It's the first day of IFA2014 in Berlin, and Lenovo is getting all touchy feely. Rather than waiting until later in the consumer trade show, Lenovo has opted to display all of its wares right from that start by taking the wraps off three new devices, two of which feature touchscreens. As one of the devices is an Android powered tablet, this one is a given, but there's also a touchscreen laptop, and high-powered gaming rig to splash your hard-earned cash on. Priced at just $199, you may well be tempted to throw your money at the 8-inch TAB S8 with its sleek good looks and pretty impressive specs.
The display is a 1920 x 1200 affair boasting an ultra-thin bezel, and the whole unit weighs in at 299g. By way of illustrating the tablet's svelte dimensions, Lenovo has chosen to liken its thinness to that of a "standard pencil". Powered by a quad-core Intel Atom Z3745 processor running at up to 1.86GHz, the tablet also packs 2GB RAM, and 16GB of storage -- sadly not complemented with a microSD slot. The 4290mAh offers a claimed run time of up to seven hours and there are 1.6MP and 8MP cameras to take care of photos and videos. KitKat 4.4 comes pre-installed and there's an LTE option.
It may have been something of an unknown quantity for years now. Just why was a particular app denied entry to the App Store? Now Apple -- the company so famed for its secrecy -- has finally laid its cards on the table and revealed the most common reasons apps are rejected. Taking a snapshot from the last week of August, the new Common App Rejections page on Apple's Developer site details the top ten problems that prevent apps from making their way to the App Store. Accounting for more than a quarter of rejections (14 and 8 percent respectively) are apps that do not have enough information and those that exhibit bugs.
Six percent of rejected apps fell foul of terms in the Developer Program License Agreement -- although no further breakdown is given -- and the same percentage of titles were given the thumbs down for not meeting Apple's exacting standards. "Apple and our customers place a high value on simple, refined, creative, well thought through interfaces. They take more work but are worth it. Apple sets a high bar. If your user interface is complex or less than very good, it may be rejected". Apps that are either misleading or similar to other apps, and those with inappropriate names and artwork were also stopped in their tracks, each accounting for 5 percent of vetoed apps.
We seem to have had something of a run on Lumsing products recently, but the focus has been on power -- both in-car and portable. Now it's time for something a little different from the same company: a wireless Bluetooth speaker. It can be used with phones, tablets, laptops and anything else that chucks out a Bluetooth signal; actually, there's a 3.5mm jack, so there is a wired option too. As this is, primarily, a wireless speaker, it should come as no surprise that it features a built in rechargeable battery. Charging comes via a USB port which you can connect to either a computer or a phone charger.
Let's skirt over the fact that the instruction manual provided with the speaker has a spelling mistake ("Propeht" rather than Prophet) and look at what the Prophet has to offer. This is a budget speaker, but its looks don’t give this away. The disc shape hides two speaker cones, surrounded by a silver trim. Smack in the middle of the speaker grill is a play/pause button which allows for music playback control, and also doubles up as a pick up/hang up button for your phone -- as well as play music from your phone, the Prophet can also be used to make (very loud) hands-free phone calls thanks to the built in microphone.
Earlier this year, Microsoft successfully blurred the lines between laptop and tablet with the Surface Pro 3. Yes, the company had attempted it twice before, but the small screens on the previous models made it a less-than-ideal laptop replacement. On the Surface Pro 3, stretching the screen to 12-inches and making it lighter finally achieved the portable productivity nirvana of which many of us dreamed.
While this was great for many, others like me had a dilemma; we do much of our computing at home. Sure, I need a portable machine for travel and working in, let's say, Starbucks; however, at home in my office, I want to use a big 27-inch screen, keyboard and mouse. This was achievable by using Bluetooth peripherals and connecting my monitor directly to the Surface. Sadly, this proved clunky and I needed a better way. Supposedly, that better way is now available with the official Docking Station, so I bought it. The question is, how is it?
More than a quarter of British parents say they'll be buying new gadgets for their kids ahead of the autumn return to school, with an average spend of £329 per family making a massive nationwide total of £659 million.
This is among the findings of a new survey by comparison and switching site uSwitch.com which finds that the average school bag now contains around £130 worth of tech.
One of the key ways to get people to buy a product is to actually make it possible for them to buy it. It sounds obvious, I know, but even a company as big as Microsoft has been having trouble fathoming this simple idea. Every Surface model has launched in a limited number of markets, taking its sweet time to hit new ones. Surface Pro 3 is no exception, but at least the delay is much shorter in its case.
Starting today, a little over two months after Surface Pro 3 went on sale in Canada, Japan and US, the Windows 8.1 device is available in 25 additional markets. What's more, also today, the much-anticipated Surface Pro 3 Docking Station is available to pre-order in all markets.
In usual fashion, Apple has been the talk of the tech world over the summer, and for good reason. As well as being one of the premier companies in the world, it recently signed a landmark partnership with old enemy IBM and is set to launch a brand new batch of iPhones in a fortnight.
However, the Cupertino-based firm has also come in for a lot of criticism, especially where the iPad is concerned.
Think about wearable tech and your mind probably jumps to watches first. V.BTTN is a little different. It's a programmable button that links smartphones, tablets and computers via Bluetooth and it can then be used to trigger all manner of events. Looking for a remote shutter trigger for your smartphone? V.BTTN can do that for you. Need a remote control to start and stop recording? Got that covered too. The device comes from VSN Mobil and is available now for $59.99. It's one of those pieces of hardware billed as having virtually limitless possibilities, but this is one instance where the claim is justified.
What the button does depends entirely on the app you decide to link it to. It's slightly more advanced than just "hit the button" -- there are short and long press options, as well as gesture support thanks to a built-in accelerometer. As standard, V.BTTN is just a button. You can stick it in your pocket or bag and carry it around with you if you like, but there are also a number of accessories.
Cruising is something that is near and dear to my heart. As someone who grew up very poor, my family never went on vacation -- it was a waste of money. This was the mindset that I was raised to have, thinking travel was stupid, when money can go towards bills. This thinking was dangerous though, as I became an adult that almost never left New York. It's a cliche, but life is short, and it is silly not to see the world.
What broke this frugal trance was cruising. While a normal vacation is very expensive and far from my grasp, a cruise can be very affordable as all food is included. Over the last 8 years, I have been on 7 Royal Caribbean cruises, and a couple of weeks ago, I went on my first Celebrity cruise (it's the same company). To say I like Royal Caribbean is an understatement -- I love it and am proudly a Platinum member of its Crown and Anchor Society. Unfortunately, technology on the ships has been very lacking. As a computer nerd, not having tech was maddening, although sometimes freeing too. Today, Royal Caribbean appeals to nerds, with the help of Microsoft, as its Quantum of the Seas ship goes high-tech.
With Microsoft focusing its attention on the bigger, newer and more expensive Surface Pro 3, it is easy to lose sight of its second flagship tablet on sale, Surface 2. It may not run Windows 8.1 Pro or tote a PC-grade processor, like Surface Pro 3, but it is nonetheless an interesting option for folks who wish to join the Windows RT 8.1 camp.
Unlike most other tablets out there, its build quality is solid, it is designed with multitasking in mind, ships with a version of Microsoft Office, and was designed to work well with a keyboard and mouse. Plus, after a $100 discount, the Surface 2 experience is now more affordable than ever.
Samsung makes great products -- you really can't go wrong with anything it makes; televisions, washing machines, tablets -- all wonderful. Sure, some people don't like the interface that the manufacturer uses for Android, but those people are just being whiny -- TouchWiz is fine. Just install Nova launcher if it bothers you that much.
Today, Barnes and Noble is releasing Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK. While Amazon's Kindle Fire tablets do not have standard Android or access to Google's Play Store, this new tablet does. In fact, it is essentially just the regular 7-inch Galaxy Tab 4 with the NOOK app pre-installed and some perks. So the question is, why does it exist?
Phablets -- super-sized phones -- serve a useful purpose. They allow consumers to carry just the one device that can be used as a smartphone and act as a tablet. However, while phablets are growing in popularity worldwide, in Asia tablets with cellular voice capabilities are gaining traction.
According to IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker, in Q2 2014 nearly 25 percent (around 3.5 million units) of all the tablets shipped in the Asia/Pacific excluding Japan (APeJ) region had cellular voice capabilities, allowing users to make calls by holding a tablet up to their faces. And we’re talking devices with screen sizes of 7 inches and up.
We expect, and are expected, to be contactable at any given moment -- and indeed we often expect the same of others. Send a text, and you expect a response. Pen an email, and you expect to receive one in return, and fast. Hit up someone on Google chat and an all-but-instant reply is all but expected. Maybe this doesn’t sound like you, but I can guarantee that you fit on the spectrum, and also that the people you are in contact with make the same demands of you. When did this change? It used to be that you'd call a landline number and if you didn’t get a reply you might just try again a few hours later. The fact that we now carry mobiles with us virtually 24/7 means that it is weird if someone doesn't answer the call.
They can’t be busy! Try again! Still no reply? Send a text. And an email. And an IM. If it was limited to office hours, it might be understandable -- and bearable -- to some extent, but there has been a massive slip in end-times. It is acceptable to send emails to someone at any time of day. You may have woken up at 3 in the morning and thought of something relating to work, or even just something that made you laugh, and felt the need to share it immediately. The recipient, in all likelihood, will be alerted to this email on a smartphone or tablet if they don’t happen to be sitting at their computer. At 3 in the morning, it might not wake them up, but at, say, 8pm how likely is it that the email will be ignored? The recipient's working day just got extended by several hours.
Even though they are more expensive, tablets with built-in cellular connectivity have one major advantage over their Wi-Fi only counterparts that can make up for the price difference -- there is Internet access outside of the Wi-Fi range, and it is paramount for today's mobile warriors.
LG understands that there are people who require tablets with built-in cellular connectivity, so the South Korean maker has introduced a 4G LTE version of its G Pad 8.0 Android slate, which will go on sale starting this week. Let's take a look at what it offers.
Microsoft will have a hard time convincing consumers who wish to buy Apple's MacBook Air to get Surface Pro 3 instead. That is not because the former is the better purchase, but because these devices aim to please two different crowds. You're either a Mac or a PC, as the old Apple commercials would say today.
I believe that Microsoft does not realize that it is pitching Surface Pro 3 to the wrong crowd. Swaying would-be MacBook Air owners in the hybrid's direction is not a simple matter of touting feature benefits, as in Surface Pro 3 can be more and do more than MacBook Air. People have to be convinced that those features are things they want; just because they are offered does not automatically mean that they will immediately gravitate towards the device that has them. Yes, some do not want more just because they can get more. And, would-be MacBook Air users do not want more. It's more likely that would-be Surface Pro 3 users do.