holtzbrinck’s self-publishing platform, Epubli. While Readmill for Android was built specifically with smartphone reading in mind, it will work on any device running Android 4.0 or higher. The app is available starting today from the Google Play store or Amazon app market.
Viz Media, the largest manga publisher in the U.S., has been aggressive about marketing their titles digitally (which makes sense when you realize that some of their series run to over 50 volumes). They launched with an iPad-only app, then expanded to iPhone, the web, Android, Nook, and Kobo, and today they announced that they are making their entire digital catalog, about 1,500 volumes right now, available for the Kindle, including Kindle Fire and Paperwhite, as well. The press release says most titles will be priced at $6.99 per volume, and today was the day that Viz raised prices in their own apps as well, mostly from $4.99 to $6.99. (I talked to Viz’s Gagan Singh about that a few weeks ago.) But Amazon being Amazon, they are actually pricing most books at $5.59 per volume, so they are underselling Viz at the moment. What about the other e-book platforms? Barnes and Noble is asking $5.99 per volume in the Nook store, and while it isn’t easy to separate out the Viz titles in the Kobo storefront, the Viz titles I did find were priced at $5.79.
I spoke to Viz CEO Ken Sasaki at Comic-Con in San Diego last July, and he told me that the app still accounts for the majority of their digital manga sales, but he expected sales on other platforms to grow; while Viz’s slice might get smaller, the pie as a whole will get bigger, he said.
Viz is also syncing its schedule so that titles in the Kindle store will be published nearly simultaneously with the print editions. (There was no mention of whether they would be released on other platforms at the same time.) This means Viz will be releasing its manga in digital at the same time as print and at a lower price, a strategy that folks in the Western comics world claim will kill the business. I asked Sasaki about that, too, and he said, “We believe right now the market is too big and we are not tapping the potential. We see clearly the division of digital readers versus physical readers. We don’t see any data to indicate that those two businesses at two different pricing points are cannibalizing each other. It’s more like, when we push product at the same time [and] market it so it’s available either physical or digital, we are just basically giving the choice to consumers and by doing that, recognition of the titles could be more than [if we were] marketing each product differently in a different timing. At the end, I think we see a lift on both products rather than seeing cannibalization.”
That was his experience with anime, he added. With the new price hike, digital manga aren’t that much cheaper than print (which usually runs to $9.99 per volume), so it seems like a solid strategy.
Rebellion, the folks behind the British sci-fi comics anthology 2000AD, have been pretty aggressive about marketing their weekly comic digitally, with both an iOS app and direct downloads via their website. This week’s issue of 2000AD, Prog 1850 (issues are called “progs” in their world), is a good jumping-on point for new readers, with four new story arcs launching at once. Richard Bruton observes in his review at the Forbidden Planet blog that three of the “new” stories are the beginnings of new story arcs in existing series, but the Table of Contents includes a bit of backstory and heck, there’s always Wikipedia.
There’s more, though. A few months ago Rebellion started offering 2000AD’s companion monthly, Judge Dredd Megazine, digitally as well, and now they are filling in the backstory with 20 volumes of The Judge Dredd Case Files, available via their iOS app. (You can find them on Kindle as well, at what looks like a slightly lower price of $9.99 per volume.) These 20 volumes (with vol. 21 due out next month) collect every Judge Dredd story from 2000AD and Judge Dredd Megazine, in order of publication. Each volume is priced at £9.99 to $13.99, or whatever that translates to in dollars, pesos, or your own local currency, for over 300 pages of work by creators such as John Wagner, Grant Morrison, Garth Ennis, Dave Gibbons, Mark Millar, Brian Bolland, and Carlos Ezquerra. Check out the preview at Robot 6 for a sample of what’s inside.
The New York-based company Weartrons has come up with a unique solution for those who wish to carry on with their reading on a tablet device even when conditions are least conducive for them to do so, such as while running on a treadmill.
A small, clip-on device appropriately named Run-n-Read is designed to track movements of the head and eye. The corresponding software, which is compatible with an e-reading software, will make the texts of the book move in perfect synchronization with your head. This will make the text look stationary. The user will just have to tap anywhere on the display once they have reached the end of the page to carry on with their reading while two taps will load the previous page.
“Run-n-Read is providing an elegant solution for a problem that many people can easily relate to and have assumed that there is no fix for it,” said Praveen Elak Co-Founder, Weartrons. “We are launching on Dragon Innovation’s platform as we believe that their deep experience and practical knowledge in volume manufacturing of electronic products will help us recognize and address – all of the second-, third-, and fourth- order problems. Those are the things you can’t learn elsewhere unless you try and fail, something we cannot afford.”
The device is compatible with both iOS and Android and can be had for $55, though the first fifty buyers will be offered an introductory price of $40. Shipping starts around January. Also, while its makers are keen to promote the device as a suitable reading aid for use in a gym environment, the same can also be useful for those who need to travel a lot on bumpy roads. With the Read-n-Run clipped on to the users collars, there’s no stopping them to continue with their reading.