July 2010

Webinar: The New Motion J3500 Overview
On August 10, 2010, Motion Computing offers a free webinar explaining the features and benefits of the new Motion J3500 tablet computer. RuggedPCReview.com recently reviewed the Motion J3500 (see here) and came away more than impressed with the new machine's speed and amazingly useful dual-touch technology that combines iPad-style capacitive touch with the precision of a Wacom electromagnetic digitizer. Those in the market for a J3500 note: attend the webinar and get US$500 off a new Motion J3500! [Register] -- Posted Thursday, July 29, 2010 by chb

Netbooks hitting brick wall?
Our friends at Hot Hardware reviewed the new Asus Eee PC 1201PN that uses NVIDIA Ion-2 discrete graphics on top of the Atom N450's own graphics. The results are disappointing. Probably hampered by the rock bottom prices that do not leave room for profit or innovation, netbooks, apart from growing larger, have barely progressed over the past two years. They're still slow and limited, and that's a bad thing in the iPad era with its ever increasing customer expectations. While netbooks already having grown larger and heavier (and often more expensive), but without delivering much in terms of features and performance, they're in increasing competition with much more powerful low-cost regular notebooks that simply offer a lot more. [See Hot Hardware's review of the Asus Eee PC 1201PN] -- Posted Thursday, July 29, 2010 by chb

Synaptics ClearPad 7200 Series
Synaptics announced its ClearPad 7200 Series technology geared towards OEMs designing a wide range of multi-touch (up to 10 simultaneous touches) products such as clamshell notebooks, slates/tablets, and "fourth screen" devices like digital photo frames and electronics readers. Designed to support glass-based screens up to 10.1", the ClearPad 7200 Series uses a multi-ASIC based architecture and supports both I2C and USB interface.
-- Posted Tuesday, July 27, 2010 by chb

Full review: Fujitsu's tiny UH900 mini-notebook
What is a big full-size notebook is much too big, and even a handy netbook is still too large, but you do need full Windows 7 functionality and a high-res screen? Then you should look at the Fujitsu UH900 mini-notebook. The little 1-pound marvel, powered by a 1.6GHz Intel Atom Z530 chip, sports incredible 1280 x 800 pixel resolution on its jewel-like 5.6-inch display, offers multi-touch, has a full-function keyboard and a speedy 62GB solid state disk, onboard Garmin Mobile PC GPS, and good connectivity, both wired and wireless. And even the price is not out of line. So how well does it all work? [Read full review of the Fujitsu Lifebook UH900] -- Posted Tuesday, July 27, 2010 by chb

Microsoft licenses ARM architecture
ARM and Microsoft announced that they have signed a new licensing agreement for the ARM architecture. The agreement extends the collaborative relationship between the two companies. Since 1997 Microsoft and ARM have worked together on software and devices across the embedded, consumer and mobile spaces, enabling many companies to deliver user experiences on a broad portfolio of ARM-based products. [See press release] -- Posted Friday, July 23, 2010 by chb

Juniper introduces the Mesa Rugged Notepad
If the new Mesa Rugged Notepad by Juniper Systems looks large, it's because it is. Aiming to offer the best of Tablet PCs and a rugged handhelds (but none of the drawbacks), the Marvell PXA320-powered Mesa runs Windows Mobile 6.5.3 on its exceptionally large 5.7-inch VGA display. Larger size means larger battery, too, and the Mesa runs up to 16 hours on a charge. Add to that exceptional ruggedness and IP67 sealing, and you have an interesting option for any number of outdoor jobs that require a bit of extra screen real estate. [See description and specs of the Juniper Systems Mesa Rugged Notepad] -- Posted Wednesday, July 21, 2010 by chb

Infoworld: iOS 4 decisively beats Android 2.2
In a comprehensive feature entitled "Mobile deathmatch: Apple iOS 4 vs. Android 2.2", Infoworld concluded that "iOS 4 beats Android OS 2.2 in almost every category." iOS earned an overall 8.0 "very good" score whereas Android 2.2 received only a 6.1 rating and "fair" score. -- Posted Wednesday, July 21, 2010 by chb

iPad on the Road -- Part IV
And yet another trip with the iPad. This time a 10-day product review trip to the Honduran island of Roatan. I took along all my dive gear, as well as a boatload of underwater cameras, both of the still and video variety, so luggage space was at a premium... [read more] -- Posted Wednesday, July 21, 2010 by chb

PC World removes iPhone 4 from Top-10 chart
Legacy tech pub PC World has removed the iPhone 4 from its Top 10 Cell Phones chart, accusing the best-selling Apple product of "faulty hardware." [See PC World's announcement] -- Posted Wednesday, July 21, 2010 by chb

Socket introduces low-cost barcode scanners for iPad, iPhone, Ipod touch
Socket Mobile announced its new line of wireless barcode scanners designed specifically to work with the Apple iPad, iPhone and iPod touch. The Socket Bluetooth Cordless Hand Scanner (CHS) Series 7, starting at US$395, is a lightweight, pocket-sized barcode scanner with a range of up to 330 feet designed for healthcare, hospitality, retail and field service. -- Posted Tuesday, July 20, 2010 by chb

HP files "PalmPad" trademark application
Hewlett Packard has supposedly filed a trademark application for the term "PalmPad." There have, of course, been PalmPads before. The GRiD PalmPADs of the late 1980s and early 1990s were early tablet computers, and though GRiD was taken over by AST Research, which was then bought by Samsung, there is some lineage: Geoff Hawkins, who later launched Palm, was the driving force behind GRID's tablets. -- Posted Tuesday, July 20, 2010 by chb

Amazon ebook sales pass hardcover
Amazon is now selling more ebooks than hardcover books, and the company also claims that sales of the repriced (US$189) Kindle are booming. Hardcovers, of course, are only a fraction of paperback book sales, and Amazon customers are likely more willing to adopt new technologies. -- Posted Tuesday, July 20, 2010 by chb

Graffiti now available for free on Android!
Talk about adding insult to injury. Access Co, the folks who bought PalmSource way back when, but never really did anything with it, are now offering the original Graffiti as a free download from the Android app store. -- Posted Saturday, July 17, 2010 by chb

In-State sees slow adoption of 4G wireless
In-Stat predicts that almost 70% of all mobile devices will be WWAN-enabled by 2014. However, the transition to 4G wireless technology will be slow, with just 3.6% of WWAN-enabled devices using it by 2014. And despite the early 4G lead of WiMAX, the rivaling LTE technology will have over 60% marketshare in 4G-enabled device by 2014. -- Posted Thursday, July 15, 2010 by chb

Anoto survey shows paper-based forms still widely used
Swedish Anoto firmly believes that paper isn't dead by a long shot, and that paper forms will be with us for some time to come. However, that doesn't mean Anoto is resisting progress. Au contraire; Anoto's unique digital pen technology represents one of the fastest and most reliable ways of converting handwritten text into a digital format. In essence, the pen knows the form you're using, records whatever is written, then downloads it into a computer. This way you have both print and digital copy. -- Posted Wednesday, July 14, 2010 by chb

Sony lowers prices of its book readers
Call it the iPad syndrome: After significant price cuts for the Amazon Kindle and the Barnes & Noble Nook, Sony, too, lowered the prices of its Reader hardware. The low-end Reader Pocket Edition is now available for just $149.99, the Touch Edition is $169.99, and the Daily Edition now runs $299.99. While lower prices always help (see video game consoles), price alone won't rescue Sony, B&N and even the Kindle. Without buzz and must-have functionality, readers are just generic hardware. -- Posted Monday, July 12, 2010 by chb

Garmin beats back another invalid patent
Garmin announced it has beaten back another invalid asserted by a non-practicing patent holding company. "We are pleased with this judgment – it reaffirms our belief that courts are willing to take decisive action against bad patents when presented with solid evidence of their invalidity. Companies like Garmin, that employ innovators, manufacture products, and sell goods in the market, should not be forced to settle lawsuits that assert patents that never should have issued from the Patent Office," said Andrew Etkind, Garmin’s Vice President and General Counsel. -- Posted Saturday, July 10, 2010 by chb

Neonode scores licence agreement
Swedish optical touchscreen technology company Neonode announced it has signed a technology license agreement with one of the leading e-publishing companies in China in partnership with one of the largest ODM companies in Taiwan. The zForce license includes Neonode’s patented touch screen technology supporting high resolution finger navigation with gestures and sweeps. Though the company's smartphone efforts failed (see our detailed 2007 review of the Neonode N2), Neonode's optical touch technology fremains promising. -- Posted Saturday, July 10, 2010 by chb

Monthly iPad orders over 2 million units
According to Digitimes Research, monthly iPad orders to Taiwan makers surpassed two million units for July, and volumes are expected to be as high or higher in the future. -- Posted Friday, July 9, 2010 by chb

Rapid growth predicted for tablets
According to an article in the Wall Street Journal and several other news sources, Barclay Capital predicted tablet unit sales of 15 million this year and almost 30 million in 2011, and that those sales will impact the netbook market. Barclay also suggested that strong tablet sales will benefit Google with its Android OS, companies that offer ARM-based processors, potentially HP with its newly acquired WebOS software technology, and, of course, Apple. Microsoft, on the other hand, may suffer a weakening of its long-held dominance in OS software, and Dell also may find the tablet market difficult. [See WSJ article] -- Posted Thursday, July 8, 2010 by chb

Borders opens eBook store, hopes for 17% market share
Borders announced the launch of the Borders branded eBook store using the Kobo eBook service, as well as the introduction of the Kobo eReader and Aluratek Libre eReader. Borders' goal is to secure a 17 percent share of the eBook market by July 2011. -- Posted Wednesday, July 7, 2010 by chb

Android facing challenges
It's like the historic Apple versus Microsoft wars all over again, only this time it's Apple's iOS versus Google's Android. Once again it's Apple's proprietary hardware and software challenged by a copycat OS available to any hardware vendor who wants to use it. Google's involvement, of course, means Android can count on considerable resources, but there are inherent problems to the Android "open system" approach. Read this excellent article by Tim Bajarin of Creative Strategies on The Trials and Tribulations of Team Android. -- Posted Tuesday, July 6, 2010 by chb

Palm Pre+ and Pixi+ free on new HP Wireless Central site
Now that Hewlett Packard's acquisition of Palm is final, HP wasted no time in pushing WebOS-based Palm phones on its new HP Wireless Central site. Better yet, you can get a Palm Pre Plus or a Palm Pixi Plus for free (after instant discount) with a new 2-year AT&T, Verizon or Sprint account. Given the high monthly phone bills for two years, of course, means the term "free" is a bit misleading, but it still shows that HP is determined to move inventory. -- Posted Tuesday, July 6, 2010 by chb

Intel's Classmate PC design to be sold as Toshiba CM1 in Japan
Intel's rugged convertible Intel Atom-based Classmate PC reference design, which we reported on back in April, will be jointly sold in Japan as the Toshiba branded CM1 by Intel and Toshiba. The Classmate platform offers up to 8.5 hours battery life, a user interface optimized for eReading applications, water-resistant keyboard, touchpad, improved ruggedness with drop test from desk height, bump and scratch resistance, and an optional anti-microbial keyboard. Toshiba and Intel plan on promoting the CM1 to elementary and junior high schools. -- Posted Friday, July 2, 2010 by chb

HP completes Palm acquisition
On July 1st, 2010, Hewlett Packard completed its aquisition of Palm Inc., at a price of US$5.70 per share. HP says the acquisition gives it "significant headway into one of technology’s fastest-growth segments with Palm’s innovative webOS platform and family of smartphones, plus a rich portfolio of intellectual property" that will "enhance HP’s ability to participate more aggressively in the highly profitable, $100 billion smartphone and connected mobile device markets." HP stated that the WebOS will be used to deliver also "other mobility products" including "future slate PCs and netbooks." [See HP press release on Palm acquisition] -- Posted Friday, July 2, 2010 by chb

Symbian-Guru.com disgusted, closes down
It's like deja-vue all over again. Psion once seemed like the heir apparent to Microsoft's bumbling Windows CE efforts, but they fumbled things badly and imploded (with the exception of Psion-Teklogix that sells industrial handhelds). At least the promising Symbian OS seemed to go places, but it, too, is approaching irrelevance as Nokia just can't get its act together in the smartphone market. How bad are things? So bad that Symbian-Guru.com, tireless Symbian and Nokia cheerleaders, is so disgusted with Nokia/Symbian that they are shutting down. [See Symbian-Guru.com Is Over] -- Posted Thursday, July 1, 2010 by chb

Kin, we barely knew you
Microsoft takes another one on the chin as the company quietly folded the Kin team into the Windows Phone 7 team. There won't be a release of the peculiar phone in Europe, though Verizon continues to sell the Kins at reduced prices. -- Posted Thursday, July 1, 2010 by chb