Articles about Tablets

MediaTek and Opera put the squeeze on mobile data consumption

iPhone smartphone hand finger

It is no secret that mobile data is still very expensive. Going overboard with audio and video streaming, browsing or app downloads will unavoidably lead to throttling, a pretty steep bill from the mobile operator or a brisk run through the remaining credit. But there is one way of giving mobile device users more breathing room, and that is through data compression. It offers obvious advantages, and comes with no major downsides. What's not to like about that?

That is the selling point that Norwegian browser maker Opera Software and Taiwanese processor maker MediaTek hope will impress new customers, as they announce their new partnership, which will see the former's Opera Max data-savings app being built-into the latter's 4G LTE-enabled offerings. The first fruits of this partnership are two 64-bit chips. The touted data savings are rather impressive.

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SwiftKey: Top Android keyboard reaches iPads and iPhones

SwiftKey iOS

Stock mobile keyboards tend to suck. There's always a deal-breaker somewhere that offsets all their strengths. There is friction when typing in multiple languages, the language support is limited, abbreviations and the like are a no-go, the layout can be unintuitive, there is a limited amount of customization options, or the touch vibrations are too harsh. Take your pick. I have ran into all of them. But, fret not, there are some solid keyboards out there.

The one keyboard which I am a huge fan of is SwiftKey. It shames every stock keyboard and it's generally better than any other third-party offering. With Google being the only mobile operating system maker to allow third-party keyboards, it has only been available on Android. But, now that Apple has followed suit, you can get your hands on SwiftKey on an iPad or iPhone too. And you should, first of all because it's free!

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Microsoft's Surface Pro 3 is a worldwide success -- strong sales cause limited supply

oos

When Microsoft introduced the first Surface Pro to the world, the reception was tepid at best. This is understandable, as it was expensive, had a small screen and ran a much maligned operating system in Windows 8. In a short time however, Microsoft transformed the negative perceptions with a new CEO, Windows 8.1 and eventually, the much improved Surface Pro 3. Yes, the 3rd iteration was the game-changer that the world was waiting for.

Unfortunately, the Surface Pro 3 was initially only available in the USA, Canada and Japan; it only expanded to countries like Australia, Germany and China on August 28th. Apparently, people across the globe like what they see, as sales are strong and Microsoft's hybrid computer is in short supply. I guess Apple is not alone in its success.

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Android apps break out of the small screen and jump to Chromebooks

Android apps break out of the small screen and jump to Chromebooks

A lot of Google services have transitioned to gain the title of "apps", and the same is true of a large number of extensions for the Chrome browser. These online tools are essentially cross-platforms apps that work identically Now Google is taking another step to break out of the confines of making apps available to a single platform. Android apps are, quite rightly, associated with smartphones and tablets, but now a small number of these mobile apps are finding their way onto Chromebook.

The (usually) cheap and cheerful Windows laptop/Mac Book alternative (did someone say netbook?) can now start to benefit from a handful of well-known titles from Android devices. It is very early days but as of today there are four Android apps available to Chromebook owners -- Duolingo, Evernote, Sight Words, and Vine -- but we can expect to see this list expand over time. The quartet of crossover apps were introduced today by Ken Mixter and Josh Woodward. A short blog posts penned by the pair explains that the Chromebook support comes thanks to the App Runtime for Chrome (Beta) project.

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Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact: Sony ups its game [Review]

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When Sony released its Xperia Z2 tablet earlier this year, they moved the goalposts in the global tablet market. The entertainment giant managed to release a serious competitor to Apple's iPad Air that redefined just how thin and light a tablet computer could be.

So how does the Xperia Z3 tablet compare to its predecessor, and what has Sony done to up the game? We go hands on to find out.

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Amazon Prime Instant Video comes to Android -- but there's a catch

crazyandroidamazon

There are many video streaming services nowadays, such as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime Instant Video to name a few. Amazon is my favorite though, as it comes bundled with the awesome Prime membership which also offers music streaming, 2-day shipping and much more.

Sadly, Prime Instant Video has not been available on stock Android; you could only get it for the Kindle Fire tablets, Fire phone and Apple's iOS devices. Today however, Amazon announces that its streaming video service is now available for regular Android. Before you get too excited, please know there is a catch; it seems tablets are not yet supported -- weak!

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On Sept. 9th, Apple's Tim Cook era begins

Tim Cook

I must disagree with colleague Mark Wilson, who last week asserted: "There is no reason for anyone to care about the iPhone 6", which as I write has 124 comments. I'm a big fan of provocative posts, because they engage the readership. But my feelings differ about commentaries that bluster without substance. Mark is absolutely wrong. There is every reason for everyone to care about the next iPhone.

Mark asserts that iPhone "used to be aspirational and high-end. Now the world and his dog has an Apple handset and it's turned from something special into a poor substitute for one of the countless alternatives...The iPhone is run-of-the-mill. It is predictable. It's just plain boring".  In many ways, I agree, but his boring assessment is every reason to "care about the iPhone 6".

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Google to cough up $19 million in kids' in-app purchases case

Google to cough up $19 million in kids' in-app purchases case

Google is to pay out at least $19 million to Android users whose children were tricked into making expensive in-app purchases on smartphones and tablets. The Federal Trade Commission has been investigating mobile purchases for the last three years, and Apple agreed at the beginning of the year to a settlement. Amazon was also investigated and plans to appeal against the charges. In agreeing to repay the money, Google has effectively admitted that apps available in Google Play may be deceptive.

The brunt of the FTC case centers around the idea that it was not made clear to parents that their children would be able to make purchases within apps without authorization. Many of these in-app purchases are to be found in games where players are encouraged into parting with money in return for extra lives, game power-ups, or to unlock new levels. The FTC complained that since 2011 Google had indulged in unfair practices that left parents with bills of hundreds of dollars.

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Forget PCs and tablets -- phablets are the next big thing

Phablet

Phablets are emerging as the next big thing in the smart device market. According to research firm IDC, big-screen smartphones will out-ship portable PCs (laptops) before the end of 2014, and tablets sometime in 2015. What's more, also this year, phablet shipments are expected to far outnumber desktop PCs. Want to bet on a winning large form factor? Pick phablets.

In 2014, IDC expects shipments of phablets, tablets, portable PCs and desktop PCs to reach 174.9 million, 233.1 million, 170 million and 133.5 million, respectively. Fast forward to the end of 2015, and shipments of phablets and tablets reach 318 million and 233 million units, respectively. And with Apple expected to unveil an iPhone phablet, big smartphones are only going to make things worse for PC and tablet shipments.

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Hey, do you know that Sony also has new Android flagships?

Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact

With all eyes on Samsung, which just unveiled Galaxy Note 4, Galaxy Note Edge and Gear VR, I am genuinely surprised that Sony has decided to showcase its new flagship Xperia devices on the same day as its South Korean rival. Why? Because Samsung commands more attention from the tech media, due to its Android pack leader position. And that can only leave Sony fighting for scraps.

Nonetheless, mere hours after Samsung's Unpacked 2014 Episode 2, Sony took the wraps off its new Xperia Z3, Xperia Z3 Compact and Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact. Oh, there's an Xperia E3 too, which is designed to compete in the low-end market, like Nokia Lumia 530. But, let's talk about the premium Xperias now, which are far more intriguing.

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Logitech introduces cross-platform keyboard for phones, tablets and computers

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Many people these days have multiple devices -- a computer, smartphone and tablet is not unusual in any home. Desktops require a separate keyboard, while the other two rely on an on-screen model, which can be annoying at times. Now Logitech wants to solve that issue with one solution for all platforms.

The Logitech Bluetooth Multi-Device Keyboard K480 can work with up to three different devices. A switch allows for movement between each, with a holder for your smartphone or tablet. It's a full-size desktop keyboard though, so users shouldn't feel cramped, as they did with previous tablet and handset keyboards.

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Secure your Apple iCloud account by enabling two-step verification

Secure your Apple iCloud account by enabling two-step verification

Unless you've been completely avoiding the news over the past few days, you will have heard about Apple's little problem with nude photos being stolen from celebrity accounts. The company has strongly denied that there has been a security breach, but in a statement it advised its customers to check the strength of their passwords as well as enabling two-step verification.

Two-factor authentication -- also known as two-step verification -- is a stronger method of security because it relies not only on something you know (your password), but also something you have (like your iPhone). Sounds good, but how do you do about doing it for your Apple account?

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IFA 2014: Lenovo unveils 8-inch TAB S8 tablet, touchscreen Y70 Touch, and ERAZER X315 gaming rig

IFA 2014: Lenovo unveils 8-inch TAB S8 tablet, touchscreen Y70 Touch, and ERAZER X315 gaming rig

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.

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Apple finally opens up about why it rejects certain apps

Apple final opens up about why it rejects certain apps

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.

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Lumsing Prophet Bluetooth Speaker: a powerful wireless audio solution [Review]

Lumsing Prophet Bluetooth Speaker: a powerful wireless audio solution [Review]

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.

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