E-Readers and Android Tablets @War!

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It’s interesting time, and consumers seem to be the winner. The phenomenon is that e-readers are trying to add internet features to their gadgets, while Android tablets are trying to cannablize e-reader’s market shares with price slashing! Two Android tablets in Canada are selling for $150: Samsung 7″ Galaxy 2 and Lenovo 7″ Ideapa  A1. Both are running Android 4.0 ice-cream sandwich ( you can check their specs either at futureshop.ca or bestbuy.ca, but I think they are comparable). Nexus 7 is still selling at $270 with faster processor, better screen and latest 4.2 Jelly Bean. Kobo in Canada is coming out with Arc at $200!!! I think it is like the Nook of Barnes and Noble. I mean, these e-readers are using the same Linux base program as their OS, so why buying an e-reader now especially the obvious value-for-money is the 7″ Android tablet at this point, that has downloadable apps like Kindle,  and Overdrive for ebooks purchasing and borrowing, respectively. True, e-readers are still thinner and lighter and less clunky to take out and read in the subway, but at $149, they might even push handheld gaming devices at the edge of obsolescent?! I doubt Apple will slash its iPad Mini‘s price by $100, hence, I purposely leave it out of the equation. So let the war begins, and we will see if e-readers stand a chance?! and same for games handhelds…


P.S. remember Netbook as a category?!


iTunes 11

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iTunes 11 makes the music library looking sleeker, and user-friendlier. How so? Finally, I am happy with my CD tagging, and songs and albums are sorting how they should be. It used to drive me nuts (yes, confession of a perfectionist) when one album was split into three depending on what the “Album Artist” populated as… so if it was a duet with someone else, like Nana feat. Jojo, it would create another cover flow with Nana feat. Jojo as a separate Album Artist. With iTunes 11’s way of displaying an album contents, drop down expanded view with same width of the screen essentially, 1) you see clearly which cut(s) are misplaced or created separately 2) once identified the orphan(s), you can multi-select and globally change the album artist name 3) if done correctly, all will be consolidated to one album cover with the correct numbering  of each song. Of course, this is useful if you are like me… But I do have a point, especially dealing with opera album, I don’t want the sequence of the acts being all over the place, which happened sometimes under the previous versions.

Aesthetically, the interface looks cleaner. Cover-flow is gone! in-lieu is the album content display,which is more appropriate. Here’s the nice touch, and what makes it an Apple product, the album content display’s colours are based on the Album Artwork! In other words, if the Album Artwork is Blue and Green, the background of the content display can be green with blue lettering… that’s brilliant! It makes it more exciting than having a fixed theme or with template colours.

Sort by Artist works very well, only if you set up your metadata properly… so if it works properly, I can look up Madonna, and all her albums will be properly displayed in the order of date added.

In addition, there is the interlink function, so right clicking on a song gives you additional options, like go to the album, or go to iTunes store to look for similar titles, etc.

There is no problem with devices, now they have their own button or icon when connected.

Overall, the cluttered functions that were the side bar (Library, Store, Devices, Paylists, …) is now redistributed making everything more intuitive and, more importantly, sleeker and elegant. [if you prefer the old look, view>show sidebar]

I am still exploring as it was out only a couple of days. So check back and see what else I have to say about iTunes 11.