On Thursday, Amazon announces that the Kindle Fire HD tablets, in 7-inch and 8.9-inch trim, are now available for pre-order through its website in more than 170 countries and regions worldwide. Previously, the US e-commerce company only offered the two devices in a lower number of markets.
"Kindle Fire HD is the number one best-selling item in the world for Amazon since its launch, and we're thrilled to make it available to even more customers around the globe today", says Amazon Kindle vice president Dave Limp. The two devices go on sale from June 13, with the price starting at $214 for the 7-inch Kindle Fire HD and $284 for its bigger brother, the 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HD (both with no special offers and sponsored screensavers).
I’m not a fan of the "Scroogled" campaign, because Microsoft is just attacking Google rather than focusing on selling its own products. It’s a negative campaign dressed up as consumer championing, and I don’t think it does the software giant any favours.
However, I do like the new Windows 8 commercial which is a clever attack on the Apple iPad (a device I own and love).
It may not be entirely what we hoped for, but today the NFL makes strides towards greeting the twenty-first century. Earlier we saw the big Xbox reveal which, among other things, reveals a partnership with the National Football League. The sport is the last holdout of major U.S. leagues to embrace the internet, but better late than never, I suppose.
Today's show in Redmond, Wash. features a short video-taped appearance by commissioner Roger Goodell to talk of the new features that Xbox One customers can expect. However, it is only half of the story. Later in the day, the Surface team announces that the NFL will also be available to customers of the Microsoft tablet.
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.
Little over four weeks ago, during an earnings conference call, departing Microsoft CFO Peter Klein revealed the software giant is working with OEMs on smaller and cheaper Windows tablets. The new fondleslabs are expected to be available in the coming months, but Acer decided to give itself a head start.
On its Finnish website, Acer unveiled the new Iconia W3 which is touted by the company as the first 8-inch Windows 8-based tablet. The device is powered by Intel's Atom Z2760 processor (codenamed "Clover Trail") and Graphics Media Accelerator 3650 GPU (Graphics Processing Unit). The Iconia W3 sports an 8-inch multitouch WXGA display and runs Windows 8 Pro.
Yesterday, French consumer electronics company Archos unveiled a new 8-inch Android tablet called Xenon 80. The fondleslab runs the first Jelly Bean iteration and will cost $199.99 -- which is in line with Google's Nexus 7 pricing -- once it arrives in stores next month.
The Xenon 80 features support for 3G cellular connectivity and is SIM-unlocked, meaning that it can be used with any mobile operator in the world (as long as the network runs on the 2100 MHz band). The hardware specifications reflect the budget-oriented approach of the tablet.
Today, alongside the Windows 8-based Split x2 which I detailed earlier, HP also announced the Slatebook x2 hybrid. The US maker touts it as "the first Android detachable device with the Nvidia Tegra 4 mobile processor". The SlateBook x2 shares some hardware and design traits with the ASUS Transformer tablet lineup.
The SlateBook x2 ships with the latest version of the green droid operating system available today, Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean, and sports a 10.1-inch touchscreen display with a resolution of 1920 by 1200. The device comes with 64 GB of internal storage. But the biggest highlight is the keyboard dock.
Yes, that's right, there is no typo. The Dell XPS 10, which runs Windows RT and came to market sporting a $499 price-tag, is now available for purchase at a very affordable $299.99. Clearly, the US computer manufacturer no longer has its eyes set on Apple's fourth-generation iPad, one of the most popular fondleslabs available today.
So what do you get for $299.99? For the money, the XPS 10 packs a 10.1-inch multitouch display with a resolution of 1366 by 768, a 1.5 GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor and 32 GB of internal storage. And, for just $50 more you can up the internal storage capacity to 64 GB.
If you live in the UK and are thinking of purchasing Microsoft’s Surface RT tablet, now is the time. Pick up one through the Microsoft Store or a participating retailer (which in terms of brick and mortar sellers means John Lewis) and you’ll get a Touch or Type Cover thrown in for free.
It’s a very good deal, as you’d be looking to pay around £100 if you were to buy a cover separately. You can pick up the 32GB tablet-only version of Surface for £399 at the moment.
On Wednesday, US manufacturer HP unveiled a new Windows 8-based hybrid dubbed the Split x2. The company touts the device as being able to deliver the best of both worlds -- works as a tablet and doubles as an ultraportable with the keyboard dock.
The Split x2 packs a 13.3-inch HD display and is powered by a third generation Intel Core processor (known under the "Ivy Bridge" codename). The device comes with 128 GB of internal storage. Users can also choose to add a 500 GB HDD inside the keyboard dock, which brings the tally up to 628 GB.
After many nightlies and a couple of stable monthly builds, the team of developers behind CyanogenMod, one of the most popular custom green droid distributions, announced the first release candidate for CyanogenMod 10.1. The latest stable build is based on Android 4.2 and arrives just under six months after Google rolled out the second Jelly Bean iteration.
"The 10.1 branch is quickly approaching the point where a 'final' build is due", says the team of developers responsible for the project. "This will be one of (if not the last) milestone releases before a 10.1.0 is pushed out. These builds will appear as they complete the build process".
Mother's Day is fast approaching and, naturally, Amazon would like to sell you a holiday gift. The online retailer would really like you to purchase a Kindle Fire HD tablet, and it is making sure that this purchase will hurt your wallet just a bit less than it normally would. Amazon now places the Kindle Fire HD on its site for a temporarily discounted price.
For this coming Mother's Day, Amazon knocks $20 off the usual $199 price tag for the Kindle Fire HD 16 GB model. This is the 7-inch screen tablet with 1280 x 800 resolution (720p), Dolby audio, WiFi and 1.2 Ghz dual-core processor. The retailer also throws in some free cloud storage for mom to keep those family pictures.
The white box battle is on, and laptops are losers. The big trend in tablets isn't iPad, contrary to public convention, but non-big-brand slates, which account for one-third of shipments, according to NPD DisplaySearch. Their success is good for Android, bad for Apple and worse for notebooks.
The early DOS/Windows PC market succeeded largely because of clones (like those from Compaq) and white label/box manufacturers and build-your-own enthusiasts. BYO isn't a tablet trend, but white box is, and its greatest impact is growth markets PC manufacturers count on -- or at least did.
Apple's supremacy as tablet market leader may be even shorter lived than previous analyst forecasts suggest. Already, Android topples iOS share, and there is simple catalyst: White-box slates accounted for one-third of shipments last year -- a level NPD DisplaySearch predicts will continue in 2013 and beyond.
Android is the big beneficiary of the trend. In third quarter 2012, shipments exceeded iOS models, according to IDC. During first quarter this year, green-robot slates took 56.5 percent market share. At this pace, contrary to analyst predictions just a year ago, Android does to iOS in tablets what it did in smartphones -- take early leadership away from Apple.
This week IDC released tablet market estimates and the figures are quite a bit off from my original Q1 estimate, but eerily similar to my revised estimate based on NPD's figures. Android tablets are poised to permanently steal the tablet market crown from the iPad, while Windows tablets continue to struggle. Let's take a deeper look at the figures.
Android now leads the tablet market, with a share of 56.5 percent, while the iPad's share falls below 40 percent. Windows tablets are still struggling, with a share below 4 percent and with struggling shipment figures, sell-through is always questionable.