Welcome to another spellbinding edition of the Good E-Reader week in review! This has been a tremendous week for news. E-Book sales are out-performing tangible books, lots of new products hitting the market, and a whole lot more!
Good E-Reader makes it our mission to compile the top stories of the week in an easy to digest format. There is a lot of specific information in this blog, and then there is news the news that matters. If you have an affinity for the news that we provide, check out the Good E-Reader Magazine.
Be Prepared to don your favorite magnifying glass and E-Reader and head down to the beach! In the month of August there is a veritable boatload of new mystery books that are going to be released. You will be pleased to know that many of the authors you know and love are releasing ebooks this month. Charlaine Harris has a new book out on Aug 3, entittled “Death’s Excellent Vacation.” Debbie Macomber is also releasing the latest in her Cedar Cove series with 1022 Evergreen Place on Aug 31.
We broke the story earlier this week through our Good E-Reader Stealth Department and let you know that the Kobo E-Reader is now being sold with the new firmware built in. How do you know if you are buying the older firmware, rather then the newest? Look for the purple sticker on the bottom of the box. The new firmware comes with ePub fixes to non-Kobo bought ebooks, as well as a more intuitive LCD light, which lets you know when you are low on power or charging.
For the latest Tablet PC news, HP has filed a trademark for the name ‘Palmpad.’ This fueled rumors regarding the upcoming tablet PC which HP claims to be making, based on the WebOS mobile operating system after acquiring the Palm company may be so named.
A tablet from HP is long overdue. They have been flashing a tablet right from the CES held in January this year when it was touted to be based on the Windows 7 operating system. Since then, HP has gone on to acquire Palm company. With that the rumor mills suddenly became abuzz with news that the WebOS that has been specifically designed for use in mobile devices may be a better choice than the Windows 7 OS, which is said to be too demanding on battery and the processor and is not designed for tablet or other mobile devices specifically.
However, what also must be kept in mind is that there has been no official confirmation from HP if PalmPad is indeed their next tablet pc. All that the trademark application tells us is that HP will be using the term PalmPad in the context of “Computers, computer hardware, computer software, computer peripherals, portable computers, handheld and mobile computers, PDAs, electronic notepads, mobile digital electronic devices.” There isn’t any specific mention of “Tablet” in that list though the term ‘Pad’ present in the name ‘PalmPad’ makes us think it’s the harbinger of an exciting new tablet device. The company that can be credited to have made the term ‘Pad’ almost synonymous with tablet is Apple with their current hot favorite tablet PC, the iPad.
Sharp plans to offer an e-book distribution service and two new e-reader devices later this year that will also allow users to watch video and listen to audio content.
The two e-readers are in prototype stage right now, one will be 5.5 inches and the larger one will have a large 10.8 display. Both of the units feature color touch screens. They will read the popular XMDF format which is very large in Japan because it bridges the gap between text and video content.
“The next-generation XMDF enables easy viewing of digital content including video and audio and allows automatic adjustment of the layout to match and meet publishers’ needs,” Sharp said in a statement.
“Now there is a lot of attention on the e-publishing business,” Masami Obatake, a senior Sharp official, told a news conference. “Launching it by the end of this year will be good timing.”
In Japan right now, there are many companies trying to break new ground and distribute e-books via key partnerships. Sony and mobile phone operator KDDI Corp are teaming up to distribute e-books, and setting to release a localized version of the Sony E-Reader. Google also plans to launch their Google Editions E-Book service to Japan by the end of the year. Sharp has claimed several key partnerships in Japan and abroad, but no names or details have since been announced.
This is certainly a golden time for Sharp and others to enter the e-book and content distribution system, Amazon said yesterday, in that the sales of hard-back books were surpassed by the sales of E-books –for every 100 hard-backs they sell, they’re selling a 180 E-Books.
Amazon Reports Kindle Sales have Tripled since the Price Slash!
Amazon has reported that sales of its Kindle 2 E-Reader have tripled in only a month since they lowered the entry level price from $259.00 to $189.00. Amazon also reported that the Kindle continues to be the number one selling electronic device on all of their Websites.
The Kindle was the first Electronic Reader to really make an impact with consumers. The Price slash was directly arbitrated to the success of the Apple iPad.
In other news, this is a golden age of E-Books, Amazon reported that Kindle book sales are soaring. For every 100 hardcover titles sold by Amazon over the past three months, it has dispatched 180 Electronic Books. In all, Amazon sold three times the number of Kindle titles in the first half of 2010 than in the first six months of 2009.
The Amazon price slash spurned many rivals such as Barnes and Noble to lower their entry level price on their “Nook” from $259 to $199.00. Sony also lowered prices on their entire range of e-readers.
If you are taken aback by the title, well that’s how it stands right now. And unfortunately, there isn’t much info that can shed more light on it. All that is known is that Verizon has lined up two devices that can be identified as ‘e-readers’ for a possible September launch. But the thing that adds a touch of weirdness to it is that the e-readers have been named ‘Entourage.’ There is already an e-reader and tablet combo in the form of the Entourage Edge.
It might be that the Verizon ‘Entourage‘ has nothing to do with the Entourage Edge that we know of (except of course the name )though it might also be possible Verizon has struck up some sort of a deal with the makers of the Entourage Edge to come up with the e-readers.Complete details are lacking and the only thing that’s known right now is that the two e-readers might be in the 7 and 10 inch screen size category.
Verizon already is tipped to be in the process of making a 10.1 inch tablet device that’s slated for a late 2010 launch. It is also being seen as the carrier of choice for the upcoming LCD e-reader from Sharp.
Lenovo try release its first tablet the “LePad”
The latest tablet PC news has it that Lenovo is in the process of readying a tablet PC that it intends to launch in China towards the end of the year. Named the ‘LePad,’ the tablet will be yet another device with the Android as the operating system, revealed the senior vice president of Lenovo, Liu Jun. Unfortunately, this was all that he was in the mood to reveal and did not divulge other facts as to what the tablet would be like or when it would set sail for distant shores, if ever it would do so after its Chinese debut.
The company also did not confirm if their upcoming LePad will be a direct competitor to the Apple’s iPad, the current king of tablets which has been selling in the millions ever since it was launched. However, China is one country where the iPad has yet to flex its muscles. A huge potential market exists in China and the absence of the iPad in the country is glaring to say the least. However, this can prove to be a blessing to Lenovo and provide the head start to their LePad if they come up with a viable product.
The earlier attempts by Lenovo to take the tablet market by storm have only proved ineffectual untill now. It showcased its ‘netvertible’ U1 Hybrid and Skylight smartbook at the CES held earlier in the year though the custom built Linux operating system that the tablets came with led to some dismal performance. So much that the tablets were taken back since for including the popular Android operating system.
Also, with the LePad, it will be the first time that Lenovo will be making a PC sans a physical keyboard. One of the events that marked the celebration of Toshiba in its 25th year of reckoning in the computing field, their Managing Director in Australia, Mark Whittard displayed a prototype of the tablet PC from Toshiba which they have named ‘SmartPad’. The tablet is still in prototype stages though the company revealed that they hope to launch at least a version of the SmartPad by October this year. The company has also announced the SmartPad can come with either Windows 7 or the Android as the operating system.
Their last attempt with a tablet was the JournE Touch which ended in disaster and has vanished without a trace. This prompted Toshiba to stay off the tablet market for a while. This new foray in the highly competitive tablet segment sounds risky after the JournETouch fiasco, but this time they have armed themselves with the Libretto W100 dual-screened tablet. This tablet is thoroughly impressive, but unfortunately it is priced beyond the reach of the majority of consumers.
So now Toshiba intends to make its presence felt perhaps in the $500 mark tablet segment with the new SmartPad which should fill in the gap between the erstwhile unwieldy sets and the costly Libretto W100.
The device is expected to have the standard HDMI and USB ports, but nothing could be confirmed by Whittard on these aspects.
Here and There
This has been a busy week in news for HP, first they announced that the HP Hurricane will be known as the “PalmPad” but now they have given the highly regarded HP Slate as the Slate 500. Its still kicking, its just not out yet.
Speaking of the HP Slate, the “Chinese” version will be out, before HP’s ever is! It touts almost all of the same specs, but we just wonder whats underneath the hood. Unfortunately, HP has not really divulged much in that department either.
Scared off about all the new tablets out lately? Most cost at least a few hundred dollars. If you are in the poor house, or just aren’t sure you want to invest in a tablet yet, you might want to take a look at India’s $35 Tablet PC. It has Linux, 2 GB of RAM, touch screen and more. Its a viable alternative to the Intel’s “One Laptop per Child” $100 offering.
In the rumor pile, we hear that our beloved Notion Ink Adam may have found a serious non-individual investor! Reliance Industries which is a big player in India may be getting behind the Adam and giving it the investment it needs to market it as a subsidised rate within India, and give the company the money they need for a more international push. Although the CEO of Notion Ink Rohan Shravan said on his blog, that it was a done deal.
Amazon has been in the news a lot lately, first with its sales reports that the Kindle sales have tripled since the price slash, now we are getting reports that Amazon has closed a very highly regarded New York Company to exclusively publish works by William Burroughs, Salmon Rushdie, Oliver Sacks and Phillip Roth. This deal affects moving not only digital ebooks in Amazon’s online store, but hard copy books as well. You might see in the near future, more popular digital book companies roping in popular authors into exclusive arrangements to be the only digital reseller. Dire news indeed.
Its only been a few weeks that HP has owned Palm, but they are pushing out the Palm WebOS 2.0 Update.
Barnes and Noble, has rolled out their Android App! If you have a Android 1.6 Smartphone or a Tablet PC, you can get this 18 MB app installed. Keep in mind, if you have ePub books you bought outside B&N you will not be able to use them in this new offering. One particularly excellent feature is if you are reading a book on your Nook and then decide to use your SmartPhone, you can easily pick up where you left off on the Android device. You also get access to the new Lendme service, which allows you to lend bought books to family and friends for a duration of time.
That about wraps it up, for this weeks Good E-Reader Week in Review! If you love the latest news, subscribe to our Good E-Reader Magazine! It will not put you in the poor house, or prevent you from making your mortgage, but it is as important as making those payments! Also, if you have a thing for E-Readers, or a torrent love affair with Tablet and Slate’s, find the fix to all your cravings on our Good E-Reader Forum. Chat, discuss, get in on the Book Clubs, with Free Ebooks, and more. We have tons of fun, with our Good E-Reader Radio show, and our YouTube Videos.
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and Verge.