As expected, Barnes & Noble announced the Nook Color today at their event in New York. The device ditches the eInk monochrome screen used by the Amazon Kindle and regular Nook. In its place is a 7-inch IPS color touchscreen. The resolution is a very reasonable 1024x600, and it will come with a special anti-glare film. There is also Wi-Fi, a microSD card slot, and no 3G right now.
This device is utilizing more elements of the underlying Android system, but it is thoroughly skinned. It is clear this is a reader first and foremost. But users will have access to music, the browser, social networking, and a few select apps like Pandora. Since this is significantly different from the stock Android platform, developers looking to get their apps on the platform will have to use a Barnes & Noble supplied SDK.
The Nook Color will sell for $249 when it comes out on November 19. The bookseller is looking to get people reading magazines and newspaper on this device, in addition to regular books. Barnes & Noble may be calling this part tablet and part reader, but they may find that it isn't good enough at being either. Do you think this device is going to succeed?
The development of PC display technologies over the last 30 years has taken us through many chapters: from IBM, the creator of the IBM PC, pioneering color display technologies (and ceding development to third-parties ATI, 3dfx, and nVidia); to the quest to provide both sharp text and colorful graphics; through the ever-increasing size of displays; to LCD flat panels overtaking TV-type CRTs; the move to 3D graphics rendering and, currently, to 3D viewing. Here's a brief history of these and other milestones in PC graphics history.
Long gone are the days of bulky CRT monitors in mainstream use, a point which is underscored by the introduction of NEC's new 23-inch MultiSync EX231W LED-backlit monitor.
The EX231W sports a slim bezel measuring just 14.6mm wide and is comparatively light at 9.3 pounds, including stand. Specs include a 1920 x 1080 resolution, 250 cd/m2 brightness, and 25,000:1 contrast ratio (dynamic).
There are a couple of features not found on most monitors, such as a USB pass-through on top of the monitor, and a human sensor on the front that detects activity. This latter feature, NEC says, reduces power consumption by up to 95 percent.
NEC says the EX231W will sell for around $340 in November. Full press release after the jump.
LED backlit displays still command a premium over typical LCD panels, but things are steadily improving. Enter Samsung, which just announced its new line of affordable 31 series LED monitors.
"The 31 series LED monitors fit the needs of consumers looking to upgrade to an LED monitor on a budget, especially this holiday season," said young Bae, director of display marketing, Samsung Enterprise Business Division. "This line of monitors, designed with students and small and home office users in mind, stays true to Samsung's legacy of sleek design and superior LED performance."
So far the 31 series consists of four models, including the 20-inch BX2031, 21.5-inch BX2231, 23-inch BX2331, and 24-inch BX2431. Save for the BX2031, each one sports an ultra-slim 19mm design, Full HD 1920x1080, 2ms response time, 5,000,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio, and 2 HDMI inputs. The BX2031 differs in that it carries a 1600x900 resolution, 5ms response time, and VGA and DVI-D inputs (no HDMI).
The 31 series will ship later this month for $169 (BX2031), $199 (BX2231), $239 (BX2331), and $279 (BX2431).
Samsung's P2770FH came to market just a tad late to lay claim as the world's first LCD to sport a 1ms response time (that distinction belongs to Viewsonic's VX2739wm), but it is one of only two computer monitors we're aware of that comes marketed as such.
"The P2770FH's groundbreaking 1ms response time offers an unbeatable experience for users looking to immerse themselves in computer gaming or movies," Samsung said. "Video editors will especially appreciate the lightning-quick response time, which eliminates motion blur and ghosting effects that hinder accuracy during the editing process. Additionally, computer gamers will benefit from the quick response, allowing them to fully enjoy game play and engage in a more fulfilling experience."
The 27-inch panel features a Full HD 1920x1080 resolution, 17,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio (1,000:1 static), HDMI, DVI-I, audio- and optical-out, and Samsung's "Touch of Color" accents.
Look for the P2770FH to ship later this month for $400.
The last time we spent any quality time with a Gateway monitor was when the company burst into the 30-inch panel scene with its awesome XHD3000 (see our review here). It was an incredible display, albeit long since discontinued.
Gateway didn't exit the monitor scene, it just isn't producing ginormous displays. Gateway is, however, launching three new ultra-slim LED monitors -- the 21.5-inch FHX2152L, 24-inch FHX2402L, and 23-inch FHD2303L.
"These new Gateway monitors give consumers a choice in style and functionality when choosing a monitor for their home or office," said Irene Chan, senior product marketing manager for peripherals, Acer America. "All three models offer advanced display technology that meets a wide variety of viewing needs combined with the power-saving features and an eco-friendly design that are important to today's consumers."
All three monitors sport a 1920x1080 resolution and, for what it's worth, a 12,000,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio. Both FHX models feature a 2ms response time, while the FHD is rated at 5ms.
The FHD2303L ($250), FHX2402L ($250) and FHX2152L ($190) will ship later this month.
Hewlett Packard this week introduced a sleek new 23-inch LED backlit panel, the HP 2310e HD. Dubbed an ultra-thin, the 2310e is only 1-inch deep and comes with a detachable stand, albeit no VESA mount.
It's a Full HD panel with a native resolution of 1920 x 1080 and support for up to 70 percent of the color gamut. We don't put much stock into display specs, but for what it's worth, this one boats an 8,000,000:1 contrast ratio (dynamic, of course), 250 nits of brightness, and a 5ms on/off response time.
For the environmentally conscious, the WLED backlighting is mercury-free, the glass contains no arsenic, and both the rear cover and base are made from recycled plastics.
Look for this one to start shipping on September 29, 2010 for $289.
In the market for a new LCD monitor? Count yourself among the few. Citing "market sources," Digitimes says that first tier PC brands, including Hewlett-Packard (HP), Acer, and Dell, have all pulled in the reigns on new LCD monitor orders for 2011 because of weaker-than-expected demand.
The exact reason for this has analysts stumped. Some market watchers say the weak demand might just be the result of the typical business practices for this time of year, as the peak season typically occurs in the third quarter. Because of this, vendors end up setting higher order volumes to receive more favorable pricing, and then reduce orders in the forth quarter.
But is that what's happening? It should also be noted that several LCD makers have been rocked by price fixing lawsuits in recent months, and it could be that PC vendors are waiting to see how it all plays out before fully replenishing their LCD monitor stock.
You might recall seeing three of HP’s ZR30w 30-inch displays gracing the cover of our September “Dream Machine” issue. Considering our theme for that build was raw, wanton power, picking the ZR30w was an easy decision.
We haven’t been this wowed by a display since we laid eyes on NEC’s LCD3090 WQXi, which we reviewed in our March 2010 issue. But that 30-incher costs nearly twice as much as this one. Both monitors are based on S-IPS panels, as all the best LCD monitors are, and both deliver native resolution of 2560x1600 (a 16:10 aspect ratio). But the ZR30w’s real claim to fame is color resolution of 10 bits per color per pixel (HP defines this as 30 bits per pixel), which enables it to produce 1.07 billion displayable colors. That’s 100 percent of the sRGB color gamut and 99 percent of the Adobe RGB color gamut.
Following an investigation into the business practices of several LCD makers, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has gone and sued a number of companies on allegations of price fixing, a charge he contends has been going on for a decade.
"Our investigation shows that an illegal cartel eliminated competition in the marketplace for LCD screens, made its own secret decisions to boost prices, and then took steps to make those high prices stick," Cuomo said. "As a result, hard-pressed New York cities, towns, schools, and hospitals spent hundreds of millions of dollars on LCD screens affected by the illegal conspiracy. My office is bringing this case to get those illegal overcharges back."
The lawsuit accuses top-level executives, including CEOs, of attending secret meetings on a quarterly, and sometimes monthly basis to set minimum prices, price targets and increases, and prices to be charged to specific manufacturers. Cuomo's lawsuit also accuses LCD makers of exchanging production information to control output, and coordinating messages to cover-up the entire scheme.
Defendants listed in the suit include AU Optronics, Chi Mei Corporation, CMO Japan, Hitachi, LG, Samsung, Sharp, and Toshiba.