Kindle 3 is the latest Amazon take in the eBook readers market and it does not disappoint: It is smaller and lighter, comes in two colors and ads WiFi to the specifications list. I received mine on Friday from Amazon and had the whole weekend to play with it, so here is my experience. Before starting, I want to add that I also own Kindle 2 and Barnes and Noble’s Nook for quite a while, so my review will not only go through all the Kindle 3 functionality but it will also compare its features and usability against the other two devices. In the end, I will add a series of functionality tips and tricks destined to improve your experience.
A new addition to the eReaders crowd will make its way to the stores, this time under the Sharper Image brand. While unusual, it is not the first device of its kind to be distributed like this since I bough my Pandigital Novel 7 from Bed Bath and Beyond. The Literati eReader will sport a 7″ LCD display (800×480) wireless connection and a store powered by Kobo and 150 free ebooks included. The ads don’t make any reference to additional applications other than eBook reading and if they are correct, the device is rather overpriced. To be noted is the inclusion of a keyboard like the Kindle eReaders but not a touchscreen, so if an Internet Browser will ever arrive on Literati, it will probably be a bad experience.
Check after the break for the full press release.
Advertised as “world’s first affordable touch screen color ereader”, Cruz eReader by Velocity Micro will be available for pre-ordering at BestBuy and Borders September 15th for $199. The problem is…there are already cheaper alternatives on the market as is Pandigital Novel 7 and Augen Gentouch, which can be purchased right now under $150. The specs also seem to be very similar to the Pandigital device, including applications as: Dictionary, Notepad, Calendar, Alarm Clock, Contacts, Games and featuring an accelerometer for portrait/landscape detection.
• Full color TFT display
• 7” diagonal 800×600 screen and 802.11 b/g wifi
• Android 2.0
• 256MB RAM, 256MB internal storage, 4GB SD card bundled
• Supports ePub, PDF, TXT, PDB, HTML reader files
• MP3, WMA, AAC, WAV audio support
• MPEG-4, H.264, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP image support
The main question is: Would you prefer a color screen tablet with media capabilities or would you use instead a dedicated eReader like the new Kindle 3 from Amazon or Nook from Barnes and Noble?
Hit after the break for the full Press Release. Read More…
If for some reason you just don’t like to read eBooks on devices of a reasonable size, Barnes and Noble is happy to allow you to read them on your iPhone as well as iPod Touch. The new app is similar with the one already available on other devices as iPad, Android and even PC and synchronise the reading state between the above mentioned devices – so you can start reading at work and continue while driving ;). One feature worth mentioning that Amazon (and their Kindle platform) doesn’t offer is the ability to loan eBooks for up to two weeks right from the applications and between devices.
In a move expected by everybody, especially since the new generation of electronic paper with improved contrast was released, Amazon launched their new Kindle that takes advantage of it: The new Kindle 3rd generation is smaller, lighter and faster than the current generation and comes in two colors, white and graphite (like the new DX). The release date is August 27, I pre-ordered it so expect a review as soon as I have the unit in my hands.
Like the Nook 3G and Wifi, Amazon has the new Kindle in two versions as well: WiFi only to be sold for $139 and the 3G+WiFi version for the same price as the current model, $189. the screen size is 6″ exactly as Nook and current Kindle (although I would like a 7″ version – one can hope). The exact difference is 20% shorter refresh time, 15% lower weight and about 21% smaller than the current unit as well. A really good news is that the internal memory is 4GB now versus 2GB current version (although still no SD or microSD slot) and extended battery life (that is if the battery won’t be completely depleted overnight by indexing your books – yep, it happened to me). And yes, of course, better contrast due to the new generation of electronic paper. Who needs a Pandigital Novel 7 anymore?
Hit after the break for the Amazon announcement. Read More…
The subject of this somewhat late review is Barnes and Noble’s answer to Amazon’s Kindle eReader, the Nook. After B&N slashes Nook’s prices to a level it became a compulsory purchase if you are a book lover, so I decided to take the plunge and buy one. I purchased the 3G version but the review will apply to both versions since the only internal difference is the presence of a 3G modem in the 3G version of the Nook and the back cover color (gray for Nook 3G, white for Nook WiFi). The reason the review is somewhat late is because I like to test my new gadgets for a couple of weeks before I review them in order to get a better feel about their usability and ergonomics. Also, the present review will apply to the rooted version of the Nook and I’ll explain in detail the differences between the rooted and the official version. The reviewed firmware version is 1.4.
The Nook version I purchased arrived Read More…
Following a deal found by my wife, I decided to buy the Pandigital Novel 7 color multimedia ereader due mostly to its price ($127 after rebate). I already have a Nook, but the Internet browsing experience on an eInk screen is less than optimal compared with the LCD screens. The Pandigital Novel 7 seemed like a good fit both for price and form factor. Let’s see how it fared in terms of performance. The present review also is the first review where I’ll ask my wife to play with a new gadget for a while and post her impressions, from a non-technical user perspective.
Pandigital is well know for building budget photo-frames, so it comes as a surprise that they entered in the digital eReaders field, especially with competitors like Amazon and Barnes & Noble. However, their approach is different: for a comparable price build an eReader with a color LCD screen that should offer additional functionality beside just of an eBook reader, very similar with what Apple has done with their iPad but in a form factor more compatible with reading, and for a price also closer to that of a popular eBook reader.
Kindle was the first to release a reader better fitted for class materials (with the help of their Kindle DX) as PDF is king in this area and a large screen is mandatory to read PDF files. B&N doesn’t yet have large format eReader, but it tries to make up the difference by offering a free software package that at least should make the Nook be more friendlier to the students – NOOKstudy. Available for both Windows and Mac platforms, NOOKstudy intention is to help students organize their course papers/reading materials. NOOKstudy will work standalone, even if you do not own a Nook (although owning one it will certainly help). The software package promises to let you access Read More…
In our last article about Pandigital Novel 7, we reached to some not too rosy conclusions about its firmware quality and usability, lack of touchscreen response and slow page turns. It looks like Pandigital had reached the same conclusions and they are trying to fix the device. The latest firmware is available and the improvements are all across the board resulting in a more responsive touchscreen and a more stable WiFi connection. Page turns are still slower than Nook or Kindle for example but the accelerometer works now so you can use it in both portrait and landscape mode. You can download the new update here (version S10_07_04K _PD_INX7E_ENG_6410POP) and you’ll also find detailed instructions. You’ll need to have a SD card available.
Today, Amazon finally got a patent (number 7,748,634) for its first Kindle design. Beside pointing out the lack of efficiency of the US Patent and Trademark Office that needs 4 years to award a patent (and in many cases even longer), what is striking in the original patent application is the mention of a dual display system, one eInk, one LCD that Amazon did not implement, but the ideea was deemed worthy by, you guessed, Barnes and Noble with their beautiful Nook. And, as a side joke, we can’t help wonder if this is why Microsoft canned Courier ;).
Here is the relevant paragraph from the patent application:
A handheld electronic device comprising: a housing; an electronic paper display disposed in the housing and having a first surface area; and a liquid crystal display (LCD) disposed in the housing proximate the electronic paper display, the LCD having a second surface area that is smaller than the first surface area of the electronic paper display.
Now, whether Amazon would decide to sue B&N for the design and patent infringement is everyone’s guess, but B&N is also in a dispute with Spring Design over the design. Since both Amazon and Spring Design cannot claim dibs for the design at the same time, the whole situation is rather interesting and we’ll be happy to watch it unfold. If you want to read the whole patent, here is the link. Enjoy!