May 29 2010

Rumor: Amazon to Introduce Thinner Kindle

According to two people familiar with Amazon’s plans, the company is planning to introduce a new, thinner Kindle this August. The new Kindle will mostly likely be in response to traditional competitors of Kindle, like e-readers made by Sony and Barnes & Noble, not the iPad, which is a recent introduction.

The new Kindle will not have a color screen or touchscreen capabilities. It will have a black and white screen with sharper contrast to make e-books look more like printed books. Amazon hopes to eventually make an e-reader with a color screen.

The Kindle and its competitor, the Nook made by Barnes & Noble, both sell for $259. Sony’s e-reader, which has a touchscreen, sells for $199. The iPad starts at $499. According to a research firm, about 6 million e-readers will be sold this year, which is twice the amount sold last year.

Amazon bought a company earlier this year that specializes in touchscreen technology, so a touchscreen e-reader with a color display could be a feasible future product for Amazon.

Via BusinessWeek, image via Amazon.

May 20 2010

Russian President Uses an iPad

The iPad has some high-profile users

The Prime Minister of Norway made headlines when he was seen using an iPad while stranded in an airport due to a volcano eruption last month. Not to be outdone, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has acquired his own iPad, which he uses for reading e-books.

Speaking to students at Kiev State University in Ukraine earlier this week, he explained how he did not like e-books previously, but has started reading them with the help of an iPad. The Russian President has a reputation for being technologically savvy: he has been seen using an iPhone and a MacBook Pro and appears to accord more importance to technology than his predecessor Putin, who allegedly does not even use email (at least according to an interview published ten years ago).

Via CNews, image via CNews.

May 5 2010

Google Plans to Sell E-Books

Apple and Amazon had better watch out. Google announced this morning that it intends to start selling e-books in late June or July of this year, which would put it in direct competition with both Apple and Amazon.

Of course, Google is not new to the idea of competing with Apple. The search engine giant has increasingly infringed on areas that typically were the domain of Apple. Apple has responded by doing the same to Google.

Google’s e-books will be available for a variety of devices and from a number of different websites. Users will have the ability to buy electronic versions of books they find through Google Books, Google’s book search service. Book retailers will be allowed to sell Google’s versions on their websites.

Apple itself is actually a relatively recent entrant to the e-book market—it entered the market on April 3, with the release of the iPad. There have also been rumors that Google is planning to release a tablet that will compete with the iPad.

Via AppleInsider, image via Google.

Apr 23 2010

Amazon is Aware of Apple Threat

Amazon was probably not too happy about the release of the iPad because the iPad poses a major threat to Amazon’s Kindle. Though the iPad is more than an e-reader, it does have e-reader capabilities that have been touted by Apple. Amazon is astute and realizes this threat.

Though Amazon just posted earnings that exceeded expectations, its predictions for the next quarter are a bit more conservative. Amazon gets a lot of its revenue from the Kindle, so lower earnings would probably result from a slowdown in Kindle sales. Though the Kindle is an obvious choice for people who would want a device just to read books on, those who want more capabilities would be much better served by the iPad.

The iPad has created trouble for Amazon and probably will continue to do so. It will be interesting to see how e-readers fare with the iPad on the market.

Via Tainted Green, image via Amazon.

Mar 27 2010

iPad Will Have Access to Many eBooks

Okay, I know I was so against the iPad when Apple first announced it. I said that it was extremely disappointing and that I did not want one. But I have to admit, the iPad has been growing on me. This is one of the many reasons why: over 30,000 major books will be free for reading on the iPad.

The free books will be both from Project Gutenberg’s library and from other publishers. Project Gutenberg makes books in the public domain available online.

The iPad does not come with the iBooks application, but it is available for download for free from the App Store. According to other reports, books that are not free will be priced the same as Amazon Kindle books are. Barnes & Noble and Amazon will also be offering apps with eBooks for sale.

Via Times Newsline, image via Apple.

Mar 22 2010

Amazon Introduces Kindle App for iPad

Amazon’s Kindle e-reader and Apple’s iPad are technically going to be competitors, but this hasn’t stopped Amazon from capitalizing off of the iPad by introducing a Kindle app. The app will offer more than 450,000 Kindle books and use Amazon’s Whispersync technology to synchronize the last page read with other compatible devices, such as an iPhone or a Kindle.

The app has been customized to the size and feel of the iPad and lets users customize the background color and font size, according to Amazon. The last page isn’t the only thing synced: bookmarks, notes, highlights, and annotations are also synced.

Amazon’s Kindle app will have a competitor in the form of a Barnes & Noble e-reader app. Both Amazon and Barnes & Noble make products whose sales could decline when the iPad is released.

In its announcement about the Kindle app, Amazon implied that the app would be available for tablet computers other than the iPad as well. It’s unclear right now what other tablets will get special Kindle apps.

Via PC World, image via PC World.

Mar 21 2010

For Students, iPad is better than Kindle

Apple’s upcoming device, the iPad, has long been seen as a competitor to Amazon’s Kindle. Not only may the iPad bring about the end of the Kindle, but it may help Apple cash in on a market that the Kindle was never able to: education.

Of course, Apple does sell many products on the education market. But the iPad may be especially convenient for students because of its small size, e-reader capabilities, and versatility. The Kindle was tested at several major universities and just seemed to lack something and was never a good fit for students.

Recent estimates speculate that Apple may be shipping as many as 190,000 pre-ordered iPads to customers in the first week of the iPad’s release (this is just a guess, though, as no official numbers have been released). Perhaps in a hope of catering to the education market, Apple has lowered the price of the iPad by $20 when ten or more of the devices are ordered for educational use.

Via Tainted Green, image via Apple.

Mar 15 2010

Barnes & Noble Plans to Offer iPad App

Barnes & Noble is planning to offer an iPad app, which will give customers the option of buying online books from a source other than Apple’s iBook store. Barnes & Noble already makes eReader software for Windows, Mac, iPhone, iPod Touch, and Blackberry. The app will provide access to more than one million e-books and periodicals from the eBookstore. Books purchased for the Nook, Barnes & Noble’s answer to Amazon’s Kindle, will be accessible through the iPad app.

Since Barnes & Noble plans to target the iPad, Amazon will probably do the same, though it also offers an e-reader. The strategy is sound: even if the iPad becomes the demise of e-readers, the companies will still make money through e-book sales.

Planned iPad competitors abound, as well as planned e-readers. Samsung and Dell have both said that they are planning to release e-readers, though the Samsung e-reader could potentially help Barnes & Noble because the two companies have agreed to partner with each other, with Barnes & Noble agreeing to offer its online store to users of Samsung’s e-reader.

Via InformationWeek, image via Barnes & Noble.

Mar 14 2010

Apple’s iPad Forces Rivals to Improve Products

Apple’s iPad looks set to be a huge success, and this has competing companies worried. If competing companies do not improve their products that are meant to compete with the iPad, these products simply won’t sell and will be overshadowed by the iPad. Obviously they do not want this to happen, so companies such as Amazon, HP, and Microsoft are hard at work creating products that will be able to compete with the iPad.

Amazon wants to hire a software developer to improve its Kindle by adding web browsing capabilities to it. HP has been heavily promoting its Slate tablet, especially the fact that it will support Adobe Flash (Apple’s mobile devices famously do not support Flash). Even Microsoft has said it intends to make a tablet called the Courier.

This has all happened before the iPad has even been released. After April 3, once we know definitely what the iPad is really like, more companies will offer iPad competitors.

Via ZDNet, image via Apple.

Feb 28 2010

AP to Charge for iPad Service

The Associated Press (AP) has said that it will charge iPad users for access to its stories with an app.

There has been a trend for news websites to offer subscription plans for their content. The Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times both offer premium access to their news stories to paying subscribers, both on the Internet and through iPhone apps. Reuters and the New York Times are both planning to introduce paid access to their websites in the next year.

The chief executive of AP, Tom Curley, said that he wants his company to “seize this opportunity to reinvigorate our business models as well as our journalism.” Apparently, this new business model involves charging for access to its stories.

Will iPad users embrace paid subscriptions for news? The iPad itself is not cheap, but if enough news companies offer paid subscriptions, many people probably will.

Via AppleInsider.

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Feb 7 2010

iPad May Hurt e-Book Prices

The introduction of the iPad may turn out to hurt consumers; in a rather strange and ironic turn of events, e-book prices could be going up.

Amazon, the maker of the Kindle e-reader, has been fighting with publishers over e-book prices. Amazon wants to keep them at around $10 per book; the leading publishers want to raise prices to around $15 per book. Apple has entered the fray, saying it will let publishers set prices for e-books on the iPad.

There does not seem to be a valid reason for raising e-book prices. E-books are vastly different than traditional printed books: you cannot lend an e-book to a friend, or sell it to someone else, or even put it on a shelf in your home. There are no printing costs associated with e-books, either. Logically the price of e-books should remain lower than that of printed books. Amazon understands this, but publishers seem to have a more shortsighted view of the situation.

Publishers should be focusing on getting more e-book customers. Instead, they may be alienating current and potential future customers with this price increase.

Via PC World.

Jan 26 2010

Acer To Deliver New eReader, App Store, and Chrome OS Netbook

Acer Logo

Acer, already the second largest computer maker in the world, has ambitious plans for the future. According to Bloomberg, Acer is tossing its hat into the already over-saturated yet underdeveloped market of eReaders, facing off with the likes of Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Sony, and others. No specifics have been announced other than it will have a 6-inch, monochrome (assume E-Ink) screen and ship in Europe.

More surprisingly, Acer is announcing an online apps store. Jim Wong, president of the Acer IT product division, has stated it would contain hundreds of applications, “otherwise you can’t call it an app store.” It will likely be a cross-platform marketplace for Android, Windows Mobile, and ChromeOS.

However, Acer’s most stunning announcement is the fact it has announced plans to rush forward with a ChromeOS netbook to provide a “a change to the Microsoft-Intel environment,” according to Wong. The mention of Intel hints that this new product line might be ARM powered as an alternative to the standard Atom on-board most mainstream netbooks. Acer plans to release the netbook sometime around Q3 2010, on schedule with Google’s release date for ChromeOS.

Via Bloomberg, image via Wikipedia.

Jan 21 2010

Amazon To Offer Bigger Royalties on Kindle

Amazon has announced a new option for authors and publishers, which will enable them to receive seventy percent of the royalties of sales for Kindle editions of books. Amazon is trying to make the Kindle more attractive than other e-readers, including Apple’s tablet (which, according to speculation, may have e-reader options). The new royalty option will be available on June 30.

Currently authors get between seven and fifteen percent of the list price of printed books and twenty-five percent of net for digital books. The new seventy percent option sounds good, but there are some catches to the policy. To get the seventy percent royalty, the list price of the book must be between $2.99 and $9.99. The title also needs to have Kindle features like text-to-speech.

Amazon is getting worried about the hordes of e-readers introduced lately, especially those seen at CES 2010. Apple’s upcoming device could be their biggest worry yet, if it comes through as expected at the end of the month.

Via ZDNet, image via Amazon.

Dec 29 2009

Apple’s New Device Could be an E-Reader

The rumors about Apple’s new device, expected this coming January, continue to abound. The latest rumorĀ  says that Apple’s device will not be a simple tablet–rather, it will be an e-reader designed to compete with the likes of Amazon’s Kindle.

The rumor (derived from ‘insider sources’) says the iSlate, as it may be called, is going to be an eBook reader that will be a competitor to the Kindle, Barnes & Noble’s Nook, and other e-readers. It will run iPhone 4.0 software (which is not currently available) and will have an App store for eBooks.

E-readers have been doing very well on the market. Amazon sold more e-books than regular paper books this Christmas season, and Apple is sure to have taken notice.

I love Apple products, but inĀ  all honesty, I am not crazy about the whole e-reader idea. When I read books, I like to have the book physically in my hands, and I think most consumers agree. As of now, I remain unconvinced about the virtues of e-readers, but if Apple delivers one this January it will definitely be something to pay attention to.

Via VentureBeat.

Dec 17 2009

Study: Mobile Internet Could Dominate In Five Years

A study by investment firm Morgan Stanley has said that mobile Internet is growing very quickly, and within five years there could be more users going online with mobile devices than with laptops or desktops.

This news really isn’t surprising, considering how ubiquitous Apple’s iPhone has become, as well as smartphones with Internet capabilities. We also should not neglect Amazon’s popular wireless reading device, Kindle.

The study also says that this is worldwide phenomenon, not confined to the developed world. Yet, the leaders in this phenomenon are American companies such as Apple, Google, and Amazon.

There are five key trends that are converging to encourage the growth of the mobile Internet, including 3G (and upcoming 4G) broadband, the popularity of social networking, online video, VOIP services, and mobile devices (like the iPhone) that do things that could previously only be done with desktops or laptops.

The reports predicts that the next two years will be good for Apple. But after that, Google’s Android and future competing products could pose a threat to Apple.

The report may be speculative, but so far the evidence backs it up. Just think about how far mobile Internet has come since the iPhone’s introduction in June 2007–it’s come a long way in a very short period of time.

Via PC World.

Nov 10 2009

Check out Amazon’s Kindle for PC…On Your Netbook

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The beta application for Amazon’s Kindle for PC is ready to be tested out. It currently supports Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7, and the Mac version is reported to be coming soon.

The selling point of this Amazon creation is that you can read Amazon Kindle books without buying the actual Kindle e-reader. Amazon’s trying to target roughly 85% of the computer-using population with this new application. Although reading on your netbook may not be as great as reading on an e-reader, at least they are around the same (convenient) size as a book.

To access and navigate Kindle for PC, you need to first download and install it. You can then sign into your Amazon account, where you will see your previous book purchases. Books can be sorted by title or author. Double-clicking on the book downloads it. You can navigate the pages of the book by using the mouse, arrow keys, or page up/down keys. There are 10 font sizes to choose from and Whispersync allows you to pick up from where you last left off when switching devices (from a Kindle to a netbook or vice versa).

Via JKOnTheRun.

Oct 5 2009

Microsoft Booklet E-Reader Device in the Works

Microsoft has recently been cooking up some designs for a potential e-reader device. The production date for this new device, nicknamed Courier, is still uncertain but we can be sure that when these devices start materializing, Apple will be scrambling to push its tablet/netbook device…if it isn’t already out yet.

Microsoft’s new booklet could potentially be a hinged device with two touch-sensitive color screens. Stylus capabilities are also a possibility. The image shown below is only a graphic representation of what the Microsoft Booklet would actually look like, rather than a physical device.

The device is still in the works and Microsoft might not even develop it at all. We’ll keep you posted on the developments.

Via TheWallStreetJournal.

Oct 3 2009

Sony Netbook and Reader Go Pink for Breast Cancer Awareness

Breast Cancer Awareness month is just around the corner and manufacturers like Sony are adamantly showing their support by introducing pink netbooks and Readers.

One of the special Breast Awareness bundles is the Sony Vaio W Series netbook bundle, which includes a pink mouse, a pink netbook case, and a two-tone pink netbook. The specs of the Vaio W netbook have not changed from before.

The second of two pink bundles is the Sony Reader Pock Edition bundle (as pictured above).

According to Sony, the company is planning on donating $110,000 to breast cancer research.

Via SlashGear.

Sep 10 2009

Netbook/Notebook Manufacturer Toshiba To Enter E-Reader Market

With more news about e-reader devices than ever, you’d think it has become the new netbook.

Yet another netbook and notebook manufacturer – Toshiba – has decided to enter the e-reader market. The company currently has plans to produce and sell its own e-reader device in mid 2010.

Two models are currently being evaluated, a 7-inch model that has already been approved for production and a 9-inch model that is still being considered. Toshiba considers touchscreen capabilities to be unnecessary so the new e-readers would not be touchscreens. No other details have been released about these e-readers.

With the Amazon Kindle, Sony Reader, and ASUS Eee Reader, to name a few, the competition for the e-reader market segment is getting tougher and tougher. We’ll keep you posted on any developments.

Via JKOnTheRun.

Image via OECanada.

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Sep 7 2009

Netbook Icon ASUS To Launch Book-Style E-Reader

We recently heard that ASUS is planning on releasing their own e-reader device, which we just found out would have two screens on a hinged spine, unlike previously released devices by Amazon and Sony. This would make the ASUS e-reader look and feel more like an actual book.

Also unlike the Amazon Kindle and Sony Reader, ASUS’ new e-reader would have full color “pages” and touchscreen capabilities, as well as offer online connectivity. It’s also possible that the ASUS e-reader’s second screen could function as a keyboard. A webcam, speakers, and a microphone for Skype may also potentially be part of this package.

Are you currently cringing at the thought of the potential price tag on this super e-reader? If so, don’t. According to an ASUS spokesperson, “Any such product – including an e-reader – has to have the right combination of functionality and price.”

The company is planning on releasing two version of e-readers. The “premium” version would be something similar to what was described above, while the “budget” version (the Eee Reader) would be something more traditional, possibly carrying a price tag of 100 British Pounds (roughly $164).

Via EWeek.

E-reader image via PocketLint.

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