Physical books just aren't what they used to be. They're big, clunky, and far too heavy. Okay, they're precisely what they always were, but times have changed. Publishers have upped their game, shrinking complex books down into portable digital formats and adding in interactive elements to make them more engaging. One such publisher, Inkling, has now ported its catalog of books to Android. These are usable exclusively through its dedicated app, which is now available through the Play Store in beta form.
Digg Reader is a news service that wrangles the best stories from all over the web and delivers them to you in an attractive and sensible way. Using some social networking magic in addition to actual living humans, Digg decides what the most relevant and talked about stories of the day are. Today, they've released the Digg Reader app onto the play store and, my oh my, is it pretty.
All the makings of a great news app are there.
Nearly all the attention for reader-tablet hybrids goes to Amazon and Barnes & Noble, but today the Toronto-based Kobo is making a compelling case for their share of the market. The company announced three new tablets: the Arc 7, Arc 7HD, and Arc 10HD, set for release on October 16th. The three models are roughly analogous to the latest Kindle Fire, Fire HD, and Fire HD 8.9, but they've got two distinct advantages: they run Android 4.2.2, and they've got access to the Google Play Store.
It was just six weeks ago that we featured Rockmelt, an Android app with a bit of an identity crisis. It didn't know whether it wanted to be an RSS reader or a browser (but it did know it wanted to look like Pinterest). Well, the eponymous company that makes Rockmelt is the latest in a series of acquisitions by Yahoo. And they've killed the Android app deader than a dove at an NRA convention.
Amazon's Kindle app has just received a significant update, bringing the reader up to version 4 and introducing a refreshed UI, among other things.
Just when I'd decided to try switching to Play Books (despite giving up things like quick two-finger brightness adjustment), Amazon has introduced a redesigned library that's much more lively than a simple grid of book covers. The new library interface has your books plus a nice "carousel" up top for recent items.
Press, arguably the most well-designed Reader client of them all, got a sizeable update today. It's the "biggest update yet," in fact. Climbing up to version number 1.2, Press got some useful new features. Though this update isn't the one with which Press migrates to "a new backend syncing solution" as it is promised to do once Reader takes its final breath, it's definitely an update worth looking at.
First up, Press now has widgets, both large and small.
Update: The update is now live in the Store – find it by hitting the widget at the end of the post.
Last month, Google announced they'd be killing off Google Reader this July. Yes, in just a couple of short months, one of the most beloved RSS resources in existence would be kaput. Google says it decided to pull the plug because of dwindling use numbers. While there were plenty of discussions about Google's real motivation (everything from well-reasoned examinations of the situation to cries of "EVIL!"), there was something more important happening behind the outcry – there were people stepping up to fill the gap in as seamless and timely a fashion as possible.
Did you hear about Google's sweet new app called Keep? After five years of Android existing without a basic note-taking app like iOS had for forever, Google finally got around to creating its own. Oh, and it even added a to-do list and picture uploading and voice memos and-wait, what's that? You don't want to use it because Google Reader closed? I'm not sure I follow.
I'm an open-minded kind of guy, though.
"We're living in a new kind of computing environment," says Urs Hölzle, SVP Technical Infrastructure and Google Fellow in a new post to Google's official blog. The search giant has resolved to make a second sweep at spring cleaning that began two years ago. After this round of cleaning is complete, the total number of features and services Google will have closed will number 70.
In the post, Google announces the closure or deprecation of eight features and services, but buried four items deep is the one that will probably affect the most users: Google Reader.
The New York Times, old guard or not, is still a huge source of news to a lot of people and to the company's credit, it's paying a decent amount of attention to its mobile apps. Now the publication is issuing an update that brings a night mode that inverts the colors for easier night reading. As someone who likes to minimize the amount of bright white light blasting into my eyes, I appreciate the option.