Laptop Thoughts: News & Reviews on Laptops, Netbooks, Slates, and More.

Be sure to register in our forums and post your comments - we want to hear from you!


Android Thoughts

Loading feed...

Windows Phone Thoughts

Loading feed...

Digital Home Thoughts

Loading feed...





All posts tagged "android"


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Tablet Competition: Have the iPad Competitors Missed Their Chance?

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Other Slates & Tablets" @ 09:30 AM

http://gigaom.com/mobile/here-come-...does-it-matter/

"Over the next four weeks, at least three new tablets are expected from Samsung, Motorola, and Research In Motion. The good news? They're Wi-Fi only, which will keep their cost down and appeal to consumers looking to avoid high-priced tablets or lengthy carrier commitments for mobile broadband data plans. Now, the bad news: Their timing isn't great, which will likely dampen sales. Plus, WiFi-only pretty much eliminates them as contenders for desirable devices with integrated 3G."

The next few weeks should see a slew of WiFi (only) tablets released, but have the manufacturers missed their window of opportunity? Too little, too late? Research has found that the "sweet spot" for a tablet seems to be $351, while $524 was the "too expensive" spot. So the WiFi tablet prices seem spot-on. But, then there is the whole "ecosystem" ("what it can do") question again: Android 2.2 has apps, which may or may not be optimized for a tablet form factor, Android 3.0 is still short on apps, and QNX (PlayBook) is an unknown at this point. And, with estimates of iPad 2 sales being between 700K and 1000K for the first weekend, Apple is not standing still waiting for the competition to catch up. With a poll showing that 75% of potential buyers would prefer WiFi only, there seems to be a market, but the "other" manufacturers need to get in the game, and deliver quality full-function products.


Saturday, March 12, 2011

Verizon is Pushing out a Xoom Update to Prepare for the Xoom Flash Update

Posted by Craig Horlacher in "Android News" @ 01:00 PM

http://gizmodo.com/#!5780984/motoro...ad-for-the-18th

"Verizon Wireless is pushing out a software update for Motorola Xooms today, which will allow users to download Flash Player 10.2 from the Android Market when it becomes available next Friday, the 18th of March."

This is a good thing! While it's a little odd that an update is required just to prepare for another update it does suggest they're pretty serious about Flash coming out in the not too distant future. Did you get the update on your Xoom? If so, have you noticed any changes or fixes that squeezed their way in with it?


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Xoom Review at Ars Technica

Posted by Craig Horlacher in "Android News" @ 11:00 AM

http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/revi...tm_campaign=rss

"Although the Xoom has a lot to offer, the product feels very incomplete. A surprising number of promised hardware and software features are not functional at launch and will have to be enabled in future updates. The Xoom's quality is also diminished by some of the early technical issues and limitations that we encountered in Honeycomb. Google's nascent tablet software has a ton of potential, but it also has some feature gaps and rough edges that reflect its lack of maturity."

This is a very in depth review just as you would expect from Ars. If you're considering buying the Xoom you should definitely check out this review first to get a better idea if it really is the tablet for you. While many great features are pointed out there are also a lot of warning signs brought up.


Good News for Xoom Hackers Who Want LTE

Posted by Craig Horlacher in "Android News" @ 07:00 AM

http://www.engadget.com/2011/03/06/...-if-youve-root/

"Happy news for Android tinkerers everywhere -- Motorola has officially confirmed it will attempt to perform its 4G upgrade on all Verizon Wireless-riding Xoom tablets it receives from users, whether they've been rooted, repainted, or accessorized with fluffy dice."

This is some good news! Motorola doesn't exactly have a great reputation for being friendly to modders. Many hold the e-fuse boot loader drm thing against them and even if it's a function of the CPU or chipset from TI, Motorola did still choose to use it. Anyway, in this situation Moto is stating they will upgrade your Xoom to LTE no matter what. The only catch is depending on your mod they may not be able to install the updated software that goes along with the new LTE radio. If you want to be sure you'll get the software upgrade they ask you to put it back to the original firmware. That sounds as fair as possible to me! Does this improve your view of Motorola?


Saturday, February 26, 2011

Loving That New Xoom? Get Ready to Ship it Away.

Posted by Craig Horlacher in "Android News" @ 05:00 PM

http://www.droid-life.com/2011/02/2...-motorola-xoom/

"As expected, the upgrade will be free to everyone and will be available approximately 90 days after launch, so we’re looking at May before this thing will be cooking up those 4G speeds. And as we were told by Motorola at CES, you will have to send in your device and will be without it for 6 days while they upgrade the hardware and software."

This is different and would be very annoying if you didn't realize it at the time of purchase I think. The Motorola Xoom will need to be sent away for a week to receive the 4G LTE upgrade. At least it will not cost you any shipping fees but it's still an inconvenience and possibly a big one. You can get details about the upgrade process here.

I think the Xoom seems like an excellent tablet. You do need to wonder if they released it a little early. This is the third significant feature I'm aware of that will not be enabled if you buy it now. Those features are Flash (though I think this is due to Adobe more than Motorola), the MicroSDHC (or will it be XC?) card slot, and 4G LTE. Do you think Motorola should have waited to release the Xoom? What are your thoughts on the ship to upgrade process? If you have a Xoom are you happy with it?


8.9 Inch Galaxy Tabs Coming This Summer

Posted by Jon Westfall in "Android Slates/Tablets & Accessories" @ 05:00 AM

http://www.engadget.com/2011/02/23/...model-by-summe/

"Not much detail here kids, but the Korean Yonhap News Agency is reporting that Samsung has an 8.9-inch Android tablet due in the first half of the year."

Just rumors for now, however this could be an interesting development for Tab lovers - the Galaxy tab, in your choice of 2 or 3 sizes. Neat!


Friday, February 25, 2011

Xoom Review Shows Promise

Posted by Craig Horlacher in "Android News" @ 06:00 AM

http://technolog.msnbc.msn.com/_new...has-competition

"The Android tablets out on the market have been weak in the face of the iPad. But after testing out Motorola's Xoom, it's clear the first Android 3.0 Honeycomb tablet has what it takes to compete head to head. Though it's got some growing pains ahead, the young tablet is already a contender. All that's needed before it can really gain momentum is a lineup of killer apps — and a better price."

I think this is a very well rounded and fair review. I still don't understand why a device that doubles, or more, all hardware of the iPad is "over-priced" when it's only $100 more at worst and the OS is much better tailored to a tablet form factor. Anyway, check out this review and give us your thoughts! Did you buy a Xoom? Tell us what you think of it so far. I've seen some reports of it freezing fairly often. If that's the case it will have a hard time catching the iPad.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Viewsonic Showcases Android Goodness

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Laptop Thoughts News" @ 04:00 PM

http://www.talkandroid.com/30367-vi...s,+and+Updates)

"If you’ll recall, we mentioned ViewSonic had a couple of devices in production, such as the ViewPad 4 and the V350 and it looks like the MWC showcase indicates that they have almost reached fruition. ViewSonic’s appearance at MWC brought along the impressive duo with a new and fresh perspective."

I remember when ViewSonic used to make monitors. I think they still do. However, their two recent offerings, the ViewPad 4 and ViewSonic V350 (and how, exactly, do they come up with these names?) look like decent products. What has caught my interest is the dual-SIM nature of the V350. Yes, there are other devices that offer dual-SIMs but they are still relatively rare in Canada. The nature of our wireless market means that most mobile phone hardware we buy is locked into a specific carrier, so the thought of dual-SIMs and its implied multi-carrier status means that either Canada will only see this through importers, or a castrated version will appear.

One other trend I have noticed though, is with the number of Android phones growing faster than bunnies in Australia, I am getting really frustrated with the "universal" accessories market. There are plenty of accessories for iPhones, Blackberries and extremely popular Android devices, but if you have anything else, you have to settle with car mounts that wiggle, or non-existent docking stations. Does anyone know of a store out there that sells accessories for less popular gadgets?


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The HTC Flyer Caught on Video

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Other Slates & Tablets" @ 05:30 PM

http://www.engadget.com/2011/02/15/...z-7-inch-flyer/

Lots of videos about the new HTC Flyer are popping up, so here are a few to satisfy your curiosity...


HTC Flyer: The Andriod Tablet I've Been Waiting For?

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Other Slates & Tablets" @ 04:07 PM

http://www.htc.com/www/press_produc...o.aspx?p_id=395

"BARCELONA, SPAIN - Mobile World Congress - February 15, 2011 - HTC, a global leader in mobile innovation and design, today announced its first tablet, the HTC FlyerTM. HTC Flyer blends HTC's trademark design language with an all-new HTC Sense user experience that has been reimagined for the tablets. Using an intuitive and innovative approach to tablets, HTC Flyer combines natural touch and pen interaction. HTC also announced HTC Watch, a new connected video service that will debut on HTC Flyer tablet, and will collaborate with OnLive, Inc. to launch the first cloud-based mobile gaming service on a tablet."

I've been watching the Android tablet market carefully, looking at every new tablet coming out, and have been pretty underwhelmed by many of them. Some of them, like the Motorola Xoom, have impressive hardware - yet the software leaves much to be desired. I'm not an expert on Android so it's hard for me to say what's stock Android and what's not, but much of what I've seen is summed up by the word "Meh". It just doesn't seem to have much style.

The HTC Flyer, however, has caught my attention in a big way: as an HD2 owner (the phone is now retired) I'm very familiar with HTC Sense and the overall design language and functionality of their software has impressed me for the most part. Sure, some of it is silly fluff that does nothing but use CPU cycles and battery life, but I for one like a good UI as long as it doesn't feel slow. With a 1.5 Ghz single-core CPU, the HTC Flyer should be anything but slow. The 7 inch capacitive screen offers a 1024 x 600 resolution, and is pressure sensitive, which allows HTC to bring something interesting to the table that I haven't seen elsewhere yet on an Android tablet: a stylus. Engadget has more details on that, but suffice it to say that I think it brings a unique advantage to the table. It also synchronizes with Evernote right out of the box, which is killer if you're an Evernote user.

Rounding out the hardware spec is HSPA+ wireless (I have to assume WiFi is in there as well), 1 GB of RAM, 32 GB of storage (with expansion via microSD), a 5 megapixel rear camera, and a 1.3 megapixel front camera. It's said to weigh "as little as a paperback book", and the 4000 mAH battery will allow for up to four hours of video playback. Four hours doesn't sound very impressive to me - Engadget says the Samsung Galaxy Tab does just over six hours of video playback with the same sized 4000 mAH battery.

No word on pricing, but it will be available globally in Q2 2011 - I suspect that means there won't be a WiFi-only version initially, and it will be sold via carrier partners with data contracts. What that probably means is that it won't be able to compete with the WiFi only $499 iPad - which is a real lost opportunity in my opinion.

Oh, did I mention it can't make calls either? For some that may be a deal-breaker, though I personally don't think it would matter to me - that's what I have a cell phone for, and it's not like I'd leave the house with my HTC Flyer and not my cell phone. Frankly, I think a bigger problem is where do you put that stylus when you're not using it? It looks too big to be stored inside the device - and if it's not kept inside the device, it's something that might get lost easily.

The remainder of the press release, along with more images, after the break. Read more...


Monday, February 14, 2011

LG's New Optimus Pad on Video from MWC

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Other Slates & Tablets" @ 01:08 PM

The Mobile World Congress event kicked off today, and we're seeing all sorts of interesting hardware pop up. In the video above, we have the LG Optimus Pad, an NVIDIA Tegra 2-based system (1 GHZ, dual-core CPU), two rear-facing 5 megapixel cameras (I believe for 3D image/video capture), a front-facing 1.3 GHZ camera, and what looks like a 7 inch screen. I tried playing back the video in 720p and pausing it to see if I could make out the spec sheet, but no dice. It looks like Android 2.x rather than Honeycomb, which is interesting given that several of the tablets I saw at CES last month were going to launch with Honeycomb. Still, the performance and design of the LG Optimus Pad look excellent. I'll have to keep my eyes out for this one!

UPDATE: NetbookNews has more details on this product. Turns out it's an 8.9 inch screen, and it is indeed Honeycomb-based.


Quadrant Benchmark for the ZiiO 7

Posted by Craig Horlacher in "Android News" @ 06:00 AM

http://forums.hardwarezone.com.sg/s...72&postcount=23

"Here is a quick update with the Quadrant benchmark results with the ZiiO 7". I have managed benchmark scores both a little higher and lower than the Quadrant score of 2001. I currently don't have a screen capture app for my ZiiO yet, so please bear with the photo of the results."

Wow, 2001 is a great Quadrant score for a $250 tablet! Benchmarks can be deceiving but just going by Quadrant this looks like a fast device. Actually, the most impressive thing about that Quadrant score may be that the ZiiO is only running Android 2.1. The Creative ZiiO 7 is a 7" Android tablet that uses a ZMS-08 CPU which was designed by ZiiLABS, a subsidiary of Creative. It only has a 480x800 resolution screen but for the price that's not bad. It also has 720p video out and Creative X-Fi which does real-time interpolation of audio to improve sound quality. This could be a good device for consuming audio and video content. Do these benchmarks and it's media features make interested in this tablet?


Saturday, February 12, 2011

One Tablet OS is not Enough

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Laptop Thoughts News" @ 02:00 PM

http://www.engadget.com/2011/02/11/...ws-7-android-d/

"Moving on, there's a highly intriguing new tablet in the waiting -- the ViewPad 10Pro. This 10-incher (shown after the break) is a "professional" slate with dual-boot functionality, enabling users to tap into Android 2.2 or Windows 7 Professional at their leisure."

It happens to me all the time. I am out on the road, working away on my Windows 7 tablet, and I think, "You know what would be great? If I could switch to Android and do my stuff through that OS for a while". It looks like ViewSonic has been read my mind! The ViewPad 10Pro. No more compromises! You get the best of both worlds. I only hope that in Android mode, there are some more tangible benefits than just having access to some Froyo goodness like extended battery life. Dual boot tablets have been tried before, and companies are still trying to find a sweet spot. Maybe the ViewPad 10Pro will do just that.


Thursday, February 3, 2011

Video of Honeycomb Running on the Nook Color

Posted by Craig Horlacher in "Android News" @ 08:00 AM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PJtAGjNgOXA

A friend of mine tried the SD preview install of Honeycomb on his Nook Color and posted a video of the results. Not bad for a single core ebook reader considering there were rumors that Honeycomb would require a dual-core CPU. The build shown doesn't have sound working but that has already been fixed along with a storage problem. Will you consider buying a Nook Color to use as a Honeycomb tablet? The cost is only $250 + an 8GB MicroSDHC card.


Sunday, January 30, 2011

Take a Tour of Honeycomb

Posted by Craig Horlacher in "Android Software" @ 10:00 AM

"Google gave us a glimpse of Android 3.0 Honeycomb earlier this year, but today they released more details on the upcoming OS. Here's a look through what we can expect. Spoiler alert: It's awesome, and it fixes many of Android's biggest annoyances."

This is a screen-shot tour through some of what's new in Android 3.0 Honeycomb, Google's version of Android that's specifically designed for tablets. So far, I like everything I see! It seems like Google has really done their homework and gone out of their way to produce an excellent operating system for tablet. I look forward to playing with it on a production tablet to see if it's really as good as it seems. What are your thoughts? Does this screen-shot tour make you want an Android tablet?

Update: Don't miss the Honeycomb event on Feb. 2 at 1:00 Eastern here: www.youtube.com/android.


Saturday, January 29, 2011

Are Pigs Flying? BlackBerry PlayBook and Smartphones May Run Android Apps!

Posted by Craig Horlacher in "Android News" @ 03:00 PM

http://www.bgr.com/2011/01/26/exclu...n-android-apps/

"Here is the big news: we have been told RIM is very much considering the Dalvik virtual machine, and we ultimately expect the company to chose Dalvik. If that sounds familiar to you, it’s because it’s the same VM that the Android OS uses, and it would allow RIM’s PlayBook and other QNX devices to run just about any application built for the Android platform."

This sounds great to me! I don't see any way it would hurt Android and it could save RIM. I'm all for more competition and I love when software can work on devices it wasn't intended for. Would this make you consider the PlayBook, Torch 2, or Storm 3?


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Let The Tablet Wars Begin!

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Other Slates & Tablets" @ 09:30 PM

http://blog.laptopmag.com/ipad-alternatives

"Welcome to the tablet era. Thanks to a revolution started by the iPad, tablet sales are expected to nearly triple this year. Why all the fuss? Tablets power on instantly, provide access to the full web, and last nearly all day on a charge. Plus, you can run all sorts of apps that entertain and boost productivity."

I really enjoy LAPTOP's head-to-head reviews, and this article is no exception. It includes tablets from some "lesser" manufacturers, and also from Samsung (Galaxy Tab), Viewsonic (G Tablet and ViewPad 7) and, perhaps most interesting, Dell's (Inspiron Duo) Netvertible. This is a good summary review, with links to full reviews, and quite a few videos of the tablets in action. For those of you wanting a Windows tablet, check out the ExoPC Slate. Dell's Duo is intriguing, but may not be ready for primetime in this first iteration. I'm still waiting for a Galaxy Tab wifi-only, unbundled version, as it seems to be "the benchmark for everything else."


Xoom at Best Buy on February 17

Posted by Craig Horlacher in "Android Slates/Tablets & Accessories" @ 08:00 AM

http://www.engadget.com/2011/01/22/...th-at-best-buy/

"...an internal Best Buy document that's just dropped into our inbox, which explicitly pinpoints February 17th as the launch date for Moto's highly touted, Honeycomb-equipped tablet. Stock is expected to land at the big box retailer on February 16th, with the big party going down the day after."

It looks like the wait is soon over for a Honeycomb Tablet! Apparently it will have 32GB of built in storage and the price will be $700. Is the the tablet you're waiting for? What do you think of the price?


Friday, January 21, 2011

Motorola Xoom Will Be $799 Unsubsidised?

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Other Slates & Tablets" @ 05:30 PM

http://www.droid-life.com/2011/01/2...la-xoom-at-799/

"Well at exactly 12:58PM we received a tip that at launch, the Motorola XOOM would be introduced at $799 with the HTC Thunderbolt coming in at $250. The prices weren't surprising and fit exactly what we had imagined, but were hesitant to go with it. And then, pictures providing visual evidence popped up confirming our tip. So here we go with the first glimpse into Verizon's 4G LTE pricing model."

$799 seems a bit steep, but based on what I saw at CES, the Xoom is an impressive piece of hardware - certainly one of the top Android slates that should be considered by anyone looking for a high-end device. I'm looking forward to some actual reviews of this device rather than watching it play video clips.


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Acer And CherryPal Think This Tablet Fad Just Might Stick Around

Posted by Jason Lee in "Android Slates/Tablets & Accessories" @ 02:00 PM

This week we began to hear news of still more Android tablets set to enter the market this year. Acer has announced plans to launch 7 and 10-inch tablets by mid year. Both devices will run on Intel's new Sandy Bridge processors and Google's Android operating system. The big surprise here is that Acer planes to phase out netbooks and move firmly into the tablet market. This is quite the shock coming from the king of netbooks.

In related news CherryPal, makers of one of last years sub $200 Android tablets has seriously stepped up their game. The current buzz is that CherryPal will be launching a new 7-inch Android tablet with a 1 GHz CPU, high resolution capacitive screen, HDMI port, and WiFi/GSM radios for connectivity. Along with GPS, Bluetooth and front/rear cameras this device might be worth your bucks this round.


Reviews & Articles

Loading feed...

News

Loading feed...

Reviews & Articles

Loading feed...

News

Loading feed...

Reviews & Articles

Loading feed...

News

Loading feed...

Reviews & Articles

Loading feed...

News

Loading feed...

Reviews & Articles

Loading feed...

News

Loading feed...

Sponsored links