People throw around a lot of big phrases when they talk about the Kindle Fire -- "iPad killer" being an oldie but goodie. But after spending some time with the 7-inch Fire, one thing is abundantly clear: this ain't no iPad killer. This right here is something else entirely.
Amazon announced yet another perk for those who've taken the plunge into Amazon Prime today: The Kindle Owner's Lending Library. Regular library ebooks have only recently become available on Kindle, and they've long been kind of a pain to import, so this seems to be Amazon's own version of a library. Prime members who are also Kindle owners can download one book a month, for free, from a limited selection of books.
Today at an event in New York City (which we live-tweeted--check out @PopSci for more), Amazon announced its new family of Kindles, and it's probably the biggest, or at least most visible, update in the line's history. The three new "traditional" Kindles continue Amazon's trend of "cheaper and smaller," including two touch-based Kindles (one Wi-Fi-only and one 3G-enabled) and one ridiculously cheap non-touch version.
Hey everyone! We're here live in some part of the semi-abandoned west coast of Manhattan, where Amazon is set to announce a new tablet of some sort. Early hands-ons have pegged it as a 7-inch tablet, likely similar in form to the BlackBerry PlayBook, which will be focused on reading in the same way as the Barnes & Noble Nook Color. We'll be live-tweeting the announcement (follow us at @PopSci), and we'll have all the details as they come in.
Google’s Street View is already available on all seven continents, providing pedestrian-level vistas of everything from Stonehenge to Antarctica to your own childhood cul-de-sac. Soon, it will be available in some of the planet’s most remote places: The villages of the Amazon rainforest.
Hackers used Amazon’s Elastic Cloud Computing service to wage an attack on Sony’s PlayStation network last month, according to a report by Bloomberg News. If it’s true, it’s the first acknowledgement that a cloud service — billed as a cheap, dynamic solution for safely storing data and ramping up processing power — has been used as a platform for a cyber attack.
Biologists have just discovered two new species of freshwater stingray in the Amazon rainforest, informally christening them "pancake stingrays" for their distinct IHOPian appearance (see below). Naturally, one of their first orders of business was to x-ray one of the specimens, the unearthly result you see above.
"Anonymous," a group of hackers perhaps best known for their attacks on the Church of Scientology, have appointed themselves the protectors of Wikileaks. To that end, they've begun a full-scale attack on those who have harmed Wikileaks in the past. This is no cute hacker's mission--it's a full-on crusade that has already taken down Mastercard.com.
In a surprising move, the New York Times today announced that they'll be introducing a new "Best Seller" category for ebooks. Sorry, I should specify: It's not surprising that they'll be tracking ebook best sellers, it's surprising that they hadn't been until now.
If your video store isn’t already six feet under, XStreamHD will finally put it there. The company is launching the first set-top system able to download movies that are the exact quality of Blu-ray discs: 1080p high-def, near-flawless images, and 7.1 surround sound. Subscribers can rent or buy 200 best-selling titles starting this month, with the full high-def film and TV catalogs of all major studios not far behind.
The pursuit of machine intelligence means we have to come up with ways to communicate with our computers in a way both entities can understand. But while computers process verbal commands in a straightforward fashion, humans tend to use more sophisticated speech forms, employing slang or symbols to convey an idea. So an Israeli research team has developed a machine algorithm that can recognize sarcasm.
There goes 2009, and what a year she was. Let’s see, the iTunes App Store eclipsed one billion downloads, Google surprised us all with the announcement of Chrome OS, Windows 7 sent Vista to the big Blue Screen of Death in the sky, Verizon and AT&T started fighting dirty and the e-reader market exploded. But instead of looking back at the year that was, we of course always find it a lot more fun to look forward. So, here’s what’s on my wish list for the year to come in gadgets and tech.
Once upon last May, the Kindle DX seemed like a great academic tool for Princeton University classrooms. But students and professors have since begun to voice some discomfort.
"I hate to sound like a Luddite, but this technology is a poor excuse of an academic tool," said Aaron Horvath '10, a student in Civil Society and Public Policy, in a Daily Princetonian interview. "It's clunky, slow and a real pain to operate."
Barnes and Noble first tipped their hand in July, when they announed their new e-book store and its 700,000 titles would be made available on the iPhone and BlackBerry platforms. Then in August, the bookseller announced a partnership with e-reader maker iRex, in addition to love for Plastic Logic and their devices. And today (drumroll, please) the company officially announced the iRex DR800SG reader, the first e-book reader with access to the Barnes and Noble catalog.
This week I put some face time in with Amazon's latest print assassin, the Kindle DX. I was a big fan of the original recipe, despite what I'd call some minor design flaws. But I always felt like it was missing some important features.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.