Posted tagged ‘Mobile Device’

Amazon Launches Kindle 2.0

February 9, 2009

Amazon.com today unveiled the latest incarnation of its digital book reader, the Kindle,  in a slimmer version with more storage and a feature that reads text aloud to users.

And it was fit for a King: Stephen King!

From the Associated Press:

Amazon.com Inc. is releasing a new, slimmer version of the Kindle, its electronic reading device.

The online retailer’s founder and CEO Jeff Bezos told a New York news conference today that the highly anticipated new Kindle will cost $359, same as the previous version.

The new Kindle is about one-third of an inch thick and weighs 10 ounces. It includes a screen with 16 shades of gray, compared with the previous Kindle’s four shades. It will be able to read books aloud. And it promises two weeks of reading on one charge of the battery.

Amazon says it will begin shipping the new Kindle Feb. 24. Stephen King has written a book that will be exclusively available on the device.

From the New York Times:

Escalating its efforts to dominate the fledgling industry for electronic books, Amazon introduced a new version of its electronic book reader today, dubbed Kindle 2.

Amazon said the upgraded device has seven times the memory as the original version, allows faster page-turns and has a crisper, though still black-and-white, display. The Kindle 2 also features a new design with round keys and a short, joystick-like controller — a departure from the design aspects of the previous version, which some buyers had criticized as awkward. The new device will ship on Feb. 24. Amazon did not change the price for the device, which remains $359.

Though the improvements to the Kindle are only incremental, Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s founder and chief executive, defined some ambitious goals for the device. “Our vision is every book, ever printed, in any language, all available in less than 60 seconds,” he said at a news conference in New York.

Amazon introduced several new features for the Kindle. A new text-to-speech function allows readers to switch between reading words on the device and having the words read to them by a computerized voice. That technology was provided by Nuance, a speech-recognition company based in Burlington, Mass.

Amazon is also allowing Kindle owners to transfer texts between their Kindle and other mobile devices. Amazon said it is working on making digital texts available for other gadgets (such as mobile phones), though it did not specify which ones.

One competitive threat Amazon is facing in its effort to dominate the world of e-books is from Google, which has scanned in some seven million books, many of them out of print. Google has also struck deals with publishers and authors to split the proceeds from the online sales of those texts.

Google recently said it would soon begin selling these books for reading on mobile devices like Apple’s iPhone and phones running Google’s Android operating system.

Implicitly addressing the threat posed by Google, Mr. Bezos said that Amazon knows better than other companies what book-buyers wants and stressed Amazon’s digital catalog of 230,000 newer books and best-sellers.

“We have tens of millions of customers who buy books from us every day and we know what they want to read,” he said. “And we are making sure to prioritize those items.”

From Reuters:

The new Kindle, which will still sell for $359 on Amazon’s web site amazon.com/kindle2, is available for preorder, and will ship February 24, the company said.

The new version fixes a problem with involuntary page turns, is thinner, and sports a new five-way controller that allows users to jump between articles and sections of newspapers. A power charger is more portable and a cover that comes with the device is more secure, the company said.

The new Kindle is “thinner, faster, crisper, with longer battery life, and capable of holding hundreds more books,” said Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Bezos in a statement released alongside a company event at New York City’s Morgan Library.

Amazon shares were down 0.7 percent at $65.05 after the news of the release.

First launched by the Seattle-based company in November 2007, the Kindle allows users to read books and newspapers wirelessly on a device weighing less than a typical paperback.

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Motorola Sales Plummet; 4,000 Jobs Lost

January 15, 2009

Motorola has confirmed that the company will eliminate an additional 4,000 jobs (all but 1,000 from its mobile-devices unit) after cell phone sales plummeted more than 50 percent in its fourth quarter.

From the Associated Press:

Mobile handset maker Motorola Inc. said Wednesday it will cut 4,000 more jobs in 2009, in addition to 3,000 it announced in October.

The company said the move will save about $700 million a year starting in 2009, and total $1.5 billion in annual savings when combined with the previous cut.

Most of the new layoffs will hit the mobile devices business, while about 1,000 jobs are tied to corporate functions and other business units.

The move is the latest in cost-cutting measures by Motorola, which has been struggling to revive its business in recent years. When the cuts are complete, around 12,000 workers will have left the company since December 2007 when there were 66,000 employees, an 18 percent reduction. Last month, it announced it was freezing its pension plans and reducing executive pay.

The Schaumburg, Ill.-based company also said Wednesday it expects revenue for the fourth quarter to be between $7 billion and $7.2 billion, as it saw continued weakness in consumer demand and customer inventory reductions.

American TV Use Soars Past 8 Hours a Day

November 25, 2008

Despite the growth on online video, Americans watch an average of 8 hours and 18 minutes of television each day, according to a study from Nielsen. That’s up substantially from a decade ago, before Internet video was part of the culture, when Americans watched an average of 7 hours and 15 minutes each day.

I’m guilty of a couple hours a day myself, but not as much as when I was younger. With the kids, I’ve also found that I don’t come close to the 8 hours a day which is the American average.

From the Associated Press:

Despite the ability to watch video on computers and cell phones, Americans are viewing more television than ever.

Nielsen Media Research said Monday the average American watches 142 hours of TV in a month. Last season the typical home had a television on for eight hours and 18 minutes each day. That’s up an hour per day from just 10 years ago.

And the older you are, the more TV you watch. Nielsen said Americans aged 65 and up watch more than 196 hours per month.

Americans are also watching more video on the Internet and mobile devices, although Nielsen said cell phone viewing is mostly a guy thing.

Google Android to Arrive in September?

August 12, 2008

Teresa Von Fuchs at MobileCrunch and Greg Kumparak at TechCrunch are reporting that the first Google Android handset may be available via presale as early as September 17.

From MobileCrunch:

While reports have ranged that the first Android handset will come out anywhere from October to sometime in 2009, the latest rumors have the HTC Dream (codenamed G1) going on presale for existing T-Mobile customers starting September 17th.

The newest leaked features include a 3-megapixel camera, slide-out Qwerty keypad and the handset will come in three colors: black, white and brown.

Matthew Miller at ZDNet is also reporting on this rumor:

I had a chance to spend a little time with an early Android device at Mobile World Congress and the latest news is that HTC is still on track to deliver the first Android device before the end of 2008. According to TmoNews we may even be able to order one as early as 17 September from T-Mobile USA. I am returning my iPhone 3G today and if this rumor is true I think this will be my next mobile purchase.

According to their trusted source the Open Handset Alliance/Google Android phone will be priced at US$399 full price or US$150 for existing T-Mobile customers. Apparently, you may have to be an existing customer to get in on the mid-September pre-sale so my patience with staying with T-Mobile for the last 6 years and waiting for their 3G network may finally pay off. T-Mobile USA has been good at rolling out UMA and some other interesting technologies, but is way behind on 3G and high end smartphones and really needs something like an Android device to bring in subscribers to compete with AT&T and the iPhone or Verizon/Sprint and their high speed EV-DO networks.

Will we finally see Android? Will Google finally deliver on their promise? Will the consumer be left high and dry? Stay tuned!

If you’re looking for some interesting views on Open Source and Mobile Technology, check out Open Source to Go. David “Lefty” Schlesinger, Director of Open Source Technologies for ACCESS Systems America is the author of the blog and shares his views on the increasing use of free and open source software in mobile devices, horror movies, technology, design, Japanese stuff, and whatever else happens to catch his interest. Lefty is chair of the Linux Foundation’s Mobile Working Group, vice-chair of the Linux Phone Standards Forum’s Architectural Working Group and a member of the GNOME Foundation Advisory Board.

ACCESS, a global provider of advanced software technologies to the mobile and beyond-PC markets, is a client of mine here in the Bay Area and they are a mobile Internet pioneer, having helped to develop and deliver technologies that have brought the Internet to a new generation of mobile devices and consumers. ACCESS is best known for their ACCESS Linux Platform and NetFront Browser.