I have about 30,302,866 apps on my iPhone. I know, I need to pare it down some. But I'm crazy about apps. The app store coming to OS X is interesting to me, as it gives me still more devices to overload with fart apps and unit converters. But not everyone is like me, it seems, at least when it comes to one Apple device, the iPad.
In case you missed it, this week was Ceatec, which is basically the Japanese equivalent of CES. Asian tech companies show off lots of technology there. Some is coming soon to Japan. And some is conceptual and may never hit shelves anywhere but gets gadget lovers worked up into a lather nonetheless.
Going through our coverage of the geek fest, I saw many things that would look good in my gadgets drawer, in my pocket, or in my hands. You're Crave readers, so I'm sure that there's some gear that makes you drool, too.
Of course, as … Read more
As someone who covers the e-reader market, I get a lot of questions about which e-reader is the best and whether it's better to read on the iPad and its large LCD or an e-ink display like those found on the Kindle, Nook, or Sony Readers. That's all well and good, but in my e-reader travels I've discovered a disturbing trend: a lot of people barely use their e-readers and sometimes even relegate them to what I fondly refer to as the-drawer-where-gadgets-go-to-die.
I can't give you any real data (which is why I've included a poll below), but my own informal survey suggests that about a third of e-reader owners rarely spend anytime using their devices, another third does some reading, and finally, the last third is made up of heavy users. The latter group seems to be made up of voracious readers or frequent travelers/daily commuters who find an e-reader incredibly convenient for storing a lot of reading material, including newspapers and magazines. Some of these folks are actually reading more now than they ever did before. Kudos to them.
Of course, many people never asked for their e-readers (they received them as gifts), so you can't blame them for not embracing their new gadgets. One woman in our office who counts herself in this category says she prefers paper books ("I like holding the actual book") and while she reads a lot, she didn't love reading on her second-generation Kindle. When she did try it out, she says she found herself downloading free or very cheap books and thought most of them were really bad. Some of these were self-published.
"I admit it," she said, "I'm kind of cheap. And if I'm going to pay like $10 or $12 for a book, I'd rather get the paper version." So oddly, she began to associate her reading experience on the Kindle with cheap, bad books and has left it in a drawer for months.
Another friend told me he'd only bought two books on his Kindle. "I was kind of excited at first so I downloaded some free classics and a book on Einstein that I was interested in," he said. "And then I just kind of lost interest. There were enough paper books lying around--or you know, people just passed on books. I had plenty of stuff to read."
A lot of people complain that e-books are too expensive and that they expected them to be cheaper when they invested in an e-reading device. Recently, for instance, a few best-selling hardcover titles (see Ken Follett's "Fall of the Giants") have had lower prices than their e-book versions, which enraged a vocal group of hard-core Kindle users, who encouraged a boycott of the e-book.
There's some truth to those higher prices tamping down purchases, and whole threads on Amazon are devoted to discussing not only overly expensive e-books but bargain ones as well. However, at this juncture in the digital reader's evolutionary cycle it appears as if some people are simply a good match for an e-reader and some aren't. … Read more
We made the case this week for holding off on buying the new and improved (and shrunken) Apple TV. We highlighted a few other boxes, notably those made by Roku, that might be better Internet TV choices, but also pointed out that the other devices sport features that Apple TV might eventually get.
That said, some consumers aren't going to be ditching their cable or satellite TV anytime soon, and for them the question is irrelevant.
For the others, the set-top market is going to be fractured and confusing, much like the burgeoning tablet market. And, well, that's … Read more
With consumers and analysts guessing which companies plan to take on Apple's iPad, BookMaker, a Web site dedicated to online gambling, has calculated odds (click the "Entertainment" link on the site) on who will be next after Research In Motion to debut an iPad-like device in 2010. It's been widely reported that RIM plans to show off its BlackPad sometime next week, and the gamblers are hoping to cash in when the next company shows theirs off.
The lines show HTC as the frontrunner with an even money payout, followed by Nokia with one and a … Read more
The CD is fast approaching its 30th anniversary, and it's looking a bit tired. Funny, the LP is more than twice as old and its resurgence is ongoing. Not just among oldsters playing records they bought decades ago; a fair percentage of young bands are releasing new vinyl pressings.
CD box sets and remastered CDs, like the Beatles catalog that came out in 2009, still sell in big numbers. I remember when the CD was introduced, the media predicted the LP would be gone in just a few years. Now it's starting to look like the LP will … Read more
There's a new Apple TV around the corner and we're fielding rumors that a Google TV device will be launching at the end of the month. Both devices--as well as boxes by companies like Boxee and Roku--share the same goal: they want you to ditch your cable or satellite TV provider as well as DVDs and Blu-ray.
Many people actually have done so already--yours truly included. But there are others, like my parents, who find the idea too hard to wrap their head around. They want the content pushed to them by the providers and they're OK … Read more
As of this week, they're finally available to the general public. The helper robots we've been seeing in sci-fi movies for years are here to fold your laundry, wash your dog, care for your elderly relatives, and lie to your spouse--if you have $400,000, that is.
The open-source PR2 robot from Willow Garage stands about 5 feet tall, has two articulated arms and stereo vision, and is apparently very smart. The bots can be programmed to undertake tons of jobs using more than 1,000 software libraries, if you're up to the task.
Right now, the … Read more
"New for 2008, the 650 series also includes an Ethernet port, which allows the TV to access the Internet to display news, stock ticker information, and local weather. USA Today provides the news feed, which can sit in the corner of the screen like a ticker (turn "Desperate Housewives" into Fox News!), or be expanded to allow you to read numerous top stories in a variety of topics."
We'… Read more
Imagine what movies would look like if producers thought everybody was watching their films on iPhones, and never in theaters or big screen TVs. That may be the perfect analogy to how the music business thinks the audience is listening to music.
The root source of the problem is that good-enough sound quality is all most people need, so the record companies and recording engineers don't have any incentive to make great-sounding recordings anymore. Other than a few audiophiles, who would hear them? The engineers have to "dumb down" the recordings to sound passably good on ear … Read more