Archive for November, 2011
Cambridge University Press, the folks behind Cambridge Journals is offering a new way for people to use their research papers, the digital rental model. Instead of paying $30 to $40 to purchase them you can now rent them for 24 hours, for as little as $5.99. This should be a boon for students and researchers to get the information they need and be done with it.
The new digital distribution rental model would allow researches to enjoy unfettered access to the high quality papers the company offers. These are ‘read only’ and cannot be used to make highlights and annotations. Right now only 100 different articles are used for this new program, but more should be available after the trial run. If the program is successful you will see Oxford and other publications test the waters.
“Article Rental is a direct response to the increasingly high cost of full article ownership through the subscription, document delivery and pay-per view routes that non-subscribers have to use in order to access to an article,” said Simon Ross, global journals director at at Cambridge UP. “From our analysis of user traffic on Cambridge Journals Online, we see millions of non-subscribers turnaway as they can only access the article title and abstract information. We can now provide an alternative low-barrier access route that will allow these readers to access the research that interests them.”
Lenovo has launched three new tablet PCs under the LePad brand in China. The tablet range comprises of 5, 7 and 10 inch sized devices and are likely to be branded IdeaPad or IdeaTab when they are introduced in the US market.
Lenovo LePad S2005
Starting with the smallest device, the LePad S2005 comes with a 5 inch display and is the one that was spotted in a leak some time ago. The LePad S2005 bears a lot of similarity with the Dell Streak 5 which has since been discontinued as well as the Samsung Galaxy Note or the Galaxy Player 5.0. The Lenovo device can make phone calls too and hence its one of those devices that can both be a smartphone and a tablet.
The screen has a resolution of 800 x 600 pixels and a viewing angle of 178 degrees. For OS it comes loaded with Android 2.3.5 Gingerbread. Powered by a 1.2 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon dual core processor, the LePad S2005 features a 1 GB RAM while the tablet gets its juice from a 1680 mAh battery pack. Other features of the LePad S2005 include a dual camera setup — 5 megapixel rear facing and a 1.3 megapixel camera at the front, while the 5 incher also boasts of a micro USB, HDMI, and SD card ports. The tablet is also 4G capable.
Lenovo LePad S2007
The LePad S2007 sports the same processor and RAM configuration as that of the LePad S2005 though it sports a 1280 x 800 pixel 7 inch IPS display. The rear camera this time is of a better 8 megapixel resolution while the front facing is once again is the same as in the LePad S2005. The battery pack is of higher rating, being 3790 mAh which Lenovo claims is good enough to allow for 8 hours of usage. Micro ports are also same as that of the LePad S2005 though it does not have phone calling facility as its smaller sibling. The tablet weighs 0.8 pounds and is just 0.38 inches thick.
When shipped it will be pre-loaded with Google Android 3.2 and boasts of 3G connectivity.
Lenovo LePad S2010
The LePad S2010 is the largest member of the family, with a 10.1 inch, 1280 x 800 pixel display and a hefty 7560mAh battery for up to 11 hours of run time. The tablet weighs 1.5 pounds and is of the same thickness — 0.38 inches — as the S2007.
Everything else with the S2010 is the same as that of the S2007 model.
Lumos Research for the Canadian Urban Libraries Council has released new reports that are encouraging to the sustainability of the public library system in Canada. Across the country, library usage is up 45 per cent over the past decade, from 16.6 to 24.1 transactions on average per capita.
One of the most well known success stories in very traditional library adapting to the digital age is the The Grande Bibliotheque in Montreal Quebec. Membership has grown 17 per cent over five years. The $142-million library, which opened in 2005, now has 286,000 active members and 3 million visits annually. he key to a library’s success, said Guy Berthiaume, director of the Grande Bibliotheque, is to adapt with the times. The Montreal library now has 200,000 ebook titles available with plans for more on the way.
With the advent of Overdrive to facilitate the library lending and e-readers to read the books, the going is good for libraries. There is no longer any late fees to deal with because the ebooks are returned automatically at the end of the loan period. Instead of toting around a huge tome of War and Peace, you can merely load the file in your phone or e-reader.
Despite the fact libraries are seeing record usage because of ebook lending, people are still visiting the actual location. The Grande Bibliotheque, like many new megalibraries across the globe, was designed to serve as a central meeting place.
Not just to read, but to hold study groups, exhibitions and lectures. Berthiaume calls libraries one of those rare “third places” that is free to the public, and away from work and home.
Not surprisingly, Samsung’s new Galaxy Tab 10.1N has failed to impress Apple boffins with the latter already having moved court to seek a fresh ban on Samsung selling the re-designed tablet. Samsung had earlier lost their case in court and had to stop selling their Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Germany due to a ruling by a local court that had gone in favor of Apple.
Samsung has however not taken all of it lying down and has introduced the tablet in a new format and have renamed it Galaxy Tab 10.1N. The change is design is more ornamental with a chrome surrounding added to the front which now also houses the speakers. These apart, almost everything else with the new 10 inch Galaxy Tab remains the same.
However, the fight goes on with Apple now moving court once again against the Galaxy Tab 10.1N claiming all of the modification meted out to the Galaxy Tab 10.1 isn’t enough to justify it be allowed to co-exist with the iPad 2. The court has set a December 22 date for the hearing though till then Samsung is free to sell the device. Interestingly, the initial injunction against Samsung covers the three tablets from the company with screen size including 7.7, 8.9 and 10.1 inches.
As such, it is to be seen who wins the second round of the court battle. Samsung though is confident they can prove the Galaxy Tab 10.1N is a lot different from the corresponding Apple offering. Also, this
The Kindle Fire is still fresh in the market but has already being provided with an update to its software. Termed version 6.2, the update is available OTA and will download and install automatically on the tablet of connected to Wi-Fi. The update can also be downloaded manually from the Amazon site. Amazon is claiming overall operational efficiency of the tablet post the update so that the buttons will be more responsive while carousel flipping too will be a lot more slow and smooth.
However, one thing the update does is it removes root access to the device. Surely Amazon does not like its tablet to be rooted and hence the update though what is most interesting is that the Kindle Fire can still be rooted once again. Further, those who might have rooted their device to gain access to the Amazon Market will be pleased to know any apps downloaded will continue to function without a whimper.
However, this might just be a warning as future updates are likely to be more stricter about root access. Till then, its a toss between better performance with the update or more choice of app and functionality with rooting.
Many sources that we have contact with in the retail sphere have all told us in the last few days that the Sony PRS-650 e-reader is officially unavailable. It is a total impossibility to find it in most retail settings such as Best Buy, Futureshop, Sony Style and other leading retail stores. Up until a few weeks ago it was possible to find it in those stores, even if their webpages reflected the fact they were sold out. The only model some stores still have left is the refurbished editions that are selling as low as $129.99, but only in the color silver.
The Sony PRS-650 was the companies most successful e-reader to date in terms of straight sales and public acceptance. It was one of their first touchscreen e-readers to really gain traction with customers because of its pin-point accuracy and stylus. It was a great six inch reader with pearl e-ink and had crisp resolution and fast page turns. There was a global shortage at the end of 2010 and easing into 2011 because Sony used it as a platform to enter the Japanese market and garner deals with book and publishing partners.
By today’s standards it is lacking with WIFI and the inability to connect to the internet. You could not physically buy books on the device and instead had to use your PC to shop for books and then use Adobe Digital Editions to copy them over. It was fairly popular at the time because of its competitive prices and allowing people to load in their own books via programs like Calibre.
The 650’s days were numbered with the advent of the recently released Sony PRS-T1! This new model boasted Wireless internet access and a web browser. It also allowed people to buy books directly from Sony’s own book store and tap into Google Books to download free ones. Finally it had its own customized Overdrive App built right into it to easily borrow books from your public library. The price is drastically lowered to compete with other lower-end devices and is widely available at $129.99.
Personally I thought the 650 had a great design with the aluminum style body and it felt sturdy in your hands. This was a stellar device at the time and many people had extensively used it for years. We constantly get emails about firmware updates and asking about it even now. One of the big factors on the success was the fact it was very internationally friendly. It offered the menus and languages in over 12 different localizations and was pushed by a big company with extensive retail clout.
The Asus Transformer Prime was the first tablet to use the new Nvidia Tegra 3 Quad-Core CPU processor and is poised for great success during the critical holiday season. Not to be outdone Acer and Lenovo are planning on launching their own tablets using Tegra 3 in the first quarter of 2012 using Google Ice Cream Sandwich.
Digitimes sources close to the matter in Taiwan where most of these companies are located and where the devices are actually manufactured has some interesting things to say. They mentioned that the competition over the quad-core tablet PCs will be difficult as these quad-core devices will only see improvements over their performance and design, but will still feature the same concept as their dual-core predecessors. It is not like these devices will be ground breaking as they will use the Stock Android experience which has been synonymous with most tablets to the present date. Although the compatibilities will be there for video beyond 1080p there is simply not enough content available or games to take advantage of the copious amount of GPU available.
It is said that Acer and Lenovo will try and hit the market offering their tablets from $459 to $599 because they know most customers will not pay over 600 for a tablet unless its an iPad. Since these new devices will be out soon stay tuned for Good e-Readers on-location coverage of CES 2012.
Windows 8 did manage to build up a lot of excitement when it was unveiled earlier in the year though the fact remains, all of that might remain too far fetched if its not on time. Windows next iteration is coming at a time when the Apple iOS and Google Android has already entrenched themselves considerably in the tablet space, which means Windows 8 has to hit ground running. To be spot on is another aspect that Microsoft can’t be found wanting in if it does not wish to lose critical space to its competitors.
What has to be kept in mind is that both Apple and Samsung are already into launching their second and third generation devices while the entire tablet demographics too has undergone a sea change with the opening up of a new segment comprising of low cost tablets of the likes of the Kindle Fire or the Nook Tablet. While these continue to be the rage right now, the earliest that we can expect to come across commercially available tablet devices running Windows 8 is mid 2012 though those will be based on Intel chips. The same with an ARM chipset will take almost another year by which time both Apple and Google will have enough time to up their game even more. What should be even more depressing for those expecting to see a viable ARM – Windows 8 combination in a tablet device is the fact that all those apps that have been written to be operable on X86 and Win 8 tablet devices will have to be reworked to allow them to be operable in their ARM based counterparts as well.
“In Q1 2011, Windows was by far the top choice of consumers — while no touch-first Windows tablets existed, 46% of U.S. consumers yearned for one,” Forrester analyst JP Gownder stated. “By Q3 2011, that picture had changed dramatically: Windows was no longer No. 1 in choice preference, and interest among consumers dropped to 25%. Microsoft has missed the peak of consumer desire for a product they haven’t yet released.”
Windows with its unique Metro UI had raked up considerable interest among tablet enthusiasts but to have the OS in a real tablet seems further down the line than earlier expected.
“For product strategists, Windows 8 tablets provide a cautionary tale: To be a fast-follower, you must amp up the experience — and do so quickly, before the market changes beyond recognition,” Gownder wrote. “Windows 8 tablets must provide consumers with a more differentiated product experience than it otherwise would have, had Microsoft entered the market sooner. They’ll have to take a lesson from Amazon’s product strategists, who fundamentally changed the tablet product experience by leading with content and services rather than feeds and speeds, at a compelling price point. In the rapidly evolving tablet market, Amazon — and Barnes & Noble, with its Nook Tablet — demonstrate fast following done right.”
Forrester though believes Windows 8 can have considerable impact in the desktop and laptop computing segments. It will be worth mentioning here that Microsoft had earlier cancelled its dual screen Courier tablet concept as it set out to devote more on developing Windows 8 which is optimized more for touch based operations.
The Blackberry Playbook has finally received the rooted treatment by three enterprising young chaps. There was an exploit found in the operating system found by xpvqus who has been working hard with neuralic these past few months to further the initiative, and with cmwdotme. The new rooting application will be released to the public soon and will be known as DingleBerry. The videos show off the rooting process and even show you how to get Hulu+ happening on your Playbook to watch streaming video.
Amazon recently released the full source code for their first Android offering, the Kindle Fire. It was only a matter of time before CM7 was ported over and it looks like we have a developmental alpha version right now. XDA Developers is the quintessential resource forum for all things mod and hacking for Android. Today a user by the name of JackpotClavin posted two images today showing Android Gingerbread on the Fire. The code is not publicly available yet because there is a ton of bugs, including some faulty touchscreen interaction. The big rumor right now is that there should be a system dump available by Friday.
Follow the thread on XDA Developers for current information on the CM7 on the Kindle Fire, HERE.
Orbit is a Science Fiction and Fantasy offshoot from publishing giant Hachette and they announced the international launch of their digital short fiction publishing program.
In April of this year Orbit USA launched their Orbit Short Fiction which was basically the popular “e-Singles” program that entailed books that were too short for a novel and too long for an article in a magazine. In 2012 Orbit UK, Orbit USA and Orbit Australia will be releasing the digital editions simultaneously.
Orbit originally was established in 1974 with Orbit UK, since then they have specialized in Science Fiction and Fantasy. They are an imprint at Little, Brown Book Group, a leading trade publisher based in London. Little, Brown Book Group is a division of Hachette UK, the largest book publisher in the UK.
Anne Clarke, Editorial Director, Orbit (UK) said: “The digital short fiction market is clearly gaining momentum, and I’m delighted that we’ll now be able to make our authors’ stories available internationally. The success of the program in the US has been very encouraging, and we’re very much looking forward to working with our authors and colleagues in the US on this next stage in its development.”
Microsoft is currently developing their entire suite of Office productivity applications for the Apple iPad! This is their first step by reaching out to the emerging tablet segment with their seminal business software.
Industry Insiders are claiming that Microsoft is working on standalone versions of their Office program to sell for $10.00 each in the App Market and will include Word, Excel and Powerpoint. This will directly challenge Apples own suite of applications that are customized for the iPad, such as; Pages, Keynote and Numbers. Apples apps were originally launched with the first generation of the iPad and have been perennial bestsellers ever since.
In would make sense that Microsoft would port over its best selling applications to a tablet platform, after all the company is first and foremost a software company. Many people all over the world on a PC or MAC use MS Office because its what they grew up with and know. Apples apps have seen success because they are the only ones of quality that are available for the iPad and hopefully MS is waking up to the prospect that tablet apps are a viable business model. Let us hope that they end up making Android versions as well.