iPad Challenges Kindle

ChangeWave ResearchMacRumors:

According to the survey, the Kindle leads the iPad 47% to 32%, a dramatically smaller margin than the 62%-16% spread of just three months ago. Both devices dwarf Sony’s Reader (5%) and Barnes & Noble’s Nook (4%) in popularity.

The iPad grows from 16% to 32% while the Kindle drops from 62% to 47%. All of this in just three months. My guess is that the iPad will overtake the Kindle in the next several months.

The one thing that I don’t appreciate about both the iPad and the Kindle in terms of the reading experience is that the text itself is stripped of its unique typography, the Kindle more so than the iPad. With the Kindle every book looks the same. Why cannot e-books use the same fonts as the original paper-based books?

BlackBerry: Perfect Integration with Native Software Stack

CrunchGear:

And speaking of Google, the Google apps for Blackberry reveal just how depressingly myopic Apple’s walled garden approach to apps really is. I know Apple spends a lot of time and money making things work simply and beautifully, but their continued arrogance toward knowing how best users want to use their consumer devices is mind-boggling. I installed the Google Voice for Blackberry app and was absolutely delighted to see two new menu options when clicking on a contact: “Call with Google Voice” and “SMS with Google Voice”. There’s no need to go to a dedicated Google Voice application, as is required with iPhone, because the app perfectly integrates with the native software stack. That, my friends, is what makes a smartphone a smartphone.

In other words, a smartphone is only a smartphone when an app can modify the native UI? I wholeheartedly disagree. I like my experiences compartmentalized because I know what to expect when I launch an app. I don’t want an app to sprinkle stuff all over my user experience on a smartphone. I assume there are app uninstallers for the BlackBerry to wipe the “native software stack” clean?

Apple Smoked The Competition

PCWorld‘s annual reliability survey:

Apple once again smoked the competition in the desktop, notebook, and smartphone categories, winning high praise from customers in all reliability and service categories. The Macintosh and iPhone maker did so well that virtually all its scores were above average.

For smartphones:

Apple fans love the iPhone, but they’re not particularly thrilled with AT&T, which at press time was the exclusive iPhone carrier in the United States. Readers rate AT&T last in voice call quality and data speed, while Verizon Wireless is the overall favorite.

Actually there is one thing that AT&T does much better than Verizon: smooth-as-butter financial transactions month-in and month-out, especially when you want to change features.

HDTVs:

Panasonic, one of the last plasma TV holdouts, topped a tightly packed group of HDTV manufacturers in our survey, edging out LG and Sony. While Panasonic’s support is average, its plasma sets are very reliable and have few serious problems, readers say.

I think plasma is the better technology if you enjoy watching sports, action flicks and especially at night.

Dell Vostro V130 Updated, Still Starts @ US$429

Engadget: The Dell Vostro V130 is still as thin as ever at just 0.65 inch in the front and 0.78 inch in the rear. The 13.3-inch packs 1366×768 pixels and now sports: VGA & HDMI out, two USB 2.0 ports, SIM card slot, and a shared USB/eSATA port. The built-in webcam also gets an upgrade. Not sure exactly what was upgraded though. Another enigmatic feature: Intel’s Advanced Cooling Technology called Hyperbaric Cooling. And last but not least you get two additional color options: Lucerne Red and Aberdeen Silver. Still starts at a bargain-basement price of just $429.

Largan Precision: Lens Module Supplier to iPad 2.0?

DigiTimes:

Largan Precision has declined to comment on market rumors indicating the company will be the sole lens module supplier for Apple’s upcoming iPad 2 […]

Largan is presumed to be supplying Apple its 5-megapixel lens modules for the iPhone 4. The next iPad should sport at least one camera, a front-facing one, for FaceTime functionality. Makes sense to me. A back-facing camera though I find less useful.

Richard Branson’s Project Available Now on iTunes

iTunes UKMac StoriesEngadget: Richard Branson’s Project, an iPad-only e-magazine, is available on iTune stores in Europe and should be available to US customers living in the East Coast in just three and a half hours. The iPad app is free with a full month’s worth of updated content for US$2.99. This is considerably cheaper than what Rupert Murdoch is planning with its 99¢ per issue pricing of the Daily.

Calibrate Your HDTV, You’ll Like it.

The word calibrate might fend off a lot of regular folks who would rather plop down on the comfy sofa and just start watching some good TV. But calibrating isn’t too difficult and once you do, you’ll like your TV even better.

According to Sound & Vision all you need is a Blu-ray player and the right calibration disk. These are the three that were recommended:

  • Digital Video Essentials: HD Basics
  • Spears & Munsil High-Definition Benchmark Blu-ray Disc Edition
  • Disney WOW: World of Wonder

Once you are the proud owner of one of these calibration Blu-ray disks adjust your room lighting to how it would be when you’re watching TV. Next, if you have picture modes, (some TVs don’t, so don’t worry if you can’t find them), then pick one of the three: Movie, Cinema, Theater. Or THX if that is an option.

Now dig through the menu system and look for color temperature. Once you find it change it to 6500, Warm, or Low. If you can find a Gamma setting put it to 2.2 or close to it, or Film. This next bit might take some time: turn all things ‘dynamic’ or ‘automatic’ off. After calibration you can turn them back on if you want to.

Now, stick the calibration disk, play it and follow the instructions. In no time, you’ll be watching what looks like a different, and better, TV!

Comcast Demands Recurring Fee From Level 3 Communications, a Netflix Streaming Provider

Gizmodo:

Level 3, who recently signed a deal to become the primary provider for streaming Netflix content, was pressured by Comcast to pay a “recurring fee” “to transmit Internet online movies and other content to Comcast’s customers who request such content.” After a few days of negotiating, Level 3 paid the fee, ensuring uninterrupted service for Netflix subscribers.

What’s the big deal? Companies like Comcast that own a lot of Internet infrastructure can levy extra fees depending on the type of content that is being sent through their pipes. That’s why net neutrality is important.

There’s another important consideration: didn’t Comcast and other similar companies receive massive amounts of government assistance in the form of tax breaks? In other words, citizens like you funded the connecting pipes that Comcast operates. I am glad I’m not a Comcast customer anymore.

iPhone Commands Loyalty

Reuters reporting on the results of a GfK smartphone loyalty survey:

The survey found that just 25 percent of smartphone owners planned to stay loyal to the operating system running their phone, with loyalty highest among Apple users at 59 percent, and lowest for Microsoft’s phone software, at 21 percent.

Of users of Research in Motion’s BlackBerrys, 35 percent said they would stay loyal. The figure was 28 percent for users of phones running Google’s Android software, and 24 percent for users of Nokia Symbian phones.

Let’s put it more simply:

  • Apple iPhone: 59%
  • RIM BlackBerry: 35%
  • Android: 24%
  • Microsoft: 21%

It isn’t surprising that Microsoft is lowest. Why? Microsoft is in a major transition from suck to quite good. BlackBerry users tend to be loyal because a good portion of their loyalty is to a portrait QWERTY keyboard and universal accessibility to their emails. I don’t know what to say about Android other than that there might be a good chance that its users might become loyal to Google’s cloud syncing capabilities. Google is way ahead of the pack when it comes to cloud-syncing email, calendar, documents, photos, etc.

What more is there to say about the iPhone that hasn’t been already said? The iPhone makes your life easier. As long as you’re in an area with strong AT&T signals.