Jun 6 2010

Microsoft Introduces Windows Embedded Compact 7 for Tablet Devices

The title pretty much says it all.  Under pressure from iPad and Android tablet competition, Microsoft has recently launched a new version of the Windows 7 operating system software specifically for slate and tablet devices.  We know that the new OS will be called Windows Embedded Compact 7, but other than that, there are not many other details that are known.  It’ll essentially be a compartmentalized version of the Windows 7 OS that can be embedded at the hardware level.

There were several prototype devices running on Microsoft’s new tablet OS at Computex 2010, so its potential developments into a full-fledged tablet OS should be pretty interesting.  We’ll be sure to keep you posted on any developments we hear about.

Via JKOnTheRun.

Jun 1 2010

Asus Unveils iPad Competitor

Will it be the next “iPad killer”? I doubt it, but it still seems like a decent tablet.

The device in question is the Asus Eee Pad EP121, a tablet computer that, according to the company, is “a full-featured slate computer that serves as a multimedia player, e-reader, compact PC and Internet device.” It was unveiled at Computex 2010 in Taipei and has a 12-inch touchscreen, Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium, and an Intel Core 2 Duo processor. Asus has said that the device is able to run many applications at once, which the iPad cannot do.

Asus also revealed another new device, the Asus Eee 101TC, which is a thinner and lighter device that runs Windows 7 Embedded. Asus’ decision to use Windows on its tablets is probably going to help Microsoft maintain a presence in the still-young tablet market. HP was also going to use Windows in its tablet until its acquisition of Palm.

Via InformationWeek, image via CNET.

Jun 1 2010

Intel Executive Forecasts His Company’s Direction

Intel employee David Perlmutter, the executive vice president and co-general manager of the architecture group, has recently spoken about his company’s future direction.

Perlmutter says that the computer market is continuing to grow, as are data centers and cloud computing. Due to the increasing amount of devices people will own, Intel will also grow because it makes a lot of the chips for these devices. Many of the devices at the Computex trade show in Taipei (which Perlmutter attended) are going to be based on Intel’s Atom processor.

Perlmutter also added that in 2011, most of Intel’s revenue will come from chips in personal computers and data centers. The company also plans to ship one billion chips within five years. Though it sounds like an almost unachievable goal, Intel plans to ship over 350 million units in 2010 and hopes to double that number in 2011.

Perlmutter says his company is at least a year ahead of some other chip companies and all in all, he sees a rosy future for Intel.

Via The Wall Street Journal, image via Intel.

May 31 2010

Apple Sells Two Millionth iPad

Wow. The iPad has turned out to be way more successful than I expected it to be. Apple has announced today that it has sold its two millionth iPad. Keep in mind that this milestone comes less than a month after the sale of the one millionth iPad and less than sixty days after the initial release of the iPad on April 3.

The iPad was released internationally and, according to Steve Jobs in a press release, “customers around the world are experiencing the magic of iPad, and seem to be loving it as much as we do.”

Apple has also announced that the App Store now has over 5,000 native iPad apps and over 200,000 apps total. Though Apple has not revealed specific sale figures for each of the iPad models or the number of iPads sold in specific countries, avid Apple watchers are hoping for such statistics at the Worldwide Developers Conference, coming up next month.

Via PC World, image via Apple.

May 31 2010

Netbooks Vs. Tablets

For computer users who want a small, portable device, there exist two options: netbooks and tablets. But how does one decide between the two devices? According to technology analyst Tim Bajarin, the main difference lies in what he calls content consumption vs. content creation. The terms are self-explanatory: content consumption is looking at and absorbing others’ content, while content creation is the making of content oneself.

Content creation takes up 25 percent of the time people spend on computers. The other three quarters of the time is spent consuming content. This distinction is important to make because netbooks (and laptops) are good for content creation, but tablets are good for content consumption.

Ultimately, a user must assess his or her own needs when deciding between a netbook or a tablet. If someone already owns a laptop, a tablet can be a nice supplement for content consumption. Indeed, tablets are optimized for content consumption, much more so than laptops or netbooks. But for users who need to create a lot of content, a netbook is probably a better choice than a tablet.

Via PC Magazine.

May 28 2010

Motorola May Introduce Android Tablet

Motorola may be in the process of designing a tablet that will run Google’s Android operating system, says a company executive. The executive was answering questions at a conference when the subject came up. He also revealed that Motorola is focusing heavily on Android. The potential device, according to the executive, would be about 7 to 10 inches and would be intended to supplement a user’s TV experience.

This rumor has come about at the same time as another rumor concerning Android devices made by Motorola. Motorola is allegedly working on two new high-end Droid phones that will be released sometime in July with Verizon as their carrier. There has been speculation that one of the phones has already been seen by the public in the form of a prototype found in a gym earlier this week.

Either way, this summer looks to be very interesting in terms of Android devices.

Via PC World, image via PC World.

May 27 2010

Marvell To Create $100 Tablet

Marvell Technologies has announced today that it will partner with the One Laptop Per Child foundation to create a $100 tablet, named the XO-3. The foundation achieved great success with the XO-1 laptop computer for children in developing countries.

More details about the XO-3 have emerged. It will have a power rating of 1 watt per hour, a multilingual, multitouch screen keyboard, WiFi, high quality video, and Flash 10 Internet. It will be based on an ARM processor, most likely the Marvell Armada 610, and run Google’s Android OS.

According to OLPC founder Nicholas Negroponte, the XO-3 will eventually have an adaptable screen to allow for viewing in either sunlight or inside. The tablet will allegedly be 10.8 millimeters thick, which rivals the iPad.

The tablet is planned to be shown at the Consumer Electronics Show in January of 2011.

Via CNET, image via OLPC.

May 27 2010

Apple Releases iPad in Europe

Starting on Friday, the iPad will be turned loose to countries other than the United States. Apple is releasing it in the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, and Germany on Friday and in Austria, Belgium, Ireland, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands sometime in July. Major European carriers that will offer service for the iPad have already announced their data plans.

A researcher with Gartner Inc. has said that the iPad is extremely unique and is in a category of its own when it comes to mobile products. Though other companies are planning to manufacture tablets, at this point the iPad really does not have a rival. Gartner has forecasted that the iPad will count for the majority of sales of touchscreen tablet products this year.

In the UK, computer retailer DSG has exclusive rights to sell the iPad for sixty days. In France, there is no one chain of stores with exclusivity.

Via The Wall Street Journal, image via Apple.

May 25 2010

Dell Streak Is More a Smartphone than a Tablet

Dell is a very strange company: it has just unveiled a device that it is calling a tablet and is meant to compete with Apple’s iPad. There’s only one problem: this device, called the Streak, looks a lot more like a smartphone than a tablet to me.

The Streak is Android-based and has a touchscreen about half the size of the iPad’s. It has a 1 GHz processor, 2 GB internal storage, up to 32 GB external SD storage, and a 5 megapixel camera. There’s nothing wrong with this device—it actually looks kind of cute—but by no stretch of the imagination would I consider it a tablet.

It is true that the iPad’s OS is a mobile OS and in some ways, the iPad may be more similar to a smartphone than a laptop. But there is a difference between tablets and smartphones, and the iPad is clearly a tablet, while the Streak is much more like a smartphone.

Android has great potential to compete with the iPad but only if it is used on devices that are actually tablets.

Via PC World, image via PC World.

May 25 2010

Yankee Stadium Bans iPad

An iPad user recently found out the hard way that iPads are not allowed into Yankee Stadium when she attempted to bring the device to a game but was told that iPads are included in the no laptop rule for Yankee Stadium’s security policy.

A sports blogger called the security department to confirm this and it is indeed true: iPads are banned from Yankee Stadium as a security threat. But even though the ban is kind of silly, the same blogger wondered why anyone would want to bring, much less use, an iPad at a baseball game. That is a good point: if you are going to the game, isn’t the whole point to watch it while you’re there?

Also, the chances of being able to go on the Internet on an iPad during a game are pretty much unlikely due to the sheer amount of people present. One thing is certain: with thousands of people on cell networks all at once, the 3G network will not work on an iPad.

Via Yahoo! Sports, image via BLS Illustration.

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May 20 2010

Russian President Uses an iPad

The iPad has some high-profile users

The Prime Minister of Norway made headlines when he was seen using an iPad while stranded in an airport due to a volcano eruption last month. Not to be outdone, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has acquired his own iPad, which he uses for reading e-books.

Speaking to students at Kiev State University in Ukraine earlier this week, he explained how he did not like e-books previously, but has started reading them with the help of an iPad. The Russian President has a reputation for being technologically savvy: he has been seen using an iPhone and a MacBook Pro and appears to accord more importance to technology than his predecessor Putin, who allegedly does not even use email (at least according to an interview published ten years ago).

Via CNews, image via CNews.

May 20 2010

Apple Opens International iPad App Store

In preparation for the international release of the iPad at the month, Apple is in the process of bringing the iPad App Store to customers outside of the United States. Previously, users had to download iPad apps through iTunes and then transfer them by sync, but with the changes, users will be able to browse and download apps from the iPad itself.

The iBooks application is still not available outside the US, though international users allegedly can use it by making a US iTunes account. Some analysts have said that there are some international readers with iPads.

Via USA News Week, image via Apple.

May 17 2010

ABI: Netbook Shipments Could Reach 58 Million in 2010

36 million units of netbooks were sold in 2009, and in 2010, market research firm ABI predicts that a whopping 58 million units could potentially be sold!  This increase in shipments is due to a multitude of reasons, such as the increased portability and convenience of netbooks and the impact that the downturn economy has had on people’s financial and budgeting agendas.

According to ABI Analyst, Jeff Orr, “We expect the netbook market to fragment according to different regional value propositions. Functionality will be added to mainstream netbook products while at the same time an entry-level netbook solution will grow, with the aim of targeting some large emerging markets (including China and India) where PC penetration is still quite low.”

In addition to the netbook market, ABI also foresees growth in the tablet market, currently led by Apple’s iPad.  The company is predicting that 8 million tablet-style netbooks (or just plain tablets) will be shipped in 2010.

Via eWeek.

May 12 2010

Verizon and Google Team Up For Tablet

Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam announced recently that his company and Google are going to work together to develop a tablet to compete with the iPad. McAdam did not mention very many details, so the tech blogosphere is bursting with questions.

The first question is why Google has not mentioned its involvement in the tablet. Verizon has spoken openly about it, but Google has not made a single public comment concerning the new device. Google’s silence has led some analysts to believe that Verizon has completely invented the tablet in order to get a better deal with Apple for the iPhone and iPad.

The next question is who would make the Verizon-Google tablet. It’s supposed to run Android OS, which would suggest either HTC or Motorola making it, as these two companies are the most prominent on Verizon’s network to use Android. Furthermore, how much would Verizon influence the tablet? Would it be locked into the Verizon App Store or would is be able to use Android’s marketplace? All these questions will hopefully answered later this week.

Via PC World, image via PC World.

May 9 2010

Rumor: HP May Release Tablet

Though HP has recently announced that it will not be releasing its iPad competitor, the Slate tablet, another rumor has surfaced concerning a new HP tablet.

The new rumored HP tablet would be called the HP Hurricane and it is scheduled for release in the third quarter of 2010. The problem with the Slate was its operating system: Windows 7 just is not a feasible option at this point. But the operating system would be the Hurricane’s strength: according to industry insiders, the Hurricane would have a WebOS.

One analyst was very excited about the possibility of the Hurricane tablet, saying that WebOS is an excellent choice for a tablet and could make the Hurricane a “killer device.”

The Slate was supposed to have run Windows 7, had an 8.9-inch touchscreen with a 1024 by 600 resolution, and been around $549. It also was supposed to have a 1.6 Ghz Atom processor and 1 GB RAM.

Via AfterDawn.

May 5 2010

Intel Releases Smartphone and Tablet Chip

Intel has announced on Tuesday that it is releasing a chip for smartphones and tablets that will hopefully open the door for Intel chips in the smartphone market. The chip, called Atom, has been primarily used in netbooks so far and has been a major hit.

The Atom chip differs from Intel’s PC processors in one major area: the Atom chip is not nearly as power-hungry. Standby time in phones with an Atom chip is supposed to be ten days, according to Intel.

The Atom chip also delivers impressive performance and is supposed to render web pages faster than other chips do. The Atom chip is also supposed to support different operating systems, including Intel’s Moblin, Nokia’s MeeGo, and Google’s Android. The first two operating systems mentioned are Linux-based.

If this new chip is as good as Intel’s other chips, the company should do very well indeed.

Via CNET, image via Intel.

Apr 14 2010

Apple Postpones International Launch of iPad

Apple has postponed the international release of the iPad due to the extreme demand in the United States for the tablet device. Apple exceeded its own internal expectations for iPad sales, selling more than 500,000 during the first week of release. That’s pretty impressive. Some companies have suggested that Apple may sell as many as 7.1 million iPads in 2010.

Though Apple will face many iPad competitors this year, I am willing to bet that most competing tablets will not enjoy the successful sales that the iPad has enjoyed so far. There is simply a huge demand for the iPad, which is probably partly due to the hype and intense speculation before its announcement and release, and the chic factor that comes with most Apple products.

Apps for the iPad have also enjoyed a huge success. According to Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO, on April 8 iPad users had downloaded 3.5 million iPad apps and 600,000 iBooks.

Via eWeek, image via Apple.

Apr 9 2010

Rumor: Apple Developing Smaller iPad

The iPad was just released less than a week ago and already there is speculation about Apple’s next iPad. According to a senior analyst at Digitimes Research, Apple is in the process of developing a smaller iPad, which would be released in early 2011.

The new, smaller iPad would allegedly be anywhere from five to seven inches and sell for about $300 or $400. The analyst based his prediction on information from “competent sources.”

The small iPad would be aimed at users who mainly would want to focus on reading and less on text input, meaning that this smaller iPad would basically be an e-reader with all the benefits of an iPad. The analyst also said that the HP Slate will not be any competition to the iPad because of its bad battery life.

I personally am doubtful of the idea of a smaller iPad because I fail to see the point of it. What could it offer that a regular iPad does not? Time will tell if the market is ready for such a device.

Via AfterDawn, image via Apple.

Apr 7 2010

iPad Expected to Decrease Netbook Sales

According to market research company DisplaySearch, the iPad and other tablets will be instrumental in causing a decrease in netbook sales this year.

The iPad will drive the tablet market, according to the report, allowing it to have dramatic gains. By contrast, the netbook market will decrease due to the appeal of the iPad and other tablets. Most of the growth will come from North America and Western Europe, mostly due to the iPad. The report predicts that Apple will sell five million iPads this year.

Netbooks will still continue to be appealing to customers, though, because of their relatively low prices. The average selling price of clamshell netbooks has dropped from $400 to a bit less than $300. The iPad is more expensive, starting at $499 and ranging past $800, depending on the specific model.

Apple’s profits from the iPad’s sales will also be helped by the App Store, which has been highly successful to date.

Via CNET.

Apr 4 2010

Apple’s iPad Will be a Big Hit

I know, I know: I called the iPad “disappointing” when Apple first announced it on January 27 of this year. Since then, I have changed my mind. The iPad has really grown on me.

Today was the release day for the iPad that has only WiFi capabilities (the version with 3G is expected to be released later this month). I went to my local Apple store to interact with this amazing new device firsthand. The store itself was packed (see the photo below). Many people were there picking up iPads that they had pre-ordered (the Apple store had iPads in their boxes stacked at the Genius Bar—see the above photo). Others were there hoping to buy iPads that were pre-ordered but not picked up. And of course, almost everybody in the store was clustered around the eight or so iPads put out for customers to use.

I wedged my way into the crowd and quickly found an open iPad (see the photo below). The thing that struck me the most was its size: I had been expecting it to be bigger and heavier. For iPhone and iPod Touch users, its interface is refreshingly familiar. It basically looks and feels like a large iPhone. It has a lock button at the top that functions like the iPhone’s lock button—it puts the iPad into sleep mode. There is a switch on the right side that locks the iPad into either portrait or landscape orientation (like the iPhone, it can detect in which orientation you are holding it).

The home button takes you to the home screen, which has different icons to tap and also a pretty wallpaper background that you can change in the settings. The iPad can do some very amazing things with photos, which can be synced over when you plug it into your computer. There is a feature called Picture Frame that allows an iPad in locked mode to display photos like a dynamic picture frame. The Photos app is also unique: when you are looking at different albums, you can pinch an album with two fingers to see what photos are contained in said album.

Speaking of apps, the iPad comes with apps that will be familiar to iPhone users, and some that are not. For example, Apple’s iWork suite of applications (Apple’s answer to Microsoft Office) has been revamped and is available for the iPad. You can create and edit documents on the iPad and email them through the Mail application. Another iPad-specific app is the iBooks app, which gives you access to the e-reader feature of the iPad. You can buy from the store or read already purchased book from your library. (By the way, turning the pages is completely amazing: you flick your finger to the right or left and the page turns.)

Accessing the Internet on the iPad is easy. You use the Safari browser, which is very much like the one on the iPhone. Websites display pretty decently in general, with the exception of Adobe Flash content. I went to the Russian President’s website and an entire section at the bottom did not display because the content was Flash. Rest assured that most websites do seem to display pretty decently. The one complaint I had about the iPad version of Safari was its lack of tabbed browsing. You have to open new windows instead of tabs and I feel that on a device the size of the iPad, tabbed browsing is a necessity.

All in all, the iPad is a very good tablet computer. It’s not for everyone but for users looking for a reliable, portable device with more features than the iPhone, it is a good choice. The version without 3G is handicapped by its need of a WiFi connection to have Internet access, so I would not consider buying one until the one with 3G is released. Apple may have created a revolution in technology yet again.

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