Black Graphite is the New White Plastic
The coolest thing to happen last week is probably the one thing I shouldn't talk terribly much about: the new Kindles. I'm just going to go on record that I work no where near anyone on the Kindle team and I have no knowledge of how that business operates or its strategy. Independent of being an Amazonian, I'm finally really excited about the Kindle now. I was definitely very skeptical when it first came out and was concerned when the iPad came out at its competitive price point. Though it's a totally different device, the comparisons are inevitable because of the form factor. Anyone who says reading a book is better on the iPad than the Kindle is definitely an Apple fanboy - it's technologically superior for reading plain text. At $139 for the entry WiFi model, it's finally at a price point fitting of a standalone book reader, and features better battery life (up to a month now), faster page turns, and better contrast ratio than the previous generation. I believe the reason for the switch to black graphite is probably because that makes it easier to read in sunlight, but you can still get it in white for the 3G model at $189.
I'm really curious now to see how Barnes and Noble will respond. Now that the Kindle has a model at $60 less and also available in-person at Target stores, the Nook is quickly losing what competitive advantage it had. Still, with e-Book sales outpacing physical book sales, there's gotta be enough to go around, but how big a piece of the pie will Apple and Barnes and Noble get compared to Amazon?
Ballmer is an Idiot
Steve Ballmer is really pissing me off nowadays. Ever since he's taken over, he's made many terrible decisions, including killing the Courier. This was the super creative tablet that Microsoft was working on that Ballmer decided to cut. Now he admits that the iPad is their number one threat and they need to compete with it. It's frustrating that he had a product that stood a chance against the iPad and threw it away, and now they have little hope of taking on the iPad. Microsoft has gone from being known for innovation to being way behind on market trends. Instead of trying to create another iPad now, why don't they either resurrect the Courier or invest in something totally different?
Windows Phone 7 and Free Bumpers
A lot of interesting stuff has been going on in cell phones. Ars Technica has a really good preview of Windows Phone 7 going in great depth into some nice UI touches and little nuggets of their impressions, like the keyboard being on par with the iPhone keyboard. Still, it's clear that there are a lot of question marks to be filled in. How well will the Xbox Live integration work? Will developers give the platform a shot? Given that someone leaked Microsoft's internal announcement to give all employees a Windows Phone 7 device, it's clear that Microsoft is definitely serious about the platform, so we just have to hope that it will all come together in the end.
I'm a little late on this since I missed last week's post, but Apple finally decided to respond to all the negative coverage of its iPhone antenna woes by giving away the bumpers that pretty much solve the issue. I have to bring up something that Molly Wood and others were predicting at CNet before this event happened: Apple never owned up to a problem and instead spoke at great length about how the problem had been overblown. It's definitely a smart strategy because it makes them look like they've been bullied into having to do this free bumper thing even though it's clear they had to know about the issue to create this case, which they hadn't done for any previous iPhone. In any case, it's great that they're doing the right thing now, but if they're only doing so until September 30 I wonder if they've figured out a hardware fix for the issue so that future batches won't have the issue?
Google has finally killed the Nexus One. Google has proved that people don't want a phone they can't play with at a store, even if it is a somewhat compelling product. It will still be sold abroad, but no more for US consumers.
Ars Technica has a ridiculously detailed review of the Droid X, and it seems like probably the best phone Motorola has put out in a while. Still, the UI seems to fall short of the Droid Incredible in visual flare. Plus, at a screen size rivaling the Dell Streak you have to wonder if anyone wants something that big in their pocket. There is such a thing as too big for a smartphone.
WPA2 Hole Discovered
WPA2 has finally been cracked - kinda. It was only a matter of time before a hole was discovered, and it doesn't render the standard useless but does damage it for enterprise use. It turns out that the standard's language allows for an authorized user on the network to send malicious packets to others on the network as well as sniff the packets of others. For most people, this probably isn't such a big deal, but could be worse for business use. The problem with fixing it is that all implementers would have to fix it, and it's unlikely to organize something like that. The next best bet would be a revision to WPA2, but there doesn't appear to be language in the standard to support something like that. It's a rather interesting conundrum.
Also in security news recently, Apple was deemed the company with the most security vulnerabilities in its software. So much for their claims of having the safest platform. The issues weren't in OS X, but rather in other ancillary products. Still, it helps debunk the claim that you can ignore security just because you have a Mac.
I missed this a while back, but the guy who posted his customer service cartoon ranting about iPhone fanboys also posted one sticking it to Android fanboys. It's almost as hilarious.
In an example of social media marketing gone right, the Old Spice marketing guys decided to create a bunch of videos with Isaiah Mustafa responding to people on Twitter with short videos, including Alyssa Milano. They did a pretty awesome job.
I'm out of time, but here are a few other stories I found worthwhile.
Gawker has a funny post on the stupidest things caught on video that people said about the Internet, including the infamous Al Gore quote on his greatest invention. You may recognize certain terminology sourced from some of the videos.
I've seen reports off and on recently about issues with cell phone manufacturers and building screens, and it looks like HTC has had enough issues with AMOLED that they've decided to move to Super LCD for these devices. AMOLED hit the market a few years back and was quite impressive, but apparently still not easy to make.
If you're wondering what to load on your Android phone, PC Mag has you covered. Makes me a little envious on a few of those, I have to admit.
YouTube has increased their upload limit to 15 minutes, so now you can post longer useless videos.
If you want to see a real ninja badge, you have to check this out.
iPhone jailbreaking is now legal!
Hope everyone has an excellent start to their August.