Apple iBooks 2 was released to the public just a few days ago and the support for it has been astonishing. Within the first 3 days of the new iBooks being available, 350,000 iBooks Textbooks were downloaded from the iBookstore. Alongside this, 90,000 copies of Apple’s iBooks Author e-book creation software were downloaded from the Mac App Store in the same period of time.
iBooks Textbooks are seen by Apple as the future replacement to the current bulky classroom textbooks that cost a small fortune to make. Apple’s iBooks can reduce the cost of producing a textbook by up to 80%. This means cheaper books for students, as well as a more available book source.
I've been using my Kindle Fire since it came out, and while I'm still waiting for CyanogenMod9 to come out and let me actually put Ice Cream Sandwich on my Kindle Fire, I've been relatively happy with the performance.
The main interface tweak added to the Kindle Fire is the ability to remove items from the carousel on the home page. This is a small but useful way to keep your most commonly used apps organized and, if necessary, make sure other users don't see whatever naughty things you might have been perusing.
That's the only change to the main screen; you still can't organize your apps into categories or customize your menu beyond adding and removing items from favorites and the carousel. I use my Kindle Fire for several different things, and it would be great to organize my apps by categories like Online Content, Books, Network Tools, and Games. The Fire still has Amazon's default seven tabs and single app list organized alphabetically or by date.
Barnes & Noble on Monday rolled out what it said was the biggest software update yet for its Nook Color e-reader, including the addition of Netflix streaming, Nook Comics, and more customized reading options.
The retailer has added 100 new features to the Nook Color, including access to movies and TV shows via Netflix and Flixster apps. Thanks to the Ultraviolet standard, which provides users with a digital copy of physical media, Flixster will allow movie access on-the-go.
On the comics front, Nook Color customers will now have access to high-resolution comics, graphic novels, and kids' comics. Barnes & Noble promised the "largest digital collection of Marvel's graphic novels available through a third party – including Halo Uprising and other Marvel greats like Ultimate Spider-Man, The Astonishing X-Men, and Hulk: Planet Hulk, among others."
A new feature known as PagePerfect looks to preserve the look and feel of image-heavy books like cookbooks, craft, and art books, and allows users to zoom in and fluidly scroll through a book's pages.
The Amazon Kindle Fire is the first small tablet that average users can pick up and immediately use, with a simple, clear interface. Then there's the price: Android along with amazing specs for just $199. It's open enough to attract geeks, too. While the user interface occasionally gets sluggish, we're willing to have a bit of patience to get a first-rate tablet for half of what most competitors charge, thus the Kindle Fire is our first Editors' Choice for small tablets.
A solid little brick at 7.5 by 4.7 by .45 inches and 14.6 ounces, the Kindle Fire looks and feels a lot like the BlackBerry PlayBook, but the Fire is smaller in all dimensions. There are no slots or tabs; both the memory and battery are sealed in, and the only interruptions in its smooth, black form are the headphone jack, Power button, MicroUSB jack, and dual stereo speakers. There's no camera, but I've never been sold on the value of tablet cameras anyway. It uses 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi networks to get online; there's no cellular radio or Bluetooth connectivity.
Turn the Fire on and the 7-inch 1024-by-600 IPS LCD screen lights up. This display is very sharp and clear, but it's also rather reflective. Just like on the Apple iPad 2, you may have trouble reading in bright light because of the screen's sometimes mirror-like gloss. While this is par for the course with tablets, I expected more given the Kindle name. This isn't a dedicated e-reader by any means.
Amazon's new Kindle Fire is getting all the attention as of late, but the company also shipped its first touchscreen e-Ink reader as well, called the Kindle touch, yesterday - a week earlier than originally anticiapted. We're in the middle of putting the Kindle touch through its paces, and we'll be reporting back with a review soon, but for now, take a look at our Kindle touch unboxing gallery for an up-close look at the new device.
You can pick up the Kindle touch for $99.
[Camera: Chris Aarons]
Gallery: Amazon Kindle touch unboxing gallery
We continue our 2011 Holiday Gift Guide with the Amazon Kindle Fire tablet. This is the Amazon tablet we've been waiting on for months, and it's has finally shipping. Amazon's looking to disrupt the tablet landscape with the Fire, and is pricing it aggressively at $199. The Kindle Fire weighs 14.6 ounces and packs a 7-inch IPS display, dual-core processor, 512 MB RAM, and 8 GB of on-board storage. It runs a forked version of Android that Amazon has prettied up in a major way. You also get Wi-Fi built-in as well.
Purchasers of the Kindle Fire also get a 30-day trial of Amazon Prime, which'll let you get a nice sampling of what the company's Video on Demand service offers. Other services you can access from the Fire include Amazon's Android Appstore, Kindle books, a host of magazines, Cloud Drive, Cloud Player, and the Amazon MP3 service.
You can pick up a Kindle Fire now for $199 on Amazon.
Read More | Amazon Kindle Fire
In addition to announcing the Nook Tablet this morning, Barnes and Noble also announced that the Nook Simple Touch Reader would be seeing an immediate price cut, taking the cost of entry to $99 (down from the previous $139,) putting it right in line with the Kindle Touch that's set to launch later this month. That's not all, though. The Simple Touch Reader will also be getting a software update that'll result in doubled battery life, along with page turn speed doubling as well. All previous purchasers of the Simple Touch Reader will also get the update, as it's software based, not hardware. You can buy the Simple Touch Reader now.
Read More | Nook Simple Touch Reader
Looks like Barnes and Noble is set to release some new Nook hardware on the heels of all the new Amazon Kindle goodness that's been all the rage in the e-reader world lately. It all goes down a week from today, and we expect to see a new Nook Color, but also wouldn't be surprised if the Simple Touch Reader got a facelift as well.
The Kindle Keyboard Software Update, Version 3.3, adds four key features:
- The ability to store personal documents to your Kindle, for viewing anytime and on any supported Kindle app or device.
- Whipersync for personal documents. This automatically synchronizes your last page read, bookmarks and annotations for personal documents, not including PDFs.
- Kindle users can now purchase, view, and redeem AmazonLocal deals straight from their Kindles.
- A Voice Guide shortcut: you can now quickly turn on Voice Guide, which reads aloud menu options and content listings, by holding the Shift key and pressing Spacebar.
We give you a first-hand look at the newly updated Amazon Kindle. The company just announced a new family of Kindle for the holidays, one of which started shipping immediately. We were able to get our hands on one of the new $79 Kindle ebook readers, and we hit you with an unboxing of the unit in this episode, along with some thoughts on the look and feel of the device.
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