The e-book reader market is fast becoming a crowded niche, so in order to stand out from the competition, some manufacturers are taking liberties with the basic design. Take Spring Design, for example, who on Monday announced a dual-screen e-book reader built around Google's Android platform.
"This is the start of a whole new experience of reading content on e-books, potentially igniting a whole new industry in multimedia e-book publishing for secondary authors to create supplementary content that is hyper linked to the text," said Dr. Priscilla Lu, CEO of Spring Design. "We are bringing life to books with audio, video, and annotations. This gives readers the ability to fully leverage the resources on the Web, and the tools available in search engines to augment the reading experience."
Called 'Alex,' the new e-book readers sport a 6-inch e-ink EPD display on the top portion and a 3.5-inch color LCD on the bottom. Spring Design says Android has been optimized to support integration between the two displays to prolong battery life. But what exactly is the point of the color display?
Apparently Alex owners are able to capture and cache Web content on the color display and toggle to view it on the EPD screen without taxing the battery. Users can also create their own images and notes to augment the original text.
Spring Design says it is still talking with "major content partners" and hopes to release Alex into the wild by the end of the year.
With Windows 7 right around the corner, let the marketing frenzy begin. Case in point: According to AMD spokesman Brent Barry, all those Athlon II chips that recently rolled off AMD's assembly line are "fully optimized" for the upcoming OS.
"It was important for AMD to get in front of the pack for the release of Windows 7," Barry told TGDaily. "We are well positioned for it, with acceleration and virtualization support. Our drivers are all ready to go. From a CPU and graphics standpoint, we have a better start than Intel does."
Oh snap! But not worry if you've already invested in a Core i7 or i5 platform, it's not as if Windows 7 will suddenly refuse to boot i if it detects Intel inside. The point Barry is trying to drive home is that AMD owns the value market. By Barry's numbers, the AMD Athlon II X2 240e, for example, performs "up to 70 percent better" then similarly priced Intel silicon. Or take the Athlon II X3 435 chip, which AMD says offers a 75 percent boost in media and entertainment apps when compared to Intel's Core 2 Duo E8500.
On a less controversial note, Barry also said Windows 7 will likely help drive PC sales growth, whereas that wasn't necessarily the case with Vista.
Gateway has announced a new thin-and-light notebook lineup for the release of Windows 7 on the 22nd. The series is comprised of the EC58, EC54, and EC14. All will run Windows Home Premium, and will have multitouch trackpads. Gateway is also claiming that all the notebooks are capable of 8 hours of battery life.
The EC58 and EC54 are 15.6 inch laptops with high definition, LED-backlit screens. They run Pentium Dual Core SU4100 series CPUs, offering very low power consumption. They are, however, running an Intel integrated graphics solution. The units will have 4GB of DDR3 RAM loaded as well. The EC14 has a smaller 11.6 inch HD display, LED-backlit, and weighs in at a bit over 3 pounds. Otherwise, the specs are very similar. The EC58/54 will start at $649.99 and the EC14 will go for $549.99.
In a statement, Acer (who owns Gateway) Senior Manager of Product Marketing, Ray Sawall, said, “The new Gateway EC Series product lines were designed for the many PC users that have embraced the fun and productivity of being able to compute and stay in touch while away from their home or office.” We’ll have to wait and see if consumers agree, but at least this is yet another interesting product offering coinciding with the Windows 7 launch.
Spring Design unveiled an Android power eReader device dubbed “Alex,” today. The new eReader is powered by Google’s Android OS, features dual screens (!), SD card reader and a Wifi/3G network connection.
There is no question the most unique feature of “Alex” is its multiple screens. It features a 6 inch monochrome display optimized for reading text. However, it also features a color 3.5 inch display allowing the user to simultaneously browse other content. The two screens have been optimized to work together.
"Users can capture and cache web content from their online experience on the LCD screen, and toggle to view it on the EPD screen without taxing the battery life," explained Spring Design CEO Dr. Priscilla Lu. "Browser features such as bookmarking, history, and security settings are built in, and the device with full Android browsing capability, is mobile enabled with smart phones capabilities."
Spring Design is currently shopping for content providers and hopes to be shipping the device before the end of 2009.
The most obvious and common reason to avoid any SSD solution presently is certainly price. Compared to rotational-magnetic state drives, solid states offer far better performance for most server environments, but prices were keeping them out of the server closet.
However, as datacenters continue to find the need to grow (due to the software-as-a-service movement, cloud server environments, etc) they are finding that the overall power consumption and thermal capabilities of SSDs may be worth the cost.
MySpace recently revamped their server outfit with SSD technology and managed to cut hardware costs by 60 percent simply by using SSDs. It was undoubtedly an expensive move, but what they spent in hardware they’ll make up for in infrastructure savings. The SSD units they used will save them 50 percent on power, and 80 percent in cooling.
For individual users the decision to upgrade to Windows 7 is straightforward--there’s only a PC or two to deal with, and our time is our time. For businesses, however, the decision is a bit more complex. It’s not just having to update multiple machines, it’s having to update the entire information technology infrastructure as well--which can be a costly proposition. And as their time is money it is not a decision to be lightly made.
Windows 7 won’t be officially released until October 22, but Dell is currently taking pre-orders for businesses on its Latitude laptops, OptiPlex desktops, and Precision workstations with Windows 7 installed.
Don’t be fooled by the Vantec ezShare’s unassuming looks. This simple six-foot white cable with its Type A USB plugs on either end is actually one of the easiest ways to quickly moves files between two computers. Just plug one end into an available USB port on a box running Windows (XP and up), and plug the other end into the second box.
A Windows Explorer–like app will auto-launch on each machine, letting you drag and drop folders and files between the two PCs. If this sounds an awful lot like Data Drive Thru’s Tornado (reviewed November 2007), that’s because the two products are pretty similar. The file-explorer UI and software functionality of both products are virtually the same. It’s close enough that we have a pretty strong suspicion that the underlying chipsets and software come from the same factory in China. There are a few key differences, though.
Boy oh boy has 3D technology come a long way since the advent of those horrendous blue and red glasses that are still around today. Taking the technology to a new level, Sony says it has developed a 360-degree 3D display, which it plans to show off during Tokyo's Digital Content Expo 2009 this Thursday.
Sony says no goofy glasses are required to view the stereoscopic, 24-bit color image, which measures just 96 x 128 pixels. The image is viewable from all angles, but Sony didn't say if you'll be able to see the side of the image, depending on where you're oriented in relation to the display.
It's just a novelty at this point, but as research and development continues, Sony said it could see this technology being used as a 3D photo frame or in videophones.
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.
The busy guys and gals over at Acer have put the final touches on the company's revamped AspireRevo R3510-U9012 "one-liter nettop." Kicking things up a notch over its predecessor, the refreshed PC now sports an Intel dual-core Atom 330 instead of a single core Atom 230.
It also comes built around Nvidia's Ion platform, 2GB of DDR2 memory, a 160GB hard drive, six USB 2.0 ports, an HDMI port, eSATA, WiFi, and Windows 7 Home Premium, fast becoming an obligatory OS in any new OEM setup. Not a bad spec sheet for a $330 nettop.
"The AspireRevo is a practical and highly adaptable nettop for the home -- powerful enough to take on games but so thin, it can be neatly hidden from view," said Susan Hu, Desktop Product Manager for Acer America. "It's also energy-efficient and quiet."
One of the coolest features of the AspireRevo is its ability to connect to the back of an LCD or TV panel with a VESA attachment. In essence, you could turn your swank LCD HDTV into a respectable all-in-one. And did we mention it's only $330?