Round up #129: touchless screens, color E Ink next year?

Round up #129: touchless screens, color E Ink next year?NOOK app arrives for Windows 8

The ILMK Round ups are short pieces which may or may not be expanded later.

I’d written previously about there not being a NOOK reading app for Windows 8 when it was first released. That was odd, because Microsoft recently invested a lot of money in Barnes & Noble, and you would think they would be shooting for synergy.

Well, this is just to let you know that they have one now:

Official Page

Don’t touch that dial…er, screen

I’ve suggested before that one of the innovations we could see were gestural interface tablets/EBRs (e-book readers). That would mean that you don’t have to touch the screen (getting those yucky fingerprints on it), but just wave your hand near it to tell it what to do.

Well, according to this

Engadget article

we’ll have it at least for Windows 8 soon (within a year or so). The article includes a pretty convincing video.

Color frontlit device for 2013?

Pocketbook has

announced

that they’ll have a color, touchscreen, E Ink device in the market in 2013.

It looks good in the pictures, but there isn’t a mention of price.

It’s also frontlit (probably somewhat like the Kindle Paperwhite or NOOK Simple Touch with GlowLight.

I’m guessing people will like it, but again, price might be a daunting factor when we find out what it is (remember, it will be compared to tablets…which could be down around $100 by then).

It also may not be available in the USA next year.

Still, this suggests to me that other manufacturers will have them in the next year or so as well.

Inside an Amazon warehouse

This

The Telegraph article

gives you a good look inside an Amazon warehouse (fulfillment center). They are clever and organized on those, although the Kiva robots still aren’t there .

GoGo Gadget wi-fi!

In this

Mashable article

they report that GoGo in-flight internet had gotten a lot faster…and also more money. You can pay $10 for one hour, but it goes up from there.

I’ve still never tried it, and I know it blocks video, but I can’t say I wouldn’t be tempted to use it with my Fire. I probably won’t, though, unless it’s a really long flight…I’m fine with downloading stuff ahead of time for the flight.

Five budget routers

Speaking of internet, one of the things a lot of people may do when they get a Fire is to buy a wireless router. I got a new one, because our old one just wasn’t enough “juice” for what we were doing…and our cordless phone interfered with it.

Here’s a

CNET article

on five budget routers they say won’t disappoint.

This is the one we’ve been using:

Medialink Wireless N Router – 802.11n – 150 Mbps – 2.4 Ghz – NEW Design w/ Internal Antenna

It’s $49.99 right now, and it’s been fine at serving a pretty wide variety of devices (two Kindle Fire HDs, a Kindle Paperwhite, a “Mindle”, two SmartPhones, a Roku, and a Wii…I think that’s the main set right now).

Knock virtual wood, but I like it. :)

65-year old ABC Book & Comic Emporium to close

According to the

Vancouver Sun

a used bookstore which has been open since 1946 is going to close.

I read a lot of these stories. No question, it’s tough to make a brick-and-mortar bookstore work (and I speak as a former manager), but it’s harder now than it was five years ago.

I have said to my Significant Other that you’d be hard press to get me to invest in a brick-and-mortar that was going to sell things. How do they compete with the internet? Yes, you can do services (you can’t use the internet to get your dog groomed), and you can do perishable food and restaurants (although the latter has always been a big risk). If you want to sell stuff, though, you better have an impressive business plan.

On the other hand, some new outlet stores have opened within an hour of our house…and they have been packed! Traffic has gone from where something that used to take five minutes is taking forty-five, and our local news has been reporting that more than 300,000 people have visited the complex in a week.

Two of my articles

This last Saturday was the second Saturday of the month, which is when my rotating column appears in the The Writer’s Guide to E-Publishing.

That blog is oriented towards authors specifically, so I do tend to write somewhat different things there than here.

I was surprised at the reaction to my latest:

Did your mother say you could read that book?

I was writing about how “white lists” in parental controls, like FreeTime on the Fire, might make it more difficult for indies (independent publishers) to get discovered. I honestly thought people would be more upset by the fact that a kid couldn’t browse in a bookstore and discover and request books, but could only read books that a legal guardian pre-selected.

People seemed to be okay with it, and even with the idea of a rating system for books, like we have for movies, music, and videogames.

On the other hand, I had some unexpectedly…I’m going to say negative, but that might be too strong a word, reactions to a post in this blog

We need to talk about your relationship…with Amazon

I think Amazon is great, and have a wonderful relationship with them. I wasn’t saying anything that I saw as bad about them. I was just suggesting that people tend to see them as something they aren’t, more akin to a family member or a friend. I wanted people to be aware of what could happen.

It seemed like people read that as me being suspicious of or negative about Amazon. That’s not the case…I tend to trust them. I just want to be realistic about what the situation is, so people aren’t surprised with things that might happen.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

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4 Responses to “Round up #129: touchless screens, color E Ink next year?”

  1. Nick Tablets Says:

    I literally just bought my first Kindle (Paperwhite) this week – now I’ll have to replace it for the color one! The price is a concern though. I feel as though they have the freedom to raise it as high as they’d like considering it is the premier eReader. Those who want the Kindle don’t necessarily want a tablet.

    Thanks for the updates!

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Nick!

      Gosh, Amazon certainly doesn’t raise the prices on the devices needlessly! Most analyses put them at best break even on them. The color device I wrote about in this post isn’t from Amazon, by the way.

      Will a color reflective device come to the Kindle line? Probably, at some point. An interesting question will be how that device compares to tablets. The real marketing question will come when a tablet is effectively as cheap or cheaper than a reflective screen device, and we’re there in some cases already. At that point, do you market the reflective screen devices just to the serious reader, the equivalent of the “hi fi aficionado” in the 1950s? Yes, I think that’s possible…

  2. Edward Boyhan Says:

    http://professional.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324556304578116392091283994.html?mod=djemTechEurope_h&mg=reno64-wsj

    The above wsj article outlines how Samsung is beginning to ramp up production of OLED displays situated on plastic substrates. The focus of the article is on the flexibility and robustness that plastic has over glass; but save for bright sunlight viewability OLEDs surpass e-ink and LCDs in all respects (and even in bright sunlight their performance is better than LCDs — if not better than e-ink). While Samsung showcased 55″ OLED TVs at last years CES, the sweet spot (IMO) is for smaller displays going into smartphones and tablets.

    I’ve always been intrigued over the years as to which promising technologies win acceptance in the marketplace and which ones don’t. Two years ago I would have said that color e-ink had a real shot at it, but with the rise of flexible OLEDs and Samsung’s plans (as well as Sony’s) the window for color e-ink has closed.

    Gestural UI’s as well as touch will IMO only have limited usefulness as they are somewhat lacking in their ability to precisely select, draw, or handle rich command sets (gestures).. I’ve had a KT for about a year now — it’s my primary reading device — I have to say whatever the screen coating is, it is extremely resistant to fingerprints — I can detect nary a one on it.

    I found the Amazon warehouse article fascinating — really whets my appetite for a similar piece about a Kiva-equipped fulfillment center :D.

    By me certain big box retailers: Target, Walmart, Home Depot, Staples are doing well — others: Radio Shack, Best Buy, Lowes, K-Mart, Barnes & Noble are not. All the traditional malls — even the very high end ones are fading. The game twixt etailer and bricks & mortar is not over by a long shot, but how it will evolve is anybody’s guess.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Edward!

      Flexible displays will clearly have some advantages fairly quickly, but I think when we can get some kind of “morphable” surface to switch between a 3″ phone size and, say, a nine inch tablet, we’ll really have something. Glasses and/or projectors could get us into that realm, but I think a physical morphing device is a real possibility.

      We’ll see what happens with OLED…as you say, success of a product doesn’t always depend on how good it is.

      We go to Target sometimes (mainly for healthy dog snacks…they have a good deal on them), but I rarely or never go into the others on your list. If I went into a Staples, I’d feel like it was because I failed in my planning somehow: that I hadn’t anticipated my needs well enough to order online.

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