J's Page

Originally established for times when I needed more than 140 characters to finish a thought on marketing or media.


Amazon’s new Fire heats up tablet race

Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) unveiled the Kindle Fire on Wednesday, a 7-inch tablet that The Wall Street Journal says could be Apple’s “biggest” challenger to the almighty iPad.  Kindle, Kindle Touch 3G and Kindle Fire; courtesy of Amazon Press RoomMuch like iPad’s Android competitors, the Kindle Fire’s price is sure to compel consumers to give it a second look: It’s priced at an attractive $199; the cheapest iPad2 is $499.

The Kindle Fire was just part of Amazon’s growing Kindle family: Also announced were a lighter, cheaper Kindle ($79), the Kindle Touch ($99) and the Kindle Touch 3G ($149). Read the full news release about the Kindle family here.

The Amazon Kindle Fire at a glance:

  • Weight: 14.6 ounces (413 grams)
  • Size: 7.5″ x 4.7″ x 0.45″ (190 mm x 120 mm x 11.4 mm)
  • 1024 x 600P resolution at 169PPI
  • 8GB on-board memory
  • Battery Life: Up to 8 hours of reading or 7.5 hours of video playback, with wireless off.
  • Full charge in approx. 4 hours
  • Free cloud storage for all Amazon content
  • Audio: 3.5 mm stereo audio jack, top-mounted stereo speakers
  • Wi-Fi: 802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11n, or 802.1X standard
  • USB 2.0 port (micro-B connector)
  • Warranty and service: 1 year limited
  • Supported formats: Kindle (AZW), TXT, PDF, unprotected MOBI, PRC natively, Audible (Audible Enhanced (AA, AAX)), DOC, DOCX, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, non-DRM AAC, MP3, MIDI, OGG, WAV, MP4, VP8

EARLIER: Acer Iconia A500: A honey-sweet alternative to iPad? ~J’s Pages, May 26

EARLIER: A honey-sweet alternative to the Xoom? ~ J’s Pages, April 9


What are you toting? Tablets vs. e-Readers

The percentage of U.S. adults with e-readers doubled between November and May, from 6% to 12%, according to a new study from the Pew Internet & American Life Project. Interestingly, tablet usage among adult users isn’t growing as fast.


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Acer Iconia A500: A honey-sweet alternative to iPad?

Acer Iconia Tab A500The Wall Street Journal says Acer’s Iconia Tab A500 is “compelling competition to Apple’s dominant iPad in one crucial area: price.”

At the time of this writing, the Wi-Fi-only A500 was priced at $449.

Full article is here.

The Iconia Tab A500 at a glance:

  • Weight: 1.7 lbs.
  • Dual-core NVIDIA Tegra 2 processor
  • 1.0GHz processing speed
  • 1GB DDR2 memory
  • 16GB eMMC on-board memory
  • 4G LTE connectivity
  • 2MP front-facing camera
  • 5MP rear camera
  • HDMI
  • Supports microSD up to 32GB
  • High-speed USB 2.0 port

EARLIER: A honey-sweet alternative to the Xoom? ~ J’s Pages, April 9


A honey-sweet alternative to the Xoom?

Acer Iconia Tab A500Acer announced the April 24 release of its 10-inch Honeycomb tablet, the Iconia Tab A500, priced at a-not-unreasonable $450. With nearly identical hardware specs and $150 cheaper than the pricey Motorola Xoom’s, ZDNet is hailing the A500 as “Xoom Light.” The bad news? It has half the flash storage. Still, not a bad deal if you want to test drive Honeycomb and don’t want to sell your soul to do it.

You can preorder the A500 at Best Buy.

The Iconia Tab A500 at a glance:

  • Weight: 1.7 lbs.
  • Dual-core NVIDIA Tegra 2 processor
  • 1.0GHz processing speed
  • 1GB DDR2 memory
  • 16GB eMMC on-board memory
  • 4G LTE connectivity
  • 2MP front-facing camera
  • 5MP rear camera
  • HDMI
  • Supports microSD up to 32GB
  • High-speed USB 2.0 port


HTC and Acer sweet on Honeycomb

Source: Amazon.co.uk

Gigaom is reporting Acer’s Iconia A100, a 7-inch Google Android Honeycomb tablet, has appeared on the UK’s Amazon site for pre-order ahead of its April 20 release date and is priced at around $485 (US dollars), a bit less the Motorola Xoom, which begins at around $600.

The Iconia A100 at a glance:

  • 512MB RAM (not KB as on the site)
  • 8GB hard drive
  • NVIDIA Tegra 250, 1GHz Dual-Core processor
  • 1024 x 600 screen resolution
  • 5MP auto-focus camera
  • 2MP front-facing camera
  • Dolby mobile sound enhancement
  • 3.5mm audio jack

Meanwhile, HTC tweeted Friday that they’ll be offering Honeycomb upgrades for its HTC Flyer when it’s made available.

Source: HTC press room

The HTC Flyer at a glance:

  • 1.5GHz single-core processor
  • 1GB RAM
  • 32GB flash storage (expandable via microSD card)
  • aluminium unibody construction
  • 7-inch display
  • 1024 x 600 screen resolution
  • 5MP rear camera
  • 1.3MP front-facing camera


Find of the Day: Mashable’s 10 hilarious cellphone ads

Why write about the Motorola Xoom and iPhone 5 rumors when you can revisit the days of “transportable phones” and “cell-u-lar phones”?

Mashable has a roundup of 10 vintage commercials for mobile phones that’s a terrific time-waster, er, research. I found this one for Radio Shack’s “affordable, portable cell-u-lar phone” particularly nostalgic. (“Cellular service available in most major cities.”) And check out the sexy transporting case!


NOOK Color about to get cooler

Source: Barnes & Noble

I meant to post this a few days ago, but life interrupted. Better late than never.

In the interest of all things e-textbook-related, a roundup of the NOOK Color April update reports that has everyone in a tizzy.

The NOOK Color at a glance:

    Height: 8.1 inches
    Width: 5.0 inches
    Depth: 0.48 inches
    Weight: 15.8 ounces
    Price: $259

Also of interest in the wake of the Wi-Fi-only Xoom release: A February article from Tech Republic on how to hack the NOOK Color into a full Android tablet. As the story responsibly notes,
if you do this, you will void the warranty. Proceed with caution.

EARLIER: A roundup of e-textbook developments and forecasts, as well as a student’s two cents on the shift in the industry.

EVEN EARLIER: The Wall Street Journal reported the publishing powerhouses were going to expand their e-textbook offerings.


Yahoo News on USA TODAY’s revised strategy

Yahoo News looks at some of USA TODAY’s recent efforts to reinvent itself in as a digital destination, which includes a rollout of mobile applications for devices such as the Apple iPad and the new Motorola Xoom, which is powered by Android 3.0 Honeycomb.

From the story:

USA Today’s applications for mobile devices have been downloaded more than 6 million times, including 1.25 million designed for Apple Inc.’s hot-selling iPad. Mobile applications of The New York Times, another national newspaper that’s trying to gain more readers and make more money on the Web, have been downloaded more than 9 million times.


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Something to thumb through: More e-textbook news

In response to visitors’ interest in The Wall Street Journal story on e-textbooks, I’m now covering textbook publishers’ response to industry demands. As a marketing student who spent a child’s ransom on textbooks this semester, and the semesters before that, I understand the need to find a lower-cost alternative to traditional textbooks. And although I’m tablet enthusiast who is always eager to see what added value emerges as the technology becomes more sophisticated, I’m a compulsive highlighter, note-scribbler and paper-clipper, all of which makes me feel like I learn more. So it’s likely I’ll be slower to adopt e-textbooks.

I doubt I’m the only student who feels this way about textbooks, but as the industry shifts, students’ purchasing habits will have to change. In the spring issue of College Services magazine, Jade Roth, of Barnes & Noble College Booksellers, discusses the slowth growth of the e-textbook market — which she attributes to technological and content limitations — and the surge in purchases last year.  Roth reports B&N campus bookstores enjoyed a 3000% increase in e-textbook sales last year — the same year 14% of students reported buying an e-textbook. Roth cites e-readers’ improved functionality and integration among the reasons more students — and faculty — are turning to e-texts.

What’s not mentioned — and I understand why; the author works for B&N — is the 900-pound industry disrupter: the release of the iPad last April. Suddenly the world was introduced to a slick and pretty tablet from a company that can do no wrong. Apple’s halo is super shiny, and it’s understandable that more people — including students, despite iPad’s price tag — would flock to a tablet computer. And if we couldn’t afford an iPad, maybe we went with a NookStudy or a Kindle as e-reader sales doubled in 2010.

In the wake of the iPad/e-reader explosion, social learning outfit Xplana has revised its five-year projections for the e-textbook market. Rob Reynolds blogs that the Xplana report predicts “eventual dominance of digital (textbooks) over print an inevitable outcome within five-seven years.”

Meanwhile, Reuters tells us that the Association of American Publishers reports January e-book sales (not just e-textbooks) jumped to $69.9 million compared with $32.4 million in January 2010 — 115% increase.  Reuters reports adult hardcover and paperback sales dropped in January, but sales in the higher-education category, which includes college textbooks, were down only a bit: $382 million from $387.6 million in 2010 — perhaps further proof that the skyrocketing e-textbook market is far from maturity.

RELATED: This just in: The Associated Press is reporting Borders is closing an additional 28 stores.


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Motorola Xoom, Android 3.0 can get Flash today

Here’s a little bit of Xoom news from my inbox.

Eweek.com reminds Motorola Xoom adopters can get Flash today as a beta on the Android Market, and CNET is offering its first impressions.

Meanwhile, the folks at Android Community is reporting the Xoom is available for pre-order at Staples and at Costco. Droid Life also notes that Amazon is taking orders, too.

Looking for specs for the WiFi-only Xoom? Click here.

UPDATE 3-21-2011: Business Insider says Flash for Xoom is “lame,” and ZDNet offers a hands-on review of SwiftKey for Tablets, the keyboard app for Honeycomb.