Amazon has always used a heavily augmented version of Android for their tablets. They do this because it makes their products distinctive in the marketplace and locks people into the Amazon ecosystem. If you want to load in a vanilla version of Android on the Fire HDX tablet, you are in luck. A new tool has been released that unlocks the bootloader and gives advanced users more flexibility to craft their own experience.
Xda-developers forum member dpeddi has posted tools and instructions for using them. The instructions also assume you have a PC running Linux , although it might be possible to modify the steps to have them work on OS X or Windows. Rumor has it these tools can also be employed to unlock the new Fire TV.
The Fire HDX lineup are powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processors coupled with 2GB RAM. The resolution is also fairly solid, but the Dolby Audio is likely the most compelling factor. Few tablets on the market have the great sound quality that the Kindle Fire HDX employs.
Honestly, it might be cheaper to just buy a cheap Android tablet, rather than take the risk and void your warranty. Obviously if you decide you want to unlock the bootloader do so at your own risk and only advanced users need apply.
Sunday, February 15, 2015
Presidents’ Day is a chance for all of us to learn a bit more about George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and other American executives (and for some people, an occasion for a three-day weekend!). Don't spend your Monday off doing nothing, head to OverDrive to check out some of these books on the presidency that have been put together by our staff librarians.
For our younger readers, Let's Celebrate Presidents’ Day by Barbara deRubertis and Thomas Sperling is a great explanation of the lives of Washington and Lincoln and explains why we celebrate them.
For an insightful book about our first president, you cannot go wrong with the classic Washington: A Life by Ron Chernow, in this case the audiobook read by the late Edward Hermann, who is a premier narrator.
For those who like their presidents with a bit of a Walking Dead feel, you will love Abraham Lincoln Vs. Zombies, though we do have plenty of great titles that are more traditional/factual as well!
Meghan Volchko is a Collection Development Analyst with OverDrive, and will be spending her President's Day reading eBooks in Washington, D.C.
School libraries have been early adopters of e-books, but they have yet to transcend in a meaningful way in K-12 classrooms. This might soon change as a new report from 475 educators indicates that schools and districts see their use of classroom materials transitioning substantially from paper books to digital books over the next two years.
"With a record 10 million tablets and computers sold into US schools last year, district leaders and decision makers are gearing up to make a major shift to from print to digital," said Gideon Stein, Founder and CEO of LightSail Education. "The results of this survey strongly suggest that schools are looking to build digital libraries where they own their content outright rather than experiment with models like book rentals or subscriptions."
I think the main takeaway from this report is that e-books will not replace digital textbooks anytime soon. Teachers instead see the value for remedial reading for English class, since students can read the books on their smartphone, e-reader or tablet. E-books are also very popular for independent reading in the classroom.
If you are involved in the educational arena and want to know more about this report, check out the press release below. It really dives deep into statistical data on how e-books will play a pivotal role in the classroom.
A new LightSail Education survey of 475 educators – predominantly school and district leaders – from across the United States indicates that schools and districts see their use of classroom materials transitioning substantially from paper books to digital books over the next two years. An overwhelming majority of schools and administrators indicate a desire to build digital libraries rather than experiment with book rental and subscription models, but the market is still in its early stages. The report, "State of the Digital Book Market," is the first to analyze K-12 decision makers' views on the transition from paper books to digital books and literacy platforms. Key findings of the report include:
Remarkable ebook market growth expected in next 2 years – 94% of respondents expect that ebooks will increase as a share of books read in their school/district over the next two years. – 58% report that ebooks currently represent less than 10% of all books in their school/district. – 52% expect that in two years, ebooks will account for more than 40% of all books in their school/district. Preference for Library purchase model for ebooks, with much of market unclear on best option – 40% want to purchase ebooks in the Library model, in which the school owns the texts, and students can check books in and out of a "digital library" on their devices. – 16% want a subscription service similar to "Netflix" where, for a monthly fee, students can access a broad library. – 4% are interested in renting books through model that offers a single, time-limited checkout per rental. – 40% either were not sure which book model they wanted or did not have enough information to express a preference.
Migration to digital books embraced by school and district leaders – 52% want students reading in digital books. – 8% prefer paper books. – 40% expressed no preference for digital or paper books. Strong demand for technology tools that support literacy instruction – 86% have researched at least one technology tool for literacy, such as tools that assess students while reading, measure reading behaviors, or differentiate materials based on student reading level. – 58% have researched three or more such tools. "With a record 10 million tablets and computers sold into US schools last year, district leaders and decision makers are gearing up to make a major shift to from print to digital," said Gideon Stein, Founder and CEO of LightSail Education. "The results of this survey strongly suggest that schools are looking to build digital libraries where they own their content outright rather than experiment with models like book rentals or subscriptions."
The survey also found that ebooks are used across instructional models in schools, with especially consistent use for independent reading; 90% of survey respondents indicated the use of ebooks for independent reading. The survey was sent to district and school leaders nationally, and respondents represented districts and schools in more than 35 states. Approximately 75% of respondents identified themselves as district administrators or school leaders. LightSail invited these individuals to respond to a survey about the eBook market, in order to understand their perspectives, and to inform its 400+ publisher partners of the needs of today's educators. Last year, LightSail struck an exclusive partnership with Baker & Taylor to deliver the most extensive digital library of critically acclaimed works to U.S. schools, including texts from more than 400 publishers. LightSail was named "Best Ed Tech of 2014″ by Common Sense Media. In addition, LightSail won the Mindful Data Award from EdSurge and Digital Promise in the 2014 DILA awards, which honored the company for providing instant, actionable data to teachers based on information captured while students read excellent digital books. The State of the Digital Book Market report can be accessed via this link.
Libraries all over North America are being challenged with generating revenue from their e-book collection. Digital content automatically expires after 21 days, so there is no way to collect on late fees. Aside from public funding, these fees have been necessary to keep the library sustainable.
The Richmond Public Library in British Columbia has a current operating budget of $9.37 million. They have experienced a 25% drop in late fees in 2014, which resulted in a overall loss of over $67,000. Combined with a recent increase in salary for the branch staff, the city is now paying an extra $289,000 more this year than it did last year just to keep operating at the same level of service.
In order for the library to make ends meet, they reached out to the city to ask for an extra $200,000 to offset the loses due to late the lack of late fees. In their report, Richmond public stated their print collection had declined by 33% since 2009, as they have gravitated towards e-books.
Chief librarian Greg Buss lamented that an electronic book can be, on average, five times more expensive than a hard copy. This is challenging because the collection budget has remained constant for many years. Investing in a new digital catalog, while still maintaining print is something that is getting to be difficult without additional funds.
Libraries all over Canada the US are in the same boat as Richmond. They are spending more money trying to get a solid digital collection of content and paying more money to make it happen. Publishers are charging more for e-books because they can't generate revenue from print being lost and damaged and subsequently re-purchased.
Each major publisher has a different pricing scheme in order to make selling e-books to libraries profitable. Hachette releases new e-books simultaneously with print, and available for an unlimited number of circulations at roughly three times the primary physical book price. One year after publication, the purchase price will drop by roughly half. Penguin currently offers 17,000 titles, charging $18.99 for frontlist titles, and $5.99 to $9.99 for older ones. All of these e-books expire after one year, making it necessary to repurchase them.
How can libraries start to generate more revenue from their e-book collection? Many branches in the US are starting to charge non-residents money in order to get a library card. Brooklyn Public Library charges $50, Charlotte-Mecklenburg County $45, Fairfax County $27, New Orleans Public $50 and Orange County Library System $125.
Many patrons see an out of state library card as a viable e-reading solution and cheaper than buying them one by one. Brooklyn Public is likely the best example because they have a huge operating budget and have one of the largest collection of e-books in the US. Hopefully in the future more libraries will embrace this method to generate revenue from their digital collections and use the funds to reinvest into a bigger and better catalog of content.
|I’m working on getting the review posted for the Energy eReader Pro, which is a rebranded Boyue T62, a 6-inch E Ink ebook reader that runs open Android 4.2 and can install Android applications. The Energy eReader Pro has a lot of other good things going for it too: It has a 1024 x 758 […]|