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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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April 2018
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How the Digital Revolution has Changed the Nature of Reading

I’ve been reading a lot of good books lately.  Some kept my attention better than others though.  I just finished Tina Fey’s hit autobiography, Bossypants.  It has been awhile since I’ve laughed out loud so much while reading a book.  I highly recommend this one.

After reading an article about how distractions from social media and YouTube have changed the nature of reading, it made me realize how true that is just from observing my own recent reading habits.  The whole social media is distracting concept is not new, but sometimes we just have to be reminded how much of a time suck it really is.

I have always been a voracious reader.  I used to could lie on a couch immersed in a book, or in more recent years, my Kindle, for hours on end.  I have always liked how the e-ink Kindle has managed to continue to create a quality, relatively distraction free reading experience. Enter the iPhone, and later the iPad and those days were mostly gone.

Books don’t grab my attention like they used to.  I’m finding that it is harder and harder for me to focus on one book for a length of time.  Even with one as good as Bossypants, I was still mindlessly checking my email or Facebook every so often.

So what will instant access to other forms of media do to reading?  It has and will continue to become more fragmented.  Twitter has introduced the idea of saying what you need to say in just 140 characters.  We go in to get what we want, and move on.  The good thing about this is that more people than ever before have access to information.  Most people are reading something, even if it is just blog articles.  So, this is a big step in the right direction for literacy efforts.

With that said, I do hope that good books hold their charm for years to come.  There are times when our overstimulated brains just need a break from the mindless social media checking.  I sometimes like to leave everything behind and go sit in a park on a nice day and just read.  Hide your phone, or revoke your Kindle Fire’s wi-fi access, and escape into another reality for awhile.

Kindle Fire a Huge Hit This Holiday Season

Amazon reported record breaking Kindle sales this holiday season.  The Kindle Fire was a major player in making those sales possible.

My sister got a Kindle Fire, so I thought I’d grab it and give my thoughts on it.  First off, I was shocked at how small it is.  It is not that much bigger than my Kindle Touch.  I guess the size came as a shock because I’m used to the iPad.

The Kindle Fire is the best of two worlds.  It is compact enough to tote around in your purse, but it yields a bigger screen than a smartphone.  So, you don’t have to squint to see what you’re reading.  Plus, there’s no data fee each month on top of the fact that the Fire is the same price as most smartphones with a contract.

The display is as crisp and vibrant as described in the product description.  I like how some of the most prominent navigation buttons are bold or in a different color to make sure you don’t miss them.

Now, here’s where the Fire could use some improvement, and I have to say that I am biased because I am a staunch advocate for user friendly technology.  The Kindle Fire is very appealing to the masses because of its price and features, which is Amazon’s goal.  That sentiment can certainly be proved with the rush of new Kindle Fire owners this Christmas.  However, there are a few aspects of it that make it counter intuitive.

The app wheel that spins the apps on the home screen is cool, and it allows you to quickly zoom into the app that you want. But, the home screen in general is a bit cluttered with apps and links.  It took me awhile to figure out where I needed to go first.

There is only one button that switches the tablet in and out of sleep mode.  My first instinct was to find the physical “home” button, but that is actually on the screen in the bottom left corner.

As for the web browser, I like that the text does not require scrolling, and it reads down the page regardless of whether you flip the tablet vertically or horizontally.  I am visually impaired, so I have to zoom in on the text that I am reading.  I couldn’t find an easy way to do so in the Kindle Fire’s web browser.  I also had a little trouble with the tabs.

Accessibility is something that Apple excels at, and integrating it would take a little more effort on Amazon’s part.  It would probably also ramp up the price because of the extra time.  But to truly appeal to everyone, a device has to include features that make it usable for people who cannot access it the conventional way.

So, to sum it up, there are aspects of the Kindle Fire that are awesome, and there are others that need improvement.  It is just like any other new technology that will improve over time.  So for now, I am quite pleased with my Kindle Touch, and with my iPad for more heavy duty stuff.

So, new Kindle Fire users, what do you have to say about it?

 

Kindle Fire Popularity Seems To Spur Interest In Kindle Phone

It’s safe to say that the Kindle Fire has made an impression.  Tablet prices are dropping across the board, some major hardware developers seem to be reconsidering their desire to enter the fray, and Amazon has increased their expected sales numbers on the order of millions of units beyond what was originally planned for the 2011 holiday season.  Not only does this spell good news for Amazon’s first non-eReader (or maybe post-eReader?  Hard to say precisely where to draw the line since it technically can show you books), it means that the hardware line is sure to continue and expand as time goes on.

There is some contention at the moment about exactly which Kindle Fire followup we can expect to see next.  Some are certain that it will end up being a 10.1″ direct competitor for the iPad while a newer contingent citing supposedly inside information from the production chain has started indicating somewhere around 9″ as the next step.  Regardless of where you would place your bet, one frequent point of speculation is the potential for a Kindle Phone.

There has been speculation before that Amazon was interested in entering into cellular devices, but until recently that seemed doomed to be nothing but a rumor.  This past week, though, Citigroup analyst Mark Mahoney noted that certain checks they have done indicate that development for an Amazon Phone is already underway with delivery expected in 4th quarter 2012.

To be honest, it is hard to know what to expect moving forward.  While this seems to be fairly detailed information, it feels like there is little in it for Amazon in the end.  The tablet makes sense since Amazon is able to completely control the data end of things and sell at near cost, undercutting the competition.  In a cellular market closely controlled by carriers, there might well be less room for such tactics.  When consumers are already used to getting hardware for less than half of its suggested retail cost, budget options aren’t as shocking.

What I could definitely envision, however, is a Kindle Fire-like device with a smaller screen and optional 3G coverage along the lines of what is available for the iPad.  It would work marketed as an iPod Touch competitor but still have the hardware necessary to function as a communication device should the desire arise.  Even without the 3G, relying on WiFi availability, such a thing would make a big splash at the right price.

As much as it might be a difficult thing to enter into the smartphone marketplace at this time, would Amazon be willing to pass up a chance to grab hold of what is only going to continue to be an expanding market?  The Kindle Fire has demonstrated for them the potential of Android devices and the fact that they already have an Android fork fully developed and customized to fully integrate into their sales systems means that much of the work is already done.  Maybe it’s just optimism, but I think the Kindle Phone is definitely on its way.

Could Amazon Create a Kindle Phone?

The Kindle Fire is not even released yet, and there are already speculations going around that involve the possibility of an Amazon smartphone. More information on Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) smartphone predictions can be found here.

Now that Amazon has an appstore and an Android OS, they are much closer to putting all of this together into a phone than ever before. Amazon also has a contract with AT&T for their 3G service on the Kindle.  Amazon’s appstore also includes daily free apps.  This gives them an edge over Apple.

I just hope they don’t get so bogged down by creating all of the different devices that they neglect the device that they’re most well known for. That is the Kindle e-reader. Books and reading are the core of Amazon’s services.

I think the main thing that Amazon has over everyone else with their products is how inexpensive they are. They can design a cheaper smartphone, and that would allow consumers who wouldn’t otherwise be able to get a smartphone, be able to have one. I come to this conclusion from looking at the current tier of prices for the new line of Kindles, and the $200 Kindle Fire.  It is $300 less than the cheapest iPad.

Speaking of Amazon being inexpensive. I was in a used bookstore the other day, and compared the price of a book there versus the same book available on Amazon. The new version was cheaper on Amazon.  If used bookstores have such high prices, they’re never going to be able to compete.

So, in summary, I’m all for an Amazon smartphone that would open up the smartphone market to consumers looking for a more affordable phone. They have the means to do it, but I only if it will not compromise the quality of the original Kindle e-reader devices.  I would hate to see Amazon to lose sight of what they stand for, yet they have so much potential on a lot of device fronts.

Free Kindle Giveaway!

BitDefender, an antivirus and internet security software company, is currently hosting a giveaway series that includes a chance to win 2 free Amazon Kindles.  Other prizes include tablets, laptops, smartphones and many other gadgets.  The grand prize is a BMW 3 Series.  Entering into one contest puts your name in for the grand prize.

Here’s how to enter the contest:

Access the Facebook Application: BitDefender fun4fans.and the contest asks that you connect a set of paragraphs to complete a story.  The application does a good job of explaining how to complete the contests.  From February 18-May 29, there will be weekly draws to win gadgets including the Kindle.  Each week has a different theme.

And yes, I know Facebook applications can be annoying, but this one might just get you a fun gadget to play with.