The spectacular failure of Hewlett-Packard's TouchPad media tablet has left the WebOS operating system, originally written by Palm Inc, with no obvious future. It could return from the dead if Amazon bought it, and used it to replace the version of Android that runs in its new Kindle Fire.
News and comment on what's happening in the technology industry, and the direction it's heading.
Jack Schofield spent the 1970s editing photography magazines before becoming editor of an early UK computer magazine, Practical Computing. In 1983, he started writing a weekly computer column for the Guardian, and joined the staff to launch the newspaper's weekly computer supplement in 1985. This section launched the Guardian’s first website and, in 2001, its first real blog. When the printed section was dropped after 25 years and a couple of reincarnations, he felt it was a time for a change....
Amazon boss Jeff Bezos duly launched the Kindle Fire at a press conference in New York yesterday, and that part was almost entirely as expected, apart from the low-ball price. The Fire will be sold at $199 in the US, undercutting its main rival, the $249 Nook Color from Barnes & Noble.
There's only one day to go before Amazon is expected to launch its first Android-based media tablet at a press conference in Manhattan, and if leaked reports are correct we have a good idea what to expect. It will be a black 7-incher that looks much like RIM's PlayBook, and it will be called the Kindle Fire.
Amazon has invited journalists to a press conference in New York on Wednesday, September 28, which is leading many people to jump to the most obvious conclusion: it is about to launch its long-awaited tablet version of the Kindle ebook reader. Although this is unlikely to be a direct competitor for Apple's popular iPad tablet, it could be the first non-Apple tablet to sell in volume.
Meg Whitman, formerly of eBay, has been confirmed as president and chief executive officer of Hewlett-Packard, the world's largest IT company by annual revenues. Whitman has replaced Léo Apotheker, the former boss of German software company SAP, who had been running HP for the previous 11 months.
Anyone stuck for a new soap opera -- perhaps something like Dallas but with smaller shoulderpads -- could certainly find inspiration in the upper echelons of Hewlett-Packard, the founding company of Silicon Valley. Those who have already been entertained by the Carly Fiorina saga and the ousting of Mark Hurd might now be looking forward to a new mini-series where Meg Whitman replaces the current boss Léo Apotheker.
If you hate the sound of other people's music, whether from leaky headphones or portable boomboxes, things may well get worse, thanks to Red5 and Bose. Red5 has just announced "hybrid" headphones that double as loudspeakers, so you can blast your tunes to the rest of the bus/tube/train.
Michael Hart, who died on September 6, was one of the relatively unsung heroes of the digital revolution. He is generally credited as the inventor of the ebook, founded Project Gutenberg, and devoted his life to making copyright-free ebooks available over the internet.
YouTube's founders Chad Hurley and Steve Chen, who sold their video site to Google for $1.65 billion, are embarking on a new project.
Microsoft has been explaining its efforts to make Windows 8 start up faster, and with suitable hardware, it's now possible to get the boot time below 2 seconds. This is unlikely to make a huge difference to Windows 7 users, who should already enjoy boot times of around 15 to 45 seconds with conventional hard drives.