Archive for the ‘reader’ Category
Lookie here, digital bookworms — Google has just refreshed its Google Reader app for Android, adding a couple of “your most-requested features” along the way. Things like a unread count widget and news ticker widget are coming to those with Android 2.2+, while a ‘Mark Previous As Read’ is making its way back to all users with v1.6 or higher. Oh, and if you’re into reading Russian feeds, there’s now official support for Russian translation. Head on down to the Market below to get the install going, and do your best not to be ashamed when the number in your unread count stretches three home screen panels.
Apple rejects Sony Reader app, really doesn’t want you buying content from others (update: Apple says it needs official in-app purchases)
It’s been quite a while since Apple’s tight reins on the App Store were a subject worth discussing, but they’re back in the spotlight now following the company’s rejection of Sony’s Reader app for iOS. The reasons given to Sony were that Apple will not
no longer accept applications that permit in-app purchases of content that don’t go through Apple itself, and, moreover, will not tolerate apps that access material purchased through external content stores. So the Sony Reader Store is out — but wait, doesn’t the Kindle app spend its time serving up Kindlebooks? No comment has been offered on the matter from either Apple or Amazon, while Sony’s Reader Store page describes the situation as “an impasse” and promises to seek “other avenues to bring the Reader experience to Apple mobile devices.” In the mean time, you can get the Reader app for Android or just read your ebooks on a device dedicated to that task.
Update: As noted by Harry McCracken over at Technologizer, it has actually been Apple’s longstanding policy to forbid in-app purchases — the Kindle and Nook apps send you to a browser — so Sony’s desire to do so will have been the major cause for the Reader application’s rejection. That doesn’t invalidate the second concern expressed in the New York Times article, that Apple will no longer tolerate content brought in from external stores, which is a displeasing development, if true.
Update 2: Looks like McCracken nailed it — Apple’s come out with a statement pointing out that the App Store guidelines require that apps that allow content purchases must also allow them in-app through Apple’s official iTunes-backed system. We can’t imagine that Sony is thrilled with the idea of cutting Apple in on Reader content, but if they want to play ball, they should be able to score an approval. Notably, Apple says that they are “now requiring” this even though the guidelines haven’t changed, suggesting they’re just now getting around to enforcing it; the effect on iOS’ Kindle and Nook apps isn’t yet known, but we wouldn’t be surprised if Apple started nudging them in the direction of pushing updates. More on this situation as we have it.
Well, it’s about time! We knew Sony was prepping some Reader apps to go along with its physical Pocket, Daily, and Touch Edition e-readers, and while it may have missed that December release date, the Android version of the app is now available in the Market. The free app is pretty much what you’d expect — you can log in with your username and it automatically syncs previously purchased books, and like the e-readers, it also supports ePub and PDF formats. In addition, you can easily highlight text and adjust font and brightness settings right from the page you’re reading. We downloaded the app and found it to be pretty decent, however, the Store shortcut launches within the browser rather than in the app. Ready for the twisted part? Sony has confirmed for us that the app will only work with handsets that run Android 2.2 and higher, which is incredibly ironic considering most Sony Ericsson handsets are, you know, still stuck with 2.1. Of course, it looks like that PlayStation Phone will work just fine when it’s finally released, but that’s neither here nor there — hit the gallery for a pile of screenshots of the app.
Gallery: Sony Reader app for Android
Updated: Sony just let us know that the iOS version is still pending Apple’s approval, but it should be available soon.
Clicking your way through Ulysses and having a hard time remembering just what it is Bloom ate for breakfast or, indeed, just what he did on the beach? Don’t blame James Joyce, blame your Kindle! A Princeton study entitled “Fortune favors the bold (and the Italicized)” (their emphasis) has shown that readers retain information more reliably when they are challenged with so-called “disfluent” fonts (like the top one above). This flies in the face of the belief that easy to read text is easier to remember and should give typographical titans something else to ponder when placing text upon a page character by character.
Now, what does this have to do with e-readers? Most are stuck with standard fonts that cannot be changed and fall squarely in the “fluent” category — they’re so easy to read your brain spins down. The solution is, of course, to add more and broader font support to the devices, something we’d love to see regardless of scientific merit. Until that comes to pass try holding your Kindle at odd angles or squinting. Maybe that’ll help. Or, you could just put down the Proust and pick up some Clancy.