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Old 03-21-2011, 05:16 AM   #1
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Tablets that support Kindle, ePub, in Color

I am trying hard to convert all of my book purchases to eBooks, but I'm running into a couple of problems, mostly needing a bigger screen and color, than my Kindle (2) provides. Not that there's anything wrong with my Kindle, it's great for fiction, would definitely still keep it, but partly the Tablet would be for the stuff that needed a bigger screen and color (Text Books, PDFs, stuff with a lot of pictures, Art books, etc.). I'd also not like to be locked into a format or particular DRM scheme. Knowing that the Apple iPad 2 was out soon, I waited, and the device is very nice, comes very close to meeting requirements,



Nice that they improved it with better battery life and made it lighter.

But the potential restrictions by Apple on eBook sales, see:

http://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=121838

http://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=119422

kind of has me spooked. I would be using the Tablet for more than reading books, but conversely I would not buy one if it couldn't do that. The iPad, before the tussle with Sony, had looked to me as a reasonable platform for convergence. Pretty much supported all of the formats, via apps, and OK, having to use different apps to look at different books was a bit kludgey, but it was something I could live with. And truthfully, I suppose I could bookmark the various Kindle and B&N buy-an-eBook web sites, so if they had to drop the book buying interface from the Apple App Store requirements, that's maybe not totally insurmountable.



http://mediacenter.motorola.com/Pres...ates-3612.aspx

I suppose I could switch to the Motorola Xoom, the wi-fi version is available very shortly, and since it's Android based, it seems a little more open. Problem is that Apple has such a head start on the marketplace, probably going to be another year or so before Android catches up. Still, I would figure to own one of these 2-3 years, minimum, and Android will eventually catch up, it's just a matter of time (they've already passed iPhone in the number of phones being sold), supply and demand.

Any other alternatives out there worth considering? Thoughts on the trade-offs?

Basic requirements would be:
  • Color Screen
  • Reasonable Size (bigger = better) screen
  • Wi-Fi support
  • Support for as many eBook Formats as possible (Kindle, ePub, PDF,...)
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Old 03-21-2011, 10:33 AM   #2
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You seem to hint at it but I have not followed the issue with "foreign" apps on Ipads. I gather that apple is planning on taking a cut of sales, of say, Amazon/kindle books. But what if you purchase your books another way - on a computer or phone? Will the ARCHIVE versions of those books be available through apps on the ipad at no additional cost/premium? Can one use the ipad's browser and purchase from Amazon and avoid this issue or do they still get a cut of the sale?

Hopefully, if this is not something you know, others can answer or speculate.

And I apologize if this appears to be a hijack.
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Old 03-21-2011, 10:53 AM   #3
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You seem to hint at it but I have not followed the issue with "foreign" apps on Ipads. I gather that apple is planning on taking a cut of sales, of say, Amazon/kindle books. But what if you purchase your books another way - on a computer or phone? Will the ARCHIVE versions of those books be available through apps on the ipad at no additional cost/premium? Can one use the ipad's browser and purchase from Amazon and avoid this issue or do they still get a cut of the sale?

Hopefully, if this is not something you know, others can answer or speculate.

And I apologize if this appears to be a hijack.
No problem, it's a fair question, since it's at the base of my reservations about buying the iPad 2. Essentially Apple has rules about in application purchases, before the Sony app was refused, these rules were not enforced, so you can, for instance, buy a Kindle book using Amazon's Kindle App. However, as Sony found out, Apple is not letting through new applications, and is giving everyone else until the end of June to come into compliance. The restrictions are basically, as I understand them, that:
  1. Apps cannot directly link or bypass the Apple Store for in-application purchases
  2. You also cannot bring up or reference a Web URL to avoid the Apple Store
  3. You cannot mark up your prices for going through the Apple application store (your price must match the Apple price)

There's some more information and discussion at the links I provided originally, and at:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/03...ative_to_ipad/

which talks about Amazon's situation, possible responses.

Since part of what I want to insure in my Tablet purchase, is that I can read eBooks from the widest selection of eBook providers. Minimally this would include Amazon and the ePub variants. And as it stands today, the iPad is not a bad choice for that, Kindle App, ePub, Apples iBook store, etc. But, down the road, these format and application store wars look to fragment that. My concern is that if I bought an iPad 2, I might eventually not be able to read Kindle books there. Hopefully it's not going to devolve that far.
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Old 03-21-2011, 11:01 AM   #4
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What does iPad store support?

This will probably get asked or pointed out, but there's a Apple iBook FAQ at:

http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4059

and for right now, at least, you can only buy an iBook if you're on a limited set of Apple platforms:

______

Can I purchase a book from the iBookstore using my computer?

No, the iBookstore is only available through iBooks on iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch at this time.

_____

You can view it on up to 5 computers, etc., the FAQ is useful.

But yes, if I don't buy an iPad, for now at least, I'd be blocked from the iBookstore. Not a big factor in my deliberations, but I suppose it might be for others. What is a factor is if I can Read the book from multiple providers (Amazon, B&N, etc.)
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Old 03-21-2011, 02:23 PM   #5
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If Apple goes through with their new policy, then it is likely that Amazon and B&N and Kobo will pull their apps for Apple products. Which means the IPad will not do what you want it to do. If you are willing to wait you could see how this plays out and buy an IPad if the Apps remain available. If you need to buy something immediatly then I would hedge my bets and buy a different device.

The other thing to keep in mind is that the DRM on IBooks has not been cracked, the only one of the major sellers to remain intact. This means that books you buy through IBooks will not be easily moved to other devices if you should chose to go that route. The others you have the option, if you feel that it is legal and morally cool, to strip the DRM and sideload onto another device, like an IPad or a different e-reader.
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Old 03-21-2011, 03:03 PM   #6
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Well aside from the OS differences there are screen differences. Also going with Android there are going to be a lot more choices of hardware, you have Dell Streak 10", LG Optimus, Toshiba, Samsung Galaxy as well as the Xoom, rumor is these should be released this Summer.

Just comparing the Xoom to iPad2 there is the screen size 16:9 to 4:3. Some folks like the 4:3 aspect ratio. I've gotten use to the 16:9 and prefer it, esp for a 7" tablet.

As far as the market, most major apps exist on both platforms even have versions for the BlackBerry platform. The only major app I can think of that exist on the iOS and not Android is netflix. Also for niche apps there is also a direct equivalent. For instance GoodReader is an excellent full featured PDF reader/editor. For android it would be RepliGo and ezPDF.

The one area in the market where iOS is beating Android is in complex games like Unreal and such. While there are many making their way to the Android OS many are not.
On the flip size there are much more free games on Android than on the iOS.

As for reading apps at the moment iOS and Android are on the same footing. However as you pointed out this might not be the case in the near future. And if that happens Android will be the clear leader.


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Old 03-21-2011, 03:47 PM   #7
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Elaborating on the screen point, I've been hands on with several tablets now including the Xoom and the iPad (in my opinion) has the most comfortable screen to use in terms of viewing angle, colors, and general "looks".

However, if you are worried about the B&N and Amazon apps being pulled, Apple has no history of disabling apps or content that's been pulled without a real security reason. If you have the apps downloaded to your computer now and they're pulled tomorrow, you will still be able to use them. Not as comforting as the drama with in-app purchases being over, but it is a point to consider. (I used the Tris for about 2 years after it was pulled by a copyright claim from the Tetris company before Tetris finally had a version that could compete and lure me away)
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Old 03-21-2011, 05:44 PM   #8
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OT: how does one download apps for insurance purposes? I've got a Vista PC.
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Old 03-21-2011, 05:51 PM   #9
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I bought a Xoom a few weeks ago. Not strictly for ebook reading, but it is awesome for that that - epub, pdf, etc. Nook, Kindle, Google and Aldiko work great on it.
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Old 03-21-2011, 06:26 PM   #10
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OT: how does one download apps for insurance purposes? I've got a Vista PC.
Get itunes, make a store account, and buy the apps. Then make sure you keep backups just in case.
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Old 03-22-2011, 06:23 AM   #11
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No problem, it's a fair question, since it's at the base of my reservations about buying the iPad 2. Essentially Apple has rules about in application purchases, before the Sony app was refused, these rules were not enforced, so you can, for instance, buy a Kindle book using Amazon's Kindle App.
This isn't correct.
Sony were not doing what Amazon did.
Amazon just send you to Safari to buy from their web interface, they do not offer in-app purchases.
Sony built a store directly into the app, without using the Apple in-app purchasing system. This has always been disallowed, and is not connected to the changes related to subscription charges.
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Old 03-22-2011, 06:46 AM   #12
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This isn't correct.
Sony were not doing what Amazon did.
Amazon just send you to Safari to buy from their web interface, they do not offer in-app purchases.
Sony built a store directly into the app, without using the Apple in-app purchasing system. This has always been disallowed, and is not connected to the changes related to subscription charges.
The point is that Apple has an iron fist around the store and its devices (make no mistake you do not OWN your iThing). Apple is in control. It can change any time they feel like it. If you are comfortable with that then go for it.
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Old 03-22-2011, 08:08 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by murraypaul View Post
This isn't correct.
Sony were not doing what Amazon did.
Amazon just send you to Safari to buy from their web interface, they do not offer in-app purchases.
Sony built a store directly into the app, without using the Apple in-app purchasing system. This has always been disallowed, and is not connected to the changes related to subscription charges.
According to the press, even linking to the web page so you can buy from there, is not being allowed, as of June. Apparently the rule has always been there, but was not enforced. Here's something that goes into more detail (from Computerwold):

http://www.computerworld.com/s/artic...mazon_s_Kindle

I may be misinterpreting, but it looks like it's applied to eBooks. Hopefully this quote from the above is small enough to be within the rules:

Quote:
Publishers and content sellers must remove any links within their apps to outside-the-App Store purchasing options, Apple said, a requirement that means Amazon.com must eliminate the link to the Kindle Store that it currently provides in its iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad apps.

Subscriptions and other digital content can still be sold outside the App Store -- thus sidestepping the 30% cut -- said Apple, but the company will now demand that if that's the case, the app also include in-Store purchases.
So I think Amazon will have to change it's Kindle iPad App to remove any links to the store. I don't think they'll link to the Apple store, marketing wise it seems unlikely, even if they lose a link to their store. If they take away the App entirely, or freeze it, then their customers are not going to be happy, although that might also be what Amazon does, short term, to bring pressure on Apple. Other alternatives exist, of course, including:
  1. Sue Apple, getting an injunction, for monopolistic practices in the Tablet segment
  2. Provide the Application via amazon.com directly (Amazon iPad App store, at least for the Kindle and other Amazon Apps)
  3. Cut a deal with Apple, quid-pro-quo, access on Kindles to Apple iBookstore, for access on iPads to Amazon Bookstore

Probably others, all of which are not particularly likely, but all are at some level possible. There's a lot of money at stake, so I don't imagine Amazon will go down without a fight.

Of course, with all the hiring going on at Amazon of Android programmers, maybe that gives a hint at their eventual direction.

Still, the whole situation is problematical, I'd hate to buy an iPad 2 right now, to find out later I couldn't read a Kindle eBook on it. Granted, not likely, but plausible, given what's going on now.
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Old 03-22-2011, 08:12 AM   #14
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I bought a Xoom a few weeks ago. Not strictly for ebook reading, but it is awesome for that that - epub, pdf, etc. Nook, Kindle, Google and Aldiko work great on it.
I guess one follow-on question, Xoom is definitely a possibility,but does anyone know of any Google App store type restrictions or concerns, now or down the road? Google seems a lot more flexible, and of course you can bypass it entirely with a check-box, but I think most people do not.
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Old 03-22-2011, 08:22 AM   #15
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I guess one follow-on question, Xoom is definitely a possibility,but does anyone know of any Google App store type restrictions or concerns, now or down the road? Google seems a lot more flexible, and of course you can bypass it entirely with a check-box, but I think most people do not.
Sure, it's possible, but there is talk of an Amazon (android) app store (in fact Apple is suing them over the name) and with Android you can always load apps using the "development tools" pretty easily (and doesn't require rooting/jailbreaking).
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