According to a report in The New York Times, Amazon is thinking big (literally) with its Kindle eBook reader and plans to introduce a larger version later this week tailored for displaying newspapers, magazines, and possibly textbooks.
"We are looking at this with a great deal of interest," said John Ridding, the chief executive of the 121-year-old, salmon-colored British newspaper The Financial Times. "The sever double whammy of the recession and the structural shift to the internet has created an urgency that has rightly focused attention on these devices."
Larger eBook readers like the upcoming Kindle could prove game-changing in how media outlets do business. The current business model calls for newspapers and magazines to offer up content on the web for free, which The New York Times said is being viewed by many as a "critical blunder that encouraged readers to stop paying for the print versions." But not everyone sees a black-and-white eBook reader saving the day.
"I don't think we would be anywhere near as excited about anything in black and white as we about high-definition color," said Tom Wallace, the editorial director of Condé Nast, who publishes magazines like Vogue and Wired. "But technology changes at a pretty high clip these days, and if we are now in the Farmer Gray days, it will be only a very short while until we are in the video game era."
Thoughts on the upcoming Kindle? Hit the jump and sound off.
There's fast, and then there's stupid-fast, and a new hybrid SSD drive will fall into the latter category if it can live up to the speed claims being put out by its manufacturer, who says a single DDRDrive X1 can hit a staggering 300,000 IOPS.
The new drive combines 4GB of DDR memory for high-speed operation along with 4GB of NAND flash memory for backup duties. By doing so, the manufacturer claims a full 4GB backup will take no longer than 60 seconds. Equally impressive, the drive scales at a 1:1 ratio with multiple drives, making it theoretically possible to backup 32GB, 64GB, or even 128GB in 60 seconds with the appropriate configuration.
DDRDrive CTO Christopher George says the hybrid drive was designed with a maximum IOPS performance in mind, and according to the X1's spec sheet, it offers 512B reads and writes up to 300,000+ and 200,000+ IOPS, respectively, and 4KB reads and writes up to 50,000+ and 35,000+ IOPS, respectively. By comparison, Intel's fastest SSDs offering 35,000 IOPS in 4KB read and 3,300 IPOS in 4KB writes.
Less impressive is the DDRDrive X1's read and write transfer rates, which is bound by its PCI-E Gen 1 interface and checks in around 250MB/s (read) and 155MB/s (write).
RipNAS this week announced two new storage devices, the Statement SSD and Statement HDD. Both come capable of ripping CDs, leading the company to claim the former as the "world's first Solid State Drive Ripping NAS." And as far as we know, they're right.
The aptly named Statement series also challenges traditional NAS design in aesthetics. Instead of a bulky box, RipNAS chose a svelte silver enclosure that would fit right in with a home theater setup. Combined with its media streaming capabilities and dead silent operation (SSD version), RipNAS might be on to something.
On the hardware front, both boxes come an Intel Atom dual-core processor, 2GB of RAM, and four USB 2.0 ports. The SSD version will come configured with 500GB (2x250GB), and 3TB (2x1.5TB) of storage in the HDD version.
A Taiwanese based research group has developed a speaker technology that can be worked into paper allowing for ultra thin devices, or even talking posters. "A lot of companies are interested in this product," said Chen Ming-daw, a research director at ITRI. "We don't have enough people to handle all the attention right now."
The new technology is being called Flexspeaker because in addition to being paper thin, it can also be rolled up or folded. Right now the goal for minimum sheet size is around 23.6” by 17.3”, and would cost roughly $20 USD each. Unfortunately this is too large to be used in our magazine, but that doesn't stop us from dreaming of the day when our pages can sing “Still Subscribe” to our beloved readers.
According to the researchers, the paper is made by sandwiching thin electrodes that receive audio signals and a pre-polarized diaphragm into the paper structure. Right now an adapter is required between the sound source and the paper, but plans are in the works to allow any stereo source to connect directly to the paper or even wirelessly over bluetooth. The primary limitation of the speakers at this point, is that they have problems with sounds below 500hz. This means that the heavenly baritones of our very own Nathan Edwards would need to be augmented by adding a subwoofer.
Sometimes the best way to get your point across is to wield a large kitchen knife and take out your frustration with repeated stabs to the object of your ire, so long as it's an inanimate object. Or at least that's how YouTube user Haurum approached the situation after becoming frustrated with a damaged hinge on his MacBook Air.
Let's just leave it at that and let the video do the rest.
Acer president and CEO Gianfranco Lanci acknowledged yesterday all the attention Google's open-source Android platform has been receiving and assured investors that his company has taken notice, too.
"We are testing Android on a lot of different solutions," Lanci said during Acer's first-quarter investors conference in Taipei. "We are working on an Android solution for the smartphone, but I think it's too early to say if we're going to see Android on a netbook in the near future."
Lanci had previously been critical of Android for use in netbooks, noting Android is not yet ready to fit the needs that come with them, such as being able to "view a full web for the total internet experience." At the time, Acer did say it was testing Android for netbooks, noting that other companies have been doing the same thing.
Netbooks aside, Acer's latest statements regarding smartphones follow in line with what HTC, Far EasTone, and Samsung have also indicated. In other words, be prepared for a deluge of Android-based cellphones in the not too distant future.
You probably won't pull the global economy up by its bootstraps simply by upgrading your motherboard, but you will help reverse the downward sales trend mobo makers have had to contend with. According to a report by the Taiwanese Market Intelligence Institute (MIC), only 32 million motherboards were sold in the first quarter of 2009, a 16 percent drop from one year ago.
While sales in the US were down, the European market showed the most severe slowdown, according to the report. And it doesn't look to get any better in the second quarter of 2009.
"Markets in each region are entering the off-season, and channel inventory replenishment activities are slowing down," said Vincent Chang, MIC industry analyst. "market shipment momentum is thus weakening. Only several PC brands have continued to make procurements in April."
Chang went on to predict that year end sales figures, while still comparatively dismal, will fare a little better. He expects worldwide motherboard shipments to be in the 134 million range, or a 9 percent drop from 2008.
So there you have - tell your significant other you're only upgrading to Core i7 to help save mobo makers.
It's been nearly six months since Cooler Master impressed us with its HAF (High Air Flow) chassis, a full tower case we deemed worthy of a 9/KickAss award (get your recap right here). Its combination of effective and quiet cooling along with build and cable management options made it a joy to work in, and Cooler Master looks to duplicate those same qualities in a smaller, more compact mid-tower package.
Cooler Master says its HAF 922 supports up to seven case fans in all, three of which support 200mm fans that can be swapped for smaller 120mm units (the case will ship with three fans - a 200mm front intake with red LED, 200mm top exhaust, and and a 120mm rear exhaust). Despite being a mid-tower, Cooler Master also says the downsized HAF will still support liquid cooling with room for an internally installed radiator.
In the tale of the tape, the new enclosure will check in at 10 (W) x 19.7 (H) x 22.2 (D) inches and weight 19.2 pounds, compared to its 932 big brother, which checks in at 9.6 (W) x 22 (H) x 22.2 (D) inches and 29.1 pounds.
We're told the HAF 922 will start shipping on May 12 with an MSRP of $130.
Even if they won't say it publicly (and they aren't), Apple appears pretty juiced at the prospect of developing its own chips. According to a report in The Wall Street Journal Online, Apple has been hand-picking people from all over the semiconductor industry, which also includes engineers for creating multifunction chips for use in cellphones.
One such hire includes Raja Koduri, the former chief technology officer of the graphics group at AMD. Koduri started his new position this week, while other online job postings include a call for several chip-related positions, some of which are described as "verifying functionality correctness of a high performance chip design."
While Apple is keeping silent on the subject, the company's tight-lipped approach might be one of the reasons they're looking to develop their own chips. Citing people familiar with the situation, WSJO says Apple not only wants to beat its rivals to market with new features, but also wants to keep a lid on its technology plans with external chip suppliers.
USB flash drives are meant to do a very simple job. Try telling that to manufacturers who apparently regard them as a canvas that should, from time to time, tolerate their whimsical artistic and technological cravings. Our beautiful planet has been blessed with USB flash drives of various ilks, be it the radical or the rank outrageous.