Don't misconstrue, but I go both ways — I'm a bi e-reader user. My e-book reading odyssey began with the Kindle. Then I started using the Kindle app on my iPhone. I then moved to the second generation Kindle, then to the Kindle and iBook apps on the iPad. I have now returned to a dedicated e-reader, the new Kobo eReader Touch Edition, switching with the Kindle and the iPad Kindle app where I have most of my unread books. As soon as I finish reading my pending Kindle books, I believe I will stay with Kobo. While not exactly typical, I believe I'm not alone in my tablet v. dedicated e-book reader vacillation.
Wander into any electronics store and you'll soon come face-to-face with a wall of "Made for iPhone" accessories, especially earphones. Now, look around the store and find the "Made for Android" accessories area. No, go ahead. I'll wait. Hmmm, hmmmm, hmmm, la de da, tada ta da — Gee, wasn't Irving Berlin a great songwriter? — Do dodo do... Back? Find it? I didn't think so. Which is bizarre, isn't it? According to the latest figures, Android phones comprised 36.4 percent of the smartphone universe, iOS "just" 26 percent, RIM/BlackBerry a shrinking 25.7 percent. Yet there are about as many universal Android-specific accessories as there are happy Miami Heat fans. Here's why — and it's less obvious than you think.
Misdirection. While a magician purposely distracts you with a gratuitous flourish or chatter, the Houdini wannabe performs the sleight-of-hand unobserved. Whether on purpose or by accident, I think Amazon is performing an ingenious misdirection in the wake of the introduction of the cheap "All-New" Nook and the cheaper Kobo eReader Touch Edition ebook readers. Essentially, Amazon is engaging Barnes & Noble over how long two months is. Okay, that's probably misleading, but Amazon is managing to misdirect the conversation away from the real difference between the new Nook and the new Kobo from the old Kindle that could threaten Amazon's ebook dominance.
To the surprise of no one, Apple continues to sell more tablets than anyone else — by some estimates, three of every four tablets sold is an iPad 2. We all think we know why. Apple had a nearly year-long head start, an acolyte user base drawn like lemmings to whatever the company produces, great PR and marketing, a worshipful media, a dominant retail presence — and, okay, it's a pretty good product. But from an objective standpoint, Apple has some potent competitors. Samsung, Motorola and RIM aren't exactly technology or marketing shirkers. And it can be argued that the Galaxy Tab, the Motorola Xoom and the BlackBerry PlayBook are technically superior tablets and offer myriad functional advantages over iPad 2. So why does Apple dominate? One word: Commercials.
Grandma doesn't want her reading cluttered up with apps or other complications and doesn't want to spend a lot of money. With that in mind, Barnes & Noble is now the second e-book company in two days to unveil a cheap, simple monochrome touchscreen e-reader.
Just before Florida real estate swindler-cum-hotelier Groucho tries to explain viaduct/why a duck in the Marx Brothers first film, The Cocoanuts, he asks his potential partner in crime-cum-idle roomer Chico if he knows what a "whole lot" — as in real estate lot — is. Replies Chico, "Yeah, it's-a too much." Uh oh. "Any time you gotta too much, you gotta whole lot. Look, I explain it to you. Sometimes you no got enough, it's too much, you gotta whole lot. Sometimes you got a little bit. You no think it's enough, somebody else maybe think it's-a too much, it's-a whole lot too. Now, it's-a whole lot, it's-a too much, it's-a too much, it's-a whole lot — same thing." Pretty funny, except that sounds exactly like the answers you'd get when you ask cell carriers about smart phone, USB modem, MiFi or international data plans and how much 5GB or 10GB is. Well, it's a whole lot.
Over the next few months, there's going to be a ridiculous amount of jockeying for the title of "World's Most Powerful Cellphone." This week's contender is the long-rumored HTC "Pyramid," which is now officially the HTC Sensation, coming from T-Mobile sometime this summer on its HSPA Plus 4G network. I got a look at it briefly yesterday.
While wandering around midtown Manhattan last Thursday afternoon, I was attempting to keep track of the Yankees opening day game versus the Tigers via the MLB.com At Bat 2011 app on my iPhone. As you can imagine, data reception sucked; several times, the app told me it couldn't access the network. Thanks again, AT&T. I thought for a second about using my iPad by connecting to a local Wi-Fi network. But first I would have had to have identified a public network, then hope Safari could handle the interstitial sign-up pages (which it often can't). Even if I connected successfully, once I wandered out of that particular hotspot coverage area into another I'd have to go through the entire Wi-Fi hotspot location, identification and sign-up rigmarole. Feh. I pocketed my iPhone and just poked my head into the varying bars along my walking route to keep track of the action. Perhaps once the HSPA-Plus "4G" iPhone 5 likely coming later this summer might alleviate some of AT&T's data network problems. In a year, however, local Wi-Fi hotspots could be as easy to connect to as a cell network, thanks to an almost ignored announcement last month concerning a new set of Wi-Fi specifications.
Well, it's official: 3D phones are a trend. An hour after Sprint proudly revealed its EVO 3D, AT&T quietly showed off the LG Thrill at a small after-show cocktail event, another glasses-free 3D phone that snaps and captures 3D stills and movies, and plays 3D games like the forthcoming Nintendo 3DS.
Just how stupid or sane you think 3D is will affect how you feel about the HTC EVO 3D Sprint unveiled this afternoon here in Orlando at the CTIA show. Not only does this latest EVO have a beautiful 4.3-inch 960 x 540 pixel glasses-free "QHD" 3D screen, but it also shoots 3D stills and video.