Amazon's HAL 9000-style voice controlled gadget thing, the Echo, (yes, that's the best way to describe it in a single sentence) is gaining more capabilities with each software update. If you can get over the creepy implications of that, it's amazingly cool. The latest update adds the capability to interact with user recipes from the popular IFFT (If This, Then That) web service. At the moment it's mostly requests for music, to-do functions, and connected gadgets. Read More
Avid readers on Android have some exciting new toys to look forward to in the latest version of Amazon Kindle. Update 4.8 adds some significant features to an already-packed app, specifically linked to in-book search. "X-Ray" is a proprietary system that downloads a pre-configured, collated file that includes information about the book itself, the characters, the setting, and the context of basically everything. For complex fiction, non-fiction, or textbooks, it's an amazing system previously reserved for the Kindle e-readers and tablets. Read More
There's a surprising lack of options when it comes to Android audiobooks. Sure, there's Audible, but its metered subscription service isn't an ideal solution for a lot of people, and other services tend to be light on content. Audiobook enthusiasts now have another alternative: Barnes & Noble. NOOK (ALL CAPS) Audiobooks is available as a free download on any Android 4.0+ device, though I'm betting that only those in the US can actually buy books. Read More
When the time comes to shop for ebooks, Amazon's Kindle Store is one of the first online destinations that comes to mind. Likewise, Audible, a company now owned by Amazon, is an easy recommendation for audiobooks. Thus far, people who own both the ebook and audiobook versions of a novel have had to hop back and forth between mobile apps to switch between the two.
Reading a book using the Kindle app vs listening to it via Audible. Read More
If you want to listen to an audiobook, Audible is the number one source. Though, the app was never great on Android. It wasn't terrible, but it didn't have a strong Android aesthetic and the layout was strange. With the version 1.5 update, that's a thing of the past. The app looks excellent now, and there are other improvements too.