Why is it that text-to-speech services so often come with that cool-yet-sexy synthesised female voice straight out of a male fantasy?
Ivona, a Polish company, is no exception, judging by this avatar from the company’s website. She is likely to be coming to more Kindle devices soon, following Amazon’s acquisition of the company on Thursday. The most tantalysing question, though: Is Ivona also Amazon’s answer to Siri and a sign that it will soon be in the smartphone business? Read more
Amazon has taken on Apple with a range of new Kindle Fire tablets in different screen sizes that claim better performance and significantly undercut the iPad on price.
At a media event in Santa Monica, California, Jeff Bezos, chief executive, announced an 8.9in 32Gb Kindle Fire HD tablet (pictured left) that would cost $499 and feature 4G LTE connectivity when it ships on November 20.
An upgraded version of the original Kindle Fire sets a new low $159 price point for a 7in tablet from major manufacturers. The Fire undercuts Google and Asus’s $199 Nexus 7 and challenges Apple, which is rumoured to be launching a mini-iPad in October. International availability for the Fire was announced for the first time. Read more
Tech news from around the web:
Apple has said in a statement that it has found a few bugs that are affecting the battery life of its latest iPhone devices running iOS 5, AllThingsD reports. Apple has said it will issue a software update in a few weeks.
Amazon is launching a book lending service for Kindle and Kindle Fire owners who are also subscribers of Amazon Prime, ReadWriteWeb reports. Read more
Amazon entered the tablet battle this week, unveiling the Kindle Fire, a $199 tablet that will run on Google’s Android operating system.
While news of Amazon’s tablet was long-rumoured, the unexpected price point caused quite a stir with some commentators. Others saw the Fire as a game changing device for media consumption. Read more
The Kindle Fire looks to have the price, services and marketing muscle to take significant share of a US tablet market thus far dominated by the iPad.
Amazon, with its music, video and eBook services in the US can capitalise on the key usage of tablets as consumption devices, although its weaker offerings abroad would be one reason the Fire will have no international launch this year. Read more
The release of Amazon’s Kindle DX black-and-white eReader a year ago was also meant to presage a new era of colour for the devices. E Ink, provider of the screen’s technology, had improved the contrast by 50 per cent with this new “Pearl” display to ensure viewing would not be dimmed too much when it laid a filter on top to add colour to eReaders. But, a year on, it seems device makers are sticking to black and white due to dissatisfaction with E Ink’s solution. Read more
If you’re thinking of taking a pile of books for your holiday reading, think again, and consider the featherweight Barnes & Noble Nook 2nd Edition eReader instead. I am a big fan of the larger $250 Nook Color, which mixes tablet functionality with great eReader software on a colour screen, but I like this new $140 Nook even more for its smaller size and pure and simple functionality focused on digital books. Read more
One feature I have been waiting for in eReader software, which is a little obscure but would be a killer one for me, is the ability to click or tap on a word or phrase and get an instant translation (I would thus spend less time using the dictionary when reading French novels). You can’t do it with Barnes & Noble’s Nook Color and add-on dictionaries for each language have to be bought for Amazon’s Kindle and are limited in their capabilities. However, Google has finally come to the rescue, with word and passage translations between a multitude of languages being one of three new free Google Books features. Read more