The Kindle 3 appears to be a modest upgrade over the previous generation e-reader. But that hasn't stopped people from throwing their money at Amazon. Analysts had predicted that Amazon would sell around 5 million Kindles in 2010. Riding high on the Kindle 3 wave, Bloomberg reports the retailer is likely to sell over 8 million instead.
To really put this in perspective, in 2009 Amazon moved only 2.4 million of the e-reader devices. Clearly, this last year has been big for electronic books. Users of mobile phones and the iPad are also able to buy into the Amazon book ecosystem with Kindle apps. But contrary to some predictions in the wake of the iPad announcement, demand for the dedicated e-reader is not abating.
The Kindle 3 offers the same size eInk display in an overall smaller and lighter form factor. The new screen also has higher contrast than earlier models. Have you noticed more people buying Kindles this year?
Cloud gaming service OnLive is giving us a little glimpse into their future offerings with an iPad version of the client. This app will only allow spectating in live games, as there are no games with touchscreen controls yet. What's perhaps more interesting, is that OnLive will let you run Windows 7 apps on the iPad through their service. That's potentially huge if executed well. The iPad is currently the only device supported, but an Android beta should be available in the near future according to VentureBeat.
So here's the big question: how will Apple take this? Apple would probably prefer that any enterprise Windows apps be adapted to iOS and submitted the old fashioned way, but if OnLive is successful, that could be unnecessary. If developers get in bed with OnLive, and users can just pay a flat fee to access a ton of games in the cloud, Apple might see a hit in the App Store.
OnLive recently released the Micros Console unit for customers to plug into their TV, and also announced a $10 flat fee gaming plan. OnLive may have seemed like a pie in the sky fantasy last year, but it's becoming more interesting as time goes on.
Google’s ebook store has finally stepped out of the realm of rumors and entered the real world. Matter-of-factly called the Google eBookstore, it is well stocked and supports a wide variety of devices, including PCs, smartphones, tablets and e-readers. According to Google, the store boasts the largest ebooks collection in the world with more than three million titles.
Since its Google’s ebook store, books are stored in the cloud and can be bought and read in it as well. Offline reading on Android and iOS devices is supported through native apps. As for e-readers, support is restricted to only those devices that are compatible with the Adobe eBook platform. While Amazon’s Kindle is not supported, Barnes & Noble Nook and Sony Reader are probably the most notable names on the list of supported devices.
The iPad has looks like it’s going to walk away with the dubious distinction of being the most successful tablet of 2010, but then again it hasn’t really had much competition. The Samsung Galaxy Tab was arguably the first high profile Android challenger on the market, and its actually sort of amazing just how quickly they’ve been making up ground. News broke a couple weeks ago claiming Samsung had shipped 600,000 units, but we are now hearing reports of over 1 million sold as of December 3rd.
It still only represents only a fraction of the number of units Apple has sold, but it looks like this race is just starting to heat up. It will be interesting to see if adoption of the Tab stays strong, or if this is just an initial burst from the tech savvy who refuse to live under the rule of a benevolent dictator when it comes to tablet computing.
Are you holding out for new Android tablets or have you already picked a side? Let us know in the comments.
If nothing else, give Acer credit for having all the confidence of a prize fighter going up against an opponent half his size, even when that opponent is actually much, much bigger. Such is the case with Apple, which currently owns the tablet market, but not for long, according to Acer CEO Gianfranco Lanci.
At a press conference in New York, Acer revealed its near-term tablet roadmap strategy, and also talked a little bit about where the company sees itself in 2-3 years. According to Lanci, that's how long it will take Acer to become the world's largest tablet player, claiming more market share than Apple, Samsung, and every other company making a bid in this emerging market.
"While the iPad has gained successful sales performance and good market response, Apple is centered around the U.S. market with a significant leading status, but its competitive strength may not play out in emerging and other markets," Lance explained. "This is the opportunity for Acer. Sales of iPad pushed forward very fast initially, but have slowed down in the past few weeks."
In fact, Lanci doesn't even view Apple as its biggest threat, saying "Samsung is a main rival and will continue to be so."
Apple's iOS 4.2 update for the iPad hasn't even been available to the general public for 24 hours, yet some are already looking forward to Apple's next generation tablet, the iPad 2.
Brian Marshall, an analyst with Gleacher & Co., recently told ComputerWorld that Apple will stick with its annual refresh roadmap for its tablet, just like the Cupertino company has done with its iPhone for the past three years.
"I think April is the proper time frame for an iPad 2," Marshall said. "Since I'm projecting that Apple will release a CDMA iPhone in March, both will help to equalize Apple's seasonality."
There has been water cooler talk around the Web that Apple might release a second iPad sooner than originally planned in order to compete with the avalanche of tablets that are supposed to hit the market, but Marshall isn't buying it. He also isn't buying into the speculation that suggests the next iPad will be smaller than the original.
"It will be the same form factor, but with dual-camera functionality," Marshall said.
Samsung may not have beaten the iPad in one fell swoop, but they have made a respectable splash with the release of the Galaxy Tab around the world. The device has now sold 600,000 units according to a Korean newspaper. This makes it the most popular Android tablet by an order of magnitude.
This is the first Android tablet to have the tacit support of Google. The Big G has said Android 2.2 Froyo (like on the Galaxy Tab) is not meant for tablets. But Samsung is a close partner, so Google was apparently willing to allow the Android Market and Google apps to be shipped with the Tab.
The Galaxy Tab is going to be available on all major US carriers this holiday season. The Tab also managed 30,000 sales just in South Korea in one week. So consumers are at least willing to try Android on a tablet, but Google might make them regret that purchase. Future versions of the OS may bring specific tablet improvements, and users would have to wait for that to trickle down to their devices.
Apple today announced that the long delayed iOS 4.2 update is finally available for download for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch, bringing multitasking, Folders, a Unified Inbox, Game Center, AirPlay, and AirPrint to the iPad. It's about friggin' time.
"iOS 4.2 makes the iPad a completely new product, just in time for the holiday season," said Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO. "Once again, the iPad with iOS 4.2 will define the target that other tablets will aspire to, but very few, if any, will ever be able to hit."
The addition of multitasking addresses one of the iPad's major shortcomings, and the other additions -- like Folders and a Unified Inbox -- ensure the iPad will remain a hot selling product even as competition in the tablet space starts to heat up. But what Apple can't address through software updates are the handful of hardware omissions, like USB ports, a memory card reader, and webcam (which rules out FaceTime support).
So what's the verdict, does iOS 4.2 make the iPad a more compelling option, or is it still an overpriced, oversized iPod touch? Hit the jump and sound off!
It is only a matter of time before hackers find a way of running Android on iPad, especially considering the fact that it has already been accomplished on iPhone 3G, 2G and the original iPod touch. As the iPad is just an oversized iPhone/iPod Touch, it is a sitting duck for intrepid hackers like the folks responsible for the iDroid Project, whose stated goal is “to fully port the Linux kernel and the Google Android OS to Apple's iDevices” using the OpeniBoot bootloader. The iDroid Project team has indicated that they are very close to porting Android to the iPad and iPhone 4. They even posted a video (below) and a few images on Twitter to tease us.
With so many tablets on the horizon -- think several dozen -- it's a bit premature to anoint Apple's iPad as the go-to device. Nevertheless, market research firm Gartner is encouraging CEOs to take the iPad seriously as a business tool.
"It is usually not the role of the CEO to get directly involved in specific technology device decisions, but Apple's iPad is an exception," said Stephen Prentice, Gartner Fellow and vice president. "It is more than just the latest consumer gadget; and CEOs and business leaders should initiate a dialogue with their CIOs about if they have not already done so."
According to Gartner, tablet sales will reach 19.5 million units by the end of 2010, most of which will belong to the iPad. In 2011, that number will jump to 54.8 million, and surpass 208 million in 2014.
"Individuals are willing to buy these devices themselves, so enterprises must be ready to support them," said Mr. Prentice. "While some IT departments will say they are a 'Windows shop,' and Apple does not support the enterprise. Organizations need to recognize that there are soft benefits in a devices of this type in the quest to improve recruitment and retention. Technology is not always about productivity."
Gartner called the iPad an iconic device that's currently redefining the market, and advises CEOs to act sooner rather than later.
"While there are no certainties, the iPad looks to become a market-disrupting device, like the iPod before it," Prentice says.