eReaders

Amazon Introduces Coins for Kindle Fire Users

My sons will be super excited to learn that Amazon has provided their Kindle accounts with 500 free Amazon Coins which is basically worth $5. The company just announced the coins which can be used to buy apps, games and in app purchases from the Amazon App Store and on the Kindle Fire. While it sounds like each is worth a penny, it is actually an even better deal since there are discounts when users buy additional coins in bulk. Savings of up to 10% can be attained buying the coins, so if/when you stock up, go big! I can…


MiPow Boom Bluetooth Speaker Review

We posted our review of the MiPow Boom mini the other day. (Read it.) The speaker is tiny but the sound is anything but tinny. I’m impressed by the sound such a small speaker is able to pump out and I still can’t believe that, after using the speaker pretty continually since we got here to Jamaica, I still have not had to charge it. There is no question in my mind that MiPow’s battery rating is more than a bit conservative. The company also sent me the first ever review sample of the MiPow Boom. This speaker, the larger…


The Scosche boomBOTTLE Is a Ruggedized Portable Speaker for Tunes on the Go

We’ve reviewed a host of different Bluetooth speakers but never one quite like this. The Scosche boomBOTTLE is a new mobile speaker that is ideal for streaming music while biking, hiking, camping and more. The boomBOTTLE not only has a unique design, but it has the features to match. A durable non-slip, shock absorbing TPU exterior is strong enough to withstand drops or vibrations caused from rough terrain, which makes it perfect for biking. An IP4X rated weatherproof construction means you can use the boomBOTTLE even when it is wet outside. The boomBOTTLE even features sealed dustproof speaker grills. The…


Packing Light for Telenav’s Waypoint

I’m heading to Telenav’s annual Waypoint conference next week. Since this is a fairly short trip, I’m looking to keep my baggage fairly light. I’d like to minimize my time lugging items around the airport, and with some careful planning, I think I can cut way back on my tendency to turn every trip into “my backpack is a mobile Radio Shack.” What’s on my packing list? Read on…


MiPow Boom mini Bluetooth Speaker Review

I will admit to having gone into my review of the MiPow Boom and MiPow Boom mini Bluetooth speakers positively inclined toward both products. After all, when Judie and I met with Brian Holmes,  vice president and general manager of MiPow, back at CES in January we were immediately impressed by the attention to quality and detail the company put into their mobile accessories. During our meeting we got to check out their range of external batteries and liked what we saw. We learned about their Bluetooth headsets and were anxious to try them out. And, at the end of CES, we…


Amazon Buys Goodreads, but Is It a Good Deal?

Amazon announced today that they’re buying Goodreads, a social book site that lets you review books you’ve read, and look for recommendations based on your reading list and the books your friends are reading. Needless to say, this is a slam dunk match for Amazon and Goodreads, as they really can complement each other nicely. There are a lot of reasons why this is good for everyone (Amazon, the Goodreads team, Goodreads users and Amazon Kindle users), but it does strike me that Goodreads being off the market is a potential loss for a few other big ebook players…let’s look a little…


John-E-Reader Makes Your Bathroom Safe for Kindles

Sarah and I are getting settled into our new home and are quite pleased. It’s really great…there’s just one minor issue. See, the first floor has a bathroom (which is great) but the sink doesn’t have much of a lip to rest items like reading material. So the John-E-Reader at Kickstarter caught my eye! The John-E-Reader was invented to address the exact issue we have in our house: how do you bring an expensive device into a water and tile filled trap safely? Their solution was to create a small pouch that hangs on your toilet paper holder, leaving your…


Fate of the Pharaoh for Android Review

Over the past few years working with G5 games as they have grown into one of the more successful casual games publishers on smartphones, I have seen a fairly standard formula: they publish for iOS first, then Android and finally for the Mac (and occasionally PC). But with Fate of the Pharaoh we get a first – G5 is releasing an Android game before the iOS version! How does it play? Let’s take a look! Type of app: City-Building game Platform/where to buy: Available for Android systems (including Nook and Kindle Fire tablets); available from Amazon AppStore, Google Play, or…


Seagate Wireless Plus Lets You Take Your Data With You, Review

We first saw Seagate’s GoFlex Satellite Wireless Storage device at CES 2011. (Read the Review) In March of 2012 we announced that the company was releasing a firmware update for the GoFlex Satellite that made it faster and more convenient. (Read the post.) Now Seagate has released their Wireless Plus. It lets you stream media and files to a variety of devices including tablets, smartphones and computers. The Seagate Wireless Plus can store and carry over 500 movies or thousands of songs, photos and documents. And, thanks to the free Seagate Media app- available for iPad, iPhone, Kindle Fire and…


Amazon Kindle Paper White Commercial a Sign of the Times

  Amazon’s new Kindle Paper White commercial shows just how far we have come in a relatively short period of time. Allow me to offer a bit of personal background. A little over a decade ago, a debate raged within my religious movement regarding rabbis officiating at ceremonies celebrating same-sex couples. My position on it was clear, and I told my Board of Directors. One of my most stalwart supporters, a man whose wisdom guided me on many issues, disagreed strongly and went so far as to almost beg me to vote otherwise or, at the minimum, to abstain. I respectfully told…


Ways To Read More In 2013 On Any Budget!

  I love books. I know I am slightly biased, being a former bookstore employee, but I like to think that most people like reading books. The hard part is finding books you want to read. Maybe you can’t find the right authors, or books have gotten too pricey, or you haven’t made the leap to ebooks yet…but don’t worry. No matter the obstacle, at Gear Diary we are here to help you make sure your 2013 reading list stays nice and full! Book Discovery: This is the hardest part. Maybe you have a local bookstore you can pop into…


Record Numbers of Devices Activated on Christmas, iPad and Amazon Tablets Big Winners

It is not terribly surprising that oodles of new devices were opened up and activated on Christmas morning – in fact, we had three new iPhone 5 activations in our house alone! The site Flurry.com tracks and estimates the daily activations of iOS and Android devices, and is reporting that more than 17 million activations took place on December 25th alone. As it is, 4 million combined smartphones and tablets is a HUGE number – and that is happening every day! Now think that on Christmas there were more than 4 TIMES that many activations … insane! But wait –…


Barnes and Noble and the Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Fictionwise Shutdown

The Barnes and Noble transition of Fictionwise and eReader to NOOK has been steadily going from bad to worse. First, they had difficulties moving books to the NOOK platform. Then, a huge swath of customers (including both Judie and I) received an error message that our email addresses were not recognized. The Thanksgiving holiday intervened, but it doesn’t look like anyone has even attempted to fix these errors since last week! I emailed Barnes and Noble last week, and was told “We’re working on it.” Yesterday, my curiosity got the better of me and I tried my initial email and…


Waterfield Slip Case for iPad mini Review

My last few Kindles have been stored and carried in a Waterfield Slip Case for Amazon Kindle. It is simple protection that does exactly what I need and no more. (Read the review.) Now Waterfield has released a Slip Case that is perfectly sized for the new iPad mini. In fact it is perfectly sized twice; once for the iPad on its own and the other for the iPad when you are using a Smart Cover. Both are simple, protective and, if the well-loved but “looks brand new” Kindle Slip Case is any indication, will last and last. Here’s a…


R.I.P., Fictionwise and eReader

This has been a long time coming, but Barnes and Noble is finally putting Fictionwise and eReader out to pasture. They purchased the sites three years ago, and from that purchase the NOOK was born. But now that the NOOK clearly outshines its older siblings, Barnes and Noble apparently feels there isn’t a benefit to maintaining the prior brands. Even though I’ve said for years this makes more sense, it’s still sad to see Fictionwise and eReader disappear. They go back to the days of Palm OS and Peanut Press, and they were truly pioneers of eBook reading. The first…


Battle of the 7″ Tablets – iPad Mini vs Kindle Fire HD vs Nexus 7

In our Gear Chat, I said to Dan that the iPad Mini was the ‘best small format tablet I have ever touched’. So what does that mean in context? Well, aside from the Mini, I have had a couple of Samsung 7″ tablets, one each from ASUS and Acer, HTC Flyer, original Kindle Fire, and most recently the Google Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire HD. Those last two are currently very popular, so I wanted to take a hands-on look at all three and compare them across a number of criteria. Here are the comparison points I used: 1. Size…


Stereo Sound Test Review – Kindle Fire HD vs iPad Mini

We now know that the iPad Mini is the first iDevice with stereo speakers. But they are located on either side of the downscaled Lightning connector port. I have also touted the excellent sound and stereo separation of the Kindle Fire HD. Now that I have both tablets … let’s put them to the test! The first thing I did was a series of basic stereo separation tests, some of which you can find here. The results? The Kindle Fire HD shows much more dramatic stereo separation and better ‘sound location’, which makes it very immersive when watching a video…


Royal Trouble Hidden Adventure for Kindle Fire Game Review

Royal Trouble Hidden Adventure is a Hidden Object Puzzle Adventure (HOPA) game for the Kindle Fire; it is available in the Amazon AppStore for Android, and its developer is Orchid Games / G5 Entertainment. Description: In this critically acclaimed adventure quest, help two charming royal heirs escape from a secluded island! Princess Loreen and Prince Nathaniel find themselves locked in a dungeon without any idea of how they got there. She is bright, witty and rebellious. He is handsome, smart and brave. Unfortunately, they can’t stand each other! Take control of both the Prince and Princess and help this hilarious…


Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire HD Sales Surge, Bucking Trends and Challenging the iPad Mini

Image courtesy of Pinoytutorial There is one very clear reason (or rather – TWO) that Apple needed an iPad Mini this year: the success of the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire. I wrote about things I love about each device recently, and I also noted an analyst report that pegged Google-based sales of the device at ~1 million for the second quarter. Turns out that things (as always) aren’t so simple. First off, Amazon went immediately on the attack as Carly noted here, citing that their BEST Kindle Fire HD sales came after the iPad Mini announcement. Amazon said: “Wednesday…


5 Reasons (Each) Why I Love the Nexus 7 and the Kindle Fire HD

I have been highly critical of Android tablets (shock, I know) for a number of reasons, and 7″ tablets in specific. But as has been pointed out, I also tout enjoying the Google Nexus 7 quite a bit for a number of reasons. I was also the last one holding on to my launch-day Kindle Fire from last year, and pre-ordered and have happily kept the Kindle Fire HD. All of that screams ‘cognitive dissonance’ to me, so I thought it was worth explaining – and what better way than to list a bunch of things I love about each…


Apple’s Announcements Are Amazon’s Gain

Immediately after the iPad Mini was announced, one of my coworkers asked me what I thought. I told her it seemed like a neat device, but the price came in higher than I had expected. She was a bit surprised at the price as well, and she basically said at that level she was more inclined to look at the Kindle Fire. Apparently she wasn’t the only one. According to The Verge, the Kindle Fire had its best sales day ever after the iPad Mini was announced. This doesn’t surprise me too much, as I think the iPad Mini was…