Posts Tagged ‘tablet’

Google wants to sell you “content” that you might otherwise buy from Amazon, Apple or Microsoft etc. It has therefore rebranded the Android Market as Google Play, and pulled its apps, ebooks, music, and movies — excluding its YouTube movie service — into a single cloud-based offering. Or at least, it has if you live in the USA. If you’re one of the UK residents contributing £6 billion a year to Google’s revenues, you can just wait in line with the rest of the world, though there is hope….

Google introduced Google Play in a blog post today that says:

“In the US, music, movies, books and Android apps are available in Google Play.

In Canada and the UK, we’ll offer movies, books and Android apps; in Australia,

books and apps; and in Japan, movies and apps. Everywhere else, Google Play

will be the new home for Android apps.”

However, the link from “When will I get Google Play?”, at the bottom of the home page, brings up a page that says: “We’re sorry, but the information you’ve requested cannot be found.” It should lead to the Play FAQ.

Google says that “Google Play is entirely cloud-based so all your music, movies, books and apps are stored online, always available to you, and you never have to worry about losing them or moving them again.”

If so, “always available” means users can access their files when they have a working internet connection. This could work out very expensive for people who pay for bandwidth.

Cross-platform approach

Only Android apps are actually written for Android, and the content files are mainly cross-platform, so the Android name had to go. Google could have held on to “Market” but this has a somewhat downmarket feel, so that went as well. Play is dull but does the job, though it remains to be seen if the popular online retailer Play.com will object. (Google would have rejected iPlay as making the service sound too much like an iTunes knock-off.)

Being cross-platform should give Google an advantage against Apple, which is only really interested in providing content to play on Apple devices, and tries to force Windows PC owners to use its widely-hated iTunes software. However, that hasn’t helped Amazon much, even though it frequently offers better products than Apple at lower prices.

But at this stage, it’s not clear whether Google actually intends to target Play at the cross-platform market. Play could be aimed mainly at users of Google TV, and possibly at owners of Google-branded mobile phones and tablets, in the way that Amazon uses its Kindle Fire tablet as a shop window.

In December, Google chairman Eric Schmidt apparently told an Italian publication: “In the next six months, we plan to market a tablet of the highest quality.” In May, before that, Google showed developers some Android@Home devices that streamed music. An FCC application has revealed that Google is testing the device in homes this year, from 17 January to 17 July.

Google is in the process of buying Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion — a 63 percent premium on what it’s worth — so it should soon own its own hardware division. This would enable Google to make phones, tablets, set-top boxes and other devices without consulting or involving other Android users such as Samsung and HTC… and risk wrecking the Android ecosystem.

@jackschofield

English: Android Robot. Français : le logo d'a...

via Google rebrands US Android market as ‘Google Play’ | ZDNet UK.

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via Dolphin Browser Comes to Barnes & Noble’s Nook | Dolphin Browser® Blog.

 

 

Pixel Trickery Helps Create a Brighter Screen – Technology Review.

The iPad’s bright and beautiful screen comes with a cost: a battery that makes up most of the tablet’s weight. A new display technology designed for tablets uses a quarter of the power consumed by most screens while improving the range of colors and the resolution.

The technology, developed by Samsung and its affiliate, Nouvoyance, uses a novel pixel design that lets more of the backlight shine through. It combines this with algorithmic tricks that dynamically dim the backlight based on the image on the screen.

“People want at least 10 hours of battery life on their tablet,” as well as screens that have more color and higher resolution, says Joel Pollack, executive vice president of Nouvoyance.

A standard LCD display uses a pixel architecture called RBG stripe, in which each pixel is made of red, blue, and green subpixels that filter color from a white backlight. The process is extremely inefficient—more than 90 percent of the backlight luminescence is wasted.

Normally, to increase the resolution, the number of pixels needs to increase, as does the number of transistors used to control those pixels. The problem is that the transistors block part of the pixel. Some smaller displays are built with a new process that lets transistors shrink and still supply the amount of current needed to drive a display, but it’s difficult to scale this up to larger displays like those in tablets and TVs. Normally, as the resolution goes up, says Pollack, “the amount of area that light comes through shrinks.”

Nouvoyance’s pixel design, called PenTile, lets more light through in a couple of ways. First, the red, blue, and green subpixels are larger than those in traditional displays. Second, one out of every four subpixels is clear. This means the backlight can use less power and shine brighter.

“Almost no light is absorbed [by the clear pixels], which gives you tremendous advantages for any content that has some component of white,” says Pollack. “And if you start looking at things, almost everything has white to it.”

Fewer subpixels would usually mean a lower resolution. But the PenTile display uses individual sub-pixels to trick the eye into perceiving the same resolution while using about one-third as many subpixels as an RGB stripe panel.

There are already 75 different products on the market using PenTile displays, mostly active-maxtrix organic light-emitting diode (Amoled) displays for phones and cameras. “Current manufacturing technology for depositing the organic materials limits the actual pixel density,” explains Paul Semenza, senior analyst at research firm Display Search. “So by using PenTile, some of the Amoled displays for smart phones have been able to achieve a higher ‘effective’ resolution.”

The PenTile display also uses image processing algorithms to determine the brightness of a scene, automatically dimming the backlight for darker images. A prototype was shown off at the Society for Information Display conference last month in Los Angeles.

“The combination of lower power/higher resolution could be important for tablets,” says Semenza, “given the fact that they are battery powered with large displays, and given the expected shift to higher resolutions.”

But he says manufacturers may yet find ways to use high-resolution transistor arrays, such as those found in smaller screens like the iPhone 4’s Retina display, which “has set a high bar for performance on mobile devices,” Semenza says.