The newly released Google Docs app for Android smartphones and tablets has more than just editing and viewing documents up its sleeve. It also allows you to snap a picture of a page of text with the camera on your device, and it will OCR and convert it to an editable document.
Obviously, it can’t work its magic universally … handwriting, and complex fonts are beyond machine text recognition. But this takes us one step closer to being able to do Interlibrary Loan from a cellphone.
While there’s no hard evidence, I’ve seen rumors around the ’net that make me think this worth betting on. Amazon has all the infrastructure in place to support a tablet, especially after the launch of its very own Android Appstore last week. Amazon is one of the very few companies that has the content deals in place to feed a tablet, and with the cost of their flagship product (the Kindle eReader) going down, it makes sense for Amazon to think about the next stage of content on portable devices.
Think about it: Amazon has its own Appstore, still has the largest eBook selection in the world, and can stream or download movies and music. They clearly know how to produce hardware. I’m going to make a wild guess, and bet that we see Amazon launch its own Android-based tablet for sale this calendar year, probably in time for the 2011 holiday season.
Someone bookmark this, and call me out if I’m wrong in nine months. :-)
It is hard to believe that no one has produced an Android-based answer to the iPod Touch yet. There have been a few attempts (Archos comes to mind) but none thus far have had access to the standard set of Google apps. Android without gMail, Google Calendar, Google Maps, and access to the Android Marketplace…well, to say that it’s crippled is an understatement.
However, that looks like it might change with the release of the Samsung Galaxy Player 4 and Galaxy Player 5 this spring. As the first non-cellphone full Android devices at this size, I’m hoping that these are priced competitively. I for one would love to have an Android device that didn’t have to have a cell contract behind it.
It's finally official…the Motorola Xoom Android tablet wifi edition is coming to retail stores on March 27th for $599. Engadget is reporting that you'll be able to find these nearly everywhere: Amazon, Best Buy, Costco, RadioShack, Sam's Club, Staples and Walmart are all getting in on the Android action.
The Xoom is an impressive piece of hardware, and is certainly the best of the Android tablets yet available…but that's currently a pretty thin crowd, and it still doesn't have the sort of "why buy me" answers that the iPad 2 has. I like the Xoom a lot, and Motorola has a good track record with Android devices. But I think the next few months are going to be pretty rough for all of the upcoming Honeycomb tablets.
UPDATE: The Xoom is now available for pre-order via Amazon and other retailers.
Engadget is reporting that the Kno tablet, which was being pushed as an answer for electronic textbook access, appears to be trying to sell off its hardware division. Kno apparently has managed to ship only a few hundred of their tablets, and with this latest piece of news it appears as if the hardware side of their business isn't going to be the savior of the higher education eBook set. If you had been waiting on a Kno, it looks like you'll be waiting a lot, lot longer.
For those of you that have been holding out for a non-iPad tablet, you’ve got just about a week to wait. While the Samsung Galaxy Tab has been out for some time, the first tablet to launch with Android 3.0 Honeycomb (the version of Android designed for tablets) will launch next week. The rumor mill seems to have settled on an on-sale date for the Motorola Xoom of Feb 24th, or next Thursday. The 3G model is set to sell for $799, with a free upgrade promised to 4G when it become available. A wifi-only version looks like it will retail for $600, identical pricing to the iPad 32Gig.
Who’s been waiting for this? Anyone going to run out and buy one immediately?
Google enables mobile printing for Gmail and gDocs via its CloudPrint service for any of its supported mobile platforms (Android 2.1+ and iOS 3+). This means that you’ll be able to print using these services from your Android phone, your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch to any printer attached to your Windows 7 PC. Clever, and potentially very useful, especially as the tablet form factor becomes more central in offering library services.
It’s been too long in coming, but I think I speak for everyone when I say that I’m going to use this like crazy. I start nearly every writing project on Google Docs these days, and this is going to make everything much easier to manage for my writing.
It appears that Samsung might be the first to launch a tablet that looks like it could actually compete with the iPad, the Samsung Galaxy Tab. Driven by Android 2.2, it’s an impressive looking setup. They just released a teaser trailer for it, below, and the full story is over at Engadget.