Friday, September 26, 2014

Should Blackberry License out Blackberry 10?


The Blackberry 10 operating system was a labor of love for the Waterloo based company and they spent untold millions developing it. It is their flagship OS that has been used in their entire line of smartphones over the last few years. Their market share is woeful, and according to a new report represents less than 1% in the US. One avenue that Blackberry could take is to freely distribute their OS to headset makers and allow phone and tablet companies to use the OS.

BlackBerry 10 is a proprietary mobile operating system developed by BlackBerry modern line of smartphone.Devices running BlackBerry 10 are the Z30, Z10, Z3, Q10, Q5, P’9982, P’9983, the BlackBerry Passport and the upcoming BlackBerry Classic smartphones. BlackBerry 10 is based on the QNX operating system, which is popular in industrial computers and used in many car computers, which was acquired by BlackBerry in April 2010.

There are a few compelling aspects of the Blackberry 10 OS that would be appealing to manufactures and smartphone companies. My favorite is the gesture based technology that allows people to swipe the bezel to view and close active applications. Users can also swipe from the top edge, to bring down a quick setting shade on the home screen, or an option shade on other supported apps. Also, while using any application, the upside down J-hook (starting from the bottom of the bezel and moving upward and right) allows users to peek at any notifications or messages on the BlackBerry Hub. Finally, swiping left to right scroll through the available screens.

If Blackberry were to take the Android route, it would provide some obvious benefits. One of them is their enterprise software BES and BIS that allows clients to be able to setup a secure solution to handle data and email. Likely, the more the Blackberry OS takes off, the more international governments and corporations would be likely to adopt it, which would increase revenues.

Many mainstream phone vendors are concerned about the growing power of Android. Samsung has been working on the TIZEN OS on their new line of smartwatches and are considering using it in some upcoming phones and tablets. Samsung currently accounts for 75% of all Android devices right now, so the fact they are looking at something new is telling. Think of what Samsung or HTC could do with a super high end phone with great audio, octacore processor lots of RAM, running Blackberry?

Security concerns aside, do you think it is viable to license out the Blackberry 10 OS?

Should Blackberry License out Blackberry 10? is a post from: Good e-Reader

Blackberry Passport Sold Out Everywhere


The Blackberry Passport is a very innovative device in terms of overall design. It features a totally square display and a keyboard that doubles as a mouse. Blackberry loyalists see this phone as the resurrection of the brand and within hours has completely sold out.

Blackberry CEO John Chen has announced that the first run of Passport smartphones sold out in 6 hours after its announcement on BlackBerry's website and in 10 hours on Amazon. The $600 unlocked phone comes with the Amazon App Store pre-loaded on it and many customers are attracted to the price and extensive app ecosystem.

Certainly Blackberry is not in a position to smash the recent iPhone 6, that sold millions in the opening weekend but does bode well for the Canadian company that many people wrote off as dead last year.

Blackberry Passport Sold Out Everywhere is a post from: Good e-Reader

European Airlines Now Allow e-Readers on Flights


The European Aviation Safety Agency on Friday issued new safety guidance that now allows e-readers such as the Kindle, Kobo and Nook to be used on airplanes, without the need of putting them in airplane mode. This sets the stage for major airlines to offer on-board WIFI internet access to buy books, magazines and newspapers while in the air.

The use of e-readers, smartphones and tablets will be up to each airline to decide whether to allow them to be used gate to gate. Airlines will first need to go through an assessment process to ensure planes are not affected by signals from the electronics.

Now that the regletory restrictions have been relaxed in Europe it now sets the stage for e-readers to be used in most countries. Last October, the Federal Aviation Administration gave U.S. airlines permission to allow the use of electronic devices at all stages of a flight — including takeoff and landing, though they must be in airplane mode. Canada followed suit in May, and Australia adopted the more relaxed in-flight gadget rules in August.

European Airlines Now Allow e-Readers on Flights is a post from: Good e-Reader

Icarus Excel Features 9.7 inch Screen and Android 4.0


Netherlands based e-reader company Icarus has just revamped their wildly successful 9.7 inch Excel e-reader with Android 4.0. This will allow users to not only have a very large screen display to take notes but also install their own e-reading apps.

The big trend of 2014 so far has been the open Android concept with e-readers. In the past, most of them all ran Linux and were physically unable to do anything, other than what the manufacturer intended. When it comes to smaller companies like Icarus, Onyx or Pocketbook, they all found it hard to compete against the juggernauts of the industry. Android levels the playing field, giving customers the option to deal with whatever ecosystem they want. I really like the freedom of choice concept to download Kindle, or Kobo or whatever 3rd party news app.

The Icarus Excel features a 9.7 e-ink Pearl display with a resolution of 1280×825 pixels and 167 DPI. It has a full touchscreen display, but only responds to the accompanied WACOM stylus. Underneath the hood lurks a solid 800 MHZ Freescale CPU processor and it has 256 MB of Ram. Storage gives you 4 GB to play around with and can be expanded up to 32 GB via the SD Card.

Not much has changed on the hardware front, as this is the same Excel that was released last year. The only thing that is different is the software running Android 4.0. Users can download and install apps from the Good e-Reader App Store, which comes pre-loaded.

The device is fairly expensive and is retailing for 319.95€ from the main Icarus website. If you live outside of Europe, you can pre-order it from Shop e-Readers.

Icarus Excel Features 9.7 inch Screen and Android 4.0 is a post from: Good e-Reader

Young People Prefer Print, not eBooks


Young people in the UK think that reading on paper provides a more holistic experience, especially when engaging with images and text which can’t be replicated in digital. A new report states that the 16-24 generation is still firmly in favor of print books, with 73% saying they prefer print over eBooks.

A new eye opening survey talked to 900 young people and three-quarters of the respondents said they prefer the print format and only a paltry 27% prefer e-books and 31% said they don't buy e-books at all.

Luke Mitchell, director of Voxburner, said the research found people in the 16-24 age group think e-books are too expensive. "They told us they like to touch books and see the creases in the spine, but for bargain-driven young people the conversion to e-books will most likely be determined by price,” he said. “In our research, 70% said that £6.99 was a reasonable price to pay for a paperback but only 10% were prepared to pay the same for an e-book."

The survey really drives home the point that there is a big disconnect between the prices of print books vs eBooks. When it comes to paperbacks, 37% of young people said they would pay £5.00-£7.00 and 35% said they would pay £3.00-£5.00. However, they are less willing to pay as much for eBooks, with 43% saying they should cost less than £3.00 and 27% saying they should cost between £3.00 and £5.00.

One of the big reasons young people are concerned with the price of eBooks is the clear lack of ownership. When you purchase the digital variant, you are merely licensing the title and it is not actually yours to keep. The printed version can be yours forever, for relatively the same price.

What devices are young people in the United Kingdom using to consume the digital versions? 39% use an e-reader such as a Kindle, 37% use reading apps on their smartphones and 36% prefer a large screen tablet device.

I think that this survey is tremendously valid, even though only 900 people answered the questions. Considering it was an online survey, it should drive home the point that young people are tremendously savvy when it comes to the digital life, but do not see a clear reason to read for pleasure on their electronic device. Online retailers like Amazon, B&N and Kobo tend to devote their marketing efforts not to teenagers or young adults, but with older readers who have the disposable income to buy a few books a month. I have yet to see a clear and decisive marketing campaign that is exclusively targeting young readers.

Young People Prefer Print, not eBooks is a post from: Good e-Reader

Barnes and Noble Wins Marketing Award for Samsung 4 Nook Campaign


Barnes and Noble bet big when they decided to forgo hardware design on their latest tablet and instead sourced it to Samsung. This allowed the bookseller to focus on the reading experience and actually devote money to hyping the hell out of it. Apparently their blitz media has earned them the Internet Marketing Association's (IMA) 'Innovative Brand Award' for 2014.

From subway ads to radio station and store integration, NOOK tapped into multiple avenues to get the message out about the new NOOK by Samsung. Created with a hyper-targeted focus in mind, the NOOK ads were designed to be engaging, enticing and inspiring, and to make people want to read even more. Leveraging most every contact channel including email, mobile, online, out of home (OOH) and an online and retail presence in an integrated manner, NOOK created an immersive experience with the goal of capturing the imaginations of potential customers. In addition, NOOK capitalized on the impact of word of mouth and social media by taking the campaign a step further for this launch with one of its most entertaining social media efforts to date, the #NOOKfaces campaign.

"We're thrilled that NOOK has won the IMA's 'Innovative Brand Award.' The Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK is the most advanced NOOK ever and we wanted to give this device the exposure it deserved with a creative and imaginative marketing plan that generated lots of excitement and buzz," said Doug Carlson, Executive VP of Digital Content and Marketing at NOOK Media LLC. "Not only has NOOK demonstrated its commitment to innovation by partnering with Samsung, but we've launched the new device in a bold and exciting way that has really resonated with both existing and potential NOOK customers."

Barnes and Noble Wins Marketing Award for Samsung 4 Nook Campaign is a post from: Good e-Reader

Kobo Promises to Solve eBook Backup Bug


eBook security is quickly becoming a contentious issue, as evident in the Barnes and Noble decision to remove the ability to backup your paid content on your PC. Kobo made headlines this week when they nixed their own proprietary KePub format from also being downloaded to a users PC. The Toronto based company is now assuring readers that this is a bug and they are hoping to remedy it soon.

Kobo CTO, Trevor Hunter, said "Kobo's mandate of allowing people to read anytime, anywhere, on any platform remains unchanged. We are aware of the issue where a small percentage of books are not able to be backed up, and are working quickly to resolve it. We are currently working on other enhancements that will further embrace our open platform concept, which will give customers ever more options as it relates to reading and the backing up of ePub files."

Kobo has not established a timeline when the backing up feature will be solved. But its nice to know that they are not following Barnes and Noble in eliminating backups altogether.

Kobo Promises to Solve eBook Backup Bug is a post from: Good e-Reader

A digital making community for wildlife: Naturebytes camera traps

Start-up Naturebytes hopes their 3D printed Raspberry Pi camera trap (a camera triggered by the presence of animals) will be the beginning of a very special community of makers.

Supported by the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s Education Fund and Nesta, Naturebytes aims to establish a digital making community for wildlife with a very important purpose. Their gadgets, creations and maker kits (and, hopefully, those of others who get involved) will be put to use collecting real data for conservation and wildlife research projects – and to kick it all off, they took their prototype 3D printed birdbox-style camera trap kit to family festival Camp Bestival to see what everyone thought.

NatureBytes camera trap prototype

If you were one of the lucky bunch to enjoy this year’s Camp Bestival, you’d have seen them over in the Science Tent with a colourful collection of their camera trap enclosures. The enclosure provides a snug home for a Raspberry Pi, Pi camera module, passive infrared sensor (PIR sensor), UBEC (a device used to regulate the power) and battery bank (they have plans to add external power capabilities, including solar, but for now they’re using eight trusty AA batteries to power the trap).

A colourful collection of camera trap enclosures

A colourful collection of camera trap enclosures

The PIR sensor does the job of detecting any wildlife passing by, and they’re using Python to control the camera module, which in turn snaps photos to the SD card. If you’re looking for nocturnal animals then the Pi NoIR could be used instead, with a bank of infrared LEDs to provide illumination.

Naturebytes says:

When you’re aiming to create maker kits for all manner of ages, it’s useful to try out your masterpiece with actual users to see how they found the challenge.

Naturebytes at Camp Bestival

Explaining how the camera trap enclosures are printed

Assembling camera traps at Camp Bestival

Camp Bestival festival-goers assembling camera traps

With screwdrivers at the ready, teams of festival-goers first took a look at one of our camera enclosures being printed on an Ultimaker before everyone sat down to assemble their own trap ready for a Blue Peter-style “Here’s one I made earlier” photo opportunity (we duct-taped a working camera trap to the back of a large TV so everyone could be captured in an image).

In fact, using the cam.start_preview() Python function we could output a few seconds of video when the PIR sensor was triggered, so everyone could watch.

One camera trap in action capturing another camera trap

Naturebytes duct-taped a working camera trap to the back of a large TV so everyone could see a camera trap in action

Our grand plan is to support the upcoming Naturebytes community of digital makers by accepting images from thousands of Naturebytes camera traps out in gardens, schools or wildlife reserves to the Naturebytes website, so we can share them with active conservation projects. We could, for example, be looking for hedgehogs to monitor their decline, and push the images you’ve taken of hedgehogs visiting your garden directly to wildlife groups on the ground who want the cold hard facts as to how many can be found in certain areas.

Job done, Camp Bestival!

Job done, Camp Bestival!

Keep your eyes peeled – Naturebytes is powering up for launch very soon!

Rovio Releasing Angry Birds Transformers for iOS Ahead of Android


Even if you aren’t familiar with Rovio, you have almost certainly played their games. As the creators of the Angry Bird franchise, Rovio is one of the most successful mobile development stories out there. In addition to the classic title that made them famous, the development house is constantly releasing updates and additional spins on the original physics-based bird-tossing game. This go around, Transformers is the lucky franchise to receive their attention.

What’s interesting about this release, is that the Android version is slotted to follow the iOS version after a full 15-day exclusivity period. News that this was taking place came as a shock to many in the mobile world, especially considering that Android is dominating the smartphone market right now. The reason why this happened isn’t being publicized… it could be a deal struck with Apple, it could be Rovio snubbing Android, or it might just be that the iOS version is ready to go and they don’t want to delay release until the Android version is fully tested. Whatever the reason, it seems silly.

If you are curious what you have to look forward to, the official game play trailer is below. It looks to be a little ‘more of the same’ that we have become used to with other co-branded versions of Angry Birds, but if you are fond of Transformers, the graphics are great and very reminiscent of that franchise.

Are you still addicted to Angry Birds and loving it? Do you wish Rovio would give it up and stop trying to cash in with new versions of their hit game? If not, do you have a theme that you wish they would explore?

Rovio Releasing Angry Birds Transformers for iOS Ahead of Android is a post from: Good e-Reader

Sneak Peek: Seasonal Marketing Resources for September – November

It's officially fall here in the northern hemisphere and with the change of seasons, I thought it'd be a good time to share a sneak peek of marketing resources for holidays and events throughout the months of September, October and November. This is just a sample of the seasonal promotional kit for Fall (September-November) so make sure to visit the Partner Portal to explore all four seasonal kits!

Fall (September – November)

Banned Book Week (September 21-27, 2014)

  • Social media graphic (504×504)

Back to School

  • Social media graphic (504×504)
  • 8.5×11 flyer with editable URL to add a link to your OverDrive collection
  • Print-ready bookmark sheet with editable URLs

Fall into a Good eBook

  • Facebook cover photo graphic (851×315)
  • Social media graphic (404×404)
  • 8.5×11 flyer with editable URL to add a link to your OverDrive collection
  • Print-ready bookmark sheet with editable URLs

Teen Read Week (October 12-18, 2014)

  • Social media graphic (504×504)
  • 3 different themes for print materials: Adventure; eBook Favorites; Books that have become movies/TV series
  • 3 themed 8.5×11 flyers with editable URL to add a link to your OverDrive collection
  • 3 themed print-ready bookmark sheets with editable URLs


  • Social media graphic (403×403)

“Black Friday” (Friday after Thanksgiving) and “Cyber Monday” (Monday after Thanksgiving)

black friday cybermonday
  • Social media graphics (403×403)

Remember, there are always opportunities to promote your digital collection and help increase your circulation. If you would like to see marketing resources based around a specific holiday or event in your area, let us know. Leave a comment here or connect with your Account Specialist to share any new ideas!

Melissa Marin is a Marketing Specialist at OverDrive.