Site build projects often include many stakeholders—developers, designers, marketing staff, and managers make up the core of most teams—and they all have different objectives and different personal stakes in the project.
It's finally official…the Motorola Xoom Android tablet wifi edition is coming to retail stores on March 27th for $599. Engadget is reporting that you'll be able to find these nearly everywhere: Amazon, Best Buy, Costco, RadioShack, Sam's Club, Staples and Walmart are all getting in on the Android action.
The Xoom is an impressive piece of hardware, and is certainly the best of the Android tablets yet available…but that's currently a pretty thin crowd, and it still doesn't have the sort of "why buy me" answers that the iPad 2 has. I like the Xoom a lot, and Motorola has a good track record with Android devices. But I think the next few months are going to be pretty rough for all of the upcoming Honeycomb tablets.
UPDATE: The Xoom is now available for pre-order via Amazon and other retailers.
You might have heard that last week, Apple announced the follow-up to its iPad, the iPad 2. There's a lot to say about the iPad 2, but I'm going to hold off until I actually get to hold one before I write about it. Below, however, is the promotional video that Apple put together for the iPad, and it's worth a watch, if only to see the extraordinary ways that they are being used around the world.
I’ve talked a bit about the gadgets that I love, and about the new ones that I saw at CES, but I haven’t really ever talked about the accouterments for the gadgets—The cases, or bags, or other accessories that make dealing with the gadgets a little easier. So I’m going to talk about a few of them this week, starting with my favorite massively protective these-cases-could-stop-bullets manufacturer: Pelican Cases.
If you need a case for any random electronic thing, from an iPod all the way up to audio gear for a major music tour, Pelican has the case for you. Their cases are manufactured out of the toughest plastic you'll ever need, and the foam inserts are either pre-molded to the gear you specify or can be customized by you to fit what you need. The example to the left there is a demo unit they had at CES 2011 that carries the Apple Bluetooth keyboard, iPad, power adapter and cable, and earbuds and folds up with a handle to be carried like a small briefcase. They didn’t know when they would have this particular piece available for sale, but it’s on my list of “keep my eyes open for” because it was thoughtfully designed, and very useful if you travel.
I have suggested Pelican Cases to libraries that have asked me for a rugged solution to put “kits” of electronics in (maybe a video streaming kit, or a podcasting kit, etc). Pelican cases are, admittedly, expensive … but they are built like tanks and will last forever. Check them out if you’re in need of a good case for something.
This morning Apple announced updates to their MacBook Pro laptops, and while some of the rumored upgrades didn't make it in this time around (where is my SSD boot partition?), the new systems are still an improvement from the previous models. All three sizes of MacBook Pro were carried forward (13", 15", and 17") with processor upgrades on the 13" and 15" taking the total number of possible prices to five, ranging from $1199 at the low end to $2499 at the high.
From the technical point of view, these new systems are exciting because they are the first Macbooks to use the newest Intel chipset, Sandy Bridge. Very fast, and with a new architecture that promises to make these new laptops blinding for most common operations, these laptops are the equal of most desktop systems for even processor intensive tasks like rendering video.
For the average user, two new features are likely to make the most difference. Apple has upped the resolution on the built in webcam, which promises HD video quality for recording and for apps like Facetime. The other upgrade is harder to get a handle on just yet, but promises to be potentiall important for the future: Thunderbolt (the protocol formerly known as Light Peak).
Thunderbolt seems to be Apple's next-generation connection, co-developed by Intel, and hopefully soon to be seen in lots of other laptops, desktops, and peripherals. It leapfrogs USB 3.0 in terms of overall connection speed (Thunderbolt starts at 10Gbps, USB 3.0 at 3Gbps or so), and in technical versatility (Thunderbolt is also capable of carrying video signal a la Displayport). More than anything else, it seems poised to change the way we deal with peripherals, since it has the bandwidth to be capable of being a single connection that carries everything; display, external hard drive, camera connections, and more. USB will still be around for a good long time, and it's entirely possible that Thunderbolt may end up being the Firewire of the next decade…really useful if you need it, but ignored by the vast majority of the world.
Boingboing is reporting that the first DMCA notice specifically relating to 3D printing has been sent. I wrote about my increasing fascination with fabbing over on the ALA Techsource blog this month, and the copyright issues that are going to be brought to light in this new creative arena are in their infancy. This will get very messy, very quickly.
Anyone want to make a guess as to when libraries will start trying to organize and collect these 3D files? Is anyone out there already?
Engadget is reporting that the Kno tablet, which was being pushed as an answer for electronic textbook access, appears to be trying to sell off its hardware division. Kno apparently has managed to ship only a few hundred of their tablets, and with this latest piece of news it appears as if the hardware side of their business isn't going to be the savior of the higher education eBook set. If you had been waiting on a Kno, it looks like you'll be waiting a lot, lot longer.
For those of you that have been holding out for a non-iPad tablet, you’ve got just about a week to wait. While the Samsung Galaxy Tab has been out for some time, the first tablet to launch with Android 3.0 Honeycomb (the version of Android designed for tablets) will launch next week. The rumor mill seems to have settled on an on-sale date for the Motorola Xoom of Feb 24th, or next Thursday. The 3G model is set to sell for $799, with a free upgrade promised to 4G when it become available. A wifi-only version looks like it will retail for $600, identical pricing to the iPad 32Gig.
Who’s been waiting for this? Anyone going to run out and buy one immediately?
Google today announced the launch of Google OnePass, a flexible payment subscription service aimed at publishers who want to have recurring payments for content. This seems to me a response to Apple's recent announcement of their subscription service for the iPad, since OnePass allows for web-based subscriptions to mobile devices.
It will be curious to see which publishers decide to go with the Google model, and how it will effect library purchasing moving forward.