Jan 28, 2011

Toshiba takes on Apple and iOS for lack of Flash

Toshiba created a new website for its upcoming tablet to compete with Apple’s iPad. The website is build on Adobe Flash, a plug-in that iOS does not support. When an iPad or iPhone user tries to access Toshiba’s website, they don’t get just an “unsupported” message. Instead Toshiba redirects users to a page making the point that its tablet will play Flash content.
Such a Shame. Add this to the list of the interesting places on the internet you can’t see on your device. Of course, if you had a Toshiba Tablet you would enjoy the entire internet. Yep, Flash sites too.

Of course, Toshiba’s tablet is not available yet and is not expected until Q2 of 2011. Then if you change the url of the redirected page from http://thetoshibatablet.com/mobile/apple.html to http://thetoshibatablet.com/mobile/ you’ll find a an iOS-compatible page. Successful marketing or dumb argument?
Source: TUAW

Apple airs new ‘iPad is Iconic’ TV ad!

Apple aired a new iPad TV ad today with name “iPad is Iconic”. The ad follows the same theme like the previous ads and shows multiple well known iPad applications including Apple’s iBooks and iWork Pages for the iPad, The Wall Street Journal and more. However there is one very interesting app shown in the ad. The ad shows the iPad being used as an American Airlines air ticket. This is part of American Airlines app Mobile Boarding Pass feature. While the ad shows a scanner being used on a barcode on the iPad screen, the future will be the use of NFC technology Apple is working on for a few years now.
At the beginning of November Apple released the “iPad is Electric” ad and at the end of the same month released the “iPad is Amazing” ad. Video of the new TV ad can be found below.

Apple is working on ‘magic gloves’ that work with touchscreen devices like iPad!

Apple was granted a new patent that will allow users to wear a special glove and control touchscreen devices like an iPhone or iPad. Apple says that in cold places it is necessary for users to continue to wear gloves while at the same time being able to use their devices.
When users, in cold weather, wear thick or bulky gloves, some electronic devices may therefore be unable to recognize or identify user interactions with the input mechanism. The loss of tactile feedback to the user may prevent the user from properly operating the electronic device, and may lead to frustration. Alternatively, if the user has to remove his gloves to operate the electronic device, the user’s hand may become cold and uncomfortable, which may also lead to user frustration.
Apple’s solution is a special glove with an outer shell that can be used to operate a touchscreen device. Apple says that the glove can provide tactile feedback to the user.
A glove that includes an inner liner and an outer shell may be provided. The liner may include a palm portion and one or more fingers operative to receive a user’s hand. The liner may be constructed such that the user receives tactile feedback when the user manipulates the input mechanism of an electronic device while wearing the liner.
Last November Hitachi revealed touch panels capable of detecting input from plastic or even a cloth. This could allow a device to be used with gloves in cold places.
Source: Patently Apple

Next generation iPad (iPad 2) and iPhone (iPhone 5) to come with NFC technology

According to a Bloomberg report, Apple is working to bring NFC (Near Field Communications) technology to the next generation of iOS devices. The report suggests that we will see this technology on iPad 2 and iPhone 5.

Apple Inc. plans to introduce services that would let customers use its iPhone and iPad computer to make purchases, said Richard Doherty, director of consulting firm Envisioneering Group.
The services are based on “Near-Field Communication,” a technology that can beam and receive information at a distance of up to 4 inches, due to be embedded in the next iteration of the iPhone for AT&T Inc. and the iPad 2, Doherty said. Both products are likely to be introduced this year, he said, citing engineers who are working on hardware for the Apple project.
In the past year Apple published multiple patents for use of the NFC technology. A POS system, a Home Appliances Control system, an Entertainment Ticketing system, and a Travel application are a few of Apple’s patents involving NFC.
In August, Apple hired NFC expert Benjamin Vigier as a new product manager for mobile commerce. Then, a report by TechCrunch suggested that Apple is already testing NFC capable iPhones.
Source: Bloomberg

News Corp iPad newspaper ‘The Daily’ to launch February 2

News Corp. Chairman & CEO Rupert Murdoch sent out invitations today to select media members for the launch event of a digital-only newspaper “The Daily”. “News Corporation Chairman & CEO Rupert Murdoch invites you to the launch of: THE DAILY”, the invitation reads. The event will be held at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City on February 2 at 11.00a. Present at the introduction of the new iPad newspaper will be Apple’s Vice President of Internet Services Eddy Cue. It is known that Apple’s engineers worked closely with News Corp’s people to build the new application.
It is expected that the magazine will cost 99c per week. With the debut of “The Daily” Apple will introduce a new subscription based model for purchases from the App Store, a long time asked feature that is missing today.
Source: The Loop

Jan 25, 2011

MSI Projector-Tablet is Only a Prototype, for Now

One might have thought that projectors would be more used on mobile devices than 3D technology, but that’s not the case. While tridimensional technology is picking up speed, everyone seems to have forgotten about projectors, although we get to see devices like the one below every once in a while. This is a tablet with a projector incorporated, as you can see.
Too bad that this is a mere product with MSI branding, running Windows 7 and based on Intel’s CPU. This 10 inch touchscreen slate includes the projector in a rotating section on top of the tablet and we learn that that area can rotate backwards and forward. MSI also wants to bring Android to this device, in an ARM version of it.
Let’s hope that it passes the prototype phase and reaches mass production, with a price below $500, if possible?
SOURCE: electronista

iPad 2 Image Points Towards February 9 Announcement

There’s no doubt concerning the following Apple product that will be announced and that is the iPad 2. The device will supposedly debut on February 9 is a recent image of the tablet leaked on the web is to be believed. This idea comes from the fact that there’s the February 9th date present on the homescreen, just like the original iPad with the January 27 date on the screen, the day when it was announced.
Going back in time and according to 9to5mac, this is sort of a tradition for Apple, as you can see in the images below. The Apple iPhone 4 was announced on June 7 and that date was marked on the Home screen of the device in the first leaked pics. Also, the iPhone 3G was announced on June 9, a date that was marked on its home screen.
The original iPad made its official debut on January 27, also a Wednesday and February 9th will be a Wednesday, too so everything’s perfect. Could this be right?
SOURCE: 9to5mac

HTC Flyer 7 Inch Tablet Coming in March, Running Android 2.3?

HTC is supposed to launch no less than 3 tablets this year, with the first model being dubbed HTC Flyer at this point. Last we heard, a model called HTC Scribe was very much talked about… The Fresh info comes from DigiTimes, who has a source on the inside claiming that the Flyer is basically a bigger Desire smartphone with Android 2.3 on board.
It’s surprising to see this OS on a slate, especially considering the sexiness of Android 3.0 Honeycomb, however, the update to this OS is planned soon after the slate’s debut. The same tipster is saying that the HTC Flyer debut in March, followed by two more units in June 2011, both running Android 3.0 Honeycomb.
Flyer will reach Europe in Q2 2011 and we’ve yet to find out some hardware details concerning this device or the other two, but MWC 2011 is coming and we’re sure something will go down in there.
SOURCE: digitimes

LG G-Slate Features 3D Display, Supports 3D Recording?

Well, after some weeks of speculations and some CES 2011 teasing, LG’s first Android 3.0 tablet, G-Slate is finally getting some specs. Of course, there could be simply rumors or speculations, but GPS&Co claims that it has contacted LG France for extra info and the following details were revealed.
Believe it or not, the Honeycomb tablet will feature an 8.9 inch 3D display, that doesn’t require glasses for tridimensional viewing. Also, LG G-Slate sports a 3D recording camera, a dual core CPU (Tegra 2) and a HDMI connector. A USB port concludes the list of specs belonging to the slate meant for T-Mobile.
Wow, didn’t MWC 2011 just become more interesting? Provided that this info is real, we expect a bigger version of the Nintendo 3DS, complete with 4G connectivity and a dual core CPU. Would a 3D tablet beat the iPad?
SOURCE: Unwired View

Under $200 Dual-Core Tablets? Yes, From Pioneer and Based on Android!

Believe it or not, dual-core tablets that cost less than $200 and run Android are a real possibility and they might come from Pioneer Computers, based in Australia. Known as the Dreambook ePad 7 Pro and with the Dreambook ePad 8 version also ready, these products feature 7 inch and 8 inch displays respectively.
Both units will feature a dual-core ARM 9 chipset and retail for $199. The manufacturer of the System-on-chip is not known yet, but Pioneer is known to collaborate with Nvidia, Intel and Wondermedia. Here’s the specs list of the Dreambook ePad devices:
  • Memory: 256MB DDR, 2GB NAND Flash, up to 32GB microSD storage
  • Camera: 0.3MP webcam
  • Connectivity: 10/100M Ethernet, WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, 3G, USB 2.0
  • Battery: 2400mAh
  • Display: 7/8 inch, 800 x 600, LCD multitouch
  • Others: G-Sensor, LEDs, haptic feedback
These are Android 2.2 slates, but there’s no mention of a customized UI, so we’re really curious what a dual-core tablet or two can bring to the scene.
SOURCE: shanzai

Lenovo to Create a New Unit for Smartphones and Slates

Lenovo intends to create a new business unit, that will focus on smartphones and tablets, according to a recent The Wall Street Journal piece. This new unit will be called the “Mobile Internet and Digital Home Business Group” and it’ll also handle cloud computing and smart TVs.
Through this move, the Asian company wants to expand its product portofolio and increase expertise, as they reach out to more customers and more markets. Lenovo’s COO, Rory Read is saying that the next 12 or 18 months will be very important to the business and you should expect to be puzzled by the slates and smartphones coming from the biggest PC maker in China.

Acer Preparing x86 Android Tablets for H1 2011

Acer has just announced that it’s preparing two or maybe even 3 tablets for debut in the first half of 2011. They also hope that in the following years they’ll replace all netbooks with tablets, especially the 7 inch models. Taiwan sales manager Lu Bing-Hsian is claiming that these new devices will run Android OS, but without mentioning a version.
The CPU of choice for the new Acer products will be Intel’s fresh Sandy Bridge and the screen size will reach a max of 10 inches. What’s really appealing is that the company’s tablets are supposed to evolve to quad-core architecture, distinguishing them from their competition.
This means that multitasking will be a breeze, but battery life will suffer. Acer’s not the best tablet-selling company right now, specially with their 12 inch product priced a bit under $1000 and being pulled from the shelves in July.
SOURCE: computerworld

HTC Sensation, New Version of HTC Sense for Tablets?

It’s been a leaky week for HTC, with about 5-6 devices hitting the web as renders and some of them are confirmations of older rumors. There was also an interesting unit called HTC Sensation, that some consider to be a tablet, while other are sure it’s a smartphone. Well, it could be none and rather something new from HTC on the software side.
The Taiwanese company recently filed a trademark for this name (HTC Sensation), that may refer to a custom UI applied on future Android slates. The description of the trademark is very broad and refers to mobile phones, portable gadgets, computer hardware, software and more. This portion of the official document caused the interest: “user interface software; computer hardware and software for user interfacing, telecommunications and telecommunications services;”.
Could this be HTC’s software layer that will be used on top of Honeycomb?
SOURCE: thenextweb

Motorola XOOM Priced at Around $800, Too Premium for Masses?

Verizon’s retail system recently gave away the price for the Motorola XOOM 4G LTE Honeycomb tablet, that will be around $800, of courses without subsidies. This is about $70 more than the 32GB iPad and a huge amount even for people who are willing to spend so much on a slate.
AndroidCentral mentions that this price will apply to the January 21 – July 21 time frame and the product is rumored to ship on February 14, making one or two lovers happy. HTC Thunderbolt is also mentioned on the leaked list, with a $250 price tag (with a 2 year contract, we think). These prices could both change and till Verizon says anything official, we’re left with them.
Let’s how well the Moto XOOM can perform with such a huge price tag…
SOURCE: Electronista

Motorola Xoom Launches on February 17, on Best Buy

Motorola’s already famous 4G LTE tablet, the Xoom will be arriving after Valentine’s day, according to a Best Buy leak. The Android 3.0 slate was supposed to arrive on February 14, but the date has been moved, it seems. Moto’s new hot product will ship with a 32GB microSDHC card.
Remember that this date only applies to Best Buy stores, so Verizon’s stores might launch the device earlier. HTC Thunderbolt might also debut on the same date and we remind you that the Xoom should sell for about $800 unsubsidized, quite a big price, even for a new dual-core tablet with the never before tested Android 3.0 Honeycomb.
SOURCE: electronista

Toshiba Mocks Apple’s Lack of Flash Support Through New Tablet Teaser

Remember the new teaser site for Toshiba’s tablet? Well aside from promoting the product, the company is also mocking Apple for its lack of Flash support. Thus, if you try to visit the teaser site from an iOS device, you’ll get the message pictured below:
Motorola was mocking the iPad for being a bigger iPhone a while ago and Toshiba also decided to join the gang of Android bashers. Well, considering that HTC is supposed to launch a device that’s basically a bigger Desire model, should we expect Moto and Toshiba to also make fun of it? Or the fact that it runs Android will stop them?
I have a feeling Apple will reply somehow…
SOURCE: android police

Nokia Tablet Spotted on MeeGo Developer Page

MeeGo developers must be hard at work on this hot new Nokia tablet we’ve just found pictured on mobile-review’s forum. Apparently, the image from bugs.meego.com and this is a thin device with a thin bezel and a pretty hot-looking screen. Could this be the leaked slate from the movie TRON?
It would be pretty nice to see Nokia unveiling both this tablet and some new smartphones during MWC 2011, taking place next month in Barcelona. Imagine a full touchscreen tablet with an Intel Moorestown core, some serious RAM and a 10 inch display, or maybe a 7 inch one? Which would you prefer? 
Now let’s see if any Nokia employee manages to lose this tablet in a bar or something.
SOURCE: tweet

Motorola Xoom Price is $699, Coming to Best Buy on February 17th, Now Official

Motorola Xoom was one of the most impressive products at CES 2011, if not the best tablet and now it gets priced, with a $699 tag and it’s ready for launch via Best Buy on February 17th. This Android 3.0 Honeycomb slate supports LTE connectivity and the info concerning its launch comes straight from an internal Best Buy document.
The tablet comes with 32GB of storage and we have to mention that on Verizon you’ll have to pay $800 to get it, of course this being the unsubsidized price. As we said here, this is quite a premium price for a mere slate, in spite being a top notch dual core machine… Let’s wait till the iPad 2 is released and maybe then the Xoom will get a price reduction.
SOURCE: Engadget

ASUS Eee Slate EP121 Shown Interacting With Wacom Pen; Graphic Designers Will Be Pleased

People working on graphic design and animations will love the potential of the ASUS Eee Slate EP121, a tablet that was demoed at CES 2011 by its maker. This device is shown in action in the videos below, with functions like video playback, virtual keyboard typing and Art Rage usage being demoed.
ArtRage 3 is doing a great job with image editing and we can imagine that Photoshop is also able to do wonderful things on this Windows 7 tablet. This is certainly a device for professionals, considering its $1000+ price tag and the fact that it comes with a LED 12.1 inch touchscreen with multitouch support.
The 178 degree viewing angle and the 1280 x 800 pixel resolution might also help, specially combined with the Core i5 CPU under the hood and the availability of up to 4GB of RAM.

Zuckerberg and Other Major Tech Figures Kiss Ass/Apple on Crunchies

Yes, the iPad is revolutionary, but do we need some major tech figures to tell us that, or is it just another stunt to promote the tablet? In the video below you can see Mark Zuckerberg, the Facebook founder telling us how the iPad changed the world, followed by Foursquare main man Dennis Crowley and LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman (also Greylock partner).

While Zuckerberg considers that Steve Jobs made us more portable, Dennis Crowley even shows up with some Apple headphones on, so his biased opinion is pretty clear. Reid Hoffman is more mature about the product (always interconnected users) , while Jeffrey Katzenberg (Dreamworks founder) exaggerates a bit and considers the iPad “the most extraordinary innovation of our times”.

The occasion for this shower of compliments is Techcrunch’s awards, lovingly called the Crunchies and most of all going to Apple as usual. What you have here is the acceptance speech for the Cupertino giant, that doesn’t even bother to send someone to get the award. Do they care? Maybe… Will anyone praise the revolutionary Motorola Xoom? Guess not… 
SOURCE: techcrunch

HTC Flyer Tablet Specifications Leak; 7 and 10 Inch Units Coming This Year

HTC Flyer has been leaked a lot lately and we’ve just found out what we’ve been waiting for: its specifications. The slate will be available in 7 and 10 inch versions, with the following features listed below. Will this device rock MWC 2011? We’ll see…
Till we also get a clearer picture (an official one maybe) of the slate, let’s find out some specs:
  • Display: 7/10 inch, 1024 x 600 pixels
  • CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8255
  • Connectivity: HDMI, DLNA, HSPA
  • Camera: 5MP, LED flash, facial recognition, 1.3MP video calling camera
LTE will also be available on the tablet, in a version that will be released in the second half of the year and as far as the OS is concerned, Honeycomb should be on board, in spite of seeing Gingerbread among them initially.
SOURCE: amobil.no

Android Honeycomb OS Could Be Exclusive to Tablets

Rumors are circulating that the hotly anticipated Android 3.0 Honeycomb OS may never be released in a smartphone-compatible version. It has been well documented that Honeycomb is primarily being designed for tablets, and this new information really drives home that Honeycomb will truly be a tablet-first, smartphones eat-their-hearts-out kind of OS.

When speaking about Honeycomb, Google’s Director of Engineering Dave Burke strongly stated: "Right now, it's a tablet operating system."

Check out our sister site Brighthand for a breakdown of why Honeycomb wouldn’t work well for smartphones, and how Google plans to rectify the split between the 2.x and 3.x versions of Android.

Motorola Xoom to Cost $800?

A leaked Verizon product slide reveals the Motorola Xoom Honeycomb tablet could cost a hefty $800 at launch. The slide, obtained by Android Central from a tipster, lists that the "Minimum Advertised Price" (MAP) for the Google Android Honeycomb tablet as $799.99, along with other, more reasonably-priced smartphones, including the HTC Thunderbolt, which has a MAP of $250.
In another slide, Verizon clearly states that "MAP relates to advertising of the device," and that "You are always completely free to sell the device at any price you choose." Also, it probably refers to the the unsubsidized price, and not the price with a carrier agreement.

The 10.1-inch Motorola Xoom will run Android Honeycomb, Google's tablet operating system. It will sport a dual-core Nvidia Tegra 2 processor running at 1 GHz and have 32 GB of onboard memory and 1 GB of DDR2 RAM, along with SD card support. The battery will be good for up to 10 hours of video playback, which includes 1080p. It will have a five-megapixel rear camera and a two-megapixel front-facing camera, a built-in gyroscope, barometer, e-compass, accelerometer and light sensor.  For connectivity, it will support Bluetooth 2.1 +EDR +HID, 802.11 Wi-Fi b/g/n, as well as both 3G and 4G LTE.
The Xoom will launch in Q1, but the 4G update won’t be available until Q2, at which point previously-purchased Xooms will be upgradeable. At CES, both Motorola and Verizon declined to offer details on how early-adopters can upgrade their device other than stating the 4G update involves components and users will have to bring their Xooms in to either Motorola or Verizon for the update.

Motorola Xoom Could Launch February 17, Priced $700 at Best Buy

Update: A tipster is now telling Engadget that the Motorola Xoom will cost $700 at Best Buy, which is less than the $800 "minimum advertised price" revealed earlier.
The Motorola Xoom Honeycomb tablet could launch Thursday, February 17, according to a leaked Best Buy document. The news comes just days following the "Minimum Advertised Price" leak from Verizon, setting the MAP for the Android-powered device at $800.
The document, sent to Engadget from an inside tipster, reveals that at least the 32GB Xoom stock is set to arrive on February 16 for the next day launch.
Motorola unveiled the tablet at CES, claiming it would be available in Q1, with a Verizon 4G update available in Q2, which would require a physical upgrade to existing Xooms for early adopters. However, the model on the show floor at CES was not fully operational, and was displaying a real-time demo of the Honeycomb OS instead of the actual operating system.
Motorola Xoom Launch
Motorola Xoom Launch

Nokia MeeGo Tablet Spotted

Nokia has been very quiet on the tablet front outside of a few murmurs following the initial iPad hoopla, but an image of a Nokia branded tablet device suggests the Finnish mobile maker may be launching a MeeGo-toting tablet soon.
No details or specs accompanied the pic, which first appeared on the Mobile-Review forum. There was some conjecture, though, suggesting that it could merely be an internal developer’s device built for working with MeeGo, the Linux-based Nokia operating system developed by Nokia and Intel.
In fact, MyNokiaBlog speculates that the device pictured is running a stock version of MeeGo and could be intended for developing MeeGo version 1.2, which is scheduled for release soon.
Nokia is no stranger to the mobile tablet product category. In 2005, it released the first of its Internet Tablet series, which included devices with Wi-Fi connectivity, small touchscreens (3.5 inches and up) with WVGA resolution, and on later models, sliding keyboards. Devices included the Nokia N800, N810, and most recently in 2010, the 3.5-inch N900.
Nokia Tablet

Analyst: Increased Screen Res for iPad 3, Not iPad 2

At least one analyst is throwing cold water on the iPad 2 screen resolution rumors by suggesting the 2048 x 1536 pixel display, which is four times great than that found on the current iPad, is slated for the iPad 3 and not the next-generation Apple Tablet.
Apple iPadIn an email to PCWorld, IDC research Manager Tom Mainelli claims the DigiTimes story, which included the first mentions of the increased resolution, is right on the number, but wrong on the device. "Our sources say Apple has requested that manufacturers begin work on displays with that resolution for the iPad 3," he wrote.
As Mainelli and others, including members of the TabletPCReview forums, mentioned, producing 9.7-inch panels (the size of the current iPad screen and presumed size of the iPad 2) capable of a 2048 x 1536 resolution presents too many problems for Apple, especially considering the device is expected to ship in the coming months. Cost and supply are both factors, as many expect the iPad 2 to outsell its predecessor, which has shipped close to 15 million units through Q1 2011. High-resolution panels could inflate the iPad 2 cost to uncompetitive levels and create bottlenecks in the production chain.
Market predictions vary widely for 2011 tablet sales, with most experts predicting between 35 million (Citigroup) and 45 million (IDC), but some suggesting upwards of 100 million (Digitimes). The Apple iPad is expected to dominate sales again this year as it did in 2010, when it held 95% of the market in Q3 according to Strategy Analytics.
Source: PCWorld

Nvidia Tegra 2 3D and Tegra 3 Coming to Tablets and Smartphones

Nvidia has no intention of stopping with its dual-core Tegra 2 chipset -- according to a recently leaked slide from the company, by the end of 2011, Nvidia will have released two more additions to its Tegra family, for both tablets and smartphones.Nvidia Tegra slide
First, this spring will mark the arrival of the Tegra 2 3D, a successor to the current-gen Tegra 2 found in smartphones like the recently unveiled LG Optimus 2x. This new chip will bring an upgrade to the clockspeed (1.2 GHz as opposed to the 1 GHz clockspeed of the Tegra 2) and will bring 3D displays to the mobile devices in which it is featured.
Then, this fall we will see the Tegra 3, which will be the first quad-core mobile processor. Though the smartphone version of the Tegra 3 will generate a 1366 x 768 display, the tablet version of the chipset will generate a true, high definition display of 1920 x 1200. The tablet Tegra 3, which clocks in at 1.5 GHz, will also pack in Blu-ray support and a ULP (ultra low power) power management system for the CPU.
For more details about the upcoming Tegra chips that will be featured in smartphones, check out our report over at Brighthand.com.

EFun Nextbook Next3 Review

Who isn't coming out with a tablet these days?
Given the tablet's rapidly increasing popularity after the success of devices like Apple's iPad and the Samsung Galaxy Tab, everyone and their mother is trying to jump on the bandwagon with their own version of the device. With such a saturation of tablets, inevitably there are going to be some that are the equivalent of those knockoff Nintendo Wiis that you see at your local RiteAid pharmacy. So is EFun's Nextbook Next3 tablet another one of those sub-par clones, or can it bang with the heavy hitters?
EFun Next3 TabletNextBook Next3 Specs:
  • 8.4-inch, 800 x 600 resistive touchscreen display
  • Android 2.1 OS (Eclair)
  • 600MHz Rockchip processor
  • 256MB DDR2 RAM
  • 2GB of onboard storage
  • SD card slot
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g connectivity
  • Built-in speakers
  • Integrated Borders eBook Store, powered by Kobo
  • Protective case and pointer stylus included
  • 1.08 lbs
The Next3 has a solid build to it, one that leaves it feeling like it's of quality construction without being too heavy. As is the case with anything glossy, the black finish on the casing of the device is a good idea in theory, but in reality, it easily becomes covered with fingerprints and smudges. The power button is smartly located on the bottom edge of the device, preventing any accidental switches; also down there is the Next3's SD card slot, mini USB port, charging port, and headphone jack. Finally, there are two navigation buttons (forward and backward) located on the outside edge of the frame.
One of the first things that caught my eye upon booting up the Next3 for the first time was the mediocre display quality; it lacked sharpness and I noticed immediately. I decided to look into the issue by comparing it to another Android tablet that I have spent some time with, the Samsung Galaxy Tab. The Galaxy Tab, which has a much sharper display, has a resolution of 1024 x 600 pixels on its 7-inch screen, giving the device an exceptionally sharp pixel density. Compare that to the 800 x 600 resolution of the Next3 on the larger, 8.4-inch screen (resulting in a much lower pixel density) and it's no mystery as to why the latter's display is so fuzzy: the lower resolution blown up on a larger screen did not work out well.
The responsiveness of the touchscreen is pretty poor, as well. If you're using your finger, you really have to press down to get anything to register; this is mostly due to the fact that the Next3 has a resistive touchscreen, which requires a certain amount of pressure for the two sheets that compose the screen to be touched together and register the input. This is opposed to capacitive touchscreens, which use electrical charges in their material to locate the point of contact and therefore require less physical pressure to register.
The issues with touchscreen sensitivity (or lack thereof) are especially frustrating when trying to turn the pages of an eBook, which is hit or miss at best. The Next3 does come with a stylus that is a little more effective than using your finger, but it's very lightweight and skinny, making it feel cheap and oddly disproportionate to the much larger device. And let's be honest, who wants to read their eBooks with a stylus in their hand just to turn the page?
Buttons and other features
Next3 With CaseAs previously mentioned, in an attempt to mimic the convenient navigation buttons of the Amazon Kindle, the Next3 features forward and backward navigation buttons—but only on the right side of the device, eliminating the convenience for lefties and ensuring that righties are always handling it with their dominant hand while reading or navigating. To top it off, the buttons are occasionally unresponsive, sometimes requiring multiple presses before turning a page or moving to the next picture in a slideshow.
On the subject of buttons, I would also like to mention that I dearly miss the Android navigation touch-sensitive "buttons" (search, home, menu, and back) like those featured on the Samsung Galaxy Tab and most Android smartphones. Their absence on the Next3 resulted in on-screen navigation instead, which wasn't nearly as convenient or efficient.
Another problem I have is with the Next3's accelerometer. Now, I know that few devices have really mastered accelerometer technology, so to speak, but the Next3's accelerometer is a far cry from masterful. Besides the fact that, by design, the home screen will not reorient into landscape mode when the device is turned (which drives me nuts), the Next3 often gets confused and starts turning a step behind what you want it to do; in other words, turning to portrait orientation when you shift to landscape and vice-versa. Tack on the fact that the use of the accelerometer often results in funny things like YouTube playlists reloading every time the device is reoriented, and you begin to think that you're better off just never turning the device at all.
There are some nice supplemental features to the Next3, however. The built-in speakers on the tablet are powerful and of good quality, which came in handy when watching videos or listening to music (which, so long as it is local media, is a perfectly enjoyable experience as well). Another nice touch is the included carrying case for the Next3, offering some protection and a place to put the miniscule stylus since you can't store it inside the device itself.

eReader News Round Up: B&N Newsstand a Hit, Sony and Plastic Logic Make News

It's been a busy week for eReaders, as Barnes and Noble NOOKnewsstand showed potential, Sony delivered on a promise, an intriguing slate came out of the woodwork, and Russia put their foot in the door of the eReader market.
  • NOOKnewsstand Gets Going Thanks to NOOKcolor
    The Barnes and Noble NOOKnewsstand, which allows users to purchase popular magazines and newspapers on their NOOKs, has taken off with a total of 650,000 single-copy and subscription sales. Barnes and Noble attributes much of NOOKnewsstand's success to the release of the NOOKcolor. The service currently offers around 100 newspapers and magazines, including popular titles like Elle, Men's Health, Martha Stewart Living, Rolling Stone, Newsweek, the LA Times, the Chicago Tribune, and the Boston Globe.
  • Sony Finally Delivers
    Sony is finally delivering cross-platform Android support with the launch of the Sony Reader App, which runs on Android 2.2 and above. This still leaves a lot of Android devices out in the cold (sorry Eclair users), but will allow customers with Samsung Galaxy Tabs or smartphones running Android's latest versions access to their Sony eReader library. The app supports PDF and ePub files, and is available for free in the Android Market.
  • NoteSlate BlackBarebones NoteSlate Hopes to Attract Customers with Simplicity
    For the eWriters out there, there will be an intriguing new product available in June called the NoteSlate. Being marketed as a low-tech alternative to the increasingly impressive tablets on the market, NoteSlate's manufacturers zen-ly describe it: "It's active, creative, you cannot browse the web, networks, read, watch, play... the Internet, social networks, connecting everywhere are just beginning, part of the contemporary future… We don't want to be overwhelmed with technology [sic]." So, the NoteSlate won't have much connectivity outside of a USB port, and whether the unembellished paper substitute will appeal to consumers at $99 is anyone's guess. It will not be available in stores, but rather will be found exclusively online at NoteSlate's website.
  • Russia's eReader Move
    The Russian Corporation of Nanotechnologies (aka Rusnano) has made a $700 million investment in Plastic Logic, a company most well known for their ambitious, yet ultimately cancelled, QUE eReader. Managing Director of Rusnano, Georgy Kolpachev, explained the move: "We are making an unprecedented investment of close to a billion dollars in the future of plastic electronics to help create one of the largest commercial centers for it in Russia." With this new investment, the formerly England-based Plastic Logic will be opening a new production facility near Moscow in Zelenograd, Russia.  How this affects the eReader market really depends on whether or not Plastic Logic can produce a device that can successfully compete with the bevy of current eReader options.

DAP Unveils M8930 and M8940 Rugged Tablets

DAP Technologies unveiled two new Windows CE 6.0-based rugged tablet computers today, the M8930 and M8940, both of which are voice-ready.
The 7-inch M8930 and the 6.2-inch M8940 are both equipped with "optically-enhanced touchscreens that utilize ambient light to enhance viewability in all light conditions," according to a press release from DAP. Further ensuring their use in outdoor settings are the tablets' resistance to extreme temperatures, chemical spills, scratches, direct impacts; both models are built to withstand multiple four-foot drops.
For rugged tablets, the M8930 and the 8940 are on the lighter end of the spectrum, weighing in at 2.9 pounds and 3.1 pounds, respectively.
DAP 8940Under the hood, both tablets sport the same specs. Running the latest version of Windows CE, the tablets are powered by a 624MHz processor, 128MB SDRAM, and a 512MB SSD, with an expansion slot for support up to 16GB.
The DAP M8930 and M8940 are available now.

HTC Flyer Tablet Specs Revealed?

While HTC has been busy adding to their smartphone family, the company has been relatively quiet on the tablet front. That changed last week when rumors of three new tablets surfaced. Today these rumors substantialized as a detailed list of specs on the HTC Flyer emerged on the Norwegian tech blog Amobil.

According to the leak, the Flyer will be a 7-inch Android tablet with a 1024 x 600 screen resolution. It may come with Android 2.3 Gingerbread, with an eventual option to upgrade to 3.0 Honeycomb, or it might launch with Honeycomb from the start.

The Flyer will have a Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8255 processor, which is surprising, considering that this processor is outdated and lagging behind the Nvidia Tegra 2 processors showcased by many next-gen Android tablets, like the recently announced Motorola Xoom. There will be a front facing 1.3 MP camera for video calls (the Flyer will come with Skype pre-installed), as well as a 5 MP rear facing camera.

The Flyer will have an HDMI port, and be DLNA-enabled to wirelessly stream movies and music. Also, the HTC custom UI Sense will receive a makeover for the Flyer, with HTC hoping to provide the tablet with what they call a "desktop feel."

Aside from the Flyer, keep an eye out for HTC to also release info on a ten-inch tablet with LTE support sometime in the near future.
Source: Amobil via Android Guys

Goodbye NOOK 3G?

The 3G NOOK is singing its swan song, as it turns out that national bookseller and eReader extraordinaire Barnes & Noble is phasing out the product. Existing stock of the NOOK 3G will be sold on store shelves and online, but retail outlets will not be restocked in bulk, as B&N turns its attention to the recently released, well-received NOOKcolor and the Wi-Fi only version of the original NOOK.

Barnes & Noble probably won’t mourn the NOOK 3G’s demise for too long, as the company celebrates the huge sales it’s had in the NOOKnewsstand.
Source: Engadget

BlackBerry PlayBook to Sell Big Claims Analyst

RIM will ship 4 million BlackBerry PlayBook units by the end of 2011, according to statements made by RBC Capital analyst Mike Abramsky. Within one year of release, which RIM claims will be in Q1 2011, that number will swell to 6 million units.

BlackBerry PlayBookWhile these numbers are huge, even if RIM is able to meet this ambitious projection, total shipments will still be well below the outrageous sales of Apple's iPad, which had shipped 15 million units by the end of last quarter.
Abramsky's numbers far exceed other predictions, which have been in the ballpark of 1 million.

The basis for Abramsky's analysis comes from a survey by RBC after CES that asked 1,100 people if they were likely to buy a PlayBook, with 6% responding affirmatively. A similar survey conducted in February, 2010 asked people the same question about the iPad, with twice as many showing significant interest.
Prior to CES, the PlayBook received some bad press after negative reports came out about its battery life. After a CES showing that made a postiive impression on TabletPCReview, we received an up-close and hands-on demo at a recent RIM meeting with press and analysts.

HP Topaz WebOS Tablet Now Specced, Available With Full Details Ahead of Debut

HP Palm has an event scheduled for early February, one that’s linked to webOS and most likely to a bunch of new tablets. Among them we should find the Topaz model, pictured below, a device that should run webOS and with a list of specs that can be seen after the break.
HP will initially debut a WiFi-only Topaz, followed by 3G and 4G units later on. The maker of this product will also launch a next-gen Touchstone charger, that will be adopted by the new tablets and it seems that the accessory will feature (aside from charging), support for image and file sharing, streaming, wireless printing and more.
Here’s the specs list of the slate:
  • CPU: Qualcomm MSM8660, 1.2GHz
  • Display: 9.7 inch XGA, 1024 x 768
  • Dimensions: 190mm x 240mm x 13.7mm
  • Weight: 700 grams
  • Memory: 16/32/64GB eMMC, 512MB DDR
  • Connectivity: WiFi 802/11 b/g/n, Bluetooth,
  • Camera: 1.3MP webcam
HP Topaz should have a battery life of 8 hours (or more), that won’t match the iPad, but at least it’ll try to.

IDC: Developer interest in Android nearly equals iOS

Developer mobile OS interest
What do application developers really care about? That's the question IDC seeks to answer with a new report released today based on a survey of 2,235 application developers conducted between January 10-12. "The survey reveals how new entrants to the tablet market are changing application development priorities and how businesses large and small are accelerating their efforts to build a mobile application strategy to deal with an explosion in apps, mobile devices, operating systems, and capabilities," according to the report.

The clincher: "Google has nearly caught up to Apple in smartphone popularity and is closing the gap in tablets." Read that sentence a second time and let the implications sink in and think about what it ultimately means for all the seemingly endless rah rahs for Apple's iOS.
Android Tablet Storm Approaches
To date, 85 new iPad competitors are lined up against iPad -- most of them were announced during Consumer Electronics Show 2011. "Developers are pushing these devices to the top of their priority list," according to IDC. The research firm conducted its last survey in September when 84 percent of respondents said they were "very interested" in developing for iPad and 62 percent for Android. Post-CES, iPad interest rose just three points, while Android jumped to 74 percent. Interest in BlackBerry PlayBook and WebOS tablets: 28 percent and 16 percent, respectively.
"With the Android Tablet market set to explode this year and the recent success of Samsung's Android-based Galaxy Tab, 57 percent of developers say price will be the most important factor for success, followed by minimized fragmentation (49 percent) and then Android Honeycomb OS capabilities (33 percent)," according to the report.
"From Samsung to Motorola to HTC to LG to Toshiba and countless others, if you add up the market capitalization supporting these new devices and look at the fundamental problem of how these players can truly differentiate, the biggest variable that will have the most impact (at least in the near-term) is price," according to IDC. "Developers eye the enticing possibility of a sub-$100 tablet and think mass-consumer opportunity."
After iPhone, Develop for Android or iPad?
Among mobile phone platforms, iPhone leads with 92 percent of developers "very interested." However Android interest rose 5 points to 87 percent. IDC observed "a common refrain: after iPhone, do I go Android or iPad?" It's an interesting question considering that upscaling apps for iPad should conceptually be easier than porting to Android. "Our common recommendation for pure market share and design reuse, think Android. For enhancing the experience, go iPad," according to IDC.
Developer mobile platform preferences
Windows 7 Phone's better-than-expected launch -- and c`mon who can resist those clever TV commercials -- drove up developer interest by 8 points to 36 percent.
Eighty-two percent of developers are "very interested" in developing for the Android Marketplace -- 37 percent for the competing Amazon Appstore.
Developers shift from iPhone to Multiple Devices
In many ways, 2011 is queuing up to be the year of the mobile, with tablets being a driving catalyst. "Last year, most respondents (44 percent) said they were in the exploration phase of their mobile strategy," according to IDC. "A simple app or two -- typically on iPhone -- and a focus on free brand-affinity apps was standard practice. This year, 55 percent of respondents said they are now shifting into the 'acceleration' phase." What does that mean?
The number of apps developers plan to create is up 183 percent from the last survey to 6.5 this year. For the loud rabble trumpeting iOS as the end-all, be-all mobile platform, developers are hedging their bets. "On average, respondents said they plan to deploy apps on at least 4 different devices (eg: iPhone, iPad, Android phone, Android tablet) this year, up two-fold over 2010," according IDC. "'I need my iPhone app' was a common phrase in 2010. No more. Cross-platform is mandatory, as is deploying to multiple form factors like tablets."
Changing Web apps model
A surprising trend: 81 percent of respondents say their businesses are taking mobile apps development in house. "Increasingly, integrated web and mobile teams are becoming responsible for a company's mobile strategy in order to have complete control over campaigns that span websites, Facebook pages, and mobile devices," the report states.
Cloud connectivity is a huge priority. "Last year, 64 percent of businesses said that they connected their applications to the cloud," according to the IDC report. "This year, that number jumps to 87 percent." The cloud shift also brings a new applications model, from tiered to distributed. The newer model is better for making information and data available anytime, anywhere and on anything.

RIM PlayBook: One Device, Two Faces

Is it flexibility or multiple-personality disorder? That's the question around the forthcoming PlayBook tablet from BlackBerry maker Research in Motion (RIM). Announced last fall and due in stores by April 1, the PlayBook is not a mere clone of an iPad, as most forthcoming Android tablets seem to be.
What's different about the PlayBook is that it's two tablets in one. I'm still not sure whether that's a good idea, nor do I believe that the folks at RIM are certain, either. But it's an approach that stands out and is worth exploring.
Where the PlayBook differs from every other tablet, real or announced, is that it must be tethered to a BlackBerry (via Bluetooth) to access secured services such as email and VPN access that a business would make available via BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES). A PlayBook cannot connect to BES, or the services that BES provisions, without going through a BlackBerry smartphone. When the PlayBook is not connected to its BlackBerry companion, those BES-managed services -- such as corporate email and calendars -- don't even appear on the PlayBook's screen.
When connected to a BES-managed BlackBerry, the PlayBook allows access to those services and acts essentially as a larger window into the BlackBerry. It's almost a thin-client approach, except that the BlackBerry app's display is reconfigured to take advantage of the PlayBook's larger screen, not merely scaled up or displayed in a window at BlackBerry size.
RIM says it chose this BlackBerry-required approach so that IT would not have to manage additional devices; all IT sees via BES is the BlackBerry. (The forthcoming BES 5.0.3 will let IT manage which BlackBerrys can be paired to which PlayBooks, so there is some management involved.) RIM also argues that users always have their BlackBerrys with them, so PlayBook users won't need to worry about getting BES connectivity. Ironically, the RIM exec who told me this had left his BlackBerry at home that day, so he couldn't actually use his PlayBook prototype to connect to BES and show me how it worked.
I'm not convinced about the BlackBerry-required strategy. There are many situations in which users wouldn't have BlackBerrys but could benefit from having a tablet -- for example, in hospitals, training centers, factory floors, and the like. Many of these workers don't need a smartphone for business purposes, but they could benefit from a tablet. Additionally, some of these workers cannot be given smartphones; take, for instance, health care workers whose data access is restricted to when they are in the hospital facilities -- that is, only when they are in Wi-Fi range. To use the PlayBook, companies would be forced to issue smartphones to all these workers, and so RIM's strategy could backfire.
RIM's plan also is meant to tempt companies to (re)standardize on BlackBerrys, given that BES can't manage other devices; it's a ham-fisted approach to try to reverse the BlackBerry exodus now occuring in business.
You can of course use a PlayBook when not connected via a BlackBerry. You can run non-BES-provisioned apps and connect to the Internet over Wi-Fi -- just like with any tablet or computer -- for Web access and use of non-BES-provisioned email accounts, such as those using the IMAP and POP3 protocols. You can also run PlayBook apps not provisioned via BES; you can install personal apps and business apps directly on the PlayBook.
Continue reading the article here.

Canadian tablet market to see triple digit growth in 2011

If the iPad created headlines last year in Canada, the tablet space is slated to continue to see explosive growth this year, according to new research from IDC Canada.

New vendors and form factors seen driving prices down, IDC Canada says
According to Krista Napier, senior analyst for emerging technology and digital media at the research firm, by the end of this year there will be “just shy of” 1.5 million tablet devices in Canada. That includes both those sold this year and those “still in use” from previous years. But given that the platform really just arrived in a big way last year, it’s a safe bet that the vast majority of those devices will still be in play by the end of the year.
But the real story is one of growth – both of unit shipments and of players.
Napier declined to comment on how many media tablets were in use in Canada by the end of 2010, but said the end-of-2011 figure of 1.5 million includes “triple digit” growth over 2010, powered by both the continued popularity of the iPad (and Apple’s next generation tablet, widely expected by mid-year) and the emergence of a variety of devices from a variety of vendors, including the RIM BlackBerry PlayBook and the ever-growing number of Android-powered tablets in a variety of form factors.
“Not every user is an Apple user, and there will be companies that come to market with devices tailored to different types of end users,” Napier said.
Although that land rush has begun in earnest with the arrival of the Samsung Galaxy Tab and other products, Napier said it should really heat up towards the middle of the year, when the litany of tablets previewed at this month’s CES event in Las Vegas start to hit the market.
The channels for tablets are evolving as well, but Napier stressed that the products remain a consumer play. That said, the arrival of the Samsung tablet at a carrier-subsidized price point late last year certainly showed that the carriers will be looking to get their piece of the action in the form of data plans. The emergence of other products from additional vendors without the same margin expectations as Apple, as well as the carrier subsidy model should help drive down overall selling prices for tablets, as will the emergence of various smaller form factors and screen sizes.
Much has been made of the opportunity for the tablet as a corporate device, and many VARs, whether or not they sell the hardware themselves, are finding opportunities in building solutions around or including the iPad and other tablets. But Napier expects the tablet, like the modern smart phone, to be a device that the end user purchases and is later offered access to appropriate corporate functionality.
“As businesses are using it they’re starting to understand the business case, but still, for the majority, it’s a consumer market,” she said.
That said, there are a select few companies that are being very proactive in acquiring tablets as corporate devices. Napier cites the example of software giant SAP, which has equipped its executive team across North America with the devices, as an example.
The research firm’s full report on the Canadian tablet market over the next four years is available now.

Jan 23, 2011

Hands-on With T-Mobile’s Dell Streak 7 Tablet

dellstreak72 572x249 Hands on With T Mobiles Dell Streak 7 Tablet
At T-Mobile’s 4G press conference at CES, they were pretty tight-lipped about the upcoming G Slate, yet they did however announce the Dell Streak 7, which is their first 4G tablet. The system runs on a 1ghz dual core Tegra 2 processor for excellent gaming prowess, it has support for flash, wi-fi sharing for up-to 5 devices, an 800×480 resolution, a 1.3 mp camera, upto 4 hours of video playback, and Flash support. The system is running Android 2.2 with Stage used as an overlay on top of it. Stage is Dell’s own widget based user interface. T-Mobile says that pricing for the Dell Streak 7 will be announced soon and that the pricing will be very affordable. T-Mobile also plans on relaxing 25 4g devices this year between smartphones, tablets, notebooks and modems.

Tablets Are The Future!

The iPod changed the music industry, the stereo component market, the portable music device industry and how we listen in our cars. Now the tablet computer, with the iPad in the early lead, is already changing the PC industry, the virtualization market, the Web site design arena, the publishing industry and dozens of others.
Some IT departments are resisting the tablet, but the fact is as more of us buy personal iPads and other makes, we are going to pressure CIOs to make them functional as a work device. An accessorized iPad can very easily stand up to a notebook computer today. With a virtualized desktop deployment, it becomes even more powerful. There are really just a few things that I and many other executives need when we travel -- access to e-mail, the ability to write and the ability to look at spreadsheets. All of these can be accomplished on a tablet and it gets easier with a wireless keyboard. So why should I be forced to lug a notebook?
My point here is the tablet is a huge sales opportunity for solution providers, and the sooner you begin thinking about how you can deploy it to solve customer needs the better.
Continue reading this article here.


Is this the Apple tablet? (update: new images)

Okay, we obviously can't confirm this, but we just got two very interesting images of what certainly looks like a prototype Apple tablet, or what could be the tablet bolted down to a table. It's big -- really big -- and it's running what clearly looks like an iPhone app, although we've never seen an iPhone app with that interface or at that resolution before. We also see a WiFi icon and a cell service indicator, although tragically there's no carrier listed. As far as fakes go, this is as convincing as it gets, so either this is the real deal or someone deserves a hearty congratulations.

On a totally separate note, we also received a tip claiming to have some specs -- we can't verify any of this either, but we're told that the device will have a 10-inch screen and look like a larger iPhone with a MacBook-like aluminum back, and that pricing will run $800 on contract with Verizon and $1000 without when it arrives in March. We're also told that the official name remains a secret and that Apple employees are still calling it by the codename of "K48" -- a name we last heard in May from the same source that pegged the iPhone 3GS exactly. This source also tells us that the iPhone will be coming to Verizon as well and that we'll see iLife '10 tomorrow, but there won't be any MacBook updates. A relatively safe set of predictions -- which is why we sort of believe them.

Just 13 hours to go -- we'll find out if any of this is the real deal soon enough.

Update: Based on some rough measurements, that screen does appear to be between 9- and 10-inches diagonal. Additionally, it looks as though there could be a front-facing camera on the opposite side of the home button (up top in these photos) due to that cutout section, though the images are really too grainy to know for certain.

Update 2: Our source has shared another photograph, this time showing an iPhone resting on the tablet for comparison. Check it out after the break (bigger image for inspection available in the gallery).

Update 3: Gizmodo managed to snag some images of what appears to be the back of the tablet from Chinese forum WeiPhone before they were mysteriously yanked. WeiPhone is the same forum that leaked the K48 name way back when, so who knows -- the image shows what could be RF testing, but one of them feels kind of render-y to us.