Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Kindle Touch 3G now available in 175+ countries. Kindle features vs Nook features - Update

Amazon is really in motion these days, isn't it.

  Now they've announced that the Kindle Touch 3G will be available in over 175 countries.  All this time, the UK had only the Kindle Basic (NoTouch/NoKeyboard) available for purchase there.

The heading on their Press Release:
' Kindle Touch 3G – the most full-featured Kindle e-reader – easy-to-use touch screen and free 3G wireless, no annual contracts or monthly fees and never pay for or hunt for a Wi-Fi hotspot

Now available in multiple languages – German, French, Italian, Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese and American and British English '

It's available today for pre-order from Amazon.

The Kindle Touch 3G will ship to customers beginning April 27, a month from now. Kindle Touch and Kindle Touch 3G are also available today for pre-order from Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.de, Amazon.fr, Amazon.es and Amazon.it.  (Until recently, Kindles in Italy were ordered from U.S. Amazon.)

Update- A personal review or report cited today
KindleZen tweeted the link to this article, "The Right Tool for the Job: The Kindle Touch," this morning, giving his reasons for the title. [End of update]

X-ray Feature
I personally love using the X-Ray feature (now being made available on Kindle Fire also) on non-fiction books especially, but it's also useful to keep track of characters in novels as well.

  You can learn more about what X-Ray actually is or does, at What does X-Ray do? and with an example of my use of it in the book on Steve Jobs in the Tips post on Kindle Touch and its X-Ray Feature.

Kindle Touch features, beyond reading
The Kindle Touch (both in WiFi and in 3G/WiFi) comes with built-in speakers supporting text-to-speech when the publisher allows it, audiobooks, and mp3 files.

Now, I've been asked a lot about whether to get a Kindle or a Nook Touch.  I had bought a Nook Color on sight at my B&N (and used it daily for a year) but am not keen on the Nook Simple Touch because its many font faces and size choices displayed much lighter than what I'm used to seeing with the Kindle 3 Keyboard and Touch models.  B&N wouldn't allow me to photograph them side by side so I could have something more to go on than my personal reaction.  But the relative lightness was described in some magazine reviews and they've recently improved the darkness level, I read.  The darkness of fonts is important to me, and I was among those who posted about the lightness of Kindle 2 fonts (and was quoted in Wired on the problem for some Kindle users).

Nook and its "no ads" statement
It's said the Nook doesn't have ads, but almost half the Nook's Home screen is comprised of recommendations from B&N as to what you might like to read.  I'm one that doesn't want books I haven't chosen to buy, appearing on my home screen like that and, to me, they are ads, and others have felt that way.

Nook Touch advantages over Kindle Touch
 However, in response to those who ask, there are things many have preferred on the Nook (though The Nook Touch is NOT available globally nor can most people outside the U.S. buy Nook books -- which is not a small point especially when U.S. Nook owners can't buy Nook books for their devices while traveling outside the U.S.
  [ B&N was trying to change this.  Let me know if they did.]
  Commenter Geert responded that B&N changed this last year to allow US credit card holders to be able to buy from outside the U.S.  He added a note about SD card storage, so read the comments also to get that added information.

  .  The Nook has a wider bezel.  That may make it look squarer but it gives the hands more support in that you don't inadvertently touch the screen and turn a page that way.
  .  You can hold the Nook Touch and turn pages with one hand more easily, because it has page-turn buttons, while Amazon did away with the buttons.
  .  You can flip ahead more easily on the Nook, with a slider that lets you move ahead a certain amount.
  .  The Nook Touch, like the Kindle Touch, has "Real" page numbers matching a given print book version for thousands of books, but they also have page numbers that they create when there is nothing available with page numbers that would match a print book.  Many are comforted by having page numbers at all, as they're a more traditional reference than a 4-digit 'location' number (even if the latter is accurate in absolute terms no matter what the font size may be).

Why would anyone buy a Kindle Touch over the Nook Touch?
A couple of months ago, an Amazon Kindle forum member asked about this point:
  If the Kindle Touch 3G does not offer 3G access usable on any webpages beyond Free 24/7 Wikipedia access and the Amazon store, why should anyone not just buy a Nook then.
 (Never mind that no other e-reader offers free 3G access 24/7 to Wikipedia.)

  I didn't blog my response for months because I know that I'm biased on this.  But that's based on some quite real aspects of the two e-readers.
  So, here's a copy of what I posted at the time, in a format that replies to what the Kindle does have and can do that the Nook Touch can't.  Again, there's no pretense to being neutral, as the reasons given are the basis for the bias in my case.
' Zad,
Re your note that the new KTouch is [basically] the nook Touch and your question
  "What sets your reader apart now Amazon?"

I'm not Amazon but I've identified the following for a blog entry earlier:

1a. The Kindle has a web browser that works very well under WiFi.
1b. The Nook doesn't have a web-browser at all and B&N removed recently the vestiges of the hidden one that didn't really work, which is why B&N's comparison chart said the Nook didn't have a web browser.

2a. The Kindle has audio and music
2b. The Nook Touch doesn't.

3a. The Kindle has text to speech on most books and all personal docs
3b. The Nook doesn't.

4a. Kindle owners get 5 free gigs of storage space for personal documents (non-Amazon documents) [And these are now sync'd across various devices.]
4b. Nook owners don't. Nor do they have the free 5 gigs ALL Amazon customers get for storage of whatever legitimate [non-Amazon] documents and files they have.

5a. The Kindle can zoom any photo [or map] to full screen, within a book.
5b. The Nook Touch can't. (I can't do it on my NookColor books either.)

6a. Kindle owners who pay $6.58/mo. for unlimited free 2-day shipping of goods sold by Amazon itself get a bonus of access to instant video streaming of about 12,000 movies and tv shows -- older, but good ones, and some new ones from PBS and BBC -- for either their computers, their Kindle Fires if they have one, or even the TV, via a Roku or siimilar box.
6b. B&N offers no free streaming of media

7a. Kindle owners who pay that Prime membership also get now the bonus of being able to borrow one popular book per calendar month with no waiting period or due date.
7b. B&N doesn't have a program like that.

8a. Owners of the Kindle ereader can buy Kindle books when vacationing out of the country.
8b. Owners of the Nook ereader can't buy Nook books when out of the U.S.
    [Update: This was changed to allow this for U.S. customers using US credit cards.]

9a. 3G Kindle owners get free 3G web access to all of Wikipedia at any time, to look up information.
9b. The Nook Touch B&W has no web browser.

10a. Kindle owners get a personal web server page that shows their annotations for each book, backed up and displayable and transferrable to their computers.
10b. B&N hasn't made anything like that for the Nook.

- Andrys
http://kindleworld.blogspot.com '

Note that I didn't mention the X-Ray feature, which many find quite useful.

Nevertheless, look at the Nook Touch advantages above before making up your mind if you're trying to decide between the two (as many still are).

Kindle Touch 3G, US-only   Kindle Touch WiFi (US)   Kindle Touch WiFi-Only, outside US    Kindle Basic   (UK: KBasic)   Kindle Fire
Kindle Keybd 3G   (UK: Kindle Keybd 3G)   K3 Special Offers   K3-3G Special Offers   DX

Check often: Temporarily-free recently published ones
  Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.  Top 100 free bestsellers.  Liked-books under $1
UK-Only: recently published free books, bestsellers, or £5 Max ones
    Also, UK customers should see the UK store's Top 100 free bestsellers.

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  1. Hi Andrys,

    As you know, I did a very detailed review of the Nook Touch (http://www.filterjoe.com/2011/09/28/which-is-the-best-e-reader-the-nook-simple-touch/). I also then purchased a Kindle Touch model when it first came out. I used it for a month and then returned it. Everything you stated is accurate. But the thing which made the Kindle Touch unusable for me was the user interface. I simply couldn't get the hang of it, despite making myself use it nearly every day for a month. Accidental screen touches would cause me to zoom off to somewhere I didn't expect, while sometimes the simplest of actions took 4 touches in a sequence I found hard to remember (like changing chapters from within a book). Also, I never figured out how to hold it in a way that didn't cause lots of accidental page turns or tire my hand.

    After returning the Kindle Touch I got the $79 Kindle and I love it. The user interface is fairly obvious as it's geared towards button presses. And I get all the wonderful Kindle platform benefits that I miss with the Nook.

    The Nook makes it painful enough to get material onto to it that I only use it for something that will take me several hours or more to read - mainly novels. I use my Kindle 4 for everything else, especially Instapaper.

    1. Joe, yes, that was a good, and certainly thorough review/comparison you did of the two.
      With the user interface that isn't intuitive because there's no clue that all you have to do is lightly press the top center edge to get the Menu and several other options, it can be daunting.

      For 'next chapter' within a book -- if there ARE chapter markers made by the publisher -- it's just a swipe straight up or straight down to get to start of next or previous chapter. This Home page is also a swipe up/down affair, which is not what we expect coming from the Kindle Keyboard.

      But, yes, accidental screen touches can lead to surprise areas.

      The $79 Kindle would drive me absolutely batty because I'm one who often uses the Search function and who does like to make small notes added to some highlights. There is nothing I dislike more than trying to find an alpha character from picking and choosing from a sequential a-z rectangle, as we have to do with some TVs and remote controls when doing passwords or video titles.

      So, the $79 Kindle would be hell for me, but for people who don't use the keyboard, it would be the smallest, lightest, easiest no-nonsense reader.

  2. Sony PRS-T1 is much better than both Nook and Kindle Touch, as a reading device.

    The browser is more functional than KT. Integration with Overdrive is great (as long as you don't want to sync on different devices), and you can borrow and read PDF reasonably well (where ePub or Kindle format is not available). You can zoom and pan any page (ePub or PDF). It's got landscape. Reading settings (text size, orientation, cropping, typeface) are item-specific, so you don't have to keep tweaking things once as you move from one item to another (which drove me crazy with Nook, with its Publisher Defaults setting). Page turn buttons that aren't as finicky as Nook Touch. Tap does nothing, unless you hit a hyperlink, so for example you can pick up lint on your fingertip without locking the screen first. It has fantastic navigation, you can follow breadcrumbs to every page that you've visited in the book, not just 'Back'. So for example you can jump easily back and forth between endnote and its reference. Free form annotation with stylus. There's a Note app. It is really light. MicroSD slot. Side-loaded content is a full citizen, you can remove Store content and delete the rest (this drove me crazy with Nook, where you can't remove Store content without opening the book, and cannot delete side-loaded content without hooking up a USB cable). You can side-load from web sites Dropbox, gutenburg, feedbooks, calibre server, etc. even DRM content (locked with same AdobeID). Text selection can be adjusted after initial selection in most cases, as there are 'handles' on both ends. Wikipedia/Google search are options with selection (awkward on KT, impossible on Nook). Localized UI, includes about 10 dictionaries for various languages and translation to English.

    Cons are the soft glossy plastic frame which collects scratches, fingerprints and lint (a skin or cover might help). Cropping in landscape doesn't work correctly, though it is good enough. It will not read B&N books (this might be possible using next release of ADE as proxy). Hyperlink style is very ugly (grey highlight), especially ugly where entire phrases are hyperlinked (maybe you can hack the CSS to fix that). Not as much time between charges (hence lighter weight).

    Physically Nook is great, except I could not get used to the page turn buttons even after a couple of months (gotta get the thumb in JUST the right place). But it is crippled without a web browser. And the reader settings have some bad 'wiring': changing text size should not turn off publisher defaults, for example. The settings should be item-specific because publisher defaults doesn't work well with all books, while it's necessary for others. Both Nook and Sony are more interesting as rooting projects, as they are Android.

    Kindle Touch does have that chapter navigation that usually works. Full content search.

  3. B&N last year changed its policy. If your account is registered with an US credit card you can now buy ebooks anywhere in the world.

    The Nook has no cloud storage for personal documents, but it does have a micro-SD card slot which means you can add up to 32GB of local storage.

    1. Geert, thanks for that. It must have been fairly late last year.

      I've been using the Wi-Drive for my added 32G of storage as I can simultaneously, smoothly stream it to 3 devices -- it's smaller than a small cell phone. I am more apt to use it for the Kindle Fire than for an e-Ink device since I'm never been near maximum as there just so many e-books I want to think about reading at any time and even then I have over 200 on the device, including a few encyclopedias.

      The Wi-Drive streams its data by making its own WiFi network but also allows all devices to also connect with the Net. The 16-gig version is $48.

      The Seagate GoFlex (I think that's the name) is not a flash drive that can easily be pocketable like the Wi-Drive, but it has 500 Gigs on it and can stream/share files also in the same way. It just got an update to allow access to the Net while it's offering or streaming files to a device. I may get one of those just to have a non-cabled version without having to use the USB slot on my router network.

      Some prefer the AirStash, as it holds SD cards, but it's somewhat pricey for that and you can't access the Net while it's functioning so it's not been on my list.

      Thanks for the added info, which I'll point people to.

  4. The Sony sounds good, but it was pretty pricey, last I looked... Thanks for this added, detailed review!

    1. Sony PRS-T1 has been selling for $99 off and on at various stores since before Christmas (when it sold for that on sony.com), and I think last week was $80 somewhere (Fry's?). I got mine at Target for $99 in February. B&N apparently is selling refurbished Nook Color and Nook Touch as a bundle for $150. When is someone just going to give them away (e.g. give $100 store credit with purchase of device)?

  5. Great review over all but I think when considering an ereader one needs to distinguish what purpose you are wanting it for. There are so many on the market these days that have a ton of bells and whistles, but if it is simply a dedicated ereader you are after then these extra features are really not necessary. Thus, for a simple ereader device I would have to say I lean towards the kindle, for one reason only, and that is that AMazon still has the widest variety of ereader books available. The barnes and noble nook is still left in the dust when this fact is taken into consideration. And if you ask me, it is a very important fact to take into account, as whats the use of an ereader device if none of the books your after are available through your provider?

    1. Marissa, That's a good point, although others have mentioned getting books at B&N that Amazon doesn't have also. I have both a NookColor and my Kindles, as well a Samsung tablet and I read on all of them, with the apps now available from both B&N and Amazon, and I buy from both Amazon and B&N.

      I also have Nook app on my Kindle Fire. If I like the ePub version better for layout I can read even DRM'd ePub books on the NookColor and now I can read it via Aldiko or Mantano on my Kindle Fire.

      Amazon does have more contemporary books (of varying quality), while B&N tells a white lie in counting their free Google books (with their many scanning and OCR errors) as part of their 2 million books. People should check pricing on the non Big6 books also before they decide though, for the types of books they most prefer.
      Sometimes Amazon will be better on those and sometimes B&N. So this is a personal decision. I know many who are very happy with their Nooks too. But I wanted to make sure it's known that there are differences in the capabilities of these two devices, since the forum question was that the Kindle is basically a Nook now and that certainly isn't true...


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