Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Google Nexus 9 tablet to Battle iPad Air


Google has announced a bevy of new products today, including a new phone. The most compelling new device is a tablet, dubbed the Nexus 9. It is made by HTC and the hardware will seriously give the Apple iPad Air a run for its money.

The Google Nexus 9 features a 8.9-inch display with IPS LCD technology, an 8-megapixel camera at its back, a 1.6-megapixel camera up front, and an NVIDIA Tegra K1 2.3GHz (64-bit) processor under the hood.  There is a staggering 2 GB of RAM, which destroys the iPad Air which only has 1 GB. Great sound is provided by the HTC BoomSound speakers, which is the same audio featured in the HTC One M8 and HTC One M7.

How exactly does Nexus 9 compete with the iPad Air? The PPI is higher than the iPad Air: 288ppi vs 264ppi. The Nexus 9 is also lighter than the iPad Air: 425g vs 469g and also more affordable.

Pre-orders will begin on October 17th and you can expect the tablet to start showing up in stores on November 3rd. Nexus 9 is available in either black or white and comes in three configurations: 16GB for $399, 32GB for $479, and an LTE-enabled 32GB model for $599.

Google Nexus 9 tablet to Battle iPad Air is a post from: Good e-Reader

Amazon Kindle Basic 2014 Review


The Kindle Basic for the first time ever has a new touchscreen, all prior models had a D-Pad and physical page turn keys. Customers switching over to the new Kindle from a smartphone or a tablet will find it an easy adjustment. Today, we take a comprehensive look at the e-reading and overall hardware experience to give you a sense on how it performs.


The Kindle Basic features a six inch touchscreen with a resolution of 1024 x 768. The touchscreen technology is using Infrared, courtesy of Neonode. The fonts and overall screen clarity have been dramatically increased and in a head to head comparison with the Kindle Paperwhite 2, the Kindle Basic had a whiter background and crisper fonts, which was very surprising.

Underneath the hood is a 1 GHZ Freescale processor and 512 MB of RAM. Amazon has doubled up the amount of internal memory from 2 GB on prior models of the basic model to 4 GB. This in effect gives you the ability to store more books and PDF files on your device, without having to run in there and free up space.

Amazon has gone more angular with the Basic touchscreen Kindle, but surprisingly, despite its abandonment of physical controls, the gadget is actually heavier than its predecessor, and slightly larger in both horizontal and vertical dimensions. The case is made from a hard plastic, instead of hard rubber. This makes it feel less premium, but at $79 for the entry level cost, I am not complaining.

I am a big fan of the new direction that Amazon has took with the Kindle Basic. Now that this model has replaced the prior generation, Amazon currently does not offer any other e-readers that don’t have a touchscreen, which should make it more accessible for the average reader.



This new model has the exact same firmware as the Kindle Paperwhite 2, and mirrors it in all respects. You have the ability to directly access over two million books via the Kindle bookstore. I like the fact that the e-reader version of the store looks the same as the website, so there is no weird adjustment you have to undertake. GoodReads also plays a prominent role on the main UI, which is the social eBook discovery website they purchased.

Reading on a digital reader and buying books online is normally a solitary experience. Unlike visiting a real bookstore, that is populated by staff that love books and customers all there for the same reason, e-readers make you feel alone. GoodReads gives you access to virtual book clubs and provides a layered social element, which is refreshing.

Amazon provides a number of options in their sub-menu system that are not overly complicated to the average user. Some of the most notable ones is Kindle Freetime, which allows parents to establish a permission based system and account management to let little Johnny to read, but maybe not access the store or internet browser. Speaking of internet, the “Experimental Browser” is still in beta, almost a seven years since it was first unveiled.

The Kindle software feels really polished, you will seldom have to wait a few seconds for a menu to open or for a process to launch. This is really refreshing because I remember only a few years ago where I frequently had to put up with full page refreshes that took ten seconds and clunky interfaces that were counter intuitive.

If you have used a Kindle over the course of the last few years, Amazon really hasn’t done anything new with the software, but has promised future firmware updates. One of the updates will allow you to find out more about an author, if the book is apart of a series and what the other titles are and allow you to get discounts on purchasing them all at once.

eBook Reading Experience


The one thing that really surprised me on the overall reading experience was being able to pinch and zoom while reading PDF files. The Kobo Aura H20, which costs $199 does not have this ability. Instead, you have a really clunky interface that takes 4 steps to isolate a particular region in a document.

The Kindle Basic handles pinching and zooming like a boss. Its more responsive than the Kindle Paperwhite 2 in this regard. When exploring a complex document a small preview window appears on the top left hand corner, which contains a snapshot of the page you are on. This helps orient you on where exactly you are on the page.

The other aspect that I really liked was the ability to take notes, make highlights and translate words in a PDF document. When you really think about it, a PDF is basically one giant image. Amazon is the only company that lets you augment text or give you advanced options to really craft a solid PDF experience. The only company to to do it better is Sony, and that is via the Digital Paper, which is PDF focused and costs $999.

The average user will find themselves reading books they just purchased from Amazon. This is where the reader really shines, there are a number of options to really refine the look and feel of a book, but doesn’t have a ton of complex options. You can change the size of the font and whatever one you select instantly appears on the screen, without the need of existing the reading menu and saving the options. You can also change the linespacing and margins. Page turn speed has been dramatically increased over prior models, you will likely never notice a full page refresh and the entire process is lightning quick.

In many cases, you might be reading a book and not understand a specific word. There are two built in dictionaries issued to customers living in North America. If you live in Japan or China, for the first time ever the Kindle Basic is being marketed there and has those countries respected dictionaries bundled on it.

Another feature I like is translations. This works in both Amazon purchased books and PDF files. You can select a specific word or complete body of text and translate it from one language to another. Any market that Amazon officially supports is available. Currently there are 15 languages from Simplified Chinese to French. This might be useful to someone who is learning a new language, or if a particular book has a number of idioms.

Wrap up


In the end, this is one of the best entry level e-readers ever made. It has cool features like X-Ray, so if you are juggling many different books at once, you can get a sense of the major characters, places and things referenced in the book.

This $79 entry level e-reader is perfect for someone who has never had one before or are thinking of giving the Amazon ecosystem a try. Owners of the D-Pad enabled Basic model from years past, will find this edition is a very solid upgrade and well worth the money.


4 GB of internal storage
Pinch and Zoom PDF Files
Page Turns are lightning quick
Same Firmware as Kindle Paperwhite 2


Battery Life is weaker than the prior Kindle Basic
e-Reader is heavier than prior versions
Internet Browser prone to crashing

Rating: 9/10

Amazon Kindle Basic 2014 Review is a post from: Good e-Reader

Onyx Boox M96 Universe Back in Stock, More Reviews Coming Too

My favorite ereader of the year, the Onyx Boox M96, has been unavailable for several weeks now, but it’s finally back in stock on Amazon and from The M96 doesn’t have fancy page sensor buttons or a 300 PPI screen like the Kindle Voyage, and it isn’t waterproof like the Kobo Aura H2O, but […]

Amazon UK Adds ‘Pass My Parcel’ Same-Day Collection


In case you needed additional evidence to suggest that the traditional retail format is evolving, Amazon UK has added same-day deliveries. Working with newspaper distributor Connect Group, Amazon UK’s new service (labelled ‘Pass My Parcel’) promises to deliver packages to local shops and high street stores throughout Britain within 12 hours.

Some restrictions apply of course: if your order is made by 7:45PM, it will leave your designated pick-up point by 6:30AM the following day. If you place your order before the 11:45AM cut-off point, your items will be ready a few hours later, by 4:00PM. So far there are about 500 pick-up points that you can take advantage of, but Amazon intends to increase this number over the next year.

If you happen to be an Amazon Prime subscriber, this speedy delivery option will come to you free of charge until the end of the year; others can take advantage of Pass My Parcel for €4.99 per shipment.

This news comes just a few days after Amazon announced that they plan to hire over 1,000 additional, permanent staff members for their already over-extended UK distribution centres. It is the company’s expectation that every one of the 6,000 people employed by their UK warehouses will be required to meet the growing demand for goods purchased online.

Amazon UK Adds ‘Pass My Parcel’ Same-Day Collection is a post from: Good e-Reader

Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook

galaxytab4nookI'm sitting here at my desk, and the Samsung Galaxy Tab® 4 Nook® is dropped into my lap. I cast my mind back to recent history and remember that Barnes & Noble left the tablet game, looking to find another way to have Nook tablets distributed. Enter Samsung, and the new Galaxy Nook.

To break it down simply, it appears that Barnes & Noble approached Samsung, who repurposed the Galaxy Tab 4 – the Galaxy Tab closest in scale to the average book – and gave us the future of the Nook tablet. At the heart of the device, it's still an Android tablet – running the most current version of the operating system. I'm not going to spend any time going over the specs with you, because you can see them for yourself here. What I want to talk about is how Samsung has improved upon the idea of the Nook Tablet.

The original Nook Tablet ran a special version of Android, overlaid with Barnes & Noble's special interface, and some mild restrictions. Since this new Nook is openly an Android tablet, you get all the benefits that this affords you, while still having access to the Nook environment. Instead of overlaying the bookstore, you access all of that through a collection of Nook-branded apps:

  • Highlights – the catchall for your notes and highlights from your reading
  • Library – All of your titles, from books to magazines.
  • Search – Search your titles or the shop.
  • Shop – Books, magazines, movies, TV, Apps, and more!
  • Settings – access the nuts and bolts of your Nook account, and change the way the reading software behaves.
  • Today – Recommendations based on your shopping and reading activity in the Nook apps.
  • Apps – A handy place to find apps for your Nook (including the OverDrive App).

In addition to the Nook-branded apps, you can also install the OverDrive app to access books, or (as a result of the partnership with Barnes & Noble), you can enjoy magazines and periodicals from your favorite public libraries. You can use the browser to checkout streaming video, or cloud reading through OverDrive Read. If you're me, you can drop an entire library into a device the size of a slender volume, and free up that shelf space for more pictures of my kids.

Spreading the Jam

Today we’re launching a new section of our website for information about Raspberry Jams – events and meetups for Raspberry Pi users. We want to promote community events and make it easier for people to set up their own; and to spread the great sense of community that we see around the Pi even further.


Jams come in a variety of flavours: some have talks, demos and workshops; some just provide space for people to work on projects together. Some are small, just a few people sitting around a table; some are held in universities with hundreds in attendance.

The new Jam section has a map and calendar of all upcoming events, and you can submit your own to be added. It contains a page of information on how to set up and run your own Jam, and gives examples of featured Jams for inspiration.

Thanks to Mike Horne for his help on putting this together!

Podcast: Adobe eBook Firestorm, Kindle Scout, and Kobo Exits Tablet Arena


Welcome back to the Good e-Reader Radio Show! Today, we bring you the latest happenings from the e-reader world! This week you will get the most essential stories, such as the recent firestorm that erupted over news that Adobe is sending personal eBook information in plain text to their servers, breaching privacy laws.  In addition, Amazon announced a new crowd sourced publishing platform called Kindle Scout. I  like the fact that readers are responsible for what books get published, rather then as million unknown books flooding the market. Finally, Kobo has confirmed they are exiting the tablet market.

Podcast: Adobe eBook Firestorm, Kindle Scout, and Kobo Exits Tablet Arena is a post from: Good e-Reader