This holiday, consumers will have at least three strong new consumer electronics products from which to choose converging around a $299 entry price — the Nintendo Wii U (basic set), the Kindle Fire HD 8.9, and the iPod touch. The other product that comes close and which may give that all a strong run for their money is the $329 iPad mini.
While these products may come with different descriptions worthy of Breakfast Club-style stereotypes — the video game, the tablet and the media player — it’s a sign of the times is that all are platforms and converged devices. The main differences are the size of the screen they address and the maturity and the strength of the ecosystems they support.
Sean Hollister at The Verge writes a great piece about AMD’s woes which, among other criticisms, notes that AMD stayed out of the netbook market for too long. But with the low margins and eventual collapse of the netbook market as it had previously existed, that might have been a wise business decision. Perhaps the best thing gained from being in the old netbook market would have been gaining a greater understanding of the new ultramobile market of tablets and hybrids running Windows 8 and RT with Clover Trail and ARM processors. Obviously, AMD will need to be a strong player here to be competitive and would be consistent with a move into ARM.
A bigger canvas provides a better case for buying multiple Dropcams.
The fitness-minded ANT+ (originally Advanced and Adaptive Network Technology although most traces of its origins have been wiped from the Web) protocol created by Dynastream Innovations (which sounds like a Hollywood invention) and later adopted by Garmin (presumably to complement its Forerunner wristwear for now) now has a directory of products. The diversity of the offerings is no doubt meant to show off industry momentum. However, at 311 products listed, it also shows the protocol’s vulnerability to Bluetooth Smart, which is heir apparent to the short-range radio in billions of devices.
As it comes to market with new Android-based tablets boasting impressive pixel density (but not as impressive as other devices), Barnes & Noble has teamed with its joint venture partner Microsoft to roll out Nook for Windows 8. Other than the relatively early adoption of a new platform, there’s not much remarkable about the announcement of support per se. However, it doesn’t indicate an intermediate step toward a Windows-based Nook. You can use Nook for Windows 8 or Windows RT from any manufacturer that has jumped in, including the Surface, However, Barnes & Noble has invested a lot in the Android platform (coincidentally, its New York office is surrounded by floors occupied by Google). And now that Microsoft has called off the legal dogs, it sees little incentive to change. That said, the larger average sizes of Windows tablets should make for a stronger magazine reading experience for those willing to carry that weight.
Prime Instant Videos are not included. Still, this smells like another step in Amazon inching toward creating a smartphone.
HTC and Verizon made a credible claim of recaptuing the high-end of Android smartphones today with the announcement of the Droid DNA, which revitalizes the testosterone-engorged subbrand with a best-in-class resolution 5″ display. Along with the Lumia 920 at AT&T, the DNA harkens back to the golden era of carrier smartphone exclusives before Apple and Samsung went cross-carrier with their flagships.
Design elements such as he perforated edges were magnified many times in the press conference presentations but are barely perceptible when looking at the device. However, along with the the “spillover” effect on the device’s edge, it makes for a distinctive, gradually revealing design.
Other standout elements include relative comfort for such a large handset, wireless charging, and a widescreen front-facing camera. As impressive as the display was, though, particularly on video, the Internet icon on the home screen looked blotchy. Perhaps it is being scaled poorly to the new ultra-high resolution. The side volume buttons were also nearly flush with the device’s edge, an aesthetic advantage outweighed by an ergonomic disadvantage.
Apple didn’t make an arbitrary decision to withhold Retina on the Mini to save money, upsell more buyers to the iPad 4, or “force” the first generation of iPad Mini owners to upgrade next year. They chose not to ship a Retina iPad Mini because it would be significantly worse than the previous iPads in very important factors.
Marco makes astute observations about the often non-obvious tradeoffs in product design. There are always compromises. However, the new Nook HD has a high-resolution display and presumably has more than three hours of battery life.