Archive for the ‘notion ink pixel qi tablet’ tag
Nook 3G ereader to be discontinued?
Engadget reported yesterday that Barnes & Noble may be planning to discontinue the 3G version of the Nook ereader. According to Engadget once the current stock of the 3G version is gone it will not be replenished. Well, the original Nook is getting a bit long in the tooth – time for a version with the Pearl display. For many users I suspect a Wi-Fi connection will be good enough, especially if it carries a lower price tag.
In an article on the same topic PC Mag.com says that it was told by a B&N spokesperson that, "3G sold out during the holiday season so there is plenty of demand for it."
* * *
Notion Ink Adam unboxing photos & videos starting to appear
The few people who were able to successfully order the Notion Ink Adam Pixel Qi tablet at the brief and problem-plagued pre-order session have started to receive their tablets and are starting to post photos and videos. You can find some at Notion Ink Fan.com.
* * *
A couple of new personal news services launched
A couple of new online personal news aggregating services have been announced. First is Ongo, which is designed to be accessible via the web browser on computers, smart phones and tablets.
Ongo charges a subscription of $6.99 per month, for which you have access via a single site to comprehensive coverage from the AP, all original Washington Post content from The Washington Post print edition, all content from USA Today, selected top stories from The New York Times and selected content from the Financial Times. You can also add a few additional publications – the first free and after that starting at an additional $0.99 per month.
Features include customized news arranged by title, section or keyword; the ability to clip articles for later reading; search function that lets you search by category, title, date or writer; and discussion groups.
Ongo is backed by Gannett, The New York Times and The Washington Post. You can get more info and try out a free trial subscription at Ongo.com.
Another similar newly hatched service is WorldProNews.com. This is also a one-stop site for global news from sources such as CNN, MSNBC, BBC World News, Financial Times, The Washington Post, The New York Times, Reuters and more.
Categories of news covered at WorldProNews.com include politics, business, health, internet, celebrities, lifestyle, science, technology, inventions, travel, art and crafts, design, movies, music, games, books, stock market, Forex trading, gadgets, sports, horoscopes and country specific news as well.
WorldProNews.com does not have the customization and search features of Ongo, but it is free and looks useful for checking the latest headlines of various news categories from one site.
* * *
Scan your pbook library and turn it into ebooks
Ion Audio unveiled its Book Saver book scanning device at CES 2011. The Book Saver allows you to scan a paper book and save it to an SD card. As the book is held in a cradle so that the pages are at the right angle the Book Saver’s two cameras take separate photos of each page. A flash is built in to properly illuminate the pages if necessary. The Book Saver only takes one second to scan two pages.
The downside is that you need to manually flip pages, so this is not an automatic process that you can set and forget. The Book Saver is expected to be available in a few months at a price of under $200.
Or, you could just use your iPhone:
Helsinki-based Norfello Inc. has announced that it has developed a new algorithm to automatically correct page curvature from 2D images. This will enable non-destructive book scanning without the need for special hardware:
“We have been using consumer grade digital cameras and iPhone 4′s camera in our tests and we are happy with the results.”, said Jarno Ruokokoski, the lead developer of the new algorithm.
Norfello published images showcase how the algorithm works. It takes one image of a spread of a book as an input and produces two images, one of each page. In the pages produced all the curvature of text lines is removed. These images are not modified by hand, so the text area detection, cropping and whitening are also native parts of the software.
“The algorithm searches two text areas (one for each page), and for each area left and right margins. Next it approximates from a blurred image the baselines of the lines of text. The algorithm computes the corrected baselines by using spline fitting iteratively. Finally, the algorithm creates triangulation on the image based on the baselines, and draws the triangles to a new image by using affine transformations such that every baseline is a straight line in the new image and both the margins are vertical.”, explained Jarno Ruokokoski.
“This algorithm will be included in our existing App, DocScanner Mac, but we will also create a new application that focuses solely on scanning books with a clutter free user interface that makes book scanning as productive as possible and integrates with Amazon Kindle via Whispersync and iBooks. Carrying lots of books just isn’t possible all the time, but people tend to always carry their Kindles and iPads with them.”, said Tuomas Rasila.
Norfello currently has a DocScanner iPhone app that is available in the iTunes App Store for $0.99. From the press release it sounds as though the new algorithm will be incorporated in a new app that will be optimized for book scanning.
Possibly Related Posts:
Notion Ink has put up two more videos of the Adam tablet. These are screen captures via the HDMI port.
Also, someone who was able to pre-order the Pixel Qi version of the Adam in the brief time it was available before selling out has put theirs up for sale on eBay. As I write this the bidding is over $800.
Possibly Related Posts:
Liquavista will be talking at FPD/SEP 2010 next month in Japan about the scalability and versatility of its electrowetting displays.
“We’ve chosen FPD Japan to talk about the scalability of electrowetting technology because now that the technology is on the verge of becoming available we feel that it’s critical to describe what is possible and to share this with the industry.” Said Johan Feenstra, Liquavista’s CTO & Founder. “We’ve already proven in prototype production that we can develop a variety of displays ranging from 1.8” to 8.5” diagonal and believe there is no physical limitation to the size of screen that can be developed using electrowetting technology.”
“Demonstrating the ability to make electrowetting panels for all display applications regardless of their screen size shows the clear vision that Liquavista has of the future.” Added Guy Demuynck, Liquavista’s CEO. “Pairing this flexibility in size with the versatility of the technology brings a compelling proposition for any manufacturer of electronic devices, regardless of the application. We have the manufacturer and consumer at the heart of our roadmap. In support of the commercial delivery of our product next year, we believe it’s important to deliver screens which can be used in any device from small scale mobile displays through to large scale outdoor screens.”
It is likely to be late next year before we begin to see products utilizing a Liquavista display.
* * *
Notion Ink is looking for a new logo and is having a design competition to find the right one. They are offering a $1000 prize and an Adam Pixel Qi tablet (when released) for the winning design. The contest will end soon; for details see the Notion Ink blog.
* * *
Digitimes reports that Google has notified its partners that the Android 3.0 (Gingerbread) OS will soon be ready and that engineering samples including those pertaining to tablets should be going out in December. This means that hopefully in H1 of next year we will see Android-based tablets that can access the Android Market out of the box.
Phandroid has a blurry photo of a phone running Android 3.0 in the wild and reports on some of the new features of the next iteration of the OS. One of the biggest appears to be support for video chat.
Possibly Related Posts:
Notion Ink has released probable pricing for the Adam tablet. Depending on optional features, the price range is expected to be around $399 to $499. This includes both the LCD and Pixel Qi variants, with options such as Wi-Fi only and 3G available for both. This sounds quite reasonable and very competitive.
Notion Ink says that its Adam tablet should hit the FCC in the middle of November or possibly sooner. We will hopefully see the Adam shipping shortly after the FCC finishes playing with it. So at the moment it looks like December at the very soonest and early 2011 at the latest.
Possibly Related Posts:
From what Mirasol has said in the past, we were led to expect their reflective color display to be in production as soon as this fall. Now ZDNet is reporting that Qualcomm still has to figure out how to put its color epaper display into production profitably and in sufficient quantity that it could be used in something like a color Kindle. This is disappointing news to say the least.
In related news – at least in terms of how hype surrounds a new and eagerly awaited gadget, and all of the complications that cause delays – SlashGear has a good article on the Notion Ink Adam tablet. The article quotes Notion Ink as saying that if they had not locked themselves in with their first investors the Adam would already have been available in 12 countries by now. It looks like the Adam is now expected to be launched in December.
The SlashGear article is accompanied by an interesting timeline graphic that charts the hype vs maturity of Notion Ink’s product. I would say that Mirasol’s unwelcome news has put them firmly in the “Trough of Disillusionment.”
There is definitely something to be said in favor of the way in which some companies (Apple or Amazon, for example) develop their new products in relative secrecy, with maybe a few leaks to keep the buzz going, rather than talking their products up for long periods of time before they are even close to ready (Plastic Logic comes to mind here). Of course, it is easier for a large company with lots of resources to develop their products quietly. Smaller manufacturers probably need more hype to attract the necessary investment.
Notion Ink has meanwhile launched a pretty new website, which lists the current specs of its proposed tablets – both with and without a Pixel Qi display.
Possibly Related Posts:
On his company’s blog Notion Ink CEO Rohan Shravan writes that Notion Ink has closed its final round of funding. Shravan also seems to be refuting the recent rumors that the Adam won’t launch until November and says that the Adam is “on track.”
Shravan also says that there will be two variants of the Adam tablet – a lower priced LCD version and a dual display Pixel Qi version. He also reveals that Notion Ink is evaluating another platform, “which is proving to be extremely efficient on battery and much cheaper as well.” There may be several different hardware versions of the Adam to choose from when it does come out.
Shravan goes on to say that the SDK is almost finished so that app developers can start work. He also says that they have done “wonderful innovations on the email front. Something which might become the biggest differentiation for Adam.”
CPT to Make Transflective Display
Pixel Qi may have some competition with their transflective display. CPT has a demo of their own display which is said to be very similar to Pixel Qi although it doesn’t seem to be quite as power efficient. The video below is from Netbook News (via Best Tablet Review).
Possibly Related Posts:
Technoholik is reporting that Notion Ink currently plans to launch its Adam tablet in India before the US. Rohan Shravan, Notion Ink’s CEO, also sent an email to Goodereader saying that investors want to hold back the release of the Adam until the holiday season in the US.
The Adam, when it is released, could well be one of the most interesting alternatives to the iPad. With features like a Pixel Qi screen enabling use in sunshine, front to back swiveling camera, multitasking and more connectivity, the Adam addresses a lot of the shortcomings of the iPad.
Possibly Related Posts:
Slashgear reports that NVIDIA has run into delays with the Tegra 2 chipset. The much awaited new chipset will now not make it to market before late August of this year. Reportedly the delay is being caused by both hardware and software technical issues.
This is sad because the Tegra 2 will be powering some of the most promising non-Apple tablets such as the Notion Ink Adam, which will now also be delayed. Hopefully the Adam can still make it to market in time for the holidays.
Update: This may (hopefully) prove to be an unfounded rumor. See Engadget’s post which quotes NVIDIA as saying “The rumors aren’t true. Everything’s on track." Liliputing was also told by their contacts at NVIDIA that the delay rumors are untrue.
Possibly Related Posts:
Technoholik has some more photos of the Notion Ink Adam tablet, as well as a chart with the specs. It seems that Notion Ink may plan to release a Pixel Qi version as well as a model with a regular LCD screen. As of yet no definitive prices or availability have been announced, though in an earlier interview at Technoholik a June launch in the U.S. was mentioned.
Slashgear also has a video of the Adam which shows the camera that swivels to the front for webcam use and to the back for taking photos.
The Adam is looking pretty interesting.
A Couple of Interesting Posts About Ebooks and the Publishing Industry
In Towards A World of Smaller Books Ezra Klein notes that many non-academic non-fiction paper books start out as essays and are then padded out with repetitive material to achieve a desirable length for publishing on paper. He speculates that as ebooks predominate this will change and we will see more shorter format work with less bloat. You can read the post at Crooked Timber.
Dan Agin writes an eloquent criticism of the book publishing industry and its apparent inability to adapt to digital publishing at the Huffington Post. Agin seems to think that the whole paper book industry will mostly disappear, and that paper books will some day become relatively rare and costly ( read his response to comments ). I can imagine this happening eventually, but not in our lifetimes. Then again, all it would take is a couple of generations growing up reading mostly digital books and schoolbooks.
Possibly Related Posts:
I was able to spend about a day at CES this year. If you are a gadget boy/girl then going to CES is kind of like being a kid again in a mega toy store with a large candy department on the side. If ereaders are one of your most favorite gadgets, then being at this year’s CES was kind of like being Willy Wonka and getting a ticket to a chocolate factory.
One problem though, is that many of the gadgets one sees and gets to hopefully try out are prototypes and are not always fully functional as well as being subject to change (or cancellation). In some cases this seemed to be very true for ereaders this year. Many of the ereader demos only had a few public domain titles loaded, and a few had dead batteries from all of the handling.
I managed to break my camera while at CES (Spirit Guide: fortunately grasshopper could fix it when he was back home & had access to his mini tools), so some of the pics are taken with my cell phone – sorry!
Some of the booth designs are pretty amazing. The cell phone picture at the top, which is of Samsung’s walls of flat panel screens does not do it justice.
The picture at the left is of a large touch screen at Intel’s booth with 500 slowly spinning cubes, each of which represents a live website. If you touch one of the cubes a small detail window opens for a few seconds. All powered by a thumbnail-sized Intel chip. Have we left Kansas yet Toto?
eReaders at CES 2010
Plastic Logic Que
The display is quite good; newspapers look good on the Que. As you probably know by now, the Que display utilizes plastic rather than glass to create a shatterproof screen. Overall, the Que felt a bit too plastic to me. The bezel is a shiny acrylic or similar material, and I expect it to be very scratch prone. I think Plastic Logic would have done better to use a matte material.
The announced price of the Que ereader is somewhat stratospheric; $649 for a 4GB model with WiFi, and $799 for an 8GB model with both WiFi and 3G. At these prices it will probably be in pretty direct competition with the Apple iSlate.
Notion Ink Adam
Notion Ink’s Adam tablet is Android powered and is the first announced device to use Pixel Qi display technology. I really wanted to have a look at this, but the closest I could get was a non-powered demo in a glass case at the Nvidia booth.
According to an Nvidia booth-boy, the only working unit at CES was in the hands of Notion Ink Director Rohan Shravan, who was booked up giving private demonstrations with it. Liliputing.com was the happy recipient of one of these sessions and you can see their video and reviews.
Pixel Qi looks very promising. Engadget said in a post yesterday that they have been told that a manufacturer that “everyone is familiar with” will be announcing a Pixel Qi equipped device in 2010. Hmmm…wonder if the manufacturer alluded to has a name starting with the first letter of the alphabet and is named after a fruit or a river?
Also at the Nvidia booth was an unpowered (or maybe just the batteries were dead) Irex DR800SG ereader. I couldn’t do much with it as it had no power, but I still think that the design has promise; an 8-inch screen in a package that is the same overall size as a Kindle with 6-inch screen.
Still no idea when this will be released. There were some rumors of a mid-January release, but Irex seems to have a history of setting release dates that don’t materialize. There is still nothing on Best Buy’s website about the DR800SG.
Liquavista is one of the color display technologies that should be making its way into future ereaders. Liquavista is based on existing LCD manufacturing infrastructure. This display tech is capable of displaying color video while using very low power. It looks as though it won’t be integrated into an actual ereader that you can buy until possibly the end of 2010 or more likely early next year. Qualcomm has said that its Mirasol color display technology is on track to enter production in the fall of 2010, so it may be able to beat Liquavista to market by a few months, but of course we will have to wait and see.
The colors and video playback in the Liquavista reference designs displayed at CES were quite impressive. The display does look very paper-like.
iRiver is a Korean company best known for its portable music and video players. The Story is iRiver’s first foray into ereaders.
The Story has a chiclet style keyboard similar to the Kindle ereader. The display is a 6-inch e-ink screen. There is 2GB of internal memory plus an SD card slot. There should be an MS Office doc viewer as well as some sort of comics viewer. Adobe Digital Editions as well as non-DRM’ed epub should be among the supported file formats.
The Story ereader seemed to be solidly built, but other than the features noted above, there wasn’t anything that seemed to really differentiate it from the other ereaders out there. Refresh times and navigation seemed to be pretty much on par with other current ereaders. The price and availability has not been announced yet, but the Story was selling for about $290 in Korea. I don’t see this ereader being really competitive unless it is priced less than the Kindle or nook.
Both MSI and Asus have their dual LCD screened ereader concepts on display at CES, but these really seem like netbooks with two screens rather than ereaders. Perhaps if the screens were to use Pixel Qi they would be more viable as ereaders. As laptop/netbooks, however, both could be quite good. The two screens can work separately or together as one larger screen, or one screen can serve up a virtual keyboard.
After Plastic Logic’s booth the enTourage Systems booth was probably the busiest ereader show at CES.
The Kindle Chronicles has a good CES interview and video of the eDGe in action.
My take is that while the eDGe with all of its study tools and bells and whistles would be good for students and their etextbooks or perhaps as a netbook replacement, it is obviously overkill for someone looking for just an ereader. It is rather bulky for reading in your bed or armchair. Also it appears that the eDGe ereader will be tied to enTourage’s ebook store for DRM’ed ebooks. Currently enTourage claims to have 200,000 ebooks in addition to the usual Google public domain suspects.
At a price of almost $500 the eDGe is more expensive than most netbooks as well. Still, it is the most interesting multipurpose “ereader” that I’ve seen yet. A lot of thought obviously went into its development, and the eDGe is capable of doing just about anything you would ask of it.