Friday, July 8, 2011

32" Android tablet?

[Thanks to Stephen]

FAA Authorizes iPad as Flight Manual Replacement

FAA Authorizes iPad as Flight Manual Replacement, article.

A forty pound bag of various paper materials, or an iPad with search technology? The choice seems obvious to you or me, but The Federal Aviation Administration tends to be very conservative, for obvious reasons. So this is a big testimonial to the usability and reliability of the iPad.

Rumor: September iPad HD will Augment iPad Line

Rumor: September iPad HD will Augment iPad Line, post.
... it will be called “iPad HD,” and that it will augment Apple’s tablet product line, not replace the recently introduced iPad 2. The device will sport a much higher resolution screen of 2048 x 1536, and will be aimed at professional users.

Just a rumor, but it feels right, and I'm crossing all my fingers and toes too, I really want a pro iPad. Even if the screen doesn't get larger, the higher resolution will mean something (not so much for video, there's a limit to how much detail you can take in as pictures move, especially on a smallish screen) but for text. Like I've mentioned, the iPhone 4 is easily as good to read on as the Dell Streak despite the latter's much larger screen (5" vs 3.5"), simply because of the iPhone 4's much higher screen resolution.
(Funny, by the way, we hardly hear anything about the Dell Streak these days, I guess a bigger screen and higher price didn't fit most people's needs.)

I think it would be a very good idea for Apple to split up the iPad line, like they long have done with computers and iPods, different sizes, prices, and capabilities for different needs and pocketbooks.

I wonder if they'll do it with the iPhone too? There are also rumors of an "iPhone lite". Only issue is that unlike iPods, I really don't see what they can scrape off and keep a product worthy of Apple, they can't really make the screen smaller and keep it being a good smartphone.

And then of course we have yet to see what Amazon will come up with in continuation of the Kindle line, with black/white screen, and in a hopefully separate line with a different name (uh, "Kimberly"?): a real tablet with color touch screen, probably running Android but centered on reading. So all in all, this may turn out to be a good year for ereader/tablet fans.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

"The numbers are staggering"

This clipping is from Tap Magazine, which I subscribe to on my iPad:

I keep getting surprised at how fast the e-reading market is taking off now, after a whole decade of languishing in the outskirts of publishing. Not only is this title, Box 13,  outselling almost all paper comics, but it's an unknown title from an unknown publisher! Time for traditionalists to perk up their ears.


Standard comic book outtro:
We need a bigger tablet for comic books, art books, text books, etc! Even for a brute action comic, a 10-inch screen is too small and for anything with finesse in the art, forget about it. Sure, you can zoom and so on, but that's like trying to enjoy a gourmet meal while running an obstacle course. 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Jon Rubinstein Compares HP’s WebOS to Mac OS X

Jon Rubinstein Compares HP’s WebOS to Mac OS X, article.
In a letter to employees, Jon Rubinstein, senior vice president and general manager of HP’s Palm Global Business Unit, told employees not to worry about the negative reviews that the company’s new TouchPad media tablet received, and he likened the OS running the device, webOS, to Apple’s own Mac OS X in terms of both its potential and early reception.

I like this. Thinking in years and decades is essential for success. Too many businesses think mostly in months, or even less.

I also hope earnestly that WebOS become successful. I like iOS a lot, and Android is not bad, but it's pretty boring. Some new approaches and perspectives would be very welcome in tablet-land.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Skytex Primer Color, $99 (updated)

Skytex Primer Color, review.

Obviously such a cheap device is limited, but it has some strong points:
The Skytex Primer Color is running a custom built Linux based operating system. The menus are just brimming with features and I was very impressed by the scope of its functionality. The main menu has a ton of options and is intuitively laid out. You can choose between ebooks, music, videos, photos, radio, record, explorer, calender, search, and options.
Navigating the menu systems is VERY snappy and everything loads very fast, which impressed me with a $99 device.

Highly interesting for a color tablet at such a low price! Even though it has no touchscreen, no web browser, and no way to buy content from the device itself. It won't slot into any commercial content ecosystem, such as Kindle's or Apple's, but it's not like there's not a lot of alternatives, including a lot of free content. It just takes a bit more work to find and load, but if you have more time than money like many these days, that might not be so bad!
[Update: wow, right now you can get it even cheaper from Amazon.] [For outside USA, you may need a remailer.]

I got the "Primer" now. It's a fun little machine, can do a lot for the price, and it's fun that it has FM radio. But handling ebooks can be slow, sometimes very slow. For example text size changes; especially for files which are not ePub, I am not sure what format they are ("Walden" for example), they look like scans, but the text size can be changed. But on the other hand getting through just one step of text size with these files can take maybe half a minute! Excruciating. The same goes for opening a file. Fortunately, ordinary page changes are acceptable, maybe half a second, and that's what you'd use most of the time.

I guess slowness in some things are the main price you pay for getting a cheap device; they charge more for newer and faster processors.

The video works fine, plays many formats. Only thing is, I can't find any way of scrolling or skipping in the playing video. I'd call that a strong minus.

The device can show PDF files. And like with the Kindle 3, rotating the display helps when a PDF page has small text (although it should be said that the resolution/size of the screen is a bit on the crude side for really small text). However, I can't figure out how to scroll down the page. All I try results in skipping to the next page. The small manual is no help, so I have mailed the company about it.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

I see the iPad as an ereader

It's funny, the iPad is at least hundreds different kinds of machines in one, and most of them it does a great job being. But for me, its most marvellous hat is the one as the humble ereader. I can't really explain why. Just simple text on a sharp, bright screen, collected near-instantly from anywhere on the globe from a million different sources, and displayed at the size, color, or shape you prefer (if the software company has done its job, which is more often the case with small companies like Megareader than big ones like Apple or Amazon). It just seems to  that this is the killer app of the "tens" years of this century. Or more. It may take us decades to really discover how powerful an application of technology this really is.