Microsoft Surface

When you wake up on Christmas morning and scurry downstairs in your PJs, will you find an iPad Mini under the tree?  Are you hoping Hanukkah will net you a Surface tablet? Or, after the dust settles from Kwanzaa and Festivus, will you treat yourself to a Kindle Fire HD? There’s no shortage of eReading devices vying for space on your holiday wish list, and OverDrive supports them all. Here’s our take on the latest and greatest gadgets for enjoying your library’s OverDrive collection:

 

Microsoft Surface

The Surface tablet is the flagship device for Microsoft’s new Windows 8 operating system.  Available in either RT or Pro models (RT only supports Windows 8 applications, while Pro supports older Windows applications in desktop mode), the Surface boasts the largest display (10.6 inches, high definition) of the recent tablet crop. The RT version offers either 32GB or 64GB of onboard storage, while the Pro version offers 64GB or 128GB storage.  Both devices have a microSDXC card slot and allow you to add an optional keyboard/cover. The biggest feature about this device, of course, is that it runs Windows 8, the touch-screen enhanced operating system.  Download OMC for Windows 8from the Microsoft Windows Store.

Kindle Fire

 

Kindle Fire HD

The new Kindle Fire devices feature improved displays and sound systems, as well as improved Internet speed.  You have two display options, 7- or 8.9-inch screen.  The 7-inch screen offers 16GB or 32GB of storage, while the 8.9-inch version offers 32GB and 64GB. There’s no option to expand storage via a micro SD card slot; instead Amazon provides access to cloud storage. In addition to support for Kindle books, as an Android tablet, the Fire also enables you to play games, browse the Internet over a 4G or WiFi connection, and best of all, use OverDrive Media Console to read EPUB eBooks and listen to MP3 audiobooks! The enhanced display supports high-definition video and reduces glare, making it easy to get lost in a good eBook. Even at high volumes, the sound system offers excellent clarity, whether you’re watching a movie, listening to music, or escaping with an audiobook.

 

NOOK HD and HD+

Not to be outdone, Barnes & Noble has updated its NOOK series with lightweight, high-resolution NOOK HD and HD+. The HD features 8GB or 16GB of onboard storage and a 7-inch screen; the HD+ has 16GB or 32GB of onboard storage and a 9-inch screen; both offer micro SD storage slots. The latest NOOK devices, as well as NOOK Tablet and NOOK Color, enable readers to borrow library eBooks and audiobooks wirelessly using OverDrive Media Console.

NOOK Color

 

Apple iPad Mini, iPod touch, iPod nano

The biggest news out of Cupertino, Calif., is Apple’s new iPad Mini. Featuring the same power and performance of the larger iPad, but with a 7.9-inch screen, the iPad Mini looks to compete with Android tablets like the Nexus 7.  And like its larger sibling, the full-sized iPad, the Mini will allow you to use OverDrive Media Console to enjoy your ebooks and audiobooks .  Apple has also released updated versions of the iPod touch, iPod nano, and iPad. The iPod touch and iPad have some minor tweaks under the hood, and have been updated to use the new Lightning connector, while the iPod nano features a new touch screen.

 

Kid-Friendly Tablets

For parents looking to introduce their kids to the world of tablet computing, there are three tablets geared toward the young’uns – the Nabi, Arnova Child Pad, and MEEP. Each device is a full featured Android tablet—running Android’s Ice Cream Sandwich operating system— with 7-inch screens and kid-friendly form factors designed for smaller hands. The internal storage ranges from 8GB for the Nabi to 4GB on both the Arnova Child Pad and MEEP; each device offers expandable storage via the Micro SD card slot. For content control, the Nabi tablet by Fuhu limits access to the Internet for younger users by using “Mommy Mode” to create a list of accessible sites, making this tablet a good choice for the youngest of users. The Arnova Child Pad offers 6 months of free access to Mobile Parental Filter, likely with the option to purchase the parental filtering suite later. The MEEP tablet has its own parental control, allowing parents to monitor access remotely. And because all three devices run Android, they also give kids access to library eBooks and audiobooks via Overdrive Media Console.

Apple iPad

 

Test Drive, Front Line Tech Support, etc.

OverDrive’s Test Drive program highlights devices that we have thoroughly tested and approved for loaning out to library users. If your library doesn’t already have Test Drive, now’s a great time to start letting your users try out devices before they make that big purchase.

 

With the holiday rush can come an uptick in support requests, and Front Line Technical Support gives your patrons a direct line to the Support Services team here at OverDrive, and we can take care of them right away!

 

Justin Noszek is a Support Specialist at OverDrive.

 

 

14 Responses to “Holiday Gadget Guide: Hottest Devices for Library eBooks”

  1. Greg Tramel

    how come NONE of these devices support OverDrive videos and OverDrive music???

    • Michael Lovett

      The Microsoft Surface Pro will support both music and video; it runs Windows 8 Pro, which supports legacy programs.

      We’ll be reviewing more devices soon. Stay tuned!

    • Michael Lovett

      Hi Greg- The Nabi runs Android, and OverDrive Media Console does not support transfer of WMA files to Android devices. -Mike

    • Michael Lovett

      Never fear, Emily, we have lots of love for e-ink. OverDrive supports Kindle Paperwhite, NOOK Simple Touch, et al!

  2. George Garrett

    I really am stunned that the Nexus 7/10 was not on this list. It outdoes both the Kindle Fire HD and the Nook HD on specs and hardware. It is also one of the most budget friendly tablets at $199. Quite a steal. Check them out at Wal-Mart, Office Depot, and Staples.

  3. Greg Tramel

    of course Windows 8 Pro will support music and video but why want the Windows RT devices support them?

  4. Greg Tramel

    I understand the differences between Windows Pro and Windows RT. I’m just saying in the future OverDrive videos and music need to work with Windows RT and Android if we are ever going to buy any more. Our hand are being forced to look at other vendors such as Baker & Taylor, Midwest Tape and Freegal.

    • Michael Lovett

      Hi Kristin- You don’t need ADE to download eBooks and audiobooks directly to the NOOK HD using OverDrive Media Console app. But for transferring files to the NOOK HD from your computer, you would still need to install ADE. Make sense? Best, Mike