Amazon Kindle Gets Better and Cheaper

Amazon has announced an updated version of its popular Kindle e-reader. While the performance gains are certainly noteworthy, what’s really interesting is the price of the WiFi-only version: $139. Before I get to the ramifications of that price point, let me hit you up with some bullet points on the new Kindle:

  • 21 percent smaller
  • 15 percent lighter design
  • 50 percent better contrast
  • 20 percent faster page turns
  • Up to one month of battery life
  • Double the storage

I’m a big fan of the Kindle and think it’s a fantastic line of products. That said, I readily admit that it’s facing stiff competition from other e-readers (like the Nook) and tablet computers (like the iPad). The e-reader market is crowded and the tablet market will be full by this time next year. One of the ways the Kindle can beat out the competition is by being the first to achieve the magical $99 price point. The $139 WiFi-only model is practically there.

Are any of you interested in the new Kindle? Are you tempted by the $139 price point?

Coffee Talk #189: How Often Do You Change PCs?

RPadholic smartguy brought up an interesting conversation starter yesterday: how often do you change PCs? Some of my friends get new machines every year. Others have had the same system for more than five years. It’s really all over the place with the people I know and I’m sure it’s the same for you guys.

Welcome to Coffee Talk! Let’s start off the day by discussing whatever is on your (nerd chic) mind. Every morning I’ll kick off a discussion and I’m counting on you to participate in it. If you’re not feelin’ my topic, feel free to start a chat with your fellow readers and see where it takes you. Whether you’re talking about videogames, Eric Roberts entering rehab for marijuana dependency, American Idol possibly going with all-new judges, or Kaval rocking it on NXT, Coffee Talk is the place to do it.

RPadholic smartguy brought up an interesting conversation starter yesterday: how often do you change PCs? Some of my friends get new machines every year. Others have had the same system for more than five years. It’s really all over the place with the people I know and I’m sure it’s the same for you guys.

As for me, I usually stick with a two-year plan. For the first six months I’m very happy with my PCs performance. That changes into bland satisfaction for the next year. The final six months are when I get jealous of all the new features and performance gains found in new products. Due to my work situation, I’m actually several months overdue in my two-year plan, but hopefully I’ll be able to save up for one of those new iMacs soon!

Now it’s your turn! How often do you change PCs?

HTC Evo 4G Spotted Running Android 2.2 with Sense

One of my sources got to see an HTC Evo 4G running Android 2.2 (FroYo) with Sense. This particular Evo was a pre-production model being used by a Clearwire (you know, those WiMax people) employee. My source said that the phone was running wicked fast and responsive (yes, I’m imposing the New England slang to protect my informant).

Now that FroYo with Sense is in the wild, hopefully it won’t be too long before Android 2.2 is available for everyone. My Evo 4G has been neglected in favor of the Motorola Droid X. I’m pretty sure it’s just a temporary dalliance, but getting FroYo would help me dive back into the arms of my Evo 4G.

Update: A friend pointed out that Evo 4G users that have rooted their phones and loaded stock Android 2.2 are unable to get 4G (WiMax) to work. With that in mind, a Clearwire employee field testing 2.2 on the phone makes sense.

Coffee Talk #188: Has Technology Ever Gotten You Out of a Jam?

Last night I was at Ralph’s buying some groceries and the Motorola Droid X helped me save $5. You see, I love taking advantage of promotions. Ralph’s currently has this deal that lets you save $5 for buying 10 participating items. I diligently found sale items that were eligible for the promotion. Getting an additional $5 off items that are already on sale is awesome. As I was walking out the grocery, I noticed that two of the items didn’t register for the promotion and I didn’t get my $5 savings.

Welcome to Coffee Talk! Let’s start off the day by discussing whatever is on your (nerd chic) mind. Every morning I’ll kick off a discussion and I’m counting on you to participate in it. If you’re not feelin’ my topic, feel free to start a chat with your fellow readers and see where it takes you. Whether you’re talking about videogames, if the media is out to get Dez Bryant, spicy BBQ sauce recommendations, or the desktop vs. laptop argument, Coffee Talk is the place to do it.

Last night I was at Ralph’s buying some groceries and the Motorola Droid X helped me save $5. You see, I love taking advantage of promotions. Ralph’s currently has this deal that lets you save $5 for buying 10 participating items. I diligently found sale items that were eligible for the promotion. Getting an additional $5 off items that are already on sale is awesome. As I was walking out the grocery, I noticed that two of the items didn’t register for the promotion and I didn’t get my $5 savings.

Naturally I turned around and went to the service desk. Next I was directed to a manager. As she was checking out customers, I explained my situation and showed her my receipt. She insisted that the two tubes of toothpaste I selected were not part of the promotion and that I needed to buy two more items. Annoyed, I went back to the toothpaste aisle, snapped a picture of the toothpaste that showed it was part of the promotion and returned to the manager. For some reason, this wasn’t enough proof for her and she went to check it out for herself (as if I could doctor photos on a phone in two minutes). After seeing she was wrong (and stupid), she gave my my $5.

So yay for the Droid X for saving me $5!!! Too bad it couldn’t get back the 15 minutes I wasted on the situation. I missed a train home and my ice cream got a little melty. Ha! Today I’d like to know if you have any stories of technology getting you out of a jam. It doesn’t matter if it’s big or small. I’m just curious to see if gadgets or tech have helped you catch a break or get out of a silly situation.

Apple Launches Magical Battery Charger (and New iMacs, Trackpad)

Remember those “amazing products” Apple promised when it announced its Q3 earnings? They’re here! Leading the way is an incredible new battery charger that…uh…recharges batteries! This $29 product comes with six rechargeable batteries and features extremely low “vampire drain” when the AAs are full. Okay, that wasn’t the really exciting product announcement today. Here’s a clip from the press release on the new iMacs and Magic Trackpad:

Starting at $1,199, the new iMac line is the fastest ever with dual-core processor speeds up to 3.6 GHz, quad-core speeds up to 2.93 GHz and discrete graphics including the powerful ATI Radeon HD 5750. The new Magic Trackpad, with a smooth glass and aluminum design, gives iMac users the same intuitive Multi-Touch gestures that Mac notebook customers have come to love and is available separately for $69.

iMac displays feature IPS technology to deliver a brilliant image across a wide 178 degree viewing angle. The SD card slot on the iMac now supports the SDXC format to handle the latest high-capacity storage cards. Customers of the 27-inch iMac have the option to order a 256GB solid state drive (SSD) as a primary or secondary drive. The iMac SSD supports up to 215 MB/s data transfer rates for faster startup and application launch times.

The Magic Trackpad is a pretty interesting device. First of all, it’s magical, which is always impressive. For work purposes, I think mice are stupid and inefficient. I prefer working with a Kensington Trackball; I love the cursor control and that my hand never gets too far from the keyboard. The gesture capability of the Magic Trackpad has the potential to speed up workflow. It’s kind of crap that it’s not included with the new iMacs.

Speaking of which, the new iMacs have me drooling and crying at the same time. I really want to start doing video on the site and need a Mac to edit on. A 27-inch iMac with an i7 processor, an SSD drive for apps, and a 1TB drive for scratch space sounds like a brilliant video-editing machine for my purposes. That’s why I’m drooling. I’m crying because there’s no way I can afford one right now. Ha!

Any of you excited by Apple’s new products?

T-Mobile USA Teases its First HSPA+ Phone

T-Mobile USA has launched a teaser site for its first HSPA+ mobile phone. While the company has been very aggressive at deploying its “3.5G” HSPA+ network, it only has USB data modems that take advantage of the speeds, which have a theoretical max of 21Mbps down. Some T-Mobile phones get higher speeds with HSPA+, but a specific chipset is needed to reach the 14.4Mbps promised on the teaser site.

As I mentioned earlier in the month, rumors pointed to an HSPA+ phone launching in September. The word on the street is that the September device will be comparable the current crop of high-end Google Android phones. Where it gets really juicy is in November, when the rumored “Project Emerald” is set to hit T-Mobile. The buzz on this phone, allegedly running Android 3.0, is that it will be the first handset in North America to feature a dual-core Snapdragon processor.

I’m extremely interested in T-Mobile’s HSPA+ phones. While I’m a big fan of the Evo 4G, its WiMax performance isn’t the best in buildings due to its frequency. HSPA+ should offer comparable speeds with better building penetration. The thought of a phone with a dual-core processor is also cool…in a that ultra-nerd way.