Android tablets Stories December 21, 2015

nvidia-shield-tablet-k1

NVIDIA released the refreshed SHIELD Tablet K1 last month, and now it’s getting a huge software update to Android 6.0 Marshmallow. The biggest additions here are nothing new — they’ve been hitting devices since Marshmallow first started rolling out to the Nexus line earlier this year — but there are a few things unique to the K1…

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Android tablets Stories December 9, 2015

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The Pixel team took to Reddit this morning to answer questions about their new tablet following its launch yesterday. Early reviews of the device praised the hardware, but faulted Android for a lack of tablet optimization. Unsurprisingly, most of the questions asked revolved around that…

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Android tablets Stories December 8, 2015

Pixel-C-Keyboard

Affirming last week’s rumors, the Pixel C is now available for purchase. Android on tablets have had a varied history and unfortunately this one suffers from the same usual friction of putting what is essentially a phone OS on a large screen. However, the device is not completely without merit on the hardware side and accompanying software updates might change that in the future.

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Android tablets Stories December 5, 2015

pixel-c

This week, a rumor going around stated that the Pixel C would be available for sale starting on December 8th. Beyond a brief Twitter mention and the knowledge that the product would be launching in time for the holiday season, we have not heard much about Google’s productivity-focused tablet. However, the launch rumor is gaining credence as the device has been spotted on a GFXBench and Geekbench benchmark.

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Android tablets Stories June 2, 2014

Dell refreshes its Venue 7 & 8 Android tablets, announces new tablet accessories

Dell announced today new models of its Venue 7 and Venue 8 Android tablets coming next month.

Dell Venue 7 and Venue 8 Tablets: Solid performance in an eye-catching design The updated Dell Venue 7 and 8 tablets enable people to experience enjoyable entertainment and productivity in an attractive, thin, and light design. Whether reviewing a presentation or kicking back to watch movies, the HD (Venue 7) and Full HD (Venue 8) screens deliver brighter viewing angles and a better viewing experience, even outdoors. Premium audio technology from Waves MAXXAudio Pro ensures great sound quality, especially when paired with the optional Dell Bluetooth Portable Speaker. Based on Android 4.4 “Kit Kat”, the tablets feature the latest Intel Atom Z3460 (Venue 7) and Z3480 (Venue 8) processors (“Merrifield”) to drive faster web browsing and media editing, contributing to a premium mobility experience at a price that’s pleasing to the wallet. The new Dell Venue tablets also feature an easy-grip design on the back, and both are available in red or black color options.

Dell says its updated tablets will be available on its site starting July 1st. The Venue 7 retails for $159.99 while the larger Venue 8 goes for $199.99.

Android tablets Stories August 6, 2013

education

Intel is hoping to help schools make the transition to electronic learning with the announcement of two low-spec Android tablets intended to be cheap enough for bulk purchase, reports PhoneArena.

The smaller and presumably cheaper of the two comes with an Atom Z2420 chip running at 1.2GHz, 1GB of RAM, and a 7-inch, 1024 by 600 pixel display. There are also 8GB of storage, a built-in speaker and mike, basic front and rear cameras, and a sealed battery that should last through 8 hours of usage. That the tablet is resistant to some water and shock damage, bearing IP41 certification, is worth noting.

The larger of the two Intel Education Tablets is powered by a 1.6GHz Atom Z2460 processor backed by 1GB of RAM and its 10.1-inch display has a resolution of 1280 by 800 pixels. It offers twice the built-in storage, 16 gigs … expand full story

Android tablets Stories July 30, 2013

nexus-7-tablet

While all eyes may be on the new Nexus 7, those with 2012 models may want to hold fire before handing over their cash for the shiny new model. AnandTech (via GigaOM) reveals that an upgrade to Android 4.3 could give the older model a whole new lease of life.

One of the common complaints late in the life of the original Nexus 7 was slow storage I/O performance, leading to an inconsistent user experience. After a fresh flash, the Nexus 7 was speedy and performant, but after months of installing applications and using the tablet, things began slowing down. This was a friction point that many hoped would be fixed in the new Nexus 7 (2013) model, which it was. There’s even more to the story though, it turns out Google has fixed that storage I/O ageing problem on all Nexus devices with the Android 4.3 update …  expand full story

Android tablets Stories May 16, 2013

There’s some noise being made about the Nexus 7 in the Hangouts video (above at 21 seconds in).  I’ve just talked to a Google rep who said, “That’s not the new Nexus 7… if hypothetically there was such a thing.” expand full story

Android tablets Stories March 1, 2012

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The OnLive Desktop app launched today on Android Market and costs $5, just like its iOS counterpart that released about three weeks ago. Tapping the power of the cloud and leveraging OnLive’s streaming technology that powers its on-demand gaming service, the OnLive Desktop app puts a Windows 7 virtual machine right at your fingertips and on an Android tablet. You also get access to Microsoft Office applications and 2GB of free cloud storage. The app requires Android 2.3 and is tested on the Acer Iconia Tab A500, Asus Eee TF101, Motorola Xoom, Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9, 10.1, and HTC Jetstream.

The release notes are below.

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Android tablets Stories February 27, 2012

Android smartphones are definitely putting on a great show. As the total number of Android devices around the world jets past 300 million and 850,000 devices get activated each day, nobody in their right mind would argue that Android has become the most powerful platform. It exceeded an estimated 50 percent of the market for smartphones both globally and in the United States. The same cannot be said for Android tablets. Whilst Android-driven slates saw a much-needed uptick since the arrival of tablet-optimized Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich software, Apple’s iPad still dominates the once niche and now rising market segment.

Google is well aware of its shortcomings in the tablet arena and the company is ready to “double down on tablets,” according to its mobile head Andy Rubin. He told The Verge that in two years some 12 million Android tablets were sold—the figure he called “not insignificant, but less than I’d expect it to be if you really want to win.” He is hoping that “2012 is going to be the year that we double down and make sure we’re winning in that space.” Acknowledging the overall lack of high-quality apps is an issue resulting in many prospective buyers considering Apple’s iPad, Rubin urged developers to “put in the muscle and make their apps work great on tablets.”

By the way, we wonder if by “doubling down” Rubin meant a self-branded 7-inch Ice Cream Sandwich tablet said to arrive by summer with a $199 price tag. Also, it was not immediately clear from the report whether the 12 million figure includes the millions of Fire tablets Amazon sold thus far (likely not, as that device runs forked Android software), but clearly Samsung has done a lot here to help push Android slates.

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Android tablets Stories February 2, 2012

ChangeWave Research published an interesting survey today proving that people are really loving their Kindle Fire tablet, with more than half of the respondents (54 percent) being “Very Satisfied” with Amazon’s Android-driven tablet versus 74 percent for Apple’s iPad and 49 percent for other tablets. Whilst Amazon is believed to be selling the $199 tablet at a loss, content spending among the Fire owner benefits the online retailer over time.

Specifically, post-purchase spending at Amazon.com is up, with nearly one-third of respondents (29 percent) claiming they will spend more at Amazon in the next 90 days versus just 19 percent for non-Kindle owners. ChangeWave Research, a service of 451 Research, included a look at the reaction of Kindle Fire owners to their gizmo. Price was the determining factor for a whopping 59 percent of owners, followed by its color screen at 31 percent, ease of use at 27 percent and selection of e-reading material at 20 percent…

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Android tablets Stories September 30, 2011

Samsung’s seven-inch Galaxy Tab was launched last year on September 2 at the IFA in Berlin and as of April of 2011 they managed to ship six million units worldwide. A year later, the Korean company has updated the tablet with a thinner form factor and a speedier processor. It’s also gotten a new name to convey the enhancements to buyers, the Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus. According to Samsung’s press release, the new version supports faster 3G HSPA+ connectivity and runs a speedier 1.2GHz processor versus the “Hummingbird” 1GHz chip found inside its predecessor. It also features WiFi Channel Bonding which bonds two wireless channels into one for improved network connection and data transfer at up to twice the speed.

The device is 9.96mm thick and weighs in at 345 grams. This compares to 11.98 millimeter depth and 380 grams of weight of the original Galaxy Tab 7.0. The front camera is of a 2.0-megapixel variety (1.2 megapixels on the original model), and RAM has been bumped up from 512MB to 1GB. On the software front, the Plus runs Android Honeycomb 3.2 which is optimized for seven-inch devices, in addition to Samsung’s latest TouchWiz user interface. Other specs are left unchanged, including 16/32GB of built-in storage expandable via a microSD card slot, a three-megapixel camera on the back and a 4000 mAh battery. The new devices launches at the end of October in Austria and Indonesia, Samsung said, followed by a U.S. launch and the global roll out. Full specs after the break.

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Android tablets Stories September 22, 2011

A seven-inch Amazon tablet priced at $250 or less will compete against inexpensive Android tablets such as Lenovo’s $199 IdeaPad A1 (pictured above) or the $249 Nook color

Amazon is reportedly launching its inaugural Android tablet in the fourth quarter of this year. If the back office chatter is true, the online retailer will first out a seven-incher followed by a larger form-factor device(s) early next year. The latest news has the seven-inch Kindle Tablet costing $250 or less. However, market sources polled by DigiTimes warn of a lack of differentiation between Amazon’s dedicated Kindle e-readers and a seven-inch Android tablet:

Market observers are showing concerns as to how Amazon will differentiate its e-book reader market from that of its tablet while making profits for both after the company’s launch of the 7-inch tablet in fourth-quarter 2011. […] The sources also pointed out that Amazon may run a risk by releasing a 7-inch tablet when 10-inch models have mostly outperformed 7-inch competition over the past six months.

Shipping estimates have been revised and now call for a million units by the end of this month, “but the sources remain skeptical whether Amazon can meet its shipment goal of four million units in 2011”.

Now, about that differentiation comment. TechCrunch’s MG Siegler who saw prototypes described a seven-inch device without cameras. He said the screen used is a regular LCD as opposed to a color display utilizing electronic ink technology many people have been hoping for.

The fact Amazon could be marketing this thing under the Kindle moniker won’t help either, if true. On the flipside, there’s no reason as to why an Amazon-branded Android tablet tied to their all-encompassing cloud and shopping services would ever be confused with a family of dedicated and inexpensive Kindle e-readers.

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Android tablets Stories September 6, 2011

The latest in the ongoing legal dispute between Apple and its key components supplier, Samsung, comes via Bloomberg which reported this morning that Apple may be pushed into revealing iPad 2 sales numbers in England and America if the company is to increase chances of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 blockage in Australia:

Apple Inc. may have to reveal iPad and iPad 2 sales figures in the U.K. and U.S. to improve its chances of barring Samsung Electronics Co. from selling the Galaxy 10.1 tablet computer in Australia, a judge said. Apple’s claim that the Samsung tablet’s release in Australia will hurt iPad sales may carry little weight if it doesn’t provide the numbers, Federal Court Justice Annabelle Bennett said in Sydney Federal Court today. ‘Unless Apple puts on evidence showing the impact in the U.S. or U.K., I can’t draw any positive assumptions,’ Bennett said.

Apple sought an injunction on Samsung’s tablet in Australia until the patent spat is resolved. Apple is claiming that the obvious similarities between Samsung’s family of Galaxy smartphones and tablets are hurting their sales. Apple in prior court documents referred to Samsung as the “copyist”. Recently, Samsung in America asserted Apple ripped off the iPad design from the Stanley Kubrick 1969 film “2001: A Space Odyssey” to argue Apple’s patents should be invalidated under prior art. Judge Bennett would leave it up to Apple to determine whether or not it would be willing to provide court with sales figures. Whichever way you look at it, that’s an interesting twist in this litigation…

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Android tablets Stories August 31, 2011

Trade publication DigiTimes quoted market sources this morning who heard that the online retail giant, Amazon, is gearing up for mass production of another tablet, a 10.1-inch device, for the first quarter of next year. The world’s largest contract manufacturer, Foxconn, will take care of manufacturing, the report notes. Foxconn is also Apple’s long-time manufacturing partner and they make gadgets and computers for a number of Western brands.

While the report doesn’t cast more light on the device, the screen size suggests a Honeycomb-class tablet. The story does corroborate an AndroidMe claim back in May that Amazon has been working on a family of mobile devices powered by the Android software.

Amazon is also in the process of tweaking its web shopping site to mobile access, apparently in preparation for its inaugural tablet launch next month. That device is said to be a seven-inch slate tightly integrated with Amazon’s cloud and content services.

DigiTimes’ report also notes Amazon placed an order for up to eighteen million Kindle units for the entire year, confirming their lead in the e-reader market with an estimated 60-70 percent share of global e-book reader shipments in 2011.

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Android tablets Stories August 30, 2011

This is interesting. Amazon appears to be testing a redesign of its shopping web site that appears to be specifically optimized for tablet browsing. The Next Web discovered several tweaks which seem to be accessible only to a small number of users who are testing out the new design. These include the more prominent search bar and bigger controls, so you don’t have to sand your fingers down.

Another tell-tale sign: The new site gives prominence to Amazon’s tablet-friendly services such as Instant Video, MP3 Store, Cloud Player, Kindle, Cloud Drive, AppStore for Android, Game and Software Downloads and Audiobooks. Yes, we might be reading too much into it, but this feels like a part of launch preparations for the rumored Amazon tablet.

Forrester’s Sarah Rotman Epps predicts bright future for the Amazon tablet, which in her own words will “be synonymous with ‘Android’ on tablets” a year from now (disclosure: Epps was wrong on predicting iPad numbers plummeting back in June). She wrote in a note to clients Monday that Amazon could sell five million tablet units in the fourth quarter, considerably more than the 3.27 million iPads Apple sold in its first quarter, adding:

Enter Amazon.com, whose tablet can compete on price, content, and commerce. If it’s launched at the right price with enough supply, we see Amazon’s tablet easily selling 3 million to 5 million units in Q4 alone, disrupting not only Apple’s product strategy but other tablet manufacturers’ as well.

A recent survey from Nielsen revealed that a tablet from Amazon marrying e-reading features of the Kindle to the computing capabilities of tablets could appeal to wide demographics. Nielsen says women now amount to a whopping 61 percent of e-reader owners, up from 46 percent last year. As for tablet and smartphone adoption, women climbed only by four and three percentage points in the period, respectively. The numbers led Silicon Alley Insider to joke that “women are from Amazon, men are from Apple”.

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Android tablets Stories August 29, 2011

Samsung on Monday promised to challenge Apple’s copyright infringement claims  in Australia. Specifically, news agencies report, the Korean consumer electronics maker said today it “will continue to actively defend its right to launch the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Australia”. Reuters reports that the company confirmed plans to delay the Galaxy Tab 10.1 launch in Australia until after  a court ruling in late September on its ongoing legal spat with Apple. Furthermore, Samsung will file a counterclaim with the Australian court in the coming days, seeking to invalidate Apple’s patents plus another one asserting a patent infringement on Apple’s part:

Today, Samsung informed the Federal Court of Australia it intends to file a cross claim against Apple Australia and Apple Inc regarding the invalidity of the patents previously asserted by Apple and also a cross claim against Apple regarding violation of patents held by Samsung by selling its iPhones and iPads

According to The Sydney Morning Herald, a hearing before the Australian court is due September 26 and 29 and Samsung agreed “not to sell or advertise” the tablet before September 30. The article also mentions the possibility of a high-profile testimony by both parties:

Apple and Samsung returned to court this afternoon, with Samsung agreeing not to sell or advertise the Galaxy Tab 10.1 before September 30. Apple will detail the specific patents involved in the case by this Friday and will provide a more comprehensive statement of facts by September 5. Samsung will provide points in answer by September 16, with the case going to a formal hearing on September 26 and 29. It was indicated today that top executives and inventors from both Apple and Samsung may appear in person or over video link to explain their patents.

It’s an interesting strategy on Samsung’s part…

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Android tablets Stories August 26, 2011

So now we have a pretty good idea about that “big thing” Samsung recently promised. SammyHub reports that the Korean consumer electronics maker will demo a new Galaxy S II smartphone at the IFA trade show scheduled to run September 2-7, 2011 in Berlin, Germany. It’ll feature 4G connectivity and Samsung intends to pitch it as the first true world phone capable of connecting to LTE, GSM and WCDMA cellular networks.

The device will also sport slightly revised specs, including a bigger 4.5-inch Super AMOLED Plus display, 1.5GHz dual-core processor, NFC, WiFi, Bluetooth, eight-megapixel camera with flash and a 1850mAh battery. The 8.9-inch Galaxy Tab tablet will also get LTE and a 1.5GHz processor, in addition to a 1280-by-800 pixel resolution display and a three-megapixel camera. The company should reveal US launch plans August 29 at a major product announcement to take place in New York City.

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Android tablets Stories August 24, 2011

The Amazon tablet we’ve been hearing about every now and then in past weeks is inching closer to release, folks. Industry publication DigiTimes reported this morning that Amazon picked a third supplier for touch panel parts as it gears up for manufacturing. Looks like TPK Holdings will be joining Wintek and JTouch as suppliers, the publication wrote:

Amazon, considering that the supply of 7-inch touch panels by Wintek and JTouch may not be sufficient for use in its tablet PCs, has decided to add TPK Holding as a third supplier, according to industry sources.

Shipments will begin in September, Wintek “stressed”. Note the may-not-be-sufficient part in the above quote, suggesting a likely increase of the original two million launch units. Amazon allegedly planned on unveiling its inaugural tablet in October, around the same time Apple was rumored to bring iPad 3 to market. At first, the online retailer had experienced difficulties sourcing parts because Apple pretty much locked out other vendors until mid-July they signed up Foxconn, Apple’s long-standing manufacturing partner, to produce the Amazon tablet. Surprisingly, Amazon even went on to become the largest buyer of tablet parts. A market survey has it that…

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Android tablets Stories August 18, 2011

Telefonino.net today leaked (via BGR) a bunch of upcoming Samsung devices. The mega-leak includes seven Android-driven phones and two tablets and three phones powered by Samsung’s own Bada operating system. Heck, the company is even working on their inaugural Windows Phone ‘Mango’ handset.

Starting off with tablets, the P6200 looks like the original Galaxy Tab successor. This seven-inch Honeycomb slate boasts a 1024-by-600 pixel Super AMOLED display plus front and back cameras for capturing video and conducting video calls. It will come in both WiFi-only and 3G HSDPA version.

As for the phones, Samsung appears to be going all out on the hardware front. Take the I9220, for example. This Gingerbreak phone runs a 1.4GHz processor, has an eight-megapixel camera and packs in a spacious, juicy 4.3-inch Super AMOLED display sporting a 1280-by-720 pixel resolution display, meaning it can render HD 720p video natively, without rescaling.

Then there is the I9210, another Gingerbread phone with a slightly larger 4.5-inch SuperAMOLED display, 4G connectivity and an eight-megapixel camera with LED flash. The sickest of them all has to be the I9250 superphone. Probably your next handset, it rocks a monstrous 4.65-inch SuperAMOLED display with native 720p resolution (1280-by-720 pixels), the obligatory five megapixel camera (what, no eight-megapixels?) and Android Ice Cream, the latest and greatest version of Android due for release in the fourth quarter of 2011. But wait, that’s not all – six more phones after the break. expand full story

Android tablets Stories August 16, 2011

We previously told you that HTC is gearing up to launch a tablet with a stylus later this year. They are calling it the Puccini and it’s said to include a 10.1-inch display plus a 1.5GHz processor, 4G LTE modem and HTC’s Sense interface on top of Honeycomb software. Today, their finance chief Winston Yung indicated that the device might launch at the end of the third quarter or early fourth quarter, reports DigiTimes, quoting the Chinese-language Liberty Times. It’s the first official confirmation we’ve gotten concerning the Puccini launch date and with a fourfold sales increase in China, the Puccini should be off to a nice start.

The company should also benefit from an increase of sales outlets in the country from 650 to about 2,000 by the end of the year. HTC is embroiled in a legal spat with Apple over an alleged patent infringement involving the iPhone. Today, HTC countersued Apple, Reuters reported, charging that Macs and all iOS devices infringe upon their patents, a day following Google’s stunning $12.5 billion takeover bid for Motorola Mobility. Per latest Nielsen survey, HTC is America’s #2 smartphone maker and the nation’s leading Android vendor accounting for a 14 percent of all Android smartphones sold. The company shipped 12.1 million phones in the second quarter for a 104 percent revenue growth year-over-year.

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Android tablets Stories August 12, 2011

ABI Research analyst Jeff Orr is reporting that Android tablets captured 20% of the iPad’s market share this past year. Orr lists high prices and fragmentation as to why it wasn’t more.

Many vendors have introduced media tablets, but none are separating themselves from the pack to pose a serious threat to Apple. In fact, most have introduced products at prices higher than similarly-configured iPads. Apple, never a company to be waiting for others, has introduced its second-generation iPad media tablet while keeping product pricing unchanged.

If Google and manufacturers can become competitive in pricing, which to their credit we are seeing, and less fragmentation — which Honeycomb seems to be addressing, Android should be off to the races. (via CNet) expand full story

Android tablets Stories August 4, 2011

Samsung is showing no signs of downplaying their tablet marketing amid the ugly patent spat with Apple. On Thursday the company aired a trio of new adverts that pitch its Galaxy Tab tablet as being “thinner”, “lighter” and “faster”, presumably compared to the market-leading iPad. The “Lighter” commercial brags about the Galaxy Tab weighing in “at a dainty 565 grams – as light and portable as they come“. iPad 2 weighs in at 601 grams.

The “Thinner” advert says their tablet “does what other tablets can only dream of”, underscoring “the sleek design you’ve come to expect of all Samsung Galaxy Tabs”. iPad 2’s profile measures 8.8mm versus 8.6mm for Samsung’s device. Interestingly, design is one of the treats Apple said Samsung “slavishly copied” from them.

The “Faster” commercial touts Galaxy Tab’s processors capable of “handling even the largest of video files with ease” and making “buffering a relic of the past”. Go past the fold to check out the remaining two Galaxy Tab commercials.

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A Digitimes Research survey of tablet shipment expectations for 2011 indicates that Apple will retain its lead by a large margin, but also signals the Cupertino, California firm’s share of the tablet market dropping as Android vendors have begun flooding the marketplace with non-Apple tablets in various forms, shapes, sizes and price points. The report says shipments are expected to surpass 65 million this year, up more than 200 percent from 2010. “While Apple remains the dominant player with its iPad line, other major vendors have looking to gain traction in this booming market”, the report notes.

Some 40 million tablets should be sold between June and December, with Apple growing 76 percent compared to H2 2010 and clearing 25.5 million units in H2 2011. This compares to 15.65 million non-Apple tablets predicted in the second half of 2011, a 65 percent increase versus the first half of 2011. This puts Apple’s H2 2011 share of the tablet market at 61 percent versus 39 percent for all other vendors combined. This isn’t bad at all, but it’s worth noting that Apple’s choke hold grip on the tablet market is easing as consumers face tablet choices other than iPad. Research firm Strategy Analytics pegged Apple’s share of the tablet market in the June quarter at 61.3 percent, while Android tablets have gone from 2.9 percent market share in June 2010 to 30.1 percent in June 2011. Also…

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Android tablets Stories August 3, 2011

Samsung today issued the following statement announcing its planned Galaxy Tab 10.1 launch event in Australia has been postponed, citing legal spat with Apple (via Gizmodo):

In light of the current legal proceedings by Apple Inc. against Samsung Electronics Australia, Samsung regrets to announce it will be postponing its media launch event, scheduled for 11th August 2011, for the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1.

The company will announce a new date for the Galaxy Tab 10.1 media launch event “as soon as practicable”. It’s another PR blow for Samsung Mobile which has thus far confused the press with inconsistent messages about the Australia situation…

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Android tablets Stories July 27, 2011

In what is another indication of a rumored Amazon tablet, Taiwanese trade publication, DigiTimes, this morning quoted sources from the supply chain who said Amazon has become the second largest buyer of tablet parts as component suppliers are lining up to provide parts for Amazon’s seven- and ten-inch slates. That’s a notable change from previous reports asserting Apple had gobbled up pretty much the entire supply of tablet parts. The Amazon devices are apparently due for a fourth quarter launch and the online retail giant is targeting to ship four million tablet PCs this year.

The publication named suppliers which include an unnamed processor from Nvidia, gravity sensors from Sitronix and touch panels from Wintek (also an Apple supplier) in addition to J Touch and Chunghwa Picture Tubes. Note that the mention of the seven-inch Amazon tablet probably means a new Kindle e-reader while the ten-incher most likely refers to a brand new Android-powered tablet said to be integrated with their cloud stores carrying mobile apps, music, movies, e-books and other digital warez. A Retrevo survey indicated that 79 percent of buyers would consider an Amazon tablet if priced less than $250. Apple is said to be considering cheaper components for next iPad amid the increasing pricing pressure in the market.

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Android tablets Stories July 26, 2011

Much has been said about a rumored Amazon tablet so far. It should be based on Android, we are told, and Asian source have chimed in with their share of leaks, the latest being that Taiwanese contract manufacturers have begun producing the gizmo, presumably for a Fall launch. But will you take the plunge? That’s what research firm Retrevo set out to figure out in a July study stemming from polling over a thousand online individuals in the US. Key takeaway: Amazon tablet must be really affordable if it’s to hit the ground running.

Asked whether they’d consider buying any Android tablet with similar features over a base model $499 iPad, more than three-quarter respondents, or 79 percent, said “Yes, if it cost less than $250”. Amazon is rumored to be skipping on some tablet features in order to keep production costs down, like use a less expensive touch panel which can only detect two fingers at once.

Of course, Amazon knows how to build gadgets like Kindle and make them less expensive over time. The tablet, however, they’d have to price aggressively from day one as Apple pretty much set the starting price at $499. Nearly half the respondents would choose an Android tablet over an entry-level $499 iPad if it was priced less than $300 and nearly one in three would go Android with a sub-$400 device.

In a blow to other tablet makers, including brands such as Motorola, Samsung, Research In Motion, Hewlett-Packard and others, a whopping 55 percent would seriously consider a tablet from Amazon. This highlights the power of ecosystem which has turned Apple’s tablet into a smash hit. Amazon too has its own app store, music store, movie store and other digital stores in the cloud, bound to create a compelling user experience in the familiar environment from a trusted name in online retail. More food for thought and pretty charts right below…

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Boy Genius Report publishes a pair of crisp images of what appears to be HTC’s allegedly upcoming tablet dubbed the Puccini. It may strike you as remarkably similar to Microsoft’s Courier project, but that’s due to the case shown on the image. The Puccini rocks a single 10.1-inch display and apparently a stylus. The leaked shots include AT&T branding, just so you know where to buy this thing when it hits the market.

Not a whole lots more to conclude from the images so the publication throws in a couple goodies they heard from sources, like an eight-megapixel camera on the back with dual-LED flash plus stereo speakers and a microphone. The tablet should run a 1.5GHz processor, a 4G LTE modem and HTC’s Sense interface on top of Honeycomb software, if the sources are to be trusted.

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Android tablets Stories July 21, 2011

Research firm Strategy Analytics discovers that shipments of Android-driven tablets are finally beginning to make a meaningful impact on the overall tablet market. Yes, Android slates are making their presence known, even though iPad is still king of the hill. According to the research firm’s survey, June quarter tablet shipments topped 15.1 million units, a material increase over the 3.5 million units from the year-ago period. Apple seized the #1 slot with 9.25 million iPads the company reported for the June quarter, representing a 61.3 percent share of the tablet market overall.

At the same time, Android tablets have gone from 2.9 percent market share in June 2010 to 30.1 percent in June 2011, a surprising 27.2 percentage points increase based on sales of 4.55 million units. In the year-ago quarter Apple enjoyed a 94 percent share, so iPad’s 33 percentage points drop is substantial no matter how you look at it. GSM Arena observes that “in terms of market share, the iOS lead in the past quarter is nearly three times smaller than it was in the same period of last year”.

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Android tablets Stories July 20, 2011

Lenovo announced two new Honeycomb 3.1 tablets: The consumer-focused IdeaPad K1 and the ThinkPad, which is being pitched as a tablet for business pros. Both devices come preloaded with the Netflix app that streams Hollywood entertainment, a first for Honeycomb tablets, in addition to Lenovo’s Launch Zone Android 3.1 skin, a bunch of enterprise apps and other software such as Zinio, Kindle and mSpot programs.

The business-focused ThinkPad tablet sports a 10.1-inch display with a 1280-by-800 pixel resolution and IPS, a premium display technology for wide viewing angles. The device is 0.55-inch thick and weighs in at 1.6 pound versus 1.24 pound for the Samsung Galaxy Tab. It runs a 1GHz Tegra 2 chip from Nvidia, features WiFi and 3G options and has a 24.1Wh battery, mini-HDMI, full-size USB 2.0, micro USB ports, SIM tray and SD card slots. The 16GB ThinkPad will retail for $499, or $30 more with the digitizer pen included. A 3G version will be offered “at a later date”, says LG.

The IdeaPad K1 rocks the same display (sans IPS) and processor as its business counterpart, but in a slightly slimmer package due to the use of mini ports.  Priced at $499, the 32GB IdeaPad will be available in the US beginning July 20 on Lenovo’s online store and through select business partners and retail stores nationwide. General availability in the US is pinpointed for August 2011 and worldwide during the third quarter 2011. This is my next has more details plus this nice video below.

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Android tablets Stories July 15, 2011

According to “industry sources” who spoke to Taiwanese trade publication DigiTimes, Google is about to release Android Honeycomb 3.2 to select tablet makers at the end of July or early August:

Google is expected to release its Android 3.2 OS to production partners at the end of July or early August, according to industry sources. Asustek has indicated it will launch Android 3.2-based tablets soon, while Huawei Technologies also said it will roll out a 7-inch Android 3.2 tablet in the third quarter.

Meanwhile, CNET confirms that Google is already pushing out the Honeycomb 3.2 update to the Motorola Xoom, hoping to bring the software to other tablets “in the near future”.

Android 3.2 is a minor update that will improve hardware acceleration and bring optimization for Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processors that power many top-selling Android smartphones and tablets. The software update will also bring improvements in Google-created apps, including Movie Studio, Movies, Music and Widget. It will also have a new compatibility mode for apps called zoom-to-fill. “Imagine viewing your app at the size of a phone screen then zooming in about 200 percent,” Google explains on the Android Developers blog. And as we explained earlier, this Honeycomb version also takes into account the popular seven-inch tablet form factor, which continues to be in abundance…

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Taiwanese trade publication DigiTimes quotes unnamed industry sources who claim Foxconn, the world’s largest contract manufacturer for gadgets, will produce a rumored Android-driven tablet from Amazon, said to sport a 10.1-inch display, with shipments to begin in 2012 at the earnest. Quanta Computer, another contract manufacturer from Asia, has already begun shipping a smaller seven-inch device to Amazon, the report notes:

Foxconn Electronics (Hon Hai Precision Industry) has reportedly landed orders for 10.1-inch tablet PCs from Amazon with shipments to begin in 2012, while Quanta Computer has begun shipping a 7-inch model to Amazon. Foxconn declined to comment on market speculation.

Foxconn of course is Apple’s long-time manufacturer so it comes as a surprise that Apple did not exercise its influence and billions to block rivals from tapping Foxconn’s manufacturing potentials. That’s not entirely unheard of, however…

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Android tablets Stories July 13, 2011

The Wall Street Journal is reporting Amazon will be selling a tablet by October, to compete with Apple’s iPad. While the details are sketchy as of now, WSJ is saying the tablet will have a 9-inch screen and will run Android. Oddly enough, the tablet will not feature a back camera. Lastly, Amazon won’t be building the tablet themselves, but will outsource to a manufacturer in Asia.

Amazon’s tablet will have a roughly nine-inch screen and will run on Google’s Android platform, said people familiar with the device. Unlike the iPad, it won’t have a camera, one of these people said. While the pricing and distribution of the device is unclear, the online retailer won’t design the tablet itself. It also is outsourcing production to an Asian manufacturer, the people said. One of the people said the company is working on another model, with Amazon’s own design, that could be released next year.

There will also be two eReaders before Christmas, one touch and one at a significantly reduced cost. Along with the tablet in October, there is word that we can be seeing another tablet designed by Amazon themselves in 2012. expand full story

Android tablets Stories July 12, 2011

Sony’s inaugural Android tablet, the S1, was caught in the wild ten days ago and today Sony gets semi-official with a possible pre-order date for the UK set to Thursday, September 1, This is my next has learned.

We’ve just seen documents indicating that Sony Centre stores in the UK will be taking S1 pre-orders starting September 1st. That’s just a little later than the late-August pre-order date we’d previously heard, but nothing too major – and Sony will still be among the first to ship a themed and skinned Honeycomb tablet, which we suppose is something of an accomplishment.

No pricing information was released at press time. The Japanese consumer electronics giant will apparently work closely with the preferred retailers to educate them about the benefits of the S1. The September 1 launch is just a month and half away and we are expecting the S1 to hit the US shores shortly thereafter.

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Amazon, the king of sweet deals, is running an interesting promotion designed to boost both sales of Android phones on their site and app downloads through its Appstore for Android. You can now get any Android smartphone or tablet sold through their site between July 11 and through October 11 and the company will put a $15 credit into your account that can be redeemed against app purchases on the Amazon Appstore for Android. You can also buy music on the Amazon MP3 store and e-books on the Kindle Store, if you want.

The credit will be in your account once your Android phone ships, with the expiry date set to November 12. More about the terms of this promotion here. Amazon Wireless offers a decent selection of phones, including the latest models such as HTC’s Thunderbolt 4G, LG’s Revolution and Motorola’s Droid X2. The $15 credit is split between the three stores, with each getting a $5 credit. This should be enough to buy you a cheap or discounted Kindle book, a couple of 99-cent games or apps and a few songs or even a whole album.

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Android tablets Stories July 6, 2011

On Monday, 9to5Google told you about some of the new features of the forthcoming software update for Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet. Following-up, Samsung yesterday released a twelve-minute promotional footage laying out the new stuff in greater detail. If you don’t have the time to sit through the entire clip, here’s what you need to know. First, you’ll notice subtle user interface tweaks that streamline the user experience and tone down a bit Honeycomb’s appearance with the larger and easier-to-grasp pictograms for the back, menu and home buttons. The calendar app has gotten a face-lift and the clock app also sports a cleaner look with crisper fonts.

The biggie is the resizeable widget capability, courtesy of Honeycomb 3.1). You can now resize clock, calendar, weather and picture widgets, which is nice. Samsung has built on top of stock Honeycomb 3.1 experience with custom apps – such as their own contact manager – plus a new version of TouchWiz with Quick Panel access to device settings, wireless and cellular networks, brightness and volume adjustments and so forth. You can also invoke a pull-up gesture from the bottom of the screen to display a list of the commonly used apps. You can also run some apps in multiple windows, usually the ones that don’t require the whole screen, which is a first for Android. Liliputing has the full breakdown of other interesting tidbits and nice-to-haves.

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Android tablets Stories July 5, 2011

Early adopters that bought into the tablet craze by picking up a Samsung Galaxy Tab as then the only viable iPad alternative will be delighted to know that carrier Sprint has begun pushing the Android 2.3 Gingerbread software update over-the-air. Their gadget girl Michelle Leff boasted on Twitter that Sprint is the first carrier to roll out Gingerbread for the Samsung Galaxy Tab. The new firmware brings HID Bluetooth and it updates the device’s baseband software to version S:P100.08 S.EF17 (build GINGERBREAD.EF17).

As you know, Gingerbread is technically a phone operating system. Google was strongly discouraging vendors from building tablet products until Honeycomb arrived. Samsung, of course, didn’t listen. As the iPad had taken everyone by surprise, the Korean gadget maker went on to launch the Galaxy Tab in September of last year. Despite Steve Jobs’ claims that the seven-inch tablets will be dead on arrival because users would need to sandpaper their fingers down to hit the tiny on-screen controls, the form factor has actually been quite compelling, at least among the Android community.

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Android tablets Stories June 30, 2011

Amazon Android logo mockup: BGR

The venerable Amazon tablet has inched one step closer to reality with the news that the company has begun sourcing parts for a rumored tablet. According to DigiTimes, a Taiwanese trade publication, Amazon is hoping to ship some two million units in September, in time for the holiday shopping season:

Amazon reportedly has held talks with TPK Holdings, Wintek, HannStar Display and J Touch for the supply of touch panels, indicated the sources, noting that Amazon targets to ship four million tablet PCs before the end of 2011.

However, Apple is pressuring the supply chain considerably. The Cupertino, California company reportedly plans to ramp up iPad 2 manufacturing to twelve million iPad 2 units for the third quarter, up from an estimated 6-7 million units in the second quarter and the 4.9 million iPads Apple shipped during the first quarter. Because of this, the Amazon tablet could be facing serious constraints, the report notes.

The story corroborates a previous report from the same publication calling for a September-August launch. The rumor-mill talk is that the online retail giant will introduce a plethora of Android-driven mobile devices, possibly even a smartphone. Amazon’s boss Jeff Bezos wouldn’t reveal anything beyond dropping hints and teasing us to “stay tuned”.

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Android tablets Stories June 22, 2011

Amazon, the well-versed vendor of vertically integrated wireless devices, is on the verge of unveiling a tablet

We’ve heard rumors that Amazon is planning multiple mobile devices and their chief Jeff Bezos teased us to “stay tuned” for a tablet, but the actual release date of their first iPad killer has been anyone’s guess. According to DigiTimes, a pretty reliable Taiwanese publication, the online retailer is gearing up to launch their inaugural Android slate some time in the August-September time frame.

Amazon is poised to step into tablet PCs and will launch models as soon as August-September, with targeted global sales of four million units for 2011, according to Taiwan-based component makers. The timing of launch is to meet the peak sales period prior to Thanksgiving in the US and the year-end holidays in the US and Europe, the sources pointed out.

Four million units is a pretty aggressive target for about four months worth of sales, however…

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Android tablets Stories June 21, 2011

Samsung has taken the wraps off of a lineup of accessories designed for its Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet. Offered online at samsung.com, some are available now while others are slated for a mid-summer arrival. If you plan on accessorizing, there will be no shortage of choices ranging from standard protective cases and docking and charging stations to multimedia and USB adapters, digital frames and more. Of course, you’ll need a Galaxy Tab 10.1 to boot with and Sprint just announced that sales are beginning this Friday, starting at $499 Full press release below.

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Android tablets Stories June 20, 2011

Huawei launched at Singapore’s CommunicAsia show a seven-inch tablet dubbed MediaPad that the company says is the first to utilize Android Honeycomb 3.2, which they claim is the same as Honeycomb 3.1 sans the added support for the seven-inch form factor. That doesn’t make sense to us and is probably just a marketing gimmick, but the device itself looks interesting.

They’ve got a 217 pixels-per-inch IPS capacitive touchscreen on that thing, a dual-core 1.2GHz processor from Qualcomm, forward-facing 1.3-megapixel camera for video calls, a five-megapixel camera on the back, a six-hour battery, 802.11n wireless and HSPA+ 3G cellular support (both are included as there’s no WiFi-only version), a Bluetooth module, video output via HDMI and 8GB of internal storage plus a microSD card slot.

With profile measuring at 10.5 millimeter, the MediaPad ain’t the thinnest thing to lug around (for comparison, the Galaxy Tab is 8.6 millimeter). The device should hit US shores in the third quarter of this year. They promised more details later today so watch this space. Full press release and another press shot included below. via Engadget

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Android tablets Stories June 16, 2011

Whether you just wanna stay in touch with your folks while on that Afghanistan mission, check your email after the lunch on a construction site or post statuses about the perks of working your tail off on an oil platform, Panasonic has you covered with this rugged tablet which has obviously taken clues from their brand of durable notebooks.

They sure call it the Toughbook for a reason: The rigid, strong device is designed to operate smoothly and reliably in extreme conditions. Featuring front and back cameras, the Toughbook has a 10.1-inch high-brightness display which is easily readable under direct sunlight thanks to a special matte coating. That’s not all…

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Android tablets Stories June 14, 2011

As of yesterday, Toshiba’s 10-inch Android tablet dubbed the Thrive is available for pre-order from the online Toshiba store and Office Depot, starting at $430 for the entry-level eight gigabyte version. The 16GB and 32GB versions will set you back $450 and $570, respectively.

As we previously informed you, the Thrive runs stock Android Honeycomb 3.1 software and has full-sized USB and HDMI ports allowing you to attach a plethora of USB-compatible peripherals, from thumb drives, mice and keyboard to printers, digital cameras and camcorders. Other features include a microSD card slot, a swappable battery and slim profile measuring just 0.66 inches. [vodpod id=Video.10981375&w=425&h=350&fv=]

Android tablets Stories June 2, 2011

This is my next caught up with Toshiba officials, learning their anticipated Android-driven tablet will hit pre-orders beginning next week. Dubbed the Thrive, it runs Honeycomb 3.1 from the get-go. As a result, expect compatibility with mice, keyboards, memory sticks and other USB peripherals from day one because Honeycomb 3.1 is the first Android version that acts as a USB host. Let’s not forget a built-in SDcard port for easy media transfer from your digital cameras and camcorders. In addition to full-sized USB and HDMI ports, the Thrive also packs in – and road warriors will appreciate this – a swappable battery. A couple more perks before we get to the downer…

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Android tablets Stories May 31, 2011

So Intel has showcased six Honeycomb tablets at the Computex show, all of them engineered around the company’s latest 32-nanometer silicon code-named Medfield, the chip maker’s first system-on-a-chip engineered specifically for tablets and smartphones. Unsurprisingly, the demos fell on deaf ears with the veteran journalists who have seen it all.

Sean Moloney, Intel’s new president for China, flashed six Honeycomb 3.0 tablets and a smartphone during his opening keynote. He said reference designs for Medfield tablets and smartphones include both Android and ill-fated Meego software that Intel and Nokia co-developed for high-end mobile gear.

Intel has been trying for years to penetrate the potent mobile market where ARM-based processors designed by Nvidia, Texas Instruments, Apple and others woe device makers. Be that as it may, we don’t see Intel’s latest technology competing effectively with market incumbents – neither this nor next year. Why?

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Android tablets Stories May 30, 2011

For all the talk about the graphical prowess of so-called supertablets coming later this year with Nvidia’s Tegra 3 chip inside, we’ll have to do for the time being with the old-fashioned Tegra 2 devices. That may not be such a bad deal, because Nvidia’s dual-core Tegra 2 is a capable piece of silicon that can produce some remarkable visuals.

TouchArcade pointed at Shadowgun, a Madfinger-produced game for Android devices that takes full advantage of the Tegra 2 chip, courtesy of the Unity engine. The video you see above shows console-quality graphics running natively on a Tegra 2-based Android tablet. And yes, Apple fans, it’s coming to the iPad/iPhone near you as well. Another in-game video follows below.

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Joining the Computex tablet party this morning is Viewsonic which announced the ViewPad 10Pro, its newest ten-inch tablet powered by a 1.5GHz Intel Oak Trail Z670 processor that can run Android 2.2 alongside Windows 7 Pro. This feature is enabled with the Bluestacks virtualization software which comes preloaded on the device. Blustacks enables you to run Android software within Windows, without the need for rebooting. Note that the ViewPad 10Pro isn’t a dual-boot tablet as some media outlets incorrectly reported.

We’re not entirely convinced this is what people need. There’s also the question of battery life because virtualization comes at a price and Oak Trail processors aren’t known for their power savviness either. Official specs claim 4.5 hours of 1080p video playback, which is definitely on the low end. Other features include 32GB of storage, a capacitive display, HDMI video output, 3G HSPA+ cellular connectivity, front and back cameras and DLNA support. It weighs in at just 380 gram. Full press release below…

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Android tablets Stories May 20, 2011

Acer is looking forward to shipping a million Honeycomb-driven Iconia Tab slates in the second quarter of this year, sources told Taiwanese trade publication DigiTimes Friday.

Acer has been taking delivery of Iconia tablet PCs eagerly from its production partners with the company’s global shipments of tablet PCs likely to reach one million units in the second quarter, according to sources in the upstream supply chain.

The sources back this claim by pointing out surging revenues at Acer’s touch sensor suppliers Cando and Sintek Photronics.

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