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eReaders

How are eReaders affecting our children?
June 30, 2014 | 12:25 pm

ereadersBy Miles Young Those of us who have been around for a while continue to marvel at the way mobile technology is rapidly becoming a part of everyday life. For today's young children, however, smartphones and tablets are as basic and intuitive as the household refrigerator. Parents and teachers alike are asking themselves: what role do e-readers have on today's learning reader? One of the reasons it is difficult to reach a conclusion is because there are several factors to consider, including age, platform, and whether the child is reading alone or with a parent. It is also important to note that...

Jolicloud Drive adds cloud EPUB reading capability
June 30, 2014 | 11:30 am

Origin 6302014 111244 AMJolicloud was originally conceived as a web-based “operating system.” The web version of it showed the same home screen, with all the same web apps, that a user might have configured on the Ubuntu-based JoliOS operating system for computers or tablets. The problem was that apparently the JoliOS Linux operating system never really became popular enough to support, and Joli discontinued it. Since then, it seems to have been casting about for something to keep it from being just another collection of bookmarks to web apps. It has renamed itself “Drive,” and now bills itself as a way...

Amazon’s Fire Phone is the smartphone for people who love Amazon
June 18, 2014 | 3:40 pm

amazon_phone-1200-80Well, the Amazon launch event just wrapped, and there are articles covering all the details all over the place. (Here’s a good one at Ars Technica plus our own Juli Monroe wrote one.) The Amazon Fire Phone (what a creative and original name!) is pretty much as expected from all the rumors. It has decent specs (quad-core 2.2 GHz Snapdragon 800 CPU, Adreno 330 GPU, 2 GB RAM; 4.7” IPS Gorilla Glass 1280x720 display) four head-tracking cameras for lenticular 3D effects, a 13 megapixel image-stabilized rear facing camera, and a few other neat gizmos like that. It does have...

App Review: Google Play Books for Android
June 17, 2014 | 12:19 pm

Screenshot_2014-06-17-10-57-52I hadn’t paid much attention to Google Play Books before. I’d installed and even paid for readers like Aldiko and Moon+ (TeleRead review), and snagged a couple freeish ones like UB Reader, but Play Books just sat in my app drawer, unused, like most of the pack-in Google apps. But when I came across this Lifehacker piece calling it “the best e-reader for Android,” I figured it was worth trying out. And darned if I don’t by and large agree. Offering a simple and easy-to-use reading interface and cloud reading-position sync with all books, Google Play Books is...

Amazon to partner with AT&T for its smartphone service, sources say
June 17, 2014 | 9:09 am

An iconoclastic company introduces a new cell phone, and announces it will be available exclusively through AT&T. Anyone feel like it’s 2007 again? The Wall Street Journal reports (paywalled; google the headline to get the full article) that anonymous sources have revealed Amazon’s new smartphone, to be announced tomorrow, will be available exclusively through AT&T. AT&T is already the service provider for Kindle tablets and e-readers, so it’s not exactly a surprise. It’s amusing that Amazon is taking a page from its rival Apple’s book, with Apple’s very own former dance partner yet. I suppose AT&T’s been hurting a...

Ars Technica exhaustively documents all Android versions
June 16, 2014 | 2:37 am

its-been-quite-a-journey1-980x439In the interest of documenting it for the historical record, Ars Technica has just posted an immense 40,000-word retrospective on all versions of Android to date, with as many screen shots and as much information as they can gather. It’s possibly the biggest article I’ve seen on their site, at 26 separate pages; Ars Technica premier subscribers can view it in single page form on the site or download a PDF. Those folks who don’t pay for a subscription may want to use an aggregator like Instapaper to view it in a more manageable form. It might even...

$50 tablets are now a thing
June 8, 2014 | 5:42 am

DigiLand-DL-71These are the days of miracle and wonder… A few months ago, I wrote that the $100 laptop was now the $100 tablet. It turns out that now, it’s the $50 tablet. First they were on sale for that at Office Depot. Since, I’ve seen them around the same price in Fry’s. Now Nate reports on The Digital Reader that Best Buy has a $50 dual-core Android 4.4 tablet, and I just got a Wal-Mart sales circular email advertising Ematic 7” tablets for $55 and $60. It also features a number of other tablets in the $70 to $100...

iBooks to be included with every iOS 8 device; will the DoJ take notice?
June 5, 2014 | 7:05 am

Apart from all the little features it’s swiping from Android (finally, widgets, custom keyboards, and cross-app sharing APIs!), the new iPhone OS 8 includes one little feature that Mark Coker of Smashwords believes will be a “game changer.” For the first time, iBooks will be bundled directly into every new iOS device sold. This might not seem like a big deal at first—iBooks has, after all, been available for four years to anyone who wants to download it—but never underestimate the laziness barrier. People who weren’t that “into” e-books might never have bothered to grab it on their...

Put your e-books on a shelf with Digital Library Wallpaper
June 4, 2014 | 5:42 pm

vodafone-digital-library-wallpaperOne of the problems paper bibliophiles often cite in e-books is that you can’t show off your e-book collection on your shelves. It’s all hidden inside a computer. But Engaget reports that Vodaphone Romania has found a clever way around that as part of its own e-book lending program. which it calls Digital Library Wallpaper. Customers can go to Vodaphone’s web site, pick out the books they want, and then have a big wallpaper “shelf” printed that has book decorations and scannable QR codes on it so that they, or their friends who are visiting, can load the books onto...

Don’t be ‘That Guy’
June 2, 2014 | 6:06 pm

yell-monitor-l1Over the last few days, someone on one of the forums I frequent has started screaming bloody murder about a Kindle technical problem. I’m not going to say who or where (and I’d ask that any commenters who know who I’m talking about please do the same), because it’s not my intention to “name and shame.” I’ll just call him That Guy. Anyway, That Guy has posted his rant across three different forum boards, accusing Amazon of “fraud” because he can’t get his e-books to sync to the second Kindle on his account from the “Manage Your Content &...

How to upgrade the Nook HD to Kit Kat with Cyanogenmod
May 31, 2014 | 4:59 pm

Screenshot_2014-05-31-16-44-33Ever since I got my Nexus 7, my Nook HD has been kind of languishing. I’d upgraded it to the most recent Jelly Bean Cyanogenmod version a while back, but I was curious: what might Kit Kat be like on it? Could I run it? Given that I had the Nexus, I wasn’t in danger of losing my only Android tablet solution if I screwed it up, so I figured, why not break me off a piece? I found some not terribly user-friendly instructions, puzzled my way through them, and commenced. It worked for me, so I’m going to tell you...

Whither the Kindle Killer?
May 29, 2014 | 7:01 am

Broken-KindleFound via Slashdot: Larry Press plaintively wonders why nobody’s come up with a “Kindle Killer” yet. He notes a whole host of ways the Kindle falls short of perfection—lack of voice recognition or full interface capability with a computer, for example—and thinks such a device really should be a “low-hanging fruit” for one of the big device makers. I’ll tell you why, Larry. The demand isn’t there. Maybe folks like you who like to get the most out of their devices would want such a thing, but the vast majority of the lowest-common-denominator general public—the ones who actually buy...