The weekly gadget review at Ubergizmo

By December 03, 2007

Amazon Kindle Hands-On Yesterday, I had a chance to play with the Amazon Kindle, a connected eBook that is generating a lot of buzz. Here are my impressions:   Form factor The general form factor is OK. It’s a little thick, but al

l in all, it’s usable and most importantly, it is *light*. The display size is “good enough” but depending on your tastes, you might want something larger (like a letter size). I’ve dropped a business card to show you how big the screen is. I don’t like the pouch/case, as it prevented me from using my left hand to type or click on the next/prev buttons. A vertical flip case would be much better.   Display The e-ink display is very comfortable to read on, and that’s no surprise. It feels just like the Sony reader that we tested in Tokyo a couple of years ago. The refresh rate is quite slow (visible when flipping the pages), but it’s not a problem as pages are mainly static.   So? I like the idea behind the Kindle: an always-connected eBook with up to 4GB of storage (via SD card) is a good thing. The choice of using a wireless carrier’s network (vs. WiFi) has some advantages, like having an always-on connection with incremental updates and access to Wikipedia. Unfortunately, this always-on connection seems to be the main roadblock to get free content (Amazon pays for the bandwidth). I feel that $399 is simply too much and It is necessary that users have access to *free content* (in addition to paid content), via USB. Also there’s no support for PDF (which would have been useful to get free content) eBooks have the potential to shake the industry, but the pricing, data formats and distribution models have yet to be worked out. Thanks to Francis from Transnets for letting me play with his device and Mathieu from L’Atelier for snapping the photos. Update: PDF can be converted to a format supported by the Kindle. It is also possible to email the Kindle with a PDF attachement for a cost of 10 cents (per email). Apparently, there’s an anti-SPAM feature, but we’ll keep you updated.     Amazon Kindle Taken Apart Rapidrepair has an interesting photo gallery that shows the inside of the Amazon Kindle. They also show the step-by-step instruction to take yours apart, but of course, you’ll do it at your own risk ;) Rapid Repair Photo gallery. Related post: Amazon Kindle Hands-On     Sustainable Flash Memory Card Holder Designer Tom Kenworthy has come up with a Sustainable Flash Memory Card Holder that is made from recycled vending cups - can you believe that? A single holder requires seven plastic cups to construct, and best of all is, you will help reduce the amount of waste in our environment while holding the plethora of memory cards that are currently floating around the market. I guess it all depends on your creativity on how you want it to look like. Note that plastic can't be recycled forever, but recycling is still a good thing. May be the word "sustainable" should be replaced by "environment-friendly"...     Super-USB to reach 4.8Gbps Building over the success of USB and USB 2.0, a new set of detailed specifications for a “USB 3.0” will be available in January. Here are the highlights: It will be called Super-USB It should be as fast as 4.8Gbps (10x USB 2.0) It is backwards-compatible Power consumption will be smarter     Hyundai has full HD 3D LCD TV As if a 46" full HD LCD TV sitting down in your living room isn't enough to impress friends, there is now a TV from Hyundai that offers all that and more - specifically support for 3D digital broadcasting that will be due in Japan from December onwards. There is no word on pricing for this full HD 3D LCD TV, but you can bet your bottom dollar that it won't be easy on your pockets. Any takers for this TV? So far, 3D TVs that I've seen so far aren't suitable for long term viewing as it is easy to get all giddy after a short while of viewing. Hopefully, things will change for the better with this new 3D LCD TV.     Self-destruct button USB hub is back And in a smaller form factor to boot! The designers took the original and thanks to the power of miniaturization, managed to squeeze it into a much smaller size. Unfortunately, you will lose all semblance of its big brother's USB hub functionality. Instead, pressing the big red button in the middle will invoke an explosion sound for kicks. This cellphone charm has been slapped with a rather ridiculous €19 price tag. I suppose you're paying for the novelty factor more than anything else.     Potty Time Watch The Potty Watch from Potty Time is one interesting device to help young parents potty train their kids without going potty themselves. This fun and flexible timer is worn by the toddler, and it will play music as well as flash lights every 30, 60 or 90 minutes and then resets itself automatically. Whenever these lights flash, that's the signal for when they ought to spend some time away from whatever they're doing at the moment (drooling at a mobile, or just throwing things around the house) and head towards the potty. This fun learning environment will probably make kids love their potties all the more. The Potty Time Watch will come in blue, green and pink colors, retailing for $9.99 each.     Supercar runs on biofuel Mention supercar and you probably have the image of an exotic beast that guzzles up fuel like there's no tomorrow. Not so with the Swedish Koenigsegg CCXR, as this beast is capable of running on just E85 ethanol fuel alone. Unfortunately, the car comes with a sticker price of $2.3 million, putting this out of reach for most folks. I strongly believe if you can afford such a car, surely the question of expensive fuel won't matter to you? Still, here are some specs to get your pulse racing (I'm sure its stunning looks had already done so) - a 4.7 liter V8 engine that cranks out 1,018 horsepower, hitting 62 mph from standing still in just 2.9 seconds with a maximum speed of 250 mph.     HP sites get solar systems HP aims to green its operations further by installing a new roof-top SPV system at the HP facility in San Diego California. This system will boast a 1 Megawatt capacity, placing it roughly 63% of the recently installed Google system. 5,000 solar-power panels have been installed, and these will cover 10% of the energy consumed by the facility, helping HP save up to $750,000 in power costs acrss 15 years. Now that amount might not be much for a company that makes millions upon millions, but any step that helps preserve our earth for the next generation gets a thumbs-up in my books. Find all the sources, and discover more consumer electronics news and reviews at FEEDBACK For comments on this article, email us at

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