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JK Rowling, author of the Harry Potter books, announced that after years of restricting the phenomenally successful series to print-only form, she will now be selling the series as e-books through a website that contains new material.
The new interactive website will be the exclusive seller of the e-book editions of Harry Potter, to the dismay of Amazon and Apple.
Fans will have access to the world of Potter and his friends through graphics and video that immerses them into an “online reading experience.”
“It’s a wonderful way to introduce the digital generation to books,” Rowling said at a press conference in London’s Victoria and Albert Museum.
“Personally I love printed paper books, but e-books are miraculous, you have several hundred books available at a time.”
Rowling’s e-book venture partners her with Sony, but she retains the digital publication rights, reports AFP.
Howard Stringer of Sony released a statement saying that it was a “pioneering partnership” that would “help shape the future of story-telling.”
The Harry Potter author says that she has a special bond with fans online and that she was “phenomenally lucky in that I have the resources to do it myself and therefore I got to do it, I think, right.”
She says, “I think this is a fantastic and unique experience that I can afford in every sense.”
Google on Friday said it plans to discontinue two of its services, Google Health and Google PowerMeter.
Google Health will linger on through January 1, 2012. User data will be preserved for an additional year. The lights go out for Google PowerMeter on September 16, 2011.
“Both were based on the idea that with more and better information, people can make smarter choices, whether in regard to managing personal health and wellness, or saving money and conserving energy at home,” said Google senior product manager Aaron Brown and green energy czar Bill Weihl in a blog post. “While they didn’t scale as we had hoped, we believe they did highlight the importance of access to information in areas where it’s traditionally been difficult.”
The insufficiently popular services join other notable Google misfires, including Google Wave, Lively, and Google Video.
Stay safe in the cloud.
Uses who wish to save their data before it vanishes can go to the respective websites and download their information in supported formats. Google says that in next few weeks, it will be adding support in Google Health for the Direct Project protocol, an emerging open standard for health data exchange.
When it launched Google Health in 2008, Google emphasized how thoroughly it planned to protect personal health data, offering “complete control over your data” and promising not to sell or share users’ data without explicit permission.
But privacy worries weren’t what kept consumers away. “[Privacy] wasn’t actually a significant concern we heard from our users, and it wasn’t a significant factor in our decision to retire the service,” said a Google spokesperson via email.
Samsung’s Droid Charge is the latest high-end Android smartphone from Verizon. It carries a premium price – but it’s not worth it.
The Charge is one of the first phones capable of accessing Verizon’s new 4G network, joining the HTC Thunderbolt that I reviewed in April and the recently released LG Revolution. The three phones are fairly similar. They each have 1-gigahertz processors, large 4.3-inch touch screens and run Android 2.2, which is a recent, but not the latest, release of the operating system.
But the Charge stands out from the others because of its weight, battery life and storage capacity. The device weighs just 4 ounces, which makes it lighter than Apple’s iPhone 4G despite having a much larger screen. It feels light in the hand, too, if a bit bulky thanks to its oversize screen.
Samsung promises about 11 hours of use out of the Charge between charges, which dwarfs the promised battery life of the iPhone or the Charge’s rival 4G devices. I didn’t get anywhere near that much use out of the Charge. But unlike the Thunderbolt, which always seemed to be out of juice when I wanted to use it, the Charge usually endured a good day of off-and-on use without needing to be recharged.
Another nice thing about the Charge compared with the Revolution or the Thunderbolt is that it includes a 32-gigabyte SD card. That’s comparable to the storage built into the similarly priced, top-of-the-line iPhone and four times as much as other 4G Verizon devices. It will give you ample room to store apps, music or even movies.
One way Android phone makers have tried to distinguish themselves is by offering a distinct interface in the form of customized buttons, home screens or widgets. The Charge has a row of virtual buttons you see when you pull down its notifications window. The buttons allow you to instantly turn on or off items such as the Charge’s Wi-Fi antenna or its ability to access data over the cellphone network.