Like the idea of Apple TV but feel the hardware is a little expensive? Today Sky releases its Now TV Box to UK fans for the ultra-low price of £9.99. This is significantly cheaper than Apple's flagship streaming device, and even manages to undercut Google's Chromecast. With the price tag including not just the device itself, but also delivery, there's got to be a catch, right?
The WiFi streaming box provides access to on-demand content from the broadcasters such as Sky, BBC and Channel 5, including sports and movies. There's also the option of using apps such as Spotify and Facebook to transform a regular TV into a smart TV. So far, so couch potato.
According to YouGov's latest Tablet Tracker report there are more women owning tablets than men in the UK. The study says that in May, 52 percent of the country's touchscreen computers were in female hands, an increase of nine percent compared with the same time last year.
Over the same period, the share of tablets owned by men fell from 57 percent to 48 percent. There’s no equivalent report for female tablet ownership in the US, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see it following a similar trend. Tablets are ideal for women.
It's no secret that the PC market has slowly taken a turn for the worse. And, if we're to believe what research company IDC said in late-May, it's not going to get any better anytime soon, with shipments predicted to drop even further, by 7.8 percent this year. Furthermore, tablets are expected to out-ship PCs by 2015. Unquestionably, the future appears gloomy but, according to Gartner, the culprit is not the controversial Windows 8, as some pundits believe.
Gartner just released its latest report on the state of the PC market, which shows that Q2 2013 shipments -- which top 76 million units from all vendors, combined -- have declined by 10.9 percent compared to the same period, last year (when shipments exceeded the 85.32 million mark). "The sharp decline in the second quarter of 2013 was partly due to the shift in usage patterns away from notebooks to tablets, and partly because the PC market was exposed to inventory reductions in the channel due to the start of the transition to new Haswell-based products", says Gartner principal research analyst Isabelle Durand.
Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in! Only days after selling my Nexus 7 and preparing for a life without tablets, HP pulls me back by announcing the Slate 21. The HP Slate 21 is a tablet masquerading as a desktop -- a 21.5-inch touchscreen tablet with kickstand, keyboard and mouse. This unique all-in-one form factor has me very intrigued. However, this is not the first time we have seen Android being used in an original way. Just last week, Samsung announced the convertible franken-tablet ATIV Q.
While the Samsung ATIV Q is designed to merge Android and Windows, the HP Slate 21 is designed to put a dagger into the back of Windows. Make no mistake, this is a huge blow for Microsoft. While this isn’t HP’s first Android device, the Slate 21 is its first to directly compete with Microsoft on the desktop. Since HP is a close Microsoft partner, it will be interesting to see how their relationship will be affected.
Owning a tablet is a given nowadays; it seems like almost everyone either has one or wants one. However, deciding which tablet to buy is problematic -- how can a consumer choose which tablet operating system is best? Between iOS, Android and Windows 8 you really can’t go wrong -- all three tablet-friendly operating systems are mature and stable. However, Samsung is aiming to make your decision much easier. The electronics giant announces the ATIV Q which combines Android and true Windows 8 (not RT) on the same device. To quote R. Kelly and Jay-Z, "welcome to the best of both worlds".
According to Samsung, it is "addressing consumers' desire to access Android apps on a Windows-based PC, the ATIV Q allows users to experience both Windows 8 and Android (Jelly Bean 4.2.2) on the same device. Users will not only get access to Android apps via Google Play but also be able to transfer files, to share folders and files from Windows 8 to Android, truly marrying the mobile and PC experiences".
I use AVG AntiVirus Free to keep my PC clear of infections. Every so often the software pops up a little message warning me when one of my browsers is consuming too much memory, giving me the chance to restart the greedy program and free up resources. Just now it popped up a message telling me Firefox is using 1GB of RAM. Five minutes before that it notified me that Chrome, which I'm also running, was using 1GB as well.
If I fire up Task Manager and take a peek I see both of those memory hogs have nothing on Photoshop which is also running and has 30 x 12MB photos open, requiring it to use 2.6GB of RAM. I have 20 other programs on the go at the same time.
To celebrate the theatrical release of Star Trek Into Darkness, Taiwanese PC maker Acer partnered with Paramount Pictures to create a limited Star Trek themed edition of its Aspire R7 touchscreen notebook. Just 25 of these special R7’s were produced, none of which were made available to the general public.
A study by CAST in conjunction with Rackspace reveals that users of wearable technology -- such as the Nike+ FuelBand and Jawbone UP -- feel using such devices boost their intelligence levels. The study looks at residents of the UK and US, and finds the wearable tech users not only feel cleverer, but also more self-confident.
These are not the only benefits the study unearths. US participants were generally rather more impressed with the benefits of wearable technology -- 71 percent of American users felt their health and fitness had improved as a result of using such devices, compared to 63 percent of those in the UK. More than half (53 percent) of US users believe wearable tech helps to improve intelligence, compared to just 39 percent of UK users.
Today at Computex in Taiwan, Asus announced a lot of new products, including a new MeMO Pad HD 7 tablet.
The Android device is 10.8mm thick and weighs just 302g. It packs a 7-inch 1280 by 800 IPS display with 170-degree wide viewing angle. The device is powered by a Qualcomm quad-core processor, has 1GB of RAM, and features a 1.2 megapixel front facing camera and an optional 5 megapixel rear facing camera.
Earlier today at Computex 2013, Asus Chairman Jonney Shih revealed a new Transformer Pad Infinity. The refreshed Android tablet/notebook boasts a 10.1-inch screen offering a massive 2,560 by 1,600 resolution. That’s higher than the iPad 4’s 2048 by 1536 retina display.
The device is powered by a quad-core 1.9GHz Nvidia Tegra 4 processor, and comes with 2GB of RAM, and 32GB of internal storage. You can increase the available storage via the SD card slot built into the companion dock.
Few are those who still profess a bright future for PCs and, starting today, even fewer will. According to IDC's latest forecast, in 2013 the PC market is expected to take another dive with shipments dropping by 7.8 percent. This is triggered by a shift in computing needs as users look for more versatility and less raw power.
"As the market develops, usage patterns and devices are evolving", says IDC program vice president Loren Loverde. "Many users are realizing that everyday computing, such as accessing the Web, connecting to social media, sending emails, as well as using a variety of apps, doesn't require a lot of computing power or local storage". Naysayers, it's time to face the music -- the average user can get away with a tablet or smartphone to get the job done.
Cloud, cloud, cloud, cloud, cloud. This fairly innocuous word has become one that is bandied around with abandon, often with the misplaced notion that it adds an element of 'cool' that was not previously present. But is working in the cloud all it's cracked up to be? Is it necessary? Should you care about it?
You don't have to think back all that far to remember a time when simply being online seemed like a fairly alien concept -- never mind actually working online. When the concept of Active Desktop was added to Windows 9x the notion of staying online throughout the day just to see the desktop update with the latest weather forecast, news, stock prices or other data was unimaginable.
Four months after Sony unveiled the Xperia Tablet Z, the Japanese maker announced that the fondleslab is now finally available to purchase worldwide through online and brick and mortar stores. Despite the fact that the Xperia Tablet Z hits the shelves later than initially planned -- March 1 -- the company says that this hasn't affected consumer demand.
"Xperia Tablet Z has received an incredibly positive response since it was announced and this is demonstrated by the strong pre-orders the product has received", says Sony's Tomokazu Tajima. The tablet touts some attractive specifications, namely the IPX5/7 and IP5X ratings for waterproofing and dustproofing, respectively, the low weight of only 495 grams and the 6.9 mm thickness.
Computer giant Dell has seen its net profits fall by 79 percent to $130 million in the first quarter of this fiscal year. This highlights the shift in consumer demand away from traditional PCs towards tablets. The company reports a decline of 9 percent in PC sales although revenue from software, services and new technologies was up by 12 percent.
Commenting on the results chief financial officer Brian Gladden says, "We made progress in building our enterprise solutions capabilities in the first quarter and are confident in our strategy to be the leading provider of end-to-end scalable solutions. In addition, we have taken actions to improve our competitive position in key areas of the business, especially in end-user computing, and it has affected profitability".
With Google I/O in full swing, and Glass a hot topic of discussion these days, two companies have revealed plans to release apps for Google's new wearable computing system. Social network Twitter and note-taking giant Evernote are both on board with the intriguing futuristic gadget.
Evernote's Andrew Sinkov announces that the company is "excited to unveil a first look at the Evernote experience on Glass". Sinkove goes on to explain "our current implementation focuses on two actions. First, you’ll be able to quickly capture a photo or short video and send it to your Evernote account from the Google Glass sharing menu. Second, you can choose a note from Evernote Web and send it directly into the Glass Timeline so that you have it available right in your field of view when you need it".