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Tab 7

Acer has gone to new lows so far pricing of its tablet is concerned. The company has just come out with the Tab 7 that costs just $100. This makes it even lower than the A1-830 and B1-720 from the Iconia series that the company had launched earlier for $130 and $149 respectively. The Tab 7 though packs in specs that could belie its ultra low pricing.

Powered by a 1.5 Ghz dual core cortex A9 chip mated to a 1 GB RAM, the Tab 7 offers a 7 inch 1024 X 600 pixel display and 8 GB of storage. Thankfully, there is a micro SD card slot as well to help shore up the meagre storage. The tablet runs Android 4.2 Jelly Bean and includes 1.9 and 5 megapixel camera along the front and rear respectively. That’s really cool for a tablet that costs just $100. The 3000mAh battery though is good enough for just 5 hours of usage. Whether the low initial cost will be able to belittle the paltry back up times remains to be seen.

As for its looks, the Tab 7 exudes style and character in equal measure. Donned in a shade of silver, the tablet’s looks is accentuated further by the textured finish that the tablet incorporates at the rear along with the company logo in the center.

However, the tablet right now is only available in China and no one knows for sure when it will be rolled out in other parts of the world.

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Acer Iconia a1-830

As if there weren’t already enough options in the Android budget tablet segment, Acer has just come out with a few more options – 2 to be precise – to entice buyers. Both the tablets form part of the Iconia model line-up and run Android 4.2.1 Jelly Bean instead of the latest Android KitKat, which might be a small price to pay considering both are priced well within the affordable range.

The range starts with the Iconia B1-720 and is priced a quite attractive $130. The tablet sports matching specs which includes a dual core 1.3 GHz chip, 1 GB of RAM, and 16 GB of storage that is complemented with a microSD card slot that can add another 32 GB of storage. The tablet also comes with a front facing camera with none at the rear.

However, the real issue here could be the just 5 hours of battery life that the B1-720 has to offer. With specs that can support ebook reading, playing games, web surfing and so on, the paltry backup time can prove to be the deal breaker here. This since with that much of battery life, the use of the device for just reading ebooks, considered perhaps the most basic of tasks to be accomplished on a tablet can also turn out to be chore.

With the Iconia A1-830, it’s a slightly bigger device that we are looking at, one that offers a 7.9 inch 1024 x 768 pixel display. The rest of the specs are similar to its smaller sibling expect that it is powered by an Intel Atom Z2560 Clover trail chip clocked at 1.6GHz. The tablet also sports a micro USB port and comes with front 720p and rear HD webcam. Battery life is a bit more respectable 7.5 hours. All this for a price tag of $149 in the US and $199 in Canada. This makes us wonder why would anyone opt for the cheaper B1-720 when one can have a better and bigger device for just $20 more. Acer originally announced the price to be $180 though clarified it later to be $149.

In any case, the Iconia A1-830 at $149 can be considered to have been priced just right as it comes across as an affordable option for the ultra-low cost tablet segment that is comprised mainly of products from tier-two companies while also coming across as an affordable option against better placed tablet offering such as the Galaxy Tab 3 or even the Nexus 7. True the A1-830 may lack the oomph factor of the Nexus 7 tablet that starts at $230 but comes across as an affordable option for those who are ready to sacrifice performance for a few bucks.

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Tablet shipment figures for the first quarter of 2013 are already here and they present an interesting scenario. For instance, according to a Digitimes report, tablet shipment reached 31.93 million for the first three months of this year, which represents a decline of 26.1 percent on quarter but increased by 66.1 percent on year. However, IDC is reporting an even more optimistic shipment figure of 49.2 million for the quarter.

However, both Digitimes and IDC seem to be unanimous regarding the iPad, reporting shipments of 19.5 million of the Apple tablet during the period. However, while the iPad continues to be at the top of the heap, the trend seems to be on the slide. Apple  still has 39.6 percent of the tablet market to itself, though it used to be 43.6 and 58.2 in the last two preceding quarters. Analysts claim it’s quite normal, as Apple generally records a weaker first quarter after strong sales during the holiday season. Apple has recorded a year over year growth of a healthy 65 percent.

Samsung and Asus make up the second and third slot with sales of 8.8 and 2.7 million respectively. The individual figures might not be too inspiring, but both companies have reported 288.7 and 267.6 percent increases in sales respectively compared to the same period a year ago. Microsoft, according to IDC, managed to make it among the top five tablet makers with shipment of 900,000 of its Surface devices.

However, there are some contradictions that come to the fore that pertain to the operating system that dominates the tablet segments. While Digitimes is claiming the Apple iOS accounts for a dominating 61 percent of the total tablets shipped in Q1, IDC is pegging the figure at lower than 40 percent for iOS, with the Google Android making up 56.5 percent of all the tablets shipped. According to Digitimes, Android and Windows make up 31 and 8 percent of the total tablet shipment.

Another interesting finding of the Digitimes research is that the smaller tablets measuring 7 inches or so that are in greater demand, accounting for 56 percent of the tablets shipped in Q1. Tablets measuring 9 and 10 inches make up 22 and 20 percent of the shipments.

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The 7.9 inch Iconia A1-810 tablet is a surprise from Acer. Not many have seen it coming, though that is not the last surprising thing about it. Acer is reported to be considering the idea of pricing it ultra cheap, making the tablet a fox in the henhouse. At $149, the purported price of the new Acer tablet, it will be a cheaper alternative to the plethora of 7 and 8 inch tablets already on the market. This comes to a steep cut of $100, considering Acer had initially planned to price the 810 at $249. Interestingly, the price will be cut even before the tablet is officially launched. Mass production is expected to begin towards end of this month.

As for its features, the tablet offers a 1024 x 768 pixel 7.9 inch display, which is exactly the same as the present gen iPad Mini. The display is being provided by AUO, while Wistron will be putting together the device. The tablet comes with a 1.2 GHz MediaTek quad core MT8125 chip, which works in conjunction with 1 GB RAM and 16 GB of internal memory. The tablet also features a microSD card slot along with a 5 megapixel camera at the rear and a VGA unit at the front.

Acer’s tablet sales have increased significantly in the first quarter, registering sequential growth of about 260-300 percent. A bulk of it, almost 70-75 percent, has come from increased sales of its budget tablet B1. In view of this, Acer has doubled its tablet sales estimate for 2013 from 5 million to 10 million units.

The Iconia A1-810 is already reported to have gone on sale in France via retailer Rue du Commerce.

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Iconia A1-810

Acer has a tablet surprise up its sleeve: the Iconia A1-810, a new tablet offering a 8 inch display and costs a nice €199. The low price point does not allow for compromises, as the tablet does feature a quad core chip in the form of a 1.2 GHz MediaTek MT8125 ARM Cortex-A9 processor (definitely not the fastest around but does offer decent performance), 1 GB RAM, and 16 GB of storage. There is a microSD card slot for more storage, along with a camera along the front and rear. The Iconia A1-810 also comes with a micro HDMI and a micro USB port, while the company claims the 3250mAh battery is capable enough to support 7 hours of operations. The 7.9 inch display along with its 1024 x 768 pixel count is exactly the same as the iPad Mini. The iPad Mini costs a higher €339 in France, however, though the A1-850 is a bit less appealing with its thick bezel design that imparts a sort of heavy build to the Acer tablet.

There is no word yet on when Acer intends to launch the tablet in other parts of the world, though for now, French retailer Rue du Commerce is accepting pre-orders. It is interesting that the 8 inch tablet segment is recently receiving the maximum activity, while the 7 inch segment seems to have taken the backseat.

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Apple is reported to have set in motion plans to cut production of its iPad Mini in the second quarter this year, a move which industry experts believe could be a way to herald in the new gen iPad Mini. On the cards is a 20 percent cut in production of the iPad Mini in April, followed by more later on. In fact, the report carried at Digitimes claims Apple plans to bring iPad Mini shipments down to just 10 million in the quarter. However, it’s not known for sure if the plan to cut production can be attributed entirely to the coming of a new iPad Mini or from increased competition from the new budget tablets launched in the past month or so.

In fact, there is a whole new segment that has come up with prices ranging below the $199 mark, which at one time was considered the lowest a tablet can sell for. Also notably, it’s the biggies in the business such as HP, Acer, Asus, and the likes that have launched tablets in the ultra low price bracket. Then there also is the Galaxy Note 8.0 from Samsung that is expected to provide some stiff competition to the iPad Mini if it’s priced right. Apple CEO Tim Cook has cautioned it would be unwise to make too much about reports of production cuts stating that the company typically sources its components from various manufacturers so that such data from supply chain sources cannot always offer a true picture of the real scenario.

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Taiwanese manufacturers Asus and Acer are gearing up for a higher demand of Android tablet devices this year. Both have expressed confidence in being able to ship no less than 10 million of these in 2013. Analysts are also predicting a sharp increase in demand for low cost tablets, something corroborated with a mad rush among manufacturers to launch low cost tablets running the Android platform. Acer has already launched the Acer Iconia B1, the two versions of which will be priced at $150 and $179. Asus already found success with the Nexus tablet devices in the low coast segment, and has also launched a budget tablet of its own in the form of the MeMO Pad range. On offer is a 7 and 10 inch version priced competitively at around $195 and $300 respectively.

Among the other bigwigs in the business that have joined the tablet segment is HP’s recently launched Slate 7, priced affordably at just $179. Lenovo has established itself as the second biggest tablet vendor in the US primarily through budget priced tablet devices. Summing up the market mood, Acer CEO J.T. Wang said, “The market is mature, and it’s a good opportunity for Acer and other players too.”

The general approach with the new range of budget tablets is to cut corners on offering fancy features like a high end camera while ensuring decent to good levels of performance. This will ensure the tablet PCs will make for a good buy for general computing tasks along with watching videos, listening to music, reading ebooks, or playing games.

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Iconia B1

Acer has already made it clear they are aiming for a larger slice of the tablet pie in 2013. The company has also stated its Iconia B1 tablet targeted at the budget segment is important towards achieving that. With that in mind, Acer launched a slightly enhanced model of the budget tablet with 16 GB of storage at the on-going MWC. The rest of the specs continues to be the same — a 7 inch 1,024 x 600 display, 1.2 GHz dual core Mediatek chip, 512 MB of RAM along with a few other convenient features such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, and a Micro-USB port. There is also a microSD card slot to allow for more storage. The Iconia B1 with 16 GB on-board comes at a price of €139.

Acer had launched the 8 GB version of the Iconia B1 at the CES event and had priced it for €119.

Catch up with the PR below for more info:

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Nexus 10 expected to arrive early

There are plenty of things to be excited about with the new Nexus 10 device. It runs the latest Android 4.2, which brings some nice improvements over its earlier iterations. The Nexus 10 also sports a processor that is based on the new Cortex A15 designs. Then, of course, the Nexus 10 has a the highest pixel density on planet earth. All this makes the wait for its release date on Nov 13th well worth it, though we might be spared the suspense as the tablet may make an earlier market debut, as indicated by the tablet’s recent viewing at Walmart. The 32 GB Nexus 7 had already gone on sale earlier than its official release date and maybe we could see a repeat of that with the Nexus big brother as well.

Surface mute problem blamed on the keypad

Quite a few Surface owners have reported their device to have become spontaneously muted, and the much publicized keypad cover seems to be the villain. Disabling the mute button on the keypad is the stand-in a cure until a better solution is found.

The keypad covers have also been reported to peel over at the seam, apparently revealing the not so streamlined interiors. Microsoft stores have been all too happy to replace the defective units, though some reported the problem recurred even for the replacement units. If it’s not a specific batch of keypad units that is to be blamed, there is something more serious for Microsoft to deal with, for the Surface tablet to hold on to its credibility.

iPad Mini LTE to arrive in 5 days

In a move that is sure to bring cheers to millions who parted with their money for the 3G+4G LTE capable iPad Mini, Apple has notified buyers the mini iPads will be shipped within the next 5 business days. Early buyers of the tablet will have their devices shipped by late next week. The Wi-Fi only versions began shipping early November.

AT&T offering $100 off on all tablets

This Friday, the 9th of November, it would be wise to buy your next tablet from AT&T. The company is offering a $100 rebate for all tablet devices. Of course, there is a catch: customers will have to agree to a 2 year plan to avail of the offer. Maybe AT&T is keen to get rid of some of its tablet stock before piling on a fresh batch in time for the holiday season and is using the $100 bait to pick up quite a few subscriptions.

The date plans AT&T is offering right now include:

>AT&T Mobile Share: $10 to share between 1 GB and 20GB
>AT&T DataConnect 250MB: $15 for 250MB
>AT&T DataConnect 3GB: $30 for 3GB
>AT&T DataConnect 5GB: $50 for 5GB

NVIDIA profits soar with rising tablet sales

Nvidia reported a record third quarter revenue of 1.2 billion, almost a third of which can be attributed the rise in sales of Android devices. Its Tegra chips have found application is a host of tablets (and smartphones as well), with many being a bestseller in its segment. The Nexus 7 is one of the highest selling tablets in the 7 inch category and is based on the Tegra 3 quad core chip. The recently launched Surface RT is also based on the same Tegra 3 quad core processors.

Notion Ink Adam II makes an appearance

Remember the Adam tablet from the Indian startup Notion Ink? The much publicized Adam had made quite a lot of noise when it first appeared. It was among the first devices to feature the Tegra 2 chip and a Pixel Qi sunlight readable display. The tablet received mixed reviews, but fell into oblivion since then. Now the company is back again with the second generation device. To begin with, we only have a partial shot of the device, but it seems apparent that the Adam II sports a boxy structure and is all white. It also looks to be quite thick, though it’s not confirmed if what we are looking at is the final shape of the device itself or the packaging. Other details are missing right now, but should be available before CES 2013 kicks in.

Acer Iconia Tab A220 might be in the making

Acer might be in the process of developing the big brother to its recently launched A110 in the form of Iconia Tab A220. The new tablet is likely to feature a bigger and higher res (1280 x 800 pixel) display along with NVIDIA Tegra 3 quad-core processor and Android 4.1.2 as the OS.

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Dell XPS 10 Windows RT tablet reaches FCC

The XPS 10 tablet is Dell’s answer to the Microsoft Surface or the Asus VivoTab, all of which are based on the Windows RT platform. However, while the latter two devices have already been launched, the XPS 10 has only just made it to the FCC. With a 10.1 inch, 1366 x 768 pixel display and a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor at its core, the Dell XPS 10 also offers an optional keypad dock that transforms the device into a notebook that offers extra power backup as well. Pre-orders for the device are currently being accepted, though with the price starting at $500.

Acer Iconia Tab A110 now available for $230

The Acer tablet in the budget segment, the Iconia Tab A110, is now ready to be picked up for $230. The price has lost its competitive edge to the Nexus 7, which now costs $199 for the 16 GB version, while the A110 has just half the storage. The A110 also offers a lower resolution display compared to the Nexus 7, but comes with a microSD card slot and a microHDMI port, both of which are missing on the Google tablet. Other options in this segment include the B&N Nook HD and the Kindle Fire HD, though here again both run customized versions of Android 4.1 operating system while the Acer A110 offers a pure Android experience.

Nexus 7 consumption rate — a million a month

The Nexus 7 is one of the best selling tablets in the budget segment, though hardcore numbers to back-up the claim have always been elusive. Not anymore, after what ASUS Chief Financial Officer David Chang has said at the end of the company third quarter revelations: “at the beginning, it was, for instance, 500K units a month, then maybe 600, 700K. This latest month, it was close to 1 million.”

That comes to an average of around 700,000 units per month for the four months it has been available, with total sales so far standing at a not so bad 2.8 million.

Acer shelves its Windows RT tablet plans, for now at least

Acer has said it is folding back on its Windows RT tablet plans, as it wants to see how Microsoft is able to convince buyers with its Surface RT device or the Windows RT version itself. Acer has been the most vocal when Microsoft announced its own tablet plans and had even strongly recommended the software behemoth to quit hardware plans altogether. “Originally we had a very aggressive plan to come out very early next year, but because of Surface, our R&D development doesn’t stop, but we are much more cautious,” said company president Jim Wong. “We are watching how Surface is doing, how is RT accepted by customers, and how Microsoft is aggressive on RT and on Surface. We don’t know, but we want to see,” he further added.

Acer had been the first to announce tablet devices based on Windows RT, but has now made it clear it won’t come up with its own version before Q2 2013.

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Among the top tablet news of the day, the one that has been attracting a lot of attention is a Nexus 7 variant that would cost a measly $99. This is a new low for tablet costs after Amazon first popularized the $199 price tag with the first gen Kindle Fire. While Amazon bettered that with a $149 price tag on the new refurbished Kindle Fire, Google’s attempt will be a new benchmark.

Unfortunately, nothing is confirmed as yet, though Digitimes is claiming intel from supply chain manufacturer indicate the device is in the making. The Taiwan based site further claims the new entry level Nexus 7 will come with a single-core ARM chip sourced from China based company, WonderMedia Technologies. The report also claims that a HUVA TN panel made by Taiwan based HannStar Display will make up the tablet’s front. Asus has denied any involvement, and Quanta Computers is reported to be manufacturing the device. Asus has already stated that it had to make a lot of adjustments to produce the $199 version of Nexus 7 and it’s not surprising that the company might not like to be involved in the making of an even cheaper variant.

Quanta Computers has declined to comment, though unconfirmed reports indicate that the tablet could be ready for launch during the holiday shopping period.

Meanwhile, iPad Mini rumors seem to be peaking and that’s hardly surprising, considering we are less than a week away from an Apple event planned on Oct 23. Other sources say the tablet’s release is actually happening on November 2. Apple has never stated they are going to launch an iPad Mini on Oct 23 while the shipping date would be Nov 2. The sources claim the mini iPad will initially be launched in the US and UK along with a few other countries.

Also, while Apple may not be acknowledging the existence of such a device, there is no denying there does exist a market where a small sized iPad can thrive. The device with a 7.85 inch sized display will fill a niche flanked by the 9.7 inch iPad on one hand and the iPhone 5 and iPod on the other. The iPad Mini, if launched will serve as a more portable and a cheaper option for those for whom the regular iPad presents the opposite attributes.

In another development, Sharp has come up with a new Android tablet. With the spec sheet mentioning a 7 inch device that’s built around a Qualcomm 1.5 GHz dual core MSM8960 chip, 1 GB of RAM along with 16 GB of internal storage, the AQUOS TAB SHT21 should easily be mistaken for any other tablet device. However, what makes the Sharp tablet special is its IGZO display that promises increase battery efficiency by more than double.

The way it has been achieved is by making the pixel size smaller along with some more tech wizardry, so that they need even less power to maintain their illumination. The 1280 x 800 pixels even when least bright makes for comfortable reading and usage while being brighter than comparable device with the brightness set at maximum. What this means is that the 2040mAh battery is able to hold on to its juice 2.5 longer than the normal scenario.

There is no news when the IGZO display could be seen on other devices or when Sharp intends to launch the AQUOS TAB SHT21 in other countries outside of Japan. The tablet running Android ICS will be ready for launch in the domestic market by year end.

In another interesting development in the small sized tablet segment, Acer has launched a new device which it hopes will make things a bit more competitive to the likes of the Nexus 7 or the Kindle Fire. The Iconia Tab A110 is built around the NVIDIA’s Tegra 3 chipset that features Super 4-plus-1 quad core architecture with an additional fifth core that takes care of less demanding tasks, thus enhancing battery life that much more. Acer is claiming the tablet will have 7.5 hours of run time on a single charge.

The tablet includes a 1 GB RAM and 8 GB of storage. Other niceties include a microSD card slot, a micro USB and micro HDMI port, front facing 2 megapixel camera (none at the rear), WiFi, Bluetooth 3.0, along with a thin and light build. The 7 inch display packs 1024 x 600 pixels and runs the latest iteration of Android ICS.

Acer has stated the tablet will be up for the taking in the US and Canada from Oct 30 and is priced a competitive $230.

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Acer Iconia Tab A110 Now Official

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One of the star attractions of the 2012 Computex event was the Iconia Tab A110 tablet, which forms Acer’s primary weapon against the Kindle Fire or the Nexus 7, with the latter a clear winner so far in the budget tablet segment. Now with the A110 also in the fray, there is a new serious contender against which both Amazon and Google will have to develop a more aggressive strategy, since the Acer tablet is a great choice.

To begin with, the Iconia Tab A110 comes with Jelly Bean right out of the box, placing it one up against the Kindle Fire which continues to be in the Android 4.0 ICS. A NVIDIA Tegra 3 chip at the core of the device makes puts it on par with Nexus 7, though the Asus offering lags with its display quotient, which at 1024 x 600 pixels is quite a few dots less than the 1280 x 800 pixel display that the Google tablet has for the same 7 inch screen.

Other positive aspects with the A110 include a microUSB, microSD, and micro HDMI port, with the latter two lacking on the Nexus 7. However, the one thing that Acer must have if it wishes to be seen as a serious competitor is an affordable price tag. A sub $200 price tag will make it a great package, and what remains to be seen is how flexible Acer is willing to be in this aspect.

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Sony had unveiled the Xperia Tablet S device at the IFA, though crucial pricing details were missing. They have now been revealed: $399, $499, and $599 for the 16, 32, and 64 GB versions of the Sony tablet. With the prices, Sony also made it known they’d like to be where Samsung is right now as far as Android tablets are concerned. That perhaps explains the pricing strategy, which is exactly the same as the Samsung Galaxy Tab though the Samsung tablet was launched almost half a year ago.

The Xperia Tablet S is the latest generation version of the Tablet S that Sony had launched more than a year ago and comes with a more evolved design approach, better hardware, and a slimmer and lighter build. A Tegra 3 chip powers the new tablet, which now comes pre-loaded with Android Ice Cream Sandwich. While all of that is good, what could have made the Sony offering even more appealing is its display. 1280 x 800 is quite dull in comparison to 1920 x 1200 pixels, which is fast becoming the standard for Android tablets.

Also, the one thing that may not play favorably for the tablet’s prospects is its price. A starting price of $399 could have been considered affordable a year or two ago, but not anymore. More so since Asus has its Transformer Pad 300 device available at just a shade more than $400 but with twice the internal storage. Other enticing options in this segment include the Acer A700, which is a device comparable to the Xperia Tablet S but with twice the storage capacity, a HD display, and priced at $449. The same goes for the Asus Transformer Pad Infinity TF700 as well, which also sports a faster processor and a 1920 x 1200 pixel display, while still being priced the same as the 32 GB Xperia Tablet S.

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