We also take a look at the new Apple iPad firmware update and what it entails, and take a look at new information about the Asus E-Reader.
At Good E-Reader we take news seriously and produce these weekly installments to give you the top weekly news for E-Readers, eBooks, Slate and Tablet Computers. We know you do not have time to read everything that comes out, news wise. We we make it our mission to summarize the top weekly news items in a easy to digest format. As always, click on the title to read the full news story.
There are rumors doing the rounds saying that Apple is in the process of developing new versions of its hugely successful tablet PC the iPad. The new versions, according to rumor, will have smaller screen sizes than the current iPad. This is nothing new to us or our regular readers, however.
Well, we do have more info about the newest baby iPads that are going to hit us during the first quarter of 2011 that gives us an idea of what to expect from Apple:
The next gen iPads may not have the size to flaunt but it does get an upgrade where it matters the most: its processors. While the current generation iPad comes equipped with ARM Cortex A8 processor – A4 processor in Apple speak – both versions of the new iPads are likely to be powered by a more powerful customized ARM Cortex A9 processor which scores over the A4 in terms of a higher clock speed and multi-core capabilities.
Along with a boost in CPU capabilities, the new iPads also also likely to be provided with enhanced system memories which may be doubled from the current 256 MB to 512 MB. Also, while it was earlier believed the new iPads will come with OLED screen which are considered superior to the LCD displays, it seems that’s not the case as the latest reports point out its going to be a revert back to the IPS panels that the iPad now sports. However, screen resolution will continue to be the same at 1024 × 768 pixels in spite of the screen size being scaled down, which translates to better pixel density for the new iPads with smaller screen sizes.
It has been quite some time now since HP promised us a tablet device. Something that can match up to the iPad, currently the undisputed leader in the tablet segment. But the tablet has never made it to the real world and has always reigned supreme in the rumor turf. All that ever came our way is just prototype tablets running different operating systems during different times of the year. And speaking of operating systems, HP seems to have left nothing to chance, having tested everything from Windows, Android to the WebOS that they have gained access to after having acquired the Palm company.
However, a HP branded tablet is back in the news once again and this time they would like us to believe it’s definitive: a tablet from HP running WebOS is indeed in the making and is just a few months away from being commercially launched. In fact, they have even gone on to specify a specific launch window, that of the first quarter of 2011.
Here is some good news from the Samsung camp: the tablet device they have been making is finally nearing completion of its development phase and is all set to enter the market soon. In fact, it can be as soon as next month. The IFA consumer electronics show to be held in Berlin has been chosen as the preferred launch venue of the Android tablet that has raked up considerable consumer interest in recent times. The show is held from September 3rd through the 8th.
Providing credibility to the rumors is the fact that the news comes from a ‘top ranking official’ of the Korean company. “We will showcase our latest Smart TV and interchangeable lens camera models at the show,” the source revealed before adding, “We will also showcase our tablet PC for the first time officially.”
We just picked up the Augen Gentouch78 Android Tablet from K-mart for a sweet $149.00 and it is a very frustrating device.
First of all, Augen never informed Google that they would have integrated Android applications shipped on the device, such as GMAIL, Android Market, and others. Because of this, you cannot download any applications from the Marketplace. Although Google Android is a free operating system, you still have to License it via Google. The main problem is that Android is an open source OS, Google apps are not. Augen said that they were left in the software unintentionally.
Augen has released an update as of Aug 6 2010, that allows you limited access to a custom store they have set up. Do not expect to see any official applications here such as; Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and all of the mainstays. You do have access to a few independent applications, but most are very lackluster. You can download the new Store App here
The Augen is riddled with bugs as well. For one, you cannot factory wipe all of the data from it. It gives you the option to do it, and when you reboot it, nothing happens. It also does not flip between landscape mode and horizontal mode. You have to download another app for this, but guess what? It’s from the Android Marketplace.
As per the latest tablet PC news, Apple has come out with a software upgrade that covers most of their iDevices, including the iPad. The upgrade has been named the iOS 4.0.2 software update and is actually comprised of two versions: 4.0.2 and 3.2.2, with the latter being destined for the iPad.
Also, the latest update differs from all other updates in that the latest tweaking job is aimed at just one and only one thing – to plug the huge PDF hole that allowed hackers to gain unauthorized access to the iPad. It was the PDF flaw that enabled the hackers to jailbreak the iPad, something that Apple has said they covered by including two iOS fixes in the update that they believe will deter hackers from tinkering with the iPad.
Among the two fixes, the PDF fix is designed to prevent the running of any third party program codes through specially prepared PDF files, thereby blocking the route taken by hackers to jailbreak the device.
Kobo today has struck a deal with the Fairmont Hotels to have E-Readers available for customers to utilize if they are Gold Members.
When you stay at the hotel, you will get deals on most Random House E-Books, giving you between $2 and $5 in savings on select titles. When you return your e-reader when you check out, you get further coupons for E-Books.
This gives people incentive with coupons for deals and free ebooks to go out to the local Chapters/Boarders store and purchase a new Kobo E-Reader.
This news was posted on Sony’s LinkedIn webpage where they were looking for a “Senior Staff Software Engineer”. They cited familiarity with the Google Android SDK was a must. The job position is available in California, USA.
Also in the job posting it asked for familarity with Mac OS and Windows, which leads us to believe that Sony is working on an many applications for Android, iPad and the iPhone among others.
Sony looks to be ducking out of the increasingly competitive E-Reader market, and might be jumping on the Tablet PC bandwagon. It would probably be beneficial for Sony to develop a very high end Android Device, when most of the entrants to the market have lackluster products, such as the Augen GenTouch78 and the Apad.
The tablet segment is buzzing with activity. Not that it had gone into the hibernation mode but for a while it was the Android tablets that were found hogging the limelight with the biggies in the business seemingly having no qualms taking the back seat. But that has changed and the latest that we get to hear are some ambitious tablet plans from Asus. The Taiwan based company had already revealed they would aim to register a sizeable presence in the tablet segment and has just come out with further details outlining their game plan.
Asus CEO Jerry Shen has come out with the specific price of three tablet devices that it plans to launch in the December January time slot while also mentioning there is an Android powered tablet in the pipeline as well which is slated to go on sale during March next year.
We reported a few days ago that Plastic Logic was looking to sell a fair amount of shares of its company to a Russian State owned media firm. We also reported a few months ago that Plastic Logic had canceled pre-orders of their E-Reader and refunded the customers. We now have confirmed reports that Plastic Logic is giving up on their Que E-Reader.
Plastic Logic first showed off their excellent e-reader at the Consumer Electrics Show. It had a high price of around $500 and due to recent entrants to the e-reader market – such as Barnes and Noble and kobo – their e-reader is not commercially viable anymore. One of the big proponents that led to the dissolving of their e-reader was the Apple iPad.
The CEO of Plastic Logic Richard Archuleta recently said in an interview; “We recognize the market has dramatically changed, and with the product delays we have experienced, it no longer makes sense for us to move forward with our first generation electronic reading product.” He went on to say, “We plan to take the necessary time needed to re-enter the market as we refocus, redesign and retool for our next generation ProReader product. We continue to perfect our core plastic electronic technology and manufacturing processes that are central to our product’s unique value proposition.”
We broke the news yesterday that a Sony job posting on LinkedIn revealed that Sony had plans in the works for a new Android Tablet PC. We now have reports that Sony is following up and releasing two new touch screen e-readers. The new e-readers are extensions of existing product lines, such as the Sony PRS 600 and 300.
Due to more competition in the e-reader market, Sony will keep costs low for their two new Sony Reader devices. They will have faster page turns, will be lighter and more robust then their previous iterations.
The Sony PRS-650 will have a six inch screen while the PRS-350 will have a five inch screen. We also will see an increase with on-board memory from 512MB to 2GB of internal storage. We also have heard reports that the Sony PRS-650 will have WI-FI and 3G. Sadly there is no WI-FI or 3G for the new Sony PRS 350, but likely it will be under $100.00.
Not only is Sony upgrading the screns, and some of the internal memory, but they are also upgrading the GUI included with the device. You will have a new Home screen, with larger icons. It will also be bundled with Note Taking software.
Asus CEO Jerry Shen has also revealed its upcoming e-reader will cost around $300, which surely is a huge improvement over the rather audacious ‘around $599′ that it was earlier believed will cost when it is ready to enter market, which has been pegged to be around October.
Strangely named the Eee Tablet, the black and white e-reader comes with an 8 inch TFT LCD display having 64 shades of gray and a resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels. The touchscreen will be devoid of any backlight and will be as much receptive to stylus input with a digitizer as it will be to finger presses.
This apart, the other salient features of the Eee Tablet e-reader are an integrated 2 megapixel camera, a built in microphone, 2GB of internal memory, a microSD card slot along with WiFi connectivity option. The e-reader also comes bundled with a full web browser and runs a custom Linux operating system while battery life of the device is slated to be around 10 hours.
With the Eee Tablet, Asus is primarily targeting the student community where the e-reader will fit in as a convenient note taking device. With the Eee Tablet, the Taiwan based manufacturer is also contemplating a change of name to Eee Note by the time it is ready for shipping in October to avoid being confused with its Eee Pad range of tablet PCs. After all, for Asus, the Eee Tablet/Eee Note is a Kindle beater and not a tablet device.
That about wraps it up the Good E-Reader Week in Review! If you have an iPad, E-Reader or Tablet, then you will love our Unlimited E-Book Download Service! We support 10 different formats on each book!
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times.