As competition starts to heat up, we don't know who -- if anyone -- will emerge as the dominant ebook player, but if judging on looks alone, Plastic Logic's new "Que" might just take the crown.
Named after the English alphabet letter and not the Spanish equivalent for "what," the sleek-looking Que has received a glossy black finish that wasn't present in previous prototypes. And while this isn't always the case in real life, the Que has more going for it than just good looks.
The Que's letter-sized 8.5 x 11 inch screen boasts a "shatterproof" design and also includes a capacitive touch layer that won't interfere with the e-ink display. Users will be able to sketch and manipulate documents with it, and on the connectivity front, the Que features AT&T 3G and WiFi.
Despite all the Que has going for it, Plastic Logic insists it isn't going after the Kindle market, and will instead focus on providing a comprehensive platform for mobile professionals.
Acer, the world's third largest PC maker, unveiled its Aspire 578PG notebook., the company's first laptop with a multitouch capacitive screen. Unlike competing models from HP or Lenovo, Acer didn't integrate touch optimized software of its own to run on top of Windows 7, but users will still be able to pinch, zoom, two-finger scroll, and perform other standard multitouch gestures.
Inside the 15.6-inch LED notebook sits an Intel Core 2 DuoT6600 processor (2.2GHz, 2MB L2 cache, 800MHz frontside bus), 4GB of DDR2-667MHz memory, a 320GB hard drive, ATI Radeon HD 4570 graphics with 512MB of dedicated DDR3 video RAM, an 8X DVD burner, webcam, HDMI port, four USB 2.0 ports, 6-cell battery, and Windows 7 Home Premium.
Acer says its new notebook will coincide with the launch of Windows and be available starting October 22 at "leading retailers" for $800.
Have you ever found yourself in a life or death situation where you simply couldn’t take your gloves off to operate a touch screen? Well probably not, but Ultra rugged-PC maker Getac who primarily supplies computer hardware to the police, military, and other field service organizations feels this is a market that is clearly under served, and is hoping to fill a niche with its new V100 convertible tablet PC. The V100 will be the first tablet PC on the market to sport a brand new resistive multitouch display, which unlike the capacitive screens found in the common iPhone, works even when you can’t operate the display with your bare fingers.
The inspiration behind the tablet is to bring multitouch computing to non-traditional markets, and take advantage of the increased compatibility that is being added in Windows 7. “Our customers work in some of the most extreme environments and weather conditions where touch screen technology and flick gestures are faster, safer and more convenient than using a keypad,” said Jim Rimay, president of Getac in a statement.
With regards to the internal specs on the V100 it will contain a full size keyboard, sunlight-readable 10.4 inch TFT LCD, and an ultra-low voltage 1.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor. On the outside it features a magnesium-alloy case making it vibration, dust, moisture, and even drop resistant. Pricing for the V100 will start at around $3,499 with an extra $225 for the multitouch display. It is expected to go on sale at the end of November.
The future looks bright for touchscreen computing, which will get a boost from Windows 7's built-in support for multitouch technology. And in case you haven't noticed, touchscreen PCs are beginning to gain steam. But is the world ready for touch computing in its current form?
"The question is, can we rethink the touch interface as a first-class citizen and provide a fresh approach to the desktop?," says Anand Agarawala, founder and CEO of Toronto's Bumptop. "Not only is touch a more natural way to interact with your desktop, but it also adds to your productivity."
Up to now, there hasn't been much motivation to focus on touch. According to Display Search, only about 3 percent of desktops and notebooks currently come with a touchscreen. Touch technology is much more prominent in the smartphone market, so the first step is getting the hardware out there. Then there's the task of making touchscreens easier to use and functionally relevant.
"PCs with touchscreens look cool, but what do you do with them?," says Jennifer Colegrove, a director at Display Search. "When it comes to the iPhone there are 50,000 applications that use touch -- but what do you do on a PC with touch?"
That question might be answered sooner than you think.
In preparation for the launch of Windows 7 and its multitouch capabilities, Gateway has announced two touchscreen all-in-one PCs built specifically for the upcoming OS.
On the higher end, the Gateway One ZX6810-01 will come with a 23-inch touchscreen display, an Intel Core 2 Quad Q8200S, a heaping 8GB of DDR3-1333 memory, a 64GB solid state drive for the OS and 1TB hard drive for storage duties, and ATI Radeon Mobility HD 4670 graphics with 1GB of memory. Cnet, who managed to get its hands on one already, praised the PC for its speed, while noting that the "touch input could be frustratingly unresponsive" at times.
Lower on the all-in-one totem pole sits the Gateway One ZX4800-02. At half the price of its bigger brother, this model boasts a 20-inch touchscreen display, an Intel Pentium dual-core T4300 processor, 4GB of DDR2-800 memory, a 750GB hard drive, and Intel's GMA X4500HD graphics. both PCs ship with 64-bit flavors of Windows 7 Home Premium.
Gateway says the ZX4800 will be available in late October or early November for $750, while the FX6810 will debut sometime in Q4 for $1,400.
If there's one thing most touchscreen tablets all have in common, it seems to be the overall sex appeal, and Toshiba's new JournE touch multimedia tablet is no exception.
While the 7-inch touchscreen steals the show, beneath the surface Toshiba's sleek JournE suports a number of codecs, including H.264, DivX, and WMV. It also adds 802.11 b/g Wi-Fi support, multimedia and social app integration (YouTube, Flickr, Picasa, Facebook, and more), and IE running on Windows CE 6.0 Pro.
It also comes with an HDMI port in the unit's dock and can output HD video.
As this is a prototype, final specifications are likely to change, and there's no word yet on price or availability. In the meantime, you can catch a video of Engadget getting touchy-feely with the JournE here.
However, the word from the horse’s mouth is that Pine Trail will be shipped to customers before the sun sets on 2009. The U150 will feature a 10-inch touchscreen and run Windows 7. Pine Trail is the codename for the next generation of the Intel Atom.
While the concept of a touchscreen netbook mod isn’t entirely new, it didn’t stop somebody from adding one to an HP Mini 1000. A modder named only as timm.mccoy (but vocally self-referred to as Brian Tim in his video) of the MyHPMini forums added a 10.2-inch resistive touchscreen to his machine, turning it into a pint-sized tablet.
As with most touchscreen mods, the touchscreen panel itself has been put between the LCD and the display bezel, and outputs to a USB connection. That connection is then plugged into an internal USB port (usually the one occupied by the machine’s webcam), and boom – a touchscreen netbook is born.
If you’re interested in seeing more, be sure to check out a video of the machine here.
Creative has filed a patent that could change the way we operate touchscreen devices. Filed back in January under the 3DLabs brand, the patent describes a drag and drop user interface with "action tabs."
In a nutshell, users would be able to manipulate "action" areas of the screen and drag objects (like a music title or video, for example) onto an action tab. Or as Creative describes the technology in its filing:
"A system and methods for a novel user interface of a touch sensitive screen for pocket device. The user interface contains display items and action tabs. Display items are configured to be draggable if being dragged at substantially horizontal direction; display items are configured to be scrollable if being dragged at substantially vertical direction. Dragging and releasing a draggable item to an action tab causes a specified action or a sequence of actions being applied to the item."
Because Creative filed the patent under its 3DLabs brand, now known as ZiiLabs, we wouldn't be surprised to see this technology show up on the Zii EGG.
Sony today released a pair of new e-book readers the company hopes will help put it in a better position to do battle with Amazon's popular Kindle. As such, Sony also plans to reduce all new releases and best sellers at its e-book store from $11.99 down to $9.99 each.
On the hardware front, Sony's new Reader Pocket Edition weighs 7.76 ounces and sports a 5-inch display. There's enough memory to store 350 standard e-books, but no expansion slot for memory cards. Users can expect about two weeks of use before having to recharge the battery. The pocket-sized reader is available in navy blue, rose, and silver with an MSRP of $200.
As the name implies, Sony's new Reader Touch Edition ups the ante with a touchscreen display, which supports finger or stylus enabled note taking with the virtual keyboard. It comes with five adjustable font size and expansion slots for both Memory Stick PRO Duo and SD cards. This one comes in red, black, or silver with an MSRP set at $300.