Archive for April, 2009

The Gadget Show Live: BeBook eBook reader [video]

bebookWith Amazon’s Kindle winning the most mind share (thanks to Oprah) and Sony publishing healthy numbers for sales of its Sony Reader, it’s easy to forget that the eBook market isn’t purely a two horse race. Enter the BeBook from Dutch company Endless Ideas who were touting the device at last week’s The Gadget Show Live.

What sets the BeBook apart from competing eBook readers, the company claims, is support for a wider range of file formats, which on the surface appears to be true. However, after a bit of digging I’ve discovered at least one caveat. While the BeBook supports non-DRM formats galore, such as txt, pdf, doc, html, rtf, ppt, bmp, jpg, png, gif, tif, and even mp3s, which pretty much has you covered for out of copyright books and other non-commercial content, the only eBook format with DRM that’s supported is Mobipocket. That’s probably fine for most potential buyers but does mean, for example, that copyprotected PDFs can’t be viewed on the device.

Video of the BeBook at The Gadget Show Live after the jump…

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The Gadget Show Live: Sony Vaio P series – don't call it a Netbook [video]

sony-vaio-pOne of the coolest products I got to check out at The Gadget Show Live was Sony’s latest ultra portable notebook, the Vaio P series. The device features an 8 inch widescreen and compact full QWERTY keyboard, and is powered by Intel’s Atom chip. It’s main purpose is accessing the web on-the-go, and other mobile computing, such as email, Skype, IM etc.

If that sounds like a Netbook, it’s because it more or less is, although Sony would rather you didn’t call it one, and this is reflected in a much higher price – up to four times that of a typical Netbook. For the extra dosh you get a bunch of extras, such as a better build quality – metal casing – an increased resolution (1600 x 768), which had my eyes squinting on the 8inch screen, Windows Vista Basic, and one configuration that features up to 128GB of solid state storage (similar to Apple’s Macbook Air) rather than a traditional hard drive.

Video of the Sony Vaio P series from The Gadget Show Live, courtesy of a friendly chap from T3 magazine’s stand, after the jump…

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The Gadget Show Live: mobile phone watches [video]


This is a product category that has me far from convinced but it’s intriguing nonetheless. I’m talking about mobile phone watches, which are about as Star Trek or Knight Rider as they come. I got to see two such devices up close (to varying degrees) at The Gadget Show Live last week.

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Forget iPhone, Adobe wants to put Flash on the telly

adobe_flash_screen_shotJust like everybody else these days, Adobe has its sights set on the living room. Today the company announced a version of its Adobe Flash Platform designed to run on Internet-connected televisions, set-top boxes, and Blu-ray players, with the aim of making it easier to deliver online video and other web-based content – think widgets – to the TV.

To achieve this, Adobe has already recruited a range of hardware and content partners, including Broadcom, Comcast, Intel, STMicroelectronics, Netflix, The New York Times Company, and Disney. The first devices to support the specially optimized version of Flash are expected to ship in the second half of 2009, says Adobe.

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The Gadget Show Live: LG Arena – not just another iPhone wannabe [video]

lg-standI’ve got to hand it to the guy from LG’s stand at The Gadget Show Live, if it wasn’t for his genuinely enthusiastic pitch for the company’s new ‘Arena’ KM900 touch screen phone, I might too easily have dismissed it as just the latest iPhone wannabe. He talked up the Arena’s 3 inch WVGA (480 x 800) screen, 8GB of on-board storage (expandable to 40GB via MicroSD), “S-Class” User Interface, and FM transmitter functionality – a feature that I recently suggested all portable media players should carry. Having said that, the Arena does take a number of design cues from the iPhone; the industrial design and the UI’s art work borrows more than a little from Apple’s iconic device.

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The Gadget Show Live: Flip Mino HD 'point and shoot' camcorder [video]

minohdOne of the first products that I got to check out at The Gadget Show Live last week was the Mino HD from Flip. The updated version of their popular ‘point and shoot’ camcorder – a product category that the company practically invented – supports 720p HD video (H.264) and has 4GB of on-board memory (non-expandable), which provides enough storage to shoot about an hour’s worth of footage. The really neat feature of the Mino, however, is the slide-out USB connector, together with pre-installed software (Mac/Windows) that enables basic editing of any captured video and upload to YouTube, MySpace, and a number of other video sharing sites. In terms of picture quality, I didn’t get a chance to compare the Mino HD with other similar or more expensive camcorders – a review unit should arrive this week – but what I will say is that Flip’s latest device is incredibly light weight and small despite all that High Def goodness.

Video of the Flip Mino from The Gadget Show Live after the jump…

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I is back (from The Gadget Show Live)

The Gadget Show Live -  Steve O'Hear

Just a quick post to say I’ve just arrived back and safe from visting family and attending The Gadget Show Live in Birmingham in the UK, which explains why blogging, aside from on the show floor twittering, has been almost non-existent this week (limited WiFi and patchy 3G coverage also didn’t help). The better news is that we’ve bagged lots of video and images from the show where I got to check in on the latest news and products from Sony, LG Mobile, Flip, Swap, BeBook, and more – the best of which I’ll be posting over the next few days.

Netflix prepping PlayStation 3 and Wii support suggests job ad

netflix-jobWhile Netflix streaming has been an XBox 360 exclusive for quite a while now, we’ve known for a long time that the video rental company harbored greater games console ambitions. CEO Reed Hastings said as much all the way back in October 2007, and Netflix has sinced followed up with a number of customer surveys exploring demand for PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Wii support.

More proof that Netflix is serious about widening support beyond the XBox 360 emerged today after a recent job advertisement on was spotted seeking a lead engineer responsible for the company’s “gaming platforms” – plural.

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Zatz Not Funny: ZeeVee's Zinc takes on Boxee, CrunchPad "leaked", HP MediaSmart Server, Moxi HD DVR

A periodic roundup of relevant news from our friends at Zatz Not Funny


ZeeVee takes on Boxee with Zinc (OS X)

Dave Zatz: I was away on a business trip when Zeevee launched their re-branded “Zinc” multimedia front-end for Windows. However, CEO Vic Odryna was kind enough to still pass me a pre-release Mac OS X build to play with.

Arrington’s Crunchpad “leaked”

Dave Zatz: The embargo-phobic Michael Arrington, of TechCrunch fame, may have staged a “Crunchpad” leak to build buzz for his upcoming web tablet. I appreciate the economical and minimalistic hardware project goals. However, the relatively quaint notion of a single function Internet device may not fly in 2009.

HP MediaSmart Server: Time Machine fine print

Dave Zatz: I had pretty high hopes for my recent HP MediaSmart (EX485, ~$500) acquisition but, after a fun-filled day of disaster recovery, I’m second guessing my purchase.

Moxi HD DVR, in the flesh

Dave Zatz: Hot on the heels of Digeo’s net-centric content additions announcement, I’ve finally gotten my hands on a Moxi HD DVR ($800, no fees).

Weekly wrapup: iTunes pricing, Yahoo TV widgets, Android Netbook, Skype on iPhone, Palm Pre's Mojo, and more

Here’s a summary of the last two week’s digital lifestyle action on last100. Note that you can subscribe to the weekly wrapups, either via the special weekly wrapup RSS feed or by email.

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Internet TV

Yahoo’s Widget Channel debuts on new Samsung Internet-connected TVs

Unveiled at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Yahoo’s “Widget Channel” for Internet-connected televisions has debuted on high end sets from Samsung.

Watch live BBC television on latest Nokia phones

Live BBC TV and radio streaming (UK-only) is now available on Nokia’s flagship N96 and the all touch screen XpressMusic 5800 aka The Tube.

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