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Analyst: Amazon’s E-Book Share to Shrink to 35% By 2015


Credit: Vicki's Pics/
Credit: Vicki's Pics/

Timing is everything, they say in comedy. Amazon probably isn’t laughing after reading a financial analyst’s prediction the online bookseller will see its share of the e-book market nosedive to 35 percent by 2015 at a time when revenue for electronic reading is expected to nearly triple. Why? Two words: Apple iPad.

Credit Suisse analyst Spencer Wang expects Amazon’s share of the e-book market to be more than halved by the iPad, falling to 35 percent by 2015, down from 90 percent in 2009. Just as Amazon’s market share for e-books shrinks, revenue from e-books is expected to explode; hitting $775 million by 2015, up from $248 million last year. The skyrocketing demand could also be helped by a number of big-named publishers – Macmillion, HarperCollins and Hachette – using the iPad to force Amazon to drop its $9.99 flat-price on e-books.

New OmniVision RAW-capable camera sensor would vastly improve future iPhones



Cell phone cameras are unmitigated garbage. By nature, the CMOS chips have to be small, which means less surface area to suck in light. That’s fine in an emergency, or to snap a lip-pursed Snooki shot of some girls you met at the bar, but right now, you’ll simply never take a snap with a cameraphone that equals the picture quality of even that five-year old digicam lurking in your obsolete gadget drawer.

Worse: all too often, cameraphone makers try to compensate for the terrible image quality of their chips by cramming more megapixels into the chip, which fools buyers into thinking they are getting a better camera, but counter-intuitively just makes image quality even poorer. What’s needed is better chips, not more megapixels.

So it’s exciting to see OmniVision come out with a new, RAW-capable CMOS sensor for cellphones. Shooting in RAW means that no data is lost when your phone converts the image data from the CMOS into a JPEG, so it should improve image quality… especially given the OmniVision sensor maxes out at 5 megapixels.

Daily Deals: $849 MacBooks, App Store Price Drops, $50 Adobe Photoshop Elements



We start today with a deal on MacBooks, including $849 for a 2.26GHz Core 2 13.3″-inch white model. Also on tap: a new round of App Store price drops, including an iPhone, iPod touch adaptation of the classic PAC-MAN video game. Finally, Adobe Photoshop Elements image manipulation software is available for $50.

Along the way, we’ll look at many other Apple-related bargains, including the Air Mouse Pro for the iPhone, Altec Lansing speakers for the iPod and a Philips Transdock II FM transmitter and car charger for the iPod.

As always, details on these and many more items can be found on CoM’s “Daily Deals” page after the jump.

Multi-IM client Meebo comes to the iPhone with native app



Although I’m still an Adium man on my primary Mac, I’ve been using the excellent online IM client Meebo for years to keep in contact with a decade’s worth of collected buddies scattered across ever instant messaging protocol under the sun across multiple machines.

Unfortunately, using the Meebo site on the iPhone was never quite as good as an experience. I’m really excited to see, then, that they’ve just released a native Meebo app to the iTunes App Store.

All the best features of Meebo are here, including searchable chat history across all of your Meebo sessions, regardless of machine, and support for just about every IM protocol under the sun. The Meebo app will also push IM notifications to you when the app is closed, and early reports suggest that it keeps you logged in far longer than just about any other IM app out there. It’ll even automatically reconnect when you lose coverage.

The best news, though, is the price: Meebo is completely free. I’ve been a huge fan of the Meebo web service for years: if you do any instant messaging on your iPhone at all, this is worth a download.

AT&T iPad Rumors Could Signal Netbook Slowdown



The first step in Apple taking on netbooks without releasing a netbook was the iPad with cheap 3G support from AT&T. Now comes word the carrier may start selling iPads in its stores – and pushing out netbooks to make room. The rumor comes on the heels of reports European carriers will subsidize the iPad’s price for a two-year contract.

“We’re told the general plan is to convert one or two existing netbook display sections in each corporate AT&T location into a pretty substantial iPad display area,” according to Boy Genius Reports, citing a carrier source “down South” indicating the company will sell the 3G iPad.

Report: Newspapers, Magazines Balking at iBook Information Demands



If Apple CEO Steve Jobs is to realize his vision for the iPad as an information-sharing device, he may have to win-over newspapers to that idea, a new report suggests. Although talks between Apple and newspapers are described as “friendly,” the head of one major daily calls Cupertino’s demands a potential “dealbreaker.”

The key sticking points in the discussions are two-fold: Apple’s desire to share subscriber information and other data viewed as valuable by publishers, as well as how revenue-sharing applies to newspaper and magazine publishers. Publishers have amassed subscriber names, addresses and credit cards often used to develop marketing campaigns, even newspaper content.

Report: Apple to Use FairPlay DRM in iBook Titles



First Apple used higher prices to get book publishers to consider the company’s iPad. Now comes word the Cupertino, Calif. electronics firm will offer FairPlay DRM to make them feel safe from e-book pirates. The move seems to extend Apple’s use of DRM for movies and television episodes to its latest consumer tablet device.

However, unlike movies and TV show sold through iTunes, Apple plans to give book publishers the option to lock-down their titles with DRM. “No doubt some publishers, including O’Reilly Media — which has vociferously argued that digital locks are harmful to sales — will opt not to deploy FairPlay,” according to Monday’s Los Angeles Times.

Hands-On: iPhone-Controlled Parrot AR.Drone Quadricopter



The AR.Drone feels like the future of video games. A combination of a flying, hovering, and downright smart helicopter with four rotors and lots of sensors, and an iPhone augmented reality app, the Drone allows gamers to see the world through cameras on the chopper, to augmentedly dogfight with friends, and even to attack robots that only they can see. Basically, it was the hit of CES, and it shows an entire class of games that the iPhone makes possible.

On Friday, the AR.Drone from Parrot took the stage at the venerable TED Conference in Long Beach alongside everyone from Bill Gates and complexity theory genius Benoit Mandelbrot to Andrew Bird and Sarah Silverman. But before then, the little helicopter from the future hit northern California, making a cameo at MacWorld and, in a stroke of luck, briefly landing in my control on Thursday. And I came away more impressed by the actual device than I had been by video and demos of it.

Video: “Taiko Drummaster” for iPhone played with sausages



In the wake of last week’s report that sausage-mania was gripping South Korea when Maxbong brand sausages were found to be usable as capacitive styluses, there were some small few who doubted the report.

Our retort? This video, showing a South Korean playing Taiko Drummaster with a pair of Maxbong Sausages. As you can see, it works well, but those Maxbongs look a little too thick to be truly decent styluses. I still think a Slim Jim would work better.

Fisher-Price comes out with an iPad of its own



Children — those sticky, mucous-leaking, disaster-prone calamity goblins! — tend to have an unhealthy fixation with their parents’ gadgets. By ‘unhealthy,’ I mean for us, and not for them: no matter how many times your pudge-kneed toddler drops your iPhone into the toilet, common decency prevents us from clobbering the little monster for the affront. The only thing to do is buy yourself a new iPhone, then try to distract your feral, post-fetal doppelganger from indulging his or her innate impetus to destroy it with a plastic toy simulacrum.

Toy makers have been banking on just this for years. Consider all of the plastic laptops and cell phones and MP3 players on the shelves of your local Toys ‘R’ Us. Every gadget under the sun has a bright plastic analogue, ready to be sacrificed to your child’s agency of destruction and save your most cherished gadgets.

Apple’s new iPad, when it is released, is going to be a particulaly tempting object for the average kid to mindlessly throw, smash, bend, smear bodily fluids upon, or all of the above. But Fisher-Price — old saws at this game — have you covered. They’ve just announced their own iPad-inspired device for children, called the iXL.

It looks pretty good. It allows kids to look at photos, read e-books, play music and games, and even dink around with remedial art and note taking programs. Of course, since your kid’s probably just going to smash the dog in the head with it, then use it to blow up the microwave when you’re not looking, the $79.99 price tag might seem a bit much… but it’s better to be out $80 than $499, don’t you think?