Friday, May 15, 2009
From TechCrunch -
Inspite of all the interest in Android netbooks, Google CEO Eric Schmidt has hinted that Google would rather focus on cloud computing with its Google Docs, Gmail and other services.
Schmidt announced at a Google press event recently that while netbooks are very real, and their usage is consistent with Google's cloud computing model, his company is however focused on the server side.
Friday, May 8, 2009
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
With the launching of its Kindle DX ebook reader, Amazon has reiterated its efforts to bring digital publishing finally into the mainstream after years of languishing in niche markets despite the participation of major players like Sony (Sony Reader Digital Book) and Barnes & Noble (ebook publishing).
Amazon’s offering of ebooks will definitely encourage publishers to give the medium another chance. Conversely, the availability of a significant volume of free ebooks from sites like Project Gutenberg will convince readers to try ebook reading, if not purchase the Kindle or other ebook readers.
However as much as the Kindle is now being called the iPods of books, it has yet to do what the original icon did for music and media players. The question is will it be able to do so? For that matter, will any other dedicated ebook reader succeed in re-defining the ebook trade?
Where the iPod succeeded more out of packaging and providing a turnkey system with the iTune store than in using an alternate technology, dedicated ebook readers, for the most part, use E-ink as their display, instead of the more conventional and cheaper LCD technology. Unfortunately, while the use of the E-ink display makes the ebook reader a better device for its intended purpose, it also severely limits other type of usage.
Admittedly, E-ink is easier on the eyes because it is not backlit and does not have any flickering. Battery life also lasts considerably much longer, measuring in days instead of hours. But its downside is plentiful. It is more expensive. It does not support animation or video. And it is currently not available in color.
So that means consumers will be paying a significant premium if they choose to buy an ebook reader with a singular purpose over a more powerful, more versatile, general purpose notebook. Of course, the ebook experience on the latter will never match up with that on the former but you will get to do all the other things, including watching Youtube videos.
But what about the future?
Well, color E-ink is projected to be available in 2011. But that is like two lifetimes away in computer terms. On the other hand, per Mary Lou Jepsen, the designer of OLPC’s reflective LCD Screen, her new company, Pixel Qi, is developing an LCD designed for reading with a performance better than E-Ink’s – with full color and video.
In addition, other developments in screen technology such as flexible OLED provide interesting alternatives. If more affordable, more suitable screens are successfully developed for general purpose notebooks that can result in considerably longer lasting battery life, then the gap in performance between ebook readers and notebooks will certainly close. As it is, the current value for money equation already favors notebooks.
So when notebooks with improved screen technology and battery life start becoming available (and they will), at prices considerably much lower than those of dedicated ebook readers, the high prices of the latter will make them even less attractive. Even if manufacturers of the dedicated readers decide to switch screens to bring down costs, they will still find it difficult to compete price-wise. After all, it takes very little to go from an ebook reader to a general purpose notebook. The added components’ costs are only incremental.
Thus, from this perspective, dedicated ebook readers really do not have anywhere to go. Their sole functionality will eventually be performed by general purpose notebooks or even scaled-down sub $100 netbooks.
From Engadget -
Amazon has luanched its latest ebook reader, the Kindle DX. The biggest improvements over the previous models are the larger 9.7-inch screen that rotates to landscape display, a PDF reader, and more storage space at 3.3GB. But all these come at a higher price tag - $489.
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Monday, May 4, 2009
L.A. Times has an interesting article on Friedham Hillebrand, a communications researcher who is actually responsible for why SMS text messages are limited to 160 characters.
So after several rounds of tweaking, the group was able to squeeze out 32 more characters. Then they managed to convince mobile operators to support the new standard. The rest, as they would say, is history.
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Per iSuppli the Amazon Kindle 2 ebook reader costs 185.49 in materials and manufacturing costs. The direct material cost, consisting of all parts used to make the product, amounts to $176.83. When adding in the conversion costs—i.e., manufacturing expenses and the battery—the total rises to $185.49. Not included in this analysis are costs above and beyond the material manufacturing of the core device itself—i.e., the cost of intellectual property, royalties and licensing fees; those not already included into the per component price—software, software loading and test, shipping, logistics marketing; and other channel costs.
The combined manufacturing and materials costs represent 51 percent of the Kindle 2’s $359 retail price.
From TG Daily -
T-Mobile, the US's fourth largest wireless network operator with 32.1 million customers, has reported that it has sold one million Google Android smartphones since it started selling them last October 2008. The smartphone now accounts for almost two thirds of all of the 3G devices available on the T-Mobile network.
In addition, per AdMob, the Android OS now accounts for 6% for the entire smartphone market in the US, behind Windows Mobile (11%), Blackberry OS (22%) and the iPhone (50%).
Thursday, April 16, 2009
In what could be considered a reaction to the various Android ports popping up, the Symbian blog is reporting the SOSCO (S60 on Symbian Customer Operations) team has successfully ported the Symbian operating system over to an off the shelf Atom based Intel motherboard.
This development marks an interesting turn in the emergence of netbooks, which are predominantly Atom-based, as the fastest growing computer segments. With non-Intel CPUs now being used in the cheaper models and Linux a feasible alternative for the O.S., netbooks represent the latest and most feasible opportunity for the market to break the decades old Wintel duopoly. The entries of Android and (now possibly) Symbian promise to make the future doubly exciting.
Sunday, April 12, 2009
From PMP Today -
The Cube B52HD is a 499 yuan (USD73) iPod clone that has the following features:
* 8G memory
* Video support: RM, RMVB, MPEG, AVI, FLV
* Audio: MP3, WMA, WAV, APE, FLAC, Ogg
* TV out
* memory expansion slot
* only 7.59mm thick
* 5-inch screen 480 x 272*
*Apparently, the B52HD is not a real HD player as it only supports high-definition (1280 x 720) when you use the TV out function on a higher res screen.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Uploaded by craigix
"Here is a quick and much requested video of the white Pandora which was built a few days ago. It is the first fully working, portable, near final unit. Still some things to tweak up which we are not happy with, but we are almost there now.
You can see use of the keyboard, the nubs, the dpad, the action buttons, the LEDs and the touchscreen.
I should point out the final Pandora will be black - this is white so that we can see any stress points on the case (and fix them).
The game is Quake@800*480 via the SGX (solid 60FPS with dynamic lighting), the OS is Linux (Angstrom). We will do a video with Quake3 soon.
Monday, March 16, 2009
From TG Daily -
According to Nielsen Online, over two thirds of the global population utilizes "member communities" which include blogging sites and social networks, making them the fourth most popular category, ahead of email as the most common online activity and just behind search, general interest portals, and PC-based apps. Between Dec 2007 and Dec 2008, blogging and social networking sites combined reached 66.8% of the global online population.
This new data marks a change in the direction of the Internet and communication by its users. It has been a common belief that for young individuals utilizing email for communication with older individuals was the norm, and social networking sites, text messaging, and instant messaging were the preferred methods of communication amongst friends. Nielsen, however, discovered that Facebook had a greater growth in the older generation than the young.
Its greatest growth comes from 35-49 years old, with 24.1 million new users, and the 50-64 year old bracket adding 13.6 million users for the said period.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
From Gizmodo -
Google has decided to shut down Infinite SMS, a third party app that allows users to send free text messages. The reason? The service has too many users and Google was unwilling to foot the bill.
The good news though is that the proprietary SMS service is still available in Labs, so it's not a total loss. Still, users of the popular Infinite SMS app will undoubtedly be disappointed.
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
From TG Daily -
The Wall Street Journal has reported that Comcast and Timer Warner have been negotiating with cable networks such as USA, MTV and TNT to put their broadcast shows online. The shows will not be delivered for free but instead will give paid cable subscribers a new way to access streaming video content online, building upon the basic cloud concept of computer use - web-based TV following you wherever you go,
Individuals who currently watch their favorite shows via Hulu and other similar sites would most likely lose free access. Subscribers instead would be allowed to watch up-to-date cable television programs online and over time, via mobile media playback.
It is yet unknown whether each provider would have their own site or if a single site would be set up where users could be verified via their own cable provider.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
From Ars Technica -
San Francisco mesh networking startup Meraki has introduced its $1,499 MR58 WiFi router. Designed for outdoor use, it has three separate 802.11n radios each of which can be used for front-end networks or backhaul, while meshing with nearby networks. Both omnidirectional and directional antennas can be separately used with each radio.
Comparable products from competitors list for $5,000 (street, over $3,000) not including back-end management hardware, and lack the 802.11n support for distance and throughput.
Founder Sanjit Biswas said the new router would be used in "high-end hospitality and apartment complexes as well as educational campuses of all sizes. They're looking for something that can help them deliver something like the backhaul of a DS3 or FiOS connection."
Sunday, February 22, 2009
"The Palm Pre (WebOS) UI elements running on a Palm Centro, complete with thumbnail imaged "cards", customizable background images, visual effects, and popup "wave" launcher. This is a demo of TealOS, a product by TealPoint Software that emulates the WebOS look and feel on PalmOS devices at www.tealpoint.com/softos.htm "
Thursday, February 19, 2009
From Ars Technica -
Comcast recently announced it hopes to roll out wideband Internet connections to 65% of its footprint in the US this year. It has already introduced beefed-up DOCSIS 3.0 speeds to more than 15 million homes and businesses, roughly 30% of its footprint, and its goal is to eventually get its entire footprint up to a minimum of 12Mbps.
Comcast first introduced DOCSIS 3.0 in April 2008, pricing the 50Mbps tier at $149.95 per month. The newly renamed Extreme 50 service is now a bit cheaper at $139.95 (upstream speed is 10Mbps). Its other new service tier is Ultra, which offers speeds of up 22Mbps down and 5Mbps up for $62.95. Most current Comcast customers will at least get a speed boost from DOCSIS 3.0. Performance broadband customers will see their speeds doubled to 12Mbps/2Mbps up, while Performance Plus subscribers get a boost to 16Mbps down. Comcast's newly implemented 250GB monthly bandwidth caps will also remain in place for its DOCSIS 3.0 deployments.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
From BBC -
The world's biggest mobile phone makers and network operators have backed plans to create a universal phone recharger instead of the incompatible proprietary units currently used. In addition to using the standard micro-USB connector, the charger will consume 50% less stand-by energy.
The majority of new handsets will support the re-charger by 2012.
Monday, February 16, 2009
From Engadget -
Oberthur Technologies has introduced at the Mobile World Congress a motion detecting and handset-independent SIM card, SIMSense, which effectively retrofits older pones with an accelerometer. Its features certainly open up a world of possibilities including allowing a user to simply shake the phone to send out a pre-set SMS message or to navigate the menu by tapping for moving the phone itself - a la iPhone.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
From Gadling -
Southwest Airlines has announced their first inflight WiFi trial. The service is installed on one of their 540 planes, with an additional three planes to be equipped by March. Access is provided by Row 44 - who opted for a satellite-to-plane system, unlike the technology in use by Aircell who use a ground-to-plane system.
Southwest also partnered with Yahoo! to create a custom homepage for each flight. The page contains destination information, a live route map as well as a collection of Yahoo! games.
Southwest, the largest US carrier in terms of passengers, is the last of the major carriers to commit to providing inflight wireless Internet access.
Monday, February 9, 2009
From Engadget -
Amazon has announced its Kindle 2 ebook reader with the exclusive Stephen King novel UR. At 0.36" the second generation model is much thinner, it is even thinner than the Apple iPhone. In addition, it also features Read to Me, which reads any content back to you. Other improvements include 7x more storage, a 20% faster and sharper 16-level e-ink display, 25% longer battery life (but battery is still non-removable) and a 5-way navigation joystick.
Amazon's Whispernet service also added Whispersync bookmarking, which lets you retrieve boomarks from any any other Kindle automatically. It still only available in white (the pink Kindle here is just a one-off PR model). The new version will still cost $359
Video and more photos here.
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
From TG Daily -
The Korea Communications Commission has announced it plans to spend $24.6 billion over the next five years to increase the nation's Internet broadband infrastructure to support country-wide 1 Gbps Internet access, and wireless services of 10 Mbps (about 10x faster than current highest-end offerings), which will generate 16x clearer TV signals and allow for at-home viewing of I-Max films.
For comparison, in the US today, a typical cable subscriber gets less than 16 Mbps, while fastest broadband services max out at 60 Mbps.
Monday, February 2, 2009
From Engadget -
A man shopping in a Lenovo store in mainland China has been killed after a mobile phone in his chest pocket exploded, severing arteries and leading to massive blood loss. The make and model of the phone and battery have yet to be identified. This is the seventh high-profile case of an exploding phone in China in the last six years.
Uploaded by RegisterDanGoodin -
Ethical hacker Chris Paget demonstrates a low-cost mobile device that surreptitiously reads and clones RFID tags embedded in United States passport cards and enhanced drivers' licenses.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
From Android Authority
General Mobile plans to show the world’s first dual-SIM capable Android powered phone at the 2009 Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona next month and has released some photos. However, based on the photos' details, the phone's button configuration will not work with Android. Android needs at least five hardware buttons (home, back, menu, call send, call end). The company claims that will change.
However another potential issue is the 400x240 screen, which is a bit low. Again the company claims if the display proves to be a problem, it will increase its resolution.
Hopefully they will be able to work out the kinks before its scheduled Q3 shipping start.
More photos here.
Popular Science has a hands-on review of Samsung's pico project, the W7900 (also known as the Show). The Show is a digital projector capable of displaying images up to 50 inches despite its small size. It also includes several attractive features, including a gorgeous 3.2-inch OLED screen, a digital TV tuner and a 5MP camera.
Additional specs include:
Projector: 10 lumens, 480 by 320 pixels, up to 50 in. diagonal
Screen: 240-by-400-pixel, 3.2-in. OLED
Wireless: 3G HSDPA up to 7.2Mbps, global roaming (900/1800/1900 MHz)
Cameras: 5-megapixel main, VGA front-facing model for video calls
Size: 4.4 by 2.2 by 0.7 in.
The only thing that remains to be seen is the price and when it will be released.
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Saturday, January 17, 2009
Per Gizmodo, the Kogan Agora, which was supposed to be the world's second (and Australia's first) Android Handset, is now delayed indefinitely. The reason: potential future compatibility issues with the smartphone's screen.
Anyone who pre-ordered an Agora will have their money refunded in full.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Engadget has an article on the interesting origins of the Sony VAIO P, notwithstanding its pokey Vista install.
Designer Takuma Tomoaki, in an interview with Chinese site cool3c. Of particular note, the P was inspired by the Mini Cooper, which he called "small and sophisticated," and the entire design was dictated by the size of the "smallest usable keyboard." In addition, the 1600 x 768 screen res was aimed at HD movies, since it can play back 720p content natively.
Monday, January 12, 2009
"A video demonstrating multitouch on the G1 Android phone (HTC Dream). This does not require a recompilation of the Linux kernel, but does require modifying one of the Java system libraries on the phone. This is for software developers only at this point!"
Friday, January 9, 2009
From Engadget -
CES, LAS VEGAS - Jan. 7, 2009 - Eye-Fi Inc., makers of the world's first wireless memory card for digital cameras, today announced that it is developing a way for users to wirelessly upload videos from their digital camera to YouTube and a home computer. Eye-Fi will preview the technology at this year's International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas January 8-11, in booth #32024 in the TechZone of South Hall Three.
"We're aiming to do for video what we've already done for photos: provide the easiest, simplest way to save and share your digital memories," said Jef Holove, CEO for Eye-Fi. "Our wireless technology makes it effortless to upload videos to YouTube using the digital camera you already have, without the fuss of special software. You won't need to find a USB cable or even turn on your computer to get your memories in front of one of the largest audiences on the Web."
According to a recent InfoTrends study, Video End-User Research: 2008, the point-and-shoot camera is now the most commonly used device for capturing memories on video. With Eye-Fi's wireless SD memory cards for digital cameras, users can upload photos – and soon video – automatically through Wi-Fi networks. Eye-Fi hotspot subscribers can also upload their memories away from home at more than 10,000 Wayport and open hotspot locations across the U.S.
Eye-Fi is designing its video upload service to support full-resolution HD video, with newer cameras like the Nikon D90 capturing HD video, and Web sites including YouTube now testing display of HD video.
"Some of the most popular clips on YouTube are shot on digital cameras, rather than video camcorders," said Holove. "Eye-Fi will give people the power to upload videos automatically, making it even easier for the YouTube community to post their life events, home videos and breaking news – virtually as they happen."
Eye-Fi will also demonstrate its new video upload technology in the "Last Gadget Standing" event on January 10 from 10:30 - 11:30 a.m. PST in room N255-257 in LVCC, North Hall.
Eye-Fi's wireless SD memory cards have won numerous awards, including Popular Science's "Best of What's New 2008" and PC World's "The 100 Best Products of 2008." For more information, please visit www.eye.fi.