Playbook OS 2.1 to Be Released Soon and Provides Many Android Enhancements

Playbook OS 2.1 to Be Released Soon and Provides Many Android Enhancements

Canadian based RIM is prepared to usher in a new update for the Blackberry Playbook in the next few weeks. The new version 2.1 will provide a number of enhancements that are exclusively focused on providing a better, Android emulated experience.

One of the greatest new features to be found in this update is the way Android Apps are handled. The new fix will change the way Android apps are displayed within a single application space. When 2.1 is released, they’ll appear individually in the task switcher just like native PlayBook apps always have. Another one of the most exciting fixes is that Android apps will also finally have access to the PlayBook’s cameras and microphone. This will allow for more flexibility in apps that involve actions such as video calling.

The Blackberry Bridge app will undergo a little bit of a revision. With 2.1, it will allow you to receive text messages on your Playbook via your smartphone.

Finally, many other apps, such as your calender and contact list, will be able to flip orientation and not lock you into landscape mode by default.

RIM is working out the final kinks in on the new Playbook LTE model that should be released soon. They have developed a solution for their video chatting feature relying only on WIFI, like most video chat apps. With this model, you will have the option to chat over 4G and LTE connections.

I am personally very excited about this new firmware update for the Playbook. One of the biggest shortcomings with our Good e-Reader Playbook App Store is the severely limited number of apps that take advantage of your microphone and camera. When this new firmware update drops, we will be fervently testing Skype and many other video calling apps that are not available in native Playbook form.

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Playbook OS 2.1 to Be Released Soon and Provides Many Android Enhancements

Google Play is getting a redesign

Google Play is getting a redesign

Google Play will soon be getting a redesign for their Android app store for smartphones and tablet. . The new store will be divided into two main sections: Apps & Games and Entertainment. This would replace the six categories of the current Play store: Apps, Games, Movies & TV, Music, Books, and Newsstand. There is no official word when this new update will be pushed out live, but it looks like it will be soon.

Google Play is getting a redesign

Exclusive: Kobo Glo, Kobo Mini, and Kobo Arc Announced

Exclusive: Kobo Glo, Kobo Mini, and Kobo Arc Announced

Canadian based Kobo has announced three new e-readers and tablets that will severely boost its product portfolio. At no time has the company ever released more than one device at the same time and now we have two new e-readers and a tablet. We are live in Toronto for the unveiling event and will be posting comprehensive reviews, videos, and interviewing some of the executive team within the next 10 hours. Meanwhile here is our breaking news on the three new devices they have told us about.

Kobo Glo

Kobo has stepped up to the plate offering its own version of an e-reader that has a glow feature for reading in the dark. It features a six inch e-ink XGA screen with a very solid resolution of 1024×768. This, in effect, gives you a full HD type of display that puts it on par with the defunct iRiver Story HD. This will result in comics, manga, and image heavy content looking quite superb.

The Glow feature has built-in ComfortLight technology with micro-thin hard coating for even light diffusion and durability. One of the benefits behind this is that it provides glare-free, fingerprint-resistant reading.

The Kobo Glo is running on an amazing 1 GHZ Freescale, Solo 6, processor that will make menu navigation and page turns a total breeze. Many e-readers feature a 300 to 600 MHZ processor and customers notice a delay in their interactions on the reader. Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Sony all have processors in their devices that are well below the 1 GHZ threshold.  There is also 2 GB of internal storage and the option to expand it up to 32 GB via the Micro SD card. Battery life is also a great feature with the ability to garner over 55 hours with the glow feature turned on and one month with it turned off.

The Kobo Glo gives you a rich ecosystem of over 3 million free and paid books to download from the storefront. Any purchase you make is stored in the cloud and can be readily accessed on any Android, iOS, Blackberry, or other official apps on a myriad of devices. Reading Life is also at the forefront and this lets you earn rewards and achievements for reading books. There are 7 font options to change the default text, such as Times New Roman and Ariel. You can even change the size of the font and there are 24 different options, which leads the field in the customization of your reading experience.

One of the new software features found in the Kobo Glow is called “Kobo Picks.” It is a new recommendation engine that will give  you similar titles to the ones that you purchased and functions like an iTunes Match type of service. It is going to be available in October and will cost a paltry $129.99. Stay tuned, we will be posting a slew of videos and pictures of this new device.

Kobo Mini

The North American market is rife with competition from the major e-reading companies. Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Sony, and others all offer devices at the under $100 price point. This makes e-readers fairly accessible to people who are on a fixed budget and allows people to give them as gifts without breaking the bank.

The Kobo Mini is a current generation device that will be offered for only $79.99 and will be marketed internationally. The screen features a five inch e-Ink Visplex V110 display. There is no word yet on the resolution, but it should be around 800 x 600. It has built in Wireless Internet, so you can shop for newspapers, magazines, ebooks, and more via the Kobo bookstore.  Considering the price point, the processor is a solid 800 MHZ, so turning pages and accessing settings should be very quick.

This e-reader is able to tap into all of Kobo’s new social media platforms, such as Reading Life, Kobo Picks, and its cloud storage feature. The Kobo Mini is basically an entry level e-reader with no expandable memory and perfect for people that are new to reading digital books. Mom would love one! This model is also available in October.

Kobo Arc

The Kobo Vox was the company’s first Android tablet and it saw a ton of success with people wanting to do more than just read. The Android platform has hundreds of thousands of games and apps, and it allows customers to do their own thing. The new Kobo Arc is the next generation tablet that really gives you a ton of value for the hardware it has.

The Kobo Arc features a seven inch HD display with a resolution of 1280×800 pixels and 215 PPI. The screen features the same IPS screen technology: industry-leading display optimized for 178 degree viewing angles and ultra durable glass, resistant to damage, scratches, bumps, and drops . Underneath the hood is a Texas Instruments OMAP 4470  1.5 GHZ dual core processor and 1 GB of RAM. There are two different storage options at 8 GB and 16 GB, depending on your needs.

On the front of the ARC is a front facing 2 MP camera that can be used for Skype or other video conferencing programs.  What I really dig about the ARC is the company taking a page out of the Blackberry Playbook, with the front facing speakers. You have dual built-in front facing speakers with SRS TruMedia sound and a built-in microphone. At Good e-Reader, we review a TON of tablets and e-readers. One of my most sought after features is having the speakers on the front of the unit, so the sound is facing you. Many devices put the speakers on the back, which muffle the sound and make you hold it in such a way that the speakers are raised. Battery life should be around 10 hours of continuous use and will last up to two weeks on standby mode.

On the software front, the ARC is running Google Android 4.0 with a Jellybean update in the pipeline for the future. Use WiFi Direct to stream multimedia content to your TV with a compatible A/V adapter. Enjoy all of the Android customization features, such as re-sizable widgets and face unlock.

Earlier in the year, Kobo finally attained Google certification and the older Vox model was finally allowed to tap into Google Play. The ARC continues the trends of giving customers the ability to tap into a rich and expansive ecosystem to deliver apps, games, and content. Speaking of content, the Kobo bookstore is front and center, giving you the ability to download over 3 million free and paid titles. It also makes reading social with Reading Life. Track your Reading Stats and share your current read, favorite passages, and Reading Life awards to Twitter and Facebook with full Timeline integration, and Kobo Pulse. It also has a built-in Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate dictionary and connects to Wikipedia for more in-depth analysis and research.

The ARC is intended on being a truly international device with menu, settings, and language support for English, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, Dutch, and Italian. There are the core markets that Kobo has expanded into over the last year and the inclusion of Portuguese gives you a sense that the company will soon expand into Brazil.  The 8 GB version of the Arc is poised to cost around $200, while the 16 GB edition will be $250

Exclusive: Kobo Glo, Kobo Mini, and Kobo Arc Announced

VXG Video Player Brings HD Streaming to Android

VXG Video Player Brings HD Streaming to Android

Smartphone and tablet users are as passionate about media as they are social media and messaging. This means that the eternal search for a worthwhile media player is near-constant. Fortunately, there are a few quality contenders –among them you will find VXG Video Player.

In many ways, VXG Video Player blurs the lines between mobile and desktop video players by boasting a considerable and sophisticated feature list: multiple video formats (AVI, 3GP, M4V, MP4, WMV, FLV, MPEG, MPG, MOV, RM, VOB, ASF, MKV, F4V, TRP, TS, and TP), the ability to record your favourite fragments, upload and download videos over WiFi connections, digital zoom, picture shifting, automatic identification of video and audio files, video preview for listed media (made even easier with smart thumbnails), online streaming, recording of live streams (with add, modify, and delete functionality), and playback of FLV files (without need for the Flash Player plug-in).

With a comprehensive list like that, it is sufficed to say that VXG Video Player does the kind of heavy lifting normally done by a suite of apps.

If you want to test-drive a full-featured (at no charge and ad free!) video player, download VXG Video Player for your Android devices now.

VXG Video Player Brings HD Streaming to Android

Microsoft Wants You to Run Windows 10 on Your (Android) Smartphone

Microsoft Wants You to Run Windows 10 on Your (Android) Smartphone

Fewer hardware manufacturers are making Windows-based smartphones, but apparently that isn’t something causing Microsoft to lose sleep. Proving yet again that they are thinking outside of the box and interested in reinventing themselves, Microsoft is working on a ROM that will morph your Android smartphone into a Windows Phone 10 device.

Just to be clear, this isn’t a dual-boot type option. Instead, this ROM will truly offer a native-like Windows 10 experience on your previously-Android-based smartphone.

Microsoft has issued a statement describing their project:

As part of the Windows Insider Program, Microsoft will partner with Xiaomi to offer Windows 10 free downloads to a select group of Xiaomi Mi4 users. Xiaomi Mi4 users will get the ability to flash their phones with the new Windows 10 OS and provide feedback to Xiaomi and Microsoft on their experience. This partnership will allow Xiaomi and Microsoft to get direct user feedback and continue to improve the experience for China. Microsoft is thrilled to see Xiaomi embracing Windows 10 and offering this great value to their customers. We’re excited to see the feedback we receive from this audience.

Xiaomi is a leading phone manufacturer in China undergoing significant global expansion. We are excited to partner with them in China and jointly gather feedback from Chinese users on their experience with Windows 10 to jointly collaborate on product and services development for the platform.

Availability will be announced in the months to come.

What do you think of Microsoft’s decision? Other mobile platforms have offered app compatibility with Android, and it’s certainly been done to death in the desktop arena… but this is fairly groundbreaking (I wouldn’t expect Apple to open themselves up to this kind of thing anytime soon –or ever). It isn’t clear how easy it will be to move back to a stock Android built once you’ve installed Windows 10 on your smartphone, but one should expect it can be done without too much weeping or gnashing of teeth.

I tend to think this is a stepping stone of some sort. Microsoft has been making a move toward being all about mobile software and lessening their attempts to break into the proprietary hardware realm (sure the Surface is out there, but it really feels like it’s a secondary priority for them somehow). What is the end-game? It may just be a move to prove their continued relevance. It might be a power move to say to hardware manufacturers that they don’t need their loyalty or commitments. It might just be a way to generate buzz and show themselves as having the most progressive mobile operating system. Heck, reaching further out… it could be a way to position certain technologies for sale. No matter the answer, watching what Microsoft is up to has become interesting once again.

Microsoft Wants You to Run Windows 10 on Your (Android) Smartphone

Enjoy King of Fighters Spinoff ‘Rhythm of Fighters’ on Android

Enjoy King of Fighters Spinoff ‘Rhythm of Fighters’ on Android

SNK Playmore has a new game in store for us following the success of their The King of Fighters franchise. The new title, The Rhythm of Fighters is set to launch for Android and iOS systems ‘soon,’ though no specific date is yet known.

Being labelled as a mix of ‘brawler and music game’, actual details on the gameplay are lacking at the moment.  Through teasers we are told the battles will be rhythm-based and require the completion of special moves and combos (set to legendary SNK tracks) –and while the combination sounds fun, it is unlikely to be a great ‘waiting room time-sink’ when you need volume to play (unless you are more prepared than I usually am and have headphones in your pocket at all times).

It has been a while since we saw a new title from SNK Playmore: the launch of the first installment of The King of Fighters came in 1994 with the latest release being The King of Fighters 13 in 2009.

Enjoy King of Fighters Spinoff ‘Rhythm of Fighters’ on Android

Barnes and Noble partners with Appcelerator

Barnes and Noble partners with Appcelerator

Barnes and Noble announced today that it partnered with Appcelerator to allow developers to fast track applications for the Nook Color .

Appcelerator is one of the leading mobile cloud platform for developers and has a user base of around 200,000. This service allows for tablet and mobile friendly applications to be deployed via Nook Developer. This will make it easy for developers with existing applications to port them over to the Nook App Store.

“Millions of apps have been purchased by NOOK Color customers since we launched NOOK Apps, and our customers are interested in even more,” said Claudia Romanini, Director of Developer Relations, Barnes & Noble. “Appcelerator’s proven mobile development platform and highly successful open mobile developer community are a great fit for the expansion of our NOOK Developer program. We’ll work together to bring NOOK Color customers even more rich and innovative, high-quality NOOK Apps, while developers – through our storefront – will have another strong revenue channel to monetize their apps to our large and rapidly growing audience.”

One of the main benefits of the Appcelerator Titanium program is the accelerated submission process into the Nook Developer system and be listed on the app store. All of the apps made with Titanium will be fast tracked for review vs. the standard way of making them. Appcelerator has also updated its reference applications, documentation, and platform to easily integrate the NOOK Color SDK into Titanium Studio, Appcelerator’s enterprise-grade IDE used by over 1.5 million web developers.

If you are an existing developer for Appcelerator, Barnes and Noble will be particpating in Codestrong 2011 in San Franciso. The NOOK Developer team is presenting a breakout session on developing apps for NOOK Color on September 19. The meeting will offer Titanium developers a deep dive into leveraging Titanium Studio to develop applications for NOOK Color and cover the entire development process from app creation to the app submission process. The CODESTRONG conference will bring together Titanium mobile developers from around the world for 25+ keynotes and sessions at the InterContinental Hotel San Francisco on September 18-20.

Barnes and Noble partners with Appcelerator
MOUNTAIN VIEW, CALIF. – September 8, 2011 – Appcelerator ®, the leading mobile cloud platform for rapidly developing native mobile, desktop, and tablet applications using open web technologies, today announced a partnership with Barnes & Noble’s NOOK Developer program to accelerate the deployment of Appcelerator Titanium™ apps on the award-winning NOOK Color Reader’s Tablet.  The partnership will give Titanium’s 200,000 mobile developers a fast track to publish apps in the NOOK Store, available to millions of NOOK Color customers.  NOOK App developers have had tremendous success selling to NOOK Color’s millions of customers, with many generating substantial revenues.

“Millions of apps have been purchased by NOOK Color customers since we launched NOOK Apps, and our customers are interested in even more,” said Claudia Romanini, Director of Developer Relations, Barnes & Noble. “Appcelerator’s proven mobile development platform and highly successful open mobile developer community are a great fit for the expansion of our NOOK Developer program. We’ll work together to bring NOOK Color customers even more rich and innovative, high-quality NOOK Apps, while developers – through our storefront – will have another strong revenue channel to monetize their apps to our large and rapidly growing audience.”

NOOK Color Reader’s Tablet™ features a stunning 7-inch VividView color touchscreen ideal for reading a wide variety of content including books, enhanced books, immersive children’s picture books, interactive magazines, newspapers and more.  Built on Android, NOOK Color also offers the most-requested tablet features, including built-in email, an enhanced Web experience and high-quality NOOK Apps.  Third-party developers have praised Barnes & Noble’s curated app model, revenue-earning potential, and the ease in which customers can find, try, buy and download apps.

Appcelerator developers will now be able to quickly deploy and offer their apps through Barnes & Noble’s expansive NOOK Store reaching millions of digital customers. Titanium developers will enjoy expedited submission of their apps for the NOOK Developer program.  Titanium developers’ submissions will be automatically qualified and fast-tracked for review. Appcelerator has also updated its reference applications, documentation, and platform to easily integrate the NOOK Color SDK into Titanium Studio, Appcelerator’s enterprise-grade IDE used by over 1.5 million web developers.

“Barnes & Noble has created a highly acclaimed offering and impressive customer base for its Android-based NOOK Color Reader’s Tablet,” said Jeff Haynie, CEO of Appcelerator. “As the world’s largest cross-platform developer community, we are delighted to partner with the NOOK Developer team to help connect Appcelerator’s global developer community with Barnes & Noble’s digital storefront, driving even more downloads and traction for NOOK Color.”

Barnes & Noble will participate at Appcelerator’s CODESTRONG 2011 developers conference in San Francisco later this month.  The NOOK Developer team is presenting a breakout session on developing apps for NOOK Color on September 19. The meeting will offer Titanium developers a deep dive into leveraging Titanium Studio to develop applications for NOOK Color and cover the entire development process from app creation to the app submission process. The CODESTRONG conference will bring together Titanium mobile developers from around the world for 25+ keynotes and sessions at the InterContinental Hotel San Francisco on September 18-20.  For more information about attending, visit http://www.codestrong.com .

About NOOK from Barnes & Noble

Barnes & Noble’s NOOK brand of eReading products makes it easy to read what you love, anywhere you like™ with a fun, easy-to-use and immersive digital reading experience. With NOOK, customers gain access to Barnes & Noble’s expansive NOOK Bookstore of more than two million digital titles, and the ability to enjoy content across a wide array of popular devices. The award-winning NOOK Color Reader’s Tablet, the best-value on the tablet market ($249), features a stunning 7-inch VividViewColor Touchscreen to read all of the content you love, shop popular apps, connect via email, browse the Web and more. The NOOK Simple Touch Reader($139), is the easiest-to-use 6-inch touch reader, with the longest battery life of any eReader. In Barnes & Noble stores, NOOK owners can access free Wi-Fi connectivity, enjoy the Read In Store feature to read NOOK Books for free, and the More In Store program, which offers free, exclusive content and special promotions. Barnes & Noble was the first company to offer digital lending for a wide selection of books through its LendMe® technology, available through NOOK eReading products. Find NOOK devices in Barnes & Noble stores and online at http://www.BN.com , as well as at Best Buy, Walmart, Staples, Books-A-Million, OfficeMax, Fred Meyer, and P.C. Richard & Son stores.

In addition to NOOK devices, Barnes & Noble makes it easy for customers to enjoy any book, anytime, anywhere with its free line of NOOK software, available at http://www.bn.com/freenookapps . Customers can use Barnes & Noble’s free eReading software to access and read books from their personal Barnes & Noble digital library on devices including iPad, iPhone®, iPod touch®, Android smartphones and tablets BlackBerry®, PC and Mac®. Lifetime Library™ helps ensure that Barnes & Noble customers will always be able to access their digital libraries on NOOK products and software-enabled devices and BN.com. Barnes & Noble also offers NOOK Study ( http://www.nookstudy.com ), an innovative study platform and software solution for higher education, NOOK Kids™ ( http://www.nookkids.com ), a collection of digital picture and chapter books for children, and NOOK Books en español ( http://www.barnesandnoble.com/ebooksenespanol ), the first-ever Spanish language digital bookstore in the United States.

For more information on NOOK devices and eReading software, updates, new NOOK Book releases, Free Friday™ NOOK Books and more, follow us on http://www.twitter.com/ebooksbn and http://www.facebook.com/nookbn .

ABOUT BARNES & NOBLE, INC.

Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE:BKS), the world’s largest bookseller and a Fortune 500 company, operates 704 bookstores in 50 states. Barnes & Noble College Booksellers, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Barnes & Noble, also operates 635 college bookstores serving over 4.6 million students and faculty members at colleges and universities across the United States.  Barnes & Noble conducts its online business through BN.com ( http://www.bn.com ), one of the Web’s largest e-commerce sites, which also features more than two million titles in its NOOK Bookstore™ ( http://www.bn.com/ebooks ). Through Barnes & Noble’s NOOK™ eReading product offering, customers can buy and read digital books and content on the widest range of platforms, including NOOK devices, partner company products, and the most popular mobile and computing devices using free NOOK software.

General information on Barnes & Noble, Inc. can be obtained via the Internet by visiting the company’s corporate website: http://www.barnesandnobleinc.com .

About Appcelerator

Appcelerator is the leading enterprise-grade, cross-platform development solution on the market today, with over 1.5 million developers using its software to power over 25,000 cloud-connected mobile, desktop, and web applications used by tens of millions of users every day. The company’s flagship offering, Appcelerator Titanium , is the only mobile cloud platform to enable fully native, cross-platform development, from a single codebase, at web development speed for these three platforms. Appcelerator’s customers can leverage their existing skills and open, industry standard technologies to decrease time-to-market and development costs, increase customer adoption and revenues, and enjoy greater flexibility and control. For more information, please visit http://www.appcelerator.com .

Barnes and Noble partners with Appcelerator