lundi 7 mars 2011

La Xoom

J'ai fait un copier coller d'un article d'Ars Technica sur la Xoom, avec un focus sur Google Books. Visiblement le testeur n'est pas dithyrambique sur la chose, il préfère le Nook. Ce n'est pas ce qu'on lui demande mais il fait comme il le sent.

Je suis un peu largué sur cette appli Google et cet environnement Adoïd etc. Je ne sais pas si elle accepte le multimédia par exemple ?

En tous cas epub et Google ce n'est pas aujourd'hui. On est donc face à une application propriétaire pour un catalogue au "format Google", mais je peux me tromper.

HoneyComb ne serait pas le modèle de vertu si souvent mis en avant ;-) Google doit assurer des revenus comme tout le monde.

Google Books

Google Books is an e-book reader that Google launched alongside its Web-based bookstore. Honeycomb comes with a special tablet-friendly version that looks good on large form-factor devices. The application has a simple 3D book cover display that allows you to select the book you want to read.

Viewing the books in my library on the Xoom

It will format the text as two pages side-by-side in landscape orientation and as a single page in portrait orientation. The text is clear and legible for comfortable reading. When the user is reading, the application hides all of the controls, including the contents of the notification area. You can flip pages by dragging to the left or right. It displays a slick 3D page-turning animation as you drag.

Reading Great Expectations in landscape orientation
Flipping a page in the e-book reader

Controls will appear when the user taps the screen. Text display settings can be accessed by tapping the letter button in the titlebar. You can adjust the brightness, text size, typeface, and line height. A slider along the bottom allows you just jump forward through the text.

Configuring the text settings

The e-book software is good, but could use a few more improvements. The biggest issue is the lack of support for side-loading books. It would be really nice if there was a way to read arbitrary epub files in the application. Due to the lack of this feature, users will still have to rely on third-party e-book software for reading books that were obtained from other sources. Unfortunately, Aldiko—my favorite e-book application for Android—has some rendering problems on the Xoom. I also had some trouble getting the Vintage Comics application to display properly on the device.

Aside from the lack of support for side-loading, my other complaints with Google's e-book application are very minor. I appreciate its effort to minimize on-screen distractions, but I'd really prefer it to not blot out the notification area. In particular, I want to be able to see the clock on the screen when I'm reading.

I think that Google's e-book software is pretty good, but the Xoom's weight and size detract from its suitability as a device for reading books. The awkwardness of holding the Xoom in portrait orientation for long periods of time is particularly problematic in that respect. If you don't mind reading novels in landscape, which is well supported in Google's own software, then it might not be an issue for you.

If you are an Android enthusiast and regard e-book reading as an important feature in a tablet, you might be better off getting a Nook Color and modifying it to run additional software. I personally prefer the Nook Color over the Xoom for reading novels and working through my Google Reader feed.

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