Artist and designer Theo Watson has developed a new app that fixes the one least annoying feature of a laptop: it’s not noisy enough. Specifically, he’s written a free app that makes typing on your laptop sound like an old time typewriter.
About 18 months ago, Apple sued Amazon for false advertising and trademark violation over using the term “app store” to describe its, well, Android app store—which is to say, the store where you go to buy apps. The wheels of justice grind slow but fine. Yesterday Reuters reported Amazon has submitted a filing asking a judge to throw out the lawsuit, on the basis that the term “app store” was so generic that it shouldn’t be considered false advertising.
I was amused to note that Amazon includes mention of times Apple CEOs Steve Jobs and Tim Cook even used the phrase generically to discuss competitors’ stores. Did Apple’s CEOs make false and misleading statements during their earnings calls, Amazon wonders?
Those of us of a certain age are sure to hold warm recollections of Choose Your Own Adventure stories—those fun little interactive tales from the 1980s filled with instructions to turn to certain pages if you made particular choices in the narrative. For a while, they were all the rage, and there were dozens of them published. They kind of faded out, but nonetheless they’re still probably the most commercially successful example of hypertext fiction.
These books have been available as e-books for a while, but a start-up called Visual Baker wants to bring one of them to the iPad and iPhone in a major way. It’s running a Kickstarter project, working with series creator Edward Packard to bring one of his books to the iPad in an interactive, illustrated, animated, and socially-enabled version. The project has a quite modest goal of $12,000, and it has already reached $2,500 in pledges with 24 days to go. (Found via AppleTell.)
The app updates are coming fast and furious this week. Amazon added new features to their Kindle for Android app yesterday and today they pulled a couple sweet improvements for the iPad app out of their sleeve. Continue reading
Amazon wasn’t the only c0ompany to release new apps today; Kobo just added several major features to their iPad and iPhone apps. For quite some time now Kobo has been selling their own fixed layout ebook format, and up until yesterday you could only read those ebooks on the Vox. Thanks to this new update, that’s no longer true.
The Kobo iOS apps can now display the rich images in digital comics like the Hellboy graphic novel pictured at right. The update also adds support for the read aloud options that’s used in some children’s books as well as new support for embedded audio and video, a feature which Amazon launched in their iOS apps back in 2010. Kobo’s selling around 2200 titles for the fixed layout format, with a mix of cookbooks, graphic novels, technical manuals, and children’s books. Prices range from a buck to $37.
The update also brings a number of minor improvements to how you use the apps, including new reading menus, new ways to sort your library, and easier navigation.
Free Press, a Simon & Schuster imprint, has just released an ebook sampler. This publishing house plans to release 5 titles this summer, and they’ve put together the sampler to act as a teaser. You can find the ebook in a number of ebookstores including Amazon, B&N.
But I’m more interested in the app, which you can find in iTunes. The app, which I’m still in the process of downloading, is supposed to have video and audio content. It’s also described as being interactive. Continue reading
They’re not shutting down, and they are in fact going to continue distributing content from a large number of artists and publishers in PDF, fixed layout Epub, and KF8 format. You’ll still be able to find the content in any number of ebookstores.
Google rolled out a new update today for their ebook app. It includes a number of minor improvements, including in-book search now working offline (a feature many other apps had a decade ago), a new user interface with faux 3D page-turn animations, and one feature that I thought was kinda cool: You can now add links on your Android device’s home screen which lead to specific ebooks in the app.
Update: A reader identified the problem as being a spammy ad network (it came hidden inside an app). He recommended that I use an Android app called Airplay detector to identify the spammy app. Continue reading
A couple weeks ago a new digital publisher burst onto the scene.
Coliloquy was getting all sorts of buzz for their apps for the Kindle. Like many developers before them, Coliloquy had adapted the idea of the old “Choose Your Own Adventure” books to digital form. And like a number of other developers, Coliloquy set out to release their books as apps that you can run on the Kindle.
I was given a review sample earlier this week, and a few days before that I bought one of the apps on my own. I’ve spent several hours reading the ebooks as well as paging through and seeing where the decisions took me. Aside from the fact that the stories didn’t interest me, there were a couple things I didn’t like about these ebook apps.