Asus: Apps R Us

Netbook pioneer Asus today announced their own Asus App Store, basically a branded version of Intel’s AppUp store, designed for Atom-powered netbooks.

The ASUS tablet PC, to be called the Eee Pad ($400-$500), will come in various versions, running on Intel or ARM-based chips. The 12″ Eee Pad EP121 is powered by a CULV Intel Core 2 Duo processor and the Windows 7 Home Premium. The Tegra-powered EP101TC runs Windows Embedded Compact 7 (Windows CE).

The Asus App Store will support both netbooks and tablets with MeeGo “when it launches in 2011.” MeeGo apps run on processors from either ARM and Intel. One MeeGo app might run on both platforms, unlike apps for Windows 7/CE.

MeeGo simplifies everything with a common API for all kinds of devices. MeeGo apps should play on tablets and phones or Atom-powered Netbooks or Nettops.

MeeGo-based devices are expected to be announced this year.

Engadget’s App Store score card (above) is getting a little dated and I’ve probably neglected some in the list (below)

E-readers and ebook stores include;

Battle of the eBooks

Apple waited until the publishers of the world were tied up with Book Expo America, May 24-26 in New York, to announce its new Sell Your Books initiative, which lets authors get their books into the new iBooks store without having to deal with publishers, reports PC World.

According to Mac Life, “Their books would have to adhere to these criteria: each one would need to have a 13-digit ISBN, be in ePub format, validate against epubcheck 1.0.5, and contain no unmanifested files.” Authors also need to have a Tax ID number, a credit card on file with Apple, and a Mac running OS X 10.5 or later.

Among the exhibitors at BookExpo were Sideways, which helps authors and publishers transform text into multimedia content, adding video, pictures and features such as Twitter feeds, Ripple, which allows adults to buy children’s e-books and record their voices reading them, and gadgets like the enTourage eDGe — a twin-screened device which opens like a book to reveal an eReader on one side and a NetBook on the other.

Adobe InDesign CS-5 is page layout software that can create eBooks in the EPUB format for the Apple iPad, Sony Reader, Barnes & Noble nook, mobile phones, and other devices, as well as embed videos and animations using flash.

Adobe’s idea was to create a single version that would run on all platforms, but Apple’s anti-Flash stance has made that a no-go, says All Things D.

Condé, like other publishers, will build an iPad-specific app, and one that works everywhere else. Current industry practice charges for each edition on each device. The New Yorker, for example, sells new print subscriptions for $39.95 a year, sells a Kindle edition for $2.99 a month and may sell the iPad app for something close to the print cover price, at $5.99 a week.

Like the App Store, there does seem to be some vetting before ebooks are accepted. Says Apple: “Due to the high volume of applications we receive, we may not be able to get back to you as quickly as we’d like. While we’re reviewing your application, it is not necessary to apply again.”

Apple’s iBookstore features an online agreement that allows you to sell your book in several countries — and you can set your own price. Additionally, once iPhone OS version 4.0 is released with an iBooks app, you’ll reach a larger customer base. iPhone OS 4 will ship this summer for iPhone and iPod touch, and for iPad in the fall.

Barnes & Noble has announced a self-publishing portal that will open this summer. The world’s largest bookseller says that their PubIt! service will give authors the ability to upload and sell content through B&N’s website and eBookstore.

Google last week said it plans to begin selling e-books by this summer. They can be read on any Internet-connected device including Apple’s iPad.

Chris Palma, Google’s manager for essential content development, disclosed the plan at a panel discussion in New York. The company is expected to open its previously disclosed service called Google Editions. Editions is independent from the contentious Google Book Search project to make all the world’s written works, including out-of-print titles, available online.

The Google Editions ebook store will enable users to buy e-books directly from the company, as well as through other retailers in June or July. Consumers would not have to worry about DRM issues – Google Editions will work with your iPad, your HTC Droid Incredible, or your laptop.

Google’s new e-book store will launch sometime during the first half of 2010, and will have about 500,000 titles at launch. Under Google’s payment scheme, publishers will receive about 63 percent of the gross sales, and Google will keep the remaining 37 percent.

Google also hopes to offer Editions titles through other online book retailers. In this scenario, online retailers would get 55 percent of revenues minus a small fee paid to Google, and publishers would get 45 percent, according to Read Write Web.

  • Apple’s iPad is selling briskly, moving 2 million units in its first two months.
  • Amazon launched its Kindle e-reader in late 2007. Although Amazon has never released sales data, some estimate 2-3 million units have been sold.
  • The Barnes & Noble Nook was the first electronic book reader based on the Android platform, and features WiFi and AT&T 3G wireless connectivity with a MicroSD expansion slot for extra storage. Barnes & Noble Pubit gives authors the ability to upload and sell content through B&N’s website and eBookstore.
  • Borders ebooks feature the Sony reader but their new 6-inch Kobo eReader, slated to ship on June 17th, will be $150 (but no WiFi).

Mark Coker, chief executive of self-publishing service Smashwords, a site where writers can publish their own e-books, said recently that it has signed a distribution deal with Apple to put its books into the iPad iBookstore.

The ePub format has become a defacto standard for ebooks — but different e-book stores use different DRM standards on top of it. To allow cross platform compatibility, Amazon sells Kindle readers on the iTunes store, enabling iPad and iPhone users to tap into Amazon’s ebooks on their iPad. You’d think publishers would get together and agree on ONE DRM standard. But noooo.

Wikipedia has a comparison of ebook readers and ebook formats.

If e-book readers can be ported over to non-smart phones, as Mobipocket is trying to do, it could connect to some 5 billion mobile suscribers, worldwide. was bought by in 2005.

Eileen Gittins of Blurb, which helps authors and companies self-publish, predicts e-books will make up half of all sales in five years. In 2009, the global publishing business, including print and digital, was worth $71 billion, according to PriceWaterhouseCoopers.

Amazon kept about 65% of the royalties. But Apple’s iBookstore and Google’s ebook store promise to turn that model upside down; authors get a 65% cut. That changes everything. With tens of millions of cheap tablets expected in the next few years, publishing is on the verge of spontaneous ignition.

Music, Publishing, Games and Movies are rushing into this singularity, with access to everything, everywhere. What will emerge on the other side is anyone’s guess.

Related e-book articles on Dailywireless include; Tablets, Tablets, Tablets, E-Magazines: Pay Once, Play Anywhere, The $99 Android Tablet, Barnes & Noble: Self Publishing this Summer, Apple Sells 1M iPads, Google Editions: World’s Largest Virtual Bookstore?, Google Tablet for Verizon?, Android Outsells Apple, Flash Support in Android 2.2, Battle of the eBooks, Dell Android Tablet for AT&T/T-Mobile?, Google Tablet: Android or What?, and Tablet Revolution!

Apple & Google: Cable on the Cloud?

The next Apple TV may run the iPhone OS and – eventually – apps, says Josh Topolosky at Engadget. The $229 Apple TV lets users purchase or rent HD movies and stream iTunes content to their set top boxes. But it hasn’t caught on. Too expensive and limited.

The next iteration from Apple is rumored to be a $99 screenless, diskless iPhone which streams 1080p content from the Internet or a Time Capsule network drive. The next-gen Apple TV will reportedly be about the size of an iPhone and will come with only 16GB of flash memory. It’s all about streaming content from the cloud.

It will compete with existing boxes such as Roku, Boxee Box, and future ones based on Google TV.

Google TV combines TiVo-like navigation and search with Web access and over the air television. Sony will be making TVs and Blu-Ray players based on it while Logitech will have a standalone box and accessories. Google TV will be based on version 2.1 of Google’s Android operating system, and will place the Chrome Web browser on Web-connected televisions from Sony. Best Buy is expected to begin selling it this fall. It supports Flash, runs third-party apps from the Android marketplace, and is built around a special Intel Atom CPU.

Television advertising income was down an estimated 10 percent in the past year while the TV Everywhere initiative pushed by Time Warner and Comcast attempts to extend the cable model to the Internet. But it still requires viewers to buy a cable subscription. Big Cable wants to lock subscribers into paying for 500 (unwatched) channels. Of course Yahoo’s Connected TV platform hasn’t set the world on fire – yet.

Pay TV remains popular with consumers, according to Compete analysis of research by the Convergence Consulting Group (below).

Cable television in the United States is generally a monopoly franchise business, with 62 million basic video customers and 43 million Digital Video Customers by the end of 2009. Consumer revenue totaled 90 Billion in 2009 with advertising revenue totalling $24 billion last year.

According to the A.C. Nielsen, 56% of Americans pay for cable TV, with the average American watching more than 4 hours of TV each day.

Netflix says that their DVD-by-mail shipment business will continue to grow for another few years as more brick-and-mortar video stores and rental shops close and people transition to Netflix for DVD and Blu-Ray rentals, but they expect to see that part of the business start to recede around 2013 after which streaming video will start to replace physical discs.

Internet delivered television programing to your television is available from:

  • AppleTV: Movies from Apple’s iTunes store, YouTube videos, and Flickr photos
  • Boxee Box: Aggregates internet social media, video and photos into one box
  • Hulu: Owned by NBC Universal, Disney, and Fox, with free, advertiser supported shows
  • Netflix: Streams movies and TV shows to a PC for $8.99 per month, and is included in some DVD players
  • Roku: Streams movies, TV shows, other content from set-top box to the TV. Wireless access eliminates need for added cable; no annual fees. Subscription required for premium content, including Netflix and Major League Baseball
  • Sezmi: Digital video recorder that offers local broadcast channels, on-demand content, and some cable channels. $299 for the box/$19.95 for a monthly subscription
  • Slingbox: Streams live or recorded content from a TV to PCs and leading smartphones. $299 or free with the Dish Network DVR service
  • Tivo: Digital video recorder that also streams movies or TV shows from set-top box to TV. $149 for the cheapest of three models, plus monthly or lifetime service fee.
  • PlayStation 3: can download and stream TV shows and newly released movies
  • Xbox 360: Streams high-def movies and TV shows from Netflix, other content providers. Non-Netflix content is limited and must be downloaded to hard drive, not streamed

Cable’s stranglehold on video distribution may be crumbling. Apple, Google and Microsoft could dominate television’s future. Their advertising networks feature surgically precise targeting. And advertisers write the checks.

Tablets, Tablets, Tablets

When the stuff comes alive on you, you had better be in shape to handle it
Ernest Hemmingway

Apple today announced that iPad sales have topped two million in less than 60 days since its launch on April 3. The company sold about a million iPads in the first month and began shipping iPads in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland and the UK this past weekend.

Apple won’t have the world to itself. Computex, the world’s second-biggest IT trade fair, does not officially start until Tuesday but it has already started with a bang.

Jen-hsun Huang, CEO of Nvidia, predicted that within five years “tablets will be the world’s biggest computing category”. Hardware makers will unite behind Google’s Android for tablet computers, according to Nvidia’s CEO. The company’s Arm-based Tegra 2 is designed for tablets.

ASUS, MSI, ARM, NVIDIA and other companies are announcing as many as 36 different tablets which are expected to be arriving this summer.

Some of those include:

Tablets have the potential to disrupt much of the traditional PC market. They may eat into sales of laptops, currently the industry’s biggest profit maker, and threaten the dominance of Microsoft.

Newspapers and magazines may be transformed as publishers go on-line, either through tablet apps (like Apple’s) or through mobile web sites (like Google’s).

My Grandfather, Roscoe Sheller, sold Model T’s at the beginning of the 20th century (The History Channel: Boom). The 21st Century promises to be just as transformative.

The publishing and television business may be never be the same. Content is coming alive, standing up on it’s own two feet and going mobile, social and ala carte.

Smartphones Drive Data Traffic

Smartphones and connected computing devices will be the primary drivers of data traffic over the next five years, says ABI Research. By 2014, says the research firm, these device categories will generate more than 87% of total mobile network data traffic for US operators.

Smartphones, netbooks, smartbooks, and media tablets invite more customer interactivity, which can lead to extremely high data traffic consumption.

Report findings include:

  • Smartphone traffic was the share leader in 2009; by 2014 connected computing devices will be the share leader.
  • Connected computing device traffic will grow by 90% through 2014.
  • Growth of Android, iPhone and similar smartphones will cause average smartphone traffic levels to grow by 48% over the forecast period.
  • The iPhone and AT&T’s high smartphone share caused its network to carry the most traffic in 2009. AT&T will also lead in 2010.
  • Verizon will become the traffic leader by 2011 as a result of its high mobile broadband subscriber base and increasing penetration of customers with Android and similar high data-use smartphone devices.

The XO-3 Tablet

One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project founder Nicholas Negroponte said that the organization is accelerating its development of the XO-3 tablet computer and will have a working prototype by December 2010, two years ahead of projections. Negroponte said the final product would cost US$75.

OLPC announced today that it has signed an agreement with chipmaker Marvell to jointly develop the next generation of OLPC XO devices, the first of which will be a tablet. As part of the deal, OLPC will also make its design and reference work available to Marvell and its partners in order to get its technology more widely adopted.

The Marvell Moby Tablet platform is powered by a 1GHz Marvell ARMADA 610 processor with integrated 802.11bn WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, and FM radio features. It supports 1080p HD video encoding and decoding capabilities as well as 3D graphics support. The chipset supports Google Android, Windows Mobile, and Ubuntu Linux and can handle Adobe Flash.