Monday, July 29, 2013

Q2 Tablet Shipment Figures has Android Beating iOS


Consumer preference for tablet devices continue to rise unabated with the latest research by Strategy Analytics revealing a rise of 43 percent in tablet pc shipments in Q2 2013 compared to the same period last year. Put in another way, shipment of tablet devices reached 51.7 million in the said period though the more interesting facts lies within it.

The research also revealed the growing popularity of the Android platform which has recorded a healthy rise to 67 percent in the world connected devices segment. Of course, that came at the expense of Apple who share of the market fell to 28 percent.

Peter King, Director of Tablets at Strategy Analytics, said, “Global Branded Tablet shipments reached 36.2 million units in Q2 2013, up 47 percent from 24.6 million in Q2 2012. The Branded Tablet market had a rest period as very few new products came to market during the quarter. When we add in White-Box Tablets, shipments reached 51.7 million units, up 43 percent from 36.1 million in Q2 2012. Android is now making steady progress due to hardware partners like Samsung, Amazon, Google and White-Box tablets which, despite the fact that branded OEMs are lowering price-points and putting pressure on the White-Box manufacturers, are still performing well.”

King further added: “Apple iOS shipments were 14.6 million iPads in Q2 2013 which declined 14 percent annually. In the same quarter a year ago the first Retina display iPads were launched which could partly explain the decline as there were no new models in this quarter. However, to compensate that, iPad Mini which was not available a year ago, now freely available was expected to take the figure higher than 14.6 million.”

Microsoft's Windows which is a new entrant in the field has managed to secure a 4.5 percent of the market share. The low figure isn't surprising considering the low uptake of Windows based tablet devices including the Surface tablet range which have fared miserably in the market. In fact, many have already started to question if the Windows platform is at all suited to the tablet realm which could see far more acceptance in the laptop or ultrabook segment.

However, the meteoric rise of Android with support from hardware makers such as Samsung, Amazon and such could come under stress once Apple launches its new generation devices such as the iPhone and the iPad 5 this fall. With better specs and the thoroughly revamped iOS 7 platform along with a refreshed design that analysts claim is more akin to the iPad Mini, Apple is likely to have another multi-million sales run in the market in the run up to the holiday season and beyond. Meanwhile, the rumor world is agog with conflicting stories whether there is a new iPad Mini is slated for launch this fall or if it is going to feature a retina display.

Overall, while Android made some healthy gains in Q2 213, Apple could well be seen making a comeback of sorts in the next quarter.

Apple iPad Update Screen Showing as Blank for Most Users


The Apple iPad is experiencing a blank update screen for many users. You may see app updates available via the notification flag, but when you visit the update section in the APP store, there is no data. This is applicable to all iPad models, the iPod and iPhone are unaffected by this issue.

The iOS 6 AppStore is a web browser with some local HTML (header and tabs) and content loaded with AJAX. So it might be unresponsive because of Javascript and other assets failing to load. Restores are fruitless and many users have reported that running a Factory default does little to solve the problem. Currently the only way to circumvent this issue is to hit the purchased tab and search for updates there.

Official Android Jellybean Runtime to Hit Blackberry Soon


Blackberry has been fervently working on a massive upgrade to their Android emulator which takes it from 2.3 to Jellybean. This will allow major apps like Candy Crush Saga and Viber to finally work on the entire line of Blackberry Smartphones. There is currently a leaked OS that is fairly polished, which is an indication that Blackberry will release it in the next month.

The Blackberry Z10, Q10, A10, Q5 and Playbook all have a built in Android emulator which allows users to load in their own Android apps. This helps offset the lack of quality content in the Blackberry App Store and put power in the users hands to convert and install their own apps. Most apps these days are not being written for really old versions of Android, so this Jellybean update to the emulator is huge news and a boon to worldwide customers.

If you want to install the Jellybean update right now, you can visit this tutorial that outlines the entire process. Installing Android apps is not as cut and dry as just loading in an APK file to your device, instead you have to convert the APK to a BAR file. We have an automatic converter that does this for you, you can check it out HERE. You can also watch a few video tutorials, if you are totally unfamiliar with loading in your own apps.

Top Picks for Fall Book Titles

A total of seven self-published ebooks will make the New York Times bestseller list this weekend

Good e-Reader referenced an article earlier about the concept of seasons as it pertains to book releases from the traditional publishing industry. Publishers, like other areas of entertainment, have catalogs of titles that they will release based on a number of metrics and factors, with these releases being organized into seasons.

For its part, the booksellers generally highlight upcoming titles by season and offer highly valuable promotional support to these thematic catalogs. Today, Amazon announced not only its own top picks for the most highly anticipated books of the upcoming fall season, but also the lists of books in both print and digital that are already topping the charts for pre-orders.

According to a press release from Amazon, the most pre-ordered books in print publishing this fall are:
1. The House of Hades by Rick Riordan
2. Doctor Sleep by Stephen King
3. Allegiant (Divergent) by Veronica Roth
4. Never Go Back by Lee Child
5. W is for Wasted by Sue Grafton

The most pre-ordered books on Kindle publishing this fall are:
1. Never Go Back by Lee Child
2. Allegiant (Divergent) by Veronica Roth
3. House of Hades by Rick Riordan
4. Doctor Sleep by Stephen King
5. W is for Wasted by Sue Grafton

In addition to this list which was generated simply by consumer sales of these titles, Amazon’s editors also created a list of their favorite picks which seem to not be getting the same level of attention as some other mainstream titles. These books, which they’ve referred to as “under the radar” titles, include:

My Notorious Life by Kate Manning, The Maid's Version by Daniel Woodrell, The Mushroom Hunters, The Night Guest by Fiona McFarlane, Provence, 1970: M.F.K. Fisher, Julia Child, James Beard, and the Reinvention of American Taste by Luke Barr,  Johnny Cash: The Life by Robert Hilburn, Parasite by Mira Grant, Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, and Mister Max: The Book of Lost Things by Cynthia Voigt.

All of the titles on these Amazon lists are available now for purchase or pre-order.

Top Picks for Fall Book Titles is a post from: E-Reader News

Amazon and Overstock: The Race to Offer the Best Price on Books


When Amazon was first given its nickname as the “evil empire” by some in the traditional publishing and bookselling industries, one question kept coming back up: “Who will be big enough to take down Amazon?” Critics lamented the fact that other retail outlets can’t compete with a company that can afford to take a loss on books and make up for it with sales of coffee makers and blue jeans. Retailers like Target and Walmart seemed poised to compete, but their physical store overhead and limited shelf space for books kept them from offering the volume of the world’s largest online retailer.

But according to an article today for The Bookseller, there is a retailer giving Amazon a run for its money in book pricing: And just like Amazon, it too can afford to lose a few dollars on the price of print books and make up for it when its customers decide to purchase a household item at the same time in order to capitalize on reduced shipping costs.

“Shelf Awareness has reported that in response to the direct competition, which is across the 466,000 books that Overstock supplies, has begun discounting the price of hardback books much higher than before. Dan Brown's Inferno is selling for $29.95 but is available on Amazon for $11.65, a 61% discount; And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini, listed for $28.95, is being sold at $12.04, a 58% discount; Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg, is listed at $24.95, and selling for $9.09, a 64% discount; while The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, listed at $17.99, is available for $6.55, 64% off.”

One thing that Overstock cannot match Amazon with is volume, at least not at this time. It would be interesting to know if Overstock is actually doing as the name implies and gathering up leftover merchandise–in this case, books from publishing houses–or simply brokering the books directly from the publishers like any other retail outlet. It would also be interesting to know if publishers are trying to build up relationships with Overstock in order to direct more customers to that retailer over Amazon. But be warned, a move like that would stand to simply create two retail giants who have the power to tell publishers how much their books will be sold for.

Amazon and Overstock: The Race to Offer the Best Price on Books is a post from: E-Reader News

1190: Time

On Friday, xkcd #1190—Timecame to an end.

It was a huge project, but since it was all concealed within a single comic panel, I thought I’d end with this short post to explain what was going on. If you want to see the story yourself before I spoil anything, you can use one of the many excellent third-party Time explorers, like the Geekwagon viewer, or one of the others listed here.

When the comic first went up, it just showed two people sitting on a beach. Every half hour (and later every hour), a new version of the comic appeared, showing the figures in different positions. Eventually, the pair started building a sand castle.

There was a flurry of attention early on, as people caught on to the gimmick. Readers watched for a while, and then, when nothing seemed to be happening, many wandered away—perhaps confused, or perhaps satisfied that they’d found a nice easter-egg story about castles.

But Time kept going, and hints started appearing that there was more to the story than just sand castles. A few dedicated readers obsessively cataloged every detail, watching every frame for clues and every changing pixel for new information. The xkcd forum thread on Time grew terrifyingly fast, developing a subculture with its own vocabulary, songs, inside jokes, and even a religion or two.

And as Time unfolded, readers gradually figured out that it was a story, set far in the future, about one of the strangest phenomena in our world: The Mediterranean Sea sometimes evaporates, leaving dry land miles below the old sea level … and then fills back up in a single massive flood.

(A special thank you to Phil Plait for his advice on the far-future night sky sequence, and to Dan, Emad, and everyone else for your help on various details of the Time world.)

Time was a bigger project than I planned. All told, I drew 3,099 panels. I animated a starfield, pored over maps and research papers, talked with biologists and botanists, and created a plausible future language for readers to try to decode.

I wrote the whole story before I drew the first frame, and had almost a thousand panels already drawn before I posted the first one. But as the story progressed, the later panels took longer to draw than I expected, and Time began—ironically—eating more and more of my time. Frames that went up every hour were sometimes taking more than an hour to make, and I spent the final months doing practically nothing but drawing.

To the intrepid, clever, sometimes crazy readers who followed it the whole way through, watching every pixel change and catching every detail: Thank you. This was for you. It’s been quite a journey; I hope you enjoyed the ride as much as I did!

P.S. A lot of people have asked if I can sell some kind of Time print collection (or a series of 3,099 t-shirts, where you run to the bathroom and change into a new one every hour). I’m afraid I don’t have anything like that in the works right now. I just made this because I thought it would be neat, and now that it’s done, my only plan is to spend the next eleven thousand years catching up on sleep. If you liked the project, you’re always welcome to donate via PayPal ( or buy something from the xkcd store. Thank you.

Narrative Nonfiction in any Classroom

I use to wonder what my teachers and school librarians did while we were away from school. I imagined them rollerblading down the hallways, eating the elusive cafeteria cookies that always seemed to run out before my miserable Slot C lunch, and generally just having a blast while we were out of their hair. While the latter may have been a little true, I was foolish to think that teachers and librarians ever stopped working.


I'm sure most of you are thinking about your curriculum for next term. You are thinking what will engage my students? What will interest them? It's really really difficult to answer that question because every learner is different. One thing we have learned, however, is that everyone enjoys a good story from time to time which is why OverDrive is proud to offer Narrative Nonfiction as one of its most versatile genres. This genre, also known as Literary Nonfiction, lends itself to many different classrooms. It brings nonfiction to the English/Language Arts selections and succeeds because the stories are compelling much like their fiction counterparts. Even better? It works for other areas of the core curriculum like Science, History and Math just to name a few. For example, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot , would be an excellent addition to a Biology class. It details how one woman's cells lead to advances like in vitro fertilization, cloning, and gene mapping, yet her family never saw a dime of the multimillion-dollar profit the cells generated. Your students learn of the importance of their genealogy, the power of their cells, while also getting a lesson in ethics.


Skloot's powerhouse is just one of hundreds that OverDrive has to offer! Consider these for your next class set! Here are a few of my favorites:

If you are interested in our Narrative Nonfiction selections, contact your Collection Specialist today!


Christina Bernecker is a School Account Specialist  at OverDrive. 


10 Covers and Cases for the Google Nexus 7 II (2nd Gen)

A list of 10 covers and cases for the new Google Nexus 7 II (2nd Generation model 2013). Includes pictures of each cover.

eBooks Change the Season Concept in Publishing


Much like other areas of the entertainment industries, books fall into the concept of seasons. Television shows are filmed and aired in seasons–while other times of the year re-runs are broadcast–and the movie industry has long aligned itself with seasons in which to release blockbuster films, such as action movies in the summer and family-oriented films around the holidays.

An article today for Publisher’s Weekly explains some of the thought processes and historical origins of the seasonal concept in traditional print publishing, and unlike other areas of entertainment, some of the reasons these seasons first began actually stem from the physical shipping of printed books to bookstores around the world, often by barge.

But if ebooks don’t arrive by massive boats, why are they still being lumped into seasons for new releases?

Certainly, physical books still have to be shipped to various retailers, but even that is a much faster and more cost effective process than it was in the early days of large-scale publishing. Is it possible that this is another case of “doing it the way it’s always been done?”

Amazon Publishing, the book retailer’s traditional publishing house, was one of the first to make dramatic recent changes to how publishing works when it announced that it would begin paying its authors monthly royalties instead of quarterly, like the rest of the traditional industry, citing the monthly payments that self-published authors receive as the reason. Why punish a traditionally published author by only paying him four times a year, when he would be paid each month if he had self-published?

However, digital is having an impact on this, to some extent. In the PW piece, publishers cited various reasons for sticking to a seasonal release concept, but insist that “sticking to the old ways” isn’t part of that decision making process:

“Despite blurred seasons, most publishers have stuck to seasonal catalogues, although many are now digital. ‘It isn't just for nostalgic reasons that we still feel so strongly about the seasonal catalogue,’ said Norton president Drake McFeely. ‘Presenting our list whole and allowing recipients to see how the pieces fit together is still enormously important to us. Our catalogue is in many important ways our identity, and I know our affiliates feel the same way.’"

eBooks Change the Season Concept in Publishing is a post from: E-Reader News

The Pi Pong clock

First of all, thank you to everybody who sponsored us on yesterday’s London to Cambridge bike ride in support of Breakthrough Breast Cancer. We got to the end unscathed, Eben “won” by sprinting away from the rest of the pack about five miles out at Duxford, and many cereal bars and bananas were consumed. If you’d still like to sponsor us, you can do so at JustGiving.

Eben (can’t sing in tune, makes a mean risotto), James Adams (director of hardware, brews beer in his garage, welds things) and Emma (office manager, PhD in entomology, knows more about ladybirds than anyone else alive, good at punching). Click to sponsor.

Back to the matter at hand. We found a Pong clock on YouTube, powered (of course) by a Raspberry Pi. It made us laugh. One side wins once an hour, the other once a minute: the result is a clock that’s weirdly compelling to watch.

Don Clark, the Mind Behind, has made the code available at his Bitbucket account: it’s written in Python, and you’ll need PyGame to run it; Don was using Raspbian as his OS.

Let us know if you incorporate a Pi into your home decoration scheme. We thought this was a super-cute way to tell the time.