I was at Apple's iPad launch on Wednesday, and maybe it was just Steve Jobs' reality distortion field, but I don't quite understand why the haters are piling on. A lot of PC-centric commentators are dismissing the iPad as an overpriced gadget, wondering why it's lacking features that are standard on even the cheapest notebook computers, like Flash support, multitasking, USB inputs to connect peripherals, and video outputs (HDMI would be nice). These are legitimate complaints--for a notebook replacement. But the iPad isn't a notebook replacement, and I don't think users will carry it with … Read more
This week's Apple iPad announcement gives us the perfect opportunity to discuss the future of publishing with Cliff Chiang and Jerry Ma, two graphic illustrators in the comic book industry. They join us in the studio today to talk about their collaborative project, "Secret Identities," a graphic novel anthology of Asian American superhero stories.
Growing up as an Asian Americans in the world of comics isn't easy, especially when the only culturally identifiable characters you see are either stereostyped villains or hyper-sexualized women. As comic books quickly gain popularity here (although they are still not nearly as prevalent as in Japan), we're starting to see a shift in the cultural perception of comic books, away from the chiseled, American superhero archetype. The artists behind "Secret Identities" navigate this sea change with stories equally rooted in Asian American history and individual experience.
Throughout today's episode of The 404, Jerry and Cliff offer a unique perspective on the current state of the publishing industry and the move toward digital comic creation. As it turns out, neither of the guys are fans of the new iPad, but Jerry raises an interesting point about the practical application of the iPad in the hands of a parent. And although we didn't have a chance to talk to them about it on the show, both are still considering the Modbook, an aftermarket Apple MacBook modified to work as a tablet computer.
We also love when guests bring us gifts, so look out for another contest for a chance to win a copy of "Secret Identities" (also available for purchase on BlackLava) that features custom sketches from Jerry and Cliff!EPISODE 508 Subscribe in iTunes audio | Suscribe to iTunes (video) | Subscribe in RSS Audio | Subscribe in RSS Video… Read more
It's hard to argue the fact that this week's Apple iPad launch disappointed the tech crowd, and not just because of that inexplicable name. Despite its lovely design, beefier core apps, and new e-book features and store, the iPad is hampered by a well-documented string of missing features: a camera, 16:9 support, Flash support (seriously?), multitasking, SD card slot, HDMI or high-res video output support, USB ports, GPS, and so on. Plus, it's exclusive to the AT&T network (again: seriously?) in this iteration, the pricing scheme is overly complex, and while I'm not … Read more
This episode of The 404 Podcast is dedicated to all of our heartbroken comrades out there who were expecting an Apple tablet computer, but got an Apple e-reader instead. Join us as we recap what might be the most underwhelming Apple product announcement since Apple TV.
Full disclosure here: This entire 30-minute episode is dedicated to the Apple iPad. We know a lot of you must be exhausted with all the moaning and groaning so far, but we'll take any opportunity to make fun of Wilson. Bear with us as we try to get him to say one bad thing about the iPad.
In addition to a healthy dose of polite yelling, we also play a collection of voice mails that drive the stake in even further. We guarantee tomorrow's show to be (relatively) free of Apple talk, and we're also very excited to welcome Jerry Ma and Cliff Chiang of the Asian-American comic anthology "Secret Identities," who will join us in the studio tomorrow to talk about state of the industry, ethnic minorities in the comic genre, and...well let's face it, we want their artistic opinion of the iPad.EPISODE 507 Subscribe in iTunes audio | Suscribe to iTunes (video) | Subscribe in RSS Audio | Subscribe in RSS Video… Read more
If you had visions of scribbling notes on your iPad, much like you can with virtually every other tablet that preceded it, Apple pretty much dashed them with Wednesday's focus on its onscreen keyboard.
Unsurprisingly, accessory makers have already stepped up to fill the gap. Ten One Design recently announced the Pogo Sketch and Pogo Stylus, which are fully compatible with the iPad.
As with the iPhone and iPod Touch, the iPad's screen requires capacitive input, which is why a traditional plastic stylus (or a gloved fingertip) won't work. The Pogo pens have special tips that mimic … Read more
Apple and Nokia each control big chunks of the worldwide mobile market and are duking it out for more.
In the final quarter of 2009, Apple's iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPhone operating system reigned in markets in Western Europe, North America, Latin America, and Oceania (Australia, New Zealand, and nearby countries), according to an AdMob report (PDF) released Thursday.
Meanwhile, Nokia's mobile devices and the Symbian OS led in Africa, Asia, and Eastern Europe,
AdMob sells text and banner ads to publishers on mobile platforms; as such, it tracks and measures which phones and mobile devices are used … Read more
Ahead of next month's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the rumor mill is swirling once again about Microsoft's Windows Mobile 7 operating system and a possible Zune phone based on it.
We've been here many times before. I first wrote about a Windows Mobile phone with Zune functionality back in February 2008, and thought the company might unveil it at CES 2009. It's more than a year later, and there's still no official word from the company on Windows Mobile 7. Meanwhile, Windows Mobile has lost market share, Android is coming on strong, and Apple and RIM aren't exactly laying back. What can Microsoft possibly do to regain ground?
The latest rumors center around a couple of stories that posted Monday on WMExperts and MobileCrunch. Financial analysts are also getting into the act with their own guesses.
The WMExperts story says there will be two Windows Mobile 7 OSes, one for businesses and one for consumers.
According to the story, the business version will continue along the same lines as the current Windows Mobile OS: it will be available for a wide range of hardware, and operators and handset makers will be allowed to customize it with their own user interfaces. The consumer one, or Media Edition, will be based on the Zune HD user interface, will include gaming and multimedia functions, and will be tightly locked to particular hardware specs.
The MobileCrunch story doesn't mention two editions, but claims that Windows Mobile 7 won't be backward-compatible with prior versions, and that developers will have to rewrite their apps.
I think both stories contain a germ of truth. So back to the question: what are we going to see from Microsoft at Mobile World Congress? Here are my predictions. (I haven't been briefed, so I'm free to speculate.) … Read more
NonLinear Software used the music show of the National Association of Music Merchants in Anaheim, Calif., this week to unveil its newest product, AppOmator.
Among others, many individuals and companies in the music industry see opportunities in building their own additions to the 100,000 app-strong App Store. Creating an app that suits one's business goals or personal tastes, however, isn't necessarily easy. While some Web services provide templates to build an app, NonLinear'sdesktop application lets users fully customize their app.
Using AppOmater, you can add custom graphics for the background and menu transitions, as … Read more
Billboard analyst Glenn Peoples predicts that RealNetworks will sell its 51 percent stake in music-streaming subscription service Rhapsody in 2010. My question: who'd buy it?
Rhapsody certainly appears to be a drag on RealNetworks' earnings. According to the company's financial filings for the third quarter of 2009, its music businesses--which include Rhapsody and sales of music through the RealPlayer store--posted an operating loss of $10 million. That's better than the $25 million operating loss in the same quarter of 2008, but the fundamentals aren't improving.
Subscriber numbers are down from about 800,000 at the beginning … Read more
Eastman Kodak on Thursday announced that it has filed legal complaints against Apple and Research in Motion alleging patent infringement.
The photo company claims the camera technology used in Apple's iPhone and RIM's BlackBerry to preview images infringes on a digital imaging patent owned by Kodak. In a complaint filed with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC), Kodak is asking that certain mobile phones with digital cameras be excluded from import unless the company can reach a fair method of compensation with Apple and RIM.
"In the case of Apple and RIM, we've had discussions … Read more