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eReaders

Photos of Amazon 3D, 6-camera smartphone prototype surface
April 15, 2014 | 2:44 pm

bgr-a-phone-1-500x231There goes Amazon, changing the game again. I’ve noticed that when Amazon introduces its own spin on an already-established device, it likes to add some new and different feature from right out of left field to distinguish itself from the competition. With e-readers, it was the free 3G service to let people buy e-books and check their mail from anywhere. With the Fire TV it was the extensive gaming focus and voice search. Now, with Amazon’s impending smartphone, it appears to be six cameras and a 3D display. The Boy Genius Report has exclusive photos and more information about...

Amazon to purchase ComiXology e-comic-book store
April 10, 2014 | 6:24 pm

Looks like the Big Bad Amazon Wolf has just gulped down another hefty meal. Two weeks after rumors started going around (as noticed by Nate Hoffelder at the Digital Reader), Amazon has announced it will be acquiring ComiXology, the e-comic-book store that carries titles from Marvel, DC, Image, and a number of others. Although the various comic book publishers are trying to push their own stores, ComiXology has nonetheless become the best known source for e-books of popular comics. Now, like Audible and so many other brands, it is going to find a new home at Amazon. News is...

For Jeff Bezos, customer convenience is king
April 6, 2014 | 3:11 pm

Forbes has another profile of Jeff Bezos. Seems we’ve been seeing those a lot lately, what with that recent book on the man. This one looks particularly at Bezos’s intense focus on customer satisfaction. Actually, “satisfaction” doesn’t seem to go quite far enough, because “satisfaction” implies a middle-of-the-scale response. Bezos wants the customer wowed. He wants to make everything as convenient as possible, even to the point of shaving fractions of a second from page load times. That kind of obsession might be easy to make fun of, but give the man his due: he’s running a multi-billion dollar corporation that...

Pre-paid WiFi roundup: TruConnect, Wal-Mart, Karma
March 21, 2014 | 11:49 am

A while back I talked about the TruConnect Mi-Fi portable WiFi hotspot I had purchased. It’s time for an update, and discussion of a couple of reasonable prepaid Wi-Fi alternatives. First of all, I still use the TruConnect MiFi. In fact, I’m on my second one now. The first one stopped working after I dropped it; I bought a replacement and kept the battery from the old one, which means I now have access to twice the battery life, even before plugging in the three different battery backups I now have—bonus! I don’t use it as...

You can use a Bluetooth mouse with your Android tablet!
March 20, 2014 | 9:49 am

20140320_072854_HDRAlso, the sky is blue, water is wet, and the sun is warm. That’s probably what some of you are thinking upon reading that headline. But I’m pretty sure there must be plenty of people out there who aren’t aware of this yet, just because it’s not what you would assume a (non-Windows) tablet is made for. So this is a reminder to people who like to use their Android tablets for productivity purposes: there’s an easier way than tapping on the screen when you need to highlight things or move the cursor. I had known about this ability...

How do you solve a problem like Astounding?
March 18, 2014 | 7:18 pm

20140318_190042_HDRA few days ago, I recalled a short story, called Early Bird, by Theodore R. Cogswell and Theodore L. Thomas. I wanted to share that story with a couple of friends and co-writers on a shared Internet fiction setting that uses a number of the same tropes. So I went to see where I might find it. And the answer was…nowhere. Well, not completely nowhere. It was published in one single place: a 1973 anthology honoring the late John W. Campbell. I couldn’t find it online anywhere else—not for sale via Smashwords, not published in a magazine I could...

Behold, the $20 Android tablet
March 14, 2014 | 5:12 pm

tabletbundleWell, sort of. There are at least a couple of catches. Through March 31, TigerDirect is offering a 4 GB 7-inch Android 4.1 tablet bundled with an anti-virus software suite, Total Defense Premium Internet Security. The bundle costs $79.97, but includes a $60 rebate, effectively lowering the price to $20. Of course, to obtain the rebate, you must first activate the antivirus software, which involves giving the antivirus software company your credit card. Your first year of anti-virus service is free and you may cancel at any time, but you have to activate it before you get that...

Amazon launches interest-free Kindle installment plan
March 14, 2014 | 2:20 pm

kindleinstallmentsAmazon just keeps coming up with ways to get its devices into more and more people’s hands. So maybe you can’t afford $139 for a 7” Kindle Fire HD tablet, or $69 for a basic Kindle e-reader, in one chunk. Now Amazon will let you pay it in five monthly installments. They aren’t even tacking on any interest. You pay 20% of the device price at purchase, then make four more equal payments in the same amount every thirty days, directly from your credit card. That works out to five $27.80 payments for the 7” tablet, or $13.80...

What if Amazon bought Barnes & Noble?
March 14, 2014 | 11:12 am

There’s a peculiar phenomenon by which year-old articles sometimes show up again in news aggregators and social network feeds that for some reason see the month and day part of the date and miss the year. (It’s gotten me in trouble before.) But today it brings up an interesting blog post I missed the first time around. And while a lot has changed since the post was written in March 2013, it still bears a little bit of thinking about: might or should Amazon buy the struggling Barnes & Noble? There’s been a lot of speculation...

Jo Walton, converted e-reader skeptic
March 6, 2014 | 3:01 pm

image One interesting benefit of still being in the early days of the e-book age is that you get to see a lot of converted-skeptic stories. Holdouts are converting all the time. One of those is Tor.com’s Jo Walton, who picked up an e-reader a couple of years ago and writes about two major ways in which it changed her reading habits. The first way is that she no longer has to worry about how many books to take with her when she goes anywhere. She can finish one book and start right into another, or even read...

Ashton Kutcher to help develop mobile devices for Lenovo
March 1, 2014 | 3:44 am

kutcher_lenovoAshton Kutcher is taking his resemblance to Steve Jobs to a whole new level. Re/code reports that Lenovo has hired Kutcher on as a user interface engineer for its new tablet and smartphone products. Lenovo is buying Motorola from Google to beef up its mobile device chops, so it stands to reason they’d want a little extra help. The partnership isn’t actually as silly as it sounds. Kutcher did study biochemical engineering before getting into acting. While you can’t call a mobile device “biochemical,” to some extent the engineering skills will still carry over. And hey, if Ryan Seacrest...

Spritz offers a spritzer for your onscreen reading – whatever the device size
February 28, 2014 | 2:39 pm

spritzThat new generation of smartwatches and small wearable devices supposedly in the offing could be about to get a boost as ereading platforms, no matter how small their form factor. That's if a new onscreen solution just announced by startup Spritz Inc., and already much publicized (and hyped), delivers on its promise. With a mission to "change the way people read and make communication faster, easier, and more effective," Spritz works through technology that focuses reader attention on the so-called "Optimal Recognition Point" within a word, where the human gaze centers to start actually reading and comprehending it. By "allowing you...