Wearables are white-hot at CES 2014. So they're doomed, right?

LAS VEGAS -- This year's Consumer Electronics Show will see dozens upon dozens of wearable technology products vie to become this year's breakout device.

And most -- if not all -- will be forgotten in the coming months.

That's because when all the booths are taken down, the convention lights are dimmed, and the last of the tech executives board their flights, we all finally escape the reality-distortion field that is Las Vegas and CES.

See also: CES 2014: What to expect

A look back at past confabs shows that the hot item at CES is a … Read more

How to give an e-book as a gift

There's something wonderful about gifting someone with a book you read and loved, knowing they'll dive in to the same world you explored through text on a page.

These days, you're likely to find that friends are instead reading their books on an e-reader like the Nook, Kindle, or iPad, a transition that seemingly makes book-gifting a challenge. After all, you can't put a bow on an intangible file.

Gifting someone with an e-book is a lot easier than it seems, but will vary depending on which e-reading device he or she owns. Once you find … Read more

Get a Kindle with Special Offers for $49 shipped

Remember when a Kindle was a big, bulky thing that cost $399, and you couldn't even get one? That was a scant six years ago. It's amazing the difference a few years can make.

To wit: In a move that will undoubtedly satisfy legions of near-last-minute gift shoppers, Amazon just served up the Kindle deal of the year.

Today only, and while supplies last, you can get the Kindle with Special Offers e-reader for $49 shipped. That's a $20 savings and the lowest price ever on a new Kindle direct from Amazon.

Make no mistake, this is … Read more

No books here: New Texas library is all digital

With the holidays approaching and families arriving from out of town, it's not always easy to find a little peace and quiet. It's also increasingly difficult to find the kind of place that often provided that quiet: a good, old-fashioned library.

It's not that libraries are going away. They're just changing dramatically.

Walk into the Bexar County digital library in San Antonio, Texas, and you'll see plenty of screens -- but zero books. It doesn't look like a library, and that's the point. … Read more

Black Friday deal week: Manic Monday

This is going to be a crazy week. Already over the weekend I've seen a Dell laser printer with Wi-Fi for $29.99 (already sold out), a 16GB iPad Air for $449 (also sold out), and so on. Stores are really taking this "early Black Friday" thing to heart, so the deals are coming fast and furious -- and, unsurprisingly, selling out quickly.

That's why I'm going to devote this week to as many sweet deals as I can find, starting with this one:

Cheap e-reader

I first spotted this yesterday, so I don't … Read more

Amazon said to be working on new high-res Kindle Paperwhite

Less than two months after unveiling a new Kindle Paperwhite, Amazon is said to have another refresh in the pipeline for next year.

Sporting a high-resolution 300-pixel-per-inch screen, the new Kindle Paperwhite is expected to be released in the second quarter of 2014, TechCrunch reports. The new screen will put Amazon on technical par with the 265ppi Kobo Aura HD, which formerly boasted of the highest-resolution display available in an e-reader. The Kindle Paperwhite released in October features a 212ppi screen.

In addition to an improved screen, the new model will resemble the Kindle HDX and be lighter than the … Read more

Kindle Paperwhite update brings Goodreads support

Kindle Paperwhite owners can grab a new update Tuesday that carries with it two major features.

You can now directly participate in Goodreads, a community of fellow e-book readers that offers information and discussions on your favorite titles. The integration lets you share passages from a book with your Goodread friends, see what other people are reading, learn about new books, and review the books you read.

The update also provides Kindle FreeTime, a service that should interest parents eager to get their children to read more. You can pick titles for your kids to read, set daily reading goals, … Read more

Europe to allow mobile device use during entire flight

European air travelers may soon be able to use their mobile gadgets during a whole flight.

On Wednesday, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) said it will publish guidance this month that will allow the use of smartphones, tablets, e-readers, and MP3 players from takeoff to landing as long as they're in flight mode or airplane mode. Current EASA guidelines prohibit the use of such devices during taxiing, takeoff, and landing.

The new recommendations will apply to planes operated by European airlines. As a next step, EASA is investigating ways to allow mobile phone users to make phone calls … Read more

35% of Americans now own a tablet, Pew says

Thirty-five percent of Americans own a tablet and 24 percent own an e-reader, according to the latest study from Pew Internet Research.

Pew documented a big jump in tablet ownership. In November 2012, 25 percent of Americans owned a tablet. The findings illustrate the democratization of tablet computing and the impact on lower-cost models beyond the larger version of the iPad.

This chart sums up the tablet and e-reader ownership breakdown for Americans 16 years old and up. It's also worth noting that previous Pew studies on tablet ownership in the US started at age 18 and up.

As … Read more

Binge on books with Oyster

Oyster, a digital book delivery service, began rolling out its iPhone app yesterday to selected subscribers with a buffet-style approach to books for $9.95 a month.

Taking its name from Shakespeare's famous line in "The Merry Wives of Windsor" -- "the world's mine oyster" -- the service targets the insatiable readers among us. Oyster managed to secure up to 100,000 titles and wrangled in publishers like Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Workman, Smashworld, and even one of the "Big Six" -- HarperCollins.

The idea is nothing revolutionary from what some libraries are … Read more