Lowest cost Android tablet on the market

Currently I would have to say that title belongs to the Nook.  Ya, ya…Barnes & Noble tells you it that it just an ebook reader, but it’s running a crippled version of Android that you can root pretty easily.

It’s pretty straightforward, and you can find just about everything you need at nookDevs. Once you are done, you can load multiple ebook readers, including B&N’s android app!

Downside, no camera and no Bluetooth.

Upside, no monthly service fees!

Disclaimer: In case this wasn’t obviously clear, rooting your Nook is not warranty friendly.

Mucking with Android

I’ve started to muck with Android. Details to follow.

Thin Displays as Wristbands

The US Army is evaluating forearm mounted full color flexible displays.  Besides the direct military use, I see this as an efficient use of tax dollars since this research will result in a faster availability in the private market as well.

iPad apps

I have been looking at iPad apps for usability issues for the past few weeks. Here is a quick list of the good, the bad, and the ugly.

The good: IMDB, Scifi Wire, Adobe Touch

The bad: The buggy WordPress app

The Ugly: AP News

About the iPad itself, very slick, very cool/fun to use. On the down side, no SD slot, no USB, and Apple’s “walled garden.”

iPad is bringing new life to the e-book debates

With Apple’s announcement of the iPad and the Apple iBook store, people have been noticing the ongoing debate about e-books, e-readers and the ugly concept of DRM, which assumes that paying customers are thieves.

Joining the fray, is is Stephen Green, also known as the Vodkapundit.

Of course, I had join in.

Apple announces the iPad

Apple is hold a press announcement for it’s tablet device, called an iPad.

Streaming details at gdgt.

No price announced yet, but rumors say around a grand.

UpdateI posted more details over at the Urbin Report.

Apple really slammed the price down.  $499 for a 16 Gig WiFi model and $829 for 64 Gig with WiFi & 3G.

Downside: It’s a big iTouch.  No standard USB port, no SD slot and it’s locked to iTunes to load new content.

On the other hand, it’s a good Netbook replacement for around the house.  Surfing, basic email and a better screen to watch video on.  Apple finally came out with a keyboard, it’s not Bluetooth, but connects to a docking port.  A step in the right direction.

Since it’s a big iTouch, it runs all the iTouch/iPhone apps.  So you can ignore Apple’s iBooks store, load the Kindle app and buy books from Amazon.  Or you could load Stanza or Bookshelf and read your own DRM free e-books, like the ones you purchase from Baen Books.

Apple also announced a new SDK, so it will be interesting to see what new features the iPad has when people start digging into that.

Update: It appears that the iPad actually does have a webcam.

Using WiFi signals to charge your gadgets

I really like this device from RCA.  It taps WiFi signals and converts the signal to electricity.

The claim is, using only WiFi signals at CES, it was able to charge a BlackBerry from 30% to full in about 90 minutes.  The Airnergy Charger has a battery, so it can suck up power while you are getting your caffeine fix at Starbucks and use to charge your gadget later on.  RCA says that the Airnergy Charger will be available this summer for a mere $40, which is about half  the cost of the Mophie Charger I’m currently using.

Nerd Bling

OK,I admit that I’m using the title from the latest episode of TWiT. It just describes this product so well.

The Orb Bluetooth headset/ring. Not only is this trendy nerd jewelry, it has some nice tech included.  Bone conduction and Flexible Organic Light Emitting Device screen that allows you to look at a ring on your finger and see caller ID, voice to text info and more.

Yup, Nerd Bling.

Two new Android phones

AT&T is finally carrying an Android based phone, this one is made by Dell, and called the Mini 3. This phone has been selling overseas already, so the specs are pretty well known. 3.5-inch 640×360 display, Bluetooth, 3 megapixel auto-focus camera with flash, microSD, and GPS.   Two things catch my eye, no WiFi and and microSD support.  So that is the bad and good points right off the bat.  No WiFi was one of the major complaints about the Crackberry Storm.

The inclusion of a microSD slot is a big, big plus.  The lack of an additional memory source is the biggest strike against the iPhone hardware, IMNSHO.

The other new Android phone is Google’s own Nexus 1.  We’ll see how long that name lasts.  The estate of Philip K. Dick is already taking legal action against the name.  Otherwise, this is an impressive bit of hardware. It sports a one-gigahertz processor, a 3.7-inch display, a five-megapixel camera, light and proximity sensors, and dual microphones that allow for noise cancellation.  Woot! This phone also has a removable battery!  The serious road warrior can pack a spare for emergencies.  The phone itself only has 512 Meg of flash memory, but it comes with a 4 Gig microSD card.  The phone will support up to 32 Gig in that slot, so expansion is available.

You can buy an unlocked phone direct from Google fro $529.

iTunes for the UI Fail!

Approaching the two hour mark for what should be a simple iPhone sync.

I flushed the primary drive of my desktop, loaded Windows 7 and and started reinstalling software. All my data is on another drive, so it should be a fairly straightforward process.   To Windows 7’s credit, it has been. Up until I hit iTunes, software from the UI Uber-geniuses at Apple.

I installed iTunes, it found my old information in the my documents folder tree (part of that keeping all the data on a separate drive things), but was treating this as a new instance of iTunes, instead of the continuation of the old one.

I manage my music and movies manually, and sync podcasts and apps.  If I tried to change the default setting to that configuration, I got dire warnings from iTunes that it would erase my phone data and replace it. After a bit of digging, I did the non-intuitive action of transferring my ‘purchases’ from the iPhone to this instance of iTunes.  They I made the selection to sync the podcasts I wanted synced and got the dire warnings again.  I bit the bullet, hit sync, and here I am two hours later, still waiting for iTunes to figure this out.

I’ve made the selection not to send usage data to Apple at least three times, each time, careful to hit the “don’t ask this questions again” button.

I’m still no closer to having Dr. Tiki and the gang loaded on my iPhone. So much for Apple’s ease of use and well known attention to detail in order to improve the user experience.

In this case they have screwed that pouch so hard that poor mutt can’t walk.

Epic Fail for the vaunted Apple UI here.