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Winners and losers: Kindle quietly gets EPUB support as Facebook ditches podcasts

OPINION: It’s the weekend, meaning it’s once again time for us to share our winners and losers for the first week of May.

This week saw AMD unveil a new generation of Chromebook processors, Nvidia add 4K streaming to GeForce Now on Mac and PC and Marshall introduce two portable speakers in the Emberton II and compact Willen.

The Redmi Note 11T got a release date (or month) and it was an interesting week in security, as Apple, Google and Microsoft teamed up to support the latest developments in FIDO’s passwordless sign-in protocol and Google Assistant gained the ability to update compromised passwords on behalf of users.

Scroll down to learn who took the title of winner and who we crowned our loser this week…

Kindle Paperwhite 2021 lit up display
Kindle Paperwhite 2021

Winner: Amazon 

This week’s winner is Amazon or, more specifically, the company’s e-reader division, after it quietly revealed that its Kindle line would be getting EPUB support

EPUB (Electronic Publication) is an open standard file format commonly used for e-books. The format is based on HTML and has been around since 2007 in places like Google Play Books, Apple Books and on Kobo devices. 

However, despite its prevalence as an e-book format, EPUB has never actually been supported on the Kindle – one of the biggest e-reader lines on the market. 

Users could get around this by converting files to MOBI using third-party services but, with Amazon ending support for MOBI and AZW files at the end of this year, that could soon be a problem. 

Thankfully, Amazon published an update to its support page this week, sharing a new workaround for EPUB fans. Beginning in late 2022, Kindle users will be able to use Amazon’s free Send to Kindle tool to view EPUB files on their e-readers. 

It’s not quite full support (hopefully, that is still to come, though at this rate perhaps not anytime soon), but it does mean that Kindle users will no longer have to rely on third-party services to get the job done when trying to read EPUB files on their Kindle, Oasis and Paperwhite devices.

Facebook podcasts

Loser: Facebook 

Our loser this week is Facebook, after it was revealed that the company would be abandoning its podcast venture after just one year

Facebook launched podcasts alongside Clubhouse-clone Live Audio Rooms in June 2021 as part of a move to bring more social audio experiences to the networking site. 

The company allowed Facebook users to listen to podcasts full-screen, with their screens locked and with a mini-player while scrolling through their Facebook home feeds. Users could also react, comment, bookmark and share their favourite podcasts directly on the platform. 

However, this feature was sadly short-lived, as Bloomberg has now reported that Facebook plans to remove podcasts from its platform on June 3 – less than a year after it first launched. 

Adelaide Coronado, a spokesperson for Meta, told The Verge that the cancellation was part of a move to simplify Facebook’s suite of audio tools after a year of “learning and iterating on audio-first experiences”. 

All-in-all, this isn’t a massive loss for the average listener, as Spotify and Apple Podcasts are still leading the way when it comes to podcast production. However, it must be a disappointment for Facebook, who seem to have failed to find any real ground in audio through podcasts, Soundbites or Live Audio Rooms in 2021 and 2022.

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