Amazon announces brand new Kindle Paperwhite eReader

The all-new Kindle Paperwhite (Photo: Business Wire)In other Amazon news, after dropping the bomb on ebook purchasing with MatchBook, You’ll probably want some shiny new hardware to read all those digital books on yeah?

Amazon took the wraps off of the new digital ink Kindle Paperwhite. Boasting faster page rendering, a higher contrast screen, improved touch capabilities, and a brighter glow for night time readers. I’m personally very happy to see products continue to utilize e-ink. It really is the best high tech reading experience on the market, as it nearly perfectly resembles the printed page without the cycling of an LCD. After reading for hours my eyes don’t have that buzzy feeling like they do after reading on my Nexus 7. Plus e-ink is MUCH easier to see in direct sun. Just like paper.

New Paperwhite Kindles will sell for $119 for WiFi models which serve special offers and $139 if you want to skip those ads. Those models are ready to ship now. Come November a 3G enabled version will also hit the market for those who like to buy their books on the go.

Full PR after the jump.

Continue reading Amazon announces brand new Kindle Paperwhite eReader

Kindle Matchbook aims to move your paper book collection into the cloud.

kindle matchbook ebook somegadgetguyWhat’s the biggest complaint most consumers have with the ebook market? I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard people wish they could get digital copies of the physical books they buy. Like music, when buying a CD often we get an MP3 version, whether we rip it ourselves r if it comes included in the purchase.

Well Amazon looks like they’re taking the first steps in making our dual format wishes a reality. MatchBook looks at your previous new book purchases dating back to 1995 and offers you the ability to buy an ultra-cheap digital license for that book. Prices range from $2.99 to free for your cloud version, and this offer wont be applicable to books purchased second hand through the Amazon Market Place.

If you re-read books like I do, or if you maybe “share” your Kindle account with a buddy, this is welcome news. MatchBook is set to launch in October, and 10,000 titles are already on board from authors like Neil Gaiman, Michael Crichton, and Ray Bradbury.

Full Amazon press release after the jump:

Continue reading Kindle Matchbook aims to move your paper book collection into the cloud.

The State of Commercial Air Travel: Paying extra to not be hassled.

airline travel technology seatbelt light somegadgetguyI’m not telling anyone anything they don’t already know. I wont be surprising anyone with this editorial. We’re all aware. The current state of commercial air travel for the most part is pretty miserable. The last several trips I’ve taken, I’ve been struck by how bad the experience has become. It’s been difficult. There are certain institutions we look to, things we expect will remain in operation forever, yet they’ve been degrading so rapidly I don’t know how they’ll be around by the time I have grand kids (movie theaters are another such institution, but I digress).

The most recent flight I took was a comedy of errors, and the saddest aspect of the story happens to be that everything went completely according to plan. The flight went exactly right.

See, I’m still at that age where, though I’m traveling more, I still have to be somewhat frugal about how my trips are planned. I rarely get to splurge on nicer accommodations, and I’m young enough still that I don’t quite see the cost benefit. Most of the time though, it really will come down between flying “poor” or not going at all. That’s not really a choice if you know what I mean.

The frustration of doing this often comes down to the fact that I don’t see much benefit to paying more, but spend less and you’re punished. Let me rephrase: You don’t get better service for spending more, you just get hassled less. Continue reading The State of Commercial Air Travel: Paying extra to not be hassled.

Updated: Nokia selling Devices & Services to Microsoft for 5.4 Billion Euro

And so it begins!

nokia selling to microsoft somegadgetguy devices services smartphonesRumors have been flying since the initial WP7 Lumia 900 was released, that at some point Microsoft would swallow up Nokia. These rumors have intensified in light of Redmond producing their own line of Surface tablets. Driving the Windows 8 bus like Google did with the Nexus line of phones and tablets.

Announced this evening Nokia is selling off their Devices and Services business to Microsoft for 5.44 billion Euro, with Nokia expected to gain 3.2 billion on the sale if it’s approved in 2014 by Nokia shareholders. Nokia will focus on networking infrastructure, developing their HERE platform of navigation solutions, and “Advanced Technologies”. Plus they’ll have a war chest of patents to profit off of.

Microsoft gains an incredible hardware development platform out of this transfer, responsible for the most compelling Windows Phone 8 hardware in the ecosystem. Plus they’ll receive a ten year grace on Nokia’s patent collection while becoming a “strategic licensee” of HERE solutions.

This is a very interesting development. Nokia has been struggling to gain traction with high end premier smartphones, but was finding some success in mid-range and low end hardware. It remains to be seen if Microsoft will be as interested in that segment of the market, and if they’ll continue pushing forward into developing markets with Asha devices and other low end solutions.

More commentary and analysis as this develops!

UPDATES:

Microsoft is already speaking out, making it clear they will be absorbing 32,000 Nokia employees. They will also be continuing support and development of the Asha platform. They’ll be setting up a new data center in Finland to facilitate the transfer, and that at the end of the sale Nokia executives will also transfer over to Microsoft including Mr. Stephen Elop.

Nokia will hold a press conference September 3rd at 11 a.m. EEST – http://press.nokia.com/

The Next Chapter: An Open Letter From Steve Ballmer and Stephen Elop

Ralph de la Vega, president & CEO, AT&T Mobility weighed in on the sale:

“Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia’s handset business will help strengthen the Windows Phone ecosystem.  It underscores how the future of mobile computing will be software-driven and cloud-based, further taking advantage of high-speed mobile networks to transform how we live and work.”

Hit the jump for Microsoft’s official press release:

Continue reading Updated: Nokia selling Devices & Services to Microsoft for 5.4 Billion Euro

CBS & TWC mend fences in time for NFL season. CBS shows to air again tonight.

CBS Time Warner Cable agreement blackout somegadgetguy television distribution tvIn a move which I’m sure was shocking to no one, CBS and Time Warner found a way to set aside their insurmountable differences to work out an agreement JUST in time for the start of the NFL season. How fortuitous. I mean that’s just really good timing on their part.

CBS content should begin airing again for TWC subscribers starting tonight, around 6pm in fact. My DVR is very much looking forward to this reunification, and now I might finally find out how that Ted guy met the mother of his children.

In all seriousness however, details on the agreement are scarce, most likely to avoid any company overly losing face in the marketplace. This way both can turn to their customers and claim a victory.

This fight really has underscored a broader topic in telecommunications and media distribution. As networks pay more for content like airing NFL games, what rights and responsibilities do they have in broadcasting that content? To recoup their costs, where should they be allowed to display that content, and what influence should Cable and Satellite companies have over their ability to negotiate these deals? It’s a complicated dance.

We’ve seen a lot of consumer desire, especially among “cable cutters” to see offerings like HBO Go sold as a standalone web property like Netflix. Cable packages never brought us that dream of à la carte channel pricing, but a company like CBS might be able to make an end run around traditional distribution to serve customers directly. Though I’m sure Comcast, TWC, Verizon, etc loathe the idea of becoming “dumb pipes” to funnel competing content.

While I’m happy to have CBS back on my cable, this is just the beginning of a much larger conflict for viewers.

Is it weird to anyone else that both companies use an eye in their logo? Just me? Full CBS press release after the jump.

Continue reading CBS & TWC mend fences in time for NFL season. CBS shows to air again tonight.

Rumor: Samsung to release Galaxy Note 12 by years end?

move player net galaxy note 12 rumor renderComing out of South Korea, courtesy of MovePlayer.net, are reports of a leaked image of what could be a Galaxy Note 12. Now I’m not entirely sold on the idea of large tablets. Even at a fairly reasonable ten inches, larger tablets often become home convenience items. Gadgets used in comfort and safety, but rarely leaving the house.

What worries me even more is Samsung’s insistence on including hardware control buttons. On phones I think they’re great (if you include a menu key HTC), but even on a smaller tab like the Galaxy Note 8, they often felt like they were in the way, especially using the tab in landscape. This render shows those buttons below the screen in landscape. I’m not sold on that. I’d prefer Samsung use on-screen controls like the Nexus tablets so those controls move with the orientation of the screen.

Lastly, twelve inches doesn’t sound remarkably big, but that screen size can be somewhat cumbersome to hold. Discussing this rumor on Youtube, I demonstrated the difference between an iPad and my Lenovo Twist, a laptop which screen-swivels into a 12.5″ slate.

Rumors point to a 2560×1600 resolution display, which should look gorgeous on a screen this size. We’re all used to wimpy Ultrabook and Macbook Air low res displays around 13″. Plus since it’s called a “Note” we should see support for S-Pen.  Besides that we don’t really know much else about it.

If this is released it could be a really interesting, dare I say audacious, device, but I’ll be really curious to see how it performs out in the wild… Of my living room… because I’d probably never want to leave the house with it…

(via GSM Arena, Pic courtesy MovePlayer.net)

HTC to update all variations of One to 4.3 by end of September?

ATT HTC One Mini software update jelly bean 4_3If you’re checking out HTC Phones on AT&T, you’ll notice something a little curious. Firing up the One Mini you’ll see it’s running Android 4.2.2, which is a newer version of the operating system than the flagship full-sized One which is currently rocking 4.1.2. One of the biggest changes in the update can be seen on the right. The notification tray quick toggles for things like WiFi, Bluetooth, etc.

The update for 4.2.2 is already live in the UK, much to the chagrin of some One customers in the USA. Support for Android handsets has always been a dicey conversation. The relationship between Google, manufactures, and carriers can often delay support to end users. This support gets even more contentious when some phones are updated but others are not.

Apparently the Verizon version of the One will ship with 4.2.2 pre-installed. President of Global Sales Jason Mackenzie took a couple minutes to respond to some of the comments on Twitter.

Minor though it may be, it does include some nifty usability improvements like that aforementioned notification tray update. When pushed on the timing of this update Mr. Mackenzie replied:

And hopefully that’s what we’ll see. The changes between 4.1 and 4.2 and 4.3 weren’t substantial enough for Google to even change the name of the update. They’re all called “Jelly Bean”. Yet this still gives customers the impression that some are being left out in the cold. That they aren’t getting bug fixes and patches. Not a great feeling to have when you supposedly have a premier handset.

As I’m currently using the AT&T HTC One, I’ll be following up on coverage as soon as some kind of update reaches us.

Coming Soon: The Netatmo Urban Weather Station

netatmo urban weather station preview somegadgetguyWe recently moved, and we live closer to a highway now. We’re not in one of those areas being studied by scientists thankfully, but I’m still concerned about the effects of roadway pollution on our air quality.

Plus we moved to a hotter part of the Valley. Yikes.

I’m really curious to see how the netatmo Urban Weather Station performs. On the surface it’s a handy little way to see what the weather is like without all that pesky “opening a window” nonsense, but deeper than that it carries sensors to track air quality, humidity, CO2, and the audio level in side your home.

Handy weather and air quality reports tailored exactly to your home via a computer, Android, or iOS device.

Will report back once I’ve put it through its paces!

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