Showing posts with label Barnes and Nobles. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Barnes and Nobles. Show all posts

Monday, November 21, 2011

Nook Tablet rooted for Android Market support

If you were thinking about getting the Nook Tablet, but were put off by the fact that it lacked Android Market access by default the fix is in. The Nook Tablet has been rooted to give the little 7-inch tablet unofficial access to the Android Market. Before this hack, the apps had to be sideloaded so a direct access hack to the Market is welcome.

The root is a bit more complex than some Android hacks we have seen in the past where you only need to make a click to do the deed. The hack requires that the owner of the tablet install the Android Software Developer Kit and the Java developer kit. After that is installed, the user has to enable adb on the Nook Tablet then copy and mod the Android Market app itself.
Those steps will add access to a bunch more apps to the tablet, but a few more steps offers access to even more. To get all the apps the user needs to mod the filtering system a bit to allow all compatible apps to be shown. Check out the video to see a rooted Nook Tablet in action. We went hand son with the Nook

[via SlashGear]

Monday, November 14, 2011

Barnes & Noble reveals Microsoft’s Android patents in detail

Last week Barnes & Noble lobbied United States regulators to investigate Microsoft, on the basis that its lawsuits and licensing agreements with Android OEMs constituted monopolistic behavior. The first fruit of this effort is a detailed look at the patents that Microsoft has been using to pressure manufacturers into licensing deals worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Barnes & Noble seems determined to keep from paying Microsoft for its Nook line of e-readers and tablets.

Barnes & Noble contends that the patents are frivolous and trivial, most of them containing considerable prior art that existed long before the patents were awarded. There’s nothing to say that the six patents outlined in the case against Barnes & Noble are the same ones that have been used on the likes of Samsung and HTC, but it’s a fair bet that some or all of them are the crux of Microsoft’s arguments across the Android spectrum. In a letter to the Department of Justice, B&N said that the patents “cover only arbitrary, outmoded and non-essential design features,” but that Microsoft is charging extremely high licensing fees, essentially bumping up the price of “free” Android and giving Microsoft the power to stop individual features from being implemented.
Here’s all the patents Microsoft is using, and Barnes & Noble’s rebuttal:
I. ’372 Patent (Web Browser Background Image Loading)
The ’372 patent was filed April 18, 1996. Very generally, the patent relates to an outmoded system for retrieving an electronic document like a webpage that includes an embedded background image, which may have a bearing on very old web browsers connected to the Internet via slow, dial-up connections, but has little application in the context of improved, modern Internet connections….
II. ’522 Patent (Operating System Provided Tabs)
The ’522 patents was filed December 13, 1994. The patent relates to a single, simple tool provided by an operating system (such as Windows) that allows applications running on that operating system to have a common look and feel. Since operating systems provide many such tools, the patent amounts to nothing more than a trivial design choice. In particular, and despite the fact that this concept is in the prior art, the ’522 patent’s method allows for the creation of tabs. The tabs are analogous to dividers like those found in a notebook or to labels found in a file cabinet, and allow the user of an application to navigate between multiple pages of information in the same window by clicking on the tabs….
III. ’551 Patent (Electronic Selection with “Handles”)
On its face, the ’551 patent purports to claim priority back to a November 10, 2000 filing date. Generally, the ’551 patent relates to another simple and trivial feature that is not only disclosed by numerous prior art references, but is certainly not central to an operating system like Android — selecting or highlighting text or graphics within an electronic document. The patent provides that a user selects a word or phrase, for example, by tapping on a touch screen display or clicking with a mouse. Such a selection may be shown by highlighting the selected word or phrase. The user is presented with “selection handles” on one or both ends of the selected areas. These “selection handles” can be moved by the user to highlight more or less text or graphics….
IV. ’233 Patent (Annotation of Electronic Documents)
The ’233 patent was filed December 7, 1999. Like the other Microsoft patents, the ’233 patent relates only to one small feature that has long been present in the prior art and is not central to Android or any other operating system. More specifically, the patent generally relates to a method for capturing annotations made in an electronic document (like an electronic book), without changing the electronic document itself….
V. ’780 Patent (Web Browser Loading Status Icons)
The ’780 patent was not filed until May 6, 1997, long after the first web browser came to market. In addition to being late to the game, the patent is directed to a very simple and obvious feature — a temporary graphic element or status icon that is displayed to indicate that a hypermedia browser (such as a web browser) is loading content. When a browser is intended for use with a portable computer system with a limited display size, the ’780 patent notes that it is desirable to maximize the browser’s content display area (the portion of the browser that actually displays a website, not the menus, toolbars, or buttons). Thus, the patent makes a trivial design choice and provides that the graphic element or loading status icon is to be temporarily displayed in the content display area of the browser as opposed to a separate space such as the browser’s menu bar, tool bar, or a separate status bar….
Barnes & Noble also outlined several other patents and points. For a full look at all the legalese (which is far beyond the analytical powers of this humble Android blogger) check out Groklaw’s post on the subject.
Barnes & Noble seems completely committed to breaking the cycle of Microsoft’s patent trolling legal action and licensing. I’d wager that Google couldn’t be happier, since none of the various companies going after Android OEMs have directly threatened the parent company with legal action. If Barnes & Noble succeeds in fighting off Microsoft’s suit and securing and investigation, it might (and this is a long shot here) means that the licensing deals already in place elsewhere are renegotiated or dropped.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Barnes & Noble fires back at Microsoft, calls for investigation

At least one manufacturer isn’t kowtowing to Microsoft’s Android licensing push: Barnes & Noble is actively fighting Microsoft’s patent litigation in court. As an added bonus, the bookseller has urged US regulators to investigate Microsoft’s patents and the claims therein. B&N asserts that Microsoft is trying to drive up the price of the Android devices it competes with, thereby making its own Windows Phone 7 more attractive to manufacturers and consumers.

The claims seem valid enough. 53% of Android devices sold already pay some sort of royalty or kickback to Microsoft, the result of some extremely aggressive court battles and the resultant licensing deals. HTC and Samsung are among the biggest players affected, and tellingly, they also make Windows Phone 7 devices – one can’t help but wonder what kind of tit-for-tat is going on behind closed doors. One of the primary compaints of Microsoft’s detractors, including Google, is that in most cases it doesn’t actually articulate which of its patents are being violated or how.
Barnes & Noble has a lot riding on Android, and having to pay Microsoft for every device sold won’t do anything good for its bottom line. Every Nook e-reader, from the lowly Nook SimpleTouch to the upcoming Nook Tablet, runs a modified version of Android designed to highlight Barnes & Noble’s digital library. As it continues to trade punches with Amazon in the marketplace, it has to go toe to toe with Microsoft in the courts, something that an official US investigation could only help. B&N hopes it can convince regulators to investigate Microsoft before the February court date.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

NOOK Color officially drops to $199, goes head to head with Kindle Fire

Just like the leaked internal deck predicted, the venerable Nook Color is getting a price drop now that the Nook Tablet is official. The original will cost just $199, going head-to-head with the Amazon Kindle Fire while the Nook Tablet competes with some superior specs at $249. The price has already dropped on Barnes & Noble’s NOOK website.

Also included is a major update to the Nook Color software, which is still getting some impressive support a year after its initial release. Netflix support is coming in the next firmware update, with Hulu Plus support scheduled in the next few months – both of which the Kindle Fire lacks, relying instead on Amazon Instant Video.  The ebook and app libraries already on offer will be streamlined with new interfaces and social suggestions.
At this point, the two bookselling giants have products that directly compete at the $200 level, while Amazon dips below $100 with the ad-based Kindle and Barnes & Noble taking the high road with the Nook Tablet. All the models of the Nook, including the Nook SimpleTouch at a reduced $99, run modified versions of Android, making them prime targets for enthusiastic modders and ROM developers. At $199 for a light tablet with an IPS screen, the Nook Color is still a pretty good deal – unless you’re already set on Amazon’s universe of content and apps.

NOOK Tablet vs Kindle Fire: what will you buy?

Today at an event in NYC Barnes & Noble announced the new NOOK Tablet and most of the event they were quick to point out how much better it was compared to the Kindle Fire tablet from Amazon. We saw most of the specs leak late last week on the new NOOK Tablet so nothing was a huge surprise today, either way head down past the break for the details and comparison on these two tablets.

First off lets start with the NOOK Tablet, announced this morning with a slew of top tier specs all for a great price. We have a 7″ LG IPS diplay with a 1024 x 600 resolution powered by a TI OMAP 1.0 GHz dual-core processor. Being very similar here with the Fire, this is where things take a change. The NOOK has 1GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage compared to just 512MB on the Fire and 8GB of storage.
“The Kindle Fire is deficient as a media tablet” William J. Lynch Jr., B&N CEO
At the event this morning, B&N CEO Lynch said the above quote while talking about the Kindle Fire and its lowly 8GB of storage, partly because only 6GB or so of that is actually usable. The NOOK offers 16GB plus micro-SD support for an additional 32GB. The entire event they were quick to take shots at the Kindle Fire — from the copycat design of the BlackBerry Playbook, not enough storage, less RAM, and being fatter. We’ll let you guys make that decision on your own, I’ll just give you the details.
The Kindle Fire features a similar 7″ display with the same 1024 x 600 resolution. We also have the TI OMAP 4 dual-core processor here running at 1.0 GHz but like mentioned above, the Kindle Fire only has 512MB of RAM — something that could play a factor in multitasking at some point. With no cameras these are mainly consumption devices, but we already knew that right.
Both devices are a hair less than half an inch thick and weigh around 400 grams (or 15 ounces). The Kindle Fire is said to weigh 413 grams compared to the slightly thinner and lighter NOOK Tablet coming in at 398 grams. While that may not matter to some, many will use these devices as e-readers and the lighter weight will help especially during one-handed use.
Both tablets run on an undisclosed version of Android, most likely 2.3 Gingerbread and have their own custom user interfaces on board. We weren’t live at the NOOK Tablet event to get a look at it for a comparison, but it looks almost identical to the original NOOK Color which ran extremely smooth so we expect the same here. Not to mention the dual-core processor should keep things speedy. Both tablets come bundled with plenty of games and applications. From Angry Birds, Netflix, Pandora Radio and more they really are tablets, not e-readers. One benefit here with the Fire is the inclusion of the Amazon App Store although that can be installed on any Android device so I’m sure we’ll have it on our NOOK fairly quick and easy.
Whether these devices will be easy to root, and run custom ROM’s like the original NOOK Color still remains to be seen so until they hit the streets we can’t comment further. Without having hands-on time with both it is hard to say what is better, but we’ll have both devices in for a full review soon so stay tuned. Both tablets offer an excellent level of performance and usage for their price. What will you buy?
The Amazon Kindle Fire is available for pre-order right now for just $199 and begins shipping November 15th. Concluding the B&N NOOK event today in NYC the new NOOK Tablet will be $249 and will also be available next week starting on the 18th. Pre-orders are available now and it will be at B&N stores as well as retail partners such as Best Buy, Target, Walmart and many others late next week.
nookfire nook 2 side nook2 hands 8 hands 9 hands main )

Friday, November 4, 2011

Kobo Vox available now, beats Kindle Fire and Nook Color 2 to market

The e-reader tablet market that the original Nook Color opened up last year is about to explode, and dark horse Kobo doesn’t intend to linger around the starting gate. The company’s Kobo Vox reader, with a form factor and specs that fall roughly in line with Barnes & Noble and Amazon’s offerings, is available online at retailers across the U.S. and Canada. The Android Gingerbread based tablet is tied into the Kobo bookstore, and costs $199.99 – almost exactly the same price as the upcoming Kindle Fire.

Like its competitors, the Vox isn’t designed to light the world on fire with powerhouse specifications. A 7-inch, 1024 x 600 screen is optimized for book and periodical reading, while a modest 800Mhz processor and 512MB of RAM should cover basic web browsing and non-gaming apps well. Like its full-color competitors, the Vox has Wifi and no 3G connection. 8GB of storage will hold plenty of books, and if you fancy movies, music or extra apps a MicroSD card slot should have you covered. Kobo’s customizations to Gingerbread make it ineligible for the Android Market, but the company is claiming “Access to over 15,000 free apps” via its own custom app store.
Kobo is claiming that users will have “unencumbered access to Android 2.3,” with an emphasis on “Freedom”. Does that mean that third-party apps will be enabled via side-load? Will the Kobo’s source code become available any time soon? We’ve reached out to Kobo for clarification and are currently awaiting a response; we’ll be sure to let you know what they say. The Vox is available in black, pink, green and blue, but it looks like their online orders are backed up at the moment, and there’s currently a 5-day wait for shipment.
With Amazon’s Kindle Fire shipping out on November 15th and the Nook Color 2 announcement likely on the 7th, those looking for cheap, reader-specific Android tablets will soon be spoiled for choice.