Five New Archos Tablets

Archos just released five new gadgets ranging from small phone-size devices with 2.8- and 3.4-inch screens to higher-end 4.3-, 7- and 10.1-inch tablets (pdf). All will ship with Android 2.2 “Froyo” and will include accelerometers, while only some have capactive touchscreens, front-facing cameras and 1GHz processors.

But these 2nd generation Android tablets still don’t have Google apps included, says Instead of the Google Market, it uses the AppsLib store.

There are three Android tablets, with 4.3″ to 10.1″ screen sizes. They feature a 1 GHz processor, WiFi-n, an adjustable kickstand, HDMI TV output, and Android support for Adobe Flash™ 10.1 player. Engadget has hands-on videos.

Price and availability

  • ARCHOS 28 internet tablet
    Available in September at 4GB, with a recommended retail price of $99.99. Features an 800MHz ARM Cortex A9 processor, graphics accelerator, built-in mic, USB Host, and multiple audio and video codecs

  • ARCHOS 32 internet tablet
    Available in September at 8GB, with a recommended retail price of $149.99. Features 3.2-inch resistive 400 by 240 TFT LCD touchscreen, in an 8GB version at a suggested $149 and adds 3.2-inch resistive 400 by 240 TFT LCD touchscreen, 720p HD video storage up to 30 fps, rear-facing VGA camera/camcorder and Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR

  • ARCHOS 43 internet tablet
    Available this fall at 8GB with a recommended retail price of $199.99. Features 4.3-inch resistive touchscreen, UPnP to stream content from a wireless-networked PC, MicroSD slot, 1GHz ARM Cortex A8 processor, built-in speaker, rear-facing 2-megapixel 720p HD video camera and mini-HDMI output.

  • ARCHOS 70 internet tablet
    Available this fall with a recommended retail price of $274.99 (8GB) and $349.99 (250GB). Features a 7-inch 800 by 480 screen with capacitive multi-touch capability. The 8GB version retails for $275 and the version with 250GB hard drive will be $349. It adds stereo speakers and front-facing VGA camera/camcorder for webcam use but lacks an HD video camcorder.

  • ARCHOS 101 internet tablet
    Available this fall with a recommended retail price of $299.99 (8GB) and $349.99 (16GB). Features 10.1-inch 1,024 by 600 capacitive multi-touch touchscreen, webcam, front-facing VGA camera/webcam and USB Slave as well as USB Host. It lacks an HD video camcorder. The 8GB version will retail for a suggested $299, and the 16GB version will be $349.

Archos says all of its tablets are scheduled to be released about September and October, and each tablet will have Android 2.2 installed.

Only a couple dozen smartphones have actually qualified for Google Market. Screen sizes have been limited to 4”, and larger sizes and resolutions are not addressed properly. There’s no evidence that any Android tablet will qualify before Google releases its own tablet running Gingerbread in 2011, says the AppsLib site.

Samsung’s Galaxy Tab, a 7-inch Android slate, is set to debut this Thursday. The Galaxy Tab is rumored to feature a front-facing camera, a 3.2-megapixel camera, Android 2.2, and a 1GHz processor. The tablet’s display might be an AMOLED with 1024-by-600 resolution. PC World compares the Galaxy Tab with Apple’s “magical” device.

Samsung’s toughest competition may come from Motorola’s 10″ Android tablet, which now is rumored to launch in Q1 2011, to incorporate Android 3.0, which supports higher resolution and other features.

Is a 1Ghz Nexus One with Froyo a useful solution for mobile video?

Not hardly, says Kevin Tofel. Not even close.

Forester says 14% of Americans — 27 million people – plan on purchasing a tablet device next year. A similar study by the Magazine Publishers of America found that nearly 60 percent of U.S. consumers expect to purchase an e-reader or tablet within the next three years.

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Borders: $99 E-Reader

Borders will cut prices on two of its electronic-book readers by about $20 on Wednesday, reports the Wall Street Journal.

Border’s Kobo reader, powered by Canada’s Kobo, in which Borders has an equity stake, will drop to $129.99 from $149.99 and its Aluratek Libre reader will go to $99.99 from $119.99.

The devices aim to compete with more popular Amazon Kindle ($139), Barnes and Noble Nook ($149) and the Apple iPad ($499). It follows price cuts on the Nook and Kindle earlier this summer.

Borders also announced preorders for their color ebook readers, the Velocity Micro Cruz Reader R101 (right) and The Cruz Tablet T103 for $199 and $299, respectively.

The two color Cruz Readers are based on the Android operating system and 7 inch color displays. The Cruz Reader has a resistive touchscreen while The Cruz Tablet has a capacitive touchscreen display. The higher priced Cruz Tablet also has more memory and is more focused on the media experience. They can both be used to view pictures and browse the web.

Borders also announced some changes to its Rewards loyalty program and you can now choose from one of two programs. A free program includes 30% off list price of hardcover bestsellers and free shipping for online orders of $25 or more. The Rewards Plus program includes 40% off hardcover bestsellers, 20% off select hardcovers, 10% off most everything else and free shipping on all online orders.

Borders kicked off the low price ebook reader wars with the Kobo eReader launching at $149 and then Barnes & Noble and Amazon followed by dropping the price of their more capable ereaders down to $149 and $139.

AEHF Satellite – Billion Dollar Brick?

A rescue plan is being implemented to salvage the U.S. military’s gold-plated AEHF communications satellite after a serious malfunction knocked out its main engine and stymied the craft’s maneuvering ability, reports SpaceFlightNow.

The billion dollar Advanced Extremely High Frequency 1 spacecraft was launched into a preliminary orbit by an Atlas 5 rocket on August 14 from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

AEHF 1 was expected to reach its on-orbit testing location at 90 degrees West longitude over the equator within 105 days of liftoff.

But those plans were thwarted a day after launch during the initial orbit raising burn when the satellite’s main engine shut down shortly after ignition for still-unexplained reasons. Another attempt tried August 17 also ended immediately when the engine again failed to generate the expected acceleration.

Built by Lockheed, it’s the successor to the currently-operational Milstar system.

AEHF will consists of three geostationary satellites plus a possible on-orbit spare. When the constellation is finished, the satellites will be also able to communicate with one another directly as well as provide spot beams on Earth.

There are three AEHF communication services: a new one providing data rates up to 8.192 Mbit/s per user, and the previous Milstar Low Data Rate (LDR) services (75 – 2400 bits per second) and Milstar Medium Data Rate (MDR) services (4.8 kbit/s – 1.544 Mbit/s).

Military satellites seem prone to years of delays and multibillion-dollar cost overruns. TSAT, the Transformational Satellite communications system, cost U.S. taxpayers $2.5 billion before Secretary Gates pulled its plug.

AEHF was expected to cost $5.6 billion in 2001 when the program was getting under way, but today the price tag is more than $10 billion for fewer satellites, according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

There is also the Space-Based Infrared System (SBIRS), a group of four infrared satellites designed to warn of missile launches and perform other reconnaissance operations. This 1996 program has ballooned from about $ 2 billion to more than $13.6 billion today. A Lockheed Martin-Northrop Grumman effort, SBIRS is eight years late. Two satellites have been launched so far, but hardware defects have since been discovered on the first one, the GAO said.

LightSquared: 5K Basestations by 2011

LightSquared plans to launch its wholesale LTE network in as many as nine U.S. markets in 2011, reports Fierce Wireless, and could expand that list to 20 markets in 2012, according to company documents unearthed by Bloomberg.

The documents show the company will offer 4G service largely in the middle of the country first and then expand to the coasts, says Bloomberg.

LightSquared is a satellite phone company that plans to reuse its 2 GHz (MSS) frequencies terrestrially, on cell towers. It plans to launch in Chicago, Dallas and Minneapolis in 2011, and could expand to Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco in 2012, according to the documents.

The company expects to add 300 base stations this year, 5,000 by the end of 2011, and around 13,000 base stations in 11 more metropolitan areas in 2012. The company has inked a $7 billion deal with Nokia Siemens Networks, which is designing and building the network.

LightSquared CEO Sanjiv Ahuja confirmed to Bloomberg that the documents are authentic, but said some details have been changed. However, Ahuja said LightSquared is on track to begin constructing its network in December.

LightSquared hopes to compete with Clearwire and Verizon for 4G services in the United States. Clearwire now offers 4G service to roughly 56 million people, and plans to serve over 100 million by year’s end. By the end of 2010, Clearwire will expand to Boston, New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Meanwhile, Verizon’s is expected to turn on their initial LTE service sometime this November. “Verizon’s LTE service will be in 25 to 30 markets covering roughly 100 million people by year’s end,” said Tony Melone, senior vice president and chief technical officer at Verizon Wireless.

The three companies approach 4G differently. Clearwire has more 4G spectrum than all the U.S. cellular operators combined – some 120 MHz in big cities. Clearwire’s 2.6 GHz band doesn’t travel as well as the 700 MHz band that Verizon is using. Verizon will use fewer cell towers to cover more people on less spectrum. Verizon’s LTE service is therefore likely to be more ubiquitous, but slower and more expensive than Clearwire’s WiMAX service.

Geosynch satphone providers include:

  • TerreStar’s satphone service: Now operational. It features dual-band operation, working with AT&T’s cellular network for ubiquitous service throughout North America. Uses 20 MHz in the MSS Band: (1.7/2.1 GHZ). Now operational with a single satellite, but service has not begun commercially. Dual-band phones can use AT&T’s cellular service and the MSS band using ATC. The 18 meter Harris antenna focuses 2 GHz spotbeams on the United States and Canada in order to provide enough signal strength.
  • Skyterra satphone service: Same deal but operates in the lower “L Band” (1.5/1.6 GHz). May be available later this year, after their satellite launches. SkyTerra1 and SkyTerra2, based on the Boeing 702 design, are scheduled for launch during 2010. It will combine both terrestrial 700 MHz Public Safety networks and satellites.
  • Inmarsat: Uses mobile terminals for Internet access but does not (generally) provide voice service from handheld phones. Operates in the “L Band” (1.5/1.6 GHz).
  • Thuraya: Covers the middle East and adjoining areas. A 12 x 16 meter reflector, 128 element L-band antenna supports up to 200 separate spot beams.
  • ICO: Provides MSS coverage over the United States with a huge spotbeam antenna. The planned mobile multimedia service has not yet been offered even though the satellite has been operational for nearly two years.

FCC rulemaking permits Mobile Satellite Service (MSS) licensees in the 2 GHz (1990-2025 MHz and 2165-2200 MHz) bands (where ICO and Terrastar operate), the L-band (1525-1544 MHz/1545-1559 MHz) and 1626.5-1645.5 MHz/1646.5-1660.5 MHz) bands (where Inmarsat and Skyterra operate), and the “Big LEO” (1610-1626.5 MHz and 2483.5-2500 MHz) bands (where Globalstar and Iridium operate).

Harbinger Capital Partners has dropped Clearwire from its stock portfolio and cut its stock holdings in Sprint Nextel, according to a regulatory filing.

LightSquared (which now owns Skyterra and most of TerraStar), has one big problem. They need a partner with cell towers who wants to play – someone like T-Mobile.

Perhaps an Asian or European cellular company would work – or a Russian oil company. Small, independent ISPs, delivering broadband wireless to rural communities might be part of the mix, as well as the remaining independent cellular operators like MetroPCS and Cricket Wireless.

Digital Bridge, Open Range and Utopian Wireless have all won broadband infrastructure grants in recent years, notes Forbes.

LightSquared has already struck a deal to lease some of its 1.4 GHz spectrum to Airspan Networks for use with utility applications.

Juniper Research is forecasting 300 million global LTE subscribers by 2015, compared with 500,000 expected by the the end of this year. ABI figures 4G subscribers will total 150 million by 4Q-2014, with some 1 billion people covered by mobile WiMAX globally in 2012.

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Samsung Epic 4G Reviews

The Samsung Epic 4G, Sprint’s second WiMAX phone, hits the streets today. The Sprint version of Samsung’s Galaxy S includes 4G (WiMAX) connectivity and a slide-out keyboard.

It costs $249.99 with a two-year contract and after a $100 mail-in rebate. However, you can also pick up the phone at Best Buy and Radio Shack to get an instant $100 savings and avoid the hassle of a mail-in rebate. Even better, Walmart and Amazon are currently offering the phone for $199.99, notes C/Net.

Unlike the other Samsung Galaxy S models, the Epic 4G features a slide-out QWERTY keyboard, a front-facing camera, an LED flash, and of course, WiMAX. It comes with Android 2.1. Samsung says it will be upgradeable to Android 2.2 shortly.

Like all Galaxy S phones, the Epic 4G has a large SuperAMOLED touch screen, a 1GHz Hummingbird Cortex A8 processor, and it will have access to Samsung’s upcoming Media Hub store. The slide-out keyboard, front-facing camera, LED flash, and support for Sprint’s 4G WiMax network make it unique. It’s the second 4G phone in the U.S. after the HTC Evo 4G.

Samsung’s Media Hub is basically Samsung’s answer to iTunes. It will let users rent or buy movies and TV shows from their phones.

The phone has 4.0-inch Super AMOLED display, a front-facing VGA camera and a back-facing 5.0-megapixel camera, which can record video in 720p, an LED flash, a 3.5mm headset jack, a Micro-USB port and DLNA output (rather than EVO’s HDMI) for wireless connection to a big screen.

Sprint will charge Epic 4G owners $69.99 per month for voice and data service and $10 more per month as a ‘premium data add-on’ for a total of $79.99. As with the Evo 4G, Sprint charges a mandatory $10 per month extra for 4G. According to Sprint, the price is justifiable because of the faster speeds, unlimited data, and the use of it as a mobile Wi-Fi hot spot — although the mobile WiFi costs an additional $29.99 a month.

AT&T charges iPhone owners $69.99 a month for voice service alone. Additional texting and data support costs $20 and $25 each per month — for a capped 3G data service. Sprint’s 4G phone provides truly mobile video chat – the iPhone 4G requires a WiFi connection. Rooting an Android phone may be risky, but it provides full access to its system files allowing you to modify the phone’s firmware and install third party apps, themes and custom ROMs.

Here’s the Sprint pitch, comparing the EVO with the Epic 4G:

Samsung says that it has already shipped 1 million Galaxy S phones to the US. AT&T and T-Mobile have Galaxy S phones out; while Verizon’s is due September 8th. Only Sprint offers “4G”. Verizon isn’t expected to offer a 4G phone until next year.

Reviews are available from C/Net, Android Community, InfoSynch, Engadget, Gizmodo, and Boy Genius Report.

In related news, today, T-Mobile USA, announced its HSPA+ broadband network reaches 100 million Americans in more than 55 major metropolitan areas. T-Mobile’s HSPA+ network – which offers theoretical peak throughput speeds of 21Mbps – is now available in Boston, Mass.; Erie, Penn.; Fresno, Palm Springs and San Diego, Calif.; Miami, Fla.; Richmond, Va.; Spokane, Wash.; and Topeka, Kan.

Is Photojournalism Dead?

Magnum Photos is an international photographic cooperative owned by its photographer-members. Mark Lubell is currently the Managing Director of Magnum. Back in 2004, he launched the Magnum’s digital magazine “inMotion” and since then redeveloped Magnum’s brand and strategy on the Internet.

Founded in New York, in 2004, Magnum In Motion is the multimedia digital studio of Magnum Photos. In Motion assembles visual narratives for online and offline platforms, including screenings in museums, festivals, and workshops.

It’s linked from an NPR feature: Is photojournalism dead?

Photographer Gerald Holubowicz interviewed a variety of publishing professionals about the future of photojournalism.

Stephen Mayes talks about his new VII Magazine and goes further to explore the state of the photojournalism and its future.

Microsoft’s Photo Story and SoundSlides (examples) provide simple, powerful tools.