E-readers and Hand-Helds and 3-D, Oh My!

The big stories coming out of CES seem to be revolving around three pieces of technology: e-Readers, hand-held mobile devices, and 3-D TVs. Sure there’s articles about digital cameras and Lady Gaga becoming Creative Director for Polaroid, but by far, the big deals seem to be these three. For example:

Plastic Logic has announced the Que Reader, an e-Reader designed for people who need to read, not your run-of-the-mill, reading for fun sort (yes, we still exist). Designed for business professionals, this completely touch-screen e-Ink device allows ease of reading a paper as well as work documents. The Que Reader utilizes proprietary plastic transistor technology (allowing the display to be lightweight and glass-free) and has a screen size of your standard 8.5X11 sheet of paper. Plastic Logic has also signed content deals with  business-oriented publications such as the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and Fast Company.

Sleek Design, Lots of Green

Plastic Logic's QUE Reader

While its processing performance isn’t great, from what I hear, its ability to sync with one’s computer and one’s Blackberry seems to indicate it’s in the running for essential-business-appliance…if there weren’t one glaring problem, as outlined in this PC World article. With a price tag between $650 and $799 (depending on the model), the cost of a laptop with some pretty-good business-minded performance, why should business-folk buy a device that only runs documents? Well, it’s a good point, frankly.

With the rise of the tablet coming, which will bring e-reading to a whole new level, buying expensive hardware like this now seems like a waste of money. Sure, the touch-screen and the size  are nice, and maybe it can be hacked to add some apps, but it’s not color and will be obsolete in five-months at the latest. Any business that invests in these is going to feel a fool about it by April. The great thing for us consumers though is that with the wide availability of e-Readers soon to come about, we’ll be able to pick one up on the cheap, and we don’t have keep up with technology.

Next up making headlines are the hand-held connectivity devices, such as the Motorola Backflip, videoed above. I don’t feel comfortable calling them “phones” anymore, considering how very little they’re used to communicate with others orally. Sure, reporters have gotten their grubby little hands on the Nexus One (as has Stan Lee, co-creator of X-men, Spider-man, and The Hulk) and are quick to point out how Google Voice being tied-in allows one to search and text via speech, but that’s not really the same thing, is it? Anyway, first hearing about the Backflip without knowing how it worked – the thing sounded stupid to me – okay? Then I saw that video upstairs and it’s started to grow on me. It looks like a nifty, well-thought-out device: the touchpad on the back of the screen was a particularly nice touch. It may even persuade me away from a Nexus One, because I like real keyboards – though I am wary about it hanging around the back like that.

Also, interesting news in cell-phone technology: the makers of Magic Jack, a service that allows you unlimited VoIP calls within the United States and Canada, has announced that they are planning to release tech that allows you to utilize the process over your cell-phone. Simply plug the devices (you’ll need a Magic Jack to start) into your computer, and any GSM phone (AT&T and T-Mobile) within 3,000 feet can broadcast into the device – it charges no minutes to your wireless carrier, so your calls are effectively free.

Jeffrey Katzenberg's New Mistress

Samsung 9000-series, Jeffrey Katzenberg's New Mistress

Everyone’s getting on the bandwagon on 3D-TV technology: Sony, Toshiba, and Samsung, as you see in the photo, got the points on thin. It’s a third of an inch thick! This is the Calista Flockhart of televisions, and it’s 3D. The downside? You’ll need glasses to experience the picture on any of them as something besides a headache-inducing blur. My call, as in most of the tech featured at CES, is to hold off getting any of these models because first-tier, straight out the gate, you’re still paying for the R&D that went into the thing, and all the kinks aren’t out the system.

Speaking of which, there must be some difficulties in the journalism chain of command, because I hadn’t heard boo about this until Wired suggested it to me in my research:  Samsung has created (and apparently rushed it from Korea to CES) a translucent OLED display. While no specific device or price has been announced, they’ve totally proven concept here. Forget what I said, your car-time Skype call will come to your windshield heads-up-display.



Filed under Celebrities, News, Technology

5 responses to “E-readers and Hand-Helds and 3-D, Oh My!

  1. Pingback: Into 2010 with a Few Changes | Bus Error: Jake Billo’s Weblog

  2. Nice keep up the good work. where can we subscribe to the sites newletter?

    • Thank you kindly. Sorry to say that I don’t issue a newsletter. However, it should be a simple matter of adding my site to your RSS feed to get updates. I only update once or twice a day, so you shouldn’t be too inundated with my material. Thanks for dropping by though, I look forward to seeing more comments from you!

  3. We really really like Lady Gaga, so sweet. We have as yet to catch up with the girl in concert. Maybe in the near future.

    • Hiya there Myrtle,
      She certainly is a talent – she’s one of those stories where her talent is actually commensurate with her popularity. I totally understand the appeal, and my fiancee is also fairly gaga over her to, so next time she rolls around to Vegas, we’ll probably see her. Let me know when you do get to see her in concert.

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