New Amazon Kindle e-Reader Delayed

New Amazon Kindle e-Reader Delayed

Amazon has been quietly prepping a new e-ink based reader that is similar to the Barnes and Noble Simple Touch with Glowlight. It uses new technology gleaned from a company Amazon bought out last year: Seattle based company Oy Modilis . The company prided itself on being the world leader in light-guide technology.   It seems this new product might be delayed due to manufacturing problems with the new front lite screen.

Digitimes is reporting that Amazon has stopped parts in its supply chain for the new Kindle and there is a possibility that orders from Amazon’s electronic paper display provider, E Ink, will be stopped throughout July and August in order to tackle issues with the device’s front light. This may prevent Amazon from shipping of the device until later in the third quarter.

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New Amazon Kindle e-Reader Delayed

Sony Developing an e Ink Smartwatch

Sony Developing an e Ink Smartwatch

Sony has secretly been building their own skunk works department in Japan. 200 researchers are trying to flesh out ideas that have nothing to do with the core markets or products that Sony currently is marketing. One of them, to be released next year is a smartwatch, made entirely of e Ink Mobius.

Mobius uses a TFT technology that will enable the watch to be much lighter and rugged .  One of the main selling points behind this watch is that it will weigh less than 50% of an equivalent glass based TFT.  One of the only consumer products on the market to  use this technology was the Sony 13 inch writing Slate , that despite its 13.3 inch display weighs less than a six inch Kindle.

The premise behind the new e Ink watch from Sony is that the screen and band are made entirely of e-paper. This will allow people to not  only customize their watch face, which is standard fare int he world of watches, but also the wristband too. Unlike the Pebble, which actually does not use e Ink, the battery life should garner about a month of constant use.

Sony Developing an e Ink Smartwatch

The Kindle People Wear on Their Feet

The Kindle People Wear on Their Feet

The Kindle is the most popular e-reader of all time and e-ink screens are what makes the technology possible. Lately, dedicated reading devices have been seeing diminished sales and e-paper is being employed on keyboards, digital signage and now fashion.

A new Indiegogo project started by Lithuania-based iShüu Technologies is betting that e Ink is perfect for shoes. You can control the patterns and colors via a mobile app and automatically change the color, based on your outfit. They also have tangible customization options, such as bows and flows.

“The Volvorii’s clean, elegant, sturdy design brings gravitas, respect and formality in an unmistakable way,” the campaign page reads. “Whether you are a CEO at the apex of your industry or a prospective intern who got it as a graduation present going for your first interview in the corporate world, the Volvorii will carry you with grace.”

For the girl who has everything you can pick it up from the campaign page for  $249 plus shipping.

The Kindle People Wear on Their Feet

Plastc Card Replaces Credit and Gift Cards using e-Ink

Plastc Card Replaces Credit and Gift Cards using e-Ink

Avid consumers find themselves with a wallet or purse full of credit and gift cards. Startup Plastc is seeking to solve this situation with the advent of the Plastc Card. It utilizes touchscreen e-ink technology and you can add all of your credit, debit, gift and loyalty cards to one single card and flip between them with a single touch.

Plastc helps you pay any way and anywhere you want. It features a magnetic stripe and barcode display, your Plastc Card will work in all the places you already frequent. The card employs NFC, Chip and PIN capabilities and you can even attach your photo ID to the card. Within the next few months it will have support for Google Wallet, Apple Pay, PayPal and other payment options.

The one cool thing about this new card is that the magnetic stripe and NFC chip are disabled until you select your card, preventing any fraudulent activity. If you end up losing the card, you can remotely wipe all data from it using the official app.

So how does this actually work? Well, you need to download the Plastic Companion app for iOS and Android. You can link any of your credit cards, debit cards or gift cards by inputting the numbers into the app. You can also add in a signature and photo ID for those big purchases. Once this is all done, you can use the card at the ATM or when you are shopping. If you have a bunch of cards tied into the Plastc Card, you can just swipe the physical card to scroll between them.

While the idea of combining of multiple credit, debit, and gift cards into one secure package may be an enticing tech novelty, the card comes at a price: $155 to preorder. It will not start shipping until summer 2015. It also operates on a rechargeable battery with a 30-day charge. In the end, I think this is one of the coolest uses of e-ink that is not found on a dedicated e-reader like a Kindle or Nook.

Plastc Card Replaces Credit and Gift Cards using e-Ink

Review of the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

Review of the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

Amazon has finally commercially released one of the few e-readers in the world that let you read in any circumstance. The company has been actively developing their new Paperwhite for over six months and it will hit the USA market on October 26th. How does this device stand up to the competition and how does it truly rank in the grand scheme of eBook readers?

Hardware

Review of the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

The Amazon Kindle Paperwhite fixes a six inch e-ink Pearl display with tremendous resolution. You are looking at a very solid 1024×768, which is on par with the Kobo Glo, in terms of text and pictures looking very crisp. It runs on a 800 MHZ CPU processor and has 512 MB of RAM. The Paperwhite has a full touchscreen interface and the company has done away with the home and manual page turn buttons. Ironically, the only button that this unit has is the power/standby on the bottom.

Amazon has maintained the same type of glowing LED lights built into the bezel as the Kobo Glo does. The both emit light from the bottom of the screen via 4 small lights that distribute illumination evenly on the screen. This gives you a way better viewing experience then the Nook Simple Touch with Glowlight, that emits light from the top.

In a side by side comparison with the Kobo Glo and Nook Simple Touch with Glowlight, there is simply no contest. The Kindle Paperwhite has the best e-Reader in the business and the glowing feature is almost pure white. Both Kobo and B&N give you a blueish tinge that sometimes gives you a weird contrast and saturation effect on cover art and images.

The one odd thing about the Paperwhite is that the glowing function is never truly off, you can turn it down all the way with the option in the main menu interface. Even in complete darkness it still emits a little bit of light, when you turn it into standby mode, it completely disappears. Despite all of this, you still retain around two solid months of battery life and you can eek out a bit more by turning the wireless internet access off.

There are 2 GB of internal storage, but realistically you have access to around 1.4 GB once you account for the operating system and the books loaded in by default. If you have made past purchased from Amazon and sync all of your new content it will decrease even further. There is no expandable memory via SD Card, so you will have to rely on the Amazon Cloud to store the books you are no longer reading and physically delete them from your device. If you have made any notes, highlights or other customized things while reading, this is retained when you store it in the cloud.

Hardware wise, this unit is very slick and surpasses any other pure e-ink based reader that the company has ever produced. It is tremendously responsive in all common menu interactions and browsing the bookstore.

Software

Review of the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

Amazon has completely absolved physical buttons and decided to gravitate towards a pure touchscreen experience. There is a persistent navigation bar on the top of the screen which allows you to access the home, glow, bookstore, search and settings. This top menu normally is event in all of the menus and sub-menus you may visit, which builds some stability in where everything is located.

The main home screen has undergone a tremendous revision from previous iterations of the Kindle e-Reader. In the past, you have received a chronological listing of the most recently loaded on read books on your system. The new home screen shows you cover art of the last few books you read or collections of books you have made. Below that are books showcased by Amazon, such as Kindle Singles or Kindle Series. The books displayed are based on your prior browsing or purchase history.  You can also access books stored in the cloud or located on your device.  I found that all of  your daily functions are accessed in one or two clicks. This makes doing all your normal tasks very easy, without getting buried in sub-menus.

This e-Reader is very internationally friendly and has a myriad of supported languages to customize the UI. You can set your default language to Dutch, English, Spanish, French, Italian, Chinese, and Portuguese. There is also 8 dictionaries that are automatically inserted into your Cloud account. This is tremendously useful because when you read a book, you can translate a specific word or series of words from one language into another. This is a critical new feature that will appeal towards people learning a new language or in an academic environment.

In many households there are normally one or two e-Readers and people share them with each other. There are strong parental controls on the Paperwhite that allow you to disable access to the internet, store or access to the cloud. Making your own collections further elevates this reader into a family friendly unit.

The Kindle Store remains consistent with the Amazon Kindle 4 and prior models. The interface is normally the same and you have around 1.5 million books to purchase. Unlike their competition, most popular books can be found in one or two clicks only. There is a strong emphasis on Kindle Series, Kindle Singles, Lending Library and their bestsellers.

When you click on a book you are greeted with one of the slickest ways to present all of the details. When you visit the main Amazon website you are greeted with user reviews, ratings, customer discussion and tons more. The e-Reader version mimics this experience and aesthetically borrows the best aspects of the web-based version.  Other features baked into the experience is; related books, Editors reviews, and if the book is compatible with X-Ray.

This reader is brimming with features; from playing games to surfing the internet. One of the cool things about the browser is that you can disable pictures, java and other elements from loading. There is also a feature to just capture the text from a page, so you can read it like a book. If you are a big fan of RSS or reading Blogs, you can use the popular “Send to Kindle” browser add-on for your PC/MAC and send tons of stuff directly to your Kindle.

From a pure software point of view, the Paperwhite is a culmination of six years of e-Readers into one of the well-rounded devices on the planet,  it puts all others on notice.

Reading Experience

Review of the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

The Amazon Kindle Paperwhite reads a myriad of eBook formats, including; AZW, PRC, Mobi, TXT, HTML and RTF. It does not handle the industry standard EPUB format, so you will be hard-pressed to buy content from other stores. When you purchase an Amazon device, you are effectively locked into their ecosystem, but sometimes isn’t a bad thing.

There are two eBook formats the Paperwhite handles really well, PDF and Kindle Books. The process in which you customize your reading experience is drastically alterted based on the format of book you are reading.

First and foremost this latest device from Amazon is an eBook reader. If you purchase books from Amazon you get to enjoy all the extra features that make it unique. X-Ray is a popular program that gives you a run down of all the characters in a book, when they were directly referenced and even the dialog they have made. This not only applies to people, but places too. This is handy if you start reading a book and come back to it later. You can instantly familerize yourself with the main cast and what is happening in any given chapter.  X-Ray only works with books purchased from Amazon and not books you load in yourself.

Whether  you are sideloading books or buying them from Amazon the eBook experience remains fairly consistent. You can choose between eight different font types and sizes, to find your optimal comfort zone. You can then change the line spacing and margins, this works with purchased/sideloaded books.

While reading, you can long-press on a specific word or series of books and do a ton with it. You can make your own notes, which are quickly referenced for later, highlights are also a popular method to jot down what is important. You can then send this all to Facebook or Twitter, and share with the world on something that strikes a cord with you.  Anything you highlight or make a note of is retained in the Amazon Cloud once you sync it, so you can have all  your notes and highlights on the iPad version of Amazon Kindle.

One of the coolest new features found on the Paperwhite is the ability to instantly translate words. When you select a specific word the dictionary automatically appears to give you the definition.  When clicking on MORE you can translate these words to 12 different languages.

The PDF experience is very unique and allows you to easily pinch and zoom to find your comfort zone. You can also elect to double tap on the document and it automatically reflows the text. PDF viewing is best made in Landscape mode, which can be accessed via the settings menu. I found most image heavy things look noticeably better in this perspective.

The high resolution display really makes complex PDF files with images look really great. The text on both  PDF and other eBook types look phenomenal and crisp. There are tons of options to really augment your reading experience and changes you make are persistent across the entire Amazon ecosystem.

Our Thoughts

Review of the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

During the last five years we have seen the e-Reader industry mature in a very short period of time. Since we started to review Readers back when the Kindle 2 first came out, we have seen the rise of Barnes and Noble, Kobo and many indie companies. The technology is constantly being refined and price lowered to make it more accessible to the public. The Kindle Paperwhite is currently the apex of what all e-Readers aspire to be.

The Amazon ecosystem is currently the best on the planet when it comes to purely e-ink based readers. There are millions of free and paid books, newspapers, magazines, kids books and self-published content. With the agency model abolished the electronic book is becoming more cost efficient.  Some people might not want to get themselves locked into any one company and prefer to be more agnostic about it, and that’s fine. The Kindle system is currently the best in the world, and as a reader you can’t do much better.

In direct comparisons with the Kobo Glo and Nook Simple Touch, the glowing screen on the Paperwhite is the best there is. It gives a pure white illuminated screen, while everyone else gives you more of a bluish hue. You will notice this yourself on our YOUTUBE Comparison of these devices. (up soon)

In the end, this is simply the most fully featured e-ink based reader we have ever reviewed. It has the best resolution in its class, best illuminated screen,  expansive ecosystem and handles all book formats very well. It is currently the one to beat.

Pros

High Resolution
Expansive Ecosystem
Good Parental Controls
Handles PDF’s Well
Home Screen is Upgraded from Prior Models
Best Demonstration of Glow Technology Found in e-Readers
Lots of International Support

Cons

Locks you Into the Amazon ecosystem
Does not read EPUB
Special Offers Costs $20.00 to Remove

Rating 10/10 (only 10/10 we have ever given)

Review of the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

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Review of the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

Flexible Paper Tablet from Plastic Logic and Intel

Flexible Paper Tablet from Plastic Logic and Intel
Canada’s Queen’s University, Intel, and Plastic Logic have created a flexible paper-like tablet using Plastic Logic’s 10.7″ display and Intel’s Core i5 processors. This new device is basically a tablet that uses a sheet of flexible e-paper to read the news, look at pictures, and surf the internet.

Ryan Brotman, Research Scientist at Intel elaborates: “We are actively exploring disruptive user experiences. The ‘PaperTab’ project, developed by the Human Media Lab at Queen’s University and Plastic Logic, demonstrates innovative interactions powered by Intel Core processors that could potentially delight tablet users in the future.”

“Using several PaperTabs makes it much easier to work with multiple documents,” says Roel Vertegaal, Director of Queen’s University’s Human Media Lab. “Within five to ten years, most computers, from ultra-notebooks to tablets, will look and feel just like these sheets of printed color paper.”

Take a look at the video  below. It’s supposed to be on display at CES, so maybe Michel and crew can find it there.

Flexible Paper Tablet from Plastic Logic and Intel
Cambridge, UK and Kingston, Canada – January 7, 2013 – Watch out tablet lovers – a flexible paper computer developed at Queen’s University in collaboration with Plastic Logic and Intel Labs will revolutionize the way people work with tablets and computers.

The PaperTab tablet looks and feels just like a sheet of paper. However, it is fully interactive with a flexible, high-resolution 10.7” plastic display developed by Plastic Logic , a flexible touchscreen, and powered by the second generation Intel® CoreTM i5 Processor. Instead of using several apps or windows on a single display, users have ten or more interactive displays or “PaperTabs”: one per app in use.

Ryan Brotman, Research Scientist at Intel elaborates “We are actively exploring disruptive user experiences. The ‘PaperTab’ project, developed by the Human Media Lab at Queen’s University and Plastic Logic, demonstrates innovative interactions powered by Intel Core processors that could potentially delight tablet users in the future.”

“Using several PaperTabs makes it much easier to work with multiple documents,” says Roel Vertegaal, Director of Queen’s University’s Human Media Lab. “Within five to ten years, most computers, from ultra-notebooks to tablets, will look and feel just like these sheets of printed color paper.”

For example, PaperTab’s intuitive interface allows a user to send a photo simply by tapping one PaperTab showing a draft email with another PaperTab showing the photo. The photo is then automatically attached to the draft email. The email is sent either by placing the PaperTab in an out tray, or by bending the top corner of the display. Similarly, a larger drawing or display surface is created simply by placing two or more PaperTabs side by side. PaperTab thus emulates the natural handling of multiple sheets of paper by combining thin-film display, thin-film input and computing technologies through intuitive interaction design.

PaperTab can file and display thousands of paper documents, replacing the need for a computer monitor and stacks of papers or printouts. Unlike traditional tablets, PaperTabs keep track of their location relative to each other, and the user, providing a seamless experience across all apps, as if they were physical computer windows. For example, when a PaperTab is placed outside of reaching distance it reverts to a thumbnail overview of a document, just like icons on a computer desktop. When picked up or touched a PaperTab switches back to a full screen page view, just like opening a window on a computer.

PaperTabs are lightweight and robust, so they can easily be tossed around on a desk while providing a magazine-like reading experience. By bending one side of the display, users can also navigate through pages like a magazine, without needing to press a button.

“ Plastic Logic’s flexible plastic displays are completely transformational in terms of product interaction. They allow a natural human interaction with electronic paper, being lighter, thinner and more robust compared with today’s standard glass-based displays. This is just one example of the innovative revolutionary design approaches enabled by flexible displays.” explains Indro Mukerjee, CEO of Plastic Logic.

A video and high resolution photographs of PaperTab are available here .

Plastic Logic and the Queen’s University’s Human Media Lab will reveal PaperTab to the press at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2013) in Las Vegas on January 8.

About Plastic Logic

Since Plastic Logic was founded by researchers from the Cavendish Laboratory at Cambridge University, the company has been at the forefront of research and investment into plastic electronics. The company has achieved many technological firsts including the production of high quality colour rugged plastic displays, demonstration of animation on an EPD driven by OTFTs and production yields of its flexible plastic displays comparable to the LCD industry. Plastic Logic is backed by major investors including Oak Investment Partners and Rusnano.

Find out more about Plastic Logic and its robust, flexible displays by visiting http://www.plasticlogic.com and http://www.youtube.com/plasticlogic .

Companies interested in working together with Plastic Logic should contact info@plasticlogic.com .

About Human Media Lab

The Human Media Lab (HML) at Queen’s University is one of Canada’s premier Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) laboratories. Inventions include ubiquitous eye tracking sensors, eye tracking TVs and cellphones, PaperPhone, the world’s first flexible phone and TeleHuman, the world’s first pseudo-holographic teleconferencing system. HML is directed by Dr. Roel Vertegaal, Professor of HCI at Queen’s University’s School of Computing. Working with him is a number of graduate and undergraduate students with computing, design, psychology and engineering backgrounds. Graduate students Aneesh Tarun and Peng Wang are the current architects of the PaperTab system.

Flexible Paper Tablet from Plastic Logic and Intel

Amazon Benefits from Higher VAT in the UK for eBooks

Amazon Benefits from Higher VAT in the UK for eBooks

Parliament in the United Kingdom recently convened to discuss the issue of lowering the VAT on ebooks sold in the country. Many publishing companies wanted to lower the 20% extra people pay for their digital ebooks. A few days ago they again decided not to reduce the fee, which is a boon for Amazon. The Bookseller reports David Gauke, the UK’s exchequer secretary, said the UK could not do this and remain in compliance with European Union law, which classes electronic media as services rather than goods and requires they be taxed at the higher rate.

Amazon is benefiting from the higher VAT fees because their head of European operations is based in Luxemburg, where the VAT has been recently lowered to only 3% on ebooks. This ensures that people who live in the UK who want to buy content will pay only the paltry 3% instead of the 20%.

The UK government is aware of these sorts of tactics and feels that it gives Amazon too much of a competitive edge. The EU has mandated that they will revise the way VAT is paid in 2015 so that buyers will pay the tax of their country rather than that of the vendor.

via Teleread

Amazon Benefits from Higher VAT in the UK for eBooks