Tag Archives: Kindle

Onyx Boox T68 e-ink Reader that runs on Android 4.0.4 with Google Play: Initial impressions

 

T68

** Jun 29 update: I’ve been messing around with this a bit more today since Kindle Android app v4.2 doesn’t provide font choices. Today, I downloaded and installed Kindle Android app v4.4.0.71. Not only does 4.4.0.71 include font choices (yay!), I was delighted to find it also seems to *minimize* the page turn lag and distracting artifacting displayed during the page turn process. The artifacting doesn’t go away completely, but it’s much improved over what I saw with Kindle apk v4.2 or 4.5

Edited later: Okay, 4.4 works but after my Kindle (Cloud) library loaded, the page-turn artifacting seemed to return. Oh well, at least 4.4 includes different font choices.**

Original post:

Spoiler: I like it a lot! You’ll note as you read this article that some text has background shading — this is text I’ve copied from my mobileread.com forum post and I just couldn’t figure out how to get rid of it. It doesn’t signify anything special 😉

As you read this article, bear in mind this comes from someone who’s generally rooted Nook hardware to run the Kindle app. I most recently rooted the Nook Simple Touch (NST). My only complaint was that the Kindle app on the rooted NST rendered font too thin for my taste. The Kindle app on T68 experience isn’t as “perfect” or refined as on the Paperwhite2, but it’s not bad if you can ignore some minor artifacts in between page turns… the rendered page/text looks fine.

Read on for my thoughts about the new Onyx Boox Lynx T68 ereader which runs on Android 4.0.4 with Google Play installed 

My T68 (ordered from Arta-Tech/onyx-boox.com in Poland last weekend) arrived today. By the way, my experience with Arta-Tech was stellar — they shipped promptly, responded to an email inquiry within minutes and generally provided an excellent purchase experience. Note that Amazon US is now carrying the T68, as well.

I wanted the T68 mainly to read Oyster, Scribd, and Kindle ebooks on the same e-ink reader rather than spending so much money on Kindle ebooks. Here are a few initial observations:

  • Oyster book app: Works pretty well and the rendered page looks great. There is a slight flash during page turns where the new page appears briefly, shows a blank page, then displays the new page (again). It’s pretty quick and I can live with it.
  • Scribd app: Has the same brief text overlap flash when turning pages (as I’ve been seeing with Kindle apps on the T68) but otherwise rendered text similar to the Oyster Book app.
  • Kindle app: I first installed the Kindle app from Google play store. I don’t know if it’s my huge library (I pick up alot of free books) or the size of my audible library, but the newest kindle app wasn’t very well-behaved (for me). I did a google search and found (then installed) Kindle app 4.2.0.101 and it’s working great. Font rendering isn’t quite as dark as the Paperwhite2 but much better than the Kindle app on a rooted Nook Simple Touch.
  • Case: The port cutouts don’t match the T68, but I have an old Kindle Fire (edited to correct: I believe it’s actually Kindle HD 7″) case that fits the T68 well. I wouldn’t mind getting a case specifically made for the T68 but this will protect it in my handbag until then.
Caution: I’m finding that the Kindle app works best when I only have a few (2 or 3 400 page) books downloaded to the T68. For me, that’s not a big deal since this device offers me the flexibility I’ve wanted ever since subscribing to the Scribd and Oyster Books monthly services.
 
If you’d like to see the T68 in action, there are several youtube videos posted. Some are foreign language, but the hardware (and third party app behavior, like Kindle) is demoed. I found these videos helpful as I contemplated buying the T68.
 
All in all, I’m pretty happy with the T68. Battery life has been very good, especially with wifi off in between ebook downloads. The hardware is good quality and I was happy to learn the o-ring around the button on the front works as a page forward/back controller for the kindle app. (It doesn’t work quite as well with the Oyster app and apparently not at all in the Scribd app, but the touch screen page turns work fine for all the reader apps I’ve listed.)
Advertisements

Kindle Paperwhite: Not perfect, but (for me) perfect enough

KC slate 01 lg V389678398

In the week following my recent Kindle post (My experience with Kindles released 9/2012, includes Paperwhite), I’ve focused on using my Kindle Paperwhite 3g as I would any other e-ink reader. I felt inspired by a paperwhite user review that read (paraphrased), “The Paperwhite isn’t perfect, but it’s perfect enough.”

Sure, I’d love to see the paperwhite’s screen completely even without any shadows at any light setting. But when I set the lighting as follows, I found the screen pleasant:
Based on ambient lighting, push the Paperwhite light setting up to where the light is visible, and then move to the setting immediately below that.

For me, that approach seems to provide the whitest screen, clearest text, and most pleasant reading experience.

My experience with Kindles released 9/2012 (includes Paperwhite)

I just wrote to Kindle Feedback (kindle-feedback@amazon.com) sharing my recent experience with Kindle devices released September 2012 (Kindle Fire HD, $69 Kindle, Kindle Paperwhite 3g). Here’s that Kindle feedback, in case it’s useful to others.

Dear Kindle Feedback –

I have owned each Kindle sold with the exception of last year’s $79 basic Kindle and the Kindle DX. I enjoy using Kindle products because Amazon offers the best selection, pricing and customer service around.

I want to share my recent experience –

Kindle Fire HD

  • Love, love, love it!
  • Bought the 16GB and found it too small (I’m a big audiobook fan), so returned it and am now awaiting the 32GB.
  • It’s the 1st tablet that offers equal support for audiobook listeners.
  • Immersion reading: I initially pooh poohed this as a marketing stunt but it’s fabulous! After a long day at work, I can read and listen to the book at the same time… it’s a lovely experience.
  • I can watch all my favorite videos on the HD via Amazon streaming (including instant prime), Netflix, Hulu Plus.
  • The volume is crazy loud. I’ve never had a tablet that was loud enough to watch a movie while giving the dog a bath… until the Fire HD!

Whispersync for Voice:

  • As an audiobook fan, I love that I can start listening to a book while out walking the dog and then come home and read the (text) book.
  • THANK YOU for your aggressive pricing on Whispersync deals: I’ve bought many Kindle books + the Audible.com audio version as part of a whispersync promotion for less than the price of the hardcover book! I really appreciate that, as someone who loves to read (and reads alot).

$69 Kindle (9/2012 release):

  • Fabulous device!
  • This Kindle is an amazing value.
  • It is unfortunately dismissed by some as “low end” but I think it’s the best Kindle Amazon has made.
  • It’s light and comfortable to hold. Even with the lighted cover, it’s still light and comfortable to use.
  • The control buttons at bottom are black so they fade into the device (not a distraction).
  • The text is very crisp and bold — easy to read.
  • The page buttons are comfortable and well placed.
  • This kindle is an absolute joy to use — it makes reading comfortable and the device itself doesn’t interfere with the experience — in fact, the $69 kindle hardware enhances the reading experience.
  • I only wish you offered a 3g version of the $69 Kindle, as well!

Kindle Paperwhite 3g: The good –

  • The form factor is lovely — perfect size and weight.
  • I love the textured screen, makes it seem more like reading paper pages.
  • The 3g works very well.
  • The Paperwhite cover is fantastic — love how it puts the device to sleep.

Kindle Paperwhite 3g: The not so good –

  • The 1st Paperwhite I received was clearly defective (the entire right side of the screen was much brighter than the left). I appreciate Amazon’s responsiveness and how quickly a replacement was sent to me.
  • Unfortunately, this is the 1st Kindle product I’ve felt disappointed in — I am assuming my replacement Paperwhite is “normal” but there is still variation in light intensity *within the text area*. If the lighting variations were just in the margins they’d be less distracting.
  • The variations in light intensity (within the text area) make the text on a given page appear uneven — some words appear bolder/clearer than others.
  • Rather than just settling in to read, I find myself fiddling with the light setting to get it bright enough to illuminate the text while trying to keep the light setting low enough to minimize light variations inherent in the screen.


There you have it, a wrap up of my experience with most Kindles released September 2012. If you have any questions, please leave a comment.

Why I <3 the nook color…

NOOKcolor screenA few years back, I bought a Kindle 2. I liked it but found the e-ink page turn effect distracting. I also missed having a color display rather than black & white.

In late 2010, the nook color was released. It sounded like an interesting device but seemed impractical for me since I’ve purchased so many Kindle ebooks over the years. Then, an Android developer found a way to root the nook color.

That was what I’d been waiting for… I went ahead and bought a nook color. And recently, I rooted it.

Why do I love the nook color? Let me count the ways:

  • Bright, vibrant color screen and several formatting options available (font sizing, etc.) within the nook reader.
  • Using the library web site along with Overdrive Media Console and Adobe Digital Editions software,  I can borrow ebooks from my local library.
  • Using the same method as borrowing from my local library, I can also borrow ebooks from other libraries that offer lending to out of area residents (e.g., Philadelphia Free Library, Fairfax County Library, National Library Board of Singapore). (Note that Fairfax County Library and Philadelphia Free Library charge an annual fee to out of area residents, but it’s a great option if your local library has a limited ebook collection)
  • Since I’ve rooted my nook color, I was able to install Kindle for Android. I have access to my full Kindle library, as well as any new Kindle books I decide to buy.
  • I can easily find (legally) free ebooks for download from Barnes & Noble and Amazon by referencing Inkmesh web site.
  • I can also download Barnes & Nobles’ Free Friday ebook offering.
  • I can read an ebook free (for an hour) daily in-store at my local Barnes & Noble store. I can also surf the web on my nook color browser using free access to Barnes & Noble’s wifi network.
  • I can lend selected ebooks to friends. (I haven’t tried this yet, will blog an update once I do.)

I’m enjoying the nook color and learning something new every day. Yesterday, I realized I can do an early return on ebooks from my library by connecting my nook color to my laptop, selecting the book within the Adobe Digital Editions software, and then selecting “Return book”.

I highly recommend the nook color. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to let me know in comments.

Samsung Galaxy Tab: Initial impressions & comparison shopping

samsung-galaxy-tabIf asked a week ago, I’d have said the Samsung Galaxy Tab was the product I was least likely to buy. Although it looked interesting, I couldn’t understand why someone would buy a 7” tablet. Really, why?

Still, I’d been reading positive articles about the Galaxy Tab by James Kendrick and was intrigued. To learn more, I went to try the Galaxy Tab hands on. It’s a solid, well-built device with a beautiful, responsive touchscreen. I watched a YouTube video and surfed the web. Easy to handle. Text displayed clearly & crisply. I liked it, but wasn’t too sure about buying it @ $399 with 3G contract.

So, I visited some nearby stores to check out products that could be considered similar:

Huawei Ideos S7 7” tablet: Interesting feature set on paper (including Android 2.1), but I found the resistive touchscreen to be frustrating and not worth $299. Screen wasn’t responsive enough, and I didn’t like pressing so hard to activate a function.

Velocity Cruz 7” tablet: Another 7” tablet, but this time running Android 2.0. Build quality seemed cheap. Not compelling enough to spend ~$300.

Archos 7 Home Tablet: Cheaper than other 7” tablets at $199, and apparently running Android 2.1. However, read reports of poor WIFI connectivity. Why is it named the “Home Tablet”? Based on some reviews, apparently due to poor battery life.

I got to thinking, if my main use case would be as eReader, why not consider Kindle, nook, etc.? So I wandered over to see those. Both the Nook and Kindle are well-built quality devices (I owned the Kindle 2, and had used it day in and day out). The free 3G connectivity is enticing. However, while my main use was to read ebooks, I didn’t want a device limited to just one usage scenario. I also find E Ink’s reverse display during page turns distracting. (Note: There are rumors the $249 nookcolor will be hacked to enable broader use as an Android device. Stay tuned.)

Despite finding the Kindle and nook too limited, I realized I loved the device dimensions as a comfortable fit for an eReader. The roots of a Galaxy Tab were planted…

Before buying a Tab, I revisited the iPad as ebook reader. I love the iPad for bringing tablets to the masses, but find it uncomfortable to curl up with like a book. As an eReader, it is simply too big despite its other qualities.

Aside from the quality of the device itself, what finally compelled me to buy the tab-homeTab? RadioShack’s Sprint Galaxy Tab $350 sale (11/21 – 11/24/2010). I went with the 2GB $29.99 data package since I’ll generally use the Tab at home.

Now that I’ve had the Tab a few days, I’m finding I enjoy it even more than expected. I’m reading Keith Richards’ autobiography, Life, on the Kindle for Android app. I’m keeping up with news via the WSJ, NY Times, and Financial Times Android tablet apps. I’m reading PriusChat and AndroidCentral forum posts on the Tapatalk Pro app. I’m reading Twitter posts via the Toiuteur Premium app. I added the Clockr Evolution text clock widget. I’ve played chess on the SparkChess HD Lite android tablet app (requires Adobe Air) and honed my Angry Birds gameplay skills. I’ve taken screenshots by pressing the Back and power buttons simultaneously.

I love the apps that are configured for tablet display but haven’t had seen any display issues for apps not specifically intended for Android tablets.

For my usage scenarios (ebook reading and couch surfing), the Tab is perfect. Comfortable to hold with a crisp, easy to read screen. If your use scenarios are similar to mine, definitely recommend the Tab as an option.

I was wrong about the Kindle…. musings of a new Kindle 2 owner

B000FI73MA In June 2008, I posted an article entitled Kindle: Still too expensive at $359. I shunned the original Kindle as too expensive and frankly, too ugly. As much as I love books and reading, I couldn’t imagine spending $359 for a device that looked so dated.

There, I’ve said it. Even with my affection for shiny, new gadgets, what’s on the inside counts but what’s on the outside counts, too.

Flash forward eight months to February 2009, when the Kindle 2 was announced….kindle2

Suddenly, what I’d previously thought was overpriced became quite compelling. Was it the addition of text to speech? Was it the prettier design? Was it the influence of my Kindle-owning friends? Those answers and more below, in my initial impressions as a Kindle 2 owner.

What I like about the Kindle 2:
Solid, quality construction: My initial impression upon removing the Kindle from its shipping carton was, “Wow, this is really solid.” Of course, it requires the same care in handling as any electronic device. However, it’s thin but doesn’t feel fragile.

Text to speech: It doesn’t quite sound natural but yet isn’t so digitized as to be unlistenable. This feature will be handy for those times when my eyes are tired from gazing at a computer screen.

Intuitive navigation: I confess, I took a quick look at the user guide but didn’t pay attention to navigation instructions. I just picked up the Kindle 2, and started using it.159175-kindle2-350_188

The screen: Crisp and easy to read. It has a matte (not glossy) finish to reduce glare when reading outside. 

On board dictionary: What reader doesn’t at times encounter a word they’d like defined? With the on board New Oxford America Dictionary, one doesn’t even have to put down the book to look up a definition. Nice!

 

Amazon’s eBook selection: I’m a long-time Audible.com (audio book service) subscriber. As wonderful as Audible.com is, sometimes I want a book that’s just not available in audio format. Enter Amazon’s Kindle book store which offers great variety, and pricing (many at $9.99) is still far less than buying the physical book.

3G wireless connectivity without monthly subscription: Considering the cheapest cellular data plans cost an average of $20 to 30 per month, the Kindle’s always on wireless helps justify the device’s pricing. Of course, this always on wireless has its benefits for Amazon – it makes it incredibly easy to buy books.

What I’d like to see improved:
Variety of Kindle newspaper subscriptions is too limited and most are too expensive considering their digital format: I set up a Kindle subscription to The Irish Times since I love the perspective non-U.S. press offers and I thought the subscription pricing was reasonable at $5.99 per month. I love the Wall Street Journal but my current annual online subscription costs less than twelve times the Kindle WSJ $9.99 monthly subscription – I’ll keep my web-based version, thanks.

And, frankly, that’s all I can think of that I’d change. I am delighted with the Kindle 2, and very impressed with its quality and the attention to detail that has gone into its design and implementation.