This has been one heck of a week in the realm of Tablet/Slate PC’s and E-Readers! Not only did we see the usual announcement of product launches, but we saw Barnes and Noble debut a new electronic reader, and lowered the price on the existing Nook! We saw Amazon slash prices on their Kindles for the summer, to get rid of stock for the upcoming Kindle Touch. We also saw a ton of Product delays such as the Pandigital Novel and even some cancellations such as the Plastic Logic Que E-Reader!
Grab a coffee and be prepared for one of the biggest week in reviews courtesy of your friends at Good E-Reader! As always, if you want to read the full story on any of our articles, click on the title of the article!
Barnes and Noble releases the Nook WI-FI
The first of Barnes and Noble new E-Readers to be ushered out this year, the Barnes and Noble WI FI! Now we just have to wait for the Nook 2 to come out around September.
The Nook Lite will have the same functionality as the Barnes and Noble Nook but will have WI-FI only. It will still be the Android driven device and same Operating system and will be able to connect to the Barnes and Noble store to buy e-books directly. It will also be able to play the Android games and surf the internet that are available on the original Nook. It is on sale now! It features a white back, unlike the Nook which is grey. It weighs less than the Nook, which is 12 oz., while the lite is only 11.6 oz. It connects via WI-FI for free on any AT&T hotspot and Barnes and Noble stores. It will also connect via WI-FI to any public hotspot, and has the ability to take passwords for private wireless networks.
Just as Barnes and Noble today are offering a new WI-FI only version of the Nook for 149.99, and today is now offering their original Nook from $249.00 to $199.00. Amazon struck back today and offered yet another price reduction on its Kindle 2 E-Reader to $189.00
Amazons price reductions mark the 3rd time within one calendar year that Amazon has reduced the price on the Kindle 2. When the Kindle 2 originally launched in Feb 2009 it had the price of $349. In July 2009 they again reduced the price to 299.99 and in October when they launched the Kindle 2 World Edition they dropped the price yet again to $259.00.
Amazons slashing of the price on the Kindle 2 to $189.00 and the Nook price reduction to $199.00 is making E-Readers more accessible to the masses! With the success of the Kobo E-Reader with an entry level of $150.00, many people opted to the Kobo, because all of the other good e-readers cost in the upper 250.00’s
With many more solid e-readers being available for under $200.00 they are more accessible to people on a budget now than ever before. We see the price reductions as a WIN for the customer who wants more variety of an e-reader for less than $200.00
Toshiba Libretto W100 dual-screened tablet on sale in August
The Libretto W100 comes with two 7 inch LED Backlit WSVGA Multi-Touch display having a resolution of 1024 x 600 pixels. Powering the Libretto W100 will be the 1.2 GHZ Intel Pentium U5400 processor. It also has 2 GB of DDR3 on board memory along with 62GB solid state hard drive and will run the Windows 7 Home Premium. The entire unit measure a quite compact 202 × 123 × 25.4 mm and sports a black brushed aluminum finish that exudes style from every angle. It has the looks of a cute little laptop though at 1.8 pounds, it won’t be a pain to lug it around. The weight though will go up a bit more for the enhanced battery pack.
The W100 also incorporates built in accelerometer for both the screens that will change screen orientations quickly and automatically. Also, both the screens can work independently of each other, thereby providing the users with the flexibility of using it the way they would like to. The libretto W100 also packs in a range of software that is designed to further enhance the touchscreen abilities of the Windows 7 OS. These includes an eReader app called Blio and Bulletin Board which is a Toshiba program that aims to act as a one-stop portal that will provide access to a calendar, the documents and pictures that have been in use along with other frequently-used applications. Apart from these, the W100 will also come installed with the Reel time and PC Health Monitor programs.
Connectivity options with the W100 include 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.1+EDR though strangely, there is no mention of either mobile broadband or any 3G connectivity. Then there’s also a MicroSD card slot, USB 2.0 port, along with a small 1.0 megapixel HD Webcam with Toshiba Face Recognition. An 8 cell battery will be providing the juice which is in the rage of around 5 hours (less than 4 hours with a 6 cell battery pack).
Toshiba has said it will make the W100 available from August though in limited numbers. Also at $1099, it will be more than double the price of the cheapest iPad and significantly expensive than its top of the line version. But then, what you get with the Libretto W100 is a tablet PC that is nearer to the laptop and it has got two screens.
Nokia Tablet PC powered by MeeGo available in November
According to a Digitimes Senior Research Analyst Nokia may be at the last stage of their push to release a Tablet PC by the end of the year.
They got the low down that an order that 100 engineering samples of the Nokia Tablet PC were ordered from Foxconn Electronics. The Tablet should be around 7 to 9 inches and will feature the MeeGo Operating System. It will also run the ARM processor, no word on what version they are running.
MeeGo is an open source, Linux project run in conjunction with Intel, and Maemo, and Nokia. MeeGo integrates the experience and skills of two significant development ecosystems, versed in communications and computing technologies. The MeeGo project believes these two pillars form the technical foundations for next generation platforms and usages in the mobile and device platforms space.
MeeGo features a three column based type system that remembers the videos and recommends others you might have not seen. For example there is a great looking task manager which blends both the icon-grid view of Android with moveable thumbnails like on WebOS, switched between by using a pinch-zoom gesture. No word on Price yet.
In less than three months Apple said today that they have sold over 3 million iPad tablet PC’s.
Selling 3 million iPad’s in 80 days is a great track record, and it has boosted Apples stock. If you are keeping record, in the first 28 days Apple sold the first millions of its iPad’s, mainly to the USA market.
Selling over 1 million iPad’s every month can be considered a monumental success, and many eyes are looking at other Tablet PC’s offerings from the likes of Notion Ink, Google, Dell and others.
Although the Kobo e-reader never slashed its price, it is still the cheapest most reliable e-reader on the block! Despite the fact Amazon and Barnes and Noble reduced their e-readers to under the $200.00 price range, Kobo offered an added incentive to hustle even more electronic readers, giving a free $20.00 coupon for Boarders Books if you pick up a Kobo, the offer is available Online as well!
The First Google Android 2.2 Tablet named PHI! Only Available in India
They had launched India’s first e-reader, the Pi. And now they have come up with a tablet device, which also marks a first in India. The company is Infibeam and the device, the Phi, a sleek tablet PC that does impresses with its looks. In fact, the Phi marks another important first; it will be running the Android 2.2 operating system, which makes the Phi to be the first among the plethora of Android tablet to run Froyo. Infibeam also claims that users of the Phi will have unrestricted access to the Android Market for downloading apps, something that Google hasn’t allowed so far for any non-smartphone devices. So if this indeed is true then this should mark another first for the Phi!
Now coming to the tablet, the Phi comes with a 7 inch TFT LCD touch screen with a resolution of 800 x 400 pixels, which should be good enough to live up to what is being said of the Phi as ‘a touch screen media device that supports high definition multimedia formats.’ Phi measures a quite compact 225 x 175 x 75mm and weighs just 11.7 oz., which means toting it around is a breeze.
There is further news that there will be another version of the Phi as well, one that will be running Windows. Both the tablets will be similar apart from the Windows version having a TCC 900MHz processor at its core. Also at around 14 oz., this will also be a bit heavier of the two Phis.
Beneath the 7 inch screen lies a 600 MHz Arm 9 processor. It includes a 256 MB RAM and has an onboard memory of 8 GB, which is further expandable to 32 GB via TF cards. These apart, the Phi also feature HDMI port, 2 mini USB 2.0 ports along with a speakerphone and an earphone jack.
A great device, costing only $350.00 US, although it is only available in India, perhaps EBAY can run the rescue for people wanting to their paws on one.
Yesterday, June 24 2010, Pandigital announced a halt on sales of their Novel E-Reader. They will try and fix some of the on-going firmware problems. The company did mention that in August at the latest the device will again be available. Rumour has it, Pandigital is scraping the current device, and going with a new version that is black, has more RAM, and more functionally, this model is currently being reviewed by the FCC.
The Pandigital Novel Costs only $199 and features a 7-inch TFT LCD color multi-touchscreen display. It measures 7.5 x 5.5 x 0.5 inches and weighs 454g (16oz). The Operating system runs Google Android and has an ARM 11 Mobile Processor. The Resolution of the device is 800 x 600 and allows great renders of your full color book shelf. Finally, the unit features WI-FI, a mini USB port, 1 GB of internal memory, which is expandable to 32 GB. It reads many popular E-Book formats such as PDF, EPUB, HTML and TXT.
The Google Android operating system allows this e-reader to surf the internet with a dedicated web browser, check email, listen to music and have access to many different applications available for download.
Although the Pandigital first cut its teeth doing digital photo frames, its transition to quasi tablet driven e-reader should be a case study for other people trying to get involved into this increasing competitive niche. They tried to rush out a device too quickly to get market share, only to alienate existing customers and turn future customers off with their inability to provide firmware updates, and depending on KOHL to handle the recall of the device.
The Plastic Logic Que E-Reader has been delayed twice this year, since it was initially debuted at the CES earlier this year. According to the CEO the E-Reader aimed at business travelers is delayed indefinitely, with all Pre-Orders canceled and refunded.
Although the company is calling the canceling of all pre-orders a “delay” there is no official release date for this unit. It was initially planned for release June 24 2010, but that does not seem to be the case anymore.
“Plastic Logic wants to make sure that the product they deliver is the right one for their target business customers in the rapidly changing marketplace,” a spokesperson for Plastic Logic as said “They are continuing to refine the product, technology and features, and are anxious to get in the marketplace as soon as possible.”
The Plastic Logic Que has a massive price, and is working on two different units; the prices are $649.99 and $799.00. Which might not be feasible in the current market climate? Only this week, Amazon, Barnes and Noble have both slashed the prices in their E-Readers for less than $200.00.
Although this delay and cancelling of orders may be the final nail in the coffin of the Plastic Logic Que, many users are venting tremendous frustrations. Many people are feeling ire in the fact that the technology is mostly sound. There is no official word on what aspects of the Que need refining or need to be revised. Although the company is not giving any indication on when this would ship, they need to get a move on soon. It will be interesting to see if Plastic Logic will in fact ship the color version of the Que they announced earlier in the year, will ship in 2011.
Here and There
Boarders released their first iPad App, heavily derived on the Kobo E-Reader App; they are planning more device launches, such as the iPhone and Blackberries very soon.
In other Apple news, they revised their iBooks free application to be able to read PDFS and have added functionality. They also added an iPhone and iPod touch version of iBooks application. Although International users still face a baron wasteland of iBookstore titles.
The Lenovo U1 Tablet PC is delayed! But for a good reason. The news was revealed by company sources wherein the delay is attributed to Lenovo’s decision to go for the Android operating system in place of the Linux OS. It was during spring that Lenovo had made public that the new hybrid notebook would not be released just yet as they are up to changing the tablet portion’s OS from the conventional Linux build to the Android OS.
Although not traditionally known for e-reading and more like Gaming! Nintendo CEO recently tipped a few local newspapers that he was trying to get some publishing agreements to have the 3DS be able to pull magazines and newspapers via its WI-FI connection! A sweet portable gaming system AND an e-reader, we are drooling… Seriously.
Motion Computing, a Texas company is ushering out a new tablet PC called the J3500 Tablet PC! When will marketing companies ever learn! You have to give your product a sweet name in order for it catches on. I can’t imagine people getting envious looks when they say “Hey look, I just got a sweet J3500 Tablet! You’re more likely to get WTF’s. The J3500 includes a 32-bit Windows 7 Professional functioning via a 1.2 GHz Intel Core i7 Duo processor, 4 GB of DDR3 memory and Windows 7 Dual Touch potential. The 12-inch screen has a bright display which is a stunner while the ultra-durable Corning Gorilla glass that it is made of ensures it is up to four times resistant to breaking forces. There is a new ‘anti-smear’ coating as well that enhances visibility.
Chinese networking and telecommunications giant Huawei named the S7 said they are in the process of launching a tablet PC in Australia towards the end of 2010.
The company revealed the 7 inch tablet will run the Google Android OS and claims the tablet’s low price point will make it an appealing alternative to the Apple’s iPad. The S7 ‘e-tablet’ has a 7 inch 800×480 resolution touchscreen display with a 16:9 ratio though unlike the iPad, the S7 uses a resistive touchscreen display. What this means is that you can use your fingernails or a stylus to make a selection, though on the flip side resistive screens generally aren’t as responsive as a capacitive display. The S7 is powered by a 768MHz Qualcomm Snapdragon ARM processor and runs the 2.1 version of Google’s Android operating system. Huawei has confirmed the S7 will be upgradeable to the latest 2.2 version of Android though didn’t offer a time frame. Being a Google Android device, the Huawei S7 tablet will have access to the more than 70,000 third-party applications available in the Android Market. In the meantime, the S7 has already reached other western markets. It in fact is currently up for pre-order at the UK retailer Expansys with the actual delivery within 8 to 10 days and is priced at £299.99.
That about does it for the most notable news of the week! Of course more stories abounded, and you can catch all of the weekly news by checking out the first couple of pages of our Blog! As always we appreciate everyone who stops by and checks us out on a regular basis! Make sure to visit our E-Reader and Tablet PC forum at http://goodereader.com/forum/ we also sell our Good E-Reader Magazine!
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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.