Monday, September 1, 2014

Beamdog Studios RPG Icewind Dale Headed to Android


If you joined me in my love for the classic PC Dungeons and Dragons RPG Baldur’s Gate that came to Android devices thanks to Beamdog Studios, you will be excited to hear they are at it again with D&D-based game, Icewind Dale: Enhanced Edition.

Filled with new content and game improvements set in the Forgotten Realms, Beamdog Studios has a lot planned for Icewind Dale: Enhanced Edition. Too excited to wait? You can expect to see: six expanded quests with content from the original game, 60 new items, Heart of Winter and Trials of the Luremaster expansions, 31 new class and kit combinations from Baldur’s Gate II: Enhanced Edition, 122 new spells carried over from Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition, cross-platform multiplayer capability for up to six players, and story mode –allowing players access to the entire story without game over screens.

An exact launch date isn’t yet known, but we are expecting to play Icewind Dale: Enhanced Edition later in 2014 (for a price yet to be determined, though the PC version will be $19.99).

Beamdog Studios RPG Icewind Dale Headed to Android is a post from: Good e-Reader

What new e-Reader does Kobo have planned for 2015?


The Kobo H20 is shipping this October and is the first time the Canadian based company has marketed a waterproof device. Many people are asking the question, is this all they have coming out in 2014, and should I wait until 2015 to buy a new e-reader?

Kobo has confirmed that the H20 is the only device they have to be released in 2014. In an interview CEO Michael Tamblyn, he said that their tablet lineup is still very competitive with everything else available on the market, there was no need to give it a refresh.

Most hardware companies who are heavily invested in selling eBooks have mostly all unveiled their lineup for 2014. The Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook was the sole hardware upgrade this year from Barnes and Noble and is actually a very solid device. Kobo has their H20 and Amazon is the only X factor. My sources at Lab126, the R&D division responsible all Amazon hardware have said that two new e-readers and three tablets are all ready to go. The tablets will have more synergy with the Fire TV and the Fire Phone, and give people a reason to go all Amazon, like people go all-in with Apple.

What does Kobo have planned for 2015? They rarely tell media people in advance because it gives a competitive edge to Onyx, Pocketbook, Ectaco, and Icarus.  I do have a bit of insider information that points to what they are planning though.

Kobo outsources all of their hardware design and manufacturing to Nettronix Inc. They are based in Taiwan and have involved in the e-reader space since the very beginning. Last month they demoed a new e-reader that used the same shell and internal components of the Kobo Aura HD.  The main difference is that it was utilizing technology from Wacom, which made it compatible with an official stylus.  This allows you to have the ability to take notes, make highlights and annotations with pinpoint precision.  Will the next iteration of the 6.8 inch Aura finally be a viable note taking e-reader?

Sony made note taking fashionable with all of their e-readers in the past four years. A large segment of readers found a stylus to be a bit more intuitive, instead of relying exclusively with the touchscreen. Sony recently abandoned making consumer e-readers and closed down their Reader Store all over the world.   This leaves a void in the marketplace for a company to market an affordable e-reader that comes with a stylus and has modern internal components.

Everyone involved in the e-reader sector is paying close attention to the ravenous demand for the Sony Digital Paper (DPT-S1). This is a device aimed at the business crowd and has a hefty pricetag of $1,100. Netronix is hoping to convince Kobo that a more affordable 6.8 version would sell to your average customer.

Kobo has always invested heavily in their consumer division with selling eBooks and making low cost e-readers. A Wacom enabled e-reader could potentially expand their base further into the education market and into making it a viable business tool.

What new e-Reader does Kobo have planned for 2015? is a post from: Good e-Reader

HarperCollins UK Launches New eBookStore


HarperCollins is in the midst of a total rebranding effort when it comes to selling books. In July they relaunched their United States website and started to market eBooks directly to customers. This has been a deemed a success by the top executives and they have now expanded into the UK.

The New HarperCollins UK site has been relaunched with the express purpose of selling eBooks directly. The publisher prompts users to download and install their HC Reader app, which is used to read any purchases on iOS and Android.

HC derives 24% of their revenue from eBooks, so there is still a viable market for print. You can order tangible books from the UK website, but instead of buying them from HC directly you are redirected to  Amazon, Waterstones and W H Smith. The publisher hopes to make physical books available directly through the site in December.

One of the most compelling aspect of the HC UK website is author profiles. You can read their biography, check out their social media profiles, get put on a mailing list for book tours and events or look at their upcoming titles.

HarperCollins is no stranger to selling eBooks in the UK, having prior experience with CS Lewis, JRR Tolkien and their Narnia website.  These niche microsites did not generate many sales, but it did establish an in-house division for the future of selling eBooks directly.

Publishers reliance on Amazon, as a primarily vechie to sell eBooks, is forcing them to embrace alternative sales channels. Amazon currently has too much power in mandating terms during contract renewals, as we see from the current Hachette dispute. Whether customers buy directly from the publisher, instead of Amazon, Kobo, iBooks or Nook remains to be seen.

HarperCollins UK Launches New eBookStore is a post from: Good e-Reader

Kobo Aura H20 Now Available for Pre-Order


The Kobo Aura H20 is drawing praise in our extensive reviews and comparisons. It is the first waterproof e-reader to be issued by a mainstream company and is now finally available for pre-order starting today.

For the next four weeks, you can order the Kobo Aura H20 directly from the Kobo website in Canada and the US for $179.99. Since Kobo is based in Toronto Canada, Best Buy and Chapters are also offering pre-orders in their stores. Meanwhile, in the UK you place yourself in a virtual queue for £139.99 and the rest of Europe for €179.00. If you live outside of these countries, you can order it from our sister site Shop e-Readers.

The Kobo Aura H20 features a 6.8 inch display and is rocking an e-Ink Carta screen. This will insure you are getting the fastest page turns possible with minimal full page refreshing. The H20 is the only new device Kobo has planned for 2014 and is worth it to order if you are looking for a new e-reader.

Kobo Aura H20 Now Available for Pre-Order is a post from: Good e-Reader

Kobo Aura H2O Pre-Orders Start Today

Last week Kobo announced the upcoming release of their latest device, the Kobo Aura H2O, a waterproof and dustproof E Ink ebook reader. Today Kobo started accepting pre-orders for the new ereader online from The Aura H2O costs $179, and comes with free standard shipping (oddly there is no express shipping upgrade). Kobo notes […]

Web browser released!

Back in December 2013, we discussed our plans to develop an improved web browser for Raspberry Pi. The browser is based on Epiphany (aka GNOME Web), as a replacement for the rather venerable version of Midori in Raspbian Wheezy.

Eight months and a lot of hard work later, we’re finally ready. As you can see from the video below, Epiphany on Pi is now a plausible alternative to a desktop browser for all but the most JavaScript-heavy sites.

Epiphany brings a host of neat features to Raspberry Pi, including:

  • Much-improved HTML5 support
  • A JavaScript JIT
  • Hardware-accelerated video decoding
  • ARMv6-optimized blitting functions
  • Better interactivity during page loading
  • Faster scrolling

Future releases of Raspbian and NOOBS will include Epiphany as the default browser, but the necessary packages are already in our repository. To install, type:

sudo apt-get update  sudo apt-get dist-upgrade  sudo apt-get install epiphany-browser

Epiphany for Raspberry Pi was produced by our friends at Collabora. ARM assembly language optimisations were provided (as always) by Ben Avison.