"app development" entries

Where are the apps for ereaders?

Developers and ereader vendors are missing an app opportunity

I read on my GlowLight NOOK much more frequently than I read on my Asus Transformer tablet. I’d say there’s at least a 10:1 differential, so for every hour I read on my tablet I read at least 10 hours on my Glowlight Nook. I’ll bet I’m not alone and people who own both an E Ink device and a tablet probably do much more reading on the former. So why is the apps ecosystem limited to tablets? Why are there no add-on apps for E Ink devices in general?

In a recent TOC newsletter we asked readers “What do you wish your ereader could do?” We received quite a few replies, but one of the more interesting ones came from a person who said they’d like to have apps like Flipboard, Zite and Pulse on their E Ink device. I found that interesting because those are the apps (along with News360) I use almost every day on my tablet. If there were Nook E Ink versions, that 10:1 ratio noted earlier would probably become 50:1 as there would be less reason for me to switch to my tablet for reading.

So why aren’t there apps like this on E Ink devices? One reason is tied to E Ink’s capabilities. Apps like Flipboard, Zite, et al, offer nice graphics and even a bit of animation. E Ink is limited to grayscale and no animation, of course. So why not create those apps without the animation and just show the images in black and white? That leads to reason No. 2: Amazon, B&N and the other E Ink device vendors aren’t encouraging third-party app development. That’s probably because they want those devices to have the highest walled gardens of all, which is a shame and a loss for consumers.

Is it too late for these vendors to reconsider and encourage third-party app development? Maybe. After all, the momentum has already swung toward tablets and away from E Ink readers. Nevertheless, as long as tablets weigh more than E Ink readers, their displays aren’t as easy on the eyes and they don’t offer significantly longer battery life, I’ll remain a two-device reading consumer. I suspect I’m not alone, so I hope an E Ink app ecosystem takes root at some point.

This post originally appeared on Joe Wikert’s Publishing 2020 Blog (“Why Are Apps Only on Tablets?“). This version has been lightly edited.


The art of marrying content with mobile apps

Gurvinder Batra on KiwiTech's publishing-specific approach.

In this TOC Podcast, KiwiTech founder and CTO Gurvinder Batra talks about how his company masters the challenges of developing apps for the publishing industry. He also says native apps are a better option than EPUB.

What to watch for in mobile web apps

How WebGL, device APIs, and ample experimentation will shape the future of mobile web apps.

Sencha's James Pearce discusses the most promising mobile web app technologies and explains why device APIs could make the web a lot more interesting.

ePayments Week: The economics of in-app purchases

Gamers prefer consumables, cheap Android phones catch on in Kenya, and the anatomy of good apps.

Flurry says gamers are more likely to buy goods they use than ones that last. Also, Safaricom sells buckets of $80 Android phones in Kenya, and some thoughts on what makes a good app.

Honeycomb and the Android tablet tipping point

Marko Gargenta on investing in Android tablet development.

"Programming Honeycomb" author Marko Gargenta discusses the state of Android 3.x, the technical hurdles of Honeycomb, and why the slow adoption pattern of Android tablets may soon change.

The evolution of iOS development: Better tools and a lot more to think about

Dan and Tracey Pilone on iOS apps and the iPad's influence.

Dan and Tracey Pilone, authors of "Head First iPhone and iPad Development," discuss the maturation of the iOS world, how the iPad has changed development patterns, and what they hope to see in iOS down the road.

Getting started with HTML5 apps

Zachary Kessin on the skills you need to build apps with HTML5 and JavaScript.

"Programming HTML5 Applications" author Zachary Kessin discusses the tools, technologies, and knowledge that help developers build HTML5 apps. Plus: Learn the most common app development mistakes and how to avoid them.

How is HTML 5 changing web development?

Remy Sharp on whether HTML is ready for prime-time production.

In this interview, OSCON speaker Remy Sharp discusses HTML5's current usage and how it could influence the future of web apps and browsers (hint: in time, we may not notice browsers at all.)

The iPhone, the Angry Bird and the Pink Elephant

Will Post-PC battles lead to a war of attrition for developers?

Lost amidst the tremendous success of mobile platforms is that they seem designed to create surplus. This makes it incredibly hard for developers to achieve the breakout success seen in past computing waves.

Publishing News: BAFTA nomination hints at app crossover appeal

The Malcom Tucker app might win a BAFTA, Kindle ebook sales outpace print, and a Kindle wish list.

For the first time ever, an app has been nominated for a TV BAFTA, Kindle sales might indicate the ebook tipping point, and the Kindle team gets some (unsolicited) pointers from Joe Wikert.