Following on from my earlier posting about the speed issues of the HTC Hero I found another couple of tweaks over the course of the weekend which improve responsiveness further.
Firstly having disabled the Sense UI you would think that you were rid of its clunkiness. Not so. If you install Astro and start the process manager you'll find a process called TouchFlo - I wonder what that could be? Kill it.
And whilst your there search for the Footprints process and kill that too - unless you actually use Footprints of course...
Now that its running how I like it I'm a lot happier with the Hero, I just need to know when can I get my hands on Android 2.1...
Sunday, 28 February 2010
Following on from my earlier posting about the speed issues of the HTC Hero I found another couple of tweaks over the course of the weekend which improve responsiveness further.
You're probably well aware by now that three Google executives have been given six month suspended sentences in Italy for failing to remove a bullying video from the company's YouTube website.
The video in question concerns an artistic boy in Turin being taunted by his classmates. Google took the video down after two months following an official request from the Italian authorities but the Italian courts found that the company should gave responded to requests from individual users much more quickly.
Without knowing how those request were made or investigated by Google its hard to say how appropriate the sentence is.
My feeling is that Google needed a reasonable amount of time to receive, investigate and action the requests and given the number and variety of videos and (presumably) complaints two months doesn't seem an unreasonable amount of time to do that.
Italy needs to update its legal system to put the burden of responsibility on those who firstly were guilty of the crime and secondly made and distributed the video.
As it stands Google's guilt amounts to no more than London Underground's for muggings on the tube. Let's hope Google's appeal leads to an outbreak of commonsense.
Engadget got an unplanned exclusive on its video show yesterday when Microsoft executive Aaron Woodman slipped a glance of an unnamed LG phone into an interview - revealing the first production WP7S device in the process.
Nothing ground breaking in the hardware - a landscape sliding keyboard phone - but interesting to see that Microsoft's device partners are well down the road to delivering the first WP7S phones.
You can see the video here http://www.engadget.com/2010/02/27/exclusive-lgs-windows-phone-7-series-early-prototype-unveiled/
Saturday, 27 February 2010
Well that went well... Bridge treated Terry with the contempt he deserved pre-kick off (Bellamy went one better but you'll have to watch the video to see why) City stuffed Chelsea scoring four past a team that had only previously conceded 8 at home all season and to top it off Terry played like a hernia ridden geriatric...
The only disappointing note were the Chelsea fans who booed Bridge when he was substituted, betraying a complete lack of class on their part.
Now someone just needs to explain to Capello that the last thing England need in South Africa is a doddery centre half who is too slow for the Premier League and likely to spend half his time trying to bed his colleague's partners.
Vodafone's decision to price the Nexus One against the iPhone seems like a bad move to me though, it certainly didn't work for O2 when it launched the Pre...
Actually for the first time in living memory this isn't an example of poor service from Ryanair. The passenger was so annoyed about not being able to collect his winnings on the flight that he ate the ticket - presumably to the ultimate amusement of the crew and fellow passengers.
Full details in this BBC news story. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/8539560.stm
Friday, 26 February 2010
However after a little digging and applying some of the same principles that I'd use to boost a Windows Mobile phone's performance I think I have a Hero which is actually quite usable.
My first thought was that the widgets running on the Sense home screen were the cause of the poor performance. Removing them and running a cut down home screen certainly seemed to improve things, but not enough to make me want to use the Hero for any length of time.
However I was sure that I was heading in the right direction and a little digging found me a setting which allowed Sense to be disabled completely and what a difference that makes. It's a vastly improved phone and much more usable.
So HTC's interfaces for both Android and Windows Mobile look great but severely impact device performance. I'll pass on them in future.
Ironic then, that HTC are delaying the release of Android 2 for the Hero just so they can make Sense work on it...
Thursday, 25 February 2010
Apparently a new Skype for Windows Phone will arrive, probably for WP7S as the stronger controls over the hardware config will make it easier for Skype to deliver a seamless user experience. I'm told that the Java based Skype Lite client - incredibly useful for Android and WinMo users looking to take advantage of Three's Skype bundles - has also been pulled.
If you want Skype on your Windows Mobile device but don't have access to the install files you can retrieve them from here.
WebOS has failed to revive the company's fortunes despite being a very good operating system with lots to commend it. But then engineering has never been the company's problem. The Pre and Pixi have both been shortchanged in the memory department and my contacts at O2 suggest that the resulting problems with the Pre have been so bad that retail stores will do everything possible to steer customers away from the Pre. Its not the first time that Palm has made this mistake - the Tungsten T¦5 was shipped with about half the memory that it needed to operate and caused a rift between the company and its previously loyal users.
With Palm sinking on a sea dominated by big players like Apple, RIM and Nokia; with Microsoft having rediscovered its mobile mojo and Google's Android making huge strides forward; the company has no choice but to take drastic action - and it needs to do it quickly.
If it wants to survive Palm needs to add a second product line to its WebOS choice - ironic given that it recently killed its Windows Mobile products in order to concentrate on its new WebOS baby. There are realistically two choices: Android, where Palm can build a ground breaking device and add its own customisations to make the device a true Palm product; or Windows Phone 7 Series, where they'll have much less scope to innovate but may be able to ride what might be the new Microsoft wave back to a position of safety.
Either way Palm needs to accept that its a dead man walking if it continues along the current path and change is its only hope for the future. I suspect that its current management team is rather more interested in attracting a financial white knight to buy it out and leave its investors and owners in a position to recoup some of their heavy investment...
Tuesday, 23 February 2010
Firstly, these guys are tying to earn a living from publishing applications and having run the gauntlet of the approval procsss it must be hugely frustrating to have an application ejected despite having broken none of Apple's rules.
Secondly, Apple has been highly selective of the sort of app it has removed, Playboy remains for example, despite being more 'adult' than many apps that have been ejected.
Apple is reported to have reacted to complaints from parents and women iPhone owners who objected to some of the content which - from what I can garner from the titles that have been ejected - was little more than amusing or at worst smutty. Parents who have failed to apply the proper controls to their children's use of their phones have only themselves to blame whilst people who search down this sort of application knowing that they'll be offended have no right to complain when they are - unsurprisingly - offended.
Its a poor effort from Apple who have cut the ground from beneath the sort of one-man developers that made the iPhone the success it has been. A poor return for their support and loyalty but a prime example of why the single application store and controlled application approval process is so dangerous.
Monday, 22 February 2010
The only issue I've found is that using the accelerometer to emulate an analog stick isn't a great way of controlling a game - exactly the same issue which plagued my iPhone gaming experience. Never mind, FPSECE supports USB and Bluetooth game pads so something like the MSI BGP 100 is portable, cheap and sounds like a hoot to use...
The video below isn't mine, but it does give an authentic view of the FPSECE experience... If you have a Snapdragon powered Windows Mobile phone you really should have this too...
Want a tablet that will let you do more than just consume content? Well you're in luck as Expansys currently have the Samsung Q1 Ultra at a rather excellent £369 - something of a bargain for a quality bit of kit. The webpage isn't entirely clear, but this looks like its the 6-cell battery model which runs five to six hours on a charge at the cost of a slight bulge on the left hand side of device. Personally I find it makes a good hand hold so it doesn't particularly bother me.
This is the 800 Mhz Intel powered unit with 1GB of memory and a 40 GB hard disk, running Windows XP Tablet Edition which means excellent handwriting recognition, the ability to run just about any software and two (count them) USB ports to add keyboards, mice, memory keys and 3G dongles. There's also a VGA out and SD Card slot so you could use it as a desk computer in a 'docked' configuration if you desire.
So if you are looking for a tablet this makes a lot more sense than some fruitier devices that do so much less...
Sunday, 21 February 2010
Wednesday, 17 February 2010
Having announced the all new Windows Phone 7 Series device it Steve Ballmer's MWC keynote, Zune integration, limited functionality and restricted application delivery; today we find out that Windows Mobile 6.x will be re-christened Windows Phone Classic and live on to fight the good fight, with the suggestion being that this version will develop and grow separately to the 7 Series devices. All that remains is for the low end Pink and Turtle devices to arrive and it'll be a good day for my (usually remarkably poor clairvoyent skills).
Having been very pessimistic about where Microsoft was taking Windows Mobile I'm glad to see that power users who need the full, unrestricted version of Windows Mobile will still be able to get it. I'm still concerned over which OEMs will continue to support WPC though, perhaps HP as this is likely to find its biggest market in the enterprise...
Tuesday, 16 February 2010
At the moment the two semi-official lines on the subject suggest either sometime in H1 2010 (as far away as June) and 'early' Q2 2010 (anything up to mid-May). Its been a long wait and my instinct tells me that Google will be about ready to ship its next version by the summer.
Monday, 15 February 2010
Windows Phone 7 Series (how annoying is that name already, from now on WP7S) won't allow third party applications to run in the background. That's Windows Mobile's biggest strength out of the window then. And no back catalogue either, that sucks too.
So on the information we have thus far I'm pretty sure I can see an Android phone in my future. Microsoft's decision to trade form for function isn't a winning one as far as I'm concerned.
No what they have done is effectively killed their market for the next six to nine months whilst customers wait for WP7S to arrive. Who's going to buy a WM6.5 phone now its been effectively wiped out by its maker? Maybe a few corporates, but otherwise no-one with any sense. If an upgrade to the HD2 is confirmed that could possibly be the only WM6.5 device that sells. Be interesting to see what effect this has on Microsoft's 4.5 million quarterly sales figures.
The fact is that in the high speed modern game officials are going to make mistakes and its inevitable that some are going to have an impact on match results. Like last night's FA Cup tie between Palace and Aston Villa. Suggesting that the officials should be suspended for mistakenly awarding a corner kick to Villa is disingenious and insulting to match officials everywhere.
Despite the nonsense Warnock is spouting about the official's mistake costing Palace victory the truth is that Palace's inability to defend a corner allowed Villa to grab an equaliser and Warnock should look to his own laurels for that failing.
So Neil Warnock here's some advice, do with it what you will: sit down and shut up, we're bored of your bullshit and frankly love it everytime this happens to you. I'm not a Villa fan (and normally have a soft spot for Palace) but here's hoping Villa run up a cricket score in the replay...
- Windows Phone Zune Edition. This will be a consumer platform aimed squarely at the iPhone and will suffer from the same limited functionality as the Apple platform. Although it will be based around the same platform applications will be tied down and only available if they meet strict compatibility testing. The payback will be a platform which is as easy to use and reliable as the iPhone.
- Windows Phone Professional Edition. The descendant of WM6.5 this will be an evolution of what already exists. The target here is those who want to do much more with their phones than the high end feature phone users that currently choose the iPhone. Microsoft currently sells about 18 million of these every year and I believe most of those customers will continue with this version. Hardware specifications will rise as Microsoft seek to make this the power users platform of choice.
- Windows Phone Starter Edition. This will be a cut down version of the WM OS aimed at simplicity, ease of use and cheaper, lower performance hardware. It will retain some smartphone features but will be targeted at an audience who buys feature phones in the sub £100 category. Application availabilty will be restricted to ensure that phone performance isn't compromised.
As well as these changes I'd like to see Microsoft announce a version of Visual Studio specifically for Windows Phone developers which is free of charge but only able to publish to the Windows Mobile Marketplace. I doubt that this will happen though...
In a few hours time I think we'll find out whether Microsoft can recover their position in the smartphone market or whether they'll be following Palm's slide down the road to oblivion...
Thursday, 11 February 2010
What must almost certainly be the replacement for the HTC Hero has been outed by Dutch mobile operator KPN. AndroidGuys report that the phone was due to be announced at MWC next week, although KPN seem to have rather stolen HTC's thunder.
Hopefully the announcement will coincide with the arrival of the long overdue Android 2 update for the Hero, which is now seriously hamstrung by its reliance on Android 1.5
Wednesday, 10 February 2010
Warner intends to continue supporting services which charge to 'rent' music -although as far as I'm aware both Spotify and Last.fm offer this service too.
Where those services score is that they use the free element of their service to draw people in to their premium service. Something that will no longer occur if these services are stared of content. Spotify has over a quarter of a million subscribers and is growing fast. Its not as if Warner isn't getting paid for the content that is being listened to for free - the service is advertisement funded, a model that seems to work fine for free to air television and radio all over the world.
Whilst the content owners are free to sell their content in whatever manner they see fit, actions like this just push users towards the sort of free sources of content where the owners get no return. Doesn't sound like an entirely sensible move to me...
Tuesday, 9 February 2010
I find these rumours troubling on several fronts.
Firstly the claim that WM7 will utilise an entirely new codebase which will mean that old apps won't run on the new OS - or will only run under software emulation. That's one major failing: how long will it take for developers to recode their apps to the new platform? Or will they just drift away to Apple or Google where the market is already growing at remarkable rates?
Secondly the claim that applications will no longer multitask but will instead pause when focus is switched away. Having persevered with true multitasking when the hardware was barely up to the job Microsoft decides that the ideal time to abandon it is the time when hardware specs finally make it a usable solution? It surely can't be true.
Thirdly, the Windows Marketplace will be the only source of applications with no side loading possible. Another major Windows Mobile advantage about to be flushed away. Being able to search, download and install an application on your WM handset safe in the knowledge that no-one can deny you access is a powerful concept. To allow Microsoft to exercise the same application control as Apple is a terribly bad thing.
Fourthly, no user customisation shells. Again another advantage of WM is the way that you can choose the look and feel of a device: Today Screen, Titanium, SPB Mobile Shell, Point UI, Sense, etc., etc. are all about making a device your own. I no more want Steve Ballmer telling me how my phone should look, feel and work than I do Steve Jobs.
In effect it looks like Microsoft have decided that the only way to beat the iPhone is to build an iPhone. In the process they will have given up all that makes Windows Mobile good. Which presumably means they've learnt nothing from the unmitigated disaster which has been the Zune.
I'm left hoping that MWC's Microsoft announcement is seriously different to the rumours otherwise I can't see a future for Windows Mobile at all. For me if the announcement amounts to nothing more than a Microsoft iPhone-wannabe my next move will be to Android, or Maemo.
I've said it before and I'll say it again - Apple's ability to control what gets installed onto the iPhone family of devices amounts to an anti-competitive position. Were Amazon to release a MP3 Store app for the iPhone I seriously doubt that it would ever get approved. Look at what's happening with Adobe.
And the real reason that Apple won't allow Flash onto iPhones? Its because it removes their absolute control on applications that run on the phone.
Monopolies are never a good thing, no matter how much spin you try to put on them.
Nevertheless, if you fancy a cheap punt on Android this is the cheapest you'll get for now.
Sunday, 7 February 2010
Bizarre how some people can't see the wood for the trees isn't it? Here's an article from the Guardian by Henry Porter decrying the eBook and darkening the future for authors.
Of course the truth is that the future has never been brighter for authors. Its the publishers and printers and hangers on who add no value to the finished product but inflate the price greatly that have to start worrying.
First though authors need to give themselves a good kick up the backside - or pay someone to do it for them.
That's because the hangers on have been making them lazy - and the cost to an author is high. After everyone has had their cut (retailer, distributor, publisher, printer, agent, etc., etc) an author gets as little as 5% of the cover price. By contrast even the easiest (and therefore least profitable) method of self-publishing - in the Amazon Kindle Store - gives a return of 35%. Worth giving up a hefty advance (nothing more than a loan anyway) and some easy options for getting the book into print? I should say so.
That's the worst case scenario too. Amazon has its own profits to make so why not cut them out of the deal completely: setup a website and publish eBooks directly. Effectively that gives the author 100% of the profits. Or twenty times the printed book's return.
Sure the effort of marketing falls upon the author, but realistically all that needs to happen is for authors to group together to create collective eBook storefronts and then wait for the hits to come rolling in. And roll in they will because their isn't one reader out there who pays the money for a book to rewards anybody but the author for their efforts.
Done properly and priced correctly this could be so much more lucrative the only surprise is that more authors haven't taken the plunge. Oh yes that will be the desperately unfair contracts those 'oh-so useful' publishers tie them too before agreeing to sell their books.
Friday, 5 February 2010
Wednesday, 3 February 2010
Sony Ericsson grabbed the privilege of being first out of the doors with Windows Mobile 6.5.3, which will be the operating system of choice for its new Aspen smartphone. This messaging device packs a front mounted mini keyboard and a QVGA screen, a strange decision given the almost wholesale move to 320x320 screens for this form factor.
As I've said before its difficult to make a device look good in this form factor, the Palm Treo Pro having come closest, but looking at the press images I have to say the SE may just have pulled it off.
Shipping it alleged to be Q2, although SE aren't famous for hitting their ship dates...
Tuesday, 2 February 2010
For Part One of this review see here.
Toshiba's headline handset was somewhat crippled at its original launch by the delay to Windows 6.5 - the arrival of the 6.5 update should therefore make for a very different beast to that described in early reviews.
Windows Mobile 6.5 is an evolution of 6.1, adding some interface changes and a new alternative Today screen. Also included are updated versions of IE Mobile and some tweaks to settings applets. In addition to the standard WM6.5 updates Toshiba add their own alternative homescreen, some options for the accelerometer and demo versions of Need for Speed and Monopoly. More importantly there are two additional video players, Coreplayer and a branded version of pvPlayer. For photo viewing the excellent Photobase is included and there are MSN Weather and Money apps. Finally there's a video editing app for the times when you need to edit together your latest creation and there isn't a PC available. Other than the game demos all of this software is provided fully licensed. Not to be outdone Orange adds its own homescreen, a TV Player and Orange Maps.
The first thing that strikes you when using the TG01 is the speed and responsiveness of Windows Mobile on this device. Everything opens smoothly, runs like butter and generally feels incredibly slick. Its a testament to the Snapdragon processor's performance that everything else just feels leaden by comparison.
The second things that strikes you is that the screen is huge and the WM6.5 update has made it completely possible to use without a stylus. Its a bright, sharp screen too - I generally stuck between 10 and 30% brightness when using it and found that to be more than comfortable. Video playing and photo viewing show it off brilliantly, the Arcsoft Photobase program has some editing features included as well as a good slide show application which turns the TG01 into a passable photoframe. The pvPlayer video player didn't impress me, however Coreplayer works very well indeed, making full use of hardware acceleration to deliver excellent video playback.
Of the four homescreen options installed on the device I found that only two were really usable. The Toshiba homescreen looks okay but lacks customisation options, is counter-intuitive to use and repeatedly reports out of memory errors even though it isn't and continues to run happily once you dismiss the error dialogue. The Orange homescreen looks a bit of a mess but works okay although the number of available widgets is limited and customisation of the look and feel is awkward. The two Microsoft homescreens are a different matter however. The standard Titanium interface of WM6.5 works very well and looks good too. I've been using this as my homescreen for a few weeks now and its really grown on me. The number of Titanium plug-ins is limited at the moment but I'm sure that that situation will improve with time.
King of the homescreens is of course the Today Screen, which offers the best options for PIM information and application launchers and is almost infinitely customisable thanks to the amount of plug-in development which has taken place over the last seven years.
The Start Menu has become finger friendly, a tap on the Windows flag takes you through a scrollable list of applications. It works well, although I miss direct access to my last used applications which was a function of the old WM6.1 Start Menu, however that version certainly would have been more difficult to manage without a stylus.
At first Toshiba's decision not to install a third party browser onto the TG01 seems strange. Yet coupled with the power and screen of the TG01 IE Mobile is transformed - its as close to the full web as I've experienced on a smartphone, there's really very little that doesn't look exactly as it would on a desktop and its fast too. I've tried it head to head with Opera Mobile 10 on the TG01 and IE Mobile wins hands down. Its a mighty step forward for Microsoft and I believe that on this platform IE Mobile can stand proud against Mobile Safari or the Android browser on other platforms. That's not to say its entirely perfect, entry into text fields on web forms is sometimes out of sync with the form itself, but its a small price to pay for such a complete web experience. Look at the image above, yes that really is IE Mobile and a page from the BBC New website with full video...
The soft keyboard installed on the TG01 is big and very usable. It makes word suggestions as you type and does limited auto-correction. It took a while to get used to the resistive screen for finger typing having only done this on the iPhone and HTC Hero before - both using capacitive screens. Once I got used to it I did surprise myself at how quickly I could type on it. Still not as fast as either iPhone or Hero but good enough for a quick email or SMS. I still find a make more errors than on either of those other devices though.
For anything longer there is of course the option of Transcriber an incredibly powerful handwriting recognition system which makes creating longer pieces of text a joy. Toshiba does supply a stylus for this purpose although as it doesn't fit within the TG01 its difficult to know when you'd have it with you. It comes with a keyring tether although as it lacks any kind of tip protection I wouldn't recommend using this way unless you fancy scratching the screen. Instead I'd advise hunting down the £3 stylus that comes with the Samsung Genio - that too attaches to your keyring but the stylus tip is protected with a cover.
As well as Transcriber you'll probably want a stylus to use Evernote with the TG01 - it really does work brilliantly for ink notes and I've actually found that I now no longer need to carry my Samsung Q1u for this purpose as the TG01 is more than capable.
All in all its fair to say that the TG01 excels at most tasks. Yet there are some decisions that Toshiba have taken which completely baffle me. For example when the battery gets to the 20% warning the TG01 disables access to Wifi, Bluetooth and the Camera. Since when did I need a device manufacturer to decide how I run down the battery on my phone? The battery life isn't good enough to be able to take that sort of liberty with system access and every TG01 owner I've spoken too has cited this as an annoyance with the phone. I've heard rumours that Toshiba will issue a fix for this, but I suspect it will never see the light of day and a community developed solution will arrive.
The battery life itself has stabilised to the point where I'd say a light user of the phone could easily make the battery stretch to two days. Personally I've found that a charge every night is required, although this has been true of every smartphone I've owned so its not a real hardship.
The quality of the camera software is a bit variable too. It lacks niceties such as touch focus, geo-tagging and face detection; yet takes some pretty good pictures - for a 3.2 megapixel camera anyway. It excels at pictures taken under artificial lighting, with white balance correction which would shame some dedicated digital cameras. Compare this picture with those further up the page. The photo taken with the TG01 is a correct colour match of the background whilst the pictures taken with the IXUS 950 exhibit heavy orange tinting.
The rear mounted speaker is loud and clear, although with volume cranked up there's an acceptable level of distortion. Sounds quality through the micro-USB output and a decent set of speakers/headphones is remarkably good, similarly for bluetooth headphones, suggesting that Toshiba has paid particular attention to the quality of the sound hardware.
In fact there are a number of little details which suggest Toshiba is well on its way out of the smartphone jungle - for example you can enable and disable things like the LED and auto rotation of the screen. For the latter Toshiba have obviously considered that you might like to rotate the screen manually when its disabled so a long press on the volume up key rotates the screen for you. Rotation isn't the only accelerometer trick the TG01 has - shaking the phone can be used to answer a call, open the phone software or return to the home screen. A double tap on the back of the phone opens the task manager for fast switching between active applications. Whether you use auto rotation or not the TG01 can rotate the whole OS, on the fly without any delay. Impressive when there are dozens of programs running.
Call quality is good at both ends of the call and the TG01 manages to excel at finding a signal, often pulling in a 3G or HSDPA signal where other users are struggling to get any service at all. Wifi performance is excellent, pulling in reception in places where the Touch Pro 2 and Hero fail to connect. GPS signal lock is obtained impressively quickly and CoPilot 8 runs without problems.
All in all the TG01 turns out to be a powerful Windows Mobile experience. Its not without fault and whilst I find it a compelling device to use I couldn't realisticallly recommend it to anyone who wasn't already an experienced Windows Mobile user. The failings that lead me to that conclusion are all Toshiba rather than Windows Mobile issues and all would be fixable if Toshiba felt the need, either via a ROM update or a hot fix.
It does seem that we've reached a new level of platform fascism where its impossible to countenance someone holding an alternate opinion. Johnson's piece at Gizmodo hides some good, relevant points but its couched in such unpleasant terms and headlined in such an overtly confrontational manner that these get lost within.
Apple, Microsoft, Linux... who cares? Be interesting, challenging and maybe even fun. Aggression and intolerance will guarantee I'm no longer a reader...
The only saving grace is that most mobile network's contracts prohibit the use of Voice applications on unlimited data plans. Even so if you want to give yourself the best chance of a decent mobile data connection now would be a good time to move across to one of the networks which doesn't support the iPhone...
Monday, 1 February 2010
There's never been a really good way of proving this theory, after all the people who know about these numbers are authors and publishers and neither has any real driver for making them public. Until now that is. American author Joe Konrath, writer of the Jack Daniels thriller series has made public details of his eBook sales and boy does it make interesting reading..
The Jack Daniels series is published by Hyperion - and priced by them too - as a result Joe's books have the following six-monthly sales levels:
Whiskey Sour $3.96: 550 sales
Bloody Mary $7.99: 180 sales
Rusty Nail $7.99: 153 sales
Dirty Martini $6.39: 202 sales
Fuzzy Navel $7.59: 152 sales
So a 50% reduction in cover price results in a sales increase of over 350% - not surprising really, its that whole supply and demand thing. The cheapest book grossed 50% more than the best selling higher priced book - and the publisher, author and retailer had no additional costs involved in achieving this higher gross.
Things get better too, because Joe also self publishes some of his eBooks and these are their sales figures for the same period:
The List $1.99: 5142 sales
Origin $1.99: 2619 sales
Disturb $1.99: 1139 sales
Shot of Tequila $1.99: 900 sales
So halving the price again improves the gross by an average of 230% over the best of the Hyperion books. The best selling $1.99 title actually grosses nearly eight times as much as the best $7.99 title. At no extra cost and by no extra effort on the part of any of those involved in the production process.
So why are publishers against eBooks? Because they hand control back to the authors. Joe made nearly three and a half times as much money by self-publishing four books than from the five books published under his contract with Hyperion. And as he states in the article: at this level Joe doesn't make as much from his print book sales to cover the losses he's making on the Hyperion published eBooks.
When he comes to selling the rights to his next book why would Joe sign with a publisher? And if it works for Joe Konrath it will no doubt work for the majority of established writers out there. Is it any wonder MacMillan are looking to take Amazon down?
For the full details much more eloquently described than I could hope to achieve, read Joe'sblog here.