Archive for October, 2011
Barnes & Noble has just started sending out invites for a special event on November 7 that will act as the launchpad of a new generation of the Nook Color. This pretty much confirms what has been mentioned here in previous articles. The event is planned in New York, though what is also of note is that B&N has nowhere mentioned the entirety of the event is centered around a new variant of the Nook Color.
However, the biggest question doing the rounds is what B&N’s pricing strategy will be now that Amazon has already set the ball rolling with a Kindle Fire tablet that costs just $199. Experts believe Amazon is incurring a loss of around $20 (or maybe even more) with each Kindle Fire sold, which its makers expect to recover by selling content. It will be really interesting to see how B&N compares to that. The new Nook Color will surely be a significant improvement over the original, with upgrades on both the hardware and software front, changes that will perhaps only make sense to its makers if priced at around $299. That’s a sizeable difference from the Kindle Fire, though one way B&N can cover the Amazon offering is to have the new Nook Color priced at the $299 mark, while lowering down the price of first gen Nook Colors to match the Amazon tablet.
Anyway, we will have all our questions answered by the morning on the 7th of November. So keep watching as we bring you live updates from the events’ location.
Business folks in Asia looking for a tablet PC to further streamline their operations can now do so with the new ET1 enterprise tablet that Motorola has made available to this part of the world. With a 7 inch display, the ET1 tablet device has been built every bit to perform its intended role even in harsh industrial environments. So it’s not only the customary Gorilla Glass that has been used to impart strength to the display along with a durable design, there have other software related tweaks included over the base Android 2.3 Gingerbread OS that is all aimed to make the ET1 a reliable performer in the business scene.
The ET1 also boasts of several hardware features built into it such as an optional barcode scanner and magnetic stripe reader, both of which will find ready application in its target area of operation. Motorola has also ensured a longer period of operation by allowing for swappable battery packs.
Coming to the tablet’s specifications, it’s impressive to say the least. The tablet comes with a 1024 X 600 pixel capacitive touchscreen, a camera each along the front and back with the one at the rear being of 8 megapixel resolution. Powering the tablet is a OMAP4 dual core 1 GHz x2 +DSP processor that works in conjugation with a 1 GB RAM. On-board storage space amounts to 4 GB, which can be enhanced further to 32 GB with the use of microSD cards.
Connectivity options with the ET1 include one each of an USB 2.0 OTG connector and USB 2.0 host connector along with an HDMI out port as well. The tablet also boasts of 802.11a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR, while providing the juice will be a 4620 mAH rechargeable and user removable smart Li-Ion battery.
Motorola Solutions has also included a few business apps with the ET1 tablet to ensure it finds ready application. These include Assisted selling, Mobile point of sale (mPOS), Manager electronic dashboards, Planogram management, and compliance along with the Item locator app.
Among the software features that have been integrated with the Gingerbread to ensure operating the tablet is safe in its business operations include instant provisioning for employees as per their access rights, control and monitor the use of approved apps, along with the tried and tested password protected sharing feature.
“The ET1 will give enterprise users the familiar experience of a consumer tablet in a sleek package, with all the enterprise must-haves such as applications, durability, security, device management whether they are from retail, logistics, supply-chain, healthcare or other industry segments,” stated Phey Teck Moh, Corporate Vice President, Motorola Solutions Asia Pacific.
Another unique aspect with the ET1 is that its casing can be customized to match the company that uses it along with memory back-up battery that keeps a back-up of RAM data for up to 15 minutes.
Motorola is yet to declare price of the ET1 tablet, though unconfirmed sources point out it can be less than $100 when purchased in bulk. Also, the tablet will only be available to business users as of now and can be purchased from here.
As we come up on the launch of one of the most revolutionary reading concepts since the dedicated e-reader device, a launch that blends the worlds of social media, digital content, and the story lines of one of the most successful literary series of all time, more authors and readers are starting to question: “What else can a book do for me?”
While Pottermore is still in its beta launch phase, a project that had more registered users in the test run than many websites ever get in the full version, the website already promises a whole new reading experience that hasn’t been so widely acclaimed since e-reading and its resulting “social reading” capabilities appeared. Frustration abounded as the date for the full access continued to be pushed back, along with the date that the digital editions of the Harry Potter series would appear for sale via the site, but the blog posts explaining the delay all spoke to the need to make the site as user-friendly and content-rich as possible. In other words, the site needed more time to make the experience as great as possible because the readers won’t settle for less.
Interactive storybook websites, enhanced ebooks with full-color graphics and video, book trailers that advertise novels just as movies are advertised, downloadable app books for readers of all ages, all speak to the changing needs of today’s reading consumers. In an era in which television and even recent movies are instantly available at the touch of a button, readers want their books to be readily available and to be a full entertainment value.
And the authors are on board with the changing world of reading. While it seems that most would agree that print reading will not be disappearing any time soon, the development of so many more outlets for creativity has translated into authors embracing their options. Those with the know-how and drive to create their masterpieces for the digital consumer are enjoying the doors that electronic content brings to the table.
The New York Public Library is exponentially growing and seeing unparallelled success. In the last year digital circulation has increased over 81%, due to the proliferation of e-readers.
Currently the New York Public Library has six million print books in its hallowed halls and maintains a collection of 75,000 ebooks. Christopher Platt, The New York Public Library’s director of collections and circulation operations mentioned that, ”
It may not be surprising, then, that while more people are borrowing eBooks from libraries, more people are also going to libraries. “Our usage is going up as well,” said Platt as he pointed out that New York libraries loaned more than 28 million items in 2010. “That’s a lot of people coming through our doors.”
But the number of digital patrons is growing at a much faster pace. “We have, I think, over 150,000 Twitter followers on our flagship Twitter account and over 40,000 Facebook friends,” Platt said.
The Library is preparing for an onslaught of digital lending after the holiday season when more people end up getting new e-readers. If you are interested in borrowing books from the library to your device you can do it with most readers such as the Kindle, Nook, Kobo and many others. The library uses Overdrive for its content delivery system and it is fairly intuitive to use. All you need is a library card and a 4 digit pin number.
Barnes and Noble is getting geared up for the holiday season and will put more emphasis on the Nook line of e-readers. In over 50 of its top locations in the United States the company is doubling the size of the area devoted to Nook retail sales.
In a typical Barnes and Noble store the Nook area comprises of E-Readers, screen protectors, cases and other accessories. In most locations it has 1000 square feet of space and the average store is 26,000 square feet. The increased size of the Nook display stand will be upgraded to 2,000 square feet.
B&N is one of the last large retail book chains to still be in business in the USA. Nook and ebook sales continue to be the saving grace of the company. The entire digital revenue earnings for the year are projected to be 1.8 billion dollars. This is why it makes sense to increase the size of the area devoted to Nook sales.
The company is expected to unveil the Barnes and Noble Nook Color 2 within the next two weeks and will amp up the competition against the Amazon Kindle Fire.
The Kobo Vox is officially delayed until November 7th 2011! If you have pre-ordered it from Chapters, Indigo or Kobo you will not have it delivered until after the 7th.
Many people have sent us email telling us that Kobo had officially let them know about the delay. While others still have not received an email or confirmation of their shipment whom had ordered it two weeks ago. Kobo is trying to make good at allow you a 25% discount using the code vox25oct28, on a particular LIST of ebooks.
If you can’t wait to get your hands on one, I know Future Shop in Canada currently has a number in stock at major urban centers. Normally they have all 4 colors in stock, although I would recommend calling ahead to make sure.
If you have never heard of the Kobo Vox, check out our epic Kobo Vox Review! We have 4 videos, tons of pictures and all of the information you need to know.
The HP TouchPad, it seems, just refuses to die down. The tablet running WebOS has already been through its last rites, but it’s back again one more time. Also, going by the way the TouchPad saga has been unfolding, no body knows for sure if this is the last that we are seeing of the HP tablet device.
Coming to the latest TouchPad appearance, one would be able to pick up the WebOS tablet with 32 GB of onboard memory for just $149.99 starting 01 Nov. That would have been raving news if an additional clause was not attached to it, which states that to get the HP tablet at that price you have to buy either a HP or a Compaq laptop, desktop, or all-in-one computer from Best Buy. HP has recently declared that they will be holding on to their PC division, but not the TouchPad and the WebOS platform. However, the TouchPad popularity has scaled to dizzying heights once its price was dropped down to just $99, and the tablet has since been headline property even after months being officially dead. Also, a time honored marketing ploy has been brought into the act; offer a device that’s in demand to push sales of those that might have been languishing.
However, there are two sides to this coin. For those who are on the lookout for a new computer system this deal is lucrative and can make sense for them. However, for those who know the HP TouchPad has ceased to exist, this offer does not hold much of a value. But then, let’s not forget here’s a high quality tablet with a 10 inch screen, while being cheaper than even the Kindle Fire. We could have been witness to another crazy round of TouchPad hunting had it been a standalone deal.
Another question that we are faced with is where the latest TouchPads are coming from. HP has been intimating that there won’t be any more made. Maybe there has been a production run to clear inventory, and rumors are pointing out the number of such tablets at around 100,000 to about 200,000.
Anyway, it still will be interesting to see how consumers react to yet another appearance of the TouchPad.
Tablet PCs or any other device that function on the perception of human touch all behave in much the same manner. This in the sense that for a touchscreen device, a touch is always a touch and no matter which part of the body is used to make the touch, it will always yield the same result. As such, an inherent disadvantage with touchscreen devices is that the screen recognizes only the touch but not the difference between the intentions of the touch. Thankfully for us, the limitation has been realized by the researchers at Carnegie Mellon University’s Human-Computer Interaction Institute who have taken on the job of developing a technology that would recognize touch made by different parts of the finger and act accordingly. The system they have come up with has been labeled TapSense, and is yet in its prototype stages.
What TapSense is in easy terms is that the technology is smart enough to determine what has been used to make the touch and can be programmed to act accordingly. So whether it be the nail, knuckle tip, or the finger pad, the TapSence enabled touchscreen can differentiate between them all. In fact, the technology can even pick out whether a stylus used to tap the screen is made of wood or acrylic.
The way the TapSense technology works is this: different objects or different parts of the body used to touch the display will generate different sounds which in turn can be picked up with the help of an inexpensive microphone attached to the display. The sound thus recorded is than compared to a set of pre-recorded sound samples and can be used to react in a desired manner. The device’s own mic can’t be used for this (hence the need for an additional mic) but the result is astonishing nonetheless.
Users of such devices would therefore be able to remain on their main application and use different parts of the finger to execute other tasks on the same screen. It’s somewhat similar to the use of the right mouse button that this technology would give the users. Demos of the technology being developed showed an instance where a knuckle tap on the heading of the email brought up a certain list of options rather than opening up the email. In a paint application the finger tip can be used to draw straight lines while the finger pad would draw freehand. In a word application, users were able to access alternate character sets while using their finger tip and a nail tapping gave them the back key function.
While all of the above does sound interesting, unfortunately the technology isn’t ready to make its commercial debut yet, nor is there a time frame available for when we can expect that to happen.
If you have loved the Archos Gen8 line of tablet PCs, chances are that you will fall in love with it all over again. The French manufacturer of the tablets has come up with an update that promises some cool enhancements to the tablet PCs.
The tablet will now have USB camera support, as well as the ability to recalibrate the accelerometer without the need of rebooting. The video capability of the tablet will also be a notch or two higher than what it is now. The update also brings good news for those who do not have access to Wi-Fi hot spots, as the tablet will now be able to access the net via a compliant USB Ethernet adapter or the Archos 3G Key.
The Gen 8 series comprises of 6 tablets in all, with screen size varying from as small as just 2.8 inches to 10.1 inches. Also, while the tablets from Archos may never have made the kind of noise that we have come to hear from the likes of the iPad or the Galaxy Tab, they have managed to maintain a steady buzz around them owing largely to the affordable price tags that they sport. Also, while the current crop of Gen 8 tablets that were launched in 2010 are all based on Android 2.2 Froyo, Archos already has confirmed its Android Honeycomb plans. The Gen 9 series of tablet devices launched recently runs Android 3.2 Honeycomb and has a faster processor. Archos continues its sales and support for the Archos 101 Gen8, however, with its price being fixed at $230.
Attached below is a video of how the Archos 70 performs after the update. The Archos 70 comes with a 1 GHz Cortex A8 processor beneath the 7 inch capacitive touchscreen display. The tablet behaves in the most impressive manner and has just enhanced its appeal, considering it continues with its $275 price tag.
Dell’s Malaysian site had first given a sneak preview of their Latitude ST tablet last weekend, and though that has since been quickly removed, the indication has been all too clear. After having thus been pseudo-confirmed, Dell has now finally introduced the 10 inch tablet running Windows. Also, unlike its earlier 10 inch tablet offering, the Streak 10 Pro, the Latitude ST will be best suited for business users, including those involved with the educational systems as well as the health care industry.
As far as the specification of the tablet goes, the Latitude ST comes with a 1.5 GHz Intel Atom Z670 single core processor, a minimum of 2 GB of RAM, along with a 10.1 inch, 1280 x 800 pixel LED display made up of Gorilla Glass. For storage the tablet has 128 GB of solid state disk.
The weight of the tablet stands at 1.8 pounds, which makes it heavier not only to the Apple iPad but most other Android tablets as well. Dimension wise, the Latitude ST measures 10.6 x 7.3 x 0.6 inches. The advantage of this tablet, though, is that since most corporate systems are connected to the Windows based network, it is easy for this tablet to connect up to them.
Providing the juice is a 4 cell, 30Whr battery pack, while for connectivity, the Latitude ST features 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0. It also has the option for going for 3G and GPS capabilities.
The OS would be a choice between Windows 7 Home Premium, Professional, or Ultimate. Another feature of the Latitude ST tablet is the way it allows you to be set it up like a laptop with the help of a docking station.
Chances are that the final specification of the tablet would not be uniform, but would vary from region to region to suit specific applications and requirements. Further, there also should be the option to custom build the tablet to suit individual tastes.
There is no information available as yet as what the tablet will cost, at least in its base configuration.
The HP TouchPad may have lived an extremely short life span, but it has had the most dramatic moments otherwise unseen with any other tablet device. Also, while HP pulled the plug on the tablet, those employed at its manufacturing partners almost halfway round the globe in Taiwan are also among those to have found themselves in the firing line. Further, while the TouchPad may have ceased to exist completely, the RIM PlayBook might be considered next on the chopping block.
All this is definitely not good news for those currently engaged in the manufacturing of the tablet devices, with DigiTimes reporting that the Taiwanese companies, who have been the ones fielding orders for these tablets, are laying off staff due to cancelled orders. This clearly indicates gloomy times for the entire tablet segment, with the iPad being almost the sole exception.
The major companies that are affected by the TouchPad and PlayBook failure have been Inventec, who is going to lay off 400 of its employees, and Quanta is also planning to do the same to about a 1,000 of its employees.
However, amid all the gloomy pictures being painted of the tablet industry as a whole, the Kindle Fire can be considered a silver lining with the kind of response that it received. In fact, Amazon is reported to have gone for additional orders amounting to about a million more of the Kindle Fire tablet. Incidentally, Quanta computers are also entrusted with the manufacture of the Kindle Fire and it will be interesting to see if increased Kindle Fire orders from Amazon can bring more jobs to the workforce.
Further, Quanta also happens to be the manufacturing partner with Motorola, for whom it churns out the XOOM tablet PC, which is another not so successful tablet. However, Quanta can still draw solace from the fact that Motorola is pushing ahead with new gen tablets.
For several years, published bestseller lists relied on sales data that only included print editions of books in order to determine rankings. Now, Nielsen BookScan, which recently made headlines for partnering with Amazon to provide sales data to Amazon’s author customers, will be including ebooks in its information that it distributes to news outlets such as the Wall Street Journal. WSJ is the third major publication to include ebooks in the bestseller list, along with the New York Times and USA Today. The New York Times Book Review is arguably the mainstay source for determining bestsellers, and it began incorporating ebooks into its bestseller list in February of this year.
The compilation of sales numbers to develop the bestsellers lists will be in four distinct categories: a combined number for digital and print sales of fiction, digital and print of non-fiction, ebook-only fiction, and ebook-only non-fiction. For now, Nielsen will be gathering these sales numbers from four of the largest ebook outlets, Amazon, Apple’s bookstore, Barnes&Noble, and Google Books, which is an added incentive to self-published authors to make sure their ebooks are compatible and uploaded to those retailers.
As far as total numbers of copies sold, that data will not be included at the present time in Nielson’s information, only the ranking of the books in order. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, this new tool will help ensure an accurate picture of what—and how—consumers read.
“As consumers and booksellers continue to embrace the potential of e-books, we are very happy to be working with The Wall Street Journal to produce the most accurate best-seller charts available,” Jonathan Stolper, vice president and general manager of Nielsen BookScan, said in a statement. “These new charts uniquely reflect what people are really buying and reading and will most definitely advance the industry’s understanding of e-book best sellers.”