Friday, April 30, 2010

Qualcomm Mirasol stories out today & the Amazon rumor

Earlier, at the Kindleworld blog, I added some more info on Qualcomm's Mirasol technology, including the rumor (from Qualcomm reps, per Clayton Morris) that Amazon may be using the e-paper-like (but speedy) color technology in the Fall (see link above).

Yesterday, Cliff Edwards of Bloomgberg's Businessweek reported on Qualcomm's Bright Low-Power Screen and the "So-called reflective displays [that] use microscopic mirrors to create iridescence"

  In that story which explains the technology, Edwards writes:
' [CEO Paul Jacobs] says that this fall at least one manufacturer, which he declined to name, will ship e-readers using Mirasol displays. The timing could be fortuitous. Yankee Group forecasts sales of e-readers to more than triple, to 19 million, by 2013. Dell (DELL), HTC, and other companies have announced plans to introduce full-color devices later this year to grab a piece of that market. Amazon declined to comment on its plans. '
Businessweek adds another story on how Mirasol imitates butterfly wings.

HP apparently killing their tablet too

Tech Crunch's Michael Arrington reports that a source briefed on this has told him that HP isn't satisfied with Windows 7 as a tablet operating system and has terminated the project.

He adds that "HP may also be abandoning Intel-based hardware for its slate lineup simply because it’s too power hungry. That would also rule out Windows 7 as an operating system."   I had seen a real lack of enthusiasm over the last couple of months over the HP tablet's performance.  Full details at the link above.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Microsoft Courier Dead Before Arrival - RIP

 EngadgetGizmodo, and ZDNet report that Microsoft killed what both gadget sites considered an innovative project after never having acknowledged the pregnancy :-)

See both stories for details on why the dual-screen tablet had raised expectations as high as they were and the reasons given for ending the project.  The speculation by site commenters is also worth reading.
I wondered if the lack of enthusiasm for another innovative dual-screen, tablet/e-reader, the enTourage eDGe (I think the strangely-capitalized letters did not help help at all) , might have been a factor too.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

More iPad challengers: WePad and ZenPad

(Brought over from A Kindle World - Originally there March 23, 2010)
iPad challengers are gathering outside the castle.  Besides the Dell Streak and the Adam by Notion Ink, both described here March 10, there is the amazing-sounding WePad (shouldn't that be "wePad"?)Android device to be released soon in Germany by Neofonie,

 While the iPad will have the Golden Apple clout, the WePad will have an even bigger (11.6") multitouch screen and a faster CPU and promises the following features that are missing in the iPad:
' [It] runs Flash, has USB ports, an inbuilt card reader and expandable memory.  Additionally it allows complete multitasking and has a webcam. '
Neofonie GmbH is a 12-yr old software company that also runs a search engine called WeFind and sells an e-publishing platform by the name of WeMagazine. It makes newspapers and magazines readable on computers and smartphones, and they see as the real business for their WePad tablet PC.  They are planning to undercut the iPad in price.  Supposedly, it's for release fairly soon.  It's not being marketed as an e-book reader, as there's no mention of that, but the chart indicates that the file formats it can read include "all open standards" which would mean, for now, almost no current books with rights-protection (DRM) until they partner with a bookstore or add Adobe's Digital Edition (unless I'm missing something there).
  See the comparison chart on their site.

 And there's a very low-cost one gaining considerable interest - the ZenPad by Enso.  It's only 5" so and, like the far more expensive Dell Streak, it's pocketable.

  Priced at $155 and shipping now, the 800 x 480 Android 1.6 tablet with 8GB of storage (on a replaceable microSD) comes with GPS for an additional $25.   Powered by a 667MHz Samsung 6410 processor, with about six hours of battery life, it has WiFi built-in while an external 3G cellular wireless adapter is just another $35. As Engadget says, "a fully max'd out unit with GPS and 3G would set you back $210 -- plus $25 for shipping."  Engadget also says that commenter 'Raikus' writes that it appears to be a rebrand of the Smit MID-650.
  There's a video at that site of the Smit but the videoclip itself is labeled the 'Archos 7 Home Tablet' while showing what is clearly a "MID-650."

I'm interested in a smaller carry-about device but I'd want to read reviews of it before deciding to plunk down even $155 or $210.  I'm also not interested in an expensive monthly data plan and I already have a great GPS unit.  But we will have a lot to choose from in the next half-year if wanting a portable web tablet.  The idea of carrying something small that does not have 3G wireless becomes strange though.  Makes me appreciate even more the ability to look up web info on the Kindle w/o having to pay for a monthly plan, though there is no colorful pizazz in that.

iPad competitors and Dell Mini that reads Kindle - Update

(Brought over from A Kindle World - Originally there March 10, 2010)
It seems the market will be flooded with tablets or slates competing with the iPad.

UPDATE 3/13/10 - Seven alternatives to the Apple iPad - Mainly large photos and specs, pro and con, at linked CrunchGear site.

HP Slate
For those reading this on a computer, the HP Slate now has a 5-1/2 minute youtube video demo'g its flash support and Adobe Air (missing from the iPad) and it's very impressive.   Start it at minute 1:18 as he just talks for too long when introducing it.

ADAM by Notion Ink
Goodereader reports on the Adam from Notion Ink, the first gizmo that will be released with the Pixel QI screen, that can alternate between an e-paper type display and an LCD one and doesn't depend only on its own power source for the screen's light.
  Unlike the iPad, Goodereader says, its backlight can be turned on or off, reducing battery drain by 50% and allowing 16 hours of Internet usage while the iPad's is expected to be about 10 hours (the latest release info from Apple says the number of hours is subject to many conditions).

With a 10" screen, it uses the Android system, has HDMI output, 3 USB ports, can multitask, has GPS, a digital compass, a 3 megapixel camera, and is memory-card expandable to 32 gig. It weighs a bit over 1-1/2 lbs. Here's an article that includes an e-mail interview with the CEO (from India) and a chart of Adam features vs the iPad. quotes a consultant who says the Adam "is probably closer to what the second-generation iPad will be than what the iPad currently is."

John Dvorak asks, "iPad killer from, uh, India?" and still wonders if there's a market for a tablet computer. Seems so! though not at some of the pricing we've seen when you want 3G cellular wireless capability and while being asked to forego multitasking capability, usb ports, webcam, flash support for the Web etc.

And here's iSlate headlining, "Notion Ink's Adam Considered to be a big contender against the iPad."  It's a detailed article if you want to read more on this.

The most attractive part from all that? Starting price will be about $325
DELL MINI 5 or "Streak"
Dell is apparently creating a small one that will be able to read Kindle books !   The screen size is smaller than the Kindle though but considerably larger than most smartphones and would be an "always-On" web device, running Android 2, with a 3G phone, WiFi, GPS, a 5-megapixel camera and a forward-facing camera for video calls, 1.6G internal storage (before system files) and a micro SD card slot.

Engadget received a flyer with confirmed specs and colorful models. Their earlier article on Feb. 26 reported the Dell Mini wouldn't be out for at least another month and referenced Wired's quote from Neeraj Choubey, GM of Dell's tablet division, that there'll be " 'a family of tablets' which will 'scale up to a variety of sizes' and that it'll likely be Android all the way, while Choubey also shared his company's intention to bundle 'inexpensive data plans' with the new devices...'

Choubey confirmed to Laptop that Dell is working with AT&T  (yikes, are they the carrier for most of the e-readers and tablets?).  The leaked internal document they got states:
' The second page details a content partnership that Dell may be entering with Amazon.  The document states that the Mini 5 will integrate with Amazon's Kindle, MP3 and Video services, and will include a Kindle reader app. '
  It also refers to the Snapdragon-powered device as the 'Streak.'  No solid release date or final price yet.

Hmmm, Infomobile has a huge picture of a proposed Dell ad about the Amazon deal and, in an earlier story, a brief video of the little unit, plus a description of the not-gonna-fly price - unsubsidized (no data plan: $1098 and maybe $600-$700 with plan).  It does have a phone.  See update below: Wired's writer feels Dell would tend to undercut Apple's pricing.

UPDATE - 11:35 AM, same day. Wired's Eliot Van Buskirk adds that
' The documents also indicate that — like Kindle owners — users of this Dell mini-tablet will have wireless (3G) access to the Kindle store with “no monthly fees, service plans, or hunting for a Wi-Fi spot.” If that’s the case, Dell’s tablets would have a significant advantage over the iPad, which can only access the 3G network if you pay for the more expensive version of the hardware and sign up for a $15 or $30 per month data plan in addition to whatever wireless data plan you have for your phone. '
And with all tablets, there's one unusual inherent problem for users: here's Apple's first iPad video ad.  Liliputing makes sport of the new, very effective iPad ad in that they draw attention to the odd positions of everyone using the iPad in that ad - their legs are in unusual positions because it needs to be propped up.  I guess there'll be holders for it.


This is a place holder, as I'm working on the layout of this page for news about about e-readers and tablets coming from everywhere, in an area that has a wider focus.

Until then, You can also visit A Kindle World if interested in reading news of the Kindle and its competitors.

This space will concentrate on news about other portable reading and web-browsing devices. 

Since this blog will not have an Amazon Kindle-edition version, as A Kindle World does, I can more quickly post the more unusual news about new e-readers and tablets with usually short summaries but links to some very interesting stories I run across and which are not easily found.

Thanks for your patience.