Barnes & Noble Inc said it would give away a free Nook Simple Touch e-reader to any customer who purchases its high-definition Nook HD+ tablet, a sign it may still be suffering with excess inventory of the unpopular e-reader.
The top U.S. bookstore chain last month reported poor holiday quarter results for its Nook business. Overall revenue fell 26 percent as it sold fewer devices, losing ground to products like Apple Inc’s iPad and Amazon.com Inc’s Kindle, and the Nook business’ loss doubled.
The offer is available from March 24 to March 30.
The Simple Touch e-reader, while well reviewed, failed to catch on with customers since its launch in 2011, as digital book buyers have migrated toward tablets, which now offer better reading functions. Returns of unsold Simple Touch devices have repeatedly pinched Barnes & Noble’s results.
Just days after a scandal where a South American hospital was staffed by phantom doctors who used silicon fingers of their colleagues to convince administrators’ finger print readers that they were working, Apple has decided that they are the perfect form of security.
Word on the street is that Apple is said to be planning to introduce an iPhone that can be unlocked by the owner’s fingerprint. Speculation about Apple’s plans for fingerprint recognition began last summer when the iPhone maker bought bio-metric security firm AuthenTec for $335 million.
It is believed that the iPhone 5S will have a fingerprint chip under the Home button, to “improve security and usability.” Meanwhile in an engineering journal, two Google security experts outlined plans for an ID ring or smartphone chip that could replace online passwords, which is a lot sexier than fingerprint scanning.
In 2012, the EPO received a record number of patent applications, with growth fueled mainly by Asia. Patents for digital communication saw the biggest jump from the previous year, up by 20.4% to 9,592 applications. Only medical technology and electrical machinery received more applications than digital communication.
Computer technology patents were only up by 3% but still accounted for 8,288 applications. Meanwhile the audio-visual tech sector dropped about 4% from its 2011 figure.
In computers and IT, U.S. and Asian firms held sway. Chinese and Korean firms were the driving force behind digital communication applications — accounting for 42% of all patent applications originating from China.
This trend saw smartphone manufacturer ZTE leap from 43rd place to 10th place for patent applications overall — the first Chinese company ever to enter into the top 10. In addition to Samsung and ZTE, mobile phone companies LG and Ericsson were also in the top spots, in fifth and ninth place respectively.
The EPO was founded to strengthen cooperation between the European states in the field of patents. Through the EPO’s centralized patent granting procedure, inventors are able to obtain patent protection in the 38 member states of the European Patent Organisation.
Microsoft has inadvertently revealed that it will launch its Surface Pro tablet within weeks.
This confirmation comes via Twitter, with Panos Panay, general manager of Microsoft’s Surface products revealing the news.
He said, “On my way to the factory to check out #Surface Pro coming off the line…arriving in the coming weeks.”
Of course, it’s unclear whether this refers to both a US and UK release, but Microsoft had previously promised that it would launch the Surface Pro approximately 90 days after the release of the original Surface RT tablet, which it launched on 26 October.
We’ve been in touch with Microsoft for further information on the tablet’s UUS elease, but it has not yet responded to our request for comment. Pricing for the 64GB and 128GB models will be priced at $899 and $999, respectively, in the US.
So, what exactly will you get for your money? The Microsoft Surface Pro features a 10.6in 1920×1080 resolution display, an Intel Core i5 processor and 4GB of RAM – higher specifications than the Surface RT tablet. It also features Microsoft’s Windows 8 Professional operating system, pen input support, two HD cameras and a detachable keyboard.
The app called ChoreMonster, available for iOS devices and on the web, aims to make household chores, such as setting the table, feeding the pets or unloading the dishwasher, fun.
“There are usually enough chores in a week to redeem some sort of reward,” said Chris Bergman, the founder and CEO of Cincinnati, Ohio-based company ChoreMonster.
The rewards, which are provided by the parents, can range from privileges like sleepovers or a family outing, to video games or a cash allowance.
“It’s exactly what you would expect kids would want and also more esoteric rewards,” Bergman explained.
Parents assign chores through the app and include the completion dates along with the number of points the child will earn. They also set rewards, including the number needed to receive them.
The child can then log in to their account and review the chores and rewards.
“If rewards aren’t enough incentive, the empowerment typically is,” said Bergman.
When the task is done, the child marks it in the app and the parent is notified and prompted to verify that it was completed well. After the parent approves the task, the child is awarded the points.
The app helped 21,000 children complete more than 300,000 chores during the eight months it was tested before being launched at the end of 2012, according to its makers.
ChoreMonster is available worldwide in more than 50 countries and is ideal for children between four and 12 years old, according to Bergman.
Kingston Technology is claiming the world’s highest capacity USB 3.0 flash drive with the one terabyte (1TB) Datatraveler HyperX Predator 3.0.
Announced by the company’s Kingston Digital Europe affiliate, the Datatraveler HyperX Predator 3.0 is shipping now in a 512GB model, with the 1TB capacity set to be available later in the first quarter.
The new drive is also slated as the fastest USB 3.0 flash drive in the Kingston storage line, with read speeds of up to 240MB/s and write speeds of 160MB/s, according to the firm.
“The large capacity and fast USB 3.0 transfer speeds allow users to save time as they can access, edit and transfer applications or files such as HD movies directly from the drive without any performance lag,” said Ann Keefe, Kingston regional director for the UK and Ireland.
Featuring a casing made of zinc alloy for shock resistance and high-end design, the Datatraveler HyperX Predator 3.0 also comes with a custom Kingston key ring and a HyperX valet keychain.
The new drive is fully certified for Superspeed USB 3.0 operation, while keeping backwards compatibility with USB 2.0 to allow it to be used with older computer hardware.
Pricing for the 1TB Datatraveler HyperX Predator 3.0 drive has yet to be disclosed, but the shipping 512GB version carries a recommended price of $600.
Verizon Communications can reap hundreds of millions of dollars of new revenue in coming years from wireless services beyond the mobile phone, in areas ranging from healthcare and automobiles to energy management, the company’s top executive said on Monday.
The No. 1 U.S. mobile carrier joins other companies expected to debate and demonstrate the benefits of connecting devices – like cars – to the Internet at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Operators like Verizon consider this an important new business.
“It’s safe to say this is a market potential of billions in the 2020 timeframe,” Lowell McAdam told Reuters in an interview. This should translate into a market with “hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue for a company the size of us,” he said.
“People will be really surprised at what we’re able to do,” he said. “The power of the networks is finally going to be able to provide these sort of things.
“In 2013 and 2014 you’re going to begin to see that.”
Taking wireless access beyond the mobile device is expected to become a major theme this year in Vegas. And McAdam said the so-called “Internet of Things” would be a big theme of his own keynote speech.
For example, wireless connections can allow doctors to remotely diagnose an illness and direct a pharmacist to administer medication, McAdam said. He also talked about public safety improvements, such as the ability of firefighters to navigate a burning building with an infrared camera that has wireless access to its layout.
Verizon’s biggest rival, AT&T Inc, announced on Monday that it is pushing ahead with its plan to develop a wireless home security service.
Toyota’s wireless system will be compatible with the Qi standard and it will be introduced in the new Avalon sedan next year. Of course, it will be optional and it will be part of Toyota’s $1,950 “technology package” which includes other geeky goodies as well.
According to the BBC, Chrysler is also planning to offer a similar system in the Dodge Dart. Other car-makers will no doubt offer wireless charging functionality sooner rather than later.
The number of Qi compatible phones is limited for the time being. Just 34 phones support it, including the Lumia 920, Nexus 4 and HTC Windows Phone 8X. However, some very popular devices like Apple’s iPhone and Sammy’s Galaxy S series phones don’t support wireless charging just yet.
Kingston has announced the release of the 128GB version of its Wi-Drive, a Wi-Fi enabled, battery powered, external storage device.
Previously available in 16, 32 and 64GB capacities, the Wi-Drive now boasts even more storage, 128GB to be precise. The Wi-Drive features integrated W-Fi and has a battery life of around four hours, according to Kingston.
The Wi-Drive is designed to offer easy file sharing and pocket-sized portable storage for Wi-Fi enabled devices like Apple iPad, iPhone and iPod touch as well as Android devices, like Kindle Fire or Google’s Nexus family, which lacks microSD support.
It also features the Wi-Drive App that is available on Apple App Store, Google Play and Amazon Appstore in case you are running any of those Kindle devices. It allows simultaneous data access and file sharing for up to three users.
Unfortunately, the price or the actual availability date have not been announced, but a quick check on our favorite search engine shows it listed at $200.00.
Qualcomm is set to make a $120m investment in troubled Japanese display maker Sharp.
Rumours had been floating around that Qualcomm was looking to make an investment in Sharp, and the display maker has confirmed the investment. Qualcomm initially will invest $60m in Sharp through its Pixtronix subsidiary by the end of 2012 to help develop Sharp’s IGZO display technology.
Qualcomm will make a further $60m investment in Sharp should the initial work on its IGZO displays seem promising. Should Qualcomm complete the $120m investment in Sharp, that will make it the single largest shareholder with around five percent of the firm, primarily due to the fact that Sharp’s share price has fallen by almost 75 percent in 2012.
While Sharp said it will work with Qualcomm on further developing its display technology, the two firms will also look at working together on developing chip fabrication technologies.
It had been reported that Intel and Dell were also sniffing around Sharp, while Hon Hai is known to be looking to make a stake in the firm, though its demand for a seat on Sharp’s board is likely the main sticking point in negotiations. Sharp has warned that its future is in doubt if it cannot secure investment to repay large debts it amassed as part of its LCD manufacturing push back in 2006 and 2007.
Qualcomm’s decision to back IGZO displays could see it promoting that as part of a package to smartphone and tablet makers that opt for the firm’s popular Snapdragon line of system-on-chips. However Sharp likely will need more than $120m to realize the promise of IGZO displays.
Apple lovers who were dumb enough to buy the iPad Mini when there were better and cheaper products out there are now moaning that the rubbish screen is giving them headaches and eye-strain.
Over on the MacRumors forums there’s a thread opened by a customer complaining at the iPad mini’s small text on display. The reader, “Martylaa” posted that while he love the mini more than his iPad 3 he has worked that the screen is hard work in his eyes for reading my books. He complained that when he loaded Internet sites up he had to expand the screen otherwise it’s a strain on his eyes.
He claims his vision is perfect but the smaller screen and the text size on pages is starting to make him think he might return it and get one in the future when the screen is Retina. Apparently he was not the only one. Many of who are returning (or have returned) the mini for a full-size iPad 4.
The small text comes about because it’s shrunk to fit the smaller display and the lower resolution means it’s fuzzy. Of course Apple fans everywhere have been rushing to defend the toy and no doubt will do so below. What we have noticed is that the iPad Mini caused some problems for Apple fanboys. Normally Apple releases higher spec models each time, but this time it released something that was much lower spec than its iPad 4.
As a result we saw people on Facebook actually trying to sell their iPad 4 so they could get the new mini. They reasoned that if it was later it must actually be better.
Most experts have estimated the iPad Mini’s cannibalization rate at between 10% and 20%, but Sameer Singh of Tech-Thought came up with a number around 50% after pulling sales data from the recent Apple-Samsung patent infringement court case.
Apple launched the 7.9-in. iPad Mini last week at prices starting at $349; the smaller tablet reaches retail on Friday, Nov. 2, when pre-orders will also be delivered.
The tablet is currently back-ordered two weeks for all configurations.
By Singh’s calculation, the iPad Mini will have a cannibalization rate of 50% or higher. In other words, at least half of the iPad Mini sales will come at the expense of larger iPads as customers choose the less-expensive device.
He came to that conclusion by using sales data for the iPad 2 that was disclosed during the Apple-Samsung trial. That data, said Singh, indicated that the iPad 2, after it had been reduced to $399 at the March launch of the third-generation iPad, was not only the single-most-popular iPad model during the quarter, but that its cannibalization rate was most likely between 58% and 61%.
Although Singh’s prediction of iPad Mini cannibalization can’t be checked until January, when Apple releases sales figures for the last three months of 2012, the boom in iPad 2 sales that he used as a precondition can be by looking at the ASP, or “average sales price,” of iPads overall.
Apple announced a smaller version of its popular Ipad tablet on Tuesday, the Ipad Mini. With a price of $329.00 dollars, those in the market for a 7in tablet have argued it’s a little more expensive than hoped, especially considering that Google’s Nexus 7 tablet is selling for a starting price of $199.00 dollars.
But not everyone agrees. Speaking to The INQUIRER, Gartner research director Roberta Cozza said that pricing the Ipad any lower could damage Apple’s brand, which is known for its traditionally premium priced products.
“The price that they have kept is good for them and they didn’t go too low. Doing so could hurt the brand and I don’t think they could have gone lower,” Cozza said.
“Over the year they may introduce a 64GB version and maybe lower the price of the 16GB version, like they did with the Iphone.”
Cozza said that despite Apple being recognised for its innovation, the Ipad Mini release is Apple responding to a trend.
“They’ve defined the tablet market with the 10in but with this one it’s more of a reaction to something that’s new. It’s still good for them, however, that they have kept in the old Apple fashioned way a premium offering despite going for lower costs.”
Cozza also thinks that the Ipad Mini will be successful in the run-up to Christmas despite Google’s lower priced rival tablet because of two critical factors, the first being the Apple brand and secondly, the tablet’s design.
“Consumers that are interested in buying a tablet which can be an additional device on top of what they already have, buyers will consider two main things, the design and the brand – when picking a tablet.
“The Apple brand I think, compared to the Nexus brand to a consumer is stronger. Some consumers will consider its association with Google and some not, then there is the ecosystem story.
“I think today Apple has the strongest ecosystem. For example, the smartphone market so big and you have so many applications, I think the ecosystem around the Iphone and Ipad and now the Ipad Mini is stronger in terms of content applications which are also optimized for that form factor.”
Cozza argued that “price isn’t everything when it comes to tablets” and said that consumers will also consider other factors when buying a tablet, even on this lower end tier of the market.
This could possibly change next week when Google holds its Android event. The search engine firm is staying mum about what it will announce, but we might see some new tablet devices. If true, Cozza said that Google really needs to announce a device that really “steps up” its ecosystem around the tablet, otherwise the battle against the Ipad Mini – which offers “lower costs but a premium offering from the point of view of the ecosystem” – is going to be tough.
Announced to challenge the Google Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire HD, the Apple Ipad Mini features a 7.9in 1024×768 touchscreen. Apple was keen to point out that this screen is 29 percent larger than the one on Google’s Android 4.1 Jelly Bean tablet and offers a 49 percent larger web browsing experience, due to the tabbed browser and onscreen controls found on the Android operating system.
This 7.9in table is powered by a dual-core A5 chip and measures 7.2mm thick. According to Apple, the Ipad Mini is “as thin as a pencil, and lighter than a notebook,” weighing just 308g.
Google’s Android operating system will be more prevalent on computing devices than Microsoft’s Windows within four years, data from research firm Gartner showed on Wednesday, underlining the huge shift in the technology sector.
At the end of 2016, there will be 2.3 billion computers, tablets and smartphones using Android software, compared with 2.28 billion Windows devices, Gartner data showed.
That compares to an expected 1.5 billion Windows devices by the end of this year, against 608 million using Android.
Android, which reached the market only in 2008, has risen fast to be the dominant smartphone platform, controlling two-thirds of that market. It has taken the No. 2 spot in the fast-growing tablet computer market.
The proliferation of the free software gives Google its edge on the search market – its key profit generator.
Worldwide shipments of personal computers fell by over 8 percent in the third quarter, the steepest decline since 2001, as more consumers flock to increasingly powerful tablets and smartphones for more basic computing.
Microsoft’s Windows has dominated the personal computer industry for decades, but the company has struggled to keep up with shift to wireless, and in smartphones its market share is around 3 percent.
It seems that Reuters is getting ready for Windows 8 to be a big turkey by dusting off an old yarn about how the OS will fail because businesses are not going to be early adopters.
“There was once a time when the launch of a new Windows operating system was a huge deal for the technology departments in many businesses. Not anymore. Microsoft Corp’s release of Windows 8 on Friday is likely to be a non-event for most companies — and some experts say many may never adopt it,” a Reuters hack tapped onto his iMac. They have a point, businesses will be slow to adopt Windows 8 and a large chunk of them will stick to Windows XP until you prise it from their cold dead hands.
But that is what always happens. Corporates are rarely bleeding edge adopters of any operating system. It does not mean that Windows 8 is going to be a turkey, it might well be Microsoft’s next Vista, but you are not going to tell by looking at corporate adoption.
A corporate who rolls out a new operating system before it has bedded in is asking for a shedload of headaches it does not need. Windows 7 is stable enough for most businesses and those who do upgrade from XP do have a place to go. Where Reuters gets things right however is that Microsoft it its bid to push into the consumer market might have left out businesses from their equation all together.
Doug Johnson, head of risk management policy at the American Bankers Association, whose members are among the world’s biggest technology buyers is quoted as saying that Windows 8 is more of a consumer platform than it is a business platform, so it’s not something that makes any sense from a business perspective.