Archive for Tablet PC News
The Asus Transformer Book Duet TD300 seems to have been delayed indefinitely and Google is tipped to have played a part in it, as per a report carried by Digitimes. The reasons are obvious as Google feels the device that dual boots both Windows and Android would provide an undue advantage to Windows that is struggling to gain a foothold in the mobile OS segment. Such a device is being perceived to allow Windows to piggyback on Google’s Android on the path to success that Google had so painstakingly created over the years. Such a scenario could also lead to Google having to wage a two front war, with the Apple iOS on the one hand and Windows on the other.
This isn’t the first time though that Google is believed to have forced its hardware partners to cancel projects involving dual booting devices. A Samsung ATIV model that could dual boot both Android and Windows was reportedly pulled off given Google’s concerns over letting Windows build on the success Android has made.
The Transformer Book Duet TD300 device was unveiled at the CES event early this year and had attracted a fair bit of consumer response. The one most distinct capability of the device was that it came with a key on the keypad that allows users to toggle between either Android or Windows operating systems. The same could also be invoked via a tab on the tablet as well and was being hailed as a device that would be just right for both business and domestic usage. Chipmaker Intel too had been seen actively promoting the Transformer Book Duet TD300. Currently, it is only Intel chips that can support dual booting of both Android and Windows.
The Transformer Book Duet TD300 was scheduled to be launched by the second half of 2014 though its not known now when is that going to happen.
Following the launch of the iPad Air and the iPhone 5s, the clamor for the next gen versions has already started to pick up pace. Now, rumors making the rounds are that Apple may have an early release of the iPhone 6 sometime around July 2014, instead of the usual September timeline that the Cupertino-based company usually has. Analysts at Mizuho Securities have stated Apple might advance its iPhone 6 launch schedule, basing its claim on the rise in activity among component suppliers based in Japan and China.
Apple is also reported to have assured a sapphire crystal glass manufacturer of profits by the middle of this year (the next iPhone is believed to come with a sapphire crystal display). However, some sources maintain that there is no reason to believe Apple will launch the iPhone 6 early. A September launch is perfect to approach the holiday season as the device will still be fresh enough to appeal to the holiday buyers; a launch in September will also allow Apple enough time to smooth out supply issues.
As for the device itself, the next iPhone is almost certain to offer an even bigger display to keep up with other smartphones of its genre. The current iPhone 5s sports a 4 inch display, which could be bumped up to 4.7 inches for the next version. An even bigger 5.5 inch version is also being speculated, though some believe Apple might carve out a separate niche for the bigger version instead of including it in its iPhone line-up. The phablet, or big screen segment, has already grown to sizeable proportions and Apple surely won’t want to miss out on having a contender there this time; Samsung’s iPhone, the Galaxy S5, sports a 5.1 inch display.
Display size apart, other areas where the iPhone 6 is sure to upgrade include a 64 bit A8 chip along with iOS 8, offering an enhanced smartphone experience. Apple is also expected to enhance the scope of the finger touch sensor in iPhone 6 to make it play a bigger role in its application for a more secure payment option and integration with more apps.
So far as the iPad Air 2 is concerned, experts believe it is expected to stick to its usual launch schedule of the fall of this year. In fact, analysts believe Apple might not launch a new version of the iPad Mini as well as the purported iPad Pro with 12.9 inch display to focus more on the iPad Air. Further, the iPad Air 2 could also have the touch ID sensor found on the current iPhone 5s, which no doubt will enhance its appeal even more.
Among everything else, Apple is also tipped to release the long awaited iWatch device this year. It’s another segment that has just started to boom and Apple surely will like to get in on it before it’s too late. Apple is already believed to have gotten interest from batteries from LG Chem. This is on top of earlier reports of Apple hiring fitness and other app developers to develop the iWatch.
Android tablets are out on top, beating Apple for the first time ever and by a comprehensive margin. Figures revealed by analysts Gartner show that Apple has had a 36 percent share of the tablet market in 2013, almost half that of the 62 percent share that Android has had for the same period. Android accounted for 121 million tablet sales in 2013, compared to 70 million iPads sold. In all, 195 million tablet devices were sold in 2013.
For Apple, the results were in spite of registering a growth over its 2012 sales where 61 million iPads were sold. That number translated to a 53 percent share of the tablet market. For the same period, Android accounted for 46 percent share of the tablet market, or 53 million tablets.
Apple can still take consolation from the fact that the iPad continues to be the single largest tablet brand, outselling others by a comfortable margin. Samsung came in second, having sold 37 million tablets to equal a 19 percent market share, a huge improvement over the 7 percent market it had in 2012. Asus made up the third slot, having sold more than 11 million tablets, which comes to 5.6 percent share. Surprisingly, Amazon, who started the affordable tablet race, managed to sell just about 9 million tablets in 2013. Its market share dropped to 4.8 percent from 6.6 percent in 2012, making it the only manufacturer among the top 5 to record negative growth rate.
As for reasons behind the rise of the Android tablet, it is the emergence of low cost entry level tablet options that appears to have done the trick. For the first time, consumers had a lot of affordable tablet devices to choose from. Fortunately for them, these tablets offered decent specs in spite of the relatively cheap price tag. In contrast, the iPad caters to the premium segment that makes it within the reach of a distinct class of consumers. However, the challenge before Android is to ensure the huge user base who has invested in an Android tablet gets to have an endearing user experience so that they remain within the Android fold.
Further, both Apple and Google will have to watch out for a resurgent Windows platform that has registered growth in 2013. Though still quite insignificant with 2.1 percent market share and 4 million tablet sales, it could make for a much better performance in 2014 on the back of rumors of a thoroughly improved Windows 9. Also, the emergence of improved low power chips have led to better acceptance of Windows tablet which is poised for a take off if Microsoft gets its act together in providing for an enhanced software experience over Windows 8.1.
The Good e-Reader Android and Blackberry App Store is celebrating a new milestone today with 80 million new visitors in one year. This is tremendous growth and a testament to the fact that the public wants an app store that focuses on quality. Google Play, Blackberry World and a number of other app markets are always trumpeting the number of apps they have. Seriously, how many fart, flashlight and Clone apps do we need?
Currently, Good e-Reader has close to 100,000 Android and Blackberry Playbook apps listed in the store. The apps come from developers who use our Developer Portal and our team of curation specialists. We monitor all of the latest apps, games and cool tools that we think matter.
We have developed a series of proprietary technology that simplifies a developer’s life. Our APK TO BAR Converter allows everyone to take an Android app and output it to a BAR file, that is compatible with any device running Blackberry 10. Right now, we are working on a bleeding edge converter that will take Android files and convert them to Tizen. This is useful to any developer that wants to make phone, tablet or smartphone apps for the new Tizen OS Samsung is using.
The Good e-Reader App Store is available via the Web, and you can download thousands of apps, without having to register. All of the Android or Blackberry apps can be downloaded with just 1 click. We have also developed a fairly awesome APP Store client that you can install on any Blackberry or Android device.
Amazon has quite a number of Kindle Fire Android tablets out there, with the HDX 7 and 8.9 being the latest generation. No matter what device you have, it is impossible to watch or play any online Flash content. This obviously is quite limiting because most of the old web is mostly done with Adobe Flash. Today, we look at some of the options users can employ to get Flash on their Kindles.
If you have the Amazon Kindle Fire 7 HDX or the 8.9 HDX you can enable it so you can at least watch Flash videos using the SILK web-browser. The name of the feature is the The Experimental Streaming Viewer, and it is fairly easy to turn on. Go to the Web tab > Menu > Settings > Accelerated page loading > turn on. When you turn this feature on, it will enable two other features, Enable Flash Forward and Prompt for experimental streaming viewer. Further instructions on how to use the viewer are HERE.
The internet is full of interactive Flash games and websites that were coded in it. The Silk browser does not actually allow you to run Flash content in this fashion and you basically have to install a Flash supported browser, such as Dolphin HD.
In order to get Flash on your older Kindle Fire Tablet or even one of the new ones there are a few steps. Swipe down from the top > More > Device > Allow Installation of Applications. This will turn on the ability to install apps not available in the Amazon App Market. Next, use your web-browser and enter http://apps.goodereader.com/android-apps/internet-and-communication/?did=5049. This will download a new version of Dolphin Browser, which supports Flash. The next thing you need to do is actually stall Flash now. http://apps.goodereader.com/android-apps/essential-android-tablet-applications/?did=24
The two main sections above are basically all you need to do to get Flash content running on the Kindle. If you have any questions or concerns about any of this, kindly let me know.
Disney Studios has just launched a new iOS app that is compatible with the iPhone and iPad. It is bringing over 400 movies from Disney, Pixar and Marvel right to your device. One of the more compelling features is the service linking to your iTunes account, so you can purchase content and watch it on your Apple TV.
Setting up an account in the Disney Movies Anywhere app is free. The only time when you’ll have to pay is when you find a movie that you like, and those cost around $19.99 each. There is also a number of totally free exclusive content available and Disney will throw in a free copy of the The Incredibles for signing up.
Jamie Voris, the Walt Disney Studios’ chief technology officer, said in a statement “Disney Movies Anywhere is an adaptable digital ecosystem designed to help consumers consolidate their Disney movie collections and enjoy them for years to come. The beauty of this technology is that it enables us to work with iTunes and future provider partners to ensure movie lovers have streamlined access to all of their favorite Disney titles no matter which device the are on.”
This is actually a fairly solid deal, true you might be able to find the Disney Studios moves on Amazon Instant Video for cheaper. This deal makes sense from a retail point of view. Disney is notorious for never having their complete library in a store like Best Buy. Often, they put out old movies once or twice a year as reissues and thats it. This dedicated app may be the only way on iOS that you can own the complete library and relive your childhood.
The last time Barnes & Noble had refreshed its tablet line up was in 2012. That seems like ages ago in the tech world, but the good news is that replacements are incoming. The bookseller has confirmed they intend to launch the new Nook range in financial year 2015. This should not be confused with the corresponding calendar year given B&N’s financial year comes to an end on April 27, 2014. As such, the new Nook should be launched by the end of 2014.
However, the one aspect that most will be keenly watching is whether the Nook will be enough to pull out of the mess that the company has landed itself in off late. To make matters worse, B&N had no new tablet to offer last year, leaving it to the 2012 model Nook devices to take the company’s fortunes forward. Current B&N boss Mike Huseby has blamed incompetence of the previous management team for the company’s current woes. Demand was misinterpreted so that the company ended up making more Nook devices. Apart from making all effort to offload these (prices were cut to appeal to more buyers), B&N produced enough of Nook devices to utilize all the excess components they had procured.
Further, with no new devices in 2013 and with the old Nooks already starting to show its age in the face of more powerful new age devices, B&N has its task cut out with the new Nooks. It has also lost the cost advantage that it once had now that tablet prices have gone through the floor in recent times. The new range of Kindle or Nexus tablet devices offer the best combination of performance and price. Under the circumstances, it would be like starting from scratch for B&N.
What should be even more hurting for the bookseller is that it can’t have much solace from its sales report which is all bleeding red. While sales of hardware (including accessories) has dropped by 58.2 percent year-on-year, its content sales dropped by 26.5 percent. The only silver lining so far is the growth in demand for printed books which has come as a surprise to many.
“We have taken steps to reduce costs and device exposure, while focusing our efforts to reverse the content sales decline,” said Michael P. Huseby in the company’s Q3 financial year 2014 results. “We remain committed to delivering world-class reading experiences to our customers through our reading centric e-Ink and color reading devices. The Company is actively engaged in discussions with several world-class hardware partners related to device development as well as content packaging and distribution. As a result, we plan to launch a new NOOK color device in early fiscal 2015.”
Sony has a lot going on its smartphone and tablet business now that it has let gone of its PC division. In such a backdrop, the company has launched the Xperia Z2 tablet at the MWC, which is its first after having sold its VAIO PC business. Also as if the Xperia Tablet Z wasn’t already thin and light enough, the latest Xperia Z2 has been made even slimmer and lighter than its predecessor. This is on top of the usual Sony preference to make their device water and dust proof and what you have is a premium tablet that can also survive some harsh treatment.
Also of course being the lightest tablet isn’t the only positive aspect of the new Xperia Tablet Z2 as it also comes with some serous horsepower to take on even severe processing duties. That is aided in part by the use of the Snapdragon 801 quad core chip rated at 2.3 Ghz and the Adreno 330 GPU paired to a 3 GB RAM that allows for multitasking operations. Internal storage options is limited to 16 and 32 GB though there is a micro SD card slot as well to add some more memory. Running the show will be Android 4.4 Kitkat which has been tweaked only slightly to integrate Sony’s own ecosystem into the offering. Upfront, it is a 10.1 inch full HD Triluminous display to feast your eyes on.
For those who feast on numbers, the Xperia Tablet Z2 is only 6.4 mm thick, which is 0.5 mm less than the Xperia tablet Z. Further, the Tablet Z2 tips the scales at just 426 grams, which again is 69 gram less than the Tablet Z. For comparison’s sake, the new iPad Air measures 7.5 mm and weighs 469 grams. However, a fallout of the super thin frame is the use of rather thick bezels all round, a trend that is fast becoming obsolete. This also makes the overall dimensions of the tablet that wee bit bigger though with the Xperia Tablet Z2, this does not translate to carrying more bulk. Most new tablets launched at the MWC sports super thin bezels, which definitely is the latest style trend to invade the tablet segment. Case in point is the new Huawei MediaPad X1 which offers a 7 inch display.
Also what seems evident is that Sony is bucking the trend of launching affordable devices to build up volume. Instead, it is the premium segment that Sony is glued to, at least for the moment. Availability of the Xperia Tablet Z2 is pegged at March 2014 and we hope to come across the exact pricing details closer to that date. Don’t expect to be too pocket friendly though.
Microsoft is said to have slashed license fees of Windows 8.1 by 70 percent to help companies roll out cheaper tablet devices. What this means is that companies will now be required to pay just $15 for each Windows device they sell against the $50 that it used to be. This is applicable to devices that are priced $250 or lower though there is no specific mention of this being applicable only in case of tablet devices. Further, there are no size limitations either or whether the devices should offer a touchscreen experience.
Microsoft hopes this will drive demand for Windows tablets while they can look forward to maintain their profits from increased sale of the tablet devices. Such a move is expected to ward off the challenge posed by the low cost Android tablets. Google’s Android make up the bulk of the tablet purchases in the budget segment. Also, if tablets aren’t reason enough for the dwindling sales of notebook devices, the Chromebooks seems to have the potential to wipe off whatever is left of the once mighty notebook segment. Microsoft hopes to reverse the trend now that companies will have to pay just $15 to license Windows 8.1 thereby helping maintain a balance against the growing clout of Google and its Android OS.
We have already seen a clutch of 8 inch tablets running Windows 8.1 though nearly all of them are priced $299. Its not known whether these will benefit from the new licensing rates as Microsoft had started to offer these are reduced rates via its own stores. Meanwhile, we sure can look forward to a new crop of tablet devices coming our way that will be priced $250 at the most. Worth mentioning here, Microsoft had resorted to a similar approach earlier when it had slashed Widnows XP fees that helped them score a win against Linux based netbooks. It is up against a more established Android user base this time and it will be interesting to see how things pan out in the days to come.
The student community in Zambia can now look forward to the use of the ZEduPad to further their educational prospects. The tablet project which has been spearheaded by British tech entrepreneur Mark Bennett aims to replace the use of traditional books in the African nation right from the elementary stages and up to grade 7. The 7 inch tablet is also designed to aid teachers in the teaching process as much as it is oriented towards students.
The ZEduPad is designed to understand eight different native Zambian languages and comes pre-loaded with more than 12,000 classes and lesson plans to help even the untrained teachers to get started right away. The tablet is programmed to help students with almost all subjects, be it math, art or music. This apart, the tablet also exposes the children to all that the internet has to offer, be it email to Wikipedia and such. The tablet will help the students to better hone their skills and knowledge with the help of the internet. As for the device itself, the tablet comes with 32 GB of storage and offers a ‘long battery life’.
The tablet also couldn’t have arrived at a better time in Zambia what with the extensive changes that the country’s educational system has been witnessing off late. With renewed focus on education, something exemplified with the over 90 percent enrollment that has been achieved in the primary level, the ZEduPad can help take education to a new high in the African nation. The World Bank has already feted the Zambian education system which it has christened as the most improved among the developing nations.
As for its cost, Bennett said it costs about $100 after it is put together and lands in Zambia. Thereafter, his team installs the software that makes the tablet all the more special. Thereafter, the ZEduPad is sold for $200 apiece to the schools though efforts are already on to bring down the price even more. Bennett has also said he hopes to replicate the success he has achieved with the ZEduPad in other African nations as well.
Amazon is all set to unleash its Prime services in the UK which will enable Britishers to avail of unlimited access to Amazon’s video library, next-day deliveries and ebooks downloads all as part of a single package that cost £79 a year. The online retail giant said the above mentioned cost is 35 percent cheaper if users subscribe to LoveFilms and one day delivery schemes separately. In any case, the above move will bring curtains down to LoveFilms which will cease to exist post Feb 26 which is when Prime Instant Video takes over. However, existing LoveFilm subscribers can still continue to pay £5.99 to rent or buy TV shows or movies as they have been doing, while allowing them the option to walk out of the contract or re-join anytime they want. However, when the term expires, new renewal will cost £79 instead of £49. Also in doing so, they won’t have additional Prime benefits such a quick deliveries and access to ebooks.
The above move is aimed at bettering similar schemes offers by Apple while also posing a direct challenge to the likes of Netflix, Sky and BT. Amazon has stated they also plan to produce their own programs for which the retails giant has already earmarked millions. Netlix already boasts of the hugely successful series House of Cards.
“We’ve worked hard to offer the best selection of TV shows and movies for Prime Instant Video.
“We also added high definition video and introduced apps for popular devices like Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Samsung and Sony TVs and iPads and iPhones,” said Tim Leslie, Vice President of Amazon Instant Video for the UK and German.
Greg Greeley, vice president of Amazon Prime, said: “Millions of customers in the US have streaming video included as part of their Prime membership and they tell us they love the combination of unlimited delivery, the ability to borrow Kindle books, and access to thousands of movies, TV shows and exclusive videos.
“We are delighted to be bringing that same combination of services to the UK, providing members truly unique benefits they can enjoy every day of the year.”
Meanwhile, Amazon by post services remains unchanged though it remains to be seen how long before users will be asked to make the digital switchover.
Amazon has opened up its Amazon Coins for use outside of the Kindle Fire tablet range. Amazon’s virtual currency will now be compatible with other Android smartphones and tablet devices. However, the coins can only be used to make purchases from the Android App Store. Further, this is valid only for the countries where Amazon has launched the virtual currency, which includes the US, UK, and Germany.
This virtual currency launched last year in the US, and was later expanded to the UK and Germany. The online retail giant encouraged Kindle Fire tablet users to make their purchases using the Amazon coins, throwing in various incentives in the process. For instance, every Kindle Fire purchase came bundled with 500 coins free, which otherwise will cost $5. Further, purchases made using Amazon coins incur a discount of 10 percent. Users also get to earn the coins when downloading some specific apps or after having reached a particular level in some games.
Amazon introduced Amazon coins as alters the buyer’s mindset; they are led to believe they are spending virtual currency and not real dollars. Also, with the coins sold in batches of 500 for $5 or 1,000 for $10, users can feel like they are getting a lot of the virtual currency to play with for little actual money. The aim has been to make users to spend more by simplifying the buying process. Unleashing the currency on the entire Android family of smartphone and tablet devices is no doubt a step in the right direction in achieving much higher levels of transactions.