Thursday, 1 May 2014

The Digital Reader

The Digital Reader

The Morning Coffee – 2 May 2014

Posted: 01 May 2014 09:36 PM PDT

Newsworthy stories this Friday morning include an update on the author lawsuit against Harlequin (link), hilarious scanning errors (link), Hunter Thompson’s early years (link), Apple’s thriving porn business (link), and more.

The post The Morning Coffee – 2 May 2014 appeared first on The Digital Reader.

Amazon Acquires Stake in French Delivery Company, Expands Delivery Options in US

Posted: 01 May 2014 03:35 PM PDT

There amazon-logo3has been a running joke that Amazon is eventually going to acquire the USPS in order to cut their delivery costs, and after the news that occurred today I’m not so sure it’s a joke. Amazon has added new shipping options in the US, and they’ve also bought a share in another delivery company today, this time in France.

TechCrunch is reporting that Amazon owns a quarter share in Colis Prive:

E-commerce giant Amazon has reportedly made its first investment into the French market: it has acquired a 25% stake in Colis Privé, a delivery company that competes in France against the likes of state-owned La Poste, and global giants TNT, DHL, UPS and FedEx to deliver parcels. The news was first reported by the French blog le Journal du Net, and we are reaching out to both companies for confirmation. (TechCrunch)

Colis Prive is the second delivery service to benefit from Amazon’s attention; Amazon also acquired a small stake in UK-based Yodl in March 2014. Amazon is estimated to ship around 50 million packages a year in France, putting them about twice as large as Colis Prive, which delivered 25 million packages in 2012.

Clearly in the UK and France Amazon is pursuing an acquisition strategy, and not launching their own delivery service like the one currently being tested in the US:


Speaking of the US, Amazon expanded the same-day delivery options in to a couple new markets. Customers in select parts of San Francisco and Dallas can now join shoppers in Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, DC, NYC, Indianapolis, Philadelphia, Seattle, and Phoenix in enjoying same day delivery on certain items. Orders placed before the deadline (it varies between cities) will be delivered that day (Teamsters, luck, and weather permitting).

Customers in Las Vegas, however, are going to miss out on the fun; that market has been dropped from the list (The Verge).

I myself live outside the delivery zone, so I can’t enjoy this next bit. in addition to expanding same-day delivery into more markets, Amazon is also launching a new lower delivery fee for Prime members:

Amazon's move to enhance its same-day shipping program will provide another benefit to Amazon Prime members, letting them receive eligible items on the same day for a flat $5.99 shipping fee per order, with no extra charges.

People who aren't enrolled in Amazon Prime will pay an $8.99 fee plus another 99 cents per item. (Geekwire)

I will have to console myself with paying $3.99 to get something delivered overnight.

Amazon is getting a lot of attention for their attention with delivery, but it’s worth keeping in mind that this kind of delivery service is nothing new. Department stores (aka the Amazon/Walmart of their time) in many US cities implemented same-day deliveries close to a century ago.

Amazon’s main innovation was to offer more items and sell them online, rather than in a paper catalog.

The post Amazon Acquires Stake in French Delivery Company, Expands Delivery Options in US appeared first on The Digital Reader.

Paperfold Smartphone Concept Revives the Idea of a Collapsible Smartphone Screen

Posted: 01 May 2014 01:40 PM PDT

upload2Researchers at Queens University’s Human Media Lab have developed a new concept design for a smartphone with multiple detachable E-ink screens.

The Paperfold is probably never going to get out of a lab, but this smartphone will forever tempt us with a vision of a clunkier way to do basic tasks.

In its simplest form, the Paperfold looks like a double sided ebook reader. But once you unfold it it can take any number of shapes. This device combines two or more screen panels. The displays are both detachable and foldable, enabling users to fold the device into various shapes that can range from an ultra notebook shape to a foldout map.

A single windows can be spread across two panels, and when you attach the third you can use it to display a menu.

It’s pretty cool, and I’m thrilled to see someone exploring these kinds of ideas again.

I haven’t seen tech like this since Polymer Vision folded in December 2012. That company was trying to develop a smartphone with a single foldable screen, but due to financial troubles they never got much beyond a limited release of a single early model in Italy.

TBH, this isn’t quite the foldable smartphone that Polymer Vision had been trying to build from 2008 onward, and in fact it is closer to the multi-screen ereader Nicholas Chen developed when he was a PhD candidate at the University of Maryland. Dr Chen is now a researcher with Microsoft, but his doctoral work included developing an ereader with multiple detachable screens.

upload3 upload2 IMG_7100 IMG_6997 upload1 IMG_6946

The post Paperfold Smartphone Concept Revives the Idea of a Collapsible Smartphone Screen appeared first on The Digital Reader.

B&N Puts Nook Glowlight on Sale for Mother’s Day

Posted: 01 May 2014 10:11 AM PDT

barnes-noble-nook-glowlight-handBarnes & Noble is going to be putting their last ebook reader on sale tomorrow.

Starting Friday, the Nook Glowlight will go on sale for $99, and  B&N customers will also be able to find Nook Glowlight Clip covers for 20% off.

In addition,Barnes & Noble will also making attractive offers like 40% off on hardcover bestsellers in store, 30% off on select gift items for Mom, 20% off on Godiva products of a $30 value or more, and up to 50% off on a select list of DVD and Blu-ray titles.

The sale runs through 11 May.

The post B&N Puts Nook Glowlight on Sale for Mother’s Day appeared first on The Digital Reader.

Apple’s Share of the Tablet Market Fell Last Quarter to 32.5% as the Market Swelled

Posted: 01 May 2014 09:43 AM PDT

The idc_q1_2014_tabletsfirst quarter of 2014 is barely over and analysts are already making guesses about the number of tablets sold.

According to the latest figures from IDC, Apple’s dominance of the global tablet slipped last quarter. The gadget maker shipped 16.4 million tablets last quarter, down from around 19 million in the same period last year. Samsung came in a not too distant second place with an estimated 11.2 million tablets shipped, and the top 5 were filled out by Asus, Lenovo, and Amazon.

The estimated number of tablets shipped last quarter was 50 million, up slightly from 48.8 million shipped in the same period in 2013. Asus shipped 2.5 million tablets during the quarter, Lenovo shipped 2.1 million, and Amazon rounded out the top five with 1 million tablets shipped.

IDC attributes the flattening of the market to phablets. “The rise of large-screen phones and consumers who are holding on to their existing tablets for ever longer periods of time were both contributing factors to a weaker-than-anticipated quarter for tablets and 2-in-1s,” IDC Research Director Tom Mainelli said in a statement. “In addition, commercial growth has not been robust enough to offset the slowing of consumer shipments.”

While all 5 major tablet makers saw a seasonal drop in sales compared to last quarter, Amazon showed the steepest decrease. Amazon sold an estimated 5.8 million tablets over the holiday season, but only sold 1 million tablets last quarter. Amazon is seeing a much sharper spike in seasonal sales than any other tablet maker, and that could hurt them in the long run.




The post Apple’s Share of the Tablet Market Fell Last Quarter to 32.5% as the Market Swelled appeared first on The Digital Reader.

Leaked Image Shows the Amazon Smartphone, Doesn’t Show the 4 IR Cameras

Posted: 01 May 2014 08:26 AM PDT

amazon-smartphone-kindle-fire-phoneWhen we first saw photos of Amazon’s smartphone it was reportedly shrouded in a plastic shell that disguised pretty much everything except its general rectangular shape, but today’s image leaves little to the imagination.

A product render was leaked today. It is reportedly the new Amazon smartphone, but it looks quite a bit different from the photos we have seen before. This render, which may or may not be the same phone as in the photos, shows the front and back of an unnamed smartphone.

There’s no way to tell for sure if this is the same 4.7″ Amazon smartphone, but if you zoom in on the photo you will see that there is no sign of the 4 IR cameras that Amazon’s smartphone is supposed to have:


Update: Dave Zatz has pointed out in the comments that 2 of the cameras can be seen in the bottom corners. Between the combination of  a poor laptop screen and bad eyes, I missed that detail. Thanks, Dave!

This image might be a fake or simply incomplete, but I would also like to throw out a couple other possibilities.

The lack of the extra cameras might be a sign that they won’t be making an appearance in the production model. yes, I know that everyone is assuming that the cameras are needed for neat effects, but as I have pointed out before (one, two, three), most of the features mentioned so far don’t require 4 cameras. Other smartphones managed to pull off the features with just one or two cameras and a smartphone’s internal sensors. If you add that detail to the render shown above it suggests the possibility that the 4 IR cameras were only installed in a smartphone which was intended for developmental purposes, not one which would be released to the public.

On the other hand, this render could be incomplete – or it could be another model entirely. As you might recall from last Fall, Amazon was rumored to be interested in a more modest budget smartphone in addition to the crazy powerful cutting edge design. This render could show that budget model.

Or it might simply be fake. I can’t wait to find out which it is, can you?

The post Leaked Image Shows the Amazon Smartphone, Doesn’t Show the 4 IR Cameras appeared first on The Digital Reader.

AAP Reports Book Market up 10% in January, eBooks up 12.8%

Posted: 01 May 2014 07:35 AM PDT

The aapAmerican Association of Publishers issued a new Statshot report this morning, and it looks like Amazon has once again failed to kill the publishing industry.

According to the AAP, the 1,218 publishers who contributed revenue data to the AAP in January 2014 saw a 10% bump in revenue over last year ( from $500 million to $550 million).

The adult segment was up 2.8% (to $362 million from $352 million). The YA/kids segment saw impressive growth of 43.7% (to $144 million from $100 million), but the religious presses saw a drop in revenue of about 7.4%.

I of course have embedded the full charts below, and the news is generally good. Both the adult and kids segments showed increases in most categories, with the exception of adult paperback books. This comes as no surprise given the general decline of paperback sales as they are being replaced by ebooks.

Speaking of ebooks, ebook sales across the 3 segments grew slightly faster than the market average in January, and were up 12.8% (to $142 million from $125 million). I would like to crow about this being great news but in all honesty it only slightly beat the market rate, making this more of a fluctuation than actual growth.

Still, I’m going to wait until next month before popping the champagne.

aap statshot january 2014

aap statshot january 2014 breakdown


The post AAP Reports Book Market up 10% in January, eBooks up 12.8% appeared first on The Digital Reader.

iPhone 6 Dummy Caught on Video

Posted: 01 May 2014 06:58 AM PDT

Ask anyiphone 6 dummy tech blogger and they’ll tell you that Apple is widely expected to release a larger iPhone 6 later this year, and given the leaks that have been piling up over the past few weeks they could well be right.

Take the following video, for example.This video shows what the creators claim is a dummy version of the next iPhone 6.  It features details like the curved edges, 4.7″ screen, and curved corners that we have seen in past leaks.

But is it the real thing? I frankly do not know. It does look a lot like the 4.7″ shell I posted a couple weeks ago, and that is why I am posting this video today.

This might be the real thing or it might simply be a repeat of the dummy iPad Minis which made an appearance in 2012 a couple month before the official launch, but either way this video should give you a pretty good idea of what the iPhone 6 with its 4.7″ will look like in someone’s hands.

Those iPad Mini dummies may not have been based on anything more than guesses, but they came  surprisingly close to duplicating the real iPad Mini. I think this iPhone 6 dummy could be similarly accurate.

And just to be clear, I am expecting the iPhone 6 to show up with a larger screen – most likely a 4.7″ display – later this year. But aside from that I don’t believe any of the other speculation.


The post iPhone 6 Dummy Caught on Video appeared first on The Digital Reader.

Wexler FlexOne eReader Now Listed on Amazon for $49

Posted: 01 May 2014 05:07 AM PDT

Here’s wexler flexoneyour chance to pick up a piece of ereader history.

There’s a new listing on for the FlexOne, a 6″ ebook reader which uses LG Display’s flexible E-ink display.

This ereader launched in Russia in 2012, was discontinued in 2013, and now it would appear to be available as a clearance sale on for $49.99 – assuming this listing is real and not a trick or mistake.

The Wexler FlexOne was developed by the Russian gadget maker Wexler using a 6″ E-ink screen developed by LG Display. At one point this company was developing its own version of E-ink screens, including high resolution  screens (1024 x 768) like the one used on the iRiver Story HD in 2011, but that effort seems to have died out.

The FlexOne uses a flexible screen which is based on a metal foil backplane which LG Display developed in 2011 and 2012. I’ve mentioned this flexible screen once or twice, and so far as I know it was only used on the FlexOne. It was going to be used in the Earl back-country tablet, but they swapped out the LG screen for a Mobius Carta screen from E-ink. The latter screen is cheaper, I’m told.

wexler flexone 2

So far as I know the FlexOne is the only device on the market which uses this particular flexible screen from LG Display, so if you want to pick up a piece of ereader history now is your chance.

But you might want to holds off; I am still not sure that this is a real listing. Between the cheap price and the long delivery date, I wonder if there might be something off. But I won’t know that for sure until my order doesn’t arrive.

I am willing to risk $56. I have been wanting a Wexler FlexOne since I first read about it, but I didn’t see it as a good value so I never got it.  This ereader may have a flexible screen, but it lacks Wifi, a touchscreen, or a frontlight. As an ereader it is less capable than the basic Kindle, and yet it originally cost more than $300. That is just too high of a price to pay for a screen which you can’t even fold up and stick in your pocket.


The post Wexler FlexOne eReader Now Listed on Amazon for $49 appeared first on The Digital Reader.

No comments:

Post a Comment