Many people had a bit of hope after the iPad announcement that Apple would take an enlightened view of copy protection on the platform’s iBookstore. The device will support the open EPUB format, but now we’re hearing that the store will utilize Apple’s FairPlay digital rights management solution. This system was used mainly on music in the past, but now is relegated to other iTunes content.
Many publishers are expected to employ the DRM on their ebooks, but some more enlightened publishers may opt out. Apple hasn’t had much to say on the matter just yet. We might not be surprised by this, but we certainly hoped Apple would take a stand here. Apple did manage to talk music labels into dropping DRM, so why go this route with books? It could be that Apple is willing to appease publishers in order to get a chunk of the market even if it means going down the same road they did with music.
So, in a few years will we see Steve Jobs write an open letter about his “thoughts on books”? How does this sit with you? Should Apple be pushing for a DRM free books store? Do you feel differently about DRM on books than you do about DRM on music or movies?
It’s a brave new frontier in reading. Gone are the days when people hauled around bits of dead trees with words written on them in ink. Okay, maybe those days aren’t over quite yet, but more people than ever are using e-readers of some sort. The question is can your eyes take it?
The consensus overall is that whatever you’re reading on, real damage to your vision is unlikely. Eink screens like the one found on the Kindle and Nook are considered nearly as good as paper in bright light. However, the contrast ratio is still not as high as paper making them harder to read in low light. Without a backlight there’s little to be done.
Low light settings are just where an LCD based e-reader like the upcoming iPad could shine. Thanks to the backlight, an LCD should be useful in settings with low ambient light. However, in brighter areas the reflectivity of the screen may cause strain. As for the notion that the flickering refresh of an LCD will eventually cause eye strain, Carl Taussig of HP says not so much. “Today’s screens update every eight milliseconds, whereas the human eye is moving at a speed between 10 and 30 milliseconds,” said Taussig.
All the experts agree on this: use the reading surface that works best for you. They all have their strengths, so the choice is yours.
Start your Valentine's Day weekend in the most romantic way possible, with the No BS Podcast! In this episode, Gordon, Nathan and Alex discuss the iPad (Gordon's predictions were right!), Google Buzz, 1Gbps internet, and micropayments. Gordon also shares his angry, angry feelings about misguided gifts and football-related business metaphors.
Do you have a tech question? A comment? A tale of technological triumph? Just need to get something off your chest? A secret to share? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call our 24-hour No BS Podcast hotline at 877.404.1337 x1337--operators are standing by.
The initial reaction to the iPad has been mixed. But the mixed reaction hasn't necessarily soothed any nerves among its potential competitors. The fractured response means that they will have to wait a bit longer to take stock of the challenge. From the looks of it, Amazon is not awaiting the public's final word on the iPad to post its reply. After all, the iPad is supposed to be Kindle's sternest test till date.
Think Steve Jobs was cutting you a price break when he unveiled the $499 iPad? Think again. A small OEM based out of Colombia by the name of Haleron Technologies has just released a $149 iLet Mini tablet to cost conscious buyers. It looks like an interesting enough device, but you might want to keep your expectation in check based on the hardware.
The iLet Mini sports a 7-inch resistive LCD touch screen running at a resolution of 800 x 480, and for comparison sake, is slightly worse than your average netbook. Its a funny resolution to spot on an Internet tablet, but starts to make sense when you drill down to discover that a 300 MHZ ARM processor is at the heart of it all. In the memory department it also falls a bit short with only 128MB of DDR2 RAM, and a mere 2GB of NAND flash for storage. SD Flash cards and external hard drives of up to 250 GB are supported, but currently the only OS being offered is Windows CE.
It would be interesting to see how a device like this would compare to the iPad, but the fact that the spec sheet says it running Windows CE, and the screen shots show Windows XP don't give us a warm and fuzzy feeling when it comes to the companies honesty. For hardware enthusiasts its not a total loss mind you. The device offers up a pair of USB 2.0 ports, wired Ethernet, support for external keyboards, and all that wrapped up in the promise of 8-10 hours of battery life. If your waiting for good ole Steve to capitulate on any of those features for the iPad, you're going to be waiting a very long time.
Either way I think it gives steam to the argument that Apple is making a pretty healthy margin on its new tablet. Are you interested at this price?
Till now, Amazon has enjoyed a smooth ride in the e-book reader market. But it is now bracing itself for a series of tight corners and bumps. Its Kindle e-reader is bound to come under pressure from the iPad and a slew of other slates and e-readers. It is said to have acquired a New York-based company named Touchco.
The company it has acquired specializes in touchscreen technology, according to the New York Times. Its flagship technology is something called interpolating force-sensitive resistance, which it uses to produce transparent touch screens for around $10 per square foot – much cheaper than competing technologies. Amazon remains mum on the acquisition.
Apple is busy touting the iPad as an avant-garde device, the first of its kind. But it is clearly something that even the most impassioned Apple devotee will have difficulty digesting. It may not be revolutionary, but there is little gainsaying the fact that it will soon be spearheading a procession of tablets. Should the iPad be a resounding success, the procession then will be made up of potential iPad-killers.
One of the potential participants has already announced their interest. Nobuyuki Oneda, Sony's CFO, is “confident we have the skills to create a product” to match or outstrip the iPad. "Time-wise we are a little behind the iPad but it's a space we would like to be an active player in,” Oneda said at a Tokyo news conference. The iPad is also being considered a potent threat to the e-book reader market, where Sony is present with its own offerings. But Oneda dismissed the existence of any such threat. He did not say whether such a tablet is already in the works or not.
Samsung showcased a couple of e-book readers, the $400 E6 and the $700 E101, at last month's Consumer Electronics Show 2010 in Las Vegas. Though neither is on the market yet, the company has bolstered its upcoming e-reader lineup by adding the E61, which features a full QWERTY keyboard.
The E61 is effectively an E6 with a QWERTY keyboard. A 6-inch screen, removable battery, Bluetooth 2.0, and 802.11b/g WiFi are some of the features common to both the e-readers. There is no word on its release date or price.
Besides counting down to the JooJoo's launch, it is actively lobbying potential investors. The company said that it has received a fresh investment from the CSL Group, a Malaysian mobile device OEM and distributor.
"This is [a] landscape changing manufacturing agreement in the CE hardware market in much the same way Dell changed the PC business model with its direct to consumer sales approach back in the 1990s," Fusion Garage CEO Chandrasekar Rathakrishnan said in a statement.
Market research firm ABI feels pretty confident we're on the cusp of a tablet frenzy that will see the number of units shipped catapult from 4 million in 2010 to 57 million annually in 2015.
"Apple's iPad is not the first media tablet," said senior analyst Jeff Orr. "But it does help define this new device category. The main focus of media tablets is entertainment. A tablet will not replace a notebook, netbook, or mobile phone, but will remain an additional premium or luxury product for wealthy industrialized markets for at least several years."
It's worth noting that ABI Research defines a media tablet as having a touchscreen interface 5-11 inches in size, Wi-Fi connectivity, and video and gaming capabilities.
But no matter how you define them, will tablets remain relevant in the years to come? With Apple on board and Google not far behind, it's very likely. Then the question becomes, is there enough room for all these portable devices? Netbooks, e-book readers, and smartphones have proven that there's room for all three, but it will be interesting to see if the same holds true for tablets, or if one of these market segments end up falling by the wayside.