Amazon outs new Kindle Paperwhite e-reader, adds to the Kindle Fire tablet family

Posted in Images,News,Technology,Video by Scott Meisner on September 7th, 2012

The third major tech company to take the spotlight this week was Amazon. On Thursday they updated their e-reader and tablet lineups with the Kindle Paperwhite and the Kindle Fire HD.

The Kindle Paperwhite is the fifth-generation Kindle e-reader and it houses “the most advanced e-reader display ever constructed,” says Amazon. How so? It contains 212 pixels-per-inch making room for 62% more pixels than before and this allows text to appear crisper and clearer and images are sharper and richer. In addition, the blacks are blacker and the whites are whiter thanks to 25% higher contrast. What Amazon is really touting here is the patented front-lit display that makes reading with or without natural or artificial light a better experience. With the light left on all the time, the Paperwhite will still give you 8 weeks of battery life. The new e-reader packs a 6-inch capacitive touchscreen for input; there are no physical buttons for page-turning. Amazon describes its size like this: “[it's] thinner than a magazine [at just over a third of an inch thin] and weighs less than a typical paperback [weighing 7.5 ounces].” Software enhancements include Time to Read, a feature that helps readers know the amount of time it will take them to finish a chapter or a book; X-Ray, a feature that lets readers see all passages across a book that mention ideas, fictional characters, historical figures, places or topics that interest them, as well as more detailed descriptions from Wikipedia; WhisperSync for Voice that allows readers to start an audiobook on one device and pick up where they left off on another; and new typeface options. A Wi-Fi only version of the Kindle Paperwhite goes on sale October 1 for $119. A 3G version will sell for $179. Preorder today.

In addition to introducing a second generation Kindle Fire (more on that device soon), Amazon added two new Android-based devices to the Fire family. The Kindle Fire HD comes in a 7-inch and 8.9-inch versions. The larger display model features 254 pixels per inch with a resolution of 1920 x 1200 (1080p full HD). The smaller display model has a lower resolution of 1280 x 800 (720p). New LCD technology reduces glare by 25% compared to the third-generation iPad. Also, integrated IPS allows for wide viewing angles. Other specs include: 1.5GHz dual-core OMAP4 4470 processor (in the Fire HD 8.9″), 1.2GHz dual-core OMAP4 460 processor (in the Fire HD 7″), Dolby Audio with dual stereo speakers, a front-facing camera for video chat, and built-in Bluetooth, HDMI-out, and 40% faster WiFi (compared to the latest iPad) thanks to dual-band support, dual antennas, and MIMO technology. To size ‘em up, the Fire HD 8.9″ is 8.8mm thin weighing 20 oz. and the Fire HD 7″ is 10.2mm weighing 13.9 oz. Amazon shares that the smaller model gets 11 hours of battery life. Software enhancements include X-Ray for books, movies, and textbooks, allowing users to augment their tablet experience with expanded information from Wikipedia, IMDb, and YouTube; and FreeTime, a set of parental controls that allows parents to limit their kids’ screen time by content type. Pricing and availability. The Fire HD 8.9″ comes in four flavors: WiFi-only 16GB ($299), WiFi-only 32GB ($369), 4G LTE 32GB ($499), and 4G LTE 64GB ($599). For $49.99 customers can receive 4G LTE from AT&T, 250GB of data per month for one year, plus 20GB of Amazon Cloud storage and a $10 credit in the Amazon Appstore. The Fire HD 8.9″ is up for preorder today and goes on sale November 20. The Fire HD 7″ comes in two flavors: WiFi-only 16GB ($199) and WiFi-only 32GB ($249). These are in direct competition with Google’s Nexus 7 tablet. They’re also there to preorder and will release sooner on September 14.

Now I told you I would return to the successor of the original Kindle Fire. Amazon is still calling it the Kindle Fire, and it still features the same 1024 x 600 non-HD 7-inch display. What’s changed? It’s got a 40% faster processor for better performance (1.2GHz dual-core OMAP4 430), twice the memory (1GB), and longer battery life (8.5 hours). The sole 8GB model goes on sale September 14 for $159.

Want to know what the rest of the Amazon e-reader line looks like today? In addition to the Kindle Paperwhite, the latest generation OG Kindle is still hanging in there. A slightly updated new model ships September 14 with 15 percent faster page turns and at a lower price point, $69 (ad-supported). Also still available is the Kindle Keyboard with 3G for $139 (ad-supported) and the giant Kindle DX with 3G at $379.

Get a closer look at the new Kindle Paperwhite e-reader and Kindle Fire tablets in the galleries below (in order Kindle Paperwhite, Fire HD 8.9″, Fire HD 7″, OG Fire). After the break, video and PR.

[Via Amazon 1, 2, 3] (Click here for more…)

Barnes & Noble announces Nook Tablet, updates and drops prices of Nook Color & Nook Simple Touch

Posted in Images,News,Technology by Scott Meisner on November 7th, 2011

Kindle Fire, meet your head-to-head competition. Today Barnes & Noble announced their latest e-reader, the Nook Tablet. On the outside, the Nook Tablet looks nearly identical to its predecessor the Nook Color. This time around, it’s almost entirely what’s on the inside that really counts. The Tablet is fast, packing a 1GHz dual-core processor and 1GB of RAM. The 7-inch multitouch screen (1024 x 600) displays 16 million colors ultra-bright and features full IPS lamination to reduce reflection and glare and offer extra-wide viewing angles and clarity. The display can play full HD 1080p content. Battery life is quite impressive, too. The Tablet offers up 11.5 hours of reading time or 9 hours of video viewing. There’s 16GB of onboard storage, and this can be expanded with an SD card. Built-in WiFi allows for web surfing and downloading books, magazines, newspapers, comic books, apps and other content. (Note that though the Tablet runs Android Gingerbread, users will not have access to the Android Marketplace.) It’s thinner than the Color weighing in at 14.1 ounces and it features a soft touch back design. A built-in microphone allows users to take advantage of the new Read and Record feature which allows parents to record narration and let their kids play it back when they’re reading their favorite stories. The newest Nook also sees an upgrade in entertainment selection. It comes preloaded with Netflix and Hulu Plus apps for movie and TV show selections (Flixster with UltraViolet is coming soon) and Pandora, Rhapsody, Grooveshark, and MOG are available for streaming music.

During their press event, B&N highlighted their Tablet’s advantages over Kindle’s Fire. In addition to featuring a better display with superior viewing angle, more than 2X the memory, a lighter design, more RAM, and better content rendering, Nook Tablet owners will also have the assurance that if they ever need product support they can visit a local Barnes & Noble store to resolve their issue. That is something Amazon sadly can never offer as it is strictly an e-tailer. The Nook Tablet is now up for preorder at $249 and it releases next week on November 18. That is a fat $50 more than the direct competition coming from Amazon, so be careful when you’re shopping this holiday season.

Besides announcing the Nook Tablet, B&N also took time to refresh and make cheaper their other e-readers. The new and improved Nook Color will ship with B&N’s “largest software update ever” that will bring Netflix, Hulu Plus, and music streaming apps to the device, as well as a refreshed library and enhanced shopping experience. The new Color ships this December at $199. Existing owners of the Color will automatically receive the update at no cost over WiFi next month. And finally there’s the tried and true Nook, now renamed the Nook Simple Touch. It will also come preloaded with a software update that will enable better battery life (users can read for up to 2 months for one hour a day). The update, which is now available for existing Nook owners to download, also makes the screen crisper and the page turn rate faster. The rebranded Nook Simple Touch is available to buy today at a low $99 with “no annoying ads.” Stings a bit, doesn’t it Amazon? Game on.

[Via Barnes & Noble] (Click here for more…)

Amazon unveils new e-Reader lineup: Kindle, Kindle Touch & Kindle Fire

Posted in Images,News,Technology by Scott Meisner on October 4th, 2011

On Friday Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos introduced the e-tailer’s brand new e-Reader lineup: the $79 Kindle, the $99 Kindle Touch, and the Kindle Fire at $199.

The latest generation base Kindle is lighter, smaller, faster, and cheaper than ever. It features a new design that is 30 percent lighter than its predecessor at 5.98 ounces, 18 percent smaller, and it turns pages 10 percent faster. Its still got a 6-inch electronic ink display. The device has four buttons on its front: back, on-screen keyboard, menu, home, and a directional pad. On either side are buttons for page-turning. But there’s no physical keyboard and no touch. There’s a reason why it’s being sold at such a low price–this Kindle is the definition of bare bones. If all you need to do is read (and you don’t mind using a directional pad to navigate through menus) this is the e-Reader for you. The Kindle is available for purchase today.

An extra $20 will get you the Kindle Touch, a slightly upgraded version of the e-Reader that boasts a touch display. You won’t find any buttons or a physical keyboard on this bad boy; the user interface is solely based on touch. Like the base model, this Kindle is  lighter and smaller than before and it has an “extra-long battery life.” The Kindle Touch (also available with 3G built-in for $149) is now available to preorder, and it releases November 21.

And finally there’s the Kindle Fire, what Amazon describes as a “new class of Kindle.” It’s a tablet, really. So I betcha want to hear specs? The 14.6 ounce Fire packs a 7-inch LCD multitouch display with IPS and Gorilla Glass strength, 1GHz TI OMAP dual-core processor, 512MB of RAM, and 8GB of storage. Does that number seem low to you? Worry not! Amazon promises you’ll never have to think about storage space since you can save virtually all of your content in the cloud via the Amazon Cloud storage that’s connected to your Amazon account. All Amazon digital content is automatically backed up for free. Movies, TV shows, music, magazines and newspapers, Android apps and games, and of course books can be purchased and downloaded right on the device. Though the Fire runs on Google’s OS, Amazon has tweaked Android so much that it’s totally unrecognizable. In other words, it’s an experience you’ll only get on this device. One feature users will be privy to is the Fire-exclusive web browser called “Amazon Silk.” The company describes it as a “split browser” architecture that makes for a faster web browsing experience. And just like its E-reader brethren, the tablet uses Amazon’s Whispersync technology to automatically sync your Kindle library, last page read, bookmarks, notes, and highlights across a variety of devices. The Kindle Fire will sell for a low $199 when it hits the market on November 15.

Inspect the devices in the galleries hanging above. Read through the beefy press release after the break. (Click here for more…)

Barnes & Noble announces new Nook, “the simple touch reader”

Posted in News,Technology by Scott Meisner on May 24th, 2011

Today Barnes & Noble unveiled a new addition to their e-reader family. The all-new Nook “the simple touch reader” is noticeably small and ultra-light. It packs a 6-inch E Ink Pearl touch display and weighs only 7.48 ounces. Its package is 35 percent lighter and 15 percent thinner than the original Nook (WiFi), and its no-glare display offers 50 percent more contrast. It features a soft-touch rubber back that B&N says makes the reading experience all the better. The battery life is phenomenal; with WiFi turned off the new Nook will last for up to 2 months on a single charge. Equally impressive is that the new Nook offers 80 percent less flashing than other e-readers; page turning on an e-ink screen is normally a headache-inducing activity, so we should all be happy that B&N is doing all they can to combat the “flashing” issue. The company also outlined the new Fast Page feature which allows readers to jump to various sections of a book at ease. Readers will also be privy to the number of pages left to go in a book. The new Nook runs Android 2.1, boasts 2GB of storage that can be expanded with use of the microSD slot, and is WiFi-capable. A 3G model is not being offered at this time. The tiny Nook goes on sale June 10 for an acceptable $139 at B&N, Best Buy, Walmart, Staples, and Books-A-Million. It is up for preorder today. Full PR after the break. Head over to the source link to see the new Nook in action.

[Via Engadget] (Click here for more…)

E-ink, shme-ink, says Barnes & Noble; meet Nook Color

Posted in Images,News,Technology by Scott Meisner on October 27th, 2010

Yesterday Barnes & Noble unveiled the next version of their Nook e-reader.  Nook Color is more than a simple e-reader, proclaims B&N; they call it a “reader’s tablet.”  Let’s run through the impressive specs and features, shall we?  The new Nook was designed in collaboration with industrial designer Yves Behar and it packs a 7-inch (1024×600) LCD color touch display (from LG) that can show more than 16 million colors and has a wide viewing angle thanks to integrated IPS screen technology.  The “VividView” display is covered with a lamination screen film that promises to minimize glare.  E-ink is no where to be found here–this is LCD all the way.  Liken this to iPad reading, not Kindle reading.  It’s light and portable at 8.1” (height) by 5” (width) by 0.48” (depth) and 15.8 ounces.  Built-in 802.11 b/g/n WiFi is used to explore, purchase, and share content.  A 3G model was not announced.  There’s 8GB of internal storage, and that can be expanded up to 32GB thanks to the microSD slot.  B&N claims it has an eight hour battery life with WiFi turned off–a steep price to pay for color support (the original Nook boasts a 10-day battery lifespan).  Nook Color runs Android all across its 7-inch touchscreen (the original Nook features a large E-ink screen with a small Android-powered touch display below it).  Swiping through books and pinch-to-zoom are present and accounted for.

Content and apps time.  The NOOKbook Store includes over two million books for Nook owners to preview and purchase.  NOOKnewsstand brings a whole slew of newspapers, periodicals, and magazines to Nook; they include The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, USA TODAY, Rolling Stone, Esquire, US Weekly, National Geographic, Martha Stewart Living, Cosmopolitan, and Elle.  Periodicals will be available by subscription and single copy.  Reading is optimized for the touchscreen; ArticleView allows you to customize the reading experience to your liking.   NOOK kids brings over 130 digital picture books and 12,000 chapter books aimed at children.  AliveTouch enables children to interact with words and pictures; it also gives them the option for the device to read a story aloud (death to parenting!).  The Read In Store program allows Nook owners to read Nookbooks for free one hour at a time inside B&N stores only.  With the LendMe app, owners can lend their friends books and request to borrow books from friends; sharing books is free and books can be lended for up to 14 days.  Books can be recommended and shared with friends over Facebook, Twitter, and email; yes, the Nook has gone social.  Since Nook Color technically is a tablet too, developers can now create engaging apps for the device.  B&N calls them “extras” and those available at launch will include Pandora (for music streaming), Quickoffice (for reading Microsoft Office files, PDFs, JEPGs, and more), and games (crossword puzzles, Sudoku, chess, etc.).  Though it runs Android, users will not have access to the Android Market or Market apps.  The upswing?  A full browser is included to surf the web (Flash is not supported).

Nook Color hits store shevles November 19 for $249.  You can preorder today at the B&N website.  It will go on sale at Walmart, Best Buy, and Books-a-Million in late November.  Full PR after the break.

In addition to announcing Nook Color, B&N took time to share details about a pending software update for the original Nook (WiFi) and Nook (WiFi+3G) models.  Expect faster page-turn speed, improved search functionality, customized B&N Library organization, password protection, and continuous reading across all NOOK devices and software.  Firmware update 1.5 will be available as a free download via WiFi this November.

[Via B&N; Engadget]

(Click here for more…)

Concept: Foldable E-Ink newspaper display

Posted in Images,Technology,Video by Scott Meisner on April 22nd, 2010

The Page, designed by Jae Kim.

With all the buzz surrounding iPad this and iPad that, it’s nice to see someone else thinking outide the box when it comes to reinventing the way we read newspapers and other print media.  Designer Jae Kim has conceptualized The Page, a foldable display that features a semi-transparent E-Ink screen that displays text and images.  Screens that can bend into various shapes and sizes have been conceptually implemented in the past, so this certainly isn’t the first player to the game.  However, it does feature a number of interesting UI enhancements, including automatic column formatting depending on its shape and interactive page navigation on a flat surface.  Check it out in all its concept-y glory in the video above.  There’s some stills waiting below, too.

[Via Designboom; Gizmodo]

B&N Nook’s LendMe feature has its limitations

Posted in News,Technology by Scott Meisner on October 24th, 2009

Barnes & Noble recently unveiled their entrance into the e-reader business with their announced of Nook, a two dual-screen WiFi/3G enabled wonder, really.  One of its selling features is what B&N calls LendMe, or the ability to virtually lend a book you purchased on the device with friends and family who also own a Nook, an iPhone/iPod touch, other cellular devices, or a PC/Mac.  The person who receives the lent book has fourteen days until it expires to read it.  So is there a catch?  Well, it’s not so much a “catch” than it is a set of rules that always seems to follow around DRM-encrypted stuff.  Those rules are as follows: Once you lend a book to someone, you can never lend that same book ever again; during the fourteen day lending period, you cannot read the lent book that you purchased in the first place; lastly, every book sold in the B&N e-reader store will not have the ability to be lent out (it’s up to the publisher’s discretion).  Though these rules are rather lame, having the ability to lend a book is better than not having it, right?

[Via Engadget]

Barnes & Noble announces Nook, the coolest e-reader yet

Posted in Images,News,Technology,Video by Scott Meisner on October 20th, 2009

Step aside Amazon Kindle 1, 2, DX and make way for the most innovative and stylish e-reader yet.  Barnes & Noble invites us to indulge in what they are calling the Nook, a 11.2 ounce (7.7- x 4.9- x 0.5-inches) e-reader device that will surely change the game in the e-reader realm.  Priced at a competitive $259, the Nook features two displays, a top 6 inch e-ink display from Vizplex and a 3.5 inch LCD touchscreen below it.  It includes 2GB of internal memory, a microSD card slot for expandable storage (you can load up pictures, music, and personal PDF documents), Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g), a 3.5mm headphone jack, and a microUSB port for charging.  B&N claims the Nook will run for up ten days before it needs a recharge (which takes 3.5 hours).  And oh yeah, it runs Google’s Android OS.

The Nook allows you to browse the B&N e-book store and choose from over one million titles.  Browsing can be done cable-free via Wi-Fi (for free at Barnes & Noble stores, and onlyat B&N stores at launch) and over AT&T’s 3G data service.  All books can be previewed for free and most bestsellers and new releases cost $9.99.  You can also keep updated with the latest news by receiving  newspaper and magazine subscriptions.  Nook’s LendMe technology allows you to share your purchased books with others by wirelessly “lending” a copy of your book to their e-reader, PC, Mac, iPhone, iPod touch, select Blackberry and Motorola phones, and soon Windows Mobile phones.  All you need is the eReader Software (free) installed on your particular device.  A lent copy of a book expires after 14 days.

B&N is taking preorders for the Nook today and the expected ship date is November 30.  Look after the break for a video demo; see the Nook in action.

Barnes & Noble deserves a round of applause.  After waiting in the shadows as companies like Amazon and Sony pumped out e-reader devices year after year, B&N has gone and surprised us all and rocked the e-reader industry with its latest creation in the Nook.  Its dual-screen format looks like a winner; easy touchscreen navigation on the bottom and clear, glare-free reading on the top.  It’s simple yet efficient design makes B&N’s Nook a new and worthy competitor in my book (pun intended).

[Via Engadget; Gizmodo]

(Click here for more…)