Amazon planning ‘entire family’ of Android devices, possibly a smartphone

By on May 13, 2011 at 6:39 PM.

Amazon planning ‘entire family’ of Android devices, possibly a smartphone

Android is planning to release an “entire family” of Android-powered devices, not just one tablet as originally thought, according to Android and Me. The rumor hasn’t specified whether or not Amazon is planning multiple sized tablets, or a tablet and a new Android-powered eReader, although there’s some speculation that a smartphone could be in the works too. It’s no secret that the company is working on at least one tablet. Earlier this week Amazon’s CEO, Jeff Bezos, said “stay tuned” for more information on the product, which is rumored to have been manufactured by Samsung and could launch as early as this summer. However, Android and Me disputes those claims and believes the devices will land closer to the holiday season. Either way, it certainly makes sense for at least one Amazon tablet to exist: the firm has already launched its Unbox movie and TV streaming service, Amazon’s Cloud Player and Cloud Drive for music and data storage, and Kindle for books, all of which fit perfectly on a tablet. More →

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Barnes & Noble planning new eReader for May 24th launch

By on May 5, 2011 at 11:33 PM.

Barnes & Noble planning new eReader for May 24th launch

According to a recent filing with the SEC, Barnes and Noble is planning to launch a new eReader later this month. During a meeting with analysts and investors, the big-box and online bookstore said “it expects to make an announcement on May 24, 2011 regarding the launch of a new eReader device.” It’s unclear if the new eReader will carry the NOOK moniker, but if Barnes & Noble is reworking the Nook Color – already powered by Android – we suspect it will have more powerful hardware and perhaps Android 3.0, which is designed for tablets. Late last year, Barnes & Noble went on the record saying that since the introduction of its NOOK eReaders, it began selling more digital books than physical books. With an even more robust device, B&N may be able to break into the tablet market, too. More →

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Barnes & Noble NOOK Color updated with Android 2.2, NOOK Apps

By on April 25, 2011 at 5:32 PM.

Barnes & Noble NOOK Color updated with Android 2.2, NOOK Apps

On Monday, Barnes & Noble announced that it will be updating the NOOK Color eReader with Android 2.2 (Froyo) and a number of other enhancements. The software patch — which will deliver Adobe Flash Player support – adds a NOOK Friends beta social network for sharing books, 15 new NOOK Kids Read and Play books, NOOK Email, NOOK Books Enhanced with embedded video and audio, and NOOK Newsstand for quick access to magazines and newspapers. A new NOOK Apps store will provide access to more than 125 applications, many of which are free or are priced below the $2.99 price point. The update, officially known as NOOK Color v1.2, is available now for free. NOOK Color owners can visit http://www.nookcolor.com/update to apply it now, or you can wait for an over-the-air update to roll out over the coming weeks. Hit the jump for the full press release. More →

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Amazon to launch 'Kindle Library Lending' feature

By on April 20, 2011 at 12:21 PM.

Amazon to launch 'Kindle Library Lending' feature

On Wednesday, Amazon announced that its Kindle customers will soon be able to borrow eBooks from more than 11,000 U.S. libraries. Amazon’s Kindle Library Lending project will allow users to check out eBooks from local libraries and then read them on the Kindle or any device that has Amazon’s free eReader software installed. Unlike traditional libraries, which don’t allow borrowers to write in books, they can take notes and highlight as much as they like. “We’re doing a little something extra here,” said Jay Marine, director of Amazon Kindle. “Normally, making margin notes in library books is a big no-no. But we’re extending our Whispersync technology so that you can highlight and add margin notes to Kindle books you check out from your local library. Your notes will not show up when the next patron checks out the book. But if you check out the book again, or subsequently buy it, your notes will be there just as you left them, perfectly Whispersynced.” Amazon is working with OverDrive on its Kindle Library Lending program, which it says will launch later this year. Hit the jump for the full release. More →

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Amazon intros ad-subsidized 'Kindle with Special Offers' for $114

By on April 13, 2011 at 1:28 AM.

Amazon intros ad-subsidized 'Kindle with Special Offers' for $114

Amazon has announced that its customers can now purchase an ad-subsidized version of its Kindle. The “Kindle with Special Offers” eReader will retail for $114 and comes with sponsored screen savers and advertisements on the bottom of the screen. Buick, Procter & Gamble, Visa, and Amazon.com Reward Visa Card (Chase) will be the first companies to offer sponsored screen savers, and Kindle users can use a free “AdMash” Kindle application to choose what ads are displayed. Initial deals include:

  • $10 for $20 Amazon.com Gift Card
  • $6 for 6 Audible Books (normally $68)
  • $1 for an album in the Amazon MP3 Store (choose from over 1 million albums)
  • $10 for $30 of products in the Amazon Denim Shop or Amazon Swim Shop
  • Free $100 Amazon.com Gift Card when you get an Amazon Rewards Visa Card (normally $30)
  • Buy one of 30 Kindle bestsellers with your Visa card and get $10 Amazon.com credit
  • 50% off Roku Streaming Player (normally $99)

We’d probably splurge and buy the ad-free Kindle, which costs just $25 more, and think this deal would probably be more attractive if it was in the sub-$100 range. The “Kindle with Special Offers” device will ship in the U.S. and customers can pre-order the device now. Hit the jump for the full release. More →

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IMS: Tablet market to continue hurting PC makers through 2011

By on March 29, 2011 at 6:03 PM.

IMS: Tablet market to continue hurting PC makers through 2011

Market research firm IMS Research on Tuesday said the growing market for tablets and eReaders will continue to have a significant impact on portable PC sales this year. The report shows that the 2010 holiday season capped off a massive fourth quarter for tablets and eReaders. eReader shipments in the quarter were up 90% over the third quarter and 116% year-over-year to 5.1 million units, with Amazon’s Kindle and Barnes & Noble’s NOOK the biggest winners. Led by Apple’s iPad, tablet shipments were even more impressive in the fourth quarter. The tablet market grew 124% in the quarter, with 9.4 million units shipped. Apple led the market with a 78% share, followed by Samsung. This impressive performance only represented 8% of the portable PC market in 2010, however, but IMS foresees a tablet explosion this year. The firm predicts tablet shipments will grow 242% to 58 million units in 2011, which will account for 23% of the portable PC market. Hit the break for the full press release. More →

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Amazon: NYT for Kindle subscription now includes web access, too

By on March 29, 2011 at 8:36 AM.

Amazon: NYT for Kindle subscription now includes web access, too

On Tuesday, Amazon announced that Kindle owners that have signed up for a Kindle subscription to The New York Times will also be able to access NYT content at no additional charge. The New York Times said on March 17th that it will begin charging readers for access to its website. After reading 20 articles, readers will be prompted to sign up for subscription plans that range from $15 to $35 every four weeks, but if you own a Kindle, you could be saving a few bucks — The New York Times for Kindle costs just $19.99 per month. “New York Times readers on Kindle are a very loyal and important audience, and we are pleased to be able to include online access as part of their subscription experience,” said Yasmin Namini senior vice president, marketing and circulation, and general manager, reader applications, of The New York Times Media Group. Hit the jump for the full release. More →

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eBook sales jump 115% in January

By on March 19, 2011 at 10:15 AM.

eBook sales jump 115% in January

The Association of American Publishers said Thursday that eBook sales for the month of January were up 115% from the same period last year. No surprise there, given that you can read them on most any mobile device these days, not just eReaders. Net sales of eBooks were $69.9 million during the month, up from $32.4 million in January 2010. On the other side of the coin, sales of paperback books were down 30% year-over-year, and sales of adult hardcover books dropped to $49.1 million in January 2011 from $55.4 million during January 2010. It doesn’t look like overpriced textbooks are going anywhere, as the higher education sector wasn’t hit as hard. Higher education sales were $382 million this January, down from $387.6 million reported in the same month in 2010. More →

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Amazon Kindle 3G hits AT&T stores starting March 6th

By on February 28, 2011 at 9:54 AM.

Amazon Kindle 3G hits AT&T stores starting March 6th

AT&T on Monday announced that it will soon begin selling Amazon’s popular 3G-enabled Kindle eBook reader in its retail locations. Starting March 6th, customers will be able to purchase the Kindle 3G eReader from AT&T stores across the country for $189. 3G service on AT&T’s nationwide network is still bundled with the purchase price of the device, so no additional service plan will be required. “Amazon has without question pioneered the eReader space with Kindle, and it’s exciting to not only connect this device through our network, but now offer it in our stores to readers around the country ,” said Glenn Lurie, president of emerging devices for AT&T, in a statement. “As the first dedicated eReader offered in our stores, we are confident the Kindle will be an attractive addition to our in store connected devices lineup.” Amazon also charges $189 for the Kindle 3G on amazon.com, however customers who purchase the device online will not have to pay sales tax. AT&T’s full press release is after the break.

More →

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Apple to ‘crack down’ on in-app payment policy violators

By on February 2, 2011 at 9:26 PM.

Apple to ‘crack down’ on in-app payment policy violators

On Tuesday, we reported that Sony’s eBook reader app for iOS had been rejected by Apple. The reason Apple gave for the rejection was that Sony’s app violated an app store policy — one that has historically not been enforced — dealing with apps that offer content for sale through means other than Apple’s in-app purchase mechanism. By using their own distribution systems, developers have been able to sell content from within iOS apps without having to pay Apple’s 30% commission charged for iTunes-based in-app purchases. An Apple spokesperson later gave a comment, stating that Apple is “now requiring that if an app offers customers the ability to purchase books outside of the app, that the same option is also available to customers from within the app with in-app purchase.” Following the ordeal, The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday reports that developers have begun to receive notices that apps in violation of this policy will be rejected starting March 31st. This could mean existing apps like Amazon’s Kindle eBook reader, which sends users to a mobile website in order to make purchases, could run into problems unless they are updated to offer content through iTunes. According to the Journal, the only exception to the rule that will be made is for publishers wishing to give print subscribers free access to an iPad edition. More →

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Apple rejects Sony eBook reader app, offers explanation

By on February 1, 2011 at 5:20 PM.

Apple rejects Sony eBook reader app, offers explanation

It looks like the dormant theme of raging against the App Store machine is working its way back into blogs across the Web, as The New York Times reports Apple has rejected Sony’s eBook reader app for iOS. Sony reportedly submitted its Sony Reader app for iOS to Apple recently, only to have it rejected for providing in-app purchases that weren’t piped through the App Store. But Apple has uncharacteristically commented on the rejection, basically saying it has begun enforcing a rule that requires Apple-facilitated in-app purchase options be included in apps that also allow content to be purchased from non-Apple sources, like Sony’s eBook store. “We have not changed our developer terms or guidelines,” Apple spokesperson Trudy Miller told AllThingsD. “We are now requiring that if an app offers customers the ability to purchase books outside of the app, that the same option is also available to customers from within the app with in-app purchase.” How this might affect currently available apps like Amazon’s Kindle app and Barnes and Noble’s Nook app is unclear. More →

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Amazon Kindle app for Windows Phone 7 now available

By on January 6, 2011 at 6:40 AM.

Amazon Kindle app for Windows Phone 7 now available

It took quite a while, but Amazon’s Kindle application is finally available for the Windows Phone 7 platform as of Tuesday evening. The app offers exactly what you think it might — the ability to purchase and read over 750,000 eBooks in Amazon’s library, free access to preview the first chapter of each, Amazon’s Whispersync service to keep data in sync across devices, personalized recommendations and more. As is expected, the app is a smooth operator on Windows Phone 7 devices, and the design works very well with Microsoft’s Metro UI. The Kindle app for Windows Phone 7 is free, of course, and can be installed from the read link below. More →

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HTC Sense to get music, video services and more

By on December 23, 2010 at 2:01 PM.

HTC Sense to get music, video services and more

In an interview with Forbes on Thursday, HTC’s head of User Experience Drew Bamford provided some insight into where the company’s Sense product is headed in the near future. Sense started as a UI overlay placed atop various platforms on HTC devices. While the UI aspects of the product remain a central focus, HTC will continue to expand Sense in several areas off the device. The recently launched HTCSense.com portal is one example of Sense’s departure from phones, though it remains underutilized and confined to just two devices for the time being. Bramford says several services are on their way to Sense, however, including music and video content services as well as access to newspapers, magazines and eBooks. HTC already launched an eBook service in Europe that it plans to expand to other regions in 2011. HTC also plans to launch its own video chat service akin to Apple’s FaceTime, along with several services that focus on home entertainment. These and other services will be made possible by the continued transition to faster 4G cellular data networks. “At some point, you can imagine replacing your home Internet service with your 4G phone,” Bramford said. “I think we’re on the cusp of that transformation where mobile products and living room life collide.” More →

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