A month has passed since I started using Nexus 10, Google's first 10.1-inch tablet, which Samsung manufactures. iPad is reason for the delay writing this review. I bought the first three generation models and sold each within two months. The appeal didn't last, in part because of the user interface's long-term limited utility. So Nexus 10 faced resistance before I opened the box and for another, compelling reason: I was (and still am) hugely satisfied with sibling Nexus 7, which form factor and feel in the hand hugely appeal. After a month of testing, just to make sure, I don't plan on selling the larger tablet; its immediate fate won't be that of iPad 1, 2 or 3.
I definitely recommend Nexus 10 to anyone considering a tablet this year in the $400-$500 range. Nexus 7 ($200-$300) is a better option for the budget conscious -- or even Kindle Fire HD ($300-$600). I don't recommend iPad 4 or mini. They cost too much ($329-$829) for the benefits, and iOS has fallen behind Google and Microsoft operating systems. My experience with Surface RT is limited, but the tablet makes a great first impression such that it's worth considering -- and easily over Apple's larger tablet.
If you're a heavy Google user, every day is like Christmas -- well, in 2012. Not a day goes by that the company doesn't release something new. Updates are relentless, with products in continual states of improvement. Today's touted 18 24 Google+ enhancements are examples. Editor's note: Hours after we posted, Google changed the number from 18 to 24. The approach is philosophical and corporate cultural and defies traditional software development cycles Apple, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle and others adopted long ago. The relentless releases is for stuff Google mostly gives away for free. Now why is that?
Years ago, I wrote several seething stories about perpetual Google betas (Gmail was 5 years, right?) and Microsoft somewhat mimicking the approach. (I can't find the stories this morning. If you can, please link in comments.) The search giant's work was never done, while competitors rolled major enhancements together made available all at once on long lead cycles (Hey, three years separate Windows 7 and 8 launches). Microsoft chooses the big blockbuster movie approach, which predicates a work largely done -- a story completely told. Google is the serialist, telling an ongoing story in a quick succession of releases. Which works better? You tell me.
Just weeks after I wrote a column saying Apple will dump Intel and make Macintosh computers with its own ARM-based processors, along comes a Wall Street analyst saying no, Intel will take over from Samsung making the Apple-designed iPhone and iPod chips and Apple will even switch to x86 silicon for future iPads. Well, who is correct?
Maybe both, maybe neither, but here’s what I think is happening.
US consumers love to use cloud-connected mobile devices to enhance their shopping experience -- surely something more than a few of you do now that holidays are here. Perhaps least surprising is the number of Americans using smartphones to find local stores -- 78 percent, says Nielsen. That's good news for Google Now, standard browser search services or even Apple's Siri. Sixty-three percent of shoppers check prices in the store. Hey, I do that all the time. Place orders, too. Can you say Amazon?
More Americans use tablets to research items than smartphones (68 percent to 61 percent) or to read reviews of recent or future purchases (53 percent to 45 percent). Forty-eight percent of tablet owners purchase digital items and 43 percent physical goods from their devices. Mea culpa, I do both.
The iPad's flagship newspaper is finished. Today News Corp. promised what some of us in the media long hoped for. Big boss Rupert Murdoch will take The Daily out back of the barn and shoot it in the head on December 15, putting the godawful digital rag, its editors and the few readers out of their misery. Thus ends the iPad's big, publishing experiment. In ruins.
What a mess it is, too. News Corp. spent $30 million just to launch The Daily, which debuted in February 2011 on iPad. Apple joined the revelry that made the then less-than-year-old device seemingly legitimate -- a truly compelling platform for digital publishing. But News Corp's. digital newspaper stumbled right at the start. Early users complained about constant crashes and slow updates. The Daily promised ongoing content updates to the app, but they proved to be too much -- even after new versions released. Fundamentally, however, The Daily's failure is about editorial content.
Another Thanksgiving arrives here in the United States, and some people consider what they have to be grateful for. I celebrate by talking turkey, not just eating it, about the companies I cover. It's tradition, going back to 2006, that I present the things Microsoft should be grateful for.
Last year, 11 items made the list, keeping with the 2011 theme. For 2012, I reduce the list to eight; my hat tip of respect to Windows 8, which launched nearly a month ago. There are many more things Microsoft could be grateful for, but I chose some that might not readily come to mind. The list goes from least to most important.
Two days ago, Paul Otellini resigned his position as CEO of Intel. Analysts and pundits weigh-in on the matter, generally attributing Otellini’s failure to Intel’s late and flawed effort to gain traction in the mobile processor space. While I tend to agree with this assessment, it doesn’t go far enough to explain Otellini’s fall, which is not only his fault but also the fault of Intel’s board of directors. Yes, Otellini was forced out by the board, but the better action would have been for the board to have fired itself, too.
If there was a single event that triggered this end to Otellini’s tenure at Intel I’m guessing it is Apple’s decision to abandon Intel chips for its desktop computers. There has been no such announcement but Apple has sent signals to the market and the company doesn’t send signals for fun. The question isn’t if Apple will drop Intel but when and the way product design changes are made the when is not this Christmas but next.
Dell earnings announcement set off some concerns that the PC industry may not recover and as a result some are predicting Windows 8 sales may not be quite satisfying to Microsoft. Could the software giant have seen this coming a mile away?
A mobile future means that traditional PC hardware like laptops and ultrabooks will yield sales to a new generation of PC form factors like hybrids and tablets that are highly mobile, yet just as capable as laptops and ultrabooks, tablets like the Surface. Microsoft knew mobile was the future and prepped for it, here’s why.
In the last few weeks we’ve been bombarded with a series of really important new hardware or software announcements. Take your pick: iPad mini, Nexus 4 and Surface among many, many, many more. Commentary is relentless from so-called official pundits and overly excited users --what in the days of paper would have deforested an area of the planet the size of Brazil.
You know what? None of it really matters. For all the noise about what these multi-billion dollar companies make, none of them has produced anything really new. We’ve seen no paradigm shifts. No Big Ideas. Nothing that will really change our lives in any way at all. It’s all been like putting racing wheels on the family car. Looks great, but doesn’t actually achieve anything real. Absolutely, our daily lives in the West have changed in extraordinary ways by this technology as compared to, say, 1990. But not 2012. Has the tide reached its high point? Does IT innovation really matter any more?
I’ve been thinking about getting a new tablet for a while. Although there’s nothing physically wrong with my iPad 2, I’ve been itching for a bit of new tech in my life and there are some truly excellent choices available this year, including the newer "new" iPad, the iPad mini, Microsoft Surface, and the Google Nexus 7 and Nexus 10. All of which are definitely worth considering.
A friend let me borrow his Nexus 7 for a week, during which time I realized a small tablet was not for me, so that also ruled out the iPad mini. The Nexus 10 looked appealing, and so was on my shortlist. Microsoft Surface I discounted because even though I now use Windows 8 daily, I still don’t really like it and the current lack of great apps for Surface is a bit of a deal breaker. Maybe in the future…
Symantec asked hundreds of its experts for their thoughts and opinions on what the biggest security threats will be next year -- assuming we all survive the Mayan apocalypse on December 21, of course -- and boiled down the results into five predictions.
The first threat to make the list is cyber-conflict, which Symantec sees becoming the norm. "Conflicts between nations, organizations, and individuals will play a key role in the cyber world", it says, envisioning a lot of sabre rattling, and countries and hacktivist groups using cyber-tactics to make a point and "send a message".
That was fast, if it ever was. Don't blink or the so-called PC era will pass you by. For years, I've called it the cloud-connected device era because of the deeper meaning: Context. But more appropriately, the new epoch is contextual computing, which really extends a transition underway since the World Wide Web opened to the masses about 20 years ago. During the two earlier computing eras, mainframes and PCs, location defined the user. During the contextual computing era, the user defines location. If you listen to analysts obsessed with selling services to enterprises or companies like Apple, post-PC is all about devices. It's anything but.
Context is everything today. I started writing about the concept circa 2004, borrowing from my boss of the day -- Michael Gartenberg. The concept is simple: People are satisfied with what they've got on hand. In context of the airport, a hand-held game console is good enough, while at home the person prefers Xbox and big-screen PC. But because of the cloud connected to an increasing number of mobile devices, context is a much bigger, broader and badder technology trend.
Searching through my old Microsoft Watch posts for one thing, I found another -- my Sept. 23, 2008 news analysis "How Android hurts Microsoft". I wanted to find some of my past posts about contextual computing, and you can read more about that soon. For today, this story uses the lens of the past to look at the present.
I take lots of flake from commenters, whether directly on posts or blogged by others elsewhere, about my stories. Many accuse me of idiot perspective and being clueless. But often my seemingly brash analyses at the time, peering into future implications, are generally right. If you look at the totality of my writing, there is consistency of thinking that rightly anticipates trends. Abrasive writing style, provocative headlines and forceful argument puts off some people, especially those who don't like change or embracing new ideas. Occasionally I write seemingly contradictory perspectives, trying to look a things dimensionally rather than flatly. The Microsoft Watch post is one example of many that demonstrates what I mean.
Yesterday, when reporting about Nexus 7 32GB showing up on Office Depot shelves, I asked: "Why wait?" Google may have cancelled today's Android event because of Hurricane Sandy, but there are many good reasons to announce anyway -- and stealing thunder from Windows Phone 8's launch is one of them.
Google went ahead, today announcing the long rumored Nexus 4 smartphone, Nexus 10 tablet and Android 4.2. It's no Key Lime Pie but more Jelly Bean. Make no mistake, despite the point-one update and nomenclature, this is a big upgrade.
Just in case you were thinking it was all about the iPad mini and Surface tablets at the moment, along comes Google with a new Nexus range. The company had planned to make a big announcement in New York today, stealing some of the thunder from Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 launch, but Hurricane Sandy decided to put the kibosh on that (how ironic), so instead the search giant has had to make do with a blog post instead.
There are actually three Nexus devices being announced today, the Nexus 4 smartphone, the new Nexus 7 tablet (which my colleague Joe Wilcox talked about here) and the bigger Nexus 10 -- Google’s 10.1-inch answer to the Apple iPad.