Boogie Board is a different and popular tablet

Kent Displays, the company that makes the Boogie Board tablet, is getting more VC money and is hiring 40 more employees in Ohio.

The Boogie Board is a modern equivalent to the old-fashioned chalk slate – a device that allows users to write and quickly erase messages on a screen the size of a sheet of paper. Company spokesman Kevin Oswald said orders for the boards have forced the plant to run three shifts a day for much of the year.

He added that he expects orders to increase this fall when the company adds a version of the board that can save images for later use.

“[The expansion] will allow us to meet worldwide demand for the Boogie Board tablets for the foreseeable future,” Oswald said.

Sales of multimedia tablets, such as Apple’s iPad or Motorola’s Xoom, have boomed this year, but Oswald said Kent’s product doesn’t compete with those. Boogie Boards cost $40-$60, depending on size, and are meant as a replacement for notepads and paper, not computers.

It will be interesting to see if this technology eventually finds it’s way into the all-purpose tablets.


Doomed technologies

Here’s an entertaining video from CNET on 5 doomed technologies, though some of the predictions seem a little off. Blu-ray and e-book readers are doomed? Those predictions seem to be off base.

On Blu-ray, of course streaming poses a big threat, but there’s always room for quality, and Blu-ray seems to offer the best picture quality.

On e-book readers, of course the iPad is more popular, but have you tried to read a long book on the iPad? It’s just not ideal, and given the cheap prices of e-book readers, I think many consumers will want both.

That said, the prediction on 3D TV seems like a winner . . .


iPad a hit with the elderly

SAN FRANCISCO - JANUARY 27: An event guest plays with the new keyboard on a Apple iPad during an Apple Special Event at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts January 27, 2010 in San Francisco, California. CEO Steve Jobs and Apple Inc. introduced its latest creation, the iPad, a mobile tablet browsing device that is a cross between the iPhone and a MacBook laptop. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

BusinessWeek is reporting that the iPad is becoming a hit with the elderly, even though there aren’t hard numbers to back up the claim.

The company has sold 3.27 million iPads since its launch in April, but doesn’t break down sales figures by customer age, making it impossible to know with certainty how many seniors are buying them. Anecdotal evidence suggests it’s a hit with the elderly. Marti Weston of Arlington, Va., bought her father one for his 87th birthday in May. “This ‘book-sized’ pad has become my news and entertainment source,” her father, the Reverend Elmo Pascale, raved in a comment on Weston’s blog.

The iPad’s intuitive interface makes it appealing to senior citizens around the world, says Takahiro Miura, a researcher at the University of Tokyo: “The iPad is a good tool for the elderly because it’s very forgiving of mistakes.” Miura’s team uses computers to help train senior citizens to rejoin the workforce. “Unlike the PC, it doesn’t require prior knowledge,” he says.

This makes sense, as ease of use is a critical factor for older computer users. The device is less intimidating, and we can see the logic of seniors becoming enthralled with the device, just like younger users.


New Kindles already sold out!

Amazon has released the new Kindle and has reduced the price, and the new versions are already sold out, though you can place an order and get on the waiting list.

This is quite a development when one considers that many were pronouncing the Kindle to be dead upon the release of the iPad. That said, for every fool who made that prediction, there were many savvy tech analysts who pointed out that the Kindle was still superior for long-form reading. That’s the phrase you’ll consistently be hearing from Jeff Bezos. The iPad is a brilliant device that just may help save the magazine and newspaper businesses, but reading a book is a much different experience. In that context, the graphics aren’t necessary, and the glossy screen needed to produce the graphics and touch-screen features is a hindrance to reading in the sun or reading for a long period of time.

Thus, the Kindle and similar devices devoted to the long-form reading market will always thrive.

It might be cool down the road the have a dual-use device, where you have the glossy screen on one side and the Kindle-type screen on the other, but for now I expect to use both devices, and it doesn’t hurt to have a free Kindle app on your iPad so you can do some reading in those cases where you have your iPad but not your Kindle.


CEO Steve Jobs introduces the new iPhone 4

Apple CEO Steve Jobs poses with the new iPhone 4 during the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco. The new features are quite impressive as Apple builds upon the momentum from the iPad.

Meanwhile, many app developers are worried as AT&T will no longer be offering unlimited data plans. I can see the concern, as users don’t want to worry about what they are consuming. The beauty of many apps is that they are free, or they are so cheap that the decision to purchase is insignificant. This may upset the balance, no matter how good the iPhone gets.


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