Amazon Kindle Paperwhite and Kindle now available in Canada

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Jan 252013
 

Amazon Kindle PaperwhiteWhen Amazon launched Kindle book sales in Canada last December, the move was widely seen as a sign that Amazon’s e-readers were not far behind. And that’s exactly what happened with Amazon yesterday announcing that the Kindle Paperwhite (3G or Wi-Fi-only) as well as the Kindle are now available directly from Amazon.ca.

“We’re excited to make the best-selling and most advanced e-readers in the world available to our Amazon.ca customers for the first time, making it easier and more affordable than ever for Canadian readers to own a Kindle,” said Dave Limp, Vice President, Amazon Kindle. “With a Kindle in their hands, Canadian customers can now directly access the Kindle Store with the largest selection of the books people want to read, including the largest selection of best sellers and over 250,000 titles that are exclusive to the Kindle Store.”

Much as in the U.S., the Kindle Paperwhite Wi-Fi + 3G offers a free 3G connection to Amazon’s WhisperNet to shop for and download Digital Content.

The Canada Kindle Store offers over 1.5 million Kindle books including 50,000 French ones, most best sellers from the Globe and Mail and Le Devoir best seller lists, winners of the Giller prize, and a broad selection of works from leading Canadian publishers and authors, including Margaret Atwood, Alice Munro and Yann Martel.

Amazon is offering the Kindle for CA$89, the Kindle Paperwhite for CA$139 and the Kindle Paperwhite Wi-Fi + 3G for CA$199.

Read more: Amazon.ca [Affiliate link]

Kobo refreshes eReader device lineup

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Sep 062012
 

Just hours ahead of Amazon’s expected new Kindle announcement, Kobo announced that it has refreshed its Kobo family of devices with the new Kobo Glo, Kobo Mini, and the Kobo Arc, a 7-inch Android tablet.

“Our focus has remained firmly on delivering a superior experience for booklovers around the world. With 11,000 booksellers and leading retail partners across five continents, we are bringing the new Kobo Family to booklovers everywhere,” said Michael Serbinis, CEO, Kobo. “The new Kobo Family provides more choice for booklovers and a superior eReading and content discovery experience – truly, an eReader for Everyone.”

Kobo 2012 device lineup
Click for a larger version

The Kobo Glo is Kobo’ first front-lit eReader. Using ComfortLight technology, it lets users read day or night by illuminating the 6-inch XGA E Ink display with a “a soft, adjustable glow.” It will be available in Black, White, Pink Sunset, Blue Moon, and Silver Star. It will be available starting October 1st for CA$129.99.

The Kobo Mini is billed as “the world’s smallest and lightest full-featured E Ink eReader.” It will come with a 5-inch E Ink screen. Available in black or white, it will be available on October 1st for CA$79.99. Interchangeable Kobo SnapBacks in Teal, Ruby Red, and Purple will also be available to customize the Kobo Mini.

Succeeding the Kobo Vox, its first Android tablet, is the Kobo Arc. It features Kobo’s Tapestries user interface and recommendation engine to make “new personal multimedia recommendations with little effort as the engine learns what consumers love.”

Kobo arc specifications:

  • Processor: 1.5 GHz dual-core
  • Operating system: Google Android 4.0 with Kobo Tapestries UI
  • Cellular connectivity: None
  • Other connectivity: 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi
  • Display: 7-inch WXGA (1280×800) IPS
  • Input: Home, Back and Menu touch sensors, Power and Volume buttons
  • Memory: 1GB RAM
  • Storage: 8/16GB onboard
  • Rear-facing camera: None
  • Front-facing camera: 2MP 720p HD
  • Connectors: 3.5 mm stereo headphone jack, micro-USB
  • Dimensions / weight: 120 × 12.4 × 189 millimeters / 364 grams
  • Colours: Black and White

The Kobo Arc will sell for CA$199.99 for the 8GB model and CA$249.99 for the 16GB one. It will be available in November.

Kobo will also continue to sell its Kobo Touch eReader. The price has now been reduced to CA$99.99.

Read more: Kobo

Amazon to hold press conference on September 6th

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Aug 262012
 

Early September is shaping up to be quite busy for press conferences! Following the September 5th Nokia and Microsoft and Motorola and Verizon events, you can now add one for Amazon on September 6th. The invitation reveals little about what Amazon has planned but the expectation is that it will refresh it Kindle device lineup, including a follow-up to its Kindle Fire tablet.

Amazon September 2012 press invitation

Rumours have swirled for some time that Amazon was working on different-sized tablets, including 8.9 and 10.1 inch ones. The original 7-inch Kindle is also likely to be replaced with a new thinner and lighter model with a WXGA (1280×800) display. Its Kindle eReader lineup is also likely to be refreshed with new models with some possibly sporting backlit and perhaps even colour e-ink displays.

Could we also see an Amazon smartphone? It appears unlikely but you never know.

Read more: AllThingsD

Sony launches new PRS-T2 eReader

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Aug 162012
 

Sony PRS-T2 e-ReaderSony today announced the Reader (Model: PRS-T2), its latest 6-inch eReader. It includes both Facebook and Evernote features that let you post short passages to Facebook or save them to Evernote. It also includes a stylus and improved controls allowing finger swipes to turn pages, finger pinches to zoom in or out, and more. The upgraded display promises “more paper-like page turns, improved continuous page turns and a smoother zoom in and out.”

Sony Reader (PRS-T2) specifications:

  • Cellular connectivity: None
  • Other connectivity: Wi-Fi
  • Display: 6-inch SVGA (800×600) E Ink Pearl
  • Input: Clear Touch Infrared Technology
  • Storage: 2GB onboard and microSD cards up to 32GB
  • Rear-facing camera: None
  • Front-facing camera: None
  • Dimensions / weight: 174.6 x 111.1 x 9.5 millimeters / 167.3 grams

Sony is also offering, for a limited time, a voucher for a free download of the first eBook in the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone through the Pottermore Shop (the exclusive home of the Harry Potter eBooks).

Available in three colours (white, red, or matte black), the Sony Reader sells for CA$139.99 at Sony Stores, online at www.sony.ca/reader and other authorized retailers nationwide.

Read more: Sony Canada

Rumour: Microsoft and Barnes & Noble to announce tablet on June 18th

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Jun 172012
 

MicrosoftMicrosoft has shed little light on its scheduled event on June 18th. Rumours have been suggesting that it will unveil a Microsoft-branded Windows RT tablet (like Google does with its Nexus smartphones). According to TechCrunch sources, they are “somewhat right but mostly wrong.”

TechCrunch has learned that the announcement will be made with Barnes & Noble and will focus instead on a “tablet/e-reader” that will focus on entertainment. The two companies announced a “strategic partnership” in late April with Microsoft investing US$300 million investment for a 17.6% equity stake in a new company at the time called Newco. Monday’s event will apparently reveal what the two companies have been working on.

Little is known about this new tablet aside from the fact that it could be the first to come with Xbox Live streaming capabilities. It remains to be seen if it will be powered by Windows RT.

Microsoft’s event is scheduled for 18:30 ET (15:30 PT). All should be revealed then.

Read more: TechCrunch

New 7-inch Kindle Fire tablets coming in Q3?

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Jun 162012
 

AmazonAmazon could launch its rumoured new 7-inch Kindle Fire tablets in early Q3, according to Digitimes. With these new models coming, Digitimes is reporting that Amazon will drop the price of its current Kindle Fire to US$149.

In Q3, the current model will make way for an equally priced new model offering a similar WSVGA (1024×600) display as well as a new US$199 model sporting a WXGA (1280×800) display. The lower priced model would be aimed at growing Amazon’s market share in the lower price segment.

The report adds that both 7-inch models will be followed by a 10.1-inch Kindle Fire model either in the fourth quarter of 2012 or the first quarter of 2013.

Initial demand for the Kindle Fire was very strong when it first launched but fell quickly in early 2012. Sales fell from an estimated 4.5 to 5 million units in the fourth quarter of 2011 to between 700,000 and 800,000 in the first quarter of 2012.

Amazon could also launch its first colour e-ink Kindle later this year.

Read more: Digitimes

Infographic: A look at Canadian mobile landscape in April 2012

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May 282012
 

Canadian mobile advertising firm JUICE Mobile has put together an infographic that summarizes some of the key trends and information about the Canadian mobile landscape in April 2012. The data comes from its own ad-serving infrastructure.

Click image for a larger version

There are a few surprises on the graphic. For example, RIM continues to show remarkable strength in Canada (RIM is Canadian after all) and Android, which dominates globally, accounts only for 20% of the market in their findings. Of the top 10 devices, five are BlackBerries with the Blackberry Torch 9800 being the #2 device behind the Apple iPhone. Android finally made an appearance in the Top 10 in April with the Galaxy Nexus taking 10th spot.

Not surprisingly, tablet and e-reader usage continues to grow and are making inroads in the connected device space. This is not surprising when it comes to tablets but somewhat more so for e-readers.

Read more: JUICE Mobile

Rumour: Amazon to launch colour e-ink Kindle this year

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May 112012
 

AmazonAmazon may launch its first colour e-ink Kindle by the end the year. The Digitimes report suggests Amazon will use electronic paper displays (EPD) provided by E Ink Holdings (EIH) and multi-touch capacitive touch panels from TPK Holding instead of the infrared one used for the Kindle Touch.

To meet the target of a launch later this year, suppliers are expected to begin shipping the necessary compoents this month.

EIH will reportedly formally announce its colour EPD products in the near future.

A similar Digitimes report in February suggested that EIH was to begin supplying Amazon with the colour e-ink displays in March.

Read more: Digitimes

NFC coming to the Barnes & Noble Nook

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May 012012
 

Barnes & Noble and Microsoft yesterday announced a new partnership in the e-reading space that will see the Nook and Barnes & Noble’s college textbook business spun off into a new subsidiary called Newco (until they come up with a new name). In an interview with Fortune, Barnes & Noble CEO William Lynch shed a bit more light on what the future holds for the Nook.

One new feature coming to future Nook devices will be an embedded NFC chip. Barnes & Noble will also work with publishers to have them embed NFC chips in books. “And if you had your Nook, you can walk up to any of our pictures, any our aisles, any of our bestseller lists, and just touch the book, and get information on that physical book on your Nook and have some frictionless purchase experience,” explains Lynch.

Asked whether an NFC-equipped Nook would be out this year, Lynch would only say, “Maybe.”

Read more: Fortune

Microsoft and Barnes & Noble form Nook e-book platform partnership

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Apr 302012
 

MicrosoftMicrosoft and Barnes & Noble today annnounced a new partnership in a new Barnes & Noble subsidiary focused on e-reading technologies. The new subsidiary, called Newco until a final name is found, will consist of the Nook unit as well as Barnes & Noble’s college textbook business. Microsoft will make a US$300 million investment in Newco for a 17.6% equity stake.

“The shift to digital is putting the world’s libraries and newsstands in the palm of every person’s hand, and is the beginning of a journey that will impact how people read, interact with, and enjoy new forms of content,” said Andy Lees, President at Microsoft. “Our complementary assets will accelerate e-reading innovation across a broad range of Windows devices, enabling people to not just read stories, but to be part of them. We’re at the cusp of a revolution in reading.”

As part of the new partnership, the two companies also announced that they have settled their patent litigation. Barnes & Noble and Newco will now have a “royalty-bearing license under Microsoft’s patents for its NOOK eReader and Tablet products.” The litigation had been tied to Barnes & Noble’s use of Android on its Nook tablet.

Microsoft will bundle the Nook digital bookstore with Windows 8 when it launches later this year. The move will significantly broaden its exposure both in the U.S. and globally.

Read more: Microsoft

Barnes & Noble announces NOOK Simple Touch with GlowLight

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Apr 132012
 

NOOK Simple Touch with GlowLightBarnes & Noble yesterday unveiled its latest e-reader, the NOOK Simple Touch with GlowLight. Glowlight is a lighting technology that solves one of e-readers biggest challenges – reading in the dark. 8 embedded LEDs provide illuminate the 6-inch touchscreen with a “soft, adjustable glow” and allows people to read in low light or dark conditions. It turns on automatically and is completely adjustable.

“To date, readers have had to compromise: either buying black-and-white E Ink reading devices to optimize their outdoor reading or color LCD devices to be able to read at night in bed with the light off. NOOK Simple Touch with GlowLight is like two Readers in one,” said William J. Lynch, Chief Executive Officer of Barnes & Noble. “With our new GlowLight technology and the most advanced E Ink display available, we’ve created the most versatile, high-utility Reader ever; as exceptional for reading in the darkest bedroom as on the brightest beach. At only $139, NOOK Simple Touch with GlowLight provides customers an amazing value and is the only device of its kind in the world.”

Aside from the addition of GlowLight, the latest NOOK is very similar to its predecessor, the NOOK Simple Touch. Somewhat surprisingly, despite GlowLight, the new model is lighter than its older sibling.

Barnes & Noble NOOK Simple Touch with GlowLight specifications:

  • Processor: 800MHz TI OMAP 3
  • Operating system: Google Android 2.1
  • Cellular connectivity: None
  • Other connectivity: 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi
  • Display: 6-inch 16-level gray scale e-ink Pearl with GlowLight
  • Input: Touchscreen
  • Storage: 2GB onboard / SD cards up to 32GB
  • Rear-facing camera: None
  • Front-facing camera: None
  • Battery: Non-removable lasting up to two months
  • Connectors: Micro-USB
  • Dimensions / weight: 165.4 x 126.6 x 12 millimeters / 197 grams

The Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight is now available for pre-order for US$139.99. It will be available starting in early May.

Read more: Barnes & Noble

Amazon to launch two new tablets in second half 2012?

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Mar 082012
 

AmazonAmazon’s successful Kindle Fire will be replaced by a new 7-inch model and a larger 10.1-inch model in the second half of the year, according to the latest Digitimes report. It adds that Amazon has opted to go with a single larger model rather and will not offer the originally planned 8.9-inch model.

Earlier rumours had suggested that Amazon would first launch an 8.9-inch tablet (perhaps as early as Q2) and follow it up with the larger model later in the year. Later rumours then suggested an earlier launch for the 10.1-inch model.

Amazon is also moving further away from e-book readers and has reduced its orders with E Ink Holdings. This latest report makes no mention of the 6-inch colour e-reader that Amazon could also launch.

Everyone confused yet?

Read more: Digitimes

Amazon working on colour e-ink reader and 10-inch Kindle Fire?

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Feb 212012
 

AmazonAccording to the Chinese-language Economic Daily News, Amazon could launch a 6-inch colour e-ink reader later this year. Such a device would be the company’s first to use a colour e-ink display.

The report indicates that E Ink Holdings (EIH) has received an order from Amazon to supply it with three million ePaper modules per month starting in March. This suggests that component production may be ramping up with production of the reader itself to take place sometime later.

A separate report indicates that Amazon is also looking at launching a 10-inch Kindle Fire tablet in Q2. Foxconn has apparently received the manufacturing contract according to Digitimes‘ supply chain sources. A previous rumour had suggested that Amazon would first launch an 8.9-inch version of the Kindle Fire in the Q2 timeframe and only later follow up with a larger 10.1-inch version.

Read more: Digitimes colour e-ink reader and Digitimes 10-inch Kindle Fire

U.S. tablet and eReader ownership almost doubles over holidays

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Jan 232012
 

Tablets and eReaders were popular gifts this holiday season. According to the Pew Research Center, both types of devices saw U.S. ownership jump from 10% to 19% between mid-December and early January.

These findings are striking because they come after a period from mid-2011 into the autumn in which there was not much change in the ownership of tablets and e-book readers. However, as the holiday gift-giving season approached the marketplace for both devices dramatically shifted. In the tablet world, Amazon’s Kindle Fire and Barnes and Noble’s Nook Tablet were introduced at considerably cheaper prices than other tablets. In the e-book reader world, some versions of the Kindle and Nook and other readers fell well below $100.

At least 29% of Americans now own at least one eReading device. Men and women were equally likely to own a device and ownership higher among people with higher education and higher income.

The Apple iPad is not mentioned directly but was likely another major contributor to this jump. With Apple expected to have another record quarter, it is likely that it will eclipse its previous record of 11.2 million iPads sold in a quarter.

I suspect that tablet and eReader ownership in Canada followed a similar trend. Now to find a report to confirm this…

Read more: The Pew Research Center (Source: Reuters)

Amazon now selling over 1 million Kindles a week

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Dec 182011
 

Amazon Kindle FireAmazon, which has so far provided little information on just how well its Kindle devices have sold, issued a press release this week to finally shed a bit of light on this. It reports that it is now selling over a million Kindle devices (Kindle ebook readers and the Kindle Fire tablet) a week. The Kindle Fire in particular has been Amazon’s best selling, most gifted and most wished for products since its introduction.

“Kindle Fire is the most successful product we’ve ever launched – it’s the bestselling product across all of Amazon for 11 straight weeks, we’ve already sold millions of units, and we’re building millions more to meet the high demand. In fact, demand is accelerating – Kindle Fire sales increased week over week for each of the past three weeks. People are buying Kindle Fire because it’s a simple, fully-integrated service that makes it easy to do the things they love – watch movies, read books and magazines, listen to music, download apps, play games, and surf the web,” said Dave Limp, Vice President, Amazon Kindle. “Our family of Kindle e-ink readers are close behind Kindle Fire on the Amazon.com bestseller list. Customers continue to report preferring their Kindle e-reader for long-form reading, and in fact we’ve seen many customers buy two Kindles – both a Kindle Fire and a Kindle or Kindle Touch – this holiday season.”

Amazon is readying a new firmware update for the Kindle Fire to address a number of issues and deliver better performance, touchscreen performance improvements, and improved privacy controls.

The Kindle Fire sells for US$199 and the Kindle ereaders start at US$79.

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