Kohjinsha Dual Screen Netbook Is Now On Sale

That was some fast work by Kohjinsha. It was was only one a few months ago when Kohjinsha was showing off a dual-screen netbok at CEATEC 2009, Japan. Back then, the company reps said that this was merely a proof of concept and there were no plans for commercial production. Well, now that showing off seems more like a viability test rather than a true showing of a proof of concept. I don’t think there has been this fast a movement from concept to  finish (that too without any initial plans to mass produce) ever. So this was probably a planned move.

After all, they are very serious about their efficiency in Japan. This move sounds too whimsical if it really was decided to be mass produced right after CEATEC without any plans of it before that. So how is this netbook in person? Well, it is like any other netbook but with two separate screens running at once and slightly better specs.

The two 10.1 inch LCDo displays are jammed together side by side when open and they fold back into a normal laptop form factor when folded. Called the DZ, this netbook is packing AMD’s Athlon Neo processor which is better than an Atom Z550 at 2.0GHz. Performance wise, the reviewers tell us that YouTube videos are decent, 720p is slightly problematic and 1080p is extremely poor. WOW-POW did all the testing and apparently the DZ managed to run Castle Wolfenstein pretty smoothly. Well, considering the fact that I had once managed to run the same game on a Pentium III 1.13GHz/256MB SD RAM machine with 5MB onboard VRAM (shared), this is not much. But it does mean that it will be able to run older games at low settings. They could’ve just gone with ION. I guess they are afraid of this becoming too popular and killing their higher models.

It is on sale in Japan right now for the equivalent of $1050 or so.


Interead’s new 3G Reader

Interead is the startup company behind the fun-loving and simple Cool-er eBook reader. It it is no competition to the big wigs like the Sony readers, Kindle or even Nook but it is simple and relatively cheaper eBook reader that does the basic things.

The Cool-er hasn’t been all that popular and that is mainly because it is a first generation device and simply needed time to mature. The UI, the layout of the current model need changing but the menu system has been deemed alright by those who have used it. These things are still small compared to the lack of WiFi on the current model. This is exactly what is about to change on the Cool-er come 2010.

There were already rumors about a new Cool-er emerging early next year and the CEO had hinted at a color touchscreen enabled phone too. For now at least, the company has confirmed that there is a new Cool-er in the works and it will have 3G connectivity for wireless access to content wherever you are.

The company has apparently tied up with AT&T for this. Hopefully the device will also have improvements to the layout and the the UI as well. There have been no images of the new device in circulation, so we are unsure about all the cosmetic changes that the device will surely go through. Still, if Interead is serious about making the Cool-er the ‘iPod’ of the eBook Readers, it has to be a lot more user friendly.

This is just an upgrade to the Cool-er reader. The color touchscreen reader is probably still in the works.


Simon & Schuster Hold Back On eBooks

If you have been looking forward to reading new Simon & Schuster publications on your Kindle or Nook or some other reader, you will have to wait. According to the company’s CEO Caroly Reidy, there should be a delay expected between the the initial release of a book and the release of the eBook version.

That is mainly because the house does not want readers to start thinking that the new novels and such are worth only $10 or so — which is the price that most eBooks tend to charge. We are supposed to wait for the time in between the hardcover release and the paperback release. A more precise estimate was pegged at four months after release.

Four months is a long time and the gap isn’t even natural. This sort of forced gap is not to going to hold up very long in this world of instant data. As for the price, that debate has been going on for years now.

As publishing a book cuts out the physical costs such as paper, printing, binding, shipping and storing, the cost is bound to come down. And the drop in the perceived value of a work of art cannot be avoided all that easily. When you get something for $10 instead of something around 2.5 times that sum, you will automatically attach less value to it. It is only human.

But that does not mean that the digital age will kill of books. Apple made the music industry come off age and make the transition into digital through the iTunes store. Sure they tells us that a song is worth a cent less than $1 but it did manage to keep the industry from dying out and falling prey to piracy. So here’s hoping that these artificial gaps will be closed as soon as possible.

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