Posts Tagged ‘nexus 7’

So in the last 48 hours both Kobo and Amazon have released details of the next iterations of their ereader products. Full details can be found at the Kindle and Kobo websites. It should be noted that I watched the Amazon press conference, but all I know of the new Kobo offerings is what Kobo has put on their website.

At the lower price point end of the scale, Amazon has refreshed the screen and reduced the price of their base model Kindle – it now costs just $69. It doesn’t have a touch interface. The Kobo base end model is now touch based, but reduced in size to a 5 inch screen. It costs just $79 dollars. As an advocate of e-reading it’s great to see that the entry level models are so reasonably priced.

Naturally, I was most interested in the touch readers. The big selling feature of both the new Kobo and Kindle touch devices is the front lighting to allow you to read when in a darkened environment. I often like to read in bed in the morning when I wake up, and don’t like to disturb my husband sleeping next to me, so this is something to which I was looking forward. I have had the lighted Kindle cover, but that adds a lot of bulk and weight to the device.

For once Amazon and Kobo were playing catchup to Barnes and Noble who launched their Nook with Glowlight six months ago. It remains to be seen if Amazon and Kobo do it better.

Both new touch devices are offering enhanced displays. Kobo is offering the 6″ Pearl E Ink touch screen, Plus XGA High Resolution with 16 levels of grey scale. The new Amazon Paperwhite offers 25% more contrast compared to the current edition with a 6″ Paperwhite display, 212 ppi, optimized font technology and 16-level gray scale.

In terms of battery life, Amazon appears to have taken the lead here. Amazon states that a single charge lasts up to eight weeks, based on a half hour of reading per day with wireless off and the light setting at 10. Battery life will vary based on light and wireless usage. Kobo states one month per chargeā€¦ with the footnote that that is with the light turned off. With the light on, you can only expect 55 hours of reading. That’s probably not much more than I would expect from my Nexus 7 tablet.

Two other things jumped out at me regarding the new Kindle Paperwhite. The touch screen is capacitive (like the iPad or Nexus) rather than the infrared of the current Kindle Touch. Capacitive allows for faster response than infrared and does away with the need for a large bevel, making the device thinner. I found an interesting info graphic regarding the differences. When typing on my eInk infrared touch devices I’ve grown used to typing a letter – breathe – type the next letter – breathe – next letter. It will be interesting to see how much better that is on a new Kindle capacitive touch device.

The second thing to jump out at me was that Amazon has FINALLY updated the UI for the Touch. All I can say is Halle-frickin’-lujah. It was about time. Lines of text as a navigation system are so last millennium. They’re finally switching to using book covers. I hope that with the faster touch response time this will make a wonderful experience.

Oh yes, one other new feature that Amazon has added is a guide as to how much time it will take you to finish the current chapter. That may be a gimmick, but it could be useful. I imagine I’ll just have to try for myself.

Both these devices look great, and I hope to add them to my collection. I had planned to purchase the Kindle Paperwhite first, but Amazon’s US centric focus foiled me: “this product is not available in your country”. So I went ahead and placed my order for the Kobo Glo. It should be with me on or around the first of October. I will certainly do a full review.

With regard to the tablets, I’m going to direct you to the Kindle Fire and Kobo Arc product pages. With my disappointment in the Kobo Vox, and the Kindle Fire’s lack of availability and content in Canada, I’m hard pressed to recommend either of these devices over a more open tablet such as the Google Nexus. Of course, your mileage may vary, as they say.

One other thing from the Amazon press conference which did absolutely blow me away was Whispersync for Voice. Amazon owns Audible, one of the main suppliers of audiobooks and now through Whispersync the two media are tightly integrated. You can listen to the audiobook in the car, then pick up the book on your Kindle when you get home and, get this, it will track your progress, so you will never lose your place. That just blows me away. Also, Amazon is now offering audiobooks of some of the books you own at a fraction of the normal price: when browsing Amazon’s site today I came across this:

Whispersync for Voice

Now you can switch back and forth between reading the Kindle book and listening to the Audible audiobook.

Because you own this Kindle book, you can add the professional narration of Towers of Midnight (The Wheel of Time) for the reduced price of $8.99. Normal price would be around $50 if I remember correctly.

I’m not big audiobook fan, but that could convert me.

And on that note, I’ll sign off.

As you might have gathered from my title, I have the Nexus 7 in my hand and have been playing with it for a couple of days now.

i can’t believe how different my experience has been with this compared to my previous Android experience on the Kobo Vox. This machine is FAST. it is a Google sponsored product, so it comes with pure Android 4.1.1., Jelly Bean. The Google team has been focussing on lag in Project Butter, and although I can’t compare with anything other than the Kobo Vox, the user experience is silky smooth. In comparison to the Kobo Vox, when I changed screen orientation while reading a Kobo book, I was not faced with five seconds of white screen while the device caught up.

Two things I was anxious to check out in Jelly Bean were the Google Search (a Siri equivalent) and Google Now. I have had great fun with Google Search – I was particularly impressed when it hooked up to my Rdio account and will play any song I tell it to play. I was also blown away by Google Now when I checked it and found my bus times without my having to do anything.

One of my biggest complaints about the Kobo Vox was the lack of apps available in the official Kobo app store (it was recently opened up to the entire Android Market.) The Nexus 7 is linked to the Google Play store. In general I have no such complaints. Within a very short time of owning the device I had all my favourite eReading apps downloaded and installed: Kindle, Kobo, Goodreads, Overdrive. One rather annoying issue is that the Nexus does not show up on my iMac’s Finder when it is connected; I had to download the Android File Transfer app to be able to copy files. This means that I cannot authorise the device in Adobe Digital Editions, as it does not recognise the device, and so I cannot read non Kobo DRMed ebooks. However, I was able to download 50 Shades of Grey (don’t judge my reading choice, please!) from my local library and authorise it for the Overdrive Media Console.

In terms of battery life, I’ve been impressed so far. I charged it fully, and after a full day of playing with it (not much video, in all fairness) it still had 44% left. Of course, that can’t compare to my eInk Kindle or Kobo, but I didn’t expect it to do so. I will read my library book on it and see how it holds up from reading.

One thing I’m loving about Android is widgets. I have my home screen set so it shows me local time and weather information, my last few emails and my upcoming calendar entries.

As a long-time self-confessed Apple fan girl, I live in an iCloud world. I’d been wondering how to get my iCloud information onto the device. I found a couple of (paid) apps that synchronized my iCloud contacts and calendar. I wasn’t out of pocket thanks to the Google Play’s generous $25 store credit on purchase of the device. These two apps worked perfectly, and I soon had my iCloud contacts and calendar on my device.

All in all, I adore this device and will certainly be keeping this one. I had intended it as a multi-platform eReading device, but having played with it, I can see it will offer so much more. I would not hesitate to recommend it.

Those of you who have read my blog know that I am an Apple fangirl, and that I had been very disappointed in my brieftime with the Kobo Vox ereading tablet. That had been my first experience with Android, and although I was very disappointed in the Kobo Vox, I realised that was due to the tablet itself not the operating system.

I really liked the 7 inch size of the Kobo Vox, and I had been considering a more general Android 7 inch tablet. I had been seriously considering the Galaxy 2 tablet, but then I heard about the new Nexus 7 and was blown away by the presentation and reviews.

Just looking at the specs of the Kobo compared to the Nexus I can tell already my experience is going to be completely different:

Kobo Vox:

Operating system custom Android 2.3
CPU 800 Mhz
Storage capacity 8 GB
Memory 512 MB RAM
Display 7″ multi-touch FFS+ multimedia display; 1024 x 600 resolution

Nexus 7:

Operating system Android 4.1 Jelly Bean
SoC Nvidia Tegra 3 (T30L)
CPU 1.2 GHz quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 with additional low-speed companion core,[1]
GPU 416 MHz Nvidia GeForce ULP with 12 cores
Memory 1 GB DDR3 RAM
Storage 8 or 16 GB flash memory

For only $40 more, the difference is incredible. My biggest gripe about the Vox other than the poor performance was the limited access to apps (since my review the Vox has been opened up to the Android Marketplace.) As the Nexus is from Google itself, it is “pure” Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and has full access to the Google Play store. Although I don’t yet have the device, I have checked on Google Play and all the major apps I use on a daily basis on my iPhone/iPad are there: Kobo, Kindle, GoodReads, Overdrive.

I was also blown away by Google Now. I don’t have access to Apple’s Siri yet (she will come to my iPad in the autumn with the iOS 6 update) so I am looking forward to checking it out.

Now, for the downside: I placed my order with the Google Play Store on Wednesday and as of yet, it still has not shipped. I really can’t wait to get it in my hands. I will keep you updated.