LG is quietly refining their flexible e-paper technology and has actually seen some commercial success along the way. New innovations will pave the way for super large screen displays that will transcend into the television arena.
In 2012 LG first entered the flexible e-paper arena and developed a screen that was crafted from a flexible plastic substrate, the display measuring 0.03 inches (0.7 millimeters) thick and weighs 0.5 ounces (13 grams), making it one-third slimmer and half the weight of currently available glass EPD devices. LG also has made it fairly durable with it being able to easily withstand dropping it from up to six feet. The battery life is also fairly amazing with two or three months of usage. Russian based e-reader company Wexler was the only company to adopt the LG technology into their Flex One.
LG has just announced a massive, 18-inch OLED display that can be rolled up into a tight cylinder with a radius of just 3 centimeters (1.2 inches). In addition, LG has mentioned they developed a version that was highly transparent.
The flexible 18-inch OLED display has a fairly paltry resolution that clocks in at 1280×810. The main breakthrough seems to be the use of polyimide for the display’s backplane. Polyimides are strong, flexible plastics that are already used extensively in the electronics industry — for example in the ribbon that attaches a laptop’s display to the motherboard, which is put through huge stresses during thousands of open/close cycles. LG says it achieved “maximum curvature radius” because polyimide allowed for a much thinner and flexible backplane than “conventional plastic.”
Truly flexible e-paper technology that can be rolled up, able to be read and folded up again is the holy grail. It not only can be used in the e-reader sector, but also smartwatches and advertising. The one hindrance in mass adoption is the fact the motherboards, battery, processor, RAM and most other internal components are not designed to be flexible and this will require a monumental effort by the entire supply chain to make a future of flexible e-paper a reality.
One of the big benefits of e-Ink technology is that it draws no power when a simple static image is being displayed or when you are reading a page in an eBook. The only time power is being drawn is when a full page refresh occurs or if you are interacting with the screen. A new LCD initiative is underway at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. They have developed a new type of LCD screen that works in a similar fashion to e-Ink. It can hold a static image for years, with no power.
The University has developed Optical Rewritable liquid crystal technology that carries no electrodes and uses polarizer’s as a substitute. It will show images in full color, but not draw any power as the image is shown. This would be tremendously beneficial to luggage tags, grocery price-tags or even in the next generation of color e-reader.
There are many benefits to what this technology is capable of, in regards to previous screens made by Pixel QI or Plastic Logic. First of all, the lack of electrodes means the ORWLCD panel can be much thinner than a conventional LCD. It also uses much less power, requires no plastic substrate, is simpler to construct, and therefore cheaper to manufacturer for mass production.
The technology as a whole is going one step further, by incorporating 3D elements. The report states “The whole panel has been divided into three parts with different image appearance. One for the left eye, a second for the right eye, and a third for the background and front of the image. The complete 3D image with a good light printer can be updated on the ORWLCD panel in one step and thereafter could be permanently stored without consuming any power. With the feasibility of one-step 3D image writing, wide-viewing angles, high contrast and low power consumption, this technology is suitable for many applications.”
I would kill for an e-reader for full color LCD that had the battery life of e-Ink. The one problem I have with reading on an Android tablet or iPad is that I have to charge it on a daily basis. This ORWLCD does have promise, but whether it gets out of the research and development phase is another matter entirely.
Amazon and Kobo have been battling all over the world to attain new readers and promote their own distinctive ecosystem. Amazon especially has been building out their media empire by key acquisitions of GoodReads and Comixology, and boosting up their catalog of audiobooks via Audible. When it comes to dedicated e-ink based devices, they tend to do one thing really well, which is to read eBooks. Today, we look at both companies flagship models going into the holiday season and to check out how they perform.
The Kobo Aura H2O is the first waterproof e-reader issued by a mainstream company. The main benefit is that you can bring it in your backyard, bathtub, beach, or bus and not have to worry about it getting destroyed. It is truly the first e-reader that you can take with you anywhere.
The Voyage is being billed as an e-reader packed with innovation. It has Page Press technology that incorporates haptic feedback to turn the pages of whatever you are reading. It also has an ambient light sensor to automatically adjust the illumination levels on the front-lit display.
Our comparison video outlines the hardware specs of both devices and what makes them both entirely unique. In addition, you can get a sense on how the DPI and resolution factor in when placing the same eBook and PDF file on each unit. Basically, if you are thinking of upgrading to either of these devices or buying your very first digital reader, you don’t want to miss this.
Amazon has released a totally new product line for their Fire tablets, which is getting most of the mainstream media attention. Flying under the radar is the Kindle Basic and Kindle Voyage, two e-ink based readers. Today, we take a look at both devices to give you a sense on what they are capable of and the main differences.
Amazon has just signed a deal to purchase Comedy service Rooftop Media. The ten person company will be joining Audible in an effort to boost the catalog with new content. Audible founder and Chief Executive Donald Katz said in a statement on Monday the company had been attracted by Rooftop’s content as well as its pool of comic talent.
Rooftop does something very unique in the recording industry. They setup shop in comedy clubs all over the US and record the sets of established names and up and coming talent. They attain the full licenses and own the digital rights to thousands of hours of comedy, which is broadcast either live or later on demand. The company’s media partners include Apple and Yahoo, and they stream it out via Sirius, Rdio, Hulu, Spotify and Pandora.
Audible has been struggling with the Comedy category of their audiobook store and currently has 3,300 titles. With the addition of content from Rooftop, it should easily double what they have now.
Audible was acquired by Amazon in 2008 for $300 million. Bringing Rooftop under the e-commerce giant’s umbrella also boosts the company’s growing digital media business, which includes video and music services through Amazon Prime and original television production via Amazon Studios. Amazon also recently acquired live gaming streamer Twitch.
The Kindle Voyage builds upon the software and design principles of the Paperwhite line of e-readers. Today, we evaluate if it makes enough sense to upgrade from the second generation Kindle Paperwhite over to the Voyage.
The Voyage has superior resolution and DPI compared to the Kindle Paperwhite, but how does this play out in real world conditions? We show off the eBook and PDF experience to give you a sense on how the same content looks, side by side.
Finally, we take a look at the front-lit displays on both units, to show you how reading in complete darkness plays out. The results are very interesting.
If you like games that are equal parts book, movie, and game… The Longest Journey is something to be excited about. Described as being an interactive and beautifully created universe, The Longest Journey is told from the perspective of a young art student named April Ryan who possesses the power to pass between worlds (like others are able to pass between being awake and asleep).
Feel free to get yourself addicted to this franchise. Developed by Ragnar Tornquist and his team at development house, Red Thread Games, The Longest Journey: Dreamfall Chapters sequel was recently brought to computer and console gaming platforms by way of a tremendously successful Kickstarter campaign (they set out to raise $850,000, and ended up with over $1.5 million) –so chances are good that mobile games won’t have seen the last of these characters!
The Longest Journey Remastered has already been available for iOS users in New Zealand with an $8.99 price-tag, but there are plans for a North American release very soon. If you are ready for a real iOS gaming adventure, prepare to purchase and download The Longest Journey Remastered from the Apple App Store.
The developers of Deep Loot describe the game as being about “swimming, digging and fighting your way through an infinitely explorable ocean to discover lost ruins, plunder hidden treasures and earn some chunky paychecks!” In reality, for those of us who used to spend their quarters in old-school arcades, Deep Loot is a trip down memory lane (even though it didn’t technically exist back then).
On the surface, the app is pretty simple: your friends push your pixelated self off of the boat, and you start searching for treasure. As you collect unique artifacts and complete challenges, you can upgrade your equipment and stay under-water longer.
Adding to the game is the unique musical score (comprised of 8 original tracks) that play in the background as you reminisce about how video games used to look (in a completely enchanting and charming way).
If you’d like to do a little deep sea diving on your Android device, download Deep Loot and give your luck a try.
Apple has dispatched an email to authors who publish through iBooks, informing them on a number of new policy changes. The first, is to decrease the amount of time that the editorial staff approves for new titles for inclusion into the Apple Bookstore, it went from ten days to one business change. The second should really help authors in giving out free copies of their digital book for review, with 250 promo codes.
Apple has revised the iBooks experience with the advent of iOS 8 and the new line of iPhone 6 smartphones. It is far easier to purchase and discover new content with the UI changes on the bottom of the screen. In the past, the store itself, was buried in sub-menus at the top of the screen, now it is more intuitive.
One of the big new initiatives on the iBooks app is the curation and editorial content. There is now more seasonal and topical lists that abide by cool themes. Oh, and one of the biggest cleanups was removing Breakout Books, which was sourced by Smashwords. Indie authors have been booted off from the platform, in order to help readers find more quality content. In the future, you will soon be able to get book recommendations before and after purchases with technology leveraged by Booklamp, a company Apple bought a few months ago.
Amazon has been making e-readers since 2007 and over the years they have refined their hardware technology constantly. The new Kindle Voyage might very well be the best e-reader currently on the market, due to the innovative new tech and expansive eBook ecosystem.
The Voyage is nothing but innovative and it has enhancements that are not found on any other e-readers on the market. One is the inclusion of Page Press technology, and the other is an ambient light sensor.
Today, we take a look at the Kindle Voyage, from the prospective of looking at its core technology and what makes it entirely unique.
The Amazon Kindle Voyage features a six inch e-ink Carta display with a resolution of 1430 x 1080. It has 300 PPI, which is the highest we have ever seen. In contrast, the Paperwhite 2, which this model replaces only has a resolution of 1024 X 768 and 212 PPI.
Lets look at what the competition is doing, the Kobo Aura H20, which came out a month ago has a 6.8 inch screen with the same resolution as the Voyage, but has 265 DPI. The Barnes and Noble Nook Glowlight has been on the market for most of the year, but its 1024 x 758 and 212 PPI is somewhat depressing.
One of the big design changes with the Voyage is the screen is completely flush with the bezel. All prior Kindle e-readers had a sunken screen and employed infrared touchscreen technology. The new capacitive screen is much easier to interact with and allows for more pin-point procession.
The Voyage has really refined their front-lit technology, which allows you to read in the dark. It has five LED lights on the bottom of the bezel, which projects light evenly across the screen. This is ideal for reading compared to smartphones and tablets which has the light emitting from behind the screen. The lighting system is a marginal improvement over the Paperwhite 2, but completely blows away anything that Kobo has ever done.
Amazon has really hyped the new ambient light sensor that automatically adjusts in the brightness of the screen. On paper, this sounds really cool, but it misses the mark. When reading in complete darkness, it makes the screen too dark to read properly. I often had to find myself relying on the manual settings.
Many older e-readers had physical page turn keys that protruded from the bezel and had a audible mechanical click when turning a page forward or backward. Page Press technology actually has the page turn keys flush completely with the bezel. You can turn a page and there is a small vibration that is courtesy of haptic feedback. Within the settings menu there are a number of options to tweak how hard you have to press in order to turn a page, or you can remove it completely. If you are not a fan of turning pages by clicking on the bezel, you can disable Page Press completely and rely on the touchscreen to swipe pages.
In the past, all prior Kindle e-readers had a power button on the bottom of the chassis, right next to the MicroUSB and status indicator light. Amazon has borrowed design elements from the Kindle Fire line of tablets and implemented a sweet rounded button that is easily accessible when holding the e-reader normally. When I first noticed it and turned it onto standby mode, it was one of the those moments when I said to myself “man this is so intuitive, why din’t they do this all along?”
The back of the Kindle Voyage is not 100% plastic or rubber anymore, but uses a new hybrid magnesium alloy. This not only makes the e-reader lighter than previous iterations, but prevents scuffs and fingerprints when taking it in and out of your bag on a daily basis. I really like the angular aspects of the design, which again, is much akin to the Kindle Fire.
Underneath the hood of the Voyage is a 1 GHZ single core processor, 512 MB of RAM and 4 GB of internal storage. Battery life should last around a month, and if you don’t use it much, standby should easily last you six months.
On paper, the Voyage has super high DPI and crazy resolution, but how does it play out in real world conditions? During the last few days we have been putting the Voyage head to head against the Kindle Basic Touch, Kobo Aura H2O and Paperwhite 2. We tested the Glowlight, eBooks, and PDF files. The new Voyage really stands out in the crowd by having more clarity on the screen and the fonts really do look better.
The Amazon Kindle Voyage borrows heavy design elements on the software front from the Kindle Basic Touch and second generation Kindle Paperwhite. You have the main navigation bar which allows you to quickly access the Kindle Store, search for books or access social media website GoodReads.
Amazon has promised new features such as Kindle Family Sharing, which allows you to share the same purchased content accross all other Amazon tablets and reading apps in a few months. They also will be introducing another new feature upon opening a new book will tell you who the author is and other books they have written. You also will be able to establish the book as “currently being read” on GoodReads. Ironically, the new Kindle HD6, HD7 and HDX 8.9 all have “currently reading” out of the box.
What I can say about the software that it is really polished. Its easier to interact with all of the menu and settings features due to the screen being flush with the bezel. It basically feels like you are interacting with a smartphone in terms of performance. This fact is really evident when you are typing notes or entering your WIFI password with the keyboard. In the past, many e-readers had a noticeable delay between when you hit a key, to when it actually projected the character on the display. e-Ink Carta really addresses this shortcoming and doing anything touchscreen related on the Voyage is pure bliss.
Amazon has really simplified the entire reading experience on the Kindle. It is really easy to adjust the font type and font size by clicking on the top half of the e-reader. There are six options, and the rare book will have a seventh, which is the publisher default. Changing the margins and line spaces is also a walk in the park, I like the fact Amazon does not make the adjusting of the core e-reading experience complicated or advanced. It provides enough customization options to appeal to the average user, but isn’t a barrier to the non-tech-savvy.
The high PPI and resolution are really evident when you are reading a standard eBook or anything that involves heavy imagery, such as Manga or digital newspapers. The text just pops, its hard to quantify exactly how, but there is no pixelation, even when you crank up the font size to maximum. Its times like this, that I wish I knew someone with a quantum microscope to really dive deep into the matter. All I can say, is its a step up from the Paperwhite 2.
Amazon has really refined their entire PDF rendering engine in 2014. I remember when the Paperwhite 2 first came out, the page turn rates would be really slow and files over 100 MB would simply crash. Engineers released a series of firmware updates that solved this problem.
When you read a PDF file, you get a small preview pane on the upper left hand corner, which helps orient you on where exactly in the document you are. If you have zoomed in to a very high degree and feel lost, this feature lends the assist.
Pinching and zooming PDF files has never felt as robust as it does now. The capacitive touchscreen makes this possible and images look great. One feature many people aren’t aware of, is when you click on the top center to access the settings menu. Normally when reading an eBook, this brings you to the font option screen. On the Kindle Voyage you can increase or decrease the level of darkness or brightness in a document. So if you notice things become very dark or shady in an image, and it becomes hard to discern exactly what it is, like things getting lost in the shadows, you can adjust this. Kindle is the only e-reader to include this type of tech, which makes it stand out in a crowd.
The Kindle Voyage is a priemium e-reader with a high cost. It retails for $199 right out of the gates, but is comparable to the Kobo Aura H2O which hit the market at $179.99. I remember a time when basic e-readers cost $349 for a six inch model, so the price tag is not really a barrier.
If you have an older model Kindle should you upgrade to the Voyage? Well, it depends. If you have the an older model with a physical keyboard or a Kindle Basic 2013, the answer is yes. If you bought the Paperwhite 2 in the last year, the Voyage on a fundamental level is an incremental update, with a few new bells and whistles.
Screen is Flush with Bezel, much like the Kobo Aura
High PPI and resolution
Front-lit display is the best in class
Responsive touchscreen display
Page Press feels like a gimmick
Wish it had audio
Costs more than most other six inch e-readers on the market
Rating – 9.5/10
Unfortunately for all of you that had weekend plans to strip down before broadcasting videos of your gaming exploits, Twitch has updated their Rules of Conduct. Inspired by their new owners at family-friendly Amazon, this adjustment likely shouldn’t come as a surprise.
It doesn’t matter how good you look naked (or nearly naked), Twitch’s new rules are very clear:
“Nerds are sexy, and you’re all magnificent, beautiful creatures, but let’s try and keep this about the games, shall we?
Wearing no clothing or sexually suggestive clothing – including lingerie, swimsuits, pasties, and undergarments – will most likely get you suspended, as well as any full nude torsos*, which applies to both male and female broadcasters. You may have a great six-pack, but that’s better shared on the beach during a 2-on-2 volleyball game blasting “Playing with the Boys.”
* If it’s unbearably hot where you are, and you happen to have your shirt off (gents) or a bikini top (ladies), then just crop the webcam to your face. If your lighting is hot, get fluorescent bulbs to reduce the heat. Xbox One Kinect doesn’t zoom? Move it closer to you, or turn it off. There is always a workaround.”
While some people may feel this is unnecessary censorship, some of us are wondering if it was a really big problem to begin with? It seems the change was kept fairly quiet by Twitch, but that is likely moreso because they didn’t want to make it seem like they used to be all about the nudity.
It looks like Apple isn’t the only one bracing for the impact Chromecast will have on the way we watch TV, Amazon has released their Fire TV Stick as a viable contender. Built using powerful hardware (a dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, 8GB of storage, dual-band, and dual-antenna Wi-Fi with MIMO), the Fire TV Stick boasts Amazon’s award-winning user interface accessible by the included remote control (or “you can use your phone as a remote with the free mobile app that includes voice search”).
Beyond just being easy to use (plug it in and you’re basically ready to stream in a matter of moments as it arrives pre-registered), the Amazon Fire TV Stick is content rich:
“[Giving you access to a] vast selection of the most popular video and music services, including Netflix, Prime Instant Video, Hulu Plus, WatchESPN, NBA Game Time, Prime Music, Pandora, Spotify, and more for instant access to shows like Transparent, House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, Game of Thrones, and The Wire—plus the largest selection of movies and TV episodes to rent or buy from Amazon Instant Video.”
Like the Chromecast, you can fling or mirror content directly from your smartphone or tablet to the Fire TV Stick as well.
If you are now curious enough to give the Fire TV Stick a try, it will be available for sale on November 19th and can be pre-ordered now for $39 USD. Lucky Amazon Prime members ordering before 6:00 a.m. (PT) on October 29, 2014 will receive a significant discount and only have to pay $19 USD. As an added benefit, eligible customers will also enjoy free trial periods with Neflix and Amazon Prime with their purchase of a Fire TV Stick.
The Amazon Fire Phone has not been selling very well, and recently the Seattle company said they had to write off close to $170 million in loses. Things have got so bad, that AT&T is throwing in a free Fire Tablet in a bid to lure people over. What is all the fuss about, is this a legit good phone? Today, we do a proper unboxing video, showing you everything that comes in the box. You can get a sense on the form factor and core features that makes this unique in the marketplace.