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Oxford pixel density breakthrough points to ultra-hi-res ereader displays?
July 12, 2014 | 10:14 am

A technological breakthrough by Oxford University scientists, just announced in Science Daily, apparently "will make it possible to create pixels just a few hundred nanometres across that could pave the way for extremely high-resolution and low-energy thin, flexible displays for applications such as 'smart' glasses, synthetic retinas, and foldable screens." Including, of course, screens for ereaders and tablets. The breakthrough apparently came quite by chance while scientists were exploring a different line of research. "We were exploring the relationship between the electrical and optical properties of phase change materials and then had the idea of creating this GST [Germanium-Antimony-Tellurium] 'sandwich' made...

Gartner says welcome to the post-PC world
July 8, 2014 | 4:25 pm

gartner136.gifResearch firm Gartner Inc. has released a new digital device sales forecast which marks 2015 as the year when shipments of tablets will finally overtake PCs and the world will move into the post-PC era. In volume terms at least, the defining digital device in the home will no longer be the computer, whether in desktop or laptop form, but the tablet. Gartner forecasts sales of the devices it tracks  - PCs, tablets, ultramobiles and mobile phones - to hit 2.4 billion units in 2014, "a 4.2 percent increase from 2013." And as of 2014, it calculates a total global sale...

Don’t be ‘That Guy’
June 2, 2014 | 6:06 pm

yell-monitor-l1Over the last few days, someone on one of the forums I frequent has started screaming bloody murder about a Kindle technical problem. I’m not going to say who or where (and I’d ask that any commenters who know who I’m talking about please do the same), because it’s not my intention to “name and shame.” I’ll just call him That Guy. Anyway, That Guy has posted his rant across three different forum boards, accusing Amazon of “fraud” because he can’t get his e-books to sync to the second Kindle on his account from the “Manage Your Content &...

Next Big Book wins Book Expo Challenge – but should it have?
June 1, 2014 | 12:00 pm

Publishing technology company Next Big Book has won the first-ever Book Expo Challenge at Book Expo America 2014, netting a $10,000 prize and the chance to present to venture capitalists and publishing execs. Next Big Books "analyzes social, sales, and marketing signals to help you make smarter, braver decisions." Next Big Book aims to help out the publishing industry thus: Digital publishing and social media have added exponentially to the intricacy of an industry already complicated by tens of thousands of authors and millions of titles spanning dozens of genres and formats. Our monitoring and analysis tools will help you make sense...

"You Are not a Digital Native"
May 31, 2014 | 10:25 am

digital nativeI greatly enjoyed this open letter author Cory Doctorow wrote to the teenagers of the world, to celebrate the US paperback release of his novel, Homeland. From the letter: "The problem with being a “digital native” is that it transforms all of your screw-ups into revealed deep truths about how humans are supposed to use the Internet. So if you make mistakes with your Internet privacy, not only do the companies who set the stage for those mistakes (and profited from them) get off Scot-free, but everyone else who raises privacy concerns is dismissed out of hand. After all, if the...

IDC reins in tablet sales forecast amid phablet explosion
May 30, 2014 | 4:24 pm

IDC_logoInternational Data Corporation (IDC) has reduced its forecast for 2014 worldwide sales of tablets plus similar 2-in-1 convertible devices - due largely to the surge in demand for phablets, which appear to be blurring the line between smartphones and tablet devices and snatching an ever greater market share. IDC's new forecast is for 245.4 million units in 2014, down from a previous forecast of 260.9 million units, and equaling a 12.1 percent y-o-y growth rate, down from e 51.8 percent growth in 2013. "Two major issues are causing the tablet market to slow down. First, consumers are keeping their tablets, especially...

Fancy a bunch of free books on how to do just about anything online or digital whatsoever?
May 1, 2014 | 10:35 am

free booksWhy I thought you'd say "yes" to free books. And so here they are. Basically, MakeUseOf.com, "a leading destination for digital productivity tips and your guide to cool stuff on the Internet," has made available a bunch of manuals, guides, and reference works on its website, in PDF, EPUB, or online-readable form, completely for free. So, for writers, how about An Unofficial Guide To Goodreads For Readers And Writers ?  Or Your Guide To Self-Publishing: From Print To Kindle And Beyond!? And if you want to promote your self-published work, how about The Facebook Marketing Guide? Or for eager ebook readers,...

Review: Fitbit Zip
March 12, 2014 | 12:30 pm

fitbit zipJoanna wrote an article a while back on wearables, and it got me thinking about buying a Fitbit. I've had it for about a month and a half now, and I'm quite fond of it. I opted for the Fitbit Zip, the one that doesn't have a wrist band. Since I wasn't sure how consistent I'd be at using it, I went for the least expensive option. Also, I didn't care about sleep tracking. The Zip is easy to set up. Download the app to your phone, pop in the battery and pair them. I leave Bluetooth on all the time on...

Why won’t Evernote do handwriting recognition?
March 8, 2014 | 10:53 am

With its unforgetful elephant icon and integration with almost every major OS going, as well as Moleskine notebooks, Evernote has long been the favorite notetaking, blogging, and even writing, app for many mobile device and PC users. And, as they rightly claim, "some of our engineers and researchers were the pioneers that, decades ago, made today’s mainstream digital handwriting possible." So it's a pity that, when that functionality finally arrives in full on the Android iteration of Evernote, it comes in a way that falls short of that legacy, and the technology's potential. Evernote digital handwriting is based on Penultimate, "the...

Android powers ahead as PC sales sag
March 6, 2014 | 1:25 pm

Two sequential research reports paint a stark - if you're a Microsoft exec or an Apple fan - picture of how the personal computer and digital device market is evolving. A Gartner Inc. report dated March 3rd found that "Worldwide Tablet Sales Grew 68 Percent in 2013, With Android Capturing 62 Percent of the Market," and with a conspicuous year-on-year market share decline for Apple. A day later, on March 4th, International Data Corporation (IDC) released its findings that PC market shipments are expected " to Fall by -6% in 2014 and Decline Through 2018." The Gartner figures show Apple's iOS-based tablet...

GigaOm Research report says new form factors crimping Western tablet market growth, emerging markets step in
February 28, 2014 | 10:25 am

The latest research report from GigaOm Research, "Forecast: Global tablet shipments, 2012-2017," authored by Peter Crocker, "founder and principal analyst at Smith’s Point Analytics, a full service market research and consulting firm focused on the mobile and wireless industry," sees a tablet market experiencing a growth slowdown in developed Western markets for good reason. Although, the report observes, "shipments of tablets worldwide will grow at a 29 percent  rate compounded annually (CAGR) from 179 million in 2013 to 427 million by 2017," overtaking PC shipments in 2015, all is not entirely calm seas and plain sailing for the tablet market. The...

Watch out for smartwatches as form factor gets ready for prime time
February 15, 2014 | 10:36 am

WIMM Labs[caption id="attachment_95923" align="alignright" width="209"] Nice concept, not quite there yet.[/caption] With data on smartwatches  reported on often of late, it's interesting to start seeing some numbers against all the buzz. According to a bulletin from International Data Group (IDG), smartwatch shipments worldwide hit 1.9 million units in 2013 for the first time, versus just a few hundred thousand units in 2012. Around 61 percent of the budding platform runs Android, according to Strategy Analytics. Much of the Android lead is attributed to Samsung's Galaxy Gear, but in such a still limited market space, there is of course still plenty of chance...