Acer has just announced a new Android Smartphone with a 4.8″ 1024×480 resolution super-wide, and it is one sexy beast of a phone. This form factor is as narrow as a normal smartphone can be while fitting inside a pocket. In fact, I suspect that it’s probably not much wider than an iPhone though it is likely an inch or so taller.
Some people are suggesting that this is too wide of a form factor since the 21×9 format doesn’t fit 16×9 video format, but movies are often 1.85 or 2.35 “CinemaScope” format and that fits this display’s aspect ratio perfectly. Furthermore, the super-wide or super-long format is perfect for reading webpages and it should reduce the need to pan and zoom. The 1024 wide resolution also allows you to terminal server into a server with most of the desktop visible, and just a little up/down panning would make the entire desktop visible. I’m hoping the device won’t be too expensive, but I think it’s the perfect largest pocket sized form factor a person can get.
Out of curiosity, I picked up a Cruz e-Reader from Fry’s for $160 this morning because it looked interesting with a 7″ 800×600 display running Android 2.0. This device is apparently tied in with Borders bookstore and it doubles as a cheap Android tablet device. After about 1 minute after I turned it on, I decided to seal it back up in the box so that it can be returned.
As a side note, the Black Friday sale at Fry’s Electronics stunk this year. Nothing good in the processor memory section with no combo deals.
So what’s wrong with the device? Well the chassis actually looked and felt nice with a rubbery non-slip surface in the back and it had an SDHC slot as well as decent speakers. But it was completely ruined by the unresponsive performance of the user interface. Tapping took forever to recognize and the scrolling was extremely choppy just about anywhere you went. Yes I realize it’s positioned as an e-Reader, but I expect a bit more from a color device. I didn’t even bother testing the video playback capability because the sluggish user interface was a nonstarter.
I’ve already got a 7″ Telechip 8902 based Android 2.1 tablet with 800×480 resolution being shipped to me and I expect a decent experience based on this video review (Telechips device form MP4nation.net was garbage, don’t bother). Yes I realize it’s not nearly as nice as a Samsung Galaxy 7″ Tablet with 1024×600 resolution (which feels good in the hands and has a very responsive user interface), but the generic Telechip tablet is $430 cheaper and doesn’t require a data plan. I’ve already got a MiFi for 5 Wi-Fi devices so I don’t want another data plan.
UPDATE 1/5/2011 - I ordered the Telechips based 7″ tablet from MP4nation.net and it took 6 weeks to get to me. Then it came with a European AC power adapter which means I’ll have to buy another EU to US connector to use it. The USB charging doesn’t work with any of the chargers I tried.
Biggest problem is that Android Market is broken on the device.
Device is far more sluggish than showed in the video and the resistive display requires a lot of pressure to make it work. Screen surface doesn’t feel good rubbing, and the front edge feels too sharp that it is uncomfortable to hold. It’s also a lot thicker than the Nook Color. The back feels like cheap plastic instead of the rubbery grip on the Nook Color.
I’m going to be updating this post as I find more things that are interesting.
For the people who depend on mail order, NewEgg has some good stuff (via bfads.net). Here’s a sampler.
The NewEgg Black Friday sale begins tomorrow (Wednesday – 11/24) at 1pm PST (4pm EST). A few high notes from the flyer:
Yes I know there are full blown 15.6″ laptops at Walmart for under $200, but you’ll likely have to camp out all night and risk getting trampled in the morning so I’m disinclined to recommend trying for those unless you’re a starving college student with more time than money. $70 2TB hard drive and a $90 20″ display just seems too good to pass up if you’re looking for those things.
Kinect modified to capture true 3D video
Oliver Kreylos has produced one of the most amazing demonstrations of true 3D video I’ve ever seen using an off-the-shelf Microsoft Kinect. This is not the cheesy stereoscopic tacky “3D” moniker being affixed to recent movie titles but actual video footage that you can rotate in three dimensional space.
Words can’t begin to express how impressed I am with this. Just imagine a football game captured like this. All live events should be captured like this even if it’s only one camera.
After much discussion with a few coworkers, I have come to the conclusion that Americans want to take the same approach about any subject as they do with politics. Sorry for the generalization, but the new American way seems to be that if you don’t like something, have the government ban it. And while I feel that today’s children as well as adults seem to be out of shape in poor physical health, the approach of banning everything bad for you seems to be, pardon the pun but, in bad taste.
I agree that something needs to be done about parent giving their children food that is on par with the food that we feed our animals. But banning something only creates a black market for that object that is banned. Making that object completely unobtainable only makes people want that item more. Prohibition is a classic example of taking a bad substance and making it illegal. People want that substance more, and being from a capitalistic country, someone is always willing to supply their desire for a price. Fast food will not be any different. Just because you take the toy out of the meal doesn’t mean the child will want the meal any less. More than likely, many people will travel just outside of San Francisco to get their child a happy meal just to quiet their child about the latest McDonald’s toy in the happy meal. While I don’t see the majority of parents doing this, I don’t see this as a solution to the problem either. There are more positive ways to push people and companies into doing something that is good for them.
So if I am so quick to dismiss the ban, what then is a better solution? One would be quick to point out the energy tax credits and how quickly people have been buying new and more efficient ways to insulate and heat their homes. I for one am already enjoying the benefits of replacing my windows and plan to also replace my gas furnace as well. While my heating bill will not recuperate the costs of heating my home for a couple more winters, the tax credit was enough of an incentive to move where previously I had not the desire to spend the money needed to replace the furnace and windows. I propose to San Francisco to consider a similar measure.
I have of course a couple of options, and feel free to choose which one you like best. They are yours at no charge, just feel free to give me a nod if this goes to national media:
- Raise taxes on all fast food. Then, give tax cuts based on the amount of the menu is based of of healthy items. If their menu is 100% junk food free, give them a 50% tax break. If the menu is 50% healthy, give them a 25% tax break, and break it down that way.
- Raise taxes on all fast food, and then based on sales of menu items, give the vendors a tax break. That way the fast food joint will not only try to make their menu healthier, but they will also try to steer their customers towards these menu items as well.
While all of these suggestions would probably create a bit of a headache for government as well as creating additional posts in San Francisco for monitoring menu items and sales, monitoring bans of happy meals is not much different. Plus most restaurants who want any tax credit could probably easily pull inventory on how many burgers or salads they sold at any given period just to save a few dollars. Businesses love tax credits, and only a minority really likes a ban on anything.
So there you have my two ideas. Take them as you will.
Online services security report card
Now that the problem of user account “sidejacking” can no longer be ignored, I’ve created an online services report card that highlights which websites protect your account and which don’t.