Although I’d definitely take a paperback over my tablet as my medium of choice to read a novel, one can’t argue the convenience of a single device that can carry all the books you’d ever want to read. That’s why I’ve been steadily growing my ebook collection — being able to carry every tome I intend to digest this year in a jacket pocket, just makes sense. The ebook game is now in a hot innings, with new heavy hitters like Google Play and even India’s Flipkart taking to the field. So I thought it’d be interesting to see what Kobo had up its sleeve.
Known for manufacturing affordable dedicated ebook readers, and for going up against the likes of Amazon’s Kindle and Barnes’ and Nobles’ Nook devices, Kobo has now made its debut in the Play Store with a bookstore-and-reader combo app that promises to deliver a comprehensive reading experience on your smartphone or tablet. With a wide range of titles, cross-device content and bookmark sync, and a clean flat interface, Kobo sure looks like it’s up to bat — but can it score a home run? I spent a couple of weeks with the app to find out.
Digg had been stagnating over the past few years. The site’s previous owners weren’t investing the time or effort in updating the systems or design and users rapidly fled to Reddit and Twitter for their news fix. However, new Digg owners at Betaworks have launched a long waited for Digg app for Android.
The app, which brings the web’s news aggregator to smartphones goes head to head with several other RSS readers that promote popular news stories such as Feedly and Pulse. Initial impressions are good as the app mirrors the look and functionality of the Digg website. Set-up time is extremely fast as it pulls your preferences from your current Digg account. But has Digg done enough to entice users?
RSS feed readers have long been a popular way to consume news and updates, whether it’s for it keeping up-to-date with the latest news, following up on our favorite blogs or stocking up on inspiration for web design, photography, and what have you. Sure, there’s Facebook and Twitter for recommendations from friends, and good old fashioned e-mail newsletters for targeted, critical updates. But nothing beats the flexibility of choosing precisely the websites you want to follow and keeping track of exactly what you have seen and what’s new.
Although there is no dearth of RSS readers on the web and desktop, I’ve struggled to find a good feed reading experience on the Android platform, especially for the phone. There are a couple of decent options, but FeedSquares feels too gimmicky and Pulse too cluttered for my small 3.2″ Optimus One screen. Of course, there’s the ubiquitous Google Reader, but its interface is rudimentary, to say the least. Feedly, a relatively new entrant to the arena, seems to have filled the gap in between very nicely. Let’s take a closer look.
It used to be that when you wanted a comic, you saved up your pennies, raided the piggy bank, then went down to the local shop to get it. I remember the sheer excitement when I went down to my local newsagent every Saturday to buy that week’s copy of The Beano and I used to spend most of the afternoon reading it and doing all the puzzles.
Nowadays, things are obviously a little more high-tech; that’s the way the publishing market is going. Most newspapers are read online for free, Twitter has become the new way of keeping up to date with the world, and the surge in the popularity of e-books and devices such as the Kindle show that people are willing to ditch traditional methods for the fancier (and potentially more convenient) solution.
Graphicly aims to do just this with comic books. Instead of buying print copies, you can either buy or download them for free from their online store, making them available for immediate reading on whatever device you are using. The range is certainly pretty impressive, but the question is: will Graphicly replace that feeling of buying a printed comic from the shop? Read on for my thoughts. (more…)