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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Amazon on Wednesday unveiled its Kindle Cloud Reader, an HTML5-based reading app accessible via the Web.
The feature is accessible at amazon.com/cloudreader and provides access to e-books through the browser, offline and online, with no downloading or installation required, Amazon said. Cloud Reader will automatically sync with other Kindle apps, allowing you to start reading on the Web and pick up on an iPhone or Kindle, for example. Books that you are reading will automatically be made available for offline use.
At this point, Kindle Cloud Reader works with Safari on the iPad and desktop and Google's Chrome.
We talk to Michelle Warvel, the Barnes and Noble Nook User Experience and Design Lead at GDGT Seattle. Michelle talks to us about the new Nook Simple Touch Reader, the first real mainstream touchscreen e-ink ebook reader to hit the market, shows how it all works, and then tells us about how they settled on the unique shape and design of the Simple Touch Reader product. We will have more videos from the GDGT event.
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Today, Barnes & Noble unveiled their revamped Nook e-reader, which they are calling the Simple Touch Reader.
The $139 device is available for pre-order immediately and will be in stores on or around June 10 at Barnes & Noble, Best Buy, Walmart, and Staples.
The Android-based, e-reader measures 5 x 6.5 inches and weighs less than 7.5 ounces, which is 35 percent lighter and 15 percent thinner than the first Nook. During a New York launch event, B&N CEO William Lynch promised the "longest battery life of any e-reader," or up to two months on a single charge, and 80 percent less flashing on the 6-inch touch screen; the white-out that occurs when flipping pages. There is 50 percent less contrast than the first-edition Nook.
The device has built-in Wi-Fi and will feature 2GB of onboard storage, expandable up to 32GB with microSDHC. It runs Android 2.1 and a 800MHz TI OMAP3 processor.
Read More | Nook Simple Touch Reader
An entry-level tablet codenamed Coyote will be powered by Nvidia's dual-core Tegra 2 mobile platform, while a more powerful device codenamed Hollywood will sport Nvidia's upcoming quad-core "Kal-El" chip, the website reported Monday, citing a "tipster."
The source did not provide screen-size details, according to BGR.
The processor details put the theoretical release of the rumored Hollywood tablet at no earlier than the second half of 2011. Nvidia's Kal-El upgrade to its Tegra lineup isn't expected to be released until then.
Kal-El promises a significant boost to Tegra. The System-on-a-Chip (SoC) for mobile devices like tablets and smartphones boasts a 1.5GHz, quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 central processor and a 12-core Nvidia graphics processor that's purported to deliver five times the performance of the GeForce GPUs in the Tegra 2 SoC.
Barnes & Noble has not indicated what the event will cover, with PR firm Fleishman refusing to take a page from Apple's playbook and tease audiences with what the announcement could include.
However, in a May 4 10K filing, Barnes & Noble disclosed that the May 24 announcement would indeed be an e-reader. "In a meeting with investor analysts on May 4, 2011, Barnes & Noble, Inc. (the "Company") indicated it expects to make an announcement on May 24, 2011 regarding the launch of a new eReader device," the company said, without elaborating.
Barnes & Noble now represents more than 25 percent of all of the U.S. market for e-books, more than the company's share of physical books, and it sells twice the number of e-books as physical books, at least online. The company exceeded its sales plans for e-book sales during the company's most recent quarter.It is the fourth straight quarter of topline growth exceeding 50 percent since selling the Nook in 2009.
As an e-reader with tablet functionality, the Nook wouldn't seem to have many features that it lacks compares to other e-readers. The Nook is available in color, and in both Wi-Fi, and in 3G, although speculation is that version is dying.
"It remains early in the development of the digital reading market," said William Lynch, the chief executive of Barnes & Noble, in a conference call on Feb. 22.
What could Barnes & Noble offer, perhaps in a Nook 2?
Barnes & Noble is readying an updated e-reader, the company revealed in a recent Securities and Exchange Commission filing.
"In a meeting with investor analysts on May 4, 2011, Barnes & Noble ... indicated it expects to make an announcement on May 24, 2011 regarding the launch of a new eReader device," the notice said.
The company provided no other details about what the updated e-reader might entail. The last major Nook upgrade was the Nook Color (pictured above,) which started shipping in November. The Android-based device includes a 7-inch touch screen and access to more than 2 million titles, as well as an extra-wide viewing angle intended for sharing. The screen boasts 1,024-by-600 resolution and 169 pixels per inch. It comes with 8GB of storage, expandable up to 32GB with a microSD card.
In late April, Barnes & Noble pushed out a major software update to the Nook Color, which included its own app store, an email client, the ability to play Flash video, and enhanced books. It also added support for Android 2.2 "Froyo" and Adobe Flash video.
We're been keeping our eye on gadgets that are worthy of being given to your mom for Mother's Day, and we've got another one for you. eBay has a deal where you get 50% off the Nook Wi-Fi + 3G e-reader. Original price on these is $199, and you get it direct from Barnes & Noble for $99 - and that includes shipping! There's a limit of one per customer. If you're interested, head on over:
Read More | Nook 3G deal on eBay
Famous authors won't lose the ability to autograph their books in the digital age if Barnes & Noble has anything to say about it. With a firmware upgrade, the Nook Color will reportedly allow authors to sign their books with a stylus. The first "e-book signing" is scheduled for next week.
Authors will need to put their Sharpies down, and instead use a stylus to sign a book directly on the Nook Color's touchscreen, and the e-reader will store the signature on that digital copy of the book. Presumably, the signature would be visible to anyone who reads it, even friends who borrow the book on the Nook platform, essentially converting bragging rights to digital form.
Yesterday the Nook Color received a major software upgrade—adding apps, an email client, and Adobe Flash compatibility—but the new autograph feature appears to be separate from that. A company called Autography has patented software for writing autographs on e-books, but it's not known whether the Nook feature uses that technique or something different.
The Kindle Lending Library will launch later this year, and will allow Kindle customers to borrow books from more than 11,000 libraries in the U.S. The offer will apply to all generations of Kindle e-books and Kindle reading apps.
Unlike physical library books, users will be able to make notes in the margins of their borrowed e-books. When they "return" it, those notes will not be visible to the next borrower, but if the customer checks the book out again or decides to buy it, their notes will remain intact.
"We're doing a little something extra here," Jay Marine, director of Amazon Kindle, said in a statement. "Normally, making margin notes in library books is a big no-no. But we're extending our Whispersync technology so that you can highlight and add margin notes to Kindle books you check out from your local library. Your notes will not show up when the next patron checks out the book. But if you check out the book again, or subsequently buy it, your notes will be there just as you left them, perfectly Whispersynced."
A Kindle spokeswoman said the borrowed books will be in Kindle format.