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All posts tagged "tablet pc"

Monday, June 18, 2012

Microsoft Surface: A Well-kept Secret Emerges

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Other Slates & Tablets" @ 08:30 PM

"We saw plenty of crazy transforming tablets at Computex Taipei a couple of weeks back, even some that ran Windows 8, but nothing that could have prepared us for what Microsoft itself is building. The company unveiled a pair of 10.6-inch tablets dubbed "Surface" today, and they sound pretty sweet, with built-in stands, covers with embedded keyboards, and cases molded out of vapor-deposited magnesium ("VaporMg") with neatly beveled edges for a (hopefully) comfortable grip."

Who says that technology companies can't keep secrets? Microsoft's announcement of their new Surface tablets and accessories seemed to take the blogosphere by surprise.

Microsoft demoed only the magnesium-encased Surface for Windows RT version, with an NVidia Tegra (ARM) processor, 32/64GB SSD, weighing in at about 1.5-pounds, 9.3mm thick, with a 10.6-inch screen and a 16:9 aspect ration - labeled as "HD." The back contains a workable kickstand, and several 3mm cover keyboards were shown, that magnetically attach to the tablet. The battery will be 31.5Wh. This version will run Windows with desktop and MS Office, but will NOT run legacy applications. This is the "consumer" version of Surface.

The second tablet, Surface for Windows 8 Pro, will sport an Intel Ivy Bridge processor, and be somewhat larger, 13.5mm thick and about 2-pounds. With a higher resolution display, labeled "Full HD," a larger 42Wh battery, larger SSD offerings, and higher-speed ports (USB3 vs USB2), this tablet will run legacy Windows applications, MS Office, and of course new Windows 8 Metro apps. This is the "professional" or "prosumer" version of Surface.

With these announcements, the Windows 8 tablet race has quickly ratcheted-up, and other vendors are quickly releasing specs on their competitive products, many already touting themselves as being better than the new MS tablets. Now we wait for further news on price and availability. Anyone ready to buy a Surface?

Friday, April 13, 2012

Windows 8 Tablets to be made of Sugar and Spice or Something Nice

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

"Intel is offering more specifics on the features of future Windows 8 tablet at a conference in Beijing. It's a laudable goal, but can Intel make it happen this year? Underneath the glass will be beat an Atom Z2760 "Clover Trail" chip: dual-core capable with "burst mode" (for quick bursts of performance when needed) and Hyperthreading -- the latter allows a dual-core chip to behave in quad-core-like fashion in some cases."

If you are like me, you often sit under a tree on a great sunny day thinking, "I wonder what sort of specifications Windows 8 tablets will have!" Well, wait no longer, because Intel has published its specs on what things should be like. Some of the requirements are interesting, though I do wonder how many of them will make it into reality, and how many will find themselves quickly changed, like what happened to Ultrabooks. Of course, all these are on paper, and the real sauce will be what the actual experience will be like using a Windows 8 tablet. For that, I remain skeptical.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Time to Get Excited About Toshiba Tablets

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

"The Excite X10, which boasts a 10.1 inch IPS display, is a mere 7.7 mm thick. The iPad 2 is 8.8 mm thick, in comparison. It sits on the "premium" shelf just above Toshiba's budget Thrive tablets. Perhaps the most killer feature of the X10 (besides its inconceivable waistline) is the fact that it includes a Micro USB port, a Micro HDMI port, and even an SD card slot. There's somehow also room for a dock connector like you might find on the iPad."

Thin tablets are in. Well, they have almost always been in since I cannot imagine anyone enjoying a thick tablet to cart around. The Excite X10 is the latest and thinnest tablet to come out, though it manages to pack some ports while keeping a svelte figure. While I personally like having ports to serve my every desire, I've noticed more friends going the wireless option like DLNA or AirPlay to satisfy most of their needs. When it comes to your electronic devices now, do you find less of a need for ports, or do they still play an important role for you?

Friday, December 30, 2011

The Road To Windows 8 Tablets Is Uphill

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

"Windows-based tablets haven’t been treated kindly by the test of time. Those released in the Windows XP era relied on wonky, stylus-based data entry, and even modern, touch-based tablets running Windows 7 are poor performers. Indeed, Microsoft has a troubled tablet history that the public isn’t soon to forget. This November, Forrester released a study that showed consumer interest in a Windows-based tablet dropped significantly this year. At the start of 2011, 46 percent of potential tablet owners wanted a Windows device. By Q3, that number slipped to 25 percent."

Windows has been losing a lot of ground lately. As technology advances, the need for a desktop computer, or even a laptop has become less and less so for your average consumer. While Microsoft fights in the smartphone market with Windows Phone 7, it hopes to see success in the tablet market with Windows 8. While Windows 7 tablets do exist, they have not been flying off the shelves like iPads. With iOS and Android currently dominating the market, can Microsoft become relevant? If they are willing to stay in it for the long run, I believe so. This is not the first time Microsoft has tried to make a market a three-party system. The original X-box was a gamble, and cost Microsoft a considerable amount of money, but now in its second iteration (and maybe soon to be third), the company has carved itself a sizable chunk of the console market. It might just be able to repeat that success with tablets.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Slipping into the LTE Jetstream -- a review of Rogers' HTC Jetstream

Posted by Don Tolson in "Other Slates & Tablets" @ 08:30 AM

Product Category: Tablet
Manufacturer: HTC
Where to Buy: Rogers or AT&T
Price: USD $499 w/3 year contract, $799 w/o contract from Rogers; $599 with w/2 year contract, $749 w/o contract from AT&T
System Requirements: Android 3.1 (Honeycomb) with HTC Sense
Specifications: 256mm (10.1in diagonal) LCD tablet with 1.5GHz, dual core CPU; 1G RAM; Quad band GPRS, Tri-band HPSA + LTE; 32G internal memory (28G available) + microSD card slot (32G maximum); 250mm (9.87in) x 178mm (7in) x 13mm (0.5in); 750g (26.5oz). Full specifications can be found here.


  • First LTE-capable tablet available in Canada;
  • Very comfortable size and weight;


  • Pricey compared to other tablet offerings available;
  • Yet another non-standard charging/sync port.

Summary: In October 2011, with much fanfare, Rogers announced the availability of the HTC Jetstream (aka the HTC P715a) -- Canada's first LTE-capable tablet. Even though the LTE network is limited to three cities in Canada (Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver) we were able to get one of the preview units and play with it for a week in Victoria and Vancouver! So, does an LTE-equipped tablet run circles around mere 3G/H models? The results were surprising. Read more...

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Tablet Takeover Marches On

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Laptop Thoughts Talk" @ 12:30 PM

"First introduced by Microsoft in 1999, many reviewed the Tablet PC as a toy. With the release of Apple's iPad in 2010, the mobile computing world has been consumed with tablets - mobile devices bigger than a smartphone, but smaller than a laptop. This infographic done with Socialcast, looks at the state of the tablet takeover."

According to this story done entirely as a set of graphics, almost five times as many tablets have been sold in 2011 as in 2010, at least in Q2. According to this source, 72% of US enterprises are using tablets, mostly for email, secondary uses are web browsing and presentations. Perhaps more telling, Apple's share of the tablet OS has shrunk from 94.3% to 61.3%, with Android's share going from 2.9% to 30.1%, or, more than a ten-fold increase. Predictions:

  • Tablet sales will overtake notebook sales in 2012
  • One in five US consumers will own a tablet by 2014
  • US consumers will buy 82.1 million tablets in 2015
  • 27.4% of workers believe that tablets will replace notebooks, but 39% believe that some other device will replace notebooks. Any ideas out there as to what the "other" devices could be?

Data sources credited include Model Metrics, iPass, Harris Interactive, Forrester Research, Gartner, Strategy Analytics, Nielsen and Ringcentral. More sources equate to more credible guesses, in my opinion.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Your Tablet Needs a Keyboard

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Laptop Thoughts News" @ 09:00 AM

"Logitech’s Tablet Keyboard comes in two versions; one for the iPad and one for Android 3.0+ slates. Same price — $69.99 — slightly different hotkeys for the different operating systems. I used the Android model for a week and a half for writing everything from short emails to long blog posts. Is this accessory worth your time and money?"

Tablets are great portable computing devices, but some find that software keyboards lacking. The solution is, of course, a keyboard! Why limit a tablet to a simple slate like device when you can add on things like a keyboard, or even a hardware pointing device! Still, there are times when a hardware keyboard is faster or easier for a lot of people though it does add one more thing to put in your bag. Thankfully, you do not have to take it out all the time, and use the lean, trim slate as it was meant to be. The only real compromise I can see is that using this keyboard can only be used in a situation where you have access to a flat surface.

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.

iPad, TouchPad, ThinkPad or Windows: And the Business Winner is?

Posted by John London in "Laptop Thoughts Articles & Resources" @ 01:30 PM

"This week, Good Technology released numbers indicating that the iPad was outdistancing Android-based products for the enterprise, but it didn't track the RIM Playbook or HP TouchPad, which are two products that specifically target the enterprise. In addition, the ThinkPad isn’t shipping yet and it might be the best shot Android has in getting into the enterprise."

I haven't worked in the corporate sector for a few years now, so I haven't thought much about this, but tablets invading the work force in a big way. With Apple's overwhelmingly successful iPad one would have thought it was a no brainer. It turns out that, considering most corporations use Microsoft solutions, it was closer than I thought. One reason could be because the corporate force needs productivity tools that the iPad can't yet provide. The iPad is a great media device (I just spent a few hours on one over the past week), however, it's not like it can replace the laptop for productivity.

That might change one day as businesses start requesting more productivity tools from the development community. And that's the twist coming from the article. Windows 8 on the tablet is not to far away, (business time that is) so the tablet market will really heat up sometime next year. The unknown right now is the HP Touchpad because of the large corporate sector they have pull in.

Android seems to be having problems right now and until the issues are fixed, corporations are looking to steer clear for now. Having worked in a large corporation I have my thoughts on which tablet will eventually win out. And, at this point, I reserve the right to speak. 2012 will shape up nicely for the tablet in the business sector and which tablet will win out is anyone's guess at this point. I would like to hear what your company in terms of tablets is doing, and why?

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

5 Reasons Why Amazon Can Compete in The Tablet Market

Posted by John London in "Laptop Thoughts Articles & Resources" @ 12:30 PM

"It seems fairly reasonable to bet that Amazon will introduce an Android tablet in the foreseeable time. It makes perfect sense and it is not difficult to predict that Amazon where succeed where Samsung and Motorola have failed. Hope and disappointment in Android tablets is a repetitive cycle these days. There is this huge anticipation building up that there will finally be an iPad rival."

Even though Amazon has yet to release an Android based tablet, this makes perfectly good sense. Why? Developers can now develop and port apps. Amazon has sold millions of Kindles so in order to compete against an Apple iPad the specifications and price will probably have to competitive. Amazon seems to have built their loyal fan base so the Android operating system (O/S) will take them to the next level, something akin to the Barnes and Noble Nook.

If Amazon releases the Kindle on the Android O/S, you can count on the display being an excellent one. The other area is the User Interface (UI) that will most likely stay simple, again akin to the Nook. What will be interesting if Amazon will add ports and storage e.g. USB, VGA, Disk Drive/SSD, etc.? This will make for an interesting tablet, great display, easy UI, ports and competitive pricing. If Amazon moves to the Android O/S, the tablet market will continue to heat up.

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.

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