Samsung

Archive for samsung

IMG_6231

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?

Hardware

nook

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.

Software

Screenshot_2014-08-30-10-29-54

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.

Nook Library

Screenshot_2014-08-30-09-00-53

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.

Nook Shop

Screenshot_2014-08-30-09-01-24

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

Screenshot_2014-08-30-10-32-42

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

Screenshot_2014-08-30-10-31-02

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.

Nook Settings

settings

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.

Wrap up

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.

PROS

Reading digital books is impressive
Tons of unique Nook Apps
Allows you to download any app you want from Google
Live Wallpapers and Widgets

CONS

Setup involved a Google, Samsung and Nook account.
Speaker quality is not the greatest
No Barnes and Noble branding on the hardware

Rating: 8.5/10

stella_main_campaign

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.

Categories : Android News
Comments (0)

03_VerticalShopScreen

Barnes and Noble has just launched a brand new tablet in conjunction with Samsung. It costs $179 with a $20 mail in rebate, but the bookseller is hyping the fact you get an extra $200 worth of free content. What free stuff are they actually giving out?

When you pick up a new Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook you get three free eBooks. Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Stephen Dubner and Steven Levitt, The Wanderer by Sharon Creech and I am Number Four by Pittacus Lore.

Customers can also pick 4 digital magazines from a pool of 12 for a free two week trial. There is a ton of great content, including Cosmopolitan, Sports Illustrated, and US Weekly. Back issues are also available for your selected magazines at no extra cost.

Nook Video is giving free content to the hit HBO Series Veep, Hannibal, and Orphan Black.

New Barnes and Noble customers are also automatically given $5.00 in free credit when they buy the new tablet, giving them the ability to either get an eBook for free or use the money to subsidize a new mainstream bestseller.

Barnes and Noble is really hyping the free content as a way to lure existing customers to upgrade and offer a big incentive to new people looking for a tablet billed as an e-reader.

Categories : e-reader, e-Reader News
Comments (1)

closer-820x411

Barnes and Noble is holding a press event at Union Square in New York City August the 20th. They will be formally unveiling the two new tablets they are working on, in conjunction with Samsung.

In the past, Barnes and Noble always did their own hardware design and outsourced the manufacturing. They also developed their own skinned version of Android and ecosystem with apps, movies and games. This was too much for them to handle and gravitated their customer base into using Google Play for everything but books, magazines and newspapers.

Working with Samsung was a tremendous benefit to Barnes and Noble because they only have to be responsible for the software side of things. They will be using existing Samsung hardware, which should allow them to focus on a great user experience.

I am fairly excited to see what the new braintrust at Barnes and Noble has in store for us. Most of the old executives that oversaw the entire Nook product line have all left the company. With all of the new blood working to make Nook a success, it will be very interesting to see what the final product looks like.


Categories : e-reader, e-Reader News
Comments (6)

android_ms

Samsung should take note that Microsoft doesn’t fool around when patent license payments arrive late. Microsoft asserts that they have hundreds of patents that are required for any manufacturer making Android phones: Samsung included.

Corporate Vice President & Deputy General Counsel for Microsoft, David Howard, spoke toward the lawsuit, stating that: “Today’s legal action is simply to enforce our contract with Samsung. We don’t take lightly filing a legal action, especially against a company with which we’ve enjoyed a long and productive partnership.” He also noted that: “After spending months trying to resolve our disagreement, Samsung has made clear in a series of letters and discussions that we have a fundamental disagreement as to the meaning of our contract.”

With Microsoft earning between $1B and $2B in patent license revenue made from royalties, this business is one of their most profitable. This is especially true when you consider Howard’s comments on the dominance and success of Samsung’s current phone business:

“So what changed? Since Samsung entered into the agreement, its smartphone sales have quadrupled and it is now the leading worldwide player in the smartphone market. Consider this: when Samsung entered into the agreement in 2011, it shipped 82 million Android smartphones. Just three years later, it shipped 314 million Android smartphones. [Source: IDC, WW Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker – 2014 Q1, Published: May 2014] Samsung predicted it would be successful, but no one imagined their Android smartphone sales would increase this much.”

Of course, this is just Microsoft’s side of the story; things should get more interesting once Samsung weighs in.

Categories : Android News
Comments (0)
Jul
12

Tinder Updated For Wearables

Posted by: | Comments (1)

Tinder

The great news is that you can now cross ‘finding a date’ off the list of tasks you wished you could complete from the comfort and convenience of your wrist. Tinder has released an update that optimizes their addictive dating app for use on wearable devices –so you can now find the next love of your life (anonymously) from nearly any device you choose.

With Tinder loaded up on your wearable device, picture after picture will be displayed as you green-light or red-light each one –tapping to read brief bios for each potential choice. Initial feedback indicates that the app works well, if not a little slow.

Wearable apps are the new pink these days, with development houses big and small rushing to be the first-to-market with their ideas. This effort was stifled by Google up until this week (when a workaround was released) for paid wearable apps –users could see them in Google Play, but they couldn’t actually install them. No matter for Tinder as it comes with a $0 price-tag, so if you haven’t yet swiped left and right in an effort to find your next perfect match, download Tinder now!

Categories : Android News
Comments (1)

Samsung-GALAXY-Apps

Samsung has had their own app store for quite some time, but now instead of carrying the “Samsung Apps” label, it is called “Galaxy Apps.” It may seem like a trivial change, but with the company diversifying their product line to include both Tizen and Android devices, a single Samsung app store couldn’t accommodate both.

Rebranding isn’t the only change Samsung has in store (if you will allow the pun), there are also hundreds of new apps that are exclusive to Galaxy mobile devices (arranged into a few categories, including: Best Picks, Top and For Galaxy). Of particular interest is that last ‘For Galaxy’ section that gives easy access to Galaxy Gifts, Galaxy Essentials, Apps for Professionals, and Galaxy Specials (those created by using Samsung SDKs).

Samsung claims they are trying to aid consumers in customizing their mobile devices, but most expectations are that the company is trying to make a play for Google Play market-share.

If you want to take Galaxy Apps for a spin on your Samsung Android device, open up the app store and the interface will ask you to update it (which means you will lose the home button).

Categories : Android News
Comments (1)

paypal_for_android_wear_screens

Wearables are among the hottest topics at this year’s Google I/O conference, with apps designed to work with them being some of the most exciting developments. One of the first to emerge is the availability of PayPal on your wrist, letting us check in to pay at participating stores, redeem offers, and receive payment notifications.

PayPal has long been a friend to Android with apps already available for the Samsung Gear 2 and Gear Fit devices (not to mention taking advantage of the fingerprint sensor built in to the company’s Galaxy S5to build secure payments into the regular Android app).

Being able to have your wallet handy on your wrist is one of the many benefits of wearable technology. With the phrase: “Ok Google,” you can expect to respond to texts, instant messages, emails (all by voice), and ask questions (like locating the nearest Starbucks). Beyond that, you can reach your fitness goals with step counters and heart-rate monitors, and communicate with your smartphone and all that it can offer.

By being one of the first, PayPal is pioneering the idea of a wearable portal to all of the things you use to manage your daily life.

Categories : Android News
Comments (2)

terrain-home-cover

It is generally not such a bad idea to try to be like Google (at least when it comes to the visual look and easy-to-use interface of Google Now). This appears to be a theory supported by Samsung and their new launcher: Terrain Home (though technically it is their Accelerator start-up incubator that handled the release). Battling for success among the homescreen options already available, Terrain Home has been described as: “Aviate without the brains. Fasthlane without the tiles. Everything.me without the recommendations. GEL without Google Now.” While it may seem at first that every other option has a specialty, while Terrain Home has none –it may actually be that Samsung has combined the best bits and pieces from all of the competition, succeeding in creating a launcher that truly simplifies your device.

Key features of Terrain Home include: a smart sidebar (called A Bird’s Eye View, letting you bring together all of your favourite apps, tools, contacts, news and social media), a powerful local phone search, app drawers (allowing you to find the app you are looking for quickly and easily), swipe gestures (right for the sidebar, up for search, and to the left for your apps), customize your homescreen icon size, and do it all without a negative impact to your battery life!

Initial reviews indicate that Terrain Home looks very plain and simple, but using it for a few minutes demonstrates that is part of the charm –the customization options mean that ‘what you see is what you use’.

The best way to judge would be to give it a try for yourself, download Terrain Home for Android.


Categories : Android News
Comments (0)

samsung_galaxy_tab_s_leaked_images_1_sammobile

Samsung has been releasing so many tablets this year, its hard to keep track of the good, bad and the ugly. The Galaxy PRO, the Galaxy Tab and now the Galaxy Tab S are all vying for your attention. Is there anything compelling about this new one worth writing home about?

Bad puns aside, the Galaxy Tab S comes in a 8.4 and 10.5 inch edition. These models have ultra high-resolutions (2560 x 1600) with a Super AMOLED display. This certainly puts the iPad Air on notice, as they only have 2,048 x 1,536 pixels. According to Samsung, the Tab S’s display has a more accurate color range, better contrast, and higher outdoor visibility than an LCD display. Maybe with resolution like this, we may finally start seeing some of the Retina enabled magazines and comics finally make the jump to Android.

The Tab S models weigh slightly less than their iPad counterparts, with the Tab S 8.4 coming in at 10 ounces or 294 grams, compared to the Mini Retina’s 331 grams. Meanwhile the Tab 10.5 is a solid 465 grams, or 4 grams less than what the iPad Air weighs. Samsung is touting the fact that these are the lightest and slimmest tablets they have ever made.

Underneath the hood is a Exynos 5 Octa, an octa-core mobile CPU that splits duties between a 1.9 GHz quad-core processor and 1.3 GHz quad-core processor. It has a 64 bit architecture, so it should solidly multitask and play any game you can throw at it. It also has 3GB of RAM, 16GB of internal memory and SD Card support for up to 128GB. It is obviously running Android, and the latest version with 4.4 Kitkat.

You can shoot some video with the 8-megapixel rear-facing camera (with flash) and a 2.1-megapixel front-facing camera for selfies and video chats. It also has a neat fingerprint sensor, that will allow it to take advantage of all the companies now offering fingerprint unlock functionality. The big rumor right now is that PAYPAL is spearheading a new system to take advantage of this.

Samsung has been going into overdrive with making arrangements with content providers. These tablets will be bundled with Kindle for Samsung, Marvel Unlimited, Milk and Paperfold. Other apps such as Group Play, S-Note, S Translator, Samsung Link, Scrapbook, Story Album and Video Editor are pre installed, while Gear Manager, Gear Fit Manager, Samsung Smart Switch, Samsung Level, E-meeting, Kids Mode, Kids Piano, S-Console, Hanshow, Hancell and Hanwrite are available to download.

Are these new tablets worth it? Well it is the lightest and thinnest they have ever made, it also has the highest resolution. 3GB of RAM and a super quadcore chip is actually fairly solid. If you have something a few years old and like Android, this may float your boat. The downside is not much content takes advantage of this high resolution on the Android ecosystem. Likely, you will not have a ton of developers porting their content exclusively for this, like they do the iPad Mini with Retina or the iPad Air.

Categories : Tablet PC News
Comments (0)

Untitled-1

A few weeks ago Barnes and Noble announced that they were initiating a collaboration with Samsung for the next generation Nook tablets. Samsung will be selling one million Samsung Galaxy Tab 4th generation 7 and 10 inch tablets to Barnes and Noble and will also be helping in promotion. Today, Michael and Peter give you the full specs on the new tablets and if its a step in the right direction from the Nook HD and Nook HD+

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 is currently being sold for $199 for the 7 inch and $349 for the 10 inch versions. This is the model that Barnes and Noble has agreed to purchase, because Samsung is giving the Nations largest bookseller a large discount. The tablets have lower resolution than the Nook HD and HD+, which may make magazines, kids books and graphic novels quite lackluster. The processors have been upgraded to a quadcore 1.2 GHZ processor from the dual core found on the prior models.

One thing we are really excited about is the front facing and rear facing cameras. Nook has never included a camera in any of their tablets, and this has prevented popular apps such as Vine, Snapchat and Camera360 from running. Now, Nook owners will be able to shoot videos, take selfies and snap a pic for their profiles.

Lets take a look at the final hardware for the Samsung Galaxy 4 Nook.  The seven inch model will have a resolution of 1280 x 800, 1.2 GHz Quad-Core processor and 1.5 GB of RAM. It has 8GB of memory and can be expanded further via the SD Card.  The front facing camera will have 1.3 MP and the rear facing one will be 3.0 MP.  The prior Nook tablets had Android 4.0 and these models will ship with 4.4 Kitkat.  Google Play will also be available on launch day, so customer scan download a ton of content.  The 10 inch model has similar specs to the 7 inch, except it has 16GB of internal storage

In the Good e-Reader Roundtable Discussion, Michael and Peter talk about the full specs and how Barnes and Noble can get the most value from this collaboration. Also, can Barnes and Noble possibly market these devices to other markets?

 


Samsung-ZIt may have taken Samsung over 2 years to bring Tizen to market, but the manufacturer wasted no time in following up the launch with a smartphone powered by version 2.2.1 of their own operating system. Similar in specs to the S5 with features like download booster, ultra power-saving mode, heart-rate monitor, and fingerprint sensor, the Samsung Z is only marginally behind that flagship phone, boasting “a 4.8-inch 720p Super AMOLED display, 2.3GHZ quad-core processor, 2GB RAM, 16GB storage expandable via microSD, 8-megapixel camera, 2.1-megapixel front-facing camera, Bluetooth 4.0 and LTE”.

Tizen’s release last week prompted Samsung to make comments about their operating system having “optimal performance” and “improved memory management,” which was poking at Android –an interesting move given their past relationship.

The success of this phone will be closely watched. Because it is not Android, the device will not have access to the Google Play store –so users will have to take advantage of Samsung’s own app marketplace.

Categories : Android News
Comments (7)

Samsung PatentIn this brave new world filled with patent disputes and court cases, it’s hard to care about news that Samsung has a few new ideas that they want to retain credit for and control over –but with wearable technology being the latest exciting thing, new applications give us hints as to what we might expect to see in the next generation of products. If this is true, Samsung may have something great in store for us.

In the latest round of patent filings, Samsung suggests you could “move your wrist to call up different features, or tap on the screen to interact with remote controls for devices around your house” or that the device may ” display the time when at rest inactive on your wrist, and it would be laden with sensors, including an optical one for monitoring pulse.” Even more amazing is the idea that a smartwatch could “recognize barcodes, images, objects and do optical character recognition (plus translation) for printed text.”

Of course, Samsung ups the ridiculous ante when they also suggest the circular face is their invention –but it is hard to blame them when you consider the lawsuits Apple has filed against them for ideas based on shapes. Nonetheless, all of these patent applications mean the wearable Android market is alive, evolving and still very exciting for those of us staying tuned.

Categories : Android News
Comments (1)