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.
Interested in a back-to-school e-reader, but you're not sure which one to buy? Barnes & Noble made a case for the Nook on Monday, with $100 in free books for the returning student.
B&N said that customers who purchase a new Nook from today until Sept. 11 will receive $100 in free books and study tools, specifically a free collection of 12 free classic books and 12 SparkNotes study aids.
The books will help any aspiring literature major, and include A Tale of Two Cities, Beowulf, Ivanhoe, Crime and Punishment and The Portrait of the Artist As A Young Man. The SparkNotes guides include To Kill a Mockingbird, The Great Gatsby, The Catcher in the Rye, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, B&N said.
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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The increase in U.S. adults who own e-readers is outpacing the growth of tablet owners, according to a new phone survey by the Pew Internet Project.
Adults who owned ereaders like Amazon's Kindle and Barnes & Noble's Nook doubled from 6 percent of the U.S. adult population in November 2010 to 12 percent in May 2011, according to the survey of 2,277 respondents aged 18 and over. The survey was conducted in both English and Spanish.
Over the same period, the share of adults who said they owned a tablet such as Apple's iPad grew as well, but by just 3 percentage points. About 5 percent of respondents in an earlier Pew survey from November of last year said they owned a tablet, while 8 percent said they did in the most recent one, conducted between April 26 and May 22.
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
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.