Welcome to another exciting edition of the Good E-reader Week in Review! This past week we saw a plethora of Slate and Tablet PC News! Tons of new products have been announced and we will do our best to give you only the cream of the crop! We also have new apps from Boarders, Patents by Amazon and some Samsung E-Reader news! This week has also been very busy for E-Reader price slashes and E-Reader firmware updates! We even have a review of the top Dining Apps for the iPad!
As always, if you want to read the full story, click on the title of the article!
Long have people been waiting to see the fixes to the Kobo E-Reader. Many people have had ePub font size issues and tons of others. With the latest firmware update, available now, it should soothe your woes. You can either do the firmware upgrade yourself, which is very tedious, or you may elect to visit a store that sells the Kobo and they will perform the upgrade for you!
There have been rapid and revolutionary changes in the method of teaching wherein the latest technology has been harnessed to provide enriched teaching environment as well as content. A tablet PC designed jointly by Toshiba Corporation and Intel aims to add a commercial aspect to the academic’s by using their CM1 tablet Pc for educational purposes. The tablet PC in question is based on the Intel Classmate convertible laptops that was designed and developed by Intel as an educational tool. The Classmate convertible PCs are also used as a reference design by PC manufacturers who only have to make use of the design and development work that has already been done and are only required to tune it further and develop it into a viable product thereby saving on the design and development costs.
And this is exactly what Toshiba has done. And in fact, going by preliminary reports, they have been able to do a good job since what we have with the CM1 tablet PC is a device that is poised to usher in Information and Communication Technology based education on a global basis and promote ICT-supported education right from elementary and junior high schools. Intel and Toshiba wish to jointly promote this tablet PC on a global scale as an educational apparatus and will be demonstrating the PC at schools.
With almost every company worth its name in the electronic field having launched their tablet PC, it is worth a look at the ones that have not come up with a tablet device as yet. Consumer electronics major LG is prominent among those who have not but as per tablet PC news coming in, they are keen to make up for that and have hinted at an Android slate which should be ready for the market by the fourth quarter of 2010 itself. So, by the time winter sets in this device should be available for purchase and that’s what LG’s is aiming at. LG though initially had hinted at Windows 7 being the OS for their tablet. Now with a switch to the Android as their choice for the operating system they have indicated the growing unpopularity of the Windows OS in the slate segment.
The new tablet pc will form part of the Optimus line of products from LG. The company has this to say of the new upcoming device: “Running on the Android Platform, LG’s tablet will deliver vastly superior performance than other similar devices currently on the market while still managing to be thinner and lighter than competing devices.”
There is the other competitor for LG in the form of Samsung, its domestic rival. Samsung too has not shown up with any tablet PC as yet. With the updated version of Android coming up and Samsung too rubbing its hooves in preparation for the race there is sure going to be some interesting match that is going to come up in the near future.
Sony Slashes E-Reader Prices to keep up against Kobo, Amazon and Barnes and Noble
Though it shouldn’t come as a surprise here. They have mere followed the current market trend. Amazon has done that with its Kindles and Barnes & Noble have done it with their Nook e-reader. So it was just a matter of time for Sony too to join the e-book reader price race. With the recent price cuts announced by Sony, this has become official.
As per the latest e-reader news, Sony has brought the prices down on its three current e-reader models. It now stands like this:
the Pocket Edition will now cost $149, a $20 cut from its earlier price of $169.
Price for the Touch Edition will now be $169 after a $30 price cut from $199.
And lastly, the 3G enabled Daily Edition gets the biggest discount, a full $50 so that now costs $299 from the earlier $349 that it commanded.
The e-readers however continue to be the same as nothing have been changed with them, be it their hardware or software.
Comparisons are sure to be made with the Kindle and the Nook and there can be some disappointments here. Like, Pocket Edition still has no WiFi, something that the similarly-priced Nook has. Also, the Daily Edition, even at $299 continues to be a bit on the higher side, more so since there has been no hardware or software enhancements.
Sometimes living in Europe has its advantages! Last month the Dell Mini 5 or Dell Streak is on sale via O2 and dell.uk in England! This month, we saw the new Samsung SNE60 E-Reader hit the streets in France.
Although this E-Reader has been in the pre-order stage in England, none have yet shipped, and there is no word on a US release date. It has been made available in Korea (of course) in February of this year.
It is available currently in France at 288 of Carrefour retail locations, you are looking at paying around 329 Euros, or $411 US.
The most striking aspect of the SNE-60 e-book reader is its sliding control with the front screen sliding up to reveal a set of keys for ease of use. As for the screen, it measures 6 inches and boasts of 8 levels of grayscale with a display resolution of 600 x 800 pixels. The E-ink technology used renders complete paper like display that is ideally suited for the most stress free reading experience.
Here’s the latest e-reader news: Pandigital has released a new firmware update to make things a bit more easy with their Novel e-reader. That things isn’t exactly sailing smoothly with the e-reader is no secret anymore and the latest firmware update is an attempt to tidy up the matter a bit.
The latest update is the latest in a series of updates that Pandigital had made available though none have so far led to what can be termed as a stress free experience with the Novel, something that you’d get from a Kindle or a Nook.
So, does the new update promises to clear the mess? Well, there are some good news but unfortunately there are still some bad news as well.
Coming to the good aspects of it, the new round of tweaking of the software has resulted in the Novel becoming an Android tablet of reasonable proportions. Its performance might be found hovering from the average to the good as a Tablet device but things take a gloomy turn if its e-reader credentials are taken into consideration.
On a positive side, the Novel’s touchscreen sensitivity and responsiveness has shown a remarkable improvement, though only after several hard reset attempts while the WiFi too is finally showing signs of stability. Also, post the update, the browser too is quite fast now.
Borders Group Inc, it seems is in a hurry and is quickly preparing themselves to make their presence felt in the e-book segment. And as the first step, the company launched commercial operation of their online bookstore on Wednesday. This will allow users to buy books from Borders.com and have them downloaded in their e-readers. The company also took the opportunity to announce new BlackBerry and Android e-reader apps, which will be in addition to its desktop, iPhone, and iPad apps already available. All this with the intention of garnering a bigger slice of the burgeoning e-book market and putting up a stiff competition to the rivals in this business of e-books.
But as things stand now, Borders is a latecomer in the business and for it to match up with the others, they will have a lot of ground to cover. It lags behind as of now in their launch schedules for we already have Nook e-Reader by Barnes & Noble Inc followed by Apple Inc, who has already launched their iPad tablet. And not to mention they are up against the might Amazon who have a controlling stake of the e-book market though the iPad did shake shake them a bit. But in any case, they aim to secure a modest 17 percent of the market share by July 2011 to begin with.
In an interview with Reuters, the Chief executive of Borders Inc, Mike Edwards mentioned “We’ll take market share just by turning it on. A lot of people have said, ‘You’re kind of late to the game,’ and I’m saying, ‘the game actually just started.’“ The problems being faced by Borders is very clear.
They had a drop in sales by 11.4 per cent last year during the opening of their namesake stores and even the same happened during the first quarter on its website stores.
Their chief has claimed having a list of about 38 million customers who are in their loyalty program, a figure which puts them just behind Barnes and Noble. That makes them out to be the second in line as a book store. They also set claim to about 700 online virtual bookstores through which they would be promoting their online presence.
The Borders eBook store, as of now has over 1.5 million titles for immediate download with several thousands of them coming free of cost. Also, all of the book from Borders come in a variety of formats like ePUB or PDF. All the books availed from the Borders eBook store will also compatible with any of the Borders eReader apps as also with devices like the Kobo e-reader. Prices start from as low as just 79 cents to a high of $18 for some digital titles though its $9.99 that most of the titles are available in. The bookstore will have everything from new best sellers to free classics up for sale.
The courtroom seems to be the next destination of the tussle between Amazon and Barnes & Noble as they use all measures including price cuts to win over the other in e-reader leadership. Amazon has been granted a patent recently by the USPTO for their secondary LCD displays.In fact, it is quite a few patents that Amazon has been awarded though the most notable amongst them is the one on Handheld electronic book reader device having dual displays.
The claim covers aspects which would surely affect the Nook as well as many other similar devices including devices that have electronic paper or LCD displays. A similar patent had been granted to Kindle for their scroll-navigational panel. Surprisingly Amazon has agreed not even to file any foreign patents during the four years that it took to process this patent case. One of the claims or clause that could create problem for Barnes & Noble as it covers nearly every device that uses an LCD display or electronic paper is as follows:
“A handheld electronic device comprising: a housing; an electronic paper display disposed in the housing and having a first surface area; and a liquid crystal display (LCD) disposed in the housing proximate the electronic paper display, the LCD having a second surface area that is smaller than the first surface area of the electronic paper display.”
The Nook has both an electronic ink as well as an LCD display; it therefore falls in the category of violating this patent term. It remains to be seen whether Amazon is planning to sue any of the company or manufactures using this patent. There is however a flurry of legal activity that is taking place at all the major e-reader makers’ sites. Time would speak the path this game is going to go. There had been the case of Barnes & Noble being involved in a dispute with Spring Design on a trade secret issue. Spring Design had claimed that B&N had copied their Alex Reader technology to their Nook. With that case yet pending and in process there is a chance that while these two fight each other on this issue they would join hands simultaneously against Amazon. There is a chance therefore that e-reader development may not take a back seat with tablet Pc making headway. This due to the shrinking market for –readers as well as low margin and then the cost of litigation added would not make it a profitable venture any more.
Eating out will always be an enticing option. Perhaps it would be even more interesting if your iPad could help you research newer and better restaurants. Wherever you are, be it home, office, or vacation outside your hometown there are some iPad applications that can help you break out of your daily rut and experience something new for sure. Presented here are a few iPad applications that you may find worth exploring.
Here and There
iRiver has just released a new WI-FI edition of their “Story” E-Reader. The new version of the iRiver Story is dubbed the EB03 and has a 6-inch e-ink screen whose native resolution is of 600 x 800 and which has 16 levels of gray. Mostly it should be used for viewing a variety of e-book formats, such as EPub, PDF, TXT, FBU and DJVU, and other types of documents, including Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Image files, such as JPEG, GIF and BMP are also supported, and the Flow UI of the Linux-based OS is quite adept at displaying each and every one of these file types. Furthermore, iRiver threw in support for audio files, such as MP3, OGG and WMP, which means that it can double as a music player.
More Blackberry BlackPad Tablet PC rumors continue to pour in. This time we get the news that the screens will 7.5 inches and will have a 1GHZ processor. It will also feature dual cameras and Marvell will be supplying the 3G and WI-FI connector, which leads many people to think that they will also be providing the processor.
Boarders is giving away free ebooks, to draw attention to their new ebook store they recently opened. They are offering five top-selling e-books free of cost to anyone who download the Borders’ apps for PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone, Blackberry, and Android. The e-books taken together are worth $40. The freebies does not end here as Borders is also offering exclusive content for its readers. Like they are offering a sneak peak of Chapter no. 6 of Danielle Steel’s upcoming novel Legacy, which is slated to enter market on Sept. 28 and is not available anywhere else as of now.
HTC has mentioned they have no current plans for a Tablet/Slate PC. Eric Lin, the online Community Manager and global PR of HTC opine that the main reason for them not to jump on to the tablet bandwagon now is not just a mere endeavor to reignite the dead industry of tablet pc.
As per him the number of tablet PC is so huge currently that they would be just one more in the lot if they came up with an addition right away. HTC was rather looking for the right mix of feature and reason to make the tablet that will make it a sure shot success amongst the customer base. To prove his point he mentioned about the display of tablet at the Computex which had 80 by number of tablet PCs that was running on Android. His intention he said was not just to make HTC the 81st Android Tablet.
“We are always looking at it, but, right now, the whole idea is that in order to be successful with a tablet, you need to have something compelling. And not just a compelling form factor”.
Rover Computing is jumping into the Tablet PC arena with not just 1 new offering, but 5! They will be bringing to the market very soon a ton of different specs. However, all the five tablets look to be rebadged OEM offerings with the TegA W70 particularly being based on the Compal Tegra tablet. Also, for the tablets to taste sweet success, they would have to come up with some exceptional performance. More so since since the company is yet an unknown one in this field of tablets devices what with markets already flooded with a plethora of tablets with several more likely to join the scene by the time they they come up, which is slated to happen in October.
That about does it for another Good E-Reader Week in Review! As always, we have omitted a bunch of new Tablets to have come out this week, but do not despair. You can merely, scroll down to the end of the page and click NEXT to see older Posts from earlier in the week.
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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.