IFA

Archive for IFA

The once extremely popular e-ink based displays have been witnessing a steady dip in popularity now that Amazon, one of its biggest backers with the Kindle line of e-readers, is showing increasing reliance on LCD displays. The electronic paper display has hit upon a novel idea to keep itself relevant in the fast changing tech scene. If present gen e-book readers prefer a LCD screen for its ability to render full color displays among several other positive attributes, e-ink can find application in the most unlikely device: smartphones.

Smartphones can have a second e-ink based display which will serve as a smallish e-book reader. Not too small, though, as the general trend with smartphone displays is that they all seem to be fast approaching the 5 inch dimension that was once considered a bit big for smartphones. All the usual bonuses associated with e-ink remain intact, the first of which is its extremely frugal battery demands. Extended periods of reading off your smartphone won’t boil down to rushing to the charging dock every few hours.

Another positive aspect to having a second e-ink enabled display on your smartphone is that it can be used to display an image which will remain intact even when the phone’s battery is down to its last ounce of juice.

The prototypes were shown off to phone manufacturers at IFA and the response has been quite overwhelming. One phone maker that preferred not to be named is already sold on it, with more expected to join the fray. This might even include Apple and though such a feature would no doubt add an extra layer of appeal to the upcoming iPhone, it will be interesting to see how Apple responds to it, given the company’s penchant for exclusivity.

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Toshiba is showing off a convertible tablet running Windows 8 at the ongoing IFA event in Berlin. Called Satellite U920t, the tablet offers a 12.5 inch display with a resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels. The keyboard remains hidden underneath the display when not in use, but can be pulled out easily using a slide out mechanism when needed. The display (when locked in an upright position) transforms the device into a netbook or an ultrabook whichever way you look at it. Also, the keys are well laid out and backlit to further aid in typing.

As for behind the screen, the Satellite U920t contains an Intel core i3 or i5 processor along with a 4 GB RAM and 128 GB SSD storage. The tablet is expected to ship around the same time Windows 8 is officially released, though at a price which is likely to be slightly more than $1000.

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Aug
30

IFA 2012: VAIO Tap 20 Revealed

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Big is beautiful should have been the design philosophy behind the VAIO Tap 20 that Sony has put up for public consumption at the ongoing IFA event. With a massive 20 inch (1600 × 900 pixel) display that responds to finger touch, the Tap 20 can be considered a cross between a tablet and a desktop PC. Surely such a device is in AIO territory, though what makes the Tap 20 better than most other AIO’s is that the Sony device has a better stand design that allows the device to be kept upright or laid flat on the desk. In an upright position and mated to a keyboard and mouse, the Tap 20 can be a desktop but when laid flat, the device will be a tablet device. The 10 point multi touch display can then cater to entertainment oriented activities like playing games or watching videos. Not to mention, the stand is heavy and tough enough to take a lot of abuse. In fact, shifting from desktop to tablet mode can be practically a workout.

Behind the massive display lies an Intel Core processor, which can either be i3, i5, or i7 with a system memory option of 4 to 8 GB. Internal storage will come in various options, though the highest is likely to be 1 TB. Intel HD 4000 graphics will take care of the heavy graphics files, though while the chip is capable enough, it may not be sufficient for high end games. However, lest you begin to think of it as another large tablet, the Tap 20 is all of 11 pounds, which is massive by tablet standards.

Windows 8 or Windows 8 Pro runs the entire show, though Sony has thrown in some of its own special flourishes. These include ClearAudio+, which is all about an enriching audio experience and a far cry from the puny speakers found on most tablet PCs or laptops. There also the OneTouch function which will allow the user to bond Tap 20 with any other Sony NFC products just by tapping them together.

The Tap 20 will be made available in some select countries by late October at an undisclosed price. However, there can be delays to that schedule as Sony reps also stated it’s still a work-in-progress status for the Tap 20 and the final product could end up being much slimmer and lighter.

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Another star attraction in the Sony camp at the IFA event in Berlin is the ultra sleek Vaio Duo 11. The device has a slide out keyboard and will no doubt give the Surface (along with the upcoming breed of Windows 8 devices) some serious competition. Unfortunately, Sony chose to keep all the details to itself, though it is evident that there will be a high price to be paid for the tablet.

What adds to the appeal is that the Vaio Duo 11 is as much of brain-n-brawn as it is a visual delight. On the inside will be the Intel Core series of processors with the Core i7-3517U as the range topper. RAM strength will be either 4 or 8 GB while internal memory options comprise of 128 or 256 GB of SSD storage. Other features the tablet offers include two USB 3.0 ports, VGA out, HDMI out, and a memory card slot. Connectivity options with the Duo 11 include WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, and LAN. A 11.6 inch 1080p capacitive display makes up the front, while there are HD cameras built into the front and rear of the device. The entire device weighs just 1.3kg which can be considered quite handy when compared to ultrabooks of its class, though it could have been even more portable if the design allowed the tablet to be detached from the keypad. As a result, the Duo 11 will be a breeze to carry but not for getting cozy in bed with your favorite ebook or video.

Also, a lot of questions remain unanswered and the primary among them is the price the device will retail for. While the Duo 11 is not expected to pocket friendly, a steep price tag will also be counter productive, no matter how attractive or efficient the device is. Another thing we’d like to know is the runtime of the Duo 11′s battery, or if there is a separate battery unit behind the display as well like in the Transformer series of tablets.

Categories : IFA, Tablet PC News
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Finally the Xperia Tablet that we knew has been cooking in the Sony camp for the past few weeks has arrived. The tablet, which will be a step above the Tablet S, comes with the usual dose of specification enhancement along with a better feature set. Named Xperia Tablet S, the tablet (as expected) is powered by the Nvidia Tegra 3 quad core ship and runs Android 4.0.3 ICS. The 9.4 inch HD display boasts of OptiContrast Panel with low friction coating and a resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels. Providing the juice is a 6,000mAh battery that Sony claims is good for 10 hours of runtime.

The tablet is done up in a new aluminum body that is thinner and lighter than its predecessor and boasts of a splash proof design. The tablet also comes with some cool features, such as an infra red emitter which can be used to control other devices. Further, the Xperia Tablet S betters the microSD card slot found on most tablet devices with a full sized SD card slot. There are some nice accessories made available as well, which includes a Microsoft Surface-like keypad that doubles up as a tablet cover.

The OS has been worked upon as well, and now includes some nice enhancements such as the Guest Mode which restricts access to some of the apps when logged in. The feature is akin to the Guest Account found in Windows. Music and Video Unlimited is also part of the package that will let you source your song and video requirements from Sony’s vast repertoire. Sony has also promised an upgrade to Jelly Bean soon.

The Xperia Tablet S would be up for sale starting September 7. The pricing has been kept simple, $400, $500, and $600 for memory size options of 16, 32, and 64 GB, while the Surface-like keypad cover will retail for an extra $100. Plus there are other accessories like a docking station and such.

You can expect high availability when this tablet officially comes out. Sony is throwing all its might behind it and you should be able to purchase it from Best Buy, Future Shop, and many other major retailers.

Categories : IFA, Tablet PC News
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Here is some news for the gaming enthusiasts. Archos has treaded upon a whole new segment with its GamePad — a 7 inch tablet device built exclusively for gamers and comes complete with integrated gaming controls such as buttons, triggers, analog sticks and a d-pad. That is not all since Archos has stated the tablet includes ‘automatic game recognition and mapping tools’ which enables the tablet to be perfectly compatible with ‘every advanced Android game’.

“Thanks to the mapping and automatic game recognition systems included on the GamePad, we already have over a thousand Android games compatible with the ARCHOS GamePad’s physical controls, including back catalog titles that originally didn’t include physical controls,” company founder and CEO Henri Crohas said.

The rest of the spec story speak of a 1.5 GHz dual-core processor (of unspecified make) with a Mali 400 quad-core GPU. The 7 inch capacitive display acts as the primary interface with a resolution likely to be at 1280 x 800 pixels. The tablet runs Android Ice Cream Sandwich with full access to Google Play Store that is already home to hundreds of games to make the best of the GamePad. Internal memory stands at 8 GB though there also is a microSD card slot that max at 64 GB to allow for more storage. Plus there also is a mini-HDMI slot as well.

Archos is not being specific with the price and availability aspects, and the nearest the French manufacturer has stated is that it will reach European markets by late October for less than €150. The last bit could be the killer here as a tablet dedicated to gaming at that price will surely turn a lot of heads. The GamePad is only the third tablet — Ouya and WikiPad being the other two — in this genre but seems to be the quickest to make it to the market and at the cheapest price so far.

“Until now, tablets provided gamers with touch controls that lacked response and compatibility, providing a disappointing gaming experience. As one of the main tablet uses, there is a strong need for a tablet that does more for gaming,” an Archos statement revealed.

Also, the strategy for the France based Archos is clear. It is not after iPad but is branching out to newer segments to rake in volumes. A gaming tablet this cheap might well turn out to be the trump card in the company’s tablet lineup. To top its gaming abilities, there is also no stopping anybody from using the GamePad for other usual activities such as e-book reading, watching video, listening to music or surfing the web.

Categories : IFA, Tablet PC News
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samsung galaxy tab 7.7

Samsung just took the wraps off the new Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 the spiritual successor of the original released last year! This new one gets a firm dose of 2011 with some amazing hardware and features that is sure to impress even the most banal consumer.

The new Galaxy Tab has a 7.7 inch screen with a resolution of 1280×800 and has a Super AMOLED Plus display panel. This is sure to put most competing tablets to shame in terms of pure resolution on a 7 inch tablet. It is running on a dual-core 1.4 GHZ processor made by Samsung so you can be sure its properly optimized for the hardware. It is running Google Android 3.2 and skinned with the Samsung TouchWiz UX. Originally when TouchWiz was shipped out I was not the biggest fan, but when I played with the Samsung Galaxy S2 phone, i was hooked.

One of the great aspects on this new tablet is that it boasts HSPA+ Radio giving you speeds of around 21 MPS.  There is going to be 16 GB of internal storage but you can enhance it up to 64 GB via the Micro SD card. It also has dual cameras, with 3 MP on the back and 2 MP on the front. Rounding off the specs it also has WIFI, Bluetooth and a battery life of around 10 hours.

I am a big fan of the original Samsung Galaxy Tab because it was ultra portable and had access to the Google Android Market, in a time when most tablets shipped out did not. No word yet if UK and Europeans will have the same capabilities to make phone calls with this version like the original, but only time will tell.

If you are a reading fan this device is going to be shipped off with the Readers Hub featuring Kobo! So you can shop for almost 2.6 million books through the system and have a great reading experience.  You can also buy magazines through Zinio.

In the end, this is a great tablet and if you were a fan of the original Galaxy Tab released last year, this is a solid upgrade.

samsung galaxy tab 7.7 specs

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At the IFA annual conference in Berlin, we have seen many new Tablet PCs unveiled. We also saw a slew of 3D TVs as well. A company merging the two segments is Telefunken and they have shown off two different tablet computers that have a 3D display.

These guys unveiled three different tablets, two of which that seem complete and one prototype. The prototype is known as the T12 3D Touch PAD.

The seven inch model – which has the same stats as the 5 inch model - is dubbed the T9HD. It has a full color touch screen and displays a resolution of 800 x 480 pixels. The T9HD has a Yamaha Sound chip for playing MP3s or Internet Radio. You can also view Flash content and it supports Flash 10.01. It features a Google Android 2.1 operating system and has WI-FI, USB/HDMI Port, and a camera. Battery life is touted by the company as being good for over 20 hours of usage. Finally, this model is 3D compliant, but make sure to bring your glasses.

The T9HD will come in 4 different colors and will have SD space for up to 32 GB of extra memory. This unit will be available in the spring, the 5 Inch version of this tablet will be available in Q4 2010.

You can visit the company’s website for more information.

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coby tablet

Coby did have a few portable media players as well as netbooks in its past line up, but they can’t actually be considered exceptionally successful in either segment. However, the company has now set its sights on the most happening segment at present; that of tablet PCs and is showing off a new tablet device at the ongoing IFA event at Berlin.

Named the Coby MID810, the front of the tablet comprises an eight inch TFT resistive touchscreen display along with a few buttons that that has been included right into the bezel below the screen. Not much is known about what is inside the MID810 except that it’s got an in-built 1.3 MP camera as well as a FM radio, making it perhaps the first tablet to come integrated with an FM radio. The operating system is touted to be Android, though once again the specific version is unknown.

And lastly, it would have been really nice if a definitive launch schedule could be mentioned here but that’s not the case. Coby had been showing off tablet devices since the CES of 2009, though none has ever made it to the market. However, company sources mentioned this time things will be different and the MID810 will surely make it to the market by the second quarter of 2011. In fact, the expected price has been declared as well: $179 for a single unit.

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To have a tablet that looks like the iPad is perhaps the easiest method of emulating the success of the magical tablet device from Apple. It is perhaps this line of thought that has prompted many to start off their tablet venture with a device that looks like the iPad and Elonex as well are keen to be identified in this group. Also it’s not just one or two tablet devices that Elonex will be coming up with but an entire range of tablets consisting of, wait for it, 9 devices in all that will start off with a 5 inch sized screen while the biggest of the lot will be all of 10 inches.

Difference will also be in the operating system which will vary from the 1.6 version of the Android while the most advanced of the lot will have Android 2.1 though its the latest 2.2 Froyo that would easily have been the most desired option.

Another aspect that the Elonex range of tablets will be known for is their price which will conform to the usual Elonex tradition of pumping out devices that score high on affordability. The price for the tablets is likely to be between £99 and £159 in the UK. That’s pretty cheap and while one shouldn’t be expecting a world of goodies on these devices, the tablet will have wide screen display. Compare this to what the iPad has on offer, 4:3 display with a resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels.

And that’s not all for there is also the option of a full QWERTY keyboard case that can be connected to the tablet via USB and will provide the tablet the look and functionality of a full fledged laptop. The touchscreen though will be of the resistive type.

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The Neofonie’s WeTab tablet was there at the IFA and is still being considered by many as one that can make things difficult for the iPad. However, all of it is on paper as yet and for the WeTab to really compete with the iPad, it has got to reach markets first. And its here that none seemed to have a clear answer as to when we can expect that to really happen. But not anymore for the latest tablet PC news has it that the all important thing is going to happen sometime around the end of September.

There has been several false starts before and let’s just hope all of this is real at last and not one of those optimistic bold statements that manufacturers end up making on fair grounds to keep the buzz going with their products, only to mess things up again.

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IFA Review

Welcome to another edition of the Good e-Reader Week in Review! Where we cover the latest news on E-Readers, eBooks, Tablet and Slate Computers! This week we had allot of IFA convention coverage news from Berlin, Germany! Lots of news ensues on a ton of new Tablet Computers and further developments to the Acer Lumiread and BENQ.

As always, we summarize the latest news from the most important stories of the week! We know not everyone has time to read everything, everywhere. So we some up the most important stories of the week in an easy and digestible format.

Good E-Reader IFA Exclusive – Samsung Galaxy Tab

Welcome to a Good E-Reader IFA Exclusive! The first moments of the IFA trade show in Berlin, Germany is upon us, and the show kicked started up with the device everyone has been waiting for, the Samsung Galaxy Tab.

Many people have been salivating to get any news or new pictures of this device. We have been continously posting videos the last few days, about this little Tablet PC in action. We now have a little bit of hands-on experience with this new device that is blowing us away.

First of all, the Samsung Galaxy Tab is a 7 inch Android 2.2 driven Tablet PC, that Samsung is billing as a new breed of entertainment device. It only weights around 300 G and can easily be held in one hand.

Under the hood we have a 1GHz chip Cortex A8, PowerVR SGX540 graphics and 512MB of RAM. It has 802.11n WiFi, Bluetooth 3.0, 5.76 Mbps HSUPA and HSDPA 5.6 Mbps. You can upgrade the memory to 16 or 32GB. The battery is labeled a 4,000 mAh, which Samsung says can support up to seven hours of video playback.

Visually, the Tablet has a resolution of 1024 by 600 on a full color TFT touch screen, which gives almost PC like graphics and most things look so great there is little need to zoom in. Samsung announced the availability of the latest version of Flash Player - 10.1 – is on the device and working fine. They also mentioned that it was completly compatible with HTML 5. You can also do some Video-conference with the 1.3 megapixel front camera, and switch the conferencing between portrait or landscape mode. There is also a dandy 3.1 MP camera on the back of the device, to take pictures with. The Camera quality does not compete with some higher end smart phones, but we will take it anyways.

Now let’s talk about some applications! Google Maps and other Google core applications are built into the device, and unlike the woeful Augen Gentouch78, the Galaxy Tab has full access to the Android Market. We mentioned earlier today that Samsung had partnered with Kobo for the new Readers Hub Application, they also showed off Media Hub and Music Hub. We will report back with further news on these two new applications. One of the cooler applications shown off were the augmented reality applications

IFA Exclusive – Kobo and the Readers Hub for the Samsung Galaxy Tab

Welcome to a Good E-Reader IFA Exclusive! The CEO of Samsung used the opening of the conference to show off the new Samsung Galaxy Tab Tablet PC! More to follow on the semantics of the Galaxy Tab in another post, but what breaking news we discovered is that Kobo is deeply embeded into this new device.

The New software Kobo has pioneered for this device is called the “Readers Hub”. This new application was designed specifically for the Android 2.2 driven Galaxy Tab from the ground up. Kobo and Samsung both worked in conjunction on this application amidst great secrecy to give owners of the Galaxy Tab a viable store to use their device as an E-Reader.

Kobo is billing this new application as an application easily used and accessible for all readers. The Kobo application will allow users access to the entire book store, which features around 2.2 million popular ebooks in ePub, PDF, and Adobe DRM. The Application will even allow you to add ebooks bought or downloaded from other sources. This new application allows the user to Tap or Swipe to turn the pages of the ebook, or use the interactive table of contents to flip to specific chapters. The application also has a ton of fonts and different sizes of the fonts, so it will allow people to heavily customize their e-reading experience.

With the Samsung Galaxy Tab’s built in Accelerometer you can easily switch your viewing of ebooks from horizontal to landscape mode at the drop of a dime. This new application will also be used on all Samsung Devices going forward, including their new line of Smartphones.

For International users, this new application is great, because it will deliver localized languages on ebooks for people who live in Europe, Asia and other major language demographics.

Good E-Reader IFA 2010 Exclusive: Acer LumiRead e-reader launched

The LumiReader, Acer’s answer to the Kindles and the Nooks that has been in the news for the past few days has finally been launched at the IFA today. Sporting a similar form factor as the Kindle, the LumiReader too comes with a keypad along with associated buttons beneath the 6 inch monochrome E-Ink display that has a resolution of 800 x 600 pixels.

Other features that the LumiReader comes with include an USB port, Wi-Fi, 2 GB of internal storage that’s good enough for about 1500 e-books, and a microSD card slot that will further enhance storage capacity. Then of course there is the QWERTY keyboard along with the ISBN scanner, the one feature that makes the LumiReader to stand out of the crowd of e-readers.

All of these has been packed into an extremely slim frame while the e-reader itself, at 250 grams also feels one of the lightest around. Asus also revealed Libri.de e-book store will act as the official content provider when the e-reader enters markets in Germany next month.

Price for the Wi-Fi version of the LumiReader has been fixed at €199 while the same with an integrated 3G modem will cost €249 when its ready for release this November.

Hannspress tablet to be launched at IFA

Here is one more company that will also have a tablet device on display at the upcoming IFA. The Taiwan based Hannspree - that till now was known for its TV sets - will be bringing along their latest creation, a 10 inch tablet running the Android 2.2 Froyo. However, before you put it off as just another tablet to swell the ranks of tablet devices running Android, there are quite a few things that the newest kid on the Android block has that can ensure it does not get lost in the crowd of Android tablets that have come out in the recent past.

To begin with, it’s running the latest version of Android. The tablet comes with a 10.1 inch capacitive multitouch screen up front with a resolution of 1024 x 600 pixels while behind it, and perhaps the most interesting bit on the tablet is a Nvidia Tegra 2 SoC packing two ARM Cortex-A9 cores with a clock speed of 1GHz powering the tablet.

The tablet also scores with other features which include a mini-USB 2.0 port, a mini HDMI video output, a 1W speaker along with an SD card slot that can add a few more gigs to the 16GB SSD that the tablet carries on board. For connecting to the outside world, the tablet includes 802.11b/g/n WiFi and Bluetooth 2.1 and also includes some pre-loaded goodies like a Chrome browser, calendar, email, media players, YouTube, and social media applications, to name just a few. Users can also enjoy access to the official Android Market.

Good E-Reader IFA Exclusive – Archos launches 5 Android tablets

Remember the 5 Android tablets from Archos that we had discussed here before? Today, they have been officially announced at the IFA and they promise to undo many of the shortcomings that Archos’ earlier tablets have been accused of. In fact, it’s only the 5 inch Archos that found mass acceptance, though the same can’t be said of the other tablet offerings from Archos.

The latest tablet quintuplets start with the puny 2.8 inch sized screen while the biggest tablet comes with a 10.1 inch screen. Price starts from $100 for the Archos 28 and goes all the way up to $300 or $350 for the 8 GB and 16 GB respectively of the 10 inch sized Archos 101 tablet .

All the models are are ok alterntives, especially at the price, but they do have their drawbacks: Archos tablets have no access to the Android Marketplace, meaning you’ll need to shop through Archos’ own — and seriously limited — app store. Also, none of these tablets feature 3G, so we would recommend a different tablet if speed and apps are important to you.

Archos 28 and Archos 32 will be available by mid September while the remaining three tablets, that is Archos 43, 70 and 101, will make it to the retail scene by mid October.

Good E-reader IFA 2010 Exclusive: Neofonie WeTab previewed running MeeGo Linux

Good E-Reader IFA Exclusive – The Toshiba Folio 100

At the IFA show in Berlin, Germany we have seen many new e-readers and tablets being shown off, such as the ViewSonic Tablet, the BenQ Tablet, and the Samsung Galaxy Tab. All of those tablets are quite dandy, but today we got our hands on the new Toshiba Folio 100 Tablet PC!

This Tablet is great! Tt comes bundled with Google Android 2.1. Many people are reporting that it uses 2.2 out of the box, but that is not the case.

Now let’s talk hardware. This device has a 10.1 inch compacitive multi touch screen interface, with a resolution of 1024×600 pixels. The Folio 100 measures 28 centimeters by 18 cm by 1.4 cm. There is an Nvidia Tegra 2-processor under the hood and 16GB of built-in storage, which can be expanded using an SD card. Battery life should give you around 7 hours of constant use and WI-FI for surfing the internet. Toshiba mentions that there will be 3G support for this soon, as they try and get agreements with major telecom providers. You will also be able to use Bluetooth with the Folio 100, so you can use it for Skype phone calls. Finally, it has a HDMI port, USB port, and built in speakers.

Toshiba has loaded the Folio 100 with a mix of its own software and third-party apps. Each device comes preloaded with the Opera browser, Toshiba Media Player, FBReader, Fring (for video calls), Documents To Go, and Evernote. Toshiba has also decided to not rely solely on the Android Marketplace for apps, although it does have full access to it. The company is encouraging developers to create apps specifically for the Folio 100. Developers can visit this LINK to find out more information on application development.

Good E-Reader IFA Exclusive – ViewSonic’s 10 inch tablet preview

ViewSonic has come to the IFA with two tablet devices. Of the 2 tablets, the one with the 10 inch screen is said to dual boot both the Windows 7 and the Android, and it is this tablet that was largely shrouded in mystery with the only thing that was known for sure is that it would have a 10 inch screen. However, that’s not the scenario anymore as ViewSonic has come up with a healthy dose of info about the tablet that has been elusive so far.

It’s built around an Intel Atom N455 processor and will have 1 GB of RAM along with 16 GB of SSD. The 10 inch capacitive touchscreen has a 16:9 widescreen ratio screen and surprisingly, boasts of the same 1024 x 600 pixel resolution as the Galaxy Tab as well as the nReader R100 tablet from BenQ. This in spite of the fact that the Galaxy Tab has a 7 inch screen while the ViewSonic and the BenQ offering comes with 10 inch sized screens.

However, with the capability to boot both Windows 7 as well as Android aside, the things that casts a pall of gloom is that the tablet will run a somewhat outdated version of Android, version 1.6 to be precise. This while everyone else is looking forward to the Android 2.2 Froyo or maybe even the Android 3.0 Gingerbread.

Non – IFA News
Windows N6 tablet likely in September

There is a company called Window and the reason why its in news is that they have added one more tablet device – the Window N6 to the steady stream of tablets that are being produced around the world. But then that’s half the truth for the tablet is among the very few that is built around the uprated 1GHz dual-core RK2818 Rockchip processor. In fact, with the N6, Window has joined an exclusive club of just two other tablets – the ezGear Surfboard 700 and the RAmos W9 which have the new more powerful  1GHz RK2818 chipset at its core.

It is the Rockchip’s 600MHz RK2808 processor that can be found in the majority of the built to a price tablet and is held as a processor with the right mix of price and acceptable performance. However, with the consumers craving for more of almost everything like performance, features, and support, it was only a matter of time for Rockchip to make available the new processor.

So does the new dual-core processor ensure the N6 is one powerful little tablet. Unfortunately there is no way that can be answered with a simple Yes or a No for the simple reason of there being an acute shortage of credible information. There is even serious doubt as to what the screen actually measures though some sources claimed its in the 7 inch category though there’s another camp that believes its 6 inches, the reasoning for which is this – if the N5, Windows previous tablet offering has a 5 inch screen, the N6 should logically have a 6 inch screen and so on.

Boarder’s cuts e-reader price

If you had thought the e-reader price wars has settled down, well here is some surprise for you. For as per the latest e-reader news, Borders has slashed the prices of its Kobo and Aluratek e-book reading devices so that it will now require you to shell out $129.99 for a Kobo e-reader, down from $149.99 while if its an Aluratek Libre reader that you’d like to have, the good thing is it has breached the proverbial $100 mark, by a whisker though so that its now available for $99.99, down from the $119.99 that it earlier commanded.

The latest round of price cuts to affect the e-reader segment is a continuation of the trend that started with Barnes & Noble having slashed the prices of its Nook e-reader to $199 while also introducing a Wi-Fi only Nook that costs $149. Amazon matched the move by not only cutting prices of the Kindle range of e-readers but also introducing a much improved third generation Kindle that cost $189 for the 3G version while the Wi-Fi only Kindle will set one back by just $139. Sony too had resorted to an across the board price cuts of all its e-reader devices for though it had recently stated there isn’t any more round of price cuts forthcoming from the company.

Jetbook Mini e-reader from Ectaco

There was a time when e-readers sprouted like mushrooms and within a very short time span e-readers in various shades, hues, shapes, and sizes emerged, all vying for consumer attention. Somewhat the same thing is being replayed once more, though this time it’s Tablet PCs that are being produced at a phenomenal rate. A rate so high that e-readers are getting trampled in the process with only a select few (read fittest) still existing and not going the way of the dinosaurs.

Anyway, lest we deviate from the topic on hand further, a recent sighting of an e-reader called the Jetbook Mini from Ectaco has made us drift into a playback mode as we are reminded of an e-reader of that name that did exist. Only problem is it did not make its presence felt at regular intervals, thereby refreshing public memory. Some pictures of the Jetbook Mini e-reader did drift into the public realms but it was too little for a credible impact. Public memory is short and it was erased.

This time though, there is a video of the elusive e-reader available. Details of the e-reader are extremely scarce and the only thing known is that it has a 5 inch screen. The video also revealed some physical buttons on the e-reader, which perhaps is an indication of the e-reader not having a touchscreen. Also the Jetbook Mini looks a lot different than what we had shown towards the beginning of this year. And guess who the Jetbook Mini has for company – the other 5 inch e-reader in news right now. The Sony PRS – 350 Pocket Edition.

New Sony e-readers include touchscreen

Sony is back to take on the Kindle juggernaut and for that, it has equipped itself with three e-readers. Though they are the same that Sony was selling for quite some time now, the e-readers have been thoroughly refurbished to make them competitive enough for the changed market dynamics. Or so thinks Sony, and the latest e-reader news indicates they have introduced touchscreen version of the same three e-readers along with some other tweaks to renew their battle for the number one selling e-reader brand.

Sony has switched to the ‘Pearl’ screen from E Ink that offers a much better contrast while ensuring that the touchscreen layer on top of it does not lead to a murky or cloudy sort of effect. Instead of the capacitive touchscreen (as is in vogue these days and can be seen on many a smartphone and tablet PCs) Sony has opted for the optical touchscreen. This results in a crisp, sharp display that offers a thoroughly enhanced reading experience. The only e-reader Sony had in its line-up that included a touchscreen interface was the PRS – 650 Touch Edition and this as well as the other two in their latest avatar are a generation ahead of its predecessor. Having optical touchscreen also ensures responsiveness to even little finger actions as well as stylus inputs.

So the baby of the lot, the Sony PRS-350 Pocket Edition, has also been endowed with the optical touchscreen, making it perhaps the smallest e-reader of repute to be so. However, what remains the same is the 5 inch screen and 2GB of internal memory along with  an SD card slot that will let you stretch your storage options. However, the one other important thing that has remained unchanged is the price so that the PRS – 350 still starts at $179. That too without either WiFi or 3G.

“The bottom line is we didn’t want to compete on price.” “We wanted to build quality and overall experience. We want to give consumers the feel of buying an e-reader, not a toy,” is how Steve Haber, president of Sony’s digital reading business division justified their move to keep price unchanged.

What this means is adding e-books to the Pocket Edition will require connecting it to the PC via an USB cable. Compare this to the WiFi only versions of the new Kindle that cost $139 while the Nook costs $149. Both the 3G enabled versions of the Kindle and the Nook are slightly more than the Sony Pocket Edition and it would be interesting to see which way consumer preference goes.

The Touch Edition with a 6 inch display has been priced at $229 and comes with a 2 GB onboard memory which can be jacked up to an additional 32 GB by way of the expansion slots. The Touch Edition is also capable of playing back audio files, has Wi-Fi connectivity and weighs in at 4 pounds.

The costliest of the lot is the Daily Edition that includes both Wi-Fi and 3G connectivity, with the display being bigger at 7 inches. Onboard storage still is 2 GB with the option of enhancing it to 32 GB via the expansion slot. Price has been kept unchanged at $300, making it perhaps the costliest e-reader around when it hits store shelves around November.

BenQ unviels its nReader R100 Android Tablet

While every tech freak might be glued to what’s coming out of the IFA event now underway at Berlin, BenQ (that has traditionally been known as the maker of computer monitors and related components like projectors) has lifted the viels off the tablet that it was rumored to be making. And it’s not in Berlin that the tablet was brought to light but at its Global Distributors Meeting held in Taiwan that the world got to see the tablet, which they have named nReader R100 , for the first time.

And the tablet does look every bit like a device to look forward to. To begin with, the nReader R100 sports a 10.1 inch resistive touchscreen display up front having a resolution of 1024 x 600 pixel, which incidentally is the same as the just launched Galaxy Tab features. The tablet is built around a 667MHz Samsung ARM-based processor and runs the latest version of the Android, the 2.2 Froyo. However, out of the box, the tablet will run Android 2.0 with the option to upgrade to the Froyo at a later date.

These apart, the other things that the tablet will have include a HDMI port that can support video output of up to 720p, standard USB and mini-USB ports, Wi-Fi and an integrated 3G modem. The tablet will also have 4GB of flash storage as well as an SD/SDHC/SDXC card slot to further expand storage options.

The nReader R100 also has an appearance as impressive at its feature set, with the glossy black casing measuring 173 x 267 x 14.4 mm while weighing a quite convenient 700 grams. And lastly, the nReader R100 has got the one thing that many of the tablet that had set out challenging the iPad’s supremacy could not muster – a superior battery performance which, as per BenQ is rated at 12 hours. And that’s not all for BenQ is also keen to beat Apple on the price front and is rumored to have announced to make the WiFi only version of the nReader R100 at just one eighth of the iPad’s price. However, we’ll have to wait till the first quarter of 2011 to know if that’s how things pan out as it’s during this time that BenQ intends to introduce the tablet in Japan, China and Taiwan, followed by more countries later on.

BeBook launches new e-reader

The BeBook e-reader is another one that we haven’t heard of for quite sometime now. However, the Denmark based company is back in the news again, and with some good news as well. The company has announced a new e-reader and most importantly of all, BeBook stated they are complying with what can be termed as the new mantra of survival in the e-reader segment – make them as low priced as possible. And this is what BeBook has done with its new e-reader and proudly declares it as something that’s “brilliantly affordable.”

Speaking on the affordability factor, Peter Zieleman, marketing director at BeBook has this to say: “After extensive market research it became crystal clear that there’s a strong demand for an affordable reader with all the popular features. We combined just that; all the features users expect from an e-reader, at just a fraction of the cost!

“It is also possible to expand the internal memory on the BeBook Club just by using the SD card expansion slot. Besides all the technical features, the BeBook club has a distinguished and fashionable design.”

As for the e-reader itself, it’s another one in the 6 inch category. The new BeBook e-reader will enable users to enlarge texts or apply bookmarks. Apart from being compliant with a host of e-book formats, the e-reader also supports popular music files like MP3 and WAV formats. Picture files that the e-reader is able to decipher include Jpg, Tiff, Gif, Png and Bmp. So all this points to the BeBook as being a nice little media device, allowing you to view pictures or play your favorite music.

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The iriver Story Touch Edition is another e-reader that was found making a bold style statement under the bright show arc lights. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said of the e-reader’s display which could have easily done with a bit more of contrast and clarity. The 6 inch e-ink screen having a resolution of 800 x 600 pixels is touch sensitive, which means a light tap or a swipe of the finger is all that is needed to get things done on this device. The resistive touchscreen layer on top of the screen further impacts readability leading to the scenario where users will perhaps like to have a bit more out of the display.

These apart, the build quality of the e-reader is top notch and is nice and compact as a whole while the software too proved to be up to the job. There is a built in accelerometer that ensures the display changes orientation automatically as the e-reader is flipped around. The e-reader also incorporates a stylus that can also be used to make on-screen inputs. The stylus, which slots in neatly on the top of the screen is great for making notes on the screen and can be fun to play with drawing shapes on the screen.

Storage capacity of the Story Touch Edition is a quite generous 2 GB, which means a thousand and a few hundred more e-books can fit in nicely. The Story Touch Edition with Wi-Fi along with a light weight browser and a specially made email app is in the works while its the versions of the e-reader sans Wi-Fi that will go on sale first. The price of the non Wi Fi model has been fixed at €229 when it goes on sale in Europe and Korea as early as next week itself.

However, with cheaper options available from Amazon while Sony too having launched their refurbished line up of e-reader that now include touchscreen across the entire range, it remains to be seen if iriver can make a serious sales pitch for itself.

Categories : e-reader, e-Reader News, IFA
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