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Tag: nook color

Tablet Nirvana

Posted by tomwiles at 11:21 PM on January 31, 2013

I’ve been playing around with tablets for a while now along with several smartphones along the way, and I believe I’m getting very close to my idea of what the ideal tablet should be.

I started out with a Nook Color. The original Nook Color is a nice piece of hardware with a beautiful 7″ inch color screen, but the hardware behind it was somewhat lacking. The original Nook Color’s processor was a bit slow, and the performance lagged somewhat. I even experimented with other versions of Android on it. What I found was that I loved the 7″ inch 16 x 9 format color screen size, which is close to ideal, but the processor was too slow, it didn’t have an integrated GPS chip, nor did it have functioning Bluetooth capability. Overall, the hardware just wasn’t enough to push it beyond the locked-down version of Android that Barnes and Noble shipped on it. I ended up finding the Nook Color a good home and sold it.

Next, I got an iPad 2. I really like the iPad, and I still have it. The iPad 2 came close to the ideal tablet, but it lacked an integrated GPS chip. It is also a bit bulky to easily handle with one hand. The problem came with the upgrade to iOS 6. I drive a truck over-the-road, and I was constantly using the integrated Google Maps. Google’s satellite maps are very clear and detailed, and I often make use of Street View as I’m constantly having to travel to new places I’ve never been before. iOS 6 ripped out the quite superior Google Maps and substituted Apple’s inferior also-ran excuse for a replacement. I can see no good reason for them doing this, other than a lame back-stabbing attempt to punish Google for coming out with Android. I am still quite unhappy with the loss of mapping functionality. Of course I realize that I can simply go to the Google Maps website and use Google’s satellite maps along with Google Street View, but doing it through the browser is an inferior experience to what the original iPad Google Map once was before iOS 6 took it away. By the way, I’ve never found much use for the integrated cameras in the iPad 2. Mostly I’ve used the forward-facing camera for occasional video Skype or Facetime chats.

A few days ago, I purchased a 32 gigabyte Nexus 7 manufactured by Asus, priced at $249 for the 32 gigabyte version and $199 for the 16 gigabyte version. After using the Nexus 7 for a while, I think I might be in tablet heaven. I love the 7″ inch 16 x 9 widescreen size. It can easily be held in one hand. Also, it will easily fit in many inside coat pockets.

The Nexus 7, which of course comes with Google Maps and turn-by-turn street navigation, has an integrated GPS chip. It also has a powerful quad-core Tegra 3 processor, along with full Bluetooth functionality. It has a forward-facing camera for video chatting, along with great battery life, and a stellar high definition screen.

I’m finding that I’m tending to reach for the Nexus 7 rather than the iPad 2. The Nexus 7 is so light. The iPad 2 now feels a bit clunky and kludgy.

Am I ready to sell the iPad? Not just yet. I want to wait a while and see how it shakes out. It’s still handy to be able to have two separate devices to watch streaming videos on — when one runs down, I can switch to the other if I don’t have them plugged in.

The Nexus 7 is an incredible value. Now that the vast majority of apps also come in Android versions, why needlessly spend hundreds of dollars extra for a product where the manufacturer has a proven history of deleting popular functionality with so-called upgrades?

Apple’s Black Friday Deals Don’t Feel Like Much

Posted by J Powers at 12:16 PM on November 23, 2011
Apple Black Friday Teaser

Apple Black Friday Teaser

Ah, Black Friday. The day where you push and shove to get in a store for a “Doorbuster deal”. This year, Apple will be getting in the game with their own Black Friday Deals. But are the supposed price reductions a discount, or a slap in the face to the consumer?

Apple is doing something they haven’t in a long time. Put a sale on their computers. Usually, if you want to buy a Mac, prices are set and you have no choice. However, this holiday season, Apple is doing something different – they’re putting devices on “Black Friday” deals.

According to 9to5mac.com, this Friday you can get a 16GB iPad2 for $458 – A $41 discount. Macbook Air, Macbook Pro and iMac will all get $101 discounts, and iPod Nano and Touch will get a $11 discount. accessories will also be discounted.

So the best deal out of the group is the Macbook Air for $898. While it is a discount to normal prices, this doesn’t feel like a Black Friday deal. Usually, if you stand in a line for hours, you can get a free MP3 player or 20″ LCD TV. You can get a 20% discount on certain items in the store.

Apple’s discount is about 10%.

With Kindle Fire being $199 and nook color at $249, then add in the fact that Blackberry Playbook just got reduced to $300, Apple’s $41 discount on an iPad might not be the magic number for people to get excited in standing in a Apple Store line on November 25th. Then again, Apple always has been about quality, and with quality comes price.

Still, some fans hold Apple products on a silver pedestal. They will pay whatever price Apple puts in front of them. So a $41 discount might be a big deal to someone who wants an iPad.

Conspicuously missing was any price breaks for iPhones. Especially since Best Buy posted their Black Friday circular (in which an Apple TV is $10 off). Some other phones will be 30-50% off on Friday.  Six Android smartphones will be free (with 2 year activation).

The LG Thrill is one of those phones – a 4G phone with glasses-less 3D technology. It matches the specs to an iPhone 4S. That would be a good reason to hit Best Buy when they open.

Still, any discount is a good one. So get your running shoes on and get ready for a long day in shopping lines. Unless you are like me, waiting for Cyber Monday to get all the deals online…

Price of Chromebook Drops. Will You Buy it Now?

Posted by J Powers at 1:00 PM on November 21, 2011
Chromebook Display at Google Places Event

Chromebook Display at Google Places Event

Google announced they are dropping the price of the Chromebook by 30%. Some Chromebooks will be as low as $299. But questions still arise if a Chromebook is in your holiday wish list, when you can get a Kindle Fire, nook Color for less. Even the iPad could be in more stockings than the ultra-portable laptop.

Chromebook came out back in June as Google’s answer to a PC that didn’t have a complicated OS to it. You would load the Chromebook up to a Chrome browser; inside, all your applications would be in the cloud and the data you create would also mostly reside in a cloud drive. However, if you were in a 3G deadspot or didn’t have Wifi, then your work would be rather limited.

Competing with a Tablet

Chromebook’s price drop is pretty much an attempt to counter the prices of the Kindle Fire and nook color tablets, which debuted to the general public last week at $199 and $249 respectively. The tablet – which you could connect a bluetooth keyboard and mouse – could technically become a more functional notebook than a Chromebook itself. And with prices at $100 lower than the device,  will a Samsung or Acer Chromebook even be in your holiday purchase radar?

What is Chromebook’s Market?

Google Chair at SF Airport

Google Chair at SF Airport

Chromebook has to figure out where their niche is going to be. Maybe as a laptop for the kids, or a machine you can keep in the kitchen to call up recipes or as a kiosk in a public place? Back in September, I saw the Chromebook lounge in the San Francisco Airport. Those kiosks would be great for people that have hours to wait but don’t have a computer to check their Facebook profiles or email on.

Remember when the Netbook was a popular item two years ago? What happened to that? The answer is the netbook disappeared fast. You can still get a netbook, but just like the Chromebook, why should you spend $300 or more for a device that is the same speed and power as a Kindle Fire or nook Color?

So now we can start to see the impact of these two new tablets are bringing to the holiday shopping season. Chromebook has to compete with something more compact and useable. Google has not released any data regarding Chromebooks sold, but a DigiTimes report (premium content site) says it all:

“In June 2011, Acer and Samsung launched their Chromebooks ahead of other PC brand vendors, but by the end of July, Acer had reportedly only sold 5,000 units and Samsung was said to have had even lower sales than Acer, according to sources from the PC industry.”

What does that mean to Chromebook? Simply: It’s time to drop prices and hope the Chromebook will sell well in Q4.