Gadgets

Mon
01
Feb
Dennis Faas's picture

Amazon Gives In; Higher e-Book Prices Expected

Amazon appears to have blinked first in its stand-off with publishing giant Macmillan over the pricing of Kindle books. The online retailer had even briefly stopped selling printed Macmillan books over the dispute. The disagreement centered on ... Amazon's policy of charging a flat rate of $9.99 for the electronic edition of virtually all new titles it stocks. Macmillan demanded that it be able to set its own pricing, with most major books priced between $12.99 and $14.99. Royalties Replace Fixed Fees At the moment, Amazon pays publishers a fixed fee for each digital sale worth roughly half the ... (view more)

Fri
29
Jan
Dennis Faas's picture

Win7 Tablet PC's to Rival iPad, HP Slate Due Soon

Apple's new iPad is making plenty of headlines this week. But Microsoft, and the PC sector in general, are quick to highlight the Windows-based tablet computers which will rival the device. The most conspicuous response to Apple's iPad launch came ... from Hewlett Packard (HP), which has released a YouTube video showing off its forthcoming HP Slate. That's a tablet computer announced earlier this month running Windows 7 and apparently set-up to handle electronic books bought from Amazon's store. Though the device is produced by HP, Microsoft is heavily involved in promoting it. Indeed, Microsoft ... (view more)

Thu
07
Jan
Dennis Faas's picture

Newspaper Group Creates E-Paper Kindle Rival, Largest Yet

A major publisher is to launch the largest electronic reading device on the market. Hearst's touchscreen "Skiff Reader" is 11.5 inches in diameter and uses a unique flexible design. The firm, founded by legendary media figure William Randolph ... Hearst, owns more than 50 newspapers outright and has interests in more than 100 other titles. With that in mind, it's clear the hardware specifications of the Skiff are very much targeted at newspaper and magazine readers. CES Show-off Planned for Skiff Reader The firm will show off the device at the forthcoming Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las ... (view more)

Thu
24
Dec
Dennis Faas's picture

Blu-ray Players Surge in Popularity in 2009

The popularity of Blu-ray players appears to be rising, just a year after doubters predicted that the devices -- which launched three years ago for $800-$1,000 each -- would fade into oblivion because of their marginal improvement over standard DVD ... players. Much of that negative thinking has changed, and as you might expect, it has a lot to do with the plummeting cost of buying a Blu-ray player. Blu-ray Price Drop One of Many in Tech Market When the devices first launched three years ago, many cost nearly $1,000 -- a lot of money for most U.S. families, even in a pre-recession North America. ... (view more)

Mon
21
Dec
Dennis Faas's picture

3D DVDs Get Approval; Warner To Go Multi-Format

3D movies could be a feature in home theatres as early as next year, thanks to a new agreement. It comes as one movie studio gets set to simplify the options available to movie-goers. The Blu-ray Disc Association, the main industry body behind the ... format, has agreed to a specification for incorporating three-dimensional video into discs. The group is keeping its options open; the system only deals with the creation of the 3D image, not the way it is viewed. 3D Discs Store Two Versions of Movie The technical details of the system will be sent out to disc producers shortly. It effectively ... (view more)

Fri
11
Sep
Dennis Faas's picture

Twin Screen Digital Book Reader Could Cost Just $165

Asus is working on an electronic reading device that could change the digital book industry. Not only is the product expected to be much cheaper than those already on the market, but it will include two screens -- allowing books to be read in ... traditional two-page format. The firm is reportedly planning two editions of the reader. First, a budget version featuring two fixed screens, allowing users to see a left-hand and right-hand page. It might not sound like a big deal, but the idea could have a strong psychological effect by making the experience of reading on a machine closer to reading a ... (view more)

Tue
21
Jul
Dennis Faas's picture

Apple Touchpad Patent Lawsuit Appears Patently Absurd

A Texas company is suing at least 20 major consumer goods firms for allegedly violating a touchpad technology patent. The case has been filed in Texas' Eastern District Court, which has become notorious for patent lawsuits. Tsera LLC was granted a ... patent in 2003 (following a 1999 application) for a system by which a "touchpad is mounted on the housing of the device, and a user enters commands by tracing patterns with his finger on a surface of the touchpad. No immediate visual feedback is provided as a command pattern is traced, and the user does not need to view the device to enter ... (view more)

Tue
02
Jun
Dennis Faas's picture

ePaper Part Merger Sparks Pricing Fears

The company that makes parts for popular electronic reader devices, including the Kindle, is buying out the company behind the technology used in the displays. Though the two firms say it will be good for consumers, there are some claims it might ... limit competition. The deal involves Prime View International of Taiwan, which is set on buying E Ink, based in Massachusetts, for $215 million. Prime View is today responsible for the display screens on both the Amazon Kindle and the Sony Reader. Electrophoretic Film: Otherwise Known As Electronic Paper E Ink, a company started by Massachusetts ... (view more)

Mon
16
Mar
Dennis Faas's picture

Sleep Machine Masks Night Noise with Nature Sounds

Adaptive Sound Technologies (AST) has now released a new tabletop device that induces sleep through the soothing sounds of nature. Dubbed 'Ecotones,' it measures sleeping patterns in terms of how long it takes a person to fall asleep, how often a ... person tosses and turns at night, and similar. The Sleep Machine That Never Sleeps What sets Ecotones apart from the dozens of similar products on the market is its responsiveness to disturbing noises and its ability to camouflage them without missing a beat. If a person sets their Ecotones to thunderstorms, for example, the pitter-patter of ... (view more)

Fri
20
Feb
Dennis Faas's picture

Verizon 'Hub' Features Surpass Typical Smart Phone

When heard the term "smart phone," most people visualize a mobile phone that comes with a whole bunch of interesting features. But when people have to make a phone call and are not out living their busy lives, they still tend to use a landline-based ... home phone. It is this logic that spurred the new Verizon "Hub"; a home phone model that provides a multitude of Internet-based features similar to a "smart phone". The Hub comes with a cordless handset that rests atop its charger like many home phone models, but attached to it is a miniaturized flat-panel screen. The Hub Versus Smart Phones The ... (view more)

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