Barnes & Noble has updated its NOOK for iOS app today with over 8,000 comics and graphic novels, available through the NOOK store, as well as a new ‘Zoom View’ feature to help readers hone in on specific the panels and follow creative page layouts.
Users can download a copy of the DC Comics 2013 Superman Sampler, which include excerpts from Superman: Last Son of Krypton, Superman: For Tomorrow, Superman: Earth One, and Justice League Volume 1: Origin, for free as part of the app update.
All of the top comic and graphic novel publishers will be available through the new iOS app, including superhero giants DC Entertainment and Marvel, as well as IDW and Dark Horse.
Barnes & Noble says it will be updating the store on a monthly basis with new titles, which can also be downloaded through its NOOK HD and NOOK HD+ tablets, as well as on Android and Windows 8 through the respective apps.
The iPad is a popular device for buying and reading digital copies of popular comics and graphic novels. The difference in size means that app developers have had to be creative with how they display individual panels on a tablet; readers want to be able to zoom-in on some of the detail, but also see the entire page with a single glance when needed. For artists that pull artwork across a double-page spread, this is particularly important.
The new Nook for iOS app also includes animated page turns, which should add to the experience and immersion associated with reading a good book. The ‘Zoom View’ feature has also been adapted for other book types that feature illustrations, such as textbooks and children’s novels, so that readers can enlarge specific drawing at anytime.
Barnes & Noble has also given its Nook Newsstand section, which organizes periodicals in customers’ libraries, a bit of a spring clean so that particular titles are easier to find.
The NOOK Store is yet to really take off on mobile platforms outside of its own dedicated tablets. Part of the problem is that Apple’s iBooks and Newsstand apps are already pretty robust on iOS, and come pre-installed with every iPhone and iPad.
Likewise, Google has made great strides to improve the storefront experience in the Play Store, giving users fewer reasons to check out third-party alternatives such as the Amazon Appstore or NOOK for Android app.
Comics is a small, but welcome addition to the NOOK Store on iOS. It’s unlikely to be enough to sway users from dedicated comic apps such as Comixology, but at this point every little helps.
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Read the original here: Barnes & Noble adds Zoom View tool and over 8,000 graphic novels to its NOOK for iOS app
If you’re a graphics professional, you know Wacom. The company consistently puts out the best in digital art tablets, and over the past year has announced and released a variety of improvements to its top-end Cintiq gear. The Wacom Cintiq 13HD is the most portable of the line, which features displays built-in to a highly accurate pressure-sensitive tablet, and I’ve been using one to doodle, edit photos and paint digitally for the past few weeks.
The Cintiq 13HD replaces the 12WX and improves on it in every way. Design-wise, there are big changes here that dramatically increase the tablet’s portability and overall usability. The 12WX was the closest Wacom came to making a Cintiq you could carry with you, but the 13HD weighs only 2.65 lbs, or 2.78 lbs with the stand. That’s 66 percent lighter, and it’s also smaller in terms of width, depth and height.
Even with all that space and weight savings, the display is larger at 13.3-inches diagonal vs. 12.1 on the 12WX. With the smaller bezel, you sacrifice some ExpressKeys, and the stand isn’t built-in on the 13HD like it was on the 12WX. But those are extremely minor trade-offs compared to all the portability you gain with the 13HD, which can be easily used in the lap like a large paper sketchpad, as well as packed in a laptop bag for travel.
The Cintiq 13HD has 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity, which is double that of the 12WX. It’s a difference you notice instantly in terms of how well the tablet responds to touch. The screen also has 1920 by 1080 full HD resolution, which is a lot better than the 1280 x 800 on the 12WX. It’s enough that interface elements sometimes feel small on the 13HD, but there’s no question that it succeeds in giving you a more workable drawing surface. It also seems to render colors better than the 12WX, and has better viewing angles all around.
Maybe the biggest improvement, however, is in how the 13HD connects to your computer. This time Wacom has folded HDMI, USB 2.0, and the power adapter into an all-in-one cable that terminates in a single, dock connector-like input on the tablet end. It simplifies things immensely, especially now that most MacBooks sport a built-in HDMI port. Once again, this has tremendous advantages for travel, which is where the 13HD really excels overall.
The pen that ships with the 13HD is slightly different from what you’d get with a 22HD or 24HD, but it has mostly the same ergonomics — that is, it’s comfortable to use and to hold. Again in keeping with the whole portability theme, you get a carrying case that holds your nibs in the box, and that’s a very useful accessory if, like me, you’re always forgetting where you stowed those things.
I was a huge fan of the 22HD, and if you’re working at home consistently with a lot of desk space, that still provides the better drawing experience. But the 13HD doesn’t require many sacrifices in exchange for the big benefits in terms of space savings and portability it brings, and the laptop use scenario is much more feasible with this unit.
The screen has a definite texturized feel reminiscent of paper, and the stand has three drawing positions and can also fold flat into the back of the tablet itself. the single cable means it’s easier to avoid unplugging something or knocking something over when you’re grabbing it from your desk to use on your lap or knees, and the pen is extremely responsive – lag is imperceptible.
If there’s a flaw, it’s the lack of touch-sensitive control strips found on other Cintiq devices. These make it much easier to zoom, pan and scroll when working with large-scale graphics and drawings. And while there are workaround possible using the Cintiq 13HD’s ExpressKeys and rocker ring, they aren’t quite as elegant a solution.
If you’re an existing Cintiq user, the 13HD is a no-brainer. It’s got everything you’ve come to know and love, and it either complements a larger device extremely well as a more-or-less mobile solution, or replaces older hardware with big improvements over the last generation. Likewise, if you’re new to Cintiq, this is a great starting place, since it’s the cheapest option (at $999), and yet more drawing tablet than most will ever need. The 12WX was a well-respected work horse for years, but it can rest easy passing the torch to the 13HD.
The iPad mini is quickly becoming a key component of Apple’s product lineup, and according to some sources, might even be the best-selling tablet Apple makes at this point. The smaller tablet hit shelves in early November last year, and likely had a huge impact on Apple’s record tablet sales last quarter, which topped 19.5 million devices. It’s impossible not to see a Retina update in the mini’s future, and new reports (via MacRumors) claim we’ll see production begin for that device this summer.
NPD DisplaySearch analyst says we should see display panel production begin for a Retina iPad mini beginning in June or July, which will be sourced primarily from LG Display, and specifically not from Samsung, Apple’s sometime partner, but not a display supplier for the current iPad mini. The iPad mini with Retina Display should have a 2,048
The Nook HD and HD+ got a great update late last night (via Engadget), as Barnes & Noble finally moved away from its closed and system-specific app and media ecosystem. The two Android tablets now offer Google Play, and new devices will ship with the app pre-loaded, while existing owners can get it via a software update over-the-air or via direct download.
Other changes with this update include the introduction of some stock Android apps, including Gmail, Maps and Chrome (which replaces the Nook’s existing web browser as the default option). Essentially, Barnes & Noble is turning the Nook HD line into a very cheap Android tablet play, and not in the limited way it was doing so before.
Where once the Nook brand was a reader first, with Android-powered full-color readers with some tablet functionality, now it looks like we’ll see Barnes & Noble embrace the tablet identity much more fully. Another sign that the book seller is banking on tablets as a much broader attempt at reaching customers is the fact that the Nook Tablet and Color don’t get the Play update, meaning we could see those left behind in terms of future hardware updates.
John took a look at the updated Nook HD+, and found it impressive, especially at $269, or a full $60 cheaper than the cheapest iPad (16GB Wi-Fi iPad mini). The problem, though, was summed up in John’s conclusion: the Nook HD+ is a great upgrade as a reader, but not necessarily a real tablet competitor. Opening up the broader Android software market place and its selection of tablet apps definitely helps to change that.
The Nook line could be the key to Barnes & Noble’s future, but right now it’s also a weight hanging around its neck, as slow sales of the Simple Touch e-reader prompted a fire sale to help move more HD+ inventory, and the Nook division lost cash in the most recent fiscal quarter. There’s still an opportunity for a cheap Android tablet to capture the hearts and minds of consumers, however, and Nook is now in a better position to capitalize on that now that its ecosystem wall has come down.
It’s on. The Android tablet race to the bottom has been restarted, and it’s got a new price tag: $100.
Acer on Friday held a press event in New York City, announcing three devices: the Aspire R7 (a desktop/laptop combo), the Aspire P3 (an ultrabook), and the Iconia A1 (a tablet). The company saved the best for last: the 7.9-inch A1 is priced at just $169.
The last edition of the Android tablet race to bottom ended at about $200. OEMs were getting very close to the mark about two years ago with $250 announcements, but then Amazon finally set the bar by debuting the 7-inch Kindle Fire back in November 2011 at the ridiculously low price point of $199.
Google wasn’t amused and in June 2012 announced the 7-inch Nexus 7, a tablet also priced at $199. Many still consider it the best Android tablet on the market.
Amazon hit back in September 2012 by slashing the original Fire model to $159 and launching the 7-inch Kindle Fire HD for $199. Yet few people want an “old tablet” when the price difference is so small, and as we saw with the latest quarterly figures, Asus (the manufacturer for the Nexus 7) outsold Amazon in Q1 2013.
Some argue that Google won the last battle with its Nexus 7 device, offering the best Android experience at essentially the best price, while others would say Amazon has been pushing the envelope further than anyone else. That was all in 2012 though, and it’s clear from today’s Acer announcement that 2013 will see tablets priced even more competitively than before.
You might be saying: wait a minute, aren’t their already tablets priced under $200 and even under $100? Sure, given that Google essentially hands out Android for free, there are companies constantly looking to undercut the mainstream options. Yet these are low-quality products with shoddy hardware and older versions of Android. I want to talk about offerings from top OEMs that offer the latest and greatest Android experience.
Acer is in the top five list for OEMs in terms of PC shipments. The company’s newly-announced Iconia A1 runs Android 4.2 (Jelly Bean), the latest version of Google’s operating system, just like the Nexus 7. Here are some basic specifications: 1.2GHz quad-core processor, LED-backlit IPS display, and 7-hour battery life.
In other words, the A1 is a budget tablet, but it’s still very competitive. The $169 price tag may be just $30 cheaper than the Nexus 7, yet it’s worth noting that’s a 15 percent savings. I would argue that this is just the beginning. Acer likely decided to undercut the now-standard $199 price tag for one big reason: Google I/O.
This year’s Google conference, tickets for which sold out in less than an hour, will be held between May 15 and May 17. That’s less than two weeks away.
Google is widely expect to announce a second-generation Nexus 7 at the event. A recent Reuters rumor said the device will go on sale in July.
The expected price? $149. All of this is happening in just the first half of 2013: competitors such as Amazon will have more to reveal in time for this year’s holiday season.
Top Image Credit: mokra