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On e-Reader Tech News we track down the latest e-Reader news. We will keep you up to date with whats hot in the bestsellers section, including books, ebooks and blogs... and we will also bring you great e-reader tips and tricks along with reviews for the latest devices and accessories.

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Barnes and Nobles plans to release next Nook tablet

Nook GlowlightBarnes & Nobles stopped working on its Nook brand couple of years ago. Instead it started working with 3rd party manufacturers to co-brand their devices with Nook name. But now it looks like Barnes & Nobles has restarted work on its own Nook devices again with planned release of Nook device called Nook Tablet 7. The device just passed FCC. FCC documents don’t have much information in them but at least they have information that new Nook device will run on Android and will have Google Play store on it.

Nook Tablet 7 rumored specs are following:

  • MediaTek MTM8163 quad-core ARM Cortex-A53 processor with Mali-T720 MP2 graphics
  • front and rear cameras
  • 3,000mAh battery
  • mico-USB port
  • microSD card slot available

It is possible that Nook Tablet 7 will directly compete with $50 Amazon Kindle Fire tablet offering but it is just a speculation at this point. We need to wait and see actual device to draw conclusions. We hope that we will find out soon and device may show up for upcoming holidays.

New Nook Tablet Planned To Match Updated Kindle Fire

A recent report through CNET indicates that Barnes & Noble is preparing to combat the anticipated Kindle Fire 2 release with a new and improved model of their Nook Tablet.  Very little is known so far when it comes to details about the device, but it seems that the new Nook will still be focused on being an eReader first and a tablet second.  There are a couple different ways that this becomes important.

The biggest selling point, according to this admittedly preliminary report, will be a new sort of screen technology never before seen in the tablet market.  This could mean any number of things, but seeing as Barnes & Noble is more concerned with the implementation of high quality reading applications there is a good chance that it will be battery efficient, easy on the eyes, and otherwise well suited to extended user focus.

Given their failure to seize a significant portion of the Android tablet market thus far, it would be unrealistic to speculate about a high resolution, high pixel density screen along the lines of what is used in the latest iPads and iPhones.  That isn’t the sort of direct competition that would go well for the company no matter how invested they are in the future of the Nook line.

Despite their inability to make much of a dent in Android, however, the new Nook Tablet will definitely be remaining with the OS.  There has been some speculation among analysts that the recent Microsoft investment in the product line would lead to a Windows 8 powered Nook, but that will not be happening just yet.

Microsoft’s announcement of the Surface tablet line was enough of an upset to their OEM partners that it seems unlikely they will enter the budget tablet market any time soon.  Without their direct involvement, and the waiver of licensing fees that would have to come with it, the price of running Windows 8 remains too high for any 7” tablet priced to compete.

Obviously the hardware specifications will be closely equated to the Kindle Fire 2.  Even if the Kindle Fire sold better by quite a lot, the Nook Tablet was practically a point by point demonstration of one-upmanship on that side of things and there is not likely to be much of a change despite the intrusion of Google’s Nexus 7 into the marketplace.

Where they really have to work is in media services.  Both the Kindle Fire and the Nexus 7 do far better at getting users the content they want when they want it.  There isn’t much point in offering nice hardware if it is hard to find something to use it for.  A Microsoft tie-in here would make a lot of sense, especially given the software giant’s recent interest in expanding their Xbox Live media services.  Streaming to Nook Tablets would help things along and save Barnes & Noble money on infrastructure development.

The Nook Tablet vs Kindle Fire decision will likely come down to an evaluation of this “revolutionary” new screen.  If it is truly amazing and half as unique as claimed then Barnes & Noble will have a major advantage.  If not, the Kindle Fire will still offer more content, better integration, and a smoother custom Android interface.  They are both said to be coming out for just $200, but the Kindle Fire has far less to prove.

The new Nook Tablet is expected to be released in late September or October of 2012.

Amazon Kindle Faces Big Trouble as Microsoft Backs Nook Line

Barnes & Noble has finally begun to spin off their Nook brand into its own subsidiary company and Microsoft has jumped at the opportunity to be a major part of that effort.  According to an announcement released jointly this Monday, the software giant will be investing $300 Million into the Nook business thereby acquiring 17.6% equity stake.  This could be bad news for Amazon’s Kindle line, which is already facing some of its toughest competition to date in the realm of eReading thanks to the new Nook Simple Touch w/ GlowLight.

Making things even more pleasant for B&N, this arrangement will also involve the settlement of Microsoft’s ongoing patent litigation the bookseller over certain aspects of the Nook’s design.  Microsoft will now be picking up royalties for all Nook products, but in the end this may result in significant savings compared to the cost of legal defense.  Whether or not that is the case, and admittedly I’m not a lawyer so it is purely speculative, this partnership will open up some major new opportunities for advancing the Nook.

In the immediate future we can expect a Nook app for Windows 8.  This will be an important development for both companies as Microsoft is betting big on the potential for tablets using their new OS while Barnes & Noble will need to be ready for the next major push in operating systems.  The nature of the Metro UI that Windows 8 (and its ARM compatible offshoot Windows RT) uses will actually create an even better reading experience than existing Windows reading apps if done right.

More long-term, Microsoft has already alluded to an interest in using Windows 8 to gain a foothold in the eReader market.  While this was mostly an offhanded remark at a recent event, and could therefore have been meant as a subtle emphasis on how adaptable their new operating system is, buying into as big a player in eReading as the Barnes & Noble Nook line is a fair indication that something more serious is going on.

In the face of this, Amazon has to be wondering what to do next with the Kindle line.  While the Kindle Fire is coming out on top of every other Android tablet on the market today, their Android fork might not quite compare to a properly configured Windows 8 installation powering the next Nook Tablet.  Nothing stops Amazon from following suit and licensing the new OS themselves, of course, but this would likely lose them the ability to completely control the user experience enjoyed under the existing system.  Microsoft will certainly allow locked-down version of their software to circulate, but fragmenting the Metro UI is not going to happen.

This might end up being the first step in a major Android vs Windows 8 fight.  The Kindle Fire holds the majority of non-iPad tablet users, but if a new Nook offered superior hardware and an operating system that shines when compared to Android without increasing the price significantly then the tables could turn.  Amazon still has their content distribution and the tight integration that gives them the edge, but the next Kindle Fire might need to be especially impressive to keep consumer interest going.

Nook Steps Ahead of Kindle With Announcement of GlowLight

While we recently learned that Amazon was planning something new with a front-lit version of the Kindle, Barnes & Noble has gone a step further and launched a lit Nook complete with release date.  There’s no reason to think this is anything but a reaction to the leaked info regarding Amazon’s plans, but the fact that they already had a response prepared like this indicates a great deal of foresight.  What was already quite possibly the best eReading hardware on the market will be the first to get upgraded for the next generation.

Those familiar with the Nook Simple Touch will also have a good impression of the Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight.  They are the same product, as the name might imply.  GlowLight, Barnes & Noble’s solution to the problem of reading in poor lighting, has just been added into the existing model with minimal fuss.  It doesn’t even get in the way of what have traditionally been the strengths of the un-lit eReader.

The new Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight will still have the same E Ink screen that we’re used to.  It will work as well as ever in direct sunlight and any other situation where reading from a paper book would be plausible.  The difference now is that holding down the ‘n’ button on the Nook will turn on a set of LEDs along the sides of the display.  This provides sufficient light for any situation while avoiding a drastic increase in battery drain.

This upgrade will add an additional $40 to the price tag of the Nook.  It is likely more than worth the investment, though.  You are getting all of the advantages of E Ink with the conveniences a standard LCD would provide, but supplied in such a way as to be fairly easy on the eyes even when the adjustable lighting is in use.  That’s the sort of convenience you really can’t pass up in an eReader.

The Kindle product line is still my preference and the eReader line that I would recommend to anybody I knew personally.  That is not so much a matter of hardware superiority at this point, though.  If anything, it is a matter of hardware adequacy and highly superior back-end support to shore up the physical product by comparison.  There is nothing wrong with the Kindle Touch, per se, but it also doesn’t come with any such compellingly interesting new features.

We know that Amazon will be releasing something similar to GlowLight.  Chances are even good that now that B&N has set a May release date for the new Nook, a shiny new Kindle will appear by June.  If circumstances surrounding the settlements in the DOJ price fixing investigation didn’t seem likely to offer Kindle owners some truly amazing advantages in the near future, though, this would be the time when Amazon needed to sweat a little over the competition’s superior offering.

Last Minute iPad 3 vs Kindle Fire Thoughts

I am writing this on the eve of the launch of the next generation iPad. So speculations on what new features the iPad 3 will offer  and what it means for tablet competition is definitely on my mind.  As anyone who keeps up with tech news knows, the rumors get pretty wild in the days leading up to big announcements like these.

Aside from the new launch, there are two speculations that might have a more direct implication for the Kindle Fire.  The first is the possibility of a 7.85 inch iPad Mini.  Honestly, I can’t really see this fitting into the scope of Apple’s products.  I could be wrong, but right now, there is a big enough gulf between the iPad 2 and the iPhone that consumers can reconcile having both.  They serve different functions.

An iPad Mini would blur the lines a bit and give consumers less of a reason to have both.  So it would cause internal competition for Apple.  However, it would add some worthy competition to the smaller tablet market.

The other option is a budget version of the iPad 2.  This assumption seems more viable because Apple has done this in the past with the iPhone, and has had good success with it.  This would be an 8GB version as opposed to 16 or 32GB.

It depends on how much cheaper the iPad 2  is, but this is what could really give the Kindle Fire a run for its money.  Right now, Amazon’s bestselling tablet’s biggest asset is that it packs a lot of features for a rock bottom price.  Competitors certainly recognize that.  Just look at the recent price drop on the Nook Tablet.

In the next few years, I would love to see a tablet emerge that has computing power comparable to the PC.  Apple has that ability to to that with the iPad, but isn’t quite there yet.  That leaves room for the smaller tablets to serve consumers who want something more portable, inexpensive and multipurpose without too much processing power.

So, I don’t really think the iPad 3 will have too much effect on the Kindle Fire competition wise.  It serves a different market.  The thing to watch will be the introduction of either a budget iPad or a less probable iPad Mini.  So, all we can do at this point is sit back and see what happens.

 

 

Amazon to Sell E-Books Non Exclusively

Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) has sold e-books in the Kindle Store using its own formatting style ever since the Kindle was introduced in 2007.

That will change next year when a new program is launched called Amazon Lives.  This program will debut with biographies that will be available in multiple formats as well as places outside of the Kindle Store.

Amazon has been stepping out into a lot of new markets lately.  The online retailer is planning to open a boutique in Seattle to sell the Kindle and other products.  The company that started the online buying revolution will now have a tangible, brick and mortar presence.

We’ve also seen Amazon challenge Netflix with free movie streaming for Prime members, and take a stab at Apple’s iPad consumer market with the Kindle Fire.

Now with Amazon Lives, the line blurs as Kindle e-books lose their exclusive formatting identity.  Amazon Lives is just starting out with biographies, but I doubt it will take too long to branch out into other genres.  Barnes & Noble and Books a Million recently stated that they would not sell Amazon books in their stores, but the launch of this new program might affect that sales strategy.

The technology market in general involves a lot of cat and mouse type competition.  I’ve seen this ramp up a lot with the entrance of e-readers and tablets.  Competition is healthy in most respects because it makes the products better.  Take the Kindle Touch for example.  This version followed suit after other e-readers started adopting touch screen technology.  However, if a company wants to try to take over so many different areas of the market, then they risk losing quality in their products.

So my hope is that Kindle e-books will maintain their good reputation while serving the broadest audience possible as they venture into the new realm of non exclusivity.

To Match Kindle Fire, B&N Releases Cheaper $200 Nook Tablet

There has been some question about the importance of pricing in the Kindle Fire’s dominance over the seemingly superior Nook Tablet.  On paper the Barnes & Noble tablet is definitely the slightly better device with more storage, expandable memory, twice the RAM, and otherwise similar hardware, which means it makes sense to pick out the one aspect of the comparison (in this case the price) that goes against it when determining why the Nook Tablet hasn’t done better.  Barnes & Noble obviously thought so, and has decided to start offering a version of the Nook Tablet at $200 that sacrifices nothing but its superior onboard storage.  Surely they are hoping this will be enough to at least start to draw even with the Kindle Fire.

The big question we have to ask now is whether or not this is a reasonable expectation from such a small change.  Have people really been choosing the Kindle Fire just to get 20% off the competition’s price?  This is definitely a possibility for some buyers, but overall there are other factors that we have to consider.  What you buy when you get one of these tablets is more than just the physical device at this point; it’s an entire content ecosystem.

Many, myself included, are of the opinion that the real strength of the Kindle Fire stems from its deep integration with Amazon’s systems.  It is undoubtedly a mixed blessing thanks to the associated lack of access to the main Google App Marketplace among other things, but this integration does allow for some impressive features.  The on-device storage is practically irrelevant when a decent WiFi network is in range, for example, thanks to the streaming media options Amazon has made available.  There is also more than enough space at any given time for several dozen apps, a couple hundred eBooks, and assorted music and video files.  Will you be carrying around entire seasons of your favorite television show?  Probably not.  You can expect to have several hours worth of viewing on hand for when wireless connectivity is unavailable, though.

Barnes & Noble simply isn’t offering the same amount of service, which is why it makes sense for them to be trying to make up the difference with somewhat superior hardware at the same price as the Kindle Fire.  The new Nook Tablet is, if anything, an even better option than the 16GB model for those looking into the possibility of rooting their new tablet, but if you’re keeping the stock firmware then it is a decision that should be carefully considered.  Nothing has changed or improved here, when it comes right down to it, besides dropping the price.

If you are a fan of the Nook, or dislike the idea of Amazon’s having a hold on your tablet, this is a great deal.  If you really want a color LCD device for reading on, the Nook Tablet is also still your best option.  If these situations don’t apply to you, however, the $200 Kindle Fire vs $200 Nook Tablet competition is still pretty heavily weighted in favor of Amazon.

Barnes & Noble Considering A Nook Spin Off

After reporting less than stellar stock returns, Barnes & Noble is seriously considering spinning off, or even selling its expensive, but popular Nook business to allow the Nook to ramp up its competition with Amazon’s Kindle and Apple’s iPad.

Right now, the tech world is weighing three options with the pros and cons of each.  This article does a good job of breaking all of it down.  Barnes & Noble can keep an active role in the business as it is now, which is not likely, it can take a backseat, yet still hold the reigns, or it can sell the business entirely.

Sales of all Nook e-readers combined were up 70% during the 2011 holiday shopping season, compared to a mere 2.5% growth of regular book sales.  That definitely goes to show that something needs to change, or the retailer will end up with the same fate as Borders, which declared bankruptcy earlier this year.

I think that Barnes & Noble’s best bet would be to stay invested somewhat in the business because the e-book is the way of the future.  Despite the lackluster reception of the Nook Touch, the Nook Color and the Nook Tablet have been doing very well.  I am not saying that print is dying out by any means, but e-books are definitely going to take an increasingly larger role over the next few years.  Consumers are already flocking to Amazon for both print and e-books because the prices are better.  So, the Nook would be a lifeline in case the print side of the business suffers.

Barnes & Noble recognizes that there is work to do to catch up with the Kindle, so the competition is going to get much more intense if the Nook gets more attention via a spinoff or separate company.

It will be interesting to see what this potential new development means for the Kindle.  Amazon reported record breaking Kindle sales in 2011 because of the much anticipated Kindle Fire and by offering the prices to beat,  All three members of the Kindle Family took the top selling spots on Amazon. The Kindle will most likely remain firmly on top of the e-reader market for the time being.

 

How the Kindle Can Benefit Independent Bookstores

I was reading an article a couple of days ago that I thought made a good point.  It discussed how despite the surge of e-books and e-readers in recent years, there is still a place for print books.  On a personal note, I can still appreciate reading a print book from time to time despite owning a Kindle Touch, iPad and iPhone.

There seems to be a general consensus that print is on its way out, and getting an e-reader means you’ll never read print books again.  I think instead of replacing print books, digital books will just be adding to the types of formats that people can use to read.  Digital books allow more font adjustments and lighting, so they offer a more customized reading experience.

With the rise of e-readers including the Amazon Kindle, and the e-books that go along with it, many of the major book chains have faltered or have gone out of business.  Borders declared bankruptcy earlier this year, and Barnes & Noble is not doing all too great.  It does have the Nook in its arsenal however, and it has definitely provided healthy competition for the Kindle.

I think the foreseeable future still holds a big place for both print and digital materials.  Print books give a certain feel that digital books cannot.  There is really something for everyone.  You have print, e-readers, and most recently, tablets.  The Kindle Fire has taken the tablet market by a storm, and is taking a hit at the iPad sales already.

The thing that has hurt the big chain bookstores so much is that Amazon offers books in all formats so much cheaper.  Independent bookstores can also offer used books at competitive prices.  They can also offer a sense of warmth and community that you don’t get with a larger bookstore.

So, smaller bookstores have the potential to shine.  It is all a matter of addressing what the customers want.  I’ve always dreamed of owning a used book store where people can come to read, work, or just gather.  Maybe one day soon there will be more independent bookstores that sell both e-books and print books.

 

 

 

Get Nook App For Your Kindle Fire

Image: Business InsiderWhen it comes to deciding which eReader to buy, the biggest consideration is usually going to be whether you want to use a Nook or a Kindle forever.  Because sadly, it is difficult at best to change between the two platforms without losing access to every eBook you own.  While it is nice to dream of a day with no restrictive DRM, where you can move what you buy to whatever device you want, we have yet to reach that point.  Fortunately there are now some options that don’t require learning to tear out the DRM from every one of your eBooks, assuming you don’t mind reading on an LCD.

Naturally, whether you buy a Kindle Fire or a Barnes & Noble Nook Tablet (or Nook Color), there is always the option to root your device to install the competitor’s reading app.  That process can be a pain for a few reasons, more so with the Nook in my experience since Amazon didn’t really try to prevent their customers from doing whatever they want with the Fire.  Despite the complications, this is a great option for the Nook Tablet.  It adds a load of functionality and removes some of the rather silly restrictions on usage that B&N felt the need to include. With the Kindle Fire, however, taking advantage of rooting causes you to lose access to the wonderfully streamlines interface that Amazon came up with in favor of a default Android OS.  Maybe that works for some people, but personally I prefer what the device shipped with for once.

If you’re of the same opinion, hope is not lost.  While you cannot access the Android Marketplace through your Kindle Fire, you are still able to download third party apps.  Amusingly this includes the Nook App if you know where to look.

As a fan of the original Nook, I jumped at the chance to get easy access to my old purchases again.  You can find the app at m.getjar.com, using the Kindle Fire‘s browser.  While some have indicated that you need to download the GetJar app to proceed from here, I had no trouble without it.  Just search for “Nook”, download the app, and install from the downloads menu (Pull up the list by tapping on the number next to your tablet’s name on the status bar).  It will show up under the Apps tab.

The only complication in using the Nook App this way is that it is unable to download all of my books.  Since some of them work fine and new purchases come through smoothly, I’m guessing these particular titles are the freebies I picked out early on that have been moved or replaced with better free copies, but it’s been long enough now that I honestly can’t recall.  It’s got a couple features that might be preferable to the Kindle’s normal reading app for some people.  Small things like a dimmer brightness setting, or a different animated page turn.  For the most part they are practically identical.

To me, this increases the usefulness of the Kindle Fire significantly.  If nothing else, it is great to finally have all of my eBooks available on the same device at the same time.  While I would love to be able to do the same on an E INK reader, this works as the next best thing for now.  There’s no real downside and it takes just moments to get this installed.  Give it a try.