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All posts tagged "slate"

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Samsung Windows 8 Slates: Series 5 and Series 7

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Samsung Laptops & Netbooks" @ 10:30 AM

"We're still a couple of months away from Windows 8 being available, but we're starting to get a pretty good picture of what the first round of devices will look like running the new operating system. Samsung just showed off the upcoming Series 5 and Series 7 Slates - both are tablet and dock combinations that let each device act as a light, thin tablet, and a full-fledged laptop all at once."

Looks like the ASUS Transformer concept (tablet + keyboard SECURELY connected) is going to be a feature in upcoming Windows 8 Slates (Tabtop or Laplet?), at least from Samsung with their Series 5 and Series 7 offerings. The 1366x768 resolution Series 5 will be offered as a tablet-only at $649, or a tablet+keyboard combo at $749, with 2GB RAM and a 64GB SSD. The more robust Series 7 offers full 1080p resolution, 4GB RAM and a 128GB SSD, and will start at $1199. Each device will also ship with Samsung's "S Pen" for onscreen activity. Arrival date is expected to be October 26, 2012, to coincide with Windows 8's arrival. Anyone besides me think that this keyboard looks an awful lot like a MacBookAir? Not a bad thing, in my opinion.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1: Mediocre, Less Expensive

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Other Slates & Tablets" @ 11:30 AM

"When we review a second-generation product there are certain things we tend to take for granted: this new thing, whatever it is, will be thinner, faster, longer-lasting, maybe even with more bells and whistles in tow."

It seems that cheaper isn't always better for the consumer. Samsung has taken their original Galaxy Tab 10.1 and released a "refresh" that is nearly identical, but in some cases have downgraded peformance. But it's cheaper, so it's now competing at the $400 price point with many other tablets (Surprise, Samsung - everybody lowered their prices!). Rather than progressing with design and performance, Samsung took the safe route, and kept to the middle of the road = minimal change. Compromises have been made.

Still sporting a quality 1280x800 display, Samsung has moved the speakers from underneath of the front side, eliminating the muffle effect when lying flat, but they're still buzzy at high volume. Performance lags its Tegra 3 competition, and the user experience is less-than-thrilling, as the OS suffers inexplicable lags and stutters, and the screen becomes unresponsive at times. Battery life comes in at about 9-hours in real life, oddly almost an hour less than the original galaxy Tab 10.1. Apps are pretty standard, on top of ICS 4.0.3 and Samsung's TouchWiz UI-layer. The onboard cameras are pretty dismal, even by tablet standards.

Overall, Samsung has produced an upgrade (or refresh) destined to get lost in the market shuffle of $400 tablets. Really nothing to recommend it over any other tablet in this price range, and there are better choices. Disappointing.

Friday, August 26, 2011

HTC Puccini Coming To AT&T With LTE

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 02:00 PM

"Have a gander. Take as long as you need. That, friends, is the AT&T-bound HTC Puccini, and it'll be the first tablet to hit Ma Bell with inbuilt LTE support. According to our sources, the Android-based slate is currently in testing, and should be hitting the markets in the not-too-distant future."

Can you imagine if we were all still stuck with GPRS speeds? As good a start as it was, the increase in speeds for our mobile wireless activities has payed a really large role in our adoption of smartphones and what they are capable of. Of course, we now see speeds where we can stream HD movies, share pictures in the blink of an eye and exceed our data caps in mere hours. The only complaint that I have with tablets and netbooks having built in LTE or wireless data connections for that matter is that they usually tend to be tied to specific carriers. Yes, each carrier uses different technologies or frequencies, but if an expensive device like a modern tablet is going to have wireless connectivity, why not make it compatible with more carriers so that if one does not fit your liking, you can always change?

Saturday, August 20, 2011

European Union To Get The Galaxy

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Laptop Thoughts News" @ 07:00 AM

"According to Dutch site Webwereld, the Dusseldorf District Court has issued an interim statement allowing Samsung to again sell the Galaxy Tab throughout the EU nations, with the exception of Germany. The German court will have a formal hearing on August 25, at which time the sales injunction could return."

Tablets are a hot commodity, and it is understandable that companies would take great efforts to protect their sales. However, it seems that Apple's attempt to block the Galaxy Tab from the European Union has hit a snag. The whole Apple iPad/Galaxy Tab battle does signify a greater battle since all tablets are likely going to share a lot of similar properties. The ultimate decision by the courts will probably affect the future of tablet interfaces, and even hardware design.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Ten iPad Alternatives

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Other Slates & Tablets" @ 10:30 PM

"From its slim design and unparalleled ease of use to the bevy of available apps, there’s little doubt that the iPad 2 is great. But Apple’s tablet isn’t the only game in town. There are several Android-powered slates we really like, including the ultra-light Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and the Lenovo K1, which offers several enhancements to Google’s Honeycomb software. Then there’s truly unique iPad alternatives, such as the Asus Eee Pad Transformer (which has an optional keyboard dock) and the HTC Flyer (which supports pen input)."

If you can get past all the annoying mouse-over advertising, Laptop produces a pretty good list of iPad alternatives: Acer Iconia Tab A500, ASUS Eee Pad Transformer TF101, Barnes and Noble Nook Color, HTC Flyer, Lenovo IdeaPad K1, Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet, Motorola Xoom, Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, Toshiba Thrive, and the Vizio Tablet. A bit surprising that the Nook is included, but it does have some tablet features, and Android behind the scenes. Each tablet has a link to a full review, so it's well-worth a read. Anyone have a favorite from this group? I like the Transformer and the ThinkPad Tablet (for its business orientation).

Friday, July 22, 2011

Toshiba Pins Hopes on its Tablet Thrive

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

"What you get for the added heft is a sexy rubberized back plate with a textured ridge pattern that's easy to grip. It reminded us of the equally hot-looking lids on Toshiba Mini NB300 series of netbooks. Though the tablet comes with a black back, you can buy colorful replacement covers in Blue Moon, Green Apple, Raspberry Fusion, or Silver Sky for $19.99 each."

Blah, blah, blah, tablet. Blah, blah, blah, Android. Blah, blah, blah, iPad killer. The selection of tablets is a wonderful thing, and it looks like most of the choice comes down to what your own personal style is. Of course, if your preference if for an Apple product, you are stuck with a limited selection, however, there are many ways to customize the interface, and there are covers and such. With the Thrive, it is interesting that they offer colourful covers. It reminds me of the heyday of Nokia where their phones could have their covers replaced with all sorts of customizable bits of flair. It would be nice to see that happen for tablets.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Touching on the TouchPad

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Laptop Thoughts News" @ 05:00 AM

"Say what you say about the boring interface, the closed ecosystem, and the limited utility of the hardware, Apple has a winner on their hands. Next up is the Honeycomb army from Android. This is where selection rules above all else and the differences across the lineup are immense. Trailing far behind is the BlackBerry from RIM, who in my opinion have been caught with their pants down. The crippled nature of the Playbook was a let down from the go, as well as only releasing a chubby 7? tablet. But RIM was smart and stole injected a lot of WebOS into their system design. Now it’s HP’s turn to bring their own platform to the party. How well does the TouchPad battle with the other tablets?"

The HP TouchPad has been out for a while, but that has not stopped people from providing their own opinion on the latest competitior to the venerable iPad. If the iPad was not the gold standard, the TouchPad might actually be regarded fairly well. The problem is that we have seen better and liked it. Maybe the TouchPad 2 will prove to be more compelling.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Efun Nextbook Next5 Review Bombs

Posted by John London in "Laptop Thoughts Articles & Resources" @ 03:30 PM

"With the marketplace seemingly flooded with a glut of Android tablets, manufacturers are constantly looking for new and different ways to help their products stand out. To that end, the folks over at EFun have chosen to add a digital pen and bundled notepad case to the mix. Included with the company's 7-inch Nextbook Next5 Android tablet, this combo digitizes handwritten notes and transfers them to the tablet, where they are displayed and can be saved as digital files. But does this feature save the $299 Next5 from all its other flaws? Not even close."

Is this Android tablet worth the $299 price? The answer is NO. One of the main reasons is the processor is a mere 600MHz and performance is sluggish. The build quality lacks, the touchscreen is not accurate, battery life is not as good as other tablets and the sound is terrible. With all these negative qualities this tablet is doomed. A few good things are the tablet comes with a digital pen that works well. It does come with a nice carrying case though. And, it comes with mini-HDMI and a USB 2.0 ports. There are a few other goodies, however, the bottom line is to steer clear of this tablet.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

We Have Smart Phones, And Do We Want to Simplify Our Lives

Posted by John London in "Laptop Thoughts Articles & Resources" @ 10:34 AM

"Almost two-thirds of Americans are using more than one computing device - defined as a Smartphone, tablet, computer or netbook - according to a poll released this week. Unsurprisingly, the poll, which surveyed 2,000 Americans, found that 83 percent of people want access to their documents in the cloud. Of course they do. When 63 percent of the population has multiple computers and one-third has more than three, keeping them synced is a pain best left back in the early '00s and late '90s where it belongs."

The author of article has statistics on his side that some 15% of the computer users use 4 or more computer devices a week. That is probably true if you use one at work, have a laptop at home, netbook, Smartphone, Server, tablet, work multiple jobs or your family has multiple computers. However, is it really necessary to put all your data, music, photos etc. in the cloud? To me the answer is no. It does make sense with certain files. So, with all these devices do we really want dumb down these devices to simplify our lives? Some probably do, others no. To me, it is all about customizing the device. It will be interesting to see what the manufacturers will do with the devices and the cloud in the next few years.

Monday, July 4, 2011

A Quick Peek at Sony's S1 and S2 Tablet Love

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Laptop Thoughts News" @ 12:30 PM

"We've already seen press shots and teaser videos of Sony's S1 Honeycomb tablet and dual-screen S2 (and had our eyes on them ourselves), but Germany's Golem website managed to spend a bit of time with both of the devices at an event in Munich"

Sony is preparing not just one, but two takes on the scalding hot tablet market. While the S1 looks like it could slide a cake mighty nicely, the S2 looks a bit more interesting. The S2 intruigues me more as it seems a bit more portable, but I honestly do not know if that would translate into more use. A decent smartphone probably provides a similar enough experience to a mini-tablet, so why have two devices fitting the same form factor? I can see where a tablet fits in, just like a netbook, and in working with computers, a desktop or powerful laptop is useful as well. Does anyone see why they might want a mini tablet, except where they do not want a smartphone?

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Want To Know About The HP TouchPad? Reviews Abound!

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Laptop Thoughts News" @ 03:00 PM

"Palm faithful and newcomers alike, behold: the TouchPad review. For some, this has been years in the making, for others (honestly, for most) this is a new and potentially interesting blip on the tablet radar. The team that brought you webOS — for better or worse — has now graduated the platform to pad status, with the help (and cash) of HP. According to the company, the TouchPad marks the kickoff of its hard push into the hearts and minds of the slate-buying public, as well as a rebirth of sorts for Palm’s unrealized ambitions."

The HP TouchPad is out with everyone is eager to put out their own impressions of the webOS based device. Each provides their own spin, though it suffices to say that the TouchPad is aimed squarely at competing against the iPad both in capability and price point. Will it succeed? Well, webOS is a relatively new entry, and needs quite a bit of time to see if it gains any traction, though if HP is committed to webOS, there is enough financial backing to keep the concept going until it catches on. The OS market, even for tablets, is starting to get crowded, and I do not know if the market can support or should have that many different takes on the tablet. I see a shakedown coming!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Android Tablets Face Off against the Asus Transformer

Posted by John London in "Laptop Thoughts Articles & Resources" @ 02:30 PM

"Two of the latest low-cost Honeycomb tablets to hit the shelves are the Acer Iconia Tab A500 and the Asus Eee Pad Transformer. The only trouble is, it's almost impossible to tell the two apart (beyond the $50 price difference). At first glance they are pretty similar. Both have a 10.1-inch 1280 x 800 capacitive touchscreen, run NVIDIA's 1GHz dual-core Tegra 2 processor and 1GB of RAM. Each has 16GB or 32GB of internal storage along with a microSD card slot that can handle an additional 32GB. Connectivity includes WiFi b/g/n on both (the A500 adds in 802.11a support) and Bluetooth 2.1+EDR, together with a mini-HDMI port for outputting up to 1080p HD video. 3G versions of each tablet will follow later in the year."

The improvements keep coming in the tablet market. The Asus Transformer looks very impressive. Both the tablets have about the same specifications. The Asus has the biggest glaring standout about 16 hours of battery life with its docking station. To me that is just amazing, as the Asus tablet will last for a business day and still have battery life to spare. The question that comes to mind are both the tablets better than an Apple iPad. From the hardware, I would say yes. When it comes to the software, Android market is just starting for the tablets. Keep in mind this is new technology and it is not cheap. However, if you are looking for that extra battery life (Asus), ports, portability (1.5lbs), and Android O/S these tablets might fit the bill. One other thing is the new laptop are cheaper than these tablets. It is something to keep in mind.

A Slate For Every Taste

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Laptop Thoughts News" @ 01:00 PM

"Between a slew of new Android Honeycomb slates and the HP TouchPad, shoppers have plenty of compelling Apple alternatives to choose from. Here are the 10 tablets we’re most excited about."

The iPad has been out for over a year now and continues to dominate the consumer tablet marketplace. Competitors have had over a year to develop their own slate goodness and some alternatives are starting to gain traction. Unfortunately, few will ever seen a fraction of the media attention that the iPad gets, but Laptop Magazine has compiled a useful list of some options. After being inundated with tablet after tablet, I have to admit that they are all starting to look alike to me, even the iPad. I wonder how long it will be before the slate tablet, with all the energy put into it, will start turning out to be a commodity item, much like how the traditional computer is seen.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Archos Releases Two New Tablets: The 8" and 10" G9 Series

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Archos Tablets" @ 11:15 AM

"DENVER, CO - June 23, 2011 - Today, ARCHOS, an award winning technology innovator and pioneer in the tablet market, introduces an unrivaled combination of speed and storage with its latest tablets featuring an OMAP 4 processor with an ARM® CortexTM dual-core A9 running at 1.5 GHz and Seagate's 250GB Hard Disk Drive (HDD) capacity. The 8" ARCHOS 80 G9 and 10" ARCHOS 101 G9 are powered by AndroidTM 3.1 "Honeycomb,''* the latest Android version. ARCHOS G9 tablets come with Google's full suite of mobile applications and Android MarketTM, giving users access to over 200,000 applications such as games, books, social media and news. With the latest version of Honeycomb, G9 tablets also offer a full web experience complete with Adobe® Flash® support for on-the-go web browsing, communication and applications."

I've always admired Archos hardware; it's historically been great. But what kept me from ever buying one of their products was the user interface. I found it baffling. Now that Archos has fully embraced Android though, I think they can be a real player in the tablet market. Archos made an interesting call in making the screen on the 8" tablet a 4:3 aspect ratio, 1024 x 768 resolution display. On the 10.1" tablet, it's a 16:9, 1280 x 800 display. I think that makes a lot of sense, and I'm personally intrigued by the eight inch tablet. Oh, and remember these tablets have 250 GB of storage in them courtesy of Seagate's new 7mm hard drive. Specs and details below, along with news about their clever 3G stick that apparently slides into the tablet unobtrusively.

The remainder of the press release is after the break. Read more...

Seagate Delivers Unmatched Price-Performance Storage For World's First Tablet's Featuring Hard Drives

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Laptop Thoughts News" @ 09:45 AM

"Seagate (NASDAQ: STX) is delivering hard disk drive storage for the world's first handheld tablet computers with hard drives. The ARCHOS G9 8- and 10-inch tablets, announced today in Paris, feature the Seagate Momentus® Thin hard drive, a speedy notebook drive with a super-slim 7mm profile. The performance and capacity of the Momentus Thin drive are the perfect complement for the cutting-edge speed of the ARCHOS G9 family of tablets that features the industry's fastest dual-core 1.5 GHz processor and, on the strength of the Momentus Thin drive, gives users 250GB of capacity, eight times more than a standard 32GB tablet but at the same cost, making the ARCHOS G9 one of the tablet industry's best cost-performance values."

A hard drive that's only 7mm thin? Now that's impressive. 250 GB of storage on a tablet really changes the game when it comes to storage; if you're a movie, photo or music enthusiast, being able to carry all your media content on your tablet would be fantastic. Myself, I'd need 60 GB for all my photos (with some videos thrown in the mix), and another 99 GB to carry all my music. It will be 2016 until I'm able to get anywhere near that with Flash storage. On the flip side, even with as good as hard drives have become with shock tolerance, I'd feel like I'd have to treat the tablet in a more gentle fashion knowing that it had a spinning hard drive in it. It's a trade off to be sure. These two Archos tablets sound pretty interesting though - an 8 inch tablet with a dual-core 1.5 Ghz CPU for $279? Hmm. The remainder of the press release is after the break. Read more...

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Archos Arnova 7 hits the FCC, on the cheap

Posted by John London in "Laptop Thoughts News" @ 08:00 PM

"For those who like their Android tablets cheap, it looks like Archos is ready to unleash yet another budget-friendly addition to the Arnova family stateside."

Is this tablet something that would interest you? Unfortunately, the specifications are still under wraps. I would think this will sport a 7 inch screen (18 cm). Archos has announced 8 and 10 inch screens. This is a low cost device which is targeted for the penny pincher. I have not used Archos equipment and limited exposure to Android, so chime in if you think this device has potential and tell me why Android is good.

UPDATE: Here are some further details about the tablet...

When You Want Something Other Than an iPad

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Laptop Thoughts News" @ 01:30 PM

"Sure, it’s easy to point at specific things that other devices do better (or at least differently) than the iPad, and some of the people reading this article can explain why they chose another tablet and don’t regret the move. (If you’re one of them, please do!) Still, sales figures for tablets show that when consumers compare the iPad to other choices, an overwhelming percentage conclude that the iPad is the best option."

There are lots of reasons why someone might prefer a different tablet than an iPad but one thing I am quite sure annoys a lot of people is that when you whip out your fight-the-masses-and-not-be-like-everyone-else tablet, someone nearby will look over and ask, "Is that an iPad?" Just let it go. No matter whether your choice is a Galaxy Tab, A RIM PlayBook or Motorola Xoom, to a lot of people, they are all iPads. Do you remember how long it took for people to stop calling every PDA a Palm Pilot? Oh, that's right... The good news is that there are a lot of options other than the iPad, and no matter what the public mindshare is, you can rest well knowing that your choice fits your needs, even if is a real iPad.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Surf The Friendly Skies With A Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1

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

"Move on over, Delta. The 200 iPads at your JFK terminal may entertain some folks waiting to board, but before the year's out American Airlines will start switching out 6,000 in-flight entertainment systems with Samsung 10.1-inch Galaxy Tabs."

When I fly it's usually one step above luggage class so this is something I'll never see. It looks like American Airlines will be replacing their old media devices available to those who sit in the front seats with fancy new Galaxy Tab 10.1s. Samsung made quite the splash in the Android phone market with their Galaxy S phones. Now it appears they are off to a pretty good start in the tablet realm. Good news for Samsung, even better news for Android.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Mobileburn's Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 Video Tour

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Other Slates & Tablets" @ 08:13 PM

"The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 is an 8.6mm thin Android 3.1 Honeycomb tablet. As its name suggests, it features a 10.1-inch display that offers 1280 x 800 pixel resolution. The version seen in this video is the 16GB Wi-Fi only white model, but 32GB and gray versions are also available and 3G-capable Tabs will be on the market eventually."

Samsung really did an excellent job on the hardware on the Galaxy Tab 10.1 - it looks superb and is incredibly thin - but I'm personally disappointed that this product doesn't have a microSD card slot. Removable storage is one of the key advantages of Android, so it's curious that Samsung wouldn't include that. They might have had to sacrifice it in order to go head to head with the thinness of the iPad 2. Check out the video for all the details.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Toshiba's Thrive Tablet Detailed

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Other Slates & Tablets" @ 05:08 PM

I had the pleasure of sitting in on a conference call today that covered the Toshiba Thrive, a tablet that I initially saw at CES back in January. The official wraps came off today, and I got the full breakdown along with a bunch of photos. The specs for this tablet are impressive, though I'm not sure if Toshiba is going to be able to justify this price premium - with the 32 GB Asus Transformers coming in at $499 USD, Toshiba wanting to charge $579 for the same thing is going to be a hard sell. Here's how things look...

  • 8 GB ($429.99), 16 GB ($479.99), 32 GB ($579.99) - it's unusual (in a good way) to see a mere $50 give you double the storage at the 8 GB to 16 GB jump
  • I asked, but no explanation was given as to why there's no 64 GB version - I'd guess it comes down to price. Toshiba probably didn't feel they could be price competitive at the 64 GB mark
  • The Thrive is 0.6 inches thick and 1.6 pounds
  • They didn't tell us what powered it, but other sites are reporting a 1 Ghz Tegra 2 with 1 GB of RAM
  • When I asked about why they were starting at 8 GB, they said it was for users who were interested at a low price point - users who use Web surfing and simple tasks and 8 GB is enough for them. With the full-sized SD card slot, it's easy for users to expand storage easily.
  • Battery life is rated at 7 hours of continuous HD video playback at an unknown brightness
  • The battery will charge to 90% capacity in 90 minutes
  • It has WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, accelerometer
  • Android 3.1, 10.1 inch display, 1280 x 800 resolution IPS screen, stereo speakers with SRS audio, 2 MP front camera, 5 MP rear camera


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