Tuesday, May 14, 2013

BlackBerry Z10 Review

BlackBerry was once king of the smartphone world.  For 4 years, it reigned supreme, until their world was eclipsed by the rise of Apple's iPhone and Google's subsequent introduction of Android. Since then, the company has spent time trying to regain their foothold by updating their OS and releasing touch-screen devices ranging from the Torch to the PlayBook tablet– but it wasn't enough to regain their position or even compete with Apple and Google. Fast-forward to 2013, with the introduction of the BlackBerry 10 OS and the new flagship Z10 phone. Could 2013 be the year of the BlackBerry or at least a convincing comeback?


So let's have a look at the vitals: The Z10 is 4G ready, and features a 4.2" touch screen (1280 x 768 resolution), front (2MP) and rear (8MP) cameras, 16GB of internal storage – expandable up to 32GB of external storage via microSD, 2GB of RAM, all powered by a 1.5 GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4. All of these bells and whistles join forces to run the new and improved BlackBerry 10 operating system.


The first thing I noticed about the device was the lack of buttons on the face.  Sure, you have the power button, mute, and volume up/down buttons on the top and right edges, respectively – but there's no Home key, Search key, or "BlackBerry" key. You do get soft-keys on screen for calls, searching, and camera access, but all other navigation is based on gestures. Swipe up from the bottom bezel to get to the home screen – this works even when the screen is turned off, waking it up, and getting you right to your apps. Swipe up from the middle and to the right to get to notifications, swipe down from the top bezel to get to settings. In keeping with the trend started with the BlackBerry Playbook's OS, BlackBerry 10 devices can use Android apps using the Android Runtime included in the OS.  This means you can install OverDrive Media Console for Android on the device, and use it the way you would on the latest Android devices.


It's been awhile since BlackBerry brought something truly new to the market, and with Apple and Google having established a solid foundation for the new generation of Smartphones, the Z10 has a lot to prove. Based on what I'm seeing with the device, it doesn't look like the fight should be too difficult for BlackBerry. The Z10 is a solid device with quite a bit of power under the hood, and plenty of features to go around. The BlackBerry 10 OS is also pretty fresh with its emphasis on gestures, neat enhancements, and eye-candy. At least one former iPhone owner in our office has already made the change to the BlackBerry Z10. You may be seeing more of these devices coming through the doors of your library soon.


Justin Noszek is a Support Specialist for OverDrive

Publisher Spotlight: Library-Loved eBooks from Macmillan



When Macmillan launched their eBook collection with us in March, we heard cheers from our U.S. library partners that love the high circulating edge of your seat thrillers, crime novels and mysteries. With the success of the pilot program thus far, Macmillan has decided to expand their eBook offerings for libraries to purchase. If you haven't added Macmillan eBooks to your digital collection yet, here are a few recommendations of library-loved authors and titles to get you started:


"Beekeeper's Apprentice" by Laurie King

If you're a fan of "Sherlock Holmes", odds are you'll enjoy this story since he's one of the main characters! A young woman named Mary Russell becomes partners with the retired famed detective and they work together to look for the kidnapped daughter of an American senator. If you need more convincing, this book was named one of the Century’s Best 100 Mysteries by the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association.


"A Place of Execution" by Val McDermid

PBS fans may recognize the name "Place of Execution" as a Masterpiece: Mystery series. The series was based on this acclaimed book that follows Detective Inspector George Bennett, as well as journalist Catherine Heathcote, investigating the same mysterious case of a missing girl thirty years apart.


It's Christmas in May! These eBooks are fun reads no matter what time of year.

"Kissing Christmas Goodbye" by M.C. Beaton is about Agatha and her detective agency that usually leaves her yawning but this Christmas is keeping her busy with a murder case.


"Six Geese A-Slaying" by Donna Andrews tackles another murder – of Santa! Meg Lanslow has to find the killer and save the local Christmas parade. (If you like "Six Geese", make sure to check out Donna Andrews' other bird-themed titles in the Meg Lanslow Mystery series, starting with "Murder with Peacocks".)


Other suggested titles include “Burn“, a part of the popular Nevada Barr series featuring Anna Pigeon, "Whisper to the Blood" by Dana Stabenow, "Blue Heaven" by CJ Box and the "Claire Malloy" series by Joan Hess.


Macmillan titles are all one-copy/one-user. Each copy circulates for 24 months or 52 checkouts, whichever comes first. The Macmillan program is currently only available in the United States. Terms restrict purchase for shared collections (i.e., consortia collections). Individual member libraries that have OverDrive Advantage accounts are permitted to purchase Macmillan eBooks for their Advantage collections. For full terms and conditions, click here.


Visit Content Reserve to start browsing for these titles and more! Contact your collection development specialist if you have any questions.


Melissa Marin is a Marketing Specialist at OverDrive.


Apple Doesn’t Like E Ink eBook Readers and Thinks They’re a Waste of Time

That title isn’t necessarily a statement of fact. But when you stop and consider the circumstances and evaluate the evidence, it’s pretty easy to come to that conclusion. Why else wouldn’t Apple release a dedicated E Ink reading device to go along with their ebookstore? Apple opened the doors on the iBookstore back in early [...]