The technology that powers your Kindle may soon have military applications. For soldiers in combat zones, gadgets like GPS and heads-up displays are fantastically useful, provided they have the battery to power them. One of the most power-hungry components in these devices is the screen. While we may have reached a point where a gadget can run for days on a single charge, it's still not sufficient for grunts who may be in the field for weeks without access to power.
Believe it or not, the fourth host on today's episode of CNET's The 404 Podcast is the Nook, Barnes & Noble's e-book reader with a color touch screen and Wi-Fi. The device is currently sold out and on back order throughout B&N, so it wasn't easy to obtain. We had to walk 500 miles and battle a Nazgul to get it, but the in-studio demo was worth the wait. If you haven't seen a Nook up close, you're in for a treat.
Speaking of treats, the holidays come early for The 404 this year! Today's episode starts off normal enough, with another story about a crazed girlfriend who destroys her boyfriend's precious PS3 and a couple making their own paranormal activity to fund their wedding, but the real story is the package we receive halfway through the live show from dedicated 404 listener Cori (Sadacori in the chat room). We've received care packages before, but this one is definitely the best. Just check out the picture up top! Thanks a million Cori, we really appreciate all the Yuletide pounds! :)
Our ill-deserved holiday break is coming up in two weeks, and we get awfully lonely if we don't hear from you, so won't you leave us a voice mail at 1-866-404-CNET and let us know how your holiday season is going? We'd love to hear your voices, but you can also e-mail us at the404(at)cnet[dot]com or add us on Twitter and Facebook as well!EPISODE 481 Subscribe in iTunes audio | Suscribe to iTunes (video) | Subscribe in RSS Audio | Subscribe in RSS Video… Read more
Sometimes, but not often, The 404 Podcast wades into foreign territory and needs help getting out. Luckily, we have Natali Del Conte on hand to dish out some much needed advice about how to approach someone on public transit. Is it taboo to introduce yourself? Should you offer a business card? Is there some kind of unspoken agreement not to talk to anyone else on the New York Subway?
Natali answers all these questions and more in the first half of the show and even gives us homework to read, and although none of this really applies to Jeff "Palm Prenup" Bakalar, Wilson and I hope today's show helps you as much as it helped us.
Speaking of reading, Barnes & Noble yesterday released its own e-reader called the Nook. The $259 device has an e-ink display, built-in Wi-Fi, 3G over AT&T, and 2GB of internal storage. CNET Editor-at-Large David Carnoy was at yesterday's launch, so check out his take.
If you're not completely sold on the Nook (or even the name), check out the Entourage Edge, a gadget to come that combines a Netbook, notepad, and media player into one folding tablet-size machine. The Nook's e-ink screen and the ability to share books with friends for free whets Wilson's whistle, and he claims that this might be the one reader to rule them all, but let's face it: until Steve Jobs comes to the CNET NY office and hands him a piece of plastic with an Apple on it, Wilson probably won't be getting an e-reader.
Of course, Apple also made its own announcement yesterday, debuting a couple new iMacs, a new MacBook for fall, and a Magic Mouse with touch capability. Be sure to check out that video up there to the left for my initial impressions, but the short story is that its thin, nonsculpted design and touch features will require a long learning curve, especially if you're used to contoured, ergonomic mice like the Logitech Performance Mouse MX, my own daily workhorse and an Editors' Choice.
Finally, Natali tell us about a new Gucci iPhone app that offers new music, information on the latest fashion shows, and news about Gucci products. Although none of us actually own any Gucci (NDC's Fucci from Canal St. doesn't count), we can still appreciate this free app for its gaudiness and uselessness. Besides, our idea for an Ed Hardy app sounds much more appealing.
Big thanks to Natali (check her out on Loaded) for doling out solid advice and sticking around through the break. Have a great Wednesday everyone!EPISODE 450 Subscribe in iTunes audio | Suscribe to iTunes (video) | Subscribe in RSS Audio | Subscribe in RSS Video
Video coming soon, check back later today!… Read more
I'm very impressed by the Nook, Barnes & Noble's new e-book reader. It's clear B&N has studied Sony's Reader and Amazon's Kindle very carefully.
The Nook has almost all of the major features of both product lines, plus a few more, with few competitive disadvantages. B&N has also followed Amazon's lead on support services. The Nook has a very good online e-book store as well as applications to support e-book reading on Macs, Windows machines, and smartphones.
The Nook doesn't ship until the end of November, but here's what I found most significant from the announcement and the pages at nook.com:
Industrial design I think the Nook is attractive and well-designed. It looks better than the Kindle 2, but not as good as Sony's Reader Touch Edition, which offers a larger screen in a smaller form factor. Also, Sony's forthcoming Reader Daily Edition is only slightly larger than the Nook, but offers a much larger screen.
Secondary color display This feature surprised me. It seems expensive and insufficiently functional for what must be a significant added cost. The low resolution of this display (480 x 144, according to a CNET blog post) means it won't be useful for much beyond the basic user-interface features B&N has already described: book covers, menus, and a keyboard for note-taking. (Although I should note for the record that while B&N says "Its full-color touchscreen encourages you to bookmark, add notes, and highlight passages," I haven't found a photo on the company Web site depicting the virtual keyboard shown in some of the pre-release images. Perhaps that's one of the features still under development.)
By comparison, the secondary color screen built into the Alex e-book reader from Spring Design, shown in another recent CNET story, is large enough to be useful. Unfortunately, it's also large enough to be very much in the way, leading to an awkward device. Spring Design and B&N need to make up their minds-- are they making e-book readers or something else?… Read more
Electronic paper is stacking up to be a high-growth market, according to a new report.
Sales of e-paper displays are projected to soar from $431 million this year to $9.6 billion in 2018, market researcher DisplaySearch said Wednesday.
The number of units sold is forecast to grow 22 million this year to 1.8 billion in 2018.
E-books are currently the main use and sales driver for e-paper. Most e-book readers, such as the Amazon Kindle and Sony Reader, use the electrophoretic display technology from E Ink. A few e-readers, such as Fujitsu's Flepia, use a different technology … Read more
There's been some buzz this week around Pixel Qi's 3qi display technology, which integrates e-paper attributes with LCD to create a versatile and potentially very energy-efficient screen. The idea is that with a flip of a button you can go from a traditional high-resolution color LCD experience to a low-power black and white mode to an even more energy-efficient e-paper mode that allows you to easily view text in bright sunlight.
This week the technology was demonstrated at Computex in Taiwan, and it seems very impressive. If these types of displays can be produced cost-efficiently, they may revolutionize … Read more
Two companies that teamed up to create displays for the Sony Reader and Amazon.com Kindle e-book readers are officially joining forces.
Taiwain-based Prime View International (PVI), a leading display maker, said Monday it plans to acquire e-paper manufacturer E Ink for $215 million.
PVI creates displays for digital devices, including cameras, TVs, GPS systems, and e-readers. The company has its own e-paper unit and is a top worldwide supplier of flexible display panels. Cambridge, Mass.-based E Ink makes digital ink technology that goes into cell phones, e-readers, and other portable devices.
PVI and E Ink have already had … Read more
Those of you holding out for a color version of the Kindle may be disappointed to learn that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is telling the world it won't be arriving anytime soon. In fact, a color-screened Kindle is "multiple years" away, he said Thursday, adding: "I've seen the color displays in the laboratory, and I can assure you they're not ready for prime time."
This is the third part to my early analysis of the new Kindle DX large-format e-book reader. In the first post ("Early analysis of Amazon's Kindle DX: Overview") I discussed the physical and software features of the new device. In the second post, "Early analysis of Amazon's Kindle DX: E-news", I described the limitations of the DX for news reading.
The textbook market represents an even greater challenge for the Kindle DX. There's a lot of variety among textbooks. Some textbooks will work well enough on the DX's display, but most, I … Read more
This is the second part to my early analysis of the new Kindle DX large-format e-book reader. In the first post ("Early analysis of Amazon's Kindle DX: Overview") I discussed the physical and software features of the new device. In the third post, "Early analysis of Amazon's Kindle DX: E-textbooks", I'll talk about how the DX will fit into the educational market.
But here, let's talk about the DX's suitability for reading electronic newspapers.
Newspapers are about text, and there's only a moderate need for interactivity. For each story, the … Read more