http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/0,28757,2029497,00.html

The rumours were correct Barnes and Noble just unveiled the NookColor, a 7′ 1024×600 coloured LCD touchscreen, Wifi (no 3G)… I won’t go into the full specs, there’s plenty of websites that have that covered.

So how successful will it be? only time will tell, but with the addition of their Nook Kids platform, which is due to have titles available in the next couple of weeks, a colored touchscreen Nook was essential. While there are numerous interactive childrens books available for the Apple AppStore with new ones appearing daily, parents are unlikely to handover their expensive iPads or iPhones to their kids for long, although an iPod Touch isn’t so heart stopping, so makes a popular alternative. It fits in the pocket, can be stuffed full of children’s music, films, TV shows and of course books, so great for long car journeys or days out.

With Amazon sticking to their mantra of, legibility and highest possible quality screen technology first and foremost, LCD is not an option, e-ink only for Kindles, no touchscreen layer either, plus 3G and 1 month battery (although I find mine lasts 16-17 days max).

So B&N are stepping into new territory, with a device that is a cross between an eReader and an iPad (and lets face it, everyone is going to make that comparison even if it is unfair). Could the NookColor fall into the same trap that the NetBook has, that middle ground where it’s useful, but it doesn’t excel at anything. It won’t have a battery life that is anywhere near a Kindle, it’s screen will be very difficult to read in bright sunlight and it doesn’t have 3G, so as an eReader it falls short of it’s main rival.

Then there’s the iPad, it won’t have anywhere near the same level of functionality, or the plethora of Apps, it does have a web browser, but it too won’t support flash, which would have been a major plus if it did. I know it’s unfair to compare it to the iPad, after all it’s half the size and half the price, but that’s what consumers and the market will do.

So the nookcolor to me is in a bit of a no mans land, although there’s nothing wrong with that, if they etch out a big enough niche that leads the way and shows other eReader manufacturers that there’s a demand for this type of device, then maybe it will excel, but it has a tough job on it’s hand… but who knows, maybe it will become the hardware of choice for Android hacks!

more info nookcolor

DVD Zero, Downloads One

October 21, 2010

Apple today showed off their latest bit of techno-lust, the MacBook Air and I must say it’s rather gorgeous. It’s lighter, slimmer and more powerful than ever, and it even costs less! Also worth noting is that they no longer give you the option replacing the harddrive with a flash drive, as flash drives now come as standard! So all in all a fantastic piece of kit… but it doesn’t end there, as with previous models the MacBook Air doesn’t come with an optical drive built in, but it did come with an installer DVDROM should you need to re-install the OS (which you did by sticking the DVDROM in another Mac on your network). But that was never an elegant solution, not up to scratch with Apple’s usual ease of use. So this time Apple have replaced the DVDROM with a USB flash stick! Which I might add, happens to be one of the best looking USB sticks I’ve ever seen!

But it doesn’t end there either… Apple also updated their iLife suite but they didn’t include iDVD in their updates, it’s not even on the DVD, although you can still get the old version off their website as a download.

but of course this is Apple, so there’s one more thing!

Apple gave a sneak peak of Lion, it’s next OSX 10.7, but what they also previewed was their new Mac App Store, not to be confused with their App Store (which sells apps for iOS devices, like the iPhone, iPod and iPad)… oh no, this new store sells software for your Macintosh.

So how long before Apple no longer supplies, or start limiting supplies of it’s software on physical media such as DVD’s? This is many advantages, for both Apple and the consumers, limits piracy, and allows the user easier updates and installation. It won’t be long before you can purchase all of your Mac software this way. Note Apple are about to complete building their $1bn data centre, just outside silicon valley.

When Apple released the iMac without a floppy drive the press went crazy, saying Apple was mad, but of course they were bang on the money, (Shift Happens are you ready for it?) then they went after the audio CD with iTunes and the iPod, they’re after the movie industry and DVDs with downloaded movies, direct to your iOS devices and iTunes, plus their hobby the Apple TV (plus it’s worth mentioning they’ve never included any sort of BluRay drive or playback on the Mac)… and now they’re after the software industry and DVDROM. They may not have given the DVDROM a good kicking just yet, but they’ve got their sights on it, and going by past experience, they’re probably succeed.

Anyone that’s in magazine or print design and isn’t looking seriously at the iPad and eBooks is on very dangerous ground… it’s time to wake up and smell the coffee

Magazines of Tomorrow

Having already tested the water with an issue using e-Ink technology, it’s interesting to see Esquire extending the user experience of their paper based magazine with online media, I see this as a terrific medium for marketeers & advertisers, but also educational titles or children’s books where the story or information can be brought to life in a way that cannot be achieved using print media alone.

At Vision360 we created numerous projects for live events using Augmented Reality that allowed delegates to control screens and access further information, plus additional languages, but it’s an interesting development to see AR being utilised in mainstream magazine publishing, hopefully it won’t be long before we see more of this type of thing.

more info about the Esquire project here here

Here’s a couple more examples of AR, the first is a simple 3D flash file, the second is an iPhone App.

EigenHarp

October 20, 2009

is it a stringed instrument?  is it a keyboard? is it wind instrument? the answer is yes!

The EigenHarp is weird looking instrument, but very interesting, it’s the sort of instrument that wouldn’t look out of place at the Chalmun’s Catina in Tatooine… expect it to appear at a Peter Gabriel, or Jan Hammer revival concert near you soon 😉

This morning I was sent an interesting video demonstrating a conceptual approach to a Multi-Touch GUI (Graphic User Interface). The concept has been well thought through and the video speaks for itself, so I won’t go into detail here, but they also touch upon (no pun intended), the notion of a 3D OS (Operating System). Personally I don’t see 3D OS GUI’s as the future (I don’t think 10/GUI do either), as no matter what you do, you’ll only have a 2D screen as your display interface (horizontal & vertical only, no real world depth).

I couldn’t help but be reminded of a website that demonstrates the exact opposite to multi-touch, don’t click it, whereby you navigate around without a single click! OK, it’s not a full OS concept, but it’s worth a look, it’s a little weird at first, but you’ll get used to it after a few seconds.

Of course you could really go out on a limb and consider simply looking at the computer screen to navigate! Sound a little too Minority Report & far fetched? think again! With the majority of laptops and more & more screens containing built in webcams, it’s unlikely to be long, before navigating around a screen like a fighter pilot is common place, plus the advantages for the physically handicapped are obvious.

Created by 10/GUI. There’s also plenty of interesting feedback & suggestions on the vimeo page that’s worth reading.