If you know of Pandigital, you probably know it for its photo frames. However, the company is moving into the hot e-book reader market with a device that a lot of people have been waiting for: an affordable color screen e-book reader with ties to a major bookseller.
Integrated with the Barnes & Noble's e-book store, the Pandigital Novel is an Android-powered e-book reader that has a full color 7-inch touch-screen display, Wi-Fi connectivity, and multimedia capabilities. According to Pandigital, the reader will cost $199.99 when it ships in June.
While we're surprised to see Barnes & Noble partnering with Pandigital, but as anybody who has played around with the iPad knows, it's not a big leap from digital photo frame to e-book reader. Judging by the Novel's press shots, it looks a lot like the rumored smaller version of the iPad that some sites and analysts have been alluding to. That said, the Novel 800x600-pixel resolution display isn't as sharp as the iPad's is, and its resistive touch-screen interface--while responsive--isn't as responsive the iPad's capacitive touch-screen interface is.
An Arm 11 processor powers the Novel, which measures 7.5 inches tall by 5.5 inches wide by 0.5 inch thick and weighs 16 ounces. It has 1GB of built-in memory and has an expansion slot for SD/MMC memory cards--with support for cards up to 32GB in capacity. Pandigital rates its Novel's battery life at six hours in reading mode. That's not a terrible battery life, but it's neither near the iPad's battery life nor the battery life of dedicated e-ink-based e-book readers, such as the Amazon Kindle, that don't have to be recharged for days or even weeks.
While the Novel has multimedia features as well as a built-in Web browser, e-mail client, calendar, and alarm, Pandigital is billing its new devices first and foremost as an e-book reader. According to the company, Novel owners will have "easy access to Barnes & Noble's expansive eBookstore catalog of more than one million eBooks, newspapers and magazines, a wide variety of free eBooks and more than half a million free classics." Novel users can also use Barnes & Noble LendMe feature that lets you share certain e-books with friends and family for 14 days; however, currently you can only lend a book out once. … Read more
Watermarks are an important part of image processing if you want to share your images online without the fear of having them ripped off by unscrupulous strangers. uMark Professional is an extremely versatile, yet easy, way to leave your mark on your images, letting the whole world know that they belong to you.
The program's interface is plain and intuitive, with its features arranged in four separate tabs. Users simply select the image or images they want to watermark and then adjust a series of text and logo options. uMark allows users to enter text and then specify its … Read more
We've tested a lot of image editors lately, and most have been pretty disappointing, so we weren't expecting much from AKVIS MultiBrush. But we're happy to report that this program exceeded our expectations on a variety of levels.
AKVIS MultiBrush has a sleek user interface that is extremely straightforward and seems perfect for novice users. Five navigational commands run across the top of the window; these allow you to open new images, save, print, and undo and redo actions. A simple toolbox resides on the left side of the window, and hovering your mouse over each tool … Read more
Apple has released two software updates today. One is for the pro application suite that includes Final Cut Pro, Motion, Color, Compressor, and Cinema Tools, and the other is for the latest printer drivers from Canon. These updates are relatively large at several hundred MB each, and are available via Software Update and from the following links:… Read more
Most of the talk recently has been about Apple's looming event on January 27, where it's been widely reported that the company will unveil a tablet PC of some undetermined size. Whether this device is a game-changer along the lines of the original iPod or iPhone remains to be seen, but lost in the shuffle is the possibility that Amazon's breakthrough e-reader, the Kindle, may be on the verge of an upgrade.
To be clear, I don't have any inside information or anonymous sources telling me that Amazon's bought thousands of parts from some Taiwanese manufacturer. But let's speculate for a moment on the possibilities for a new Kindle and what it might look like.
For starters, the Kindle 2 (now called the Kindle, U.S. and international wireless, latest edition), was launched on February 9 of last year. That's relevant because in recent years Amazon has been doing its best to imitate Apple, and Apple tends to be fairly regimented in rolling out updates to its major products. For instance, new iPods tend to be announced in the fall, and new iPhones have been released in June.
You could argue that while Kindle has had upgrades to its wireless service (Amazon added an international option by moving from Sprint to AT&T) over the year--and the Kindle DX was released in May of 2009--the Kindle, now approaching a year old, is due for a bigger refresh in February, especially if Apple's slate proves to be the e-reader on steroids that many are positing it will. (As has been widely discussed, the potential big strike against the Apple tablet could be price. If it ends up being in $750-$1000 range, that's rather expensive for someone looking for a device you plan on primarily using as an e-reader).
In the last couple of days, Amazon has also made a few announcements pointing to the possibility that a new device is coming. In describing the terms of its new higher 70 percent royalty for authors using its Digital Text Platform for publishing content in the Kindle Store, Amazon said that it was planning on adding new features to both the store and the Kindle.
The next day it followed up with an announcement that it was releasing a new software development kit (SDK) so developers could create new apps for the Kindle. In its release, the company referred to the new apps being tested on the simulators for the current 6-inch Kindle and Kindle DX, but it's debatable how suitable the current Kindles are for running apps, particularly when you factor in the lag times of E-ink.
The release also has a quote from an EA Games executive talking about developing games for the Kindle platform.… Read more
Graphics-Toolbox is a graphic design program. We don't have much to say about it, and what there is, isn't good.
Opening Graphics-Toolbox causes the interface to automatically fill the entire screen, forcing you to minimize the program to switch between applications and generating plenty of annoyance as well. One look at the basic interface with its crude and tiny buttons prompted the question, "Where are the drop-down menus?" It appears that there are none; all tools and functions are accessed from the program's palettes, which we couldn't find a way to move. Movable palettes … Read more
When you set up a new computer or display, the factory settings may be slightly off, giving the computer a slightly washed out look. To get the colors and display to be rich and accurate, I always recommend spending time to calibrate the colors on new monitors, especially when a computer is using multiple monitors (either dual displays on a desktop or an external display attached to a laptop).… Read more