As expected in last week’s installment, most of the news happening this week centered on the technical gadgetry announced during the IFA Consumer Electronics Unlimited show in Berlin. In fact there were so many announcements that I’ll probably be catching up for weeks to come.
For some, the electronics show unofficially became known as the weekend electronics manufacturers revealed their responses to Apple’s iPad. There were tablet announcements from Toshiba, ViewSonic, and Archos, each of which I covered last week. But that wasn’t the end of the iPad competitors. Neofonie, Samsung, and Telefunken also got in on the action.
While many of the new tablets announced only equal what Apple has already accomplished, the Neofonie WeTab actually jumps ahead of the iPad. Sporting an 11.6-inch HD capacitive touchscreen display with a 1366 x 768 pixel resolution, the WeTab also includes a 1.66GHz Intel Atom N450 processor. Common in many netbooks, this processor gives the WeTab the horsepower necessary to run any operating system. While initial rumors speculated that the device would use a version of Android as the operating system, it now looks like it will use MeeGo Linux.
The WeTab will also include HDMI output, 2 USB ports, and an integrated 1.3 MP camera, all of which are lacking in the iPad. While the initial version will feature 802.11 a/b/g/n, as well as Bluetooth 2.1, a later model will include 3G connectivity. The WeTab seems like a very worthy competitor to the iPad.
In conjunction with the WePad announcement, NeoFonie also announced the availability of their WeMagazine ePublishing Open Platform. Based on the company’s existing print and online content management system, the WeMagazine platform integrates their proprietary WeFind search engine for content location and aggregation. This platform is intended for not only the WePad, but other tablets, desktops, and smartphones.
Samsung Galaxy Tab
Samsung announced the launch of the Galaxy Tab (Model GT-P1000). Based on the Android 2.2 operating system, the Galaxy tab features a 7 inch TFT-LCD display that is powered by a Cortex A8 1.0 Ghz application processor.
With 512 Mb internal RAM, the device comes in both 16Gb and 32Gb models, with expansions up to an additional 32Gb. it includes support for Adobe Flash 10.1 and a range of multimedia formats: DivX, XviD, MPEG4, H.263, H.264, as well as others. This is the first tablet that is DivX certified. It can connect to Vodafone’s 3G network and it has 802.11n Wi-Fi.
Telefunken announced two new tablets and previewed a 3D prototype tablet during IFA. The two new Electrostatic Touch tablets come in a 5 inch and 7 inch models. Besides different size screens, the two tablets share the same set of specifications. Billed as more multi-media players than e-readers, both come with an E-Book Reader capable of talk to speech, book marking, auto scrolling, and variable size fonts.
Based on the Microsoft Windows CE 6.0, the devices use a Samsung C100 833Mhz processor to power the tablets. With 256 Mb internal DDR2 RAM, the T9HD comes in 16Gb and 32Gb models with an additional standard SD card slot. As mentioned, the T9HD is capable of high definition multimedia playback of all of the most popular video and audio formats, including Adobe Flash. In addition, it features the Yamaha Audio Chip with DBEX sound improvement technology. Packed with built in speakers, the T9HD can also record voice messages. It even includes a FM radio tuner. For connectivity, the T9HD includes Bluetooth 2.0, HDMI v1.2 output, and a USB 2.0 port.
Almost as if was queued up for the other shoe to drop, reports said Apple doubled production of the iPad to 2 million per month and its shooting for 3 million to meet holiday demand. Unfortunately, that production is geared toward the North American market.
In Kindle-related news, two interesting news stories popped up during the last week. The first will be exciting for Kindle owners who are also fans of Manga comic books. One of the areas where the Kindle was compared unfavorably to the Apple iPad was its inability to display comic books. Now, thanks to the efforts of FooSoft’s Alex Totsov, the Kindle can display Manga in black and white using the open source software tool Mangle. This desktop tool essentially allows you to add images into a book and then export them out into a format that the Kindle can “read” as a book. A nice tutorial is available to step you through the process.
As part of the Library Services and Technology Act, libraries around the United States are receiving grants to buy Amazon Kindles for on-site use. In addition, the grants allow the libraries to equip the Kindles with around $2,500 worth of ebooks. Through this program, even rural libraries can add the ereaders to the set of services they can offer their patrons. The Georgetown County Library in South Carolina recently received a grant for $25,000, which covered the costs of 25 Kindles and the shared library of ebooks.