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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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March 2017
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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.

Nook Simple Touch and Color go on sale for Mother’s Day

The ranks are closing in on Amazon and the Kindle.  Barnes & Noble is currently holding a Mother”s Day Sale on the Nook Simple Touch basic model, and the Nook Color.  This is apparently a push on its the less popular models.  The sale ends May 12.

Most e-reader fans are more intrigued by the new Nook GlowLight and the Nook Tablet.  The GlowLight includes a cool, more readable light that enables readers to still read at night comfortably.  It doesn’t cause eye strain or suck up battery life like the LCD tablets do.

So the sale brings the Nook Simple Touch down to $79, and the Nook Color down to $149.  Both $20 less than they are normally.

I don’t really see these models as a huge threat to their Kindle counterparts, however, I do think that the Nook Simple Touch at $79 is a better deal than the $79 Kindle, which is not touch screen.

The Kindle Fire is also in more direct competition with the Nook Tablet than the Nook Color.  Refurbished Kindle Fires go for $139 occasionally.  These offers go quickly, so you have to watch closely, or you’ll miss them.

So, in short, if you’re looking for a bargain and a good gift idea for Mother’s Day, this is a good option to consider.

Barnes & Noble has really ramped up the competition with a backing from Microsoft and with the introduction of a Nook with a built in light.  So, it will be interesting to see how Amazon responds.

The leapfrogging between Amazon and its competitors is likely to happen again this year.  Usually the Kindle competitors start the new trend of the year, and Amazon picks up on it, and makes an even better product with it.  Amazon will come up with its own GlowLight Kindle, and I’m sure this year’s refresh of the whole Kindle line up will go at the price to beat.

 

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.

Competition mounts with the speculation of a light enabled Kindle

It was announced last week that Amazon is already working on adding a light into its next generation Kindle.  Not having a built in light has been one of the big drawbacks for e-ink e-readers.  Easy to read in sunlight?  Awesome!  But what about at night in bed or on a long car ride?

The speculation is that the lighting will be a softer “frontlit” type of lighting.  It is designed to be easier on the eyes than its LCD counterparts.  That way the ligthing will still fulfill the promise of longer battery life and comfortable reading.

Usually when one e-reader company gets a bright idea, the others quickly follow suit.  Last year’s big thing was touchscreen e-ink.  There are already posts floating around that hint on a Nook counterpart to the new lighted Kindle.

This year’s big e-ink feature is shaping up to be light.  Will next year’s be color?  Not sure if color e-ink will be ready for a debut that soon, but you never know.  Technology seems to be evolving faster and faster with each passing year.

When the lighted Kindle comes out, the competition will not only be among the major e-readers, but within Amazon’s product line itself.

It probably won’t even matter in the long run, but by including a built in light, Amazon will be killing off Kindle light accessories and Amazon’s own Kindle Lighted Cover.  As I said, this matter will probably be pretty insignificant in the scheme of the things because for awhile yet, there will still be owners of the older models.  Then, eventually the accessories will be redesigned to suit the needs of the newer Kindle generations.

So, e-ink devices have not succombed to tablets yet.  They still have some major potential that can help them stay in the game.

 

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.

Sony to Launch a Foldable Tablet Later this Year

The Sony Reader was the first to get touch screen technology.  It set off a big touch screen craze that included all of the major e-readers: Kindle, Nook, and Kobo.  The Kindle Touch in turn became Amazon’s bestselling e-ink Kindle.

So, Sony has a some good ideas going as far as e-readers go. I happened upon an article about a foldable tablet that the company is currently preparing for release next week.

The new tablet, called the Tablet P, will have dual screens, one on each side of the foldable hinges.  My biggest question in regards to the screens is how they will mesh together for the display.  Will they show separate content?  Do they somehow come together to create a larger display?

The odd thing is that the Tablet P will feature last year’s Android operating system, Honeycomb.  That will be a big drawback right there.

By making this table foldable, it is protecting the screen from scratches and dings, so that is a big plus.   Although Apple was onto something when it created a smart cover to protect the iPad’s screen .  Sony’s new tablet also includes a camera, which is not currently available on the Kindle Fire.

Obviously, there are some real winners in the e-reader and tablet market, most notably,  the Kindle and iPad, but is still fun to explore the other ideas are floating around.  Despite the Tablet P’s lack of computing power and poor sales outlook, it sparks an idea that can be developed further to grab the attention of consumers.

I would really like to see the major players in the tablet and e-reader world become powerful enough to handle heavier computing.  It would be nice to have the benefits of both in one device.  The foldable tablet could emerge as a hybrid laptop/tablet device.  The tablet would be hinged to a keyboard, but also removable.

So, we’ll see what happens.  It is always fun to speculate on the future of technology.

 

Color E-Ink Kindle on the Horizon?

Don’t give up on e-ink Kindles yet.  After the success of the Kindle Fire and the tablet boom, I was beginning to think that e-ink was on its way out.  However, there are new speculations floating around in the tech world about Amazon’s (NASDAQ: AMZN) supposed order of color e-ink  screens.

If that is so, we might be seeing a color e-ink version of the Kindle sometime next summer or early fall.  The timing is based on the past yearly refresh of the Kindle lineup.

I think this would give e-ink a much needed jump start to reclaim its place in the electronic sales market.  Tablets are showing unprecedented success, and are threatening to leave the e-ink devices behind to become a niche market unless they don’t do something about it.

The biggest advantages of a color e-ink Kindle over an LCD tablet are that it doesn’t cause eye strain and suck up battery life.  I love my iPad, but I can’t sit and read it for longer periods of time.  My Kindle’s battery lasts for a couple of months, whereas my iPad’s battery lasts about 10 hours or less depending on use.

Looking at it from an accessibility standpoint, there are certain vision conditions that cause the user to be sensitive to bright lights.  E-ink is obviously a lot friendlier to that type of condition.

The e-ink Kindle began as a single service device designed for reading.  The electronic paper style that the Kindle, Nook, Kobo, and other e-ink readers use is designed to simulate the experience of reading a real book.  Adding color would provide better graphics for comics, newspapers and magazines.  To me, comics are a better fit for paper rather than LCD.

I am excited about this new development.  I think in the long run there will be hybrid e-ink and LCD tablets out there on the market.  I don’t know about you, but it can get cumbersome toting around several different gadgets that each fulfill a different purpose.   By adding color, e-ink is a step closer towards making a device like that a reality.

 

Kindle for Android, Reading Apps & Good E-Reader

Earlier this month the Kindle for Android app got a bit of an update.  While nothing huge, it did finally bring the Real Page Numbers to Android users.  In addition to this, they managed to pare down the size of the download required to use the Kindle platform from 10+mb to a more manageable 8mb.  This might seem rather minor, but considering the lack of space on many Android devices as well as the fact that some users have reported sizes of up to 25mb (can’t reproduce that, but the claim has circulated), this is a definite improvement.

Much as I like the Kindle app however, and I do, there are some things that I would like to be able to do that it does not provide.  Real Page Numbers are nice, but situational at best given that they still only exist in a fraction of the available Kindle Editions.  Now, I have posted here before about the ability to download and install the Nook app through non-Amazon sources and this works quite well.  Sadly I believe that the specific method I mentioned several months ago has been blocked off, though.  This difficulty became a non-issue thanks to Good E-Reader being kind enough to open up their own free app store.

While you can find a fair selection of general purpose apps present that they felt were worth keeping around for people, the folks over at Good E-Reader are concentrating mostly on reading.  This covers books, magazines, comics, and all such things along those lines.  There are only free apps, but this allows the site to operate without adding in any of the inconvenient restrictions that currently plague locked-in Android device owners wishing to pick up something useful. It is definitely worth checking out.

In terms of reading on your Kindle Fire, for example, some people find it more convenient to have access to the Nook app’s extra level of brightness control than to be able to simply invert the contrast of the page.  Others will appreciate the level of social media integration offered by the Kobo app.  In either case, at least you will be able to open EPUB formatted eBooks, which the Kindle Fire lacks any form of native support for at the moment.  You won’t have luck with everything (Google Books, for example is still not working in my experience) but for the most part they’re doing a good job of making the latest popular selections available without all the hassle.

Overall Amazon has done a good job of giving customers what they want, both in terms of the software they provide and the hardware they sell.  I can understand the urge to retain control over what gets installed on Kindle Fire devices, especially since if anything goes wrong it is likely to be Amazon’s Customer Service that gets the call.  They have left the door pretty wide open to install most things, though, provided you know how to find them.  In some cases, it’s more than worth the effort it takes to get the most out of your experience.  Kindle Fire software updates do not remove any apps when they occur, so it shouldn’t be an ongoing hassle.

OverDrive Gets a Huge Membership Boost after Launching Kindle Library Lending

The Kindle Library Lending service launched in the fall of 2011 started with 11.000 libraries.  The number has grown to about 15,000 libraries and counting in the US, and 18,000 worldwide.  This new service offered via a partnership between Amazon and OverDrive has been very instrumental in facilitating this big jump in membership. more

Kindle Library Lending is available to anyone who has an e-ink Kindle, Kindle Fire, or Kindle reading app.  The books can be downloaded via Wi-Fi or USB.  Loan periods vary by library.

So it looks like a win win situation for both parties.  Customers who want to keep a book can purchase them on Amazon.  Amazon has the broad customer base and selection of books to bring to the table.  I do hope that they can eliminate some of the steps to downloading a book.  In some cases it takes a lot of digging to even find the e-book collection on the library’s website.

OverDrive is the repository that is used for holding digital book collections.  This includes both e-books and audiobooks.  The e-book collections are available on the Kindle, Nook, and any other e-reader that supports ePub format.  E-books can also be accessed on the computer.  If the service is offered at your local library, a link to it should be fairly prominent on the library’s website.

Most states have a digital library account with OverDrive.  North Carolina’s is called the NC Digital Library.  From there, select libraries subscribe to the account and offer e-books.  If your library doesn’t currently offer them, keep checking back.  More libraries are constantly being added to the service.  I see articles about individual libraries launching e-book lending all the time.

Between Kindle Library Lending from my local library and the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library, I’ve been able to find a lot of good reading material for free.  There are also a lot of reduced priced Kindle books available as well.  Each month features 100 Kindle Books under $3.99.  The major bestsellers aren’t available on either yet unfortunately, but they do offer a chance to explore new authors and catch up on older bestsellers.