Monday, April 1, 2013

Jeff Bezos Patents the Future of the Kindle


Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has just submitted a new patent that will change the way our Kindle e-Readers and Tablets function. Right now these devices have reached a level where the hardware internals and battery life can’t really get much better, without drastically increasing the cost.  The new patent will have your unit actually powered and major processes handled by a remote server or primary station.  Tablets and e-Readers will transform into all in one units to ultra portable display screens with all processes handled by base stations.

The essence of this patent will be to offer very low cost display screens, where the battery, processor, RAM and other major hardware will be handled by a base station. The patent outlines many innovative approaches. For example, a school can setup multiple base stations and when the screen is in a certain proximity, the screens will wake-up and be able to access the internet and have eBooks and other course material wirelessly delivered.

The major claim from the patent is “A computer implemented method, comprising: under control of one or more computer systems configured with executable instructions, detecting a portable display within range of a first primary station, the portable display including a power receiving element and a data receiving element, the first primary station including a data transmitting element and a power transmitting element; wirelessly receiving power from the power transmitting element of the first primary station to the power receiving element of the portable display; wirelessly receiving data from the data transmitting element of the first primary station to the data receiving element of the portable display; detecting the portable display within range of a second primary station, the second primary station including a power transmitting element and a data transmitting element; wirelessly receiving power from the power transmitting element of the second primary station to the power receiving element of the portable display in response to detecting the portable display within the range of the second primary station; and wirelessly receiving data from the data transmitting element of the second primary station to the data receiving element of the portable display.”

Could you imagine a future where the real cost of the tablet is the hardware base station? Much like a PC, it would be easily upgradable for more CPU, RAM and internals. The small cost would be the actual display screen, which would be negligible.   You can see from looking at the patent information that the CEO of Amazon is thinking about the future, and how costs can be lowered.

Jeff Bezos Patents the Future of the Kindle is a post from: E-Reader News

Hearst Inks New Deal with Digital Newsstand Magzter


Magzter is an upstart digital magazine company that is looking to give Zinio and Next Issue a run for their money. In the last few weeks, the company has signed on a number of publications, such as Maxim and Newsweek. Today, Magzter has announced that Hearst has signed on and will contribute all of its U.S. titles, and some of its international ones, onto the platform.

The Digital Magazine company has initiated a number of overtures with major publishers in the US, the world's biggest consumer of digital content. While publishers are eager for a larger audience, Magzter's 50-50 revenue sharing plan is the biggest stumbling block here. Magzter is asking for 50 percent of the subscription fees, which is far higher than the 30 percent commision Apple requires. Magzter is eager to trade some vital user statistics in return, which can be hard for the publishers to ignore. What Magzter is willing to divulge is not only how many users are actually reading which magazines, but also the email addresses of those who are reading. Magzter has also stated there are no hidden costs involved at any stage, even if the publishers add more pages or interactive multimedia content to their magazines.

Magzter also boasts of a new automatic magazine uploading system where publishers will just have to upload their magazine only once and the software will render the magazine into the formats of various devices in vogue. Publishers will only have to upload the PDF file (or any other suitable format) into the system and it will be with the subscribers within the next one hour. The entire process is automatic, the patent for which is still pending. This way, users will get to enjoy the favorite magazine no matter if it's on an iPad or Android tablet.

The company currently offers apps for iOS, Android, and Windows 8. It has offices in India, London, Singapore, and New York, and has been making its way across Asia and Europe. The service now claims about 7 million app downloads from a collection of 1,500 magazines from 600 publishers.

Hearst Inks New Deal with Digital Newsstand Magzter is a post from: E-Reader News

Humans and Androids Team Up in Marvel’s Avengers A.I.

Avengers AI

The newest Marvel Comics spinoff envisions a future world in which artificial intelligences take on a life of their own—and are able to spawn new, more powerful and complex AIs without human intervention.

That’s the world of Avengers A.I., a spinoff of Brian Michael Bendis’s Age of Ultron that will launch in July with the creative team of writer Sam Humphries (Ultimate Comics: Ultimates, Our Love Is Real) and artist Andre Lima Araujo.

“It’s a Pandora’s Box situation – once you fire that bullet out of the gun, you can never put it back,” Humphries told USA Today’s Brian Truitt. “The Marvel Universe within the blink of an eye is being colonized by A.I.s who may or may not have positive feelings about the way humanity has been treating them for the past 100 years.”

Regardless of how the A.I.s feel, they must be dealt with and so a new team forms, headed up by The Vision, an android created by the robot Ultron who has been through a number of transformations and is able to form real bonds with humans (he was once married to fellow Avenger Scarlet Witch). Other A.I.s on the team include Victor Mancha (the son of Ultron), a Doombot, and a new character, Alexis, who has one of the most advanced robot bodies on Earth” as well as extraordinarily high intelligence, Humphries says, but whose place on the team and in this new world of humans and A.I.s remains murky. The humans on the team include Hank Pym, the scientist/superhero who created Ultron, and Monica Chang, who comes over from Ultimate Comics: Ultimates as an artificial intelligence specialist from S.H.I.E.L.D.

The key to the story is that the humans can’t overcome the artificial intelligences, so the human/A.I. team must find ways for both groups to coexist. Otherwise, says Marvel executive editor Tom Brevoort, “ultimately the A.I. are going to wipe us out and we’re going to be very sad Cro-Magnons in a very short period of time.”

That gives Humphries plenty of scope to tell some interesting stories, which will exploit both the tension between humans and A.I.s and the potential of this strange new form of being. “Artificial intelligences are a product of human ingenuity, and although they are going to be going down their new path, they will remain a mirror to humanity,” he told USA Today. “Understanding that and exploring that in ways that are going to be funny and touching and endearing are definitely going to be parts of this book.”

Humans and Androids Team Up in Marvel’s Avengers A.I. is a post from: E-Reader News

AT&T to Sell the Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8.9 LTE on April 5th


AT&T has announced today that it will begin to carry the Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8.9 LTE in all of its US retail stores on April 5th. You will be able to directly purchase the tablet for $399, or if you sign up for a two year contract you can get it for $249.

The Kindle Fire HD 8.9 is one of the best tablets on the market due to the myriad of features it offers. The resolution of the display screen is 1920 x 1200 and it has a pixel density of 254ppi. Underneath the hood is a 1.5GHz OMAP4470 processor, 1GB of RAM, a front-facing camera, Dolby Surround Sound, and up to 10 hours of battery life.

I think purchasing a two year contract and getting it for $249 is a very solid deal, and you can get a data plan via AT&T for as little as $15 a month. Having mobile LTE access allows you to access movies, ebooks, audiobooks, and other interactive content on the go. Considering most people tend to hang onto their tablets for a few years after a purchase, this is a worthwhile investment.

AT&T to Sell the Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8.9 LTE on April 5th is a post from: E-Reader News

OverDrive Launches New Reader-friendly Services

April 1, 2013 — Cleveland, Ohio – Leading eBook distributor OverDrive today announced a series of initiatives to broaden options for readers to discover and enjoy eBooks from schools and libraries.  Based on surveys completed by 18 million readers who each volunteered to brain wave scans (but without personally identifiable information), the following new services were announced:


OverDrive's new Digital BookmoBlimp soars over a local library

- New Integration protocol:   The company will upgrade from SIP user authentication to its own new Super Library User Registration Program (SLURP).


-Support for the "26 emotional response limit" to selective borrowed eBooks, as well as options to select new metered access term limits such as 24 months, 24 pages and 24 words.


-National Digital BookmoBlimp (see photo, right).  Building on the success of the Digital Bookmobile, OverDrive will introduce a new outreach vehicle:  A titanic hot air bag circling North America collecting reading preferences from air travelers while in flight.

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.

Mobile batteries: Everything you need to know

The batteries in your mobile devices are miracles of chemical engineering, holding huge amounts of energy that can keep your devices running for hours. How do they work, and how can you get the most out of them?
Most modern mobile devices use lithium ion (sometimes called Li-ion) batteries, which consist of two main parts: a pair of electrodes and the electrolyte between them. The materials that these electrodes are made of varies (they can be lithium, graphite, or even nanowires), but they all rely on the chemistry of lithium. It's a reactive metal, which means that it has a tendency to combine with other elements. Pure lithium is so reactive, it can catch fire in the air, so most batteries use a safer form called lithium cobalt oxide. Between the two electrodes is the electrolyte, which is usually a liquid organic solvent that allows electrons to flow between them. When a lithium ion battery is charged, the lithium cobalt oxide molecules capture and hold electrons, which they then release when the battery is in use, such as when it is running your cell phone.
Nick Mediati
Lithium ion batteries power nearly every mobile device.
Lithium ion is the most common form of battery because it can store the most energy in the smallest space. That's measured in terms of specific energy density, which refers to how much energy, in Watt-hours, a kilogram of battery could hold. For lithium ion, the figure can be between 150 and 250 Wh/kg, while a nickel metal hydride (or NiMH) battery can hold about 100 Wh/kg. In other words, lithium ion batteries are smaller and lighter than other types, and that means smaller devices with longer battery life.
All of this chemistry means one thing: Your device's battery is storing energy, and the chemicals inside are eager to release that energy any way they can. And that can be a problem, as Boeing recently found out when the batteries on a 787 Dreamliner caught fire while the plane was parked.
This is one of the drawbacks of lithium ion: If the batteries are discharged too far, the chemistry breaks down and creates an excess of lithium oxide, which ignites, creating more lithium oxide, and so on. That's what chemists call a thermal runaway reaction, and what everyone else calls a fire, which is why the FAA grounded the 787. Since the same thing can happen if you puncture the battery, the TSA recommends that air passengers carefully pack batteries in their carry-on baggage, not in checked baggage.

Battery capacity

The capacity of a battery is measured in milliampere-hours (or mAh), which indicates how much energy the battery can deliver over time. For instance, if a battery has a rating of 1000 mAh, it could deliver 1000 milliamps of power for 1 hour. If your device uses 500 milliamps of power, the battery should last about 2 hours.
The battery life of a device is a bit more complicated than that, though, as the amount of power a device uses changes depending on what it is doing. If the device's screen is on, the radio is transmitting, and the processor is working hard, it will use more energy than if the screen is off and the radio and processor are idle.
That's why you should treat battery-life claims with caution—the manufacturer can extend the battery-life number by turning the screen brightness down, or by turning off parts of the device. If you are curious, you can use an app that monitors the power consumption and battery status of your mobile device, such as Battery Monitor Widget for Android or Battery Life Pro for iOS devices.

Controlling the flow of power

This chart shows the flow of power entering a Samsung Galaxy Note as it charges.
Because of their tendency to catch fire, lithium ion batteries have to be closely controlled. Battery makers accomplish that by building in a charge controller that manages the flow of electricity. In effect, every battery has a small computer inside it that prevents it from being discharged too fast, or to a dangerously low level. This component also regulates the flow of power into the battery during charging, slowing the flow of power as the battery gets close to being fully charged to prevent overcharging.
To show how this process works, we charged a Samsung Galaxy Note and measured the flow of power into the device, against the reported percentage for the battery charge. As you can see in the chart above, the flow of power into the battery is highest when the battery is first being charged, and then tapers off. The last few portions of the charge take a long time, as the controller slows the flow of power to a trickle so that the battery won’t be charged too much.

The future of power

Battery technology is always improving, with labs around the world looking for new battery technologies to replace lithium as well as new approaches to building lithium ion batteries. Among the new technologies, a lot of work has gone into supercapacitors, in which the battery stores energy electrically and then releases it, like a flash gun. Supercapacitors could allow for much quicker charging, as little chemical change is involved, but current supercapacitors can deliver power only in short bursts, which is the opposite of what most mobile devices need. Fuel cells that use hydrogen to generate electricity are also coming soon. The Nectar fuel-cell system, announced at the CES trade show in January, uses a $10 cartridge to power a cell phone for up to two weeks. However, fuel cells are not yet small enough to fit inside a phone—the Nectar system charges the existing lithium ion battery and doesn't replace it.
Nectar fuel-cell system
Sulfur may join lithium inside batteries eventually. Scientists at Stanford University recently demonstrated a battery that used nanotechnology to add sulfur to the chemical mix, which increased the energy density of the battery by as much as five times, and also improved its life span. However, this development won’t hit the market for a few years.

Marketing Idea: Start a Digital Book Club

Let’s keep this blog post short and to the point. Book clubs are a great way to bring readers together to talk about books while building upon their sense of community with the library. Why not take some of the best practices from your existing book club to start a Digital Book Club?



We’ve outlined some best practices of Digital Book Clubs in a Prezi presentation for your viewing pleasure.


We created a Prezi presentation that takes you on a journey from promoting eBook availability to your existing book club to creating a full blown Digital Book Club! Take a few minutes to view this presentation and jot down a few notes for how to start a Digital Book Club of your own! (Seriously, that’s why I made this blog post so short – so you could spend your time viewing the presentation :) )


For more ideas on how to promote your OverDrive service, join us for a live Community Outreach webinar on Thursday, April 4th at 3:00 PM ET.


Cassie Renner is a Marketing Specialist at OverDrive.


e-Ink Remains Committed to e-Readers despite CEO Change


e-Ink Holdings has been developing e-Paper displays since 2009 and are found in most modern electronic readers. Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo and Sony all feature their high-resolution displays in their current generation lineup. Recently, CEO of e-Ink Scott Liu has resigned as the Chairman and CEO of e-Ink and Vice Chairman Felix Ho has been named interim Chairman and CEO. With the shift in management and declining revenues, what does the future of e-ink hold?

We caught up with the head of research and development Giovanni Mancini about what exactly is going on with the company. Whenever there is a shift in the top levels of management, it is often an indication that things are about to be shaken up.

Do you know why Scott left e-ink?

As announced in the company's press release Scott Liu had led E Ink for many years, and he made a personal decision to step down as the Chairman and CEO of E Ink Holdings that is not related to the direct running of the company. Thus, E Ink would like to respect his privacy. Scott will continue to act as an executive advisor. E Ink is fortunate that Vice Chairman Felix Ho has become the interim chairman and CEO of E Ink Holdings. Felix has extensive experience in the display and EPD industry, and with E Ink technology.

Is e-ink refocusing their strategies from e-readers to watches, price tags and keyboards and other things?

E Ink absolutely remains committed to eReaders, as eReaders continue to be a very large and significant market for the company.  E Ink is expanding its strategy to include other products such as ESL (price tags) and watches. E Ink technology is ideal for many consumer and industrial applications, and E Ink is very excited to be working with designers across multiple industries on some innovative new products, including many in the eReader space.

It seems e-ink has been on the decline the last few quarters, and it seems to me a management shakeup was needed to bring the company in a new direction. Are you privy to any of this?

The change in management was totally due to personal reasons, it does not signal a redirection of the company.

Are you aware of anything new and exciting happening at e-ink?

E Ink is constantly working on many new and exciting products. The company is presently working on a schedule for products announcements, and it expects to announce some in the near future.

Do you know how marketing is going on with Triton 2, or If any other mainstream vendors have expressed interest in it?

Per your conversation with E Ink during CES, the company continues to market its Triton 2 product and expects to have a customer start shipping in June of 2013.

Is e-ink interested in acquiring Liquavista?

As a matter of policy E Ink does not comment on such inquiries.

e-Ink Remains Committed to e-Readers despite CEO Change is a post from: E-Reader News