The Fire Phone was the first ever smartphone Amazon developed and acts as your personal gateway to unbridled internet shopping. Sure Amazon did an exclusive launch in Seattle to unveil it, but the average customer wants to know more about it. Enter a slew of kids shilling it.
So what types of features do kids like on smartphones these days? Apparently they do not care about the screen size or hardware specs. Instead, they are enamoured with their free subscription to Amazon Prime to be able to watch movies and television shows and use apps like Pinterest.
Thursday, July 17, 2014
The Verso App lets students work through teacher-driven material and then respond, while also allowing them to see classmates’ interactions after they complete the material. This equips teachers to know before approaching each lesson where the students are still having trouble with comprehension, as well as know which areas the class has mastered in order to avoid wasting instructional time.
"Using the Verso App, teachers enter the classroom fully aware of students' questions, ideas, misconceptions and what they are revealing as their individual learning needs," Collin Wood, CEO of Verso Learning, said in a press release. "Teachers now know what they have to do to support every student in moving forward."
"Since these responses are anonymous, it gives students the confidence to take risks they may not otherwise take. As they collaborate and reward quality contributions with 'likes,' they are giving and receiving feedback and using that feedback to shape their thinking."
Tools like this one have the power to take today’s digital natives and prepare them for the higher order thinking and technology incorporation that so many state and national curricula around the world are now focusing on. Information on the free app is available from Verso Learning at VersoApp.com.
The Firefox Flame by Alcatel is the latest generation Firefox OS developers smartphone. This device blows most of the other phones out of the water in terms of hardware specs and screen size. Firefox OS is really aimed at emerging markets, but the pricetag on this version is $170. Today, we take a first look at the Flame.
The Flame developer reference phone is a milestone in Firefox OS device releases. The Flame hardware offers a representative set of specs — including FWVGA display and dual-core processor — to help developers build great content and experiences. A single hardware platform is also good for testers, making it easier to test and address specific software issues without having to worry about device model-specific bugs, etc.
The Flame has a 4.3 inch display with an exact resolution of 854 x 480 pixels. The Firefox 1.3 OS looks bright and vibrant, but the lack of resolution hinders HD videos and clarity.
Underneath the hood lurks a 1.2 Dual Core processor, 1 GB of RAM, 8 GB of internal memory and support for MicroSD and two sim cards. It also has NFC, GPS, a 5 MP rear facing camera and 2 MP front facing camera.
This phone is not designed to be your primary phone, mainly because it only has support for 2G and 3G. The frequencies are GSM 850/900/1800/1900MHz UMTS 850/900/1900/2100MHz.
The Firefox OS is hindered by the lack of quality apps. There are 2 e-reader apps total on the marketplace, and both require an SD card to read books. There is a LinkedIN Pulse app, but it actually doesn’t even work, it prompts you to install it for either Android or iOS. This is not a phone to read news, comics, newspapers or eBooks on, it simply doesn’t have any apps for it.
Earlier in the year when we reviewed the ZTE Open, there were only 3 Firefox OS phones currently available. Fast forward five months later and there are seven. Most of them have 3.5 inch screens, which is a bit on the small size. The Flame has the largest screen currently, which makes it viable to test apps and use it as a secondary device.
Today, we unbox the Flame for the first time and show you everything that comes inside. As an added bonus, we take a five minute first look, and show you the core functionality, the preinstalled apps and what you can expect in the first few days of owning one.
The comprehensive and exhaustingly complete report provides graphs on a variety of factors in publishing, all aimed at determining where the sales are taking place, how the bestseller lists are ranking works, discovering how authors have been compensated for their books, and more.
“It's too early to distinguish between global trends and seasonal trends, but the percentage of ebook dollars going to indie authors has crept up for two straight quarters. There could be movement in the opposite direction as the Holidays approach. While it should be a jolt to see that indies are earning nearly 40% of the ebook dollars going to authors, we are starting to take this reality for granted. That's real progress. As it has proven to be in other fields of entertainment, the indie movement in literature is not a blip and not a gold rush. It appears to be here to stay.”
The July 14th data showed that Big Five publishers’ titles accounted for only 16% of the books on Amazon’s bestseller list, while indie authors, small to medium presses, and publishers who’d produced only one book accounted for 83% of the bestsellers combined, across various genres of fiction and non-fiction.
In what is an interesting snapshot of the data that should put to rest any nasty rumors that Amazon is trying to ruin the book industry with its traditional publishing imprints, only one percent of the bestsellers were published by Amazon Publishing. This speaks to the company’s commitment to launch books they believe in while not necessarily pandering to the “push what sells” mentality that has plagued the traditional publishing industry.
The remainder of the complete report is available HERE.
New Author Earnings Report Compiles Mid-Year Numbers is a post from: Good e-Reader
Welcome back to another compelling edition of the Good e-Reader Top 10 New Android Apps of the Week! Today, we look at a ton of new apps and games that you might be not be aware of. Every day, thousands of new apps hit various app markets and its hard to keep track of the best ones. We make it easy, but covering a wide array of genres.
The Active Channel – Get the world’s number 1 health & fitness TV on your mobile device. View exclusive shows on muscle building, fat loss, health, nutrition, martial arts, rugby, yoga, how to get a six pack.
flavourit – my cookbook – You like cooking and you enjoy delicious food? Maybe you wish you had a little helper which reminds you of your favorite recipes? flavourit – small enough to practically fit in every pocket – can be your great helper! Create your personal cookbook according to your taste and share your favorite recipes with friends! It’s about time to be proud of what you’re conjuring each day!
Opera Max beta – Data manager – Feel unlimited with Opera Max, a free data-savings app for your phone that extends your data plan. See which apps hog your data and watch more mobile video.
Pullshot – Screenshots – Pullshot is a very simple screenshot organizer and manager for your Android. The app automatically identifies and displays screenshots from your photo album.
QCast Music – QCast brings shared party playlists to your Chromecast. When you host a party, everyone can add songs to the shared queue, and downvote those they don’t like – if a majority is reached, the song is automatically skipped. Guests can remove their own songs. The host maintains the option to swipe all songs away to remove them, skip to the next track, and control volume.
DINO HUNTER: DEADLY SHORES - Journey to a hidden, untouched Jurassic island and kill the most ferocious animals in history. Encounter Jurassic beasts long thought extinct, from the docile stegosaurus to the terrifying T. rex.
Snoopy’s Sugar Drop – Help Snoopy find his lost sister, Belle, in this sugary sweet puzzle game by switching, mixing, and matching your way through colorful candy levels.
Waldo & Friends – We need your help, explorer! A black and yellow twister has scattered the stars across distant lands. Now the skies are dark and all is lost at sea. It's up to you to find Waldo before the darkness sets us adrift forever!
Android Wear – The Android Wear app is the link to Android wearables. Control voice action preferences, adjust notification settings, and configure devices.
AIR RACE 3D – Have you ever dream of becoming a pilot? FLY and RACE your planes now. Play a new challenging racing game with exciting levels and real 3D physics and environments. Race against opponents and win to earn money. Buy and upgrade new different PLANES to race.
Top 10 New Android Apps of the Week – July 17 2014 is a post from: Good e-Reader
In the land of virtual wallets, PayPal is arguably the best known and most used service. Now with a series of updates made to their Android app, using PayPal from your smartphone or tablet is even easier and more convenient.
First on the list of changes was the addition of a quick login feature that lets you associate your account directly to your telephone number –so access is just a PIN away. While it may seem trivial to include this as an update, for anybody who logs in frequently it can be very handy (this is not dissimilar to how you access the funds in your bank account by associating a PIN with your client card).
Perhaps the most exciting addition is the ability add in loyalty cards (those things in your wallet taking up all the space that let you accumulate points for this and rewards for that)! Now when you hit a retailer and they ask if you have your card with you… you will actually be able to use it!
The last change isn’t an update at all: PayPal has removed the ability to scan checks using their app. It isn’t known why this feature was removed, but you won’t be able to deposit cheques in this manner any longer.
If you haven’t yet enjoyed the convenience of accessing your PayPal account from your Android device, download it now for free!
PayPal Updates Include Loyalty Cards, Faster Login is a post from: Good e-Reader
Subscribers to the Amazon Prime Instant Video service have longed for an Android app that would work on devices other than the proprietary Kindle Fire tablets (and oddly, iOS-based tablets which are already supported as well). Fortunately it appears that the release of an actual Android app is ‘imminent’ (according to their Marketing Director, Russell Morris).
Amazon Prime Instant Video Service is a subscription-based service not unlike those offered by Netflix or Hulu Plus. Customers are able to rent and purchase movies and television content as well as accessing a library of free titles available for instant streaming. While each service has strengths and weaknesses, Netflix has traditionally come out ahead when it comes to having a simple user interface and high quality feeds –but Amazon has announced they soon intend to support 4K Ultra HD (UHD), which would help level that playing field. Hulu Plus has content the fastest (with minimal commercial interruption) while Netflix has more original series –though Amazon recently cut a deal with HBO to deliver their original series shows, something their competitors have been unable to achieve.
No specifics have been given regarding which Android devices will be supported by the app and there isn’t a confirmed release date.
Do you have a preferred subscription service for streaming movies and television shows (or are you like me and require more than one to satisfy your multimedia needs)?
|I’ve already posted a video review of the Onyx Boox T68 Lynx, along with several individual app reviews, so I figure it’s time to get the written review finished. I’ve been stalling waiting for a software update to fix some of the bugs that I’ve experienced while using the T68, and the first update came […]|
Today Sony has begun to sell the DPT-S1 Digital Paper e-reader directly in the US. It is retailing for $1100, which is more cost effective than a few of their official distribution partners. The only catch, is that they don’t want to sell them to the average consumer.
Sony currently does not have any infrastructure to support the Digital Paper via phone, email or the internet. There simply is no way for the average person to call and have basic questions answered, such as how to load in your own PDF files. This is primarily why Sony wants to sell them to law firms and the entertainment industry, relying on their 3rd party vendors to provide all of the necessary support. Sony told Good e-Reader exclusively that "We want these to go to the right people, not just any people. We’ll definitely ask you why you're buying this and what you're going to use it for. This e-Reader is very expensive and we want to make sure its purchase is not going to waste.”
When calling the brand new Sony Business phone number you are basically interviewed. It is mandatory to open up an official Sony Business account and they stick with you on the phone while you receive confirmation emails. The few customer service reps Sony employs are mandated to vet prospective customers to insure they have a high level of technical knowledge and are a registered business. Corporations, LLC and sole proprietorships have the highest likelihood of being able to order a few units for themselves or co-workers. The average user will have to demonstrate that they have advanced knowledge of e-readers and won’t be bothering Sony with needless questions.
In an exclusive interview with the Sony Business Unit in the USA we asked why the device at $1100 is so expensive. They mentioned "The cost is so high because of numerous things. The first being because its writable; fully writable, huge Mobius screen, and 13 inches, that costs a lot right there. The next thing is longevity. This thing, as big as it is, has a 3 day battery life. We expect it to have that same 3 day battery life, 5 years down the road. Theres also stuff under patent, that I can’t really tell you about, but that costs a lot as well. Potential use value is another thing. This thing is THE BEST PDF device on the market right now and lawyers or university professors going through countless pages of material can be draining. This fixes all that. Also, office space is precious, and instead of having shelves and shelves of documents, this can fit it all into a thin body. This also cuts down on forests of paper being milled from trees."
Many customers who want the Sony Digital Paper are currently flocking to Amazon, where a number of units are posted for sale. All of the units that originate from Japan, where University trials occurred last year. All of the Digital Paper e-readers available on Amazon have the Japanese firmware and do not have the ability to switch to English. Currently, there is no way for users outside of Japan to load in the English firmware and Sony verified with us they are investigating the matter. “We do not want those units to be sold bypassing our sales division."
If you are an established company looking to buy a few Digital Papers for your business you can call the new phone number Sony launched today. 877-723-7669 Monday through Friday 8am to 6pm. It is important to note that they offer free next day shipping via FEDEX anywhere in the USA, but will not ship internationally.
Good e-Reader will have the Sony Digital Paper e-Reader in our studio next week. Expect a very comprehensive hands on review, unboxing and comparisons with other large screen e-readers on the market.
At ALA's annual conference earlier this month we demonstrated our brand new enhanced eBooks which provide a deeper and more expansive reading experience for your users. These EPUB3 titles use HTML5 allowing titles to be presented in a fixed layout format. What this means for your users is that young readers will be able to discover picture books and classic titles on their reading devices the same way you did as a kid.
Being able to provide titles in this beautiful format enables us to offer titles from authors and publishers whose style and look is almost as well known as the stories themselves. Some examples of titles you can add to your collection right now in fixed layout include The Monster Returns, The Construction Crew, and countless children's titles published by Dorling Kindersley including numerous Star Wars titles.
The fixed layout is perfect for titles whose formatting looks cleaner when the text is not resized. Some examples of titles you can expect to see in this format include text books with charts and graphs, travel guides filled with detailed maps, books of art history as well as cookbooks complete with full recipes and photos.
Fixed layout is not a new format your library needs to add, and any title that comes in this format will be viewable as an OverDrive Read title in your browser. Contact your OverDrive Collection Specialist for more information about these titles as well as custom lists and carts. We will be continuously adding new fixed layout titles every day, so keep checking back for updates. In the meantime, head over to Marketplace and see what's available now!
Titles availability may vary by geographic location.
Adam Sockel is a Marketing Communications Specialist with OverDrive.
The digital comic industry saw $90 million dollars in revenue over the course of 2013. This is a drop in the bucket compared to the trade industry that raked in $870 million during the same period.
The rise of the digital comic industry has consistently been growing since 2009. We saw $1 million in revenue in 2009, $8 million in 2010, $25 million in 2011, $70 million in 2012 and now $90 million in 2013. This is explosive growth, but many industry experts have acknowledged that the industry might be tapering off.
Amazon is hoping to capitalize on digital comic industry by purchasing the biggest distribution company, Comixology. It is currently unknown how Amazon intends on keeping the momentum going with the acquisition, but it already has turned off a number of customers.
The flagship Comixology app for iOS has disabled the ability to purchase digital comics within the app. Instead, users have to access the main website through their web-browser and sync the purchases to the app. Comixology also powers Marvel, DC, Archie, GI.JOE and a number of other standalone apps. Marvel is one of the only ones that still allow you to purchase comics within the app, due to the contract they signed a few years ago.
The new comic book industry sales data is primarily due to the combined work of pop culture trade news website ICv2.com, headed by Milton Griepp, whose annual White Paper on the comics and graphic novels sales, is a standard on sales reporting in the comics industry; and Comichron, a longtime repository of comics sales data. The core data comes from Diamond, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Apple and a myriad of other resellers.
The Tolino Alliance was formed in 2013 and their mandate was to combat Amazon in Germany. This was the first time Thalia, Weltbild, Hugendubel, Club Bertelsmann, Deutsche Telekom banded together to forge a series of e-reading devices and launch an online bookstore. Today, the Tolino Alliance has now expanded to Belgium via Standaard Boekhandel.
Standaard Boekhandel operates 145 bookstores in Belgium, selling books, newspapers, magazines, music and videos. They will be selling the Tolino Shine e-reader in their stores in order to get people buying the hardware and then accessing the eBook store that now has close to 500,000 titles. There is currently over 22,000 Belgian titles in the online store and can be read on the Shine, and also apps for Android and iOS.
The Tolino Shine is getting a big long in the tooth, as the e-Reader is already over a year old. The most recent offering is the brand new Tolino Vision, which we reviewed recently. This reader does everything right, but is a bit more on the expensive side.
This is the first time the Tolino Alliance has expanded beyond their founding members. They said in a statement that they have selected Belgium as their first route of expansion because that market is in its infancy.
“The open system and the cloud services of Deutsche Telekom are important benefits that can help us to bring e-reading on the Belgian market,” says Geert Scot , CEO of Standaard Boekhandel, the choice of cooperation partner.
On Monday and Tuesday this week we ran our third Picademy - two days of free teacher training (aka CPD – it really is free, and there aren’t any catches) - and it was better than ever.
We make Picademy available to attend for free: it’s part of our charitable mission. Teachers of all subjects – not just computing – who want to incorporate computing and electronics into their classroom, are given two days of what we think is some of the best CPD in the world. But don’t take our word for it – if you’re interested in applying for a place on the September course (you should), here’s what the Picademy 3 cohort had to say via Twitter:
All of these are completely not made up. Except one.
Lots of the attendees arrived the night before and stayed in the same hotel, and it’s great to see the social side of Picademy. As well as encouraging collaboration and team work over the two days, it helps maintain the community and network of Raspberry Pi Certified Educators afterwards.
There’s always a great buzz in the Pi Towers classroom when the group first arrives and opens up their goody bags. (These bags have been certified by independent adjudicators Bag of Tricks Inc to be the best goody bags in the whole world.) But this time we had an ace up our sleeve (and B in our bonnet). Late on the previous Friday, Eben issued the command to replace the Raspberry Pi model Bs in the bags with the as yet unreleased B+. There was much rejoicing! And this is why, one hour after the new model was announced, the good people of Picademy 3 were some of the first in the world to own and use the new model.
Day 1: filling brains with the good stuff
The first day is all about gaining experience and confidence. Workshops on Sonic Pi; physical computing; programming in Minecraft; and the Pi camera board show what can be achieved if you’re willing to have a go and to think differently, and this cohort did not disappoint. I overheard lots of comments like, “This would be perfect in the classroom…”, “The kids will love this…” and “YES! IT WORKS!” It’s an intensive but satisfying day. Teachers who had never used a Pi before were programming in Python, coding music and making LED traffic lights in Scratch. All of these new skills were preparation for the second day, or The Awesome Day of Messing About with Cool Stuff as we like to call it.
Dinner is really interesting. It’s a chance for the group to relax and chat, and to process and sort the vast amount of information that they’ve crammed into their heads during the day. So it’s an important part of the course, where ideas are shared and people start to talk about what they were going to make tomorrow. You could already see some of the projects taking shape. It’s an essential and productive hiatus, like letting meat rest after a blast in the oven or outgassing near the surface of the sea after a long dive. (I have just won a bet that I couldn’t mix cooking and diving metaphors in one sentence. Yes, Pulitzer Board: who’s laughing now?)
Day 2: TADOMAWCS
On day 2 everyone split into groups, had a nice cup of tea, did a little happy dance of creativity and then made stuff. This is the favourite day for both the attendees and the education team. There’s no pressure to produce a specific product and everyone gets to work at their own pace and in their own comfort zone. The day is about building skills and confidence, and about sharing good practice.
What I particularly enjoyed this week was watching and helping those teams that kept plugging away at problems, debugging software and troubleshooting hardware, until it worked (or nearly worked!) This problem solving, creativity and perseverance is at the heart of computing in the classroom and is what makes it special. We also had inspiring talks from Eben Upton, Lance Howarth and Rachel Rayns (Google them—it’s not as if they are called John Smith or nuffin’!)
There were some fantastic projects. Twitter-enabled projects were well represented, perhaps because many of the group were keen social media users, and this type of project has a huge appeal to students. One team wanted to do some robotics, so we scavenged an old robot and they repurposed it using a Pibrella—cheap and cheerful but with huge learning potential. We’ll be getting in a variety of motor boards and roboty things for future Picademies. We like robots.
This cohort has already impressed us with their continued collaboration and engagement via Twitter, our forums and their blogs. We know that some of them have gone back to school and are already changing things for the better, for instance by running CPD events, writing resources and setting up their classrooms to teach computing effectively. Thanks to you all for coming, you have earned your Raspberry Pi Certified Educator badges!
Picademy 4 applications now open
So it was a fantastic couple of days again and although it’s tiring for the RasPi education team at the time we never get tired of doing it. The next Picademy is in September 2014 where you are guaranteed free, world class CPD; expert support; essential skills and practical ideas to take back to your classroom. And lots of fun. (We also guarantee that you will not get: encyclopaedic PowerPoint printouts; curly, mild cheddar butties; tedious talks; or role play (well, perhaps a tiny bit of the latter. It’s the CPD law.)
Picademy 4 will look favourably on applications from teachers in the South West of England. We’re very aware of regional accessibility to training and support, and so occasionally we will focus on specific regions. So if you are a teacher in the South West, we would love to have you here. This does not mean applications are open to teachers in the South West only! Please apply wherever you are.
I cannot believe that you are still here reading my brain-drool. Apply now – and good luck!
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This settlement isn’t to be confused with the Department of Justice lawsuit against Apple for colluding with five of the then-Big Six publishers to artificially raise the prices of ebooks in order to draw some of the control over the market away from Amazon. That collusion, in which the publishers all agreed to switch to an agency pricing model instead of the previously followed wholesale model, causing a sharp increase in the price of ebooks when Amazon was no longer allowed to discount publishers’ titles.
The DOJ lawsuit still isn’t resolved, despite the fact that the publishers who were offered deals settled out of court early in order to avoid costly legal fees. Apple has been found guilty of colluding to fix prices, among other charges, and that decision has been appealed by Apple’s attorneys.
But back to the consumers…
Lawyers and states’ attorneys general have filed a lawsuit on behalf of the consumers to recover some of the millions of dollars they were illegally forced to overpay once the collusion took place, and Apple agreed last month to settle out of court…IF…
If its appeal is unsuccessful. The terms of the settlement that Apple agreed to include a clause that lets Apple get out of the settlement scott-free if the appeal in the DOJ case swings in Apple’s favor. They basically got to have their cake and eat it too, since a typical settlement is an agreement reached in order to avoid letting the issue go any further. Apple got to put a cap on the amount it would pay in the consumers’ lawsuit, all while leaving the escape hatch open in order to not have to pay anything should their appeal succeed.
At this point, the consumers who had to pay artificially inflated prices thanks to Apple’s illegal collusion will either get a share of a $400 million settlement, or they will receive nothing. Sadly, just as in the settlements offered to the publishers, the settlement (if there is one) will be paid to consumers in the form of book credits through retailers’ platforms, meaning the consumers can turn right around and pay their settlement moneys right back to the publishers and the retailer.
"Theodor Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss, expanded our idea of what a children's book could be. Through fantastical worlds and text both silly and inspiring, Dr. Seuss has always played and continues to play a part in igniting the imaginations of young readers,"said Michael Tamblyn, President and Chief Content Officer, Kobo, in a press release. "It is a part of childhood that every parent looks forward to passing on to their kids and we couldn't be more pleased to be bringing these essential books to young readers in digital form."
This offering comes at a time when studies still demonstrate that younger readers tend to not only prefer print when reading self-selected texts, but an alarming study also showed a decrease in reading comprehension when kids were required to read digital editions (as opposed to having selected the ebook for themselves). But why the push for children’s ebooks if they prefer print and perform better with paper? Because the educational landscape is changing dramatically, especially for higher education, and students who aren’t equipped to navigate an environment where their coursework is on device screens may find themselves at a disadvantage. By introducing ebooks at an early age and helping students remain focused on the book throughout its use, these readers will grow up to be better suited to the expectations of an increasing number of colleges and universities.