- Hands On with the Fire HD 6
- Bookeen Announces Two New eReaders, Promises to Ship the Long Awaited Ocean eReader Next Month
- Roundup: Intelligent Debate in the Amazon Hachette Media Circus, Redux
- iBooks Author Updated With InDesign and Epub Importer
Posted: 17 Oct 2014 02:07 PM PDT
Amazon’s $99 Android tablet will probably never grace my todo list (not unless my current unit dies) but that doesn’t mean I’m not as interested in it as the next gadget blogger.
While digging through Youtube today, I found a hands on video worth watching. It wasn’t made by a pro gadget blogger (which is part of the reason why I like it), but the guy has used Amazon’s other tablets and he regularly shoots videos of RC helicopters and other topics.
He runs through the basic features and shows off how well the Fire HD6 runs apps, streams to his TV, and also plays Youtube videos.
I’ve watched the video, and one detail I picked up was that I was too pessimistic on the audio. I had decided against getting a Fire HD 6 because it had only a single speaker, but the reviewer says that it has good quality sound for a tablet.
I see this as a media tablet, so sound quality is important, and if more user reports come in that the audio is good then I just might buy a Fire HD 6 if it goes on sale.
The Fire HD 6 runs Kindle OS4 Sangria on a quad-core 1.2GHz CPU with 1GB RAM and 8GB or 16 GB internal storage. There’s no card slot or HDMI slot, but this tablet does have a microUSB port which Amazon says can take an HDMI or VGA adapter.
This tablet has a 6? IPS display with a screen resolution of 1280 x 800. I didn’t catch any mention of the screen quality in this video, but Amazon usually has pretty good screens. The Fire HD 6 also has a couple cameras: a VGA resolution webcam, and a 2MP rear-facing camera. As you can hear in the video, neither camera is all that great, but you can at least use them for Skype.
Weighing in at 10.1 ounces, the Kindle Fire HD 6 measures 6.7? x 4.1? x 0.4?. The reviewer doesn’t mention how good the battery life was on his unit, but the spec page says that it has up to 8 hours of battery life.
The Fire HD 6 can be had from Amazon and other retailers. Retail starts at $99 for 8GB storage, and you can get one with 16GB internal storage for $119. It comes in five different colors (Black, White, Cobalt, Magenta, Citron).
In case you are interested, I also found a second video which might be worth watching. It takes a very different approach and goes into the physical details to a much greater degree, making it a good compliment to the video embedded above.
Before you watch it, let me warn you that I didn’t like the narration. I came close to not using this video because of that narration, but the narrator does offer a lot of detail so the video is still useful.
Posted: 17 Oct 2014 09:50 AM PDT
Bookeen held a press conference today to announced that they would be shipping 3 new ereaders next month. In addition to the much-delayed Ocean, Bookeen is also about to ship a couple 6″ ereaders, the Cybook Muse Essential and the Cybook Muse Frontlight.
The Cybook Muse sports a 6″ Pearl HD E-ink screen with a touchscreen and page turn buttons. It runs Bookeen’s proprietary reading software on an 800MHz Freescale CPU with 4GB internal storage, a microSD card slot, and Wifi.
Fingers crossed, the Muse is due to go up for pre-order on 5 November. The retail price for the Muse Essential model will be 80 euros, and for those who want a touchscreen the Muse Frontlight will cost $100 euros. Both models are supposed to ship in mid-November.
With those prices, the Muse models are clearly intended to compete with the current Kindle and Paperwhite models, and when you line them up spec for spec it is a toss up which is the better value. The Muse Essential runs on a slower CPU and costs 20 euros more than the basic Kindle, and while the Muse Frontlight can’t match the Carta E-ink screen on the Paperwhite, it does cost 30 euros less.
Bookeen also said today that they plan to ship the 8″ Cybook Ocean next month as well.
The Ocean, which is the runner-up for the title of most delayed ereader of 2013 and 2014 (it was bested by the Earl back country tablet), is going to cost 180 euros when it ships next month.
This device sports an 8″ epaper screen with a resolution of 1024 x 768. It’s not an E-ink screen, but a “knockoff” screen from E-ink’s Chinese competitor (who apparently has made piece with E-ink or can afford better lawyers than E-ink, I do not know which).
The Ocean has a frontlight and touchscreen, and under the hood it packs in 4GB of storage, a microSD card slot, and a battery which the press release claims will last 9 weeks.
This is going to be a rather pricy ereader, and while it doesn’t have many competitors with a similar price tag the competition is very very good. The Kindle Voyage, for example, sports a uniquely high resolution screen, while the Kobo Aura H2O and the Onyx Boox T68 Lynx both use a smaller but sharper 6.8″ screen.
The post Bookeen Announces Two New eReaders, Promises to Ship the Long Awaited Ocean eReader Next Month appeared first on The Digital Reader.
Posted: 17 Oct 2014 08:06 AM PDT
While many writers aspire to writing a piece which shifts debate and sways public opinion, sometimes we end up with a piece that leads to less a chorus of agreement than a chorus of people telling us we’re full of it (been there, done that, and would do it again if I could figure out how).
Franklin Foer wrote one such piece in The New Republic last week. In calling for Amazon’s monopoly to be broken, Foer inspired contrary editorials in several major publications. A few days ago I rounded up several responses to his piece, and today I am back with more.
While I am sure that some readers are beyond tired of the ongoing media circus surrounding the evil Amazon, I find it newsworthy that The Boston Globe, Washington Post, and The Atlantic all responded with columns which debunked Foer’s call to the barricades. (Even the BBC weighed in, but since they didn’t say anything original I won’t be quoting them here.)
To start, Derek Thomson took to his keyboard last week to write a witty rejoinder in The Atlantic:
It would seem that the continued misuse of the word monopoly by Amazon’s detractors is starting to get attention, and not in a good way.
It’s drawing the ire of lawyers (never a good idea), but it is also getting pundits outside of the book world to look at the ongoing media circus and apply logic and reason. Again, not something that Amazon’s detractors want to happen.
For example, Alex Beam wrote this in The Boston Globe yesterday:
And he’s not the only one to take issue with the illogic of Foer’s piece. On Wednesday of this week David Post skewered Foer in The Washington Post. After first pointing out how it was nonsense to argue that publishers can’t compete with Amazon, Post goes on to add:
Sorry for the long quotes, folks, I am just deeply enjoying seeing this kind of nuanced discussion outside of the book world.
And that’s why I am going to limit myself to but a single additional quote. Reihan Salan responded to Foer’s piece not with an article which took a side but with a piece that looked at why Amazon was so good at disruption. From Slate:
The post Roundup: Intelligent Debate in the Amazon Hachette Media Circus, Redux appeared first on The Digital Reader.
Posted: 17 Oct 2014 06:55 AM PDT
According to the changelog, iBooks Author offers a new ebook template and new options for linking inside an ebook. There is also mention of improvements to widget behaviors, including an option for autoplaying the media and keynote widgets (that would count as a dis-improvement, IMO).
And last but not least, Apple has also added an option for importing Epub files made elsewhere and InDesign files. An early report suggests that this feature creates a mess when IDML files are imported, but on the plus side iBooks Author does try to retain the formatting during the import process.
You can find the app in iTunes.
What's New in Version 2.2
• Import ePub files
The post iBooks Author Updated With InDesign and Epub Importer appeared first on The Digital Reader.
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