Wednesday, April 2, 2014

e-Reading Company Wexler Getting into the Smartphone Game


Traditional e-reader companies have been trying to diversify their portfolios over the course of the last year. Onyx has a great e-ink phone that is in mass production and will likely see a release within the next few months. Wexler, is best known for their Flexx One e-reader, which is the first of its kind to feature a bendable design. The company is branching away from e-readers with the advent of their Zen line of smartphones.

Wexler has three Android smartphones in development and most feature dual-sims which tend to be popular in Russia and Asia. The models they will release in the next month are the 4, 5 and 5+.

The 5+ is very interesting and packs quite a punch. It has a five inch display with a resolution of 1920×180 and a quadcore 1.2 GHZ processor. There is 2 GB of RAM and 32 GB of internal memory. The expanded memory is the main thing that separates the 5 from the 5+.  Other than that, they all have front facing 2 MP and 13 MP camera.

All of the phones ship with Jellybean 4.2 and have duel-sim cards. This will allow people to travel around and basically have their sim for their domestic network and an extra one to not pay expensive roaming charges. Wexler is a Russian company and this concept does fairly well there with pay as you go plans and marketed towards an Asian audience.

e-Reading Company Wexler Getting into the Smartphone Game is a post from: Good e-Reader

Michael Tamblyn Promoted to President of Kobo


Michael Tamblyn has been the Chief Content Officer of Kobo forever. He is primarily responsible for publisher relationships, sales, industry relations and has spearheaded various initiatives such as the Magazine and Kids Store. Today, Michael has been appointed President and Chief Content Officer  of Kobo.

Michael have now have an expanded role to play in Kobo’s overall business strategy. As President, he will work closely with CEO Taka Aiki to continue expanding on the company's eReading service around the world, while driving the company's success through sustainable and long-term profitable growth. Basically Michael is now second in command at Kobo and will have a strong voice in the overall business strategy.

Michael Tamblyn was one of the oldest executives at Kobo. He helped launch the Indigo pet-project Shortcovers in 2009 and helped broker the investment money needed to splinter into Kobo. He has been the voice of Kobo at all major publishing events, such as Book Expo America, IDPF, Digital Minds and many other conferences all over the world.

Congratulations to Michael for his elevated role at Kobo. He is one of the most approachable guys in the industry and honestly is enamoured with reading in all forms. He is also a most dapper dresser and always styles and profiles.

Michael Tamblyn Promoted to President of Kobo is a post from: Good e-Reader

Amazon Fire TV: Why No Kindle Integration for eBooks and Audiobooks?

The big news story today is the new video streaming and gaming device called Fire TV that Amazon has just released for $99. It’s basically Amazon’s answer to Apple TV, Chromecast, and Roku devices. Amazon Fire TV is a small box that you plug into your TV to watch Prime Instant Videos, Netflix, Hulu Plus, […]

Amazon Announces Groundbreaking Kindle Fire TV


Amazon has just announced the Fire TV at a media event in New York City. The $99 media streaming box gives people the ability to watch thousands of shows and also play video games. It comes pre-registered, so it is quite easy to just take it out of the box, hook it up to your television via HDMI, and start watching.

The Fire TV box is running on the Android OS and features a very solid 1.7 GHz quad-core Snapdragon CPU with 2GB RAM, Bluetooth, 8GB internal storage, and the same duel-antenna wireless internet that the latest generation Kindle Fire tablets have.  It connects to your television via HDMI to give you full 1080p video and Dolby digital surround sound.

This box has a lot in common with Apple TV, Roku, and a number of other boxes. You get access to Netflix, Hulu Plus, WatchESPN, YouTube, Crackle, Flixter, Watch ESPN, NBA Gametime, and a number of others. It also has lots of online radio apps like TuneIN, iHeartRadio, and Pandora. One of the elements that separates it from the competition is taping into the Amazon Instant Video system with 200,000 videos and television shows.

There are a few things that separate the Fire TV from the competition. One of them is called ASAP, which bears a striking resemblance to Amazon Silk. As you use the television service to use certain apps or watch shows, it will pre-buffer them so they will instantly play. There is also a microphone built into the remote control that is voice controlled. You can say actors’ names, like “Christopher Walken,” and it will list all of the movies that he has been in.   It leverages IMDB for actors, movies, television shows directors, genres, and other fun stuff.


Media devices often lack security and most of them are in family homes. Amazon introduced a version of Freetime, which allows parents to modify the security settings to insure their kids aren’t watching anything they shouldn’t, like The Walking Dead.  When in FreeTime, the background color and fonts change to a kid-friendly design. Kids only see titles that have been selected by their parents for them, and those who can't yet read can navigate visually to content based on favorite characters or topics—for example "Dora the Explorer," "Princesses," or "Thomas and Friends." Parents who have already set up profiles and approved content on Kindle Fire tablets will find the settings are automatically synchronized on Fire TV, making it simple and seamless to get started. Customers who subscribe to FreeTime Unlimited—Amazon's all-you-can-eat content subscription designed just for kids ages 3 to 8—will get unlimited access to thousands of movies and TV shows.


Unlike all of the other streaming media boxes out there, Amazon has taken the unique step to integrate gaming. The Seattle based company worked with  game developers like EA, Disney, Gameloft, Ubisoft, Telltale, Mojang, 2K, and Sega to bring their games to Fire TV. Games available starting today include customer favorites like Minecraft, Monsters University, The Game of Life, The Walking Dead, NBA2K14, Asphalt 8, Riptide GP2, Despicable Me: Minion Rush, and more. You can game on the remote control that comes with the unit, or purchase the dedicated Game Controller.

Only residents in the UK and US stand to get the most out of this unit right now. The bulk of the voice controlled actions pulls up listings from Amazon Instant Video, which excludes every country in the world other than the US and UK. Still, the whole system is compelling. It is part gaming, part videos, and has lots of cool, unique features borrowed from the Kindle Fire line of tablets. It might be worth it to check out since its only $99.

Amazon Announces Groundbreaking Kindle Fire TV is a post from: Good e-Reader

AAP Says eBook Sales Increased by 3.8%, But Indies Ignored



The Association of American Publishers has released the results of a survey which polled more than 1,200 US publishers on sales data, a hot topic among self-published authors, lately. According to the survey, ebooks sales in the adult trade fiction category increased in 2013 over 2012, up 3.8% to a yearly total of $1.3 billion. The organization says that this is a far cry from the “astounding” numbers of ebook sales projected last year. Children’s ebook sales dropped 26.7% from 2012 to 2013, an industry fact that has repeatedly been explained by the lack of a runaway blockbuster like The Hunger Games in 2013.

What may seem a little misleading, though, are the sales figures themselves. Hardcover sales in adult trade fiction and non-fiction combined increased to a total of $1.5 billion in 2013; ebooks in fiction-only sold almost as much as hardcover for both fiction and non-fiction for adults–despite the typically lower price point of ebooks compared to hardcover and paperback–a fact that speaks to the need to revamp the strategy by which publishers perceive digital-first and ebook-only.

The purpose of the survey, according to the AAP, is to help dispel some of the rumors surrounding ebook sales, notably that the sales percentages are much higher than publishers actually see. However, while small press and indie press publishers who are members of the AAP were included in the sales data, self-published authors and their ebooks were not counted. From the member publishers, ebooks still make up about 27% of total sales.

AAP Says eBook Sales Increased by 3.8%, But Indies Ignored is a post from: Good e-Reader

Google Promotes Coding Among Young Australians With New eBook


Google wants Australians to take coding seriously to ensure there is enough manpower to take care of the country's future requirements in the computer field. The online search giant has embarked on a campaign to make coding appeal to younger tech users , which includes promoting a video as well as an ebook Start with Code, written by Fran Molloy. The ebook shares success stories achieved by the start-up founders such as Noller, Peter Bradd, Marita Cheng, and Mitchell Harper, and aims to inspire a whole new generation of coders.

“We need to improve the way we teach our kids; we need to inspire a generation of digital natives who are already avid consumers of technology to embark on careers as entrepreneurs and coders, in e-commerce and as engineers,” said Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull while stressing on the far reaching changes that technology and computer science have brought to our lives.

The whole idea behind the campaign is to make Australians aware that learning to code is extremely important for innovation in the field of computer software. The campaign also highlights the country’s rich tradition of innovation in order to make coding seem fashionable and ensure there is enough homegrown talent available to put their efforts into the various new aspects where digital technology permeates in say two decades from now. This way, the country will be able to take care of its own issues without having to hire overseas workers.

Google Promotes Coding Among Young Australians With New eBook is a post from: Good e-Reader

Welcome to our new website

You’ll notice that things round here don’t look like they used to. This website has had a comprehensive overhaul: we hope you like what you see. (That stuff from yesterday? April Fool’s. Sorry.)

We are treating this new website as a Beta. There are a few things we won’t be able to move across until this morning, when everything on the server is properly migrated; and we’re sure there are some snags we haven’t spotted. If you find a navigation problem or something that you think is an obvious error, please let us know in the comments below. You’ll notice the nice new friendly URLs for blog posts (/welcome-to-our-new-website/ rather than /archives/6754) but don’t worry – all the old links will still work. And URLs of any pages that aren’t where they used to be should point at their new home. If you spot any 404s let us know in the comments or in the forum.

Everything that you’re used to from our old website is still here: the blog, help pages, forums (which we’ve yet to overhaul and bring in line with the new look – that’s coming in the next couple of months) and Swag Store are all available as usual through the navigation bar you can see at the top of the page. I’m not linking to them here, so you have a reason to start experimenting by clicking around. But there are also some new areas which you might like to spend some time exploring today, and some new ways in which we’re presenting old information.

Teach, Learn, Make

We’re launching a new area of the site for teachers, learners and makers, full of free resources and projects. Teachers will find entire schemes of work, complete with lesson plans, linked to the UK’s new Computing curriculum. Those of you who want to learn on your own will also find materials you can use to find your way around a Raspberry Pi, and what you can do with it; and people who want a step-by-step guide to make their own Raspberry Pi projects will find just what they’re looking for.

All of our materials are Creative Commons licensed. The licence we use is CC BY-SA (attribution and share-alike), which is the licence used by Wikipedia.


We welcome your contributions to our materials. What you see here today is only the start: we will be adding more materials very regularly in all three categories: Teach, Learn and Make. Keep checking back; we’ll also flag up on this blog and on Twitter whenever new resources are available.


We have made a big change to the way we deal with documentation. A bit of background is necessary here. Until now, we’ve relied on the third-party, crowd-sourced wiki at eLinux. This was set up in 2012 when we had absolutely no staff, and we asked the community to help populate it, because we didn’t have the resources ourselves. We at the Foundation have no oversight over that wiki, and we’ve noticed that it’s become a bit out of date.

So we’ve taken the decision to move all of our documentation in-house, but we’ve done so in a way that means that you can make additions and alterations if you think we’ve missed something – with our oversight. All of our documentation is written in Markdown, and lives on GitHub. It’s not an open wiki, but if you want to make a change, please open an issue on GitHub. (Learn more here.) We’ll consider all issues which are opened, and if we accept yours, you can file a pull request with your change. It’s a way to keep things lean, consistent and accurate. Everything gets looked over by the team of people who make the Raspberry Pi to be checked for accuracy: at the same time, it allows you to pull us up on anything you think we should expand on.

Some of what we have here now is based around a kernel of documentation from the old eLinux wiki, and we are very, very grateful to everyone who contributed materials to it that we have been able to use here. The new documentation also covers all the stuff we used to host here separately: datasheets, hardware specs and so on. We’ve still got some editorial work to do on some of what we’ve pulled in to the new documentation, but it should be usable from today.


I’d like to thank the education and web folks here at Pi Towers, especially Carrie Anne Philbin, who has written more top-quality resources in the last two months than we thought it was possible for one human being to produce, all while running workshops and organising Picademy; and Ben Nuttall, who has been stumbling around the office muttering and tugging at his hair for the last fortnight, sent three-quarters mad by a mixture of insufficient sleep, ignorant requests from his boss (me) and too much staring in to a terminal. His wild eyes and trembling lip are making me feel guilty, and I have been worried that he might die of overwork or run away and retrain as a sponge diver before we got everything finished. (I think you’ll agree that he’s done a simply amazing job in a very short time. Most of what you see here is down to Ben; he’s despite appearances to the contrary, he’s a bundle of joy, and we’re very lucky to have him on the team.)

This is what not enough sleep and too much coffee looks like.

This is what not enough sleep and too much coffee looks like.

Thanks to Laura for the exceptionally smooth and painless editorial ride she’s given us. Thanks to Dave and Clive for the resources and the cakes; thanks to Lance for his oversight (we couldn’t manage without you, Lance); thanks to Emma for keeping us all in line; thanks to Rachel for the photos; thanks to the team at for the design work – and no thanks at all to Gordon, who ate all our jelly babies, drank most of the coffee and laughed at us when we asked him what hdmi_ignore_edid=0xa5000080 does.

We hope you like what you see. As for me and the team, we’re going to go and sit very quietly on a lawn somewhere, read the newspaper and drink tea for the rest of the day.