Monday, March 25, 2013

Sony PRS-T3 to Be Announced Soon


Sony is developing a followup to the PRS-T2 e-Reader and it is poised to be submitted to the FCC within the next month. The company normally announces new devices in July and releases them in October. The big rumor right now is the deviation from the standard release cycle and getting a new product to market really soon. Sony normally discounts the current generation before it releases the new model.

The Sony PRS-T2 e-Reader is being discounted in the UK, with lighted case and AC charger for 139 euros. It is also being sold with a $20 discount at Best Buy and Future Shop in Canada. It is heavily discounted basically at most stores in the US, Canada, and UK.

Sony has recently revised its online ebook store and opened up a new book of the month club. It has ditched Google Books as an official partner and is doing great business with Overdrive. Now that Google Reader is being discontinued, the Evernote integration is a really big selling point. A new generation Sony e-Readers is due to be announced soon and it is rumored to use the same type of frontlight technology that the Kindle Paperwhite and Kobo Glo use.

Sony PRS-T3 to Be Announced Soon is a post from: E-Reader News

Nook for iOS Update Brings Comics and HI-RES Magazines


Barnes and Noble has updated its official iOS app today that brings digital comics and HD Magazines. The new high resolution magazines look amazing, but are only available on the 3rd and 4th generation models of the iPad. The company has also implemented better organization for your newspapers and magazines. Finally, B&N has not only added comic support, but also brought over its ZoomView technology, which lets you isolate specific panels.

The new update for the Nook iOS app will be welcome for people who like to read content other than ebooks. It is important to note that you can’t buy content within the app, because B&N did not want to give Apple a cut out of every digital sale. Instead, you will have to buy your comics and magazines from the web, and have them synced directly to your account.

Nook for iOS Update Brings Comics and HI-RES Magazines is a post from: E-Reader News

The Digital Manga Industry is Changing and e-Manga Capitalizes on Accessibility


Despite its name, Digital Manga Publishing (DMP) was a print publisher for the first 12 years of its existence; founded in 1996, the company didn’t begin publishing digitally until 2008. Since then, however, they have become a leader and innovator, with manga available on every digital platform imaginable: ComiXology, Kindle, Nook, even Wowio.

The heart of DMP, though, is its website, eManga. It started out as a streaming site on which you could buy points to “rent” or “buy” manga. A rental lasted for 48 hours, while buying gave the user unlimited access–as long as he or she was online. There were no downloads.

Over the years, DMP revised the website several times, eliminating the rental, adding other publishers (some of whom have since disappeared) and finally, late last year, allowing readers to download their manga. In typical DMP fashion, they offer seven different formats, which are readable on a wide variety of different devices.

I asked production associate Amy Koga, who helped develop the site, about some of the changes.

Good E-Reader: Why did you decide to allow downloads?

Amy Koga: I think one of the biggest reasons was we recognized that the industry was changing, and that is what the customers wanted: They wanted downloadable files they could download and keep. This is where it’s all at.

Why are you offering so many formats?

I was the one to decide on that. As we were testing, we noticed so many devices had different ways of displaying different file types, and we wanted to be sure our books looked great on different devices. E-pubs look great on e-ink devices, but on the iPad they don’t look as good as an Apple-restricted fixed-layout book. We wanted to be sure the customers had a fixed layout file to download.

Logistically, is it difficult to transition your readers over?

It took time. It was not an easy transition. It definitely took a couple of weeks, and on the tech side, our IT department worked overtime. They worked really hard to get it out. We were able to do it. The migration actually went much easier than we thought, so it wasn’t too difficult, but there were some bumps along the way.

How have readers reacted?

I’m not sure if I can give you an exact number, or any kind of ballpark number, but I can say we have gotten positive reviews and positive feedback from a lot of customers. They are very happy with downloads, the formatting, and the way eManga now looks. We have seen a very large increase in order at

Are you going to keep your standalone apps and keep your manga available on comiXology and other services, or do you plan to fold all your digital sales into eManga?

We are not going to limit ourselves at all. We have Android and iOS apps that we are going to continue to update and offer, we offer books through comiXology and iVerse, and we still offer books for Kindle, Nook, and Kobo,

What are the most popular formats?

We are still colleting data. So far it seems a lot of people like PDFs, but we don’t know yet the final verdict.

Who are your readers?

As far as our customers, what we know of them is based on what they purchased and what they tell us and how they react. We try to get them to let us know what they want, and perhaps, if they prefer mobile devices, what is their device of preference. We are still collecting data.

There is some adult content on eManga, mixed with manga aimed at teens. Have you given any thought to making a separate site for 18+ manga?

We are trying to open our doors to everyone who likes manga. We are offering not just mainstream shoujo [girls'] and shonen [boys'] manga. Right now we have pages that if they are 18+ you have to agree to say you are 18+ to view them, and of course the credit card restriction is you have to be 18 or over. The younger audiences can use a PayPal account, and they will have access to the 13+  books.

So it goes by how you pay?

Yes, and also if you click on one of the hentai [adult] books. It will ask if you are 18 or over. We are just trying to keep our doors open to everyone at the m and not to make it too difficult for people to get what they want.

The Digital Manga Industry is Changing and e-Manga Capitalizes on Accessibility is a post from: E-Reader News

Barnes and Noble Partners with Fortumo for In-App Purchases


Barnes and Noble has announced by April 2013 that the company will introduce a new in-app payment system for Android apps housed in its app store. The company plans on introducing new developer tools that will allow customers to purchase in-app currency, boosts, and anything else that tickles their fancy. B&N only has 10,000 apps currently in its ecosystem, which is blown away by our very own Good e-Reader App Store with over 16,000.

When Barnes and Noble introduces the new in-app payment system in April, customers will simply attach a credit card to their main account and will automatically reap the benefits with purchasing content within the app. There is no need to always enter your user details and password, you merely click PAY.

Barnes and Noble should attract more developers with this new system, that could see their locked down ecosystem as a viable way to earn some extra money. Currently, users are unable to install their own apps, as B&N has disabled the ability to sideload in your own games. If you decide to buy a Nook Android device, this is important to note.

Barnes and Noble Partners with Fortumo for In-App Purchases is a post from: E-Reader News

Windows Blue leaks online, includes smaller Live Tiles, new side-by-side Snap Views, and IE 11

Windows Blue screenshot tour

An early build of Windows Blue, the next version of Windows, has leaked online on the same day that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer celebrates his 57th birthday. Build 9364, a partner version that was originally compiled on March 15th, has been made available on file sharing sites and includes some of the new changes that Microsoft is building into its significant Windows 8 update. Leaked screenshots posted at Winforum show that the company is bringing smaller tile arrangements and even a larger desktop one to its Start Screen, along with greater control over the color personalization options, and a whole lot more.
Additional Snap view to place apps side-by-side
Microsoft is building in additional Snap Views into Windows Blue, allowing users to place apps side-by-side in the Windows 8 view. The new 50 / 50 view is similar to the desktop mode snapping, but Microsoft also supports up to 4 snapped apps alongside each other. New alarm, sound recorder, movie moments, and calculator WIndows 8 -style apps will also take advantage of these new views, but we understand developers will be able to update their apps to support the additional Snap Views alongside other API changes and additions. The snapping improvements also apply to multi monitor support, where you can now run individual Windows 8-style apps across multiple monitors.
Settings improvements to be more touch-friendly
Other improvements include a number of new options in the Windows 8-style settings screen. Microsoft appears to be adding all of the necessary settings required to ensure tablet users don't have to drop to the desktop Control Panel to change things. SkyDrive options are present, which appear to show greater integration with auto camera uploads and control over device back ups and files. There's also an app settings section that surfaces options to change default apps and information on app sizes.
Settings and UI improvements aside, Microsoft is also making changes to its Charms. The Devices Charm includes a new "play" option, which looks similar to the existing PlayTo options found in Windows 8. On the Share Charm there's a new screenshot option that lets you quickly share an image with applications. Internet Explorer 11 is also included in Blue, although it's not immediately clear from the leaked screenshots what improvements have been made. A tab sync feature appears in some screenshots, suggesting that Microsoft is planning to make tabs available on additional Windows Blue devices.
Touch users can also use new gestures throughout Windows Blue. On the Start Screen you can swipe up from the bottom to bring up a list of all apps, and in the desktop mode you can swipe up or down to reveal a desktop app bar that provides access to snap, projector settings, and more. We're looking into other leaked features and screenshots so we'll update you on any other additions. Windows Blue is expected to enter public preview over the coming months, with a full release due later this year.

Windows Blue screenshots

Windows Blue screenshot tour


Sony Xperia Tablet S to Get Jelly Bean Update by May


Sony has announced it will be releasing the Jelly Bean update for its Xperia Tablet S by early May. The tablet now runs Android 4.0 ICS. The update should also come as a welcome relief for early adopters of the tablet as it will also include a fix for the tablet’s tendency to shut down on its own, something that can be attributed to a faulty memory management system.

The Tablet S was launched back in August last year and marks Sony’s second generation of the tablet series. The tablet also boasts of its water proof and dust proof credentials. The company took its time bringing along the Jelly Bean update for the Tablet S, considering the latest Tablet Z already comes pre-loaded with Jelly Bean. That said, it’s even more uncertain for owners of the original Tablet S as Sony has stated they have no immediate road map to update its earliest generation tablets to the latest Android version.

Sony Xperia Tablet S to Get Jelly Bean Update by May is a post from: E-Reader News

Tech Tips: Windows 8 and OverDrive Media Console

Windows 8 was a drastic shift in the Windows universe. We saw an operating system that moved away from the desktop environment we're all quite used to, and brought the tiled Modern UI. I can't lie to you, I'm still not quite into the new look and feel, since most of my experience has been on my kid's laptop and the OS is clearly designed to live and breathe on a touch screen. But it's been nearly six months since Microsoft released Windows 8, and early adopters should be well-accustomed to the new interface. We were ready, upon release, to provide OverDrive Media Console for Windows 8. The Windows 8-native app was designed to allow the same experience on a Windows 8 tablet or computer, as on a mobile device.

Sharing the mobile experience means that the Windows 8-native app does not support WMA Audiobooks and Music, WMV Videos, or transferring titles to mobile devices. However, the previous version of OverDrive Media Console can be installed alongside the new version to allow users to transfer books or enjoy the Windows Media content under Windows 8's desktop mode. So with two flavors of OMC available for Windows 8, we’ve got two great tastes that taste great together!


When you, or your users, get your hands on a Windows 8 device, there are a few things you may need to be aware of when using both version of OMC on one computer. The Windows Media Player Security Upgrade will require running Internet Explorer 10 as an administrator. In some cases, using IE10's compatibility mode may also be necessary to make sure the security upgrade can run. When using both versions of OMC on a Windows 8 computer, these are steps to take to make sure the correct format opens in the appropriate version of OMC (available from our help pages):

  1.  Once you’ve found an audiobook, music, or video that you want to check out, save it to your computer instead of opening it. To do that, right-click the Download button, then select ‘Save As,’ or select the Download button, then Save.
  2. Once the ODM file has been downloaded, right-click (or swipe down) on it.
  3. Select Open With, then choose the right version of OMC:
    WMA and WMV titles: Choose OverDrive Media Console. You can also open MP3 titles with this too, if you prefer.
    MP3 titles: Choose OverDrive Media Console for Windows 8.

Once you have both versions installed, you can enjoy OverDrive media in the old style or new. In case you are wondering whether or not the steps we recommend have been verified to work, I must confess that I had to consult the help pages when setting up my daughter's laptop on Christmas morning, so she could continue listening to her OverDrive audiobooks.


Justin Noszek is a Support Specialist at OverDrive.

Amazon Now Selling Certified Refurbished Kindle Paperwhites for $104

While doing some research over at Amazon this morning I came across a couple of listings for refurbished Kindle Paperwhites. Usually Amazon has a note along the side of the regular listing when they have refurbished units available, but this time they are completely hidden for some reason. In fact they don’t even show up [...]

10 tips to keep your mobile devices charged and happy


The batteries that your mobile devices contain are miracles of engineering. They hold amounts of energy that their predecessors couldn’t come close to equaling. Properly using this potential can help your mobile batteries last longer on the road. Here are our tips for obtaining optimum battery performance.

1. For the quickest Tablet charge, use the original charger or a charger specifically designed for it.

When charging tablets, use the charger they came with for best results.
iPads and other tablets have large batteries, so they come with chargers that can output lots of juice to recharge them quickly. For example, the iPad's adapter can output up to 2100mA (2.1 Amps), which is more than double the amperage that a typical USB port can support. This extra power output makes a huge difference. In our tests, charging an iPad took 5 hours, 9 minutes with the iPad charger (which can deliver up to 2100mA), but it took 10 hours, 13 minutes with an iPhone 5 charger (which maxes out at 1000mA). In a similar test with a generic USB travel charger, the charger took more than 24 hours to build up a full charge in the same iPad.
As these tests demonstrate, to reduce charging time to a minimum, you need to use either the original charger or one designed specifically for your device. Some devices contain circuitry that won’t allow the battery to use the charger's full capacity unless the charger contains a special authorization chip: otherwise, the device will charge at a much slower rate. For instance, when we tried to charge an iPad 4 with a Samsung Tab 10.1's charger, the process took over 19 hours to complete, even though the Samsung charger can deliver the same amount of juice as the original iPad 4 charger. That’s because the iPad 4, not recognizing that the charger could deliver a larger flow of power, limited the incoming current to an unnecessarily low level. The same was true of the reverse situation: When we tried to charge a Samsung Tab 10.1 tablet with an iPad 4 charger, the process took more than 15.5 hours. In contrast, the original Samsung charger completed its work on the Tab 10.1 in 4 hours, 46 minutes.

2. Most cell phones don’t need a specific charger.

Cell phones, which carry smaller batteries than tablets use, don’t require high-current chargers. As a result, you can use a generic charger to transfer power to them, without suffering a severe slowdown in charging time. When we timed how long an iPhone 5 took to reach a full charge when fed by various chargers, the differences ranged from 2 hours, 4 minutes with an HTC travel charger to 2 hours, 59 minutes with a Samsung charger. The original iPhone 5 charger took 2 hours, 16 minutes—so you won’t suffer much of a penalty for using a third-party charger with your cell phone or other small device.

3. Use a charging USB port or a powered USB hub.

If you don’t have a charger handy, you can recharge via a USB port. USB 2.0 ports come in two types: standard and charging. The difference is in the amount of juice they can deliver: A standard USB port delivers a paltry 100mA, whereas a charging port can deliver a much more respectable 500mA. That’s why, when you plug a power-hungry device into some ports, it either won’t charge at all or will charge very slowly. Though many laptops offer a combination of standard and charging USB ports, many manufacturers do a poor job of identifying which ports are of which type; in such cases, the only way to find out is to try each port in turn. Even more confusingly, some ports on fairly recent laptops can provide up to 1.1 Amps of current when a device that can use it is plugged in. Check with your system's manufacturer to see what types of ports it has and what amperage they can deliver to your device, before relying on them to keep your devices charged and ready to go.
Although USB 3.0 ports can deliver more juice (up to 900mA) than USB 2.0 ports can, they perform at this level only with USB 3.0 devices. If you plug a USB 2.0 device into a USB 3.0 port, the port will deliver the same maximum 500mA that a USB 2.0 port would.
If you use an unpowered USB hub, the available current will be divided across all of the ports, which won’t leave enough to charge your devices. A powered USB hub can deliver the full amount of charging juice to each and every port, which makes it a better option for charging your devices.
You can use any micro-USB cable, not just the one your phone came with.

4. You can use any Micro-USB cable to charge your phone if the phone has a Micro-USB port.

For devices that have Micro-USB ports, you can use any cable that has a Micro-USB plug on the end for charging; you don’t need a special cable.

5. The first time you charge a device, let the device charge completely, and then discharge it until it runs out of juice.

The first charge cycle of any device is important: It conditions the battery and helps the device figure out how the battery behaves. So, when you first plug it in, leave the device on to charge for at least 12 hours, then unplug and run the device until the battery is empty. 

6. You can safely leave devices charging.
Modern mobile device batteries contain circuits that control the flow of power, so it is safe to leave them plugged in and charging for long periods. When the battery is fully charged, the battery management controller will regulate the flow of power to keep the battery topped up, but won’t overcharge it. Which is a good thing, as an overcharged Li-Ion battery could explode. 

7. It is good for your batteries to occasionally completely run them down and fully recharge them.
It's not a bad idea to occasionally let a battery drain completely.
Modern Lithium Ion batteries don't suffer from the memory effect problem that plagued their older nickel-cadmium cousins, so you can safely recharge your device even if the battery hasn't completely run down. Nevertheless, manufacturers recommend running the battery down and recharging it fully at least one a month to maximize the battery's life, as this helps keep the battery conditioned and helps preserve its chemistry.

8. Treat your batteries with respect.
If you treat them well, your devices' batteries will repay you with years of service. But if you don’t treat them well, they won’t respond well—which is a problem because the insides of batteries are dangerous places. It may help to think of batteries as small chemical fires waiting to happen: You should always carry them in the device or in a case (if you're carrying a spare). Never poke, puncture, or otherwise mistreat them.

9. Replace (and recycle) your batteries every two years or so.
As batteries get older, their ability to retain a charge diminishes, and consequently your device's battery life gets shorter. This gradual but inevitable process reflects chemical changes inside the battery. Most batteries should be good for a couple of years, though: Apple asserts that the battery in an iPad will hold 80 percent of its maximum charge after 1000 charges, and other manufacturers make similar claims.
When you do replace them, recycle the old batteries at a hardware store or other designated rechargeable battery drop-off. The Call2Recycle website will help you find a recycling station in your area. Don't discard any recyclable battery into the trash, as its ingredients are quite poisonous and potentially combustible.

10. You can diagnose a USB power problem in a few simple steps.
The Generic USB Hub Properties window shows a list of connected USB devices and the amperage each one is drawing.
If you're trying to use a USB port to charge a device, but it isn't working, you can find tools in Windows that may improve the situation. Unfortunately those tools are buried rather deep in the system. To get to them, go to Control Panel > Device Manager, and select Devices by Connection from the View menu. Click the top item on the list (which should be the name of your PC), and press the * key. This will open a list of all the devices connected to your system. Scroll down until you find one called 'Generic USB Hub'. This is your computer's built-in USB hub, which connects the USB ports in the case. You may have more than one such hub, depending on your system. Right-click Generic USB Hub and select Properties. In the Generic USB Hub Properties window click the Power tab, and you'll see a list of connected USB devices, together with the amount of power that each one is drawing. This information can help you determine whether the device will charge quickly (if the number is, say, 500mAH or above) or relatively slowly (if the number is less than 500mAh). When I checked this list on my computer, I found that my cell phone was drawing just 96mA. As a result, even though the phone reported that it was charging, it was receiving only a trickle of power, and would probably never have charged fully.

OpenELEC 3.0.0 is here!

It’s been a bit of a month for media player news – we just featured the arrival of Plex for the Pi last week, and we were really pleased to see a new book by Sam Nazarko on setting up Raspbmc on your Pi has just been put out by Pakt Publishing.

Today, there’s more good news for OpenELEC fans. We’re really grateful to the OpenELEC team, who have worked themselves to the bone on getting things running on the Pi; they were the first XBMC distro to be demonstrated on development Pi hardware back in February last year, were the first ever HardFP distribution (that appeared in March 2012).

Stephan Raue says:

OpenELEC 3.0 is built to support XBMC Frodo 12.1 and almost every part of the core OS has been updated and improved since the 2.0 release. The project now supports a broader range of mediacentre hardware than ever before, including dedicated OS images for the budget friendly Arctic MC001 and ultra-low-cost Raspberry Pi systems.


Raspberry Pi deserves a special mention as it's been a labour of love for the OpenELEC team. OpenELEC's leading position was made possible by our close working relationship with the XBMC team and many other upstream projects.

From the OpenELEC website:

What is OpenELEC?

Open Embedded Linux Entertainment Center, or OpenELEC ( for short, is a small Linux distribution built from scratch as a platform to turn your computer into a complete XBMC media center ( OpenELEC is designed to make your system boot as fast as possible and the install is so easy that anyone can turn a blank PC into a media machine in less than 15 minutes.

  • It’s completely free
  • A full install is only 80-125MB
  • Minimal hardware requirements
  • Simple install to HDD, SSD, Compact Flash, SD card, pen drive or other
  • Optimized builds for Atom, ION, Intel, Fusion, RaspberryPi and more
  • Simple configuration through the XBMC interface
  • Plug and Play external storage
  • File sharing out of the box

OpenELEC 3.0 highlights and changes

XBMC-12.1 (Frodo) – features include:

  • DTS-MA and Dolby True-HD via XBMC's new AudioEngine (not on AMD and RPi)
  • Greatly improved Live TV and PVR support
  • Improved image support, allowing the database to use additional image types.
  • Support for the Raspberry Pi
  • Better Airplay support across all platforms
  • Advanced Filtering in the library
  • Advanced UPnP sharing

For more on AudioEngine support, PVR support and more, visit the OpenELEC site. Huge thanks to all the developers who have put so much work into the OpenELEC on the Pi; we’re very grateful!


Grassroots Effort by Teachers Discovery Creates Low Cost Digital Textbooks

Photo courtesy of velositor,com

Photo courtesy of velositor,com

The winning combination in education is to produce high quality, creative material designed to enhance student learning and outcomes, all while meeting the strict guidelines of a budget that would be better suited for a summer camp. One of the initial hopes that the recent growth of digital publishing and device accessibility would create were inexpensive digital textbooks, but that wasn’t the case; what many fail to realize is that the high cost of a textbook isn’t due to the paper and the ink; it’s the team of Ph.D.-level writers who were paid to write the book.

Now, a grassroots effort by a company who is familiar with meeting the classroom and budget needs of public school teachers has led to the development of teacher-created digital textbooks. Essentially based on the same model in which teachers were able to upload and distribute or sell their best lesson plans, digital textbooks from Teacher’s Discovery share some of the most innovative concepts among teachers.

“Teacher's Discovery, has launched a new series of HTML5 eTextbooks called "Voces", which means ‘voices’ in Spanish,” explained Erik Schreefel from Teacher’s Discovery. “It's a grassroots effort, with each of the eTextbooks being created for teachers, by teachers. Six hundred middle schools and high schools began using our Voces 1st Year Spanish eTextbook during the 60-day beta test where the eTextbooks were priced at around a dollar per student. Traditional eTextbooks are usually upwards of $20 per student, or are included as a companion to tangible textbooks, however, this standard of pricing is crippling schools' ability to have up-to-date materials. Our philosophy is ‘eTextbooks for all!’ That's why we're pricing our Voces series for around a dollar per student.”

Teacher’s Discovery began with a 60-day beta test of the project and had 600 middle schools and high schools participate. The first title in the pilot, Voces, is a first-year Spanish book created by teachers in the beta and was used by each of the schools in the program.

Unfortunately for this much-needed measure, there is one more major hurdle to overcome in true digital textbook adoption, and that is the oversight committees at the state and local level who first create a list of “approved” books in each subject area. Programs like this one would allow easy access to tried-and-true supplemental materials, but they may be a long way off in terms of getting the approval from the gatekeepers to digital textbook adoption.

Grassroots Effort by Teachers Discovery Creates Low Cost Digital Textbooks is a post from: E-Reader News