So far, the anticipated wave of Android tablets competing against the Apple iPad has been little more than a trickle. The unfortunately named Dell Streak--though promising--has yet to show its face in the U.S., and the dated Android 1.5 OS on the Archos 5 and Archos 7 Home Tablet leaves plenty to be desired.
The recently announced Velocity Micro Cruz Tablet renews our hope for an agile, inexpensive Android alternative to Apple's runaway hit. Due out in September with a 7-inch capacitive touch screen and an affordable price of $299, the Cruz Tablet delivers a (mostly) complete Android OS 2.1 experience, including compatibility with Flash 10.1.
You also get 802.11n Wi-Fi, an SDHC memory card slot with an included 8GB card, 4GB of integrated memory, 800x480 native resolution, multitouch, accelerometer control, a front-facing camera, speaker, microphone, headphone jack, and plenty of media playback support (music, video, and e-books).
Unfortunately, the caveat with the Cruz Tablet is the same for all current Archos Android tablets, which is the inability to use Google's Android Marketplace app to browse, purchase, and download any of the thousands of apps made for Android. Like Archos, Velocity Micro offers their own integrated storefront for apps they've handpicked for the Cruz, but the pickings are presumably slim and the idea of limited access sorta goes against the whole ethos of Android.
Regardless, it's good to see another horse in the race, and Velocity Micro isn't stopping with just one tablet.… Read more
Not to be left out of the fast-growing e-reader and e-book arenas, Borders now has its own e-reader, the $150 Kobo eReader. With it, you can read e-books purchased from Borders' online store, which is powered by Kobo.
As the price suggests, the Kobo, which has the same-size 6-inch e-ink display as the Kindle and the Nook, is something of a no-frills e-reader: it doesn't have Wi-Fi or 3G wireless connectivity (and the screen has 8 levels of gray, not 16). However, it does offer a Bluetooth connection for "wirelessly syncing with select smartphones and updating your reading … Read more
Germany says nein! to Facebook spamming non-Facebook users. Also, Amazon gets a patent on the Barnes & Noble Nook dual-screen concept, and Netflix begins closing the window on when new movies are available for streaming. Special guest: Darren Kitchen of Hak5!Subscribe: iTunes (MP3) | iTunes (320x180) | iTunes (640x360) | RSS (MP3) | RSS (320x180) | RSS (640x360)… Read more
Borders' new e-book store is now open for business.
The bookstore chain officially unveiled its new e-book store on Wednesday, with a million and a half electronic books, both paid and free, in a variety of formats, including ePub, mobile, and PDF.
Customers can read the e-books using free software powered by Kobo and designed for different devices, according to Borders. The lineup includes existing applications for the PC, Mac, iPhone, and iPad, and new apps just launched for Android and BlackBerry phones, all of which are available at Borders' Web site. In addition to reading the books through the … Read more
Picasa for Mac is a free app from Google for importing, editing, organizing, and sharing photos. The first time you launch it, Picasa can quickly search your hard drive (or select folders) for your existing photos, pulling them into the Picasa interface without actually duplicating them and taking up drive space.
Picasa's interface feels un-Mac-like at first, with a nonstandard scroll bar and even slightly fuzzy fonts--but it's still instantly recognizable (and usable) by anyone familiar with iPhoto, thanks to its similar toolbars and three-pane organization with folders and albums. Picasa makes it easy to create slideshows, movies, … Read more
Camera+ helps you take better images with tons of features and a unique tool layout that helps you get the look you want quickly. The app offers several options for making unique-looking images out of photos on your camera roll, or you can snap pictures from within the program using Camera+'s extra tools. When taking a picture, you can use a 5x zoom slider for close-up shots, a stabilizer that automatically takes the shot when your hand is most stable, and a grid overlay so you can line up your shots as straight as possible.
Once you've got … Read more
IBM plans to announce on Tuesday the opening of a new research facility in Brazil, the first new IBM Research lab in a dozen years.
The facility--IBM's first in South America--will begin by putting researchers at existing IBM facilities in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, with plans to have more than 100 researchers in place within the next few years.
"Brazil's abundance of natural resources and technical talent presents unique research opportunities and the ability to deploy them to solve increasingly important problems," IBM Senior Vice President John E. Kelly said in a statement. "… Read more