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Kindle Firmware Update Integrates Facebook, Twitter

hero top right 05. V244132736  284x300 Kindle Firmware Update Integrates Facebook, Twitter

Amazon is really trying hard to make its Kindle eBook reader to become a multi-function device – much like the Apple iPad. But I guess, due to the limited technical capabilities of the Kindle, making it at part with the iPad in terms of multi-features would be a hard feat to accomplish. Well, at least Amazon is trying and its latest effort will be rolled out with the new firmware  version 2.5 upgrade for Kindle – Facebook and Twitter integration.

Well, it’s not really a full Twitter and Facebook integration since this would be pretty hard to accomplish. What the new feature will let you do is to let you share book passages with friends on Facebook and Twitter directly from your Kindle. Unfortunately, that’s just how far Amazon can probably stretch the Kindle’s social capability.

But, don’t let this lack of powerful social features disappoint you. There are other new features that the Kindle firmware version 2.5 that are worth waiting for. These include:

  • Collections: Organize your books and documents into one or more collections.
  • PDF Pan and Zoom: Zoom into PDFs and pan around to easily view small print and detailed tables or graphics.
  • Password Protection: Password protect your Kindle when you’re not using it.
  • More Fonts & Improved Clarity: Enjoy two new larger font sizes and sharper fonts for an even more comfortable reading experience.
  • Popular Highlights: See what the Kindle community thinks are the most interesting passages in the books you’re reading.

Kindle’s firmware upgrade will be rolled out automatically via OTA to all Kindle users in the coming days.

Barnes and Noble Gives Nook More Features, and Games!

nook Bestofthebest f1 490x219 Barnes and Noble Gives Nook More Features, and Games!Whether we like it or not, we have to give Apple some credit for releasing its magical iPad tablet. Despite its shortcomings and minor flaws the iPad has managed to stir up the otherwise sleeping tablet computer industry and the e-reader market. Several brands are now in a rush to come up with something better than than the iPad.

For Barnes and Noble it’s much easier to do this because Nook is already out even before the iPad hit the market. So, what B&N can do right now is update Nook’s features and make it a better e-reader than the iPad. And it is doing this right now as it announces some new features for Nook such as Read In Store and the addition of some games that Nook owners can play on their device. These were made possible via a software update to v1.3.

The beta Read in Store feature allows Nook owners you to read ebooks while your inside a Barnes & Noble store. You Nook will automatically connect to the Nook online bookstore and let you read titles from the B&N online bookstore even if the books are physically out of stock. While inside the store, you can read ebooks up an hour per day. B&N also plans to make some current edition newspapers and magazines available for in-store reading soon.

“Our digital customers will feel at home in our stores with Read In Store, which puts a digital spin on the popular Barnes & Noble bookstore experience that millions of our customers enjoy each day. At no cost, NOOK customers can browse through our robust collection of digital content while enjoying their favorite beverage in our café,” said Tony Astarita, Vice President, Digital Products, Barnes & Noble.com.

In addition to these, Barnes & Noble has also included new games and other entertainment features to Nook including Chess and Soduku.

While the Nook v1.3 software update includes the following new features and enhancements:

  • improved page turn speed, enhanced color touch screen navigation, faster access to previously opened eBooks  and more
  • high-speed connectivity to more hotspots
  • built-in web browser
  • updated homescreen

Nook v1.3 is available to download from www.nook.com/update or you may want to wait for automatic update in the coming weeks.

HP Releases New Video Demo of its Slate

What? You didn’t get the iPad?  Oh, right you’re not an Apple fanboy. You’d rather spend on a more powerful tablet such as the one previewed recently by HP, right? Well, just like you HP is also pinning its hope of capturing the tablet market and perhaps taking the thunder away from the iPad with its HP Slate product.

And as if telling all of us that the HP Slate project is still alive and well on its way to final production, HP has released a new video demo right on its HP Vodoo Blog. And boy what a tablet the HP Slate really is! Design-wise, it looks so handsome although I’m guessing that it will probably be thicker than the iPad.

The HP folks say that aside from the HP Slate’s capability to support Adobe Flash and Air, they have also paid some good attention to the HP Slate’s functionality for consuming media or digital content, be it a story from a major news outlet or or your videos and photos.

Obviously HP is banking on the iPad’s shortcomings such as the lack of front facing camera and USB port to make the HP Slate the preferred tablet instead of the iPad. HP was highlighting the fact that the HP Slate will allow you to chat with friends via Skype or share your photos from the HP Slate to Facebook or Flickr.

So, it would be interesting to see how the HP Slate can match up with the hype and buzz that the iPad has generated. Of course we all know that there are as much Apple fanboys as there are PC guys out there, willing to take the HP Slate.  Which side are you on?

Survey Shows iPad Early Adopters are Mac Owners

Screen shot 2010 04 05 at 11.14.11 PM 490x163 Survey Shows iPad Early Adopters are Mac Owners

Our apologies for starting this week with yet another iPad-related news. But is there any other significant tech-related news today other than the iPad? Anyway, this news is pretty interesting.  According to Piper Jafray’s Gene Munster, majority of the iPad early adopters are  Apple product users.

Based on the survey of 448 iPad buyers, 74% were also Mac users with 96% of them planning to continue using their Macs despite having the iPad. The survey also revealed that 66% of the iPad buyers are iPhone owners and only 1% of them thought they could replace their iPhone with the iPad. It only goes to show that iPad buyers are aware that their new magical device was not meant to replace the Macs.

Now, here’s another interesting point revealed by the survey – 13% of those who were surveyed owned the Amazon Kindle. And 58% of them are planning to replace their Kindle with the iPad.

Moving on the specific iPad results, the survey also found out that the most popular iPad  was the 16GB Wi-Fi only version, 39% of the respondents bought these model. Only 32% bought the 32GB and 28% bought the 64GB model.

As to  how they are planning their newly bought iPads, 74% of the respondents say for surfing the web, 38% for reading books, 32% for email, 26% for watching video, 18% for playing games and only 8% for listening to music.

Amazon Pushes Kindle TV Ads

Call it coincidence or a a deliberate attempt at possibly spoiling the intensifying excitement over the release of the iPad. But Amazon’s recent airing of two TV ads for Kindle is a sign that the company is not just going to let the iPad steal the Kindle’s existing dominance on the e-book market.

The two TV ads features are short snappy and trendy clips showing the theme “books in 60 seconds.” Meaning, that’s how fast you can get hold of a full edition of a published book in your Amazon Kindle, through its 3G wiresless connectivity or via the Internet. The Kindle TV Ads are pretty well done, colorful and able to send the message that the Kindle can bring “colors” to what you read.

Interestingly, Amazon has commissioned airing of the two commercials into prime time on major channels. Makes us think that Amazon has really spent a lot to push their campaign. And of course, it shows how serious they are in staying competitive against the iPad.

Here’s the other Amazon Kindle TV commercial.

120 Years of National Geographic Captured in One Hard Disk

Screen shot 2009 12 30 at 11.21.16 PM 490x327 120 Years of National Geographic Captured in One Hard Disk

Fans of the National Geographic franchise will surely love to have this special hard drive. Yes, folks a 160GB Hard Drive containing all 120 years of National Geographic’s amazing discoveries, high-quality maps and photographies.  It’s the full National Geographic magazine’s collection reproduced in digitally stunning and high-resolution format.

Every library should have this in their collection as it will definitely add to the versatility of library services. The Complete National Geographic features an nice interface to make it easy and fun to explore topics, search photographs, browse maps or to simply discover things that you failed to read or watch on National Geographic TV.

The National Geographic  is housed on a 3″x5″ highly portable hard drive that requires only a USB port to connect to your PC. To make it worthy of the price you will have to pay for it, the National Geographic HD has around 100GB of free space to accomodate future updates or to be used for personal purposes.

Sounds good? But how much does it cost? – $199.99. Ok, now that may be a bit pricey compared to your regular 160GB portable hard drive. But hey, those hard drives don’t contain the National Geographic.  So, the price is definitely worth the information contain in the National Geographic HD.

Now is the time to check out National Geographic’s online site. If you’re not from the U.S. or Canada, National Geographic unfortunately doesn’t  ship outside of these two countries. So you’re best bet would to ask somebody to buy the National Geographic HD for you.

Mag+ Take On the Possible Future of Magazines

Mag+ from Bonnier on Vimeo.

As the future of printed magazine is being curved into its possible digital form, we’ve seen several takes already. How many of these future gadgets have came out  anyway? Let’s see, recently there was the CrunchPad which became the JooJoo. Then there was the rumored Apple Tablet, Time Inc’s Tablet Magazine, Wired Magazine and even Sports Illustrated showed us their own digital magazine reader.

Now here, we got another take on this  - Mag+. This digital magazine was being  conceptualized and developed in cooperation with Popular Science magazine’s publisher Bonnier.

Mag+ features scrollable articles which are placed side-to-side in kind of mountain range and are delivered electronically on the device per issue. Very much like how printed magazines arrive on our hands.

Another feature of the Mag+ is its ability to flip through articles shifting focus and by tapping icons displayed on the screen. So, Mag+ is definitely a touchscreen magazine tablet.  It will treat magazine articles in appealing format, so as to elicit long-time interest from readers. Very much like how printed magazines look like, glossy and colorful.

Of course this is still a concept. But considering the increasing interest on digital ebook ereaders and magazine readers, it is most likely that the Mag+ will actually become a reality.

Actually it should. Mag+ looks pretty sleek and cool. It can even give the current crop of ebook readers a run for their money.  The only possible contender that I can see is Apple’s tablet, if in case it goes to production.

Did Time Inc. Just Demo Apple’s Tablet?

There are two points worth raising in this article by Peter Kafka of WSJ regarding the Time Inc. Tablet Magazine. First, it looks like the said Tablet Magazine is actually like the rumored Apple Tablet, or at least that’s how I envisioned the Apple Tablet to be.

The other point is the fact that Time’s tablet magazine if indeed it’s not the Apple Tablet, should be what all e-readers should be like.  Ok, this is to say that I was really impressed by what was just demoed – in terms of features and capabilities.  In other words, Time Inc’s tablet magazine if it becomes a reality will certainly rock on. More →

Wired’s iTablet Demo with Digitized Magazine Content

Wired Magazine’s parent company Conde Nast seems to be taking the rumored iTablet PC seriously. A couple of days ago, the company was convinced by All Things Digital’s Peter Kafka to share a video demo of  Wired’s iTablet PC.

The video doesn’t say much about the iTablet PC, but you can fairly observe how cool it’s going to be especially during the part where the iTablet PC’s capability to handle animated and interactive graphic was shown. More →

Creative Touts Zii MediaBook eReader

And the latest company to join the ebook reader bandwagon happens to be Creative, more popularly known of course for their media players. In a surprising announcement during the company’s annual general meeting in Singapore, Creative showed a working model of its upcoming eReader, tentatively named the Zii MediaBook.

Specs-wise, we’re looking at a touch screen display, text-to-speech function like the Kindle perhaps, SD memory card slot, Internet connectivity – in short a multimedia device that can handle videos, pictures, text and services. More →