Tablets

Are Tablets the Solution for Latin American Education?

28 August 2014

From Publishing Perspectives:

The past few years have seen global surge in tablet adoption not only among professionals but also in schools throughout the world, particularly in Latin America. The surge has been considerable in underdeveloped countries, driven by rising incomes, high-speed internet connections, digital content consumption and the efforts of education NGOs (one of the most popular example being the One Laptop per Child program), plus some specific government initiatives in markets such as Brazil and Colombia.

. . . .

In Latin America, statistics about internet usage reveal growing interest in online content. According to ComScore’s 2013 Latin America Future in Focus report, the region has the fastest-growing Internet user population in the world. Social media consumption is extremely popular (5 of the top 10 most engaged markets with social content worldwide are Latin American) and online advertising is on the rise, with phones and tablets accounting for a considerable percentage of digital traffic.

. . . .

This growing presence in Latin America is not limited to the professional market. According to a report by Ambient Insight, the rate of growth in the mobile device usage is likely to increase over the next four years. The report argues that apart from rising individual purchases, the surge in spending in mobile devices will be driven by major digitization efforts rolled out across the region by public education systems.

In the meantime, research centers are raising public awareness of this growing trend and starting to analyze it in depth. The Organization of Ibero-American States (OEI) produced a report on the pros and cons of tablet education in schools, pointing out that the use of digital devices in classrooms is indeed becoming a major trend in current government policies on digital inclusion.

Link to the rest at Publishing Perspectives

Our Internal Sleep Clocks Are Out of Sync

16 August 2014

From The Wall Street Journal:

In this season of vacation travel, many of us are happily resigned to jet lag as the price of international adventure. The malaise associated with crossing time zones has been recognized for decades, of course. What’s new is our understanding of the wider phenomenon that scientists call “circadian disruption,” a disorder of our internal timing system. It can have profound health consequences, and its causes extend well beyond the occasional overseas jaunt.

In humans, the circadian rhythm in sleep and wakefulness—that is, our approximately 24-hour biological cycle—is reset each day by the light around us. This adjusts the body’s internal clock to the local time zone. Or, to be more precise, it resets our myriad circadian clocks, because it is now clear that the mechanism operates not just in the brain but also in the cells of most tissues and organs.

This timing system served early humans well. Sleep and wakefulness occurred naturally; seasonal changes in the time of dawn and length of the day and night were predictable and gradual enough to allow us to adjust. When humans migrated great distances on foot, slow changes across “time zones” could be accommodated easily.

Fast-forward to the modern era, when work schedules almost ensure that the day begins for most of us with an alarm clock interrupting our sleep. Add to this substantial and increasing light exposure at night, rapid travel across time zones, rotating shift work, and delayed and irregular meal times, and we have the ingredients for circadian disruption: a state in which the body’s many internal clocks fall out of sync with one another and with the external daylight cycle, and—in some cases—stop functioning entirely.

. . . .

Some of these risks are unavoidable. Many industries and government agencies require round-the-clock operations, so there will always be people engaged in shift work, and there will always be business travelers who frequently cross time zones. In addition, few of us will give up nighttime use of our brilliantly illuminated smartphones, computers and tablets.

Link to the rest at The Wall Street Journal (Link may expire)

So paper books will preserve your circadian rhythm better than ebooks?

What are people saying about the new Samsung Galaxy Tab® 4 NOOK®?

15 August 2014

Thanks to Joshua for the tip.

Best Buy CEO Says Tablet Sales Are “Crashing,” Sees Hope for PCs

5 August 2014

From CNBC:

Re/code has landed in Minneapolis to talk to the folks at Best Buy — the last standing nationwide big-box, bricks-and-mortar consumer electronics retailer, with over 1,000 main stores and hundreds of smaller mobile device stores.

. . . .

It’s also battling the trend called “show-rooming” in which consumers try out products in a store like Best Buy but then buy online from e-tailers like Amazon. To fight this, it has expanded its price matching to include online sellers. And it is revamping its website (which was ugly, hard to navigate and hard to search) in the hope that it will become a bigger shopping destination for people who start, or even complete, purchases online.

. . . .

The tablets boomed and now are crashing. The volume has really gone down in the last several months. But I think the laptop has something of a revival because it’s becoming more versatile. So, with the two-in-ones, you have the opportunity to have both a tablet and laptop, and that’s appealing to students in particular. So you have an evolution. The boundaries are not as well defined as they used to be.

. . . .

The issue has then been that, once you have a tablet of a certain generation, it’s not clear that you have to move on to the next generation.

Link to the rest at CNBC

Fare Thee Well, My Pen

26 July 2014

From The New York Times:

The pen is dead. It was murdered by the finger.

I first realized this last week when my girlfriend asked to borrow a pen to sign the back of one of those paper check things.

“Sure,” I replied, picking up my laptop bag to rummage inside. I pulled out a succession of rectangular-shaped gadgets, but there was no pen to be found.

“Hmm, maybe we have one upstairs,” I said as we both began a detective-like search for anything that resembled a vessel for ink. We scoured the home office, kitchen drawers, bedrooms, even looking through our cars. But again, no pen.

. . . .

 While my home is filled with multiple laptops, smartphones, tablets and other Internet-connected devices, there isn’t a single pen to be found. No ballpoint, fountain or rollerball. No highlighter, marker or even an itty bitty nub of a pencil.

. . . .

 Unlike pens, fingers don’t run out of ink, they’re free and you always have one with you. I use mine to take notes on my phone, highlight books on my Kindle and draw pictures on my iPad. I don’t have to worry about losing this work because, unlike a piece of paper, my digital notes live in perpetuity online.

. . . .

“There’s that famous quote that the best camera is the one you have with you, and in that respect, the smartphone has won out over time,” said Naveen Selvadurai, a partner at Expa Capital and a co-founder of Foursquare. “In the same sense, the best pen is the one you have with you, and that’s your finger.”

When Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone in 2007, he described the finger as “the best pointing device in the world.” And in typical Jobsian fashion, he seemed to know that fingers would be next big thing.

Link to the rest at The New York Times and thanks to Barb for the tip.

Apple’s iPad reaches 78% North American tablet share as Amazon’s Kindle Fire passes Samsung, Google

23 July 2014

From AppleInsider:

iPad is making gains in North American tablet web usage, reaching an 78 percent share in Apple’s “first quarter-over-quarter usage share gain since June 2013,” notes a new report by Chitika.

. . . .

Chitika Insights published its latest figures on tablet web traffic for the U.S. and Canada, noting that Amazon’s Kindle Fire, albeit with just one tenth the share of iPad, has moved into second place ahead of Samsung and Google, both of whom are selling ‘pure Android’ tablets.

“Since April 2014, the share of tablet Web traffic generated by North American Apple iPad and Kindle Fire users has increased by 0.8 and 1.2 percentage points, respectively,” the firm stated.

“These represent the two largest quarter-over-quarter increases for any tablet brand, while Samsung’s user base exhibited the largest share loss over the same timeframe, dropping two full percentage points.”

Link to the rest at AppleInsider

Budget Tablet Buying Guide: July 2014

14 July 2014

From The Digital Reader:

For the past four years Android tablet have been a hot market niche, with dozens of device makers releasing new models willy-nilly. Some were good, many were bad, and as a result the tablet market in July 2014 is glutted with tablets.

There are so many tablets on the market that it is difficult to tell which ones are good; even a reviewer such as myself can’t test more than a tithe of what’s available.

But as I sat here this morning, looking for a tablet to buy and review, I realized that my process for choosing a tablet included a number of rules which might be useful.

. . . .

In shopping for a budget tablet, I set a hard upper price limit of $99. Anything more than that gets out of the budget market and into the same price range as the Kindle Fire HD (2013), which at $139 I do not see as a budget tablet.

I also set a lower price limit of $60. As I explain below, most of the tablets that cost less than $59 do not offer a good value. As a general rule, I also avoid refurbs.

Here’s a short list of the specs I want in a $99 Android tablet:

  • 7″ screen, with a screen resolution of 1024 x 600 (or higher)
  • a Dual-core ARM CPU (or a single-core Intel CPU)
  • 1GB RAM (minimum)
  • 8GB internal storage
  • Google Play (or Amazon Appstore)

You could buy a tablet with less RAM, but that will limit its performance. You might also skimp on storage, but that’s simply not a good idea. As I and a number of other users have discovered, the tablets that ship with only 4GB internal storage fill up real quick. A microSD card will be required, and that adds to the price so I say go for the extra storage in the first place.

You might notice that I insist on Google Play, but don’t mention cameras. The latter are a crap shoot for budget tablets; a tablet might have them but there’s no guarantee that the cameras will be good. And as for Google Play, most budget tablets will ship with it so you can ignore the tablets that don’t have it. They’re not even worth considering.

. . . .

Best Tablet Value for July 2014

If you want a safe tablet purchase for under $100, I would go for the Kobo Arc (2012). This is probably not the only good value for $99, but it is one I have had my hands on and can recommend without concern.

The Kobo Arc was initially released in 2012 as a competitor to the Kindle Fire HD. As such it was a mid-grade tablet with specs that justified its $199 price tag. Now that it costs $99, it’s a great deal.

The Arc has a better quality screen than you will find on most tablets in its price range. With a screen resolution of 1280 x 800, it is both sharper and higher quality.

Link to the rest at The Digital Reader

Here’s What the Future of Reading Looks Like

29 June 2014

From New York magazine:

Software is eating the world. It’s also eating the book.

For years, traditional book publishers have hoped that standalone e-readers — Kindles, Nooks, and the like — would be their salvation, replacing paper-and-ink books as the diversion of choice for a new generation of readers. But several new data points suggest that’s not happening. In fact, it seems clearer than ever that the future of reading isn’t on reading devices at all. It’s on your phone.

. . . .

“E-readers are looking like the next iPod,” Mashable writes today, noting that smartphones and tablets with e-reader apps are poised to cannibalize sales of dedicated e-readers in the same way that the iPhone – which had all the capabilities of an iPod, plus calling and texting and tons of other apps – killed its single-feature predecessor.

The death of the standalone e-reader might be good news for consumers, who will have one fewer gadget to buy and lug around. But it’s bad news for the book industry. If you’ve ever tried to read a book on your phone, you’ll know why. Reading on an original Kindle or a Nook is an immersive experience. There are no push notifications from other apps to distract you from your novel, no calendar reminders or texts popping up to demand your immediate attention. And this immersion is partly why people who use dedicated e-readers tend to buy a lot of books. (One survey indicated that e-book readers read about 24 books a year, compared to 15 books a year for paper-and-ink readers.)

E-book sales aren’t necessarily correlated with the popularity of standalone e-book readers, and the publishing industry could still have a successful digital transition if it convinces iPhone and Android users to buy e-books in the same quantities as Kindle and Nook users. But there’s no getting around the fact that smartphones aren’t designed for focused, sustained reading.

Link to the rest at New York and thanks to Patricia for the tip.

Barnes & Noble Taps Samsung As Hardware Partner For New NOOK Tablets

6 June 2014

From TechCrunch:

Barnes & Noble’s e-reader and tablet division has been in a bit of a tailspin over the past couple of years, but today it announced that it’ll be taking a different approach through a new partnership with Samsung. The partnership brings Samsung on board to create a co-branded version of its Galaxy Tab 4 with custom NOOK software. A 7-inch version goes on sale in the U.S. in early August, and will be sold at Barnes & Noble bookstores and online alongside NOOK e-readers.

Barnes & Noble says it’ll continue to offer the NOOK GlowLight, but this looks like the end of the line for the company’s own more full-featured NOOK line Android-based tablets. The decision to work with Samsung is a key component of the bookseller’s efforts to “rationalize” its NOOK business, the company said in a release, and the co-branding deal means that they can avoid shouldering the cost and risk of producing NOOK tablet hardware themselves.

Link to the rest at TechCrunch and thanks to Joshua for the tip.

Apple’s New iOS 8 a Game-Changer for eBook Retailing

5 June 2014

From Mark Coker via The Huffington Post:

Imagine a bookstore in nearly one billion pockets and purses.

During the live demo event of Apple’s unveiling of their new iOS 8 operating system on June 3, Apple made a passing reference to a slide of “iOS 8 features we didn’t have time to talk about.”

Buried in the fine print but photographed by bloggers was an ebook retailing bombshell: iBooks will come pre-installed on iOS 8.

The iBooks app is Apple’s ebook store containing over 2 million books (my ebook distribution company, Smashwords, supplies over 250,000 of these books).

This is a game-changer for ebook retailing, a big win for authors, the most significant counter yet to Amazon’s hegemony over ebooks, and a boost to book culture because it’ll make more low-cost ebooks more accessible to more readers than ever before.

. . . .

Starting this fall, iBooks will occupy prime screen real estate on all new devices. The new iOS will also be available as a free upgrade to users of the iPhone 4s, iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPod touch 5th generation, iPad 2, iPad with Retina display, iPad Air, iPad mini and iPad mini with Retina display.

Apple’s move will place ebooks just one click away from being discovered, sampled and purchased by nearly a billion readers.

. . . .

Make sure all your books are distributed to iBooks ASAP. If your ebooks are among the 500,000 locked in the dungeon of exclusivity at Amazon’s KDP Select, break them free as soon as you can.

Link to the rest at The Huffington Post and thanks to Tom for the tip.

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