Microsoft is keen to get its tiled OS on as many devices, from as many hardware makers, as possible. It introduced the license-free Windows with Bing back in May as part of this push, but prior to that, at Build 2014, it announced it would be offering Windows for free to OEMs and ODMs on all tablets smaller than nine inches.
The dream of an army of smaller devices running Windows 8.1 has suffered a major setback now though with news that one of the largest Windows device makers, Lenovo, has decided to kill off its smaller tablets in the US, citing lack of interest.
Android is a very capable operating system. With it, Google accomplished the unthinkable -- widespread Linux use by average home users. Linus Torvalds popularized his kernel with nerds and the enterprise, but the search giant made it accessible for all. Here's the thing though -- the fact that Android is powered by Linux doesn't matter. No, to the average consumer, all that matters is the experience. What lies beneath is inconsequential.
Samsung recently released the Galaxy Tab S 10.5, its newest flagship tablet. The device's closest competitor is the iPad Air -- which is a tablet I love. Besides Apple's tablet, there is really no other product to consider at the $500 price point. So, if you are considering a $500 general-use tablet, the only question that must be asked is -- is it better than the iPad Air?
The Surface Pro 3 is quite possibly my favorite computer of all time. This is quite the amazing declaration, as I have used many. Besides its usability and high-end power, it is an awe-inspiring example of engineering. The fact that Microsoft has crammed all of that high-end tech into such a svelte chassis is nothing short of amazing.
As great as the hardware is, all is not roses. Unfortunately, there has been a plague of Wi-Fi bugs to impact users. Bugs can be commonplace on new hardware, so this is not a massive scandal by any means. However, it is disappointing to the Microsoft-faithful who invested big money to get their hands on the unique hybrid computer. Problems with an internet connection is one of the most maddening, hair-pulling issues that there is. Luckily, the disappointment will be short lived -- the company will be fixing it tomorrow -- for some users at least.
Unlocking the bootloader is not a task most Android users may want or need to undertake, as it comes with its fair share of risks, but it is paramount for those who want to install a different distribution, load a faster kernel, use a third-party recovery and so on. I personally prefer to turn off all the nannies on every Android device I own, as it makes way for quick modifications.
While not all manufacturers allow users to unlock the bootloader on their devices, there are a couple of vendors which believe this should be possible, and straightforward. Among them is Sony, known for its modder-friendly attitude, which has just improved its dedicated online tool for Xperia smartphones and tablets. And here is how easy it is to use.
The usefulness of a small Windows tablet is debatable. While I understand people's hesitance to embrace Microsoft's desktop operating system on such a small screen, their trepidation is misplaced. Sure, a 7 or 8-inch Windows tablet would be a poor choice for someone's only Windows machine, but it works beautifully as a companion device.
I have a Surface Pro 3, but recently bought a Dell Venue Pro 8. Why? Because sometimes a lighter and inexpensive tablet is preferable. For example, you wouldn't want to use Surface Pro 3 on the toilet or by a pool. Heck, reading a book can be nicer on a smaller tab too. Today, Fujitsu reveals a new 8-inch Windows tablet for business -- the ARROWS Tab Q335/K.
Last year Lenovo extended its Yoga line to cover not just the company's rather clever folding hybrid Windows laptops, but Android tablets too. The designs weren't quite as ingenious as the IdeaPad Yoga, with its keyboard that flipped nearly 360 degrees to sit flat against the back of the display, but it still had a unique selling point (USP): A brilliant flip-out stand which could hold the tablet either tilted or upright.
It was a fabulous concept, but spoilt by a dated specification. The screen was a bog standard 1280 x 800 resolution effort, and the processor a lowly Mediatek quad-core CPU. Now, however, Lenovo has come back with the Yoga Tablet 10 HD+, enhancing the previous model with a full HD 1080p screen and a Snapdragon S400 SoC. Is this enough to make a great tablet from a great idea?
Hitting the road means luggage, and luggage is a pain -- all that… stuff… to carry from place to place. Traveling light can help to make the journey less of a chore, but there are some things that simply have to be packed: no self-respecting technology fan would go on vacation without taking a raft of devices with them. But devices need power, and this means chargers are needed. iPhones, MP3 players, Android tablets, iPads, digital cameras, Chromebooks, and countless other devices all need power -- and that means a lot of chargers.
We just took a look at the Lumsing DCH-5U 5-Port USB Travel Wall Charger which enables you to leave the chargers at home and charge up to five devices simultaneously from a single power point. And we have one to give away!
A few weeks ago I took a look at Lumsing's harmonica battery pack. Now from the same stables comes the lengthily titled DCH-5U 5-Port USB Travel Wall Charger. This is a slightly different twist on the idea of providing power to travellers' devices -- this is a wall charger rather than a portable battery pack. If you're going on vacation, taking a trip, or even just hitting the office, there are your devices to consider. Your phone, tablet, MP3 player, and other bits and pieces all need power, all need their own charger.
Except they don’t. Leave all of your chargers at home, and just take a selection of USB cables -- this 5-port hub allows for up to five USB devices (obviously) to be charged from a single wall power point. The 31W/6.2A unit has two 5V 1A ports for phones, and three 5V 2A ports for tablets and devices with higher power demands. Oddly, the ports are labelled, left to right, iPad, iPad, Samsung Tab, iPhone, and Android. It would have made more sense to simply indicate which of the five were the high-powered ports, but this is a minor niggle in the grand scheme of things.
Sixth in a series. On July 1, I officially started my "Microsoft All-In" summer sojourn. Surface Pro 3 is my PC and Nokia Lumia Icon my smartphone for the next couple of months. Google gets the boot -- at least for awhile. I now largely use Microsoft products and services and third-party apps available for the company's platforms. Many commenters wonder why, so let me explain.
I last used Windows as my primary platform in 2010 -- never for Windows Phone. Like other BetaNews reporters, I tend to write about products used regularly. Writing is more authoritative from experience, and often only long-time use reveals hidden problems or benefits. The reality, and it's something obviously seen in comments: Microsoft platform users largely make up BetaNews readership.
Starting today, consumers looking for a large tablet have one more option to choose from as LG rolls out its 10.1-inch G Pad across the globe. The slate is part of the South Korean maker's budget-friendly lineup, which was introduced in mid-May.
G Pad 7.0 was the first of LG's new slates to debut on the market, less than a month ago. Its bigger sibling, G Pad 10.1, is available first in US, with other markets -- Europe, Asia and Latin America -- to follow shortly, later this month.
With the recent Hurricane Arthur moving up the east coast of the US, power becomes something to worry about and a mobile connection can prove a lifeline for many people in the path of such storms. Keeping a tablet or cell phone alive during a disaster is paramount, but portable power is also handy for mundane times like travel and camping.
Backup batteries are not scarce on the market, you can find any number of them if you look. The real question is, what do you need? Ideally, you want the maximum mAh you can afford, as it will provide the most charges -- remember that battery in your phone is rated, and is usually somewhere in the 2,000 to 3,000 range. Use that number to compare to what you are buying to get a rough estimate of the amount of times you will be able to recharge. If you live in a household with multiple members then that should also be taken into account.
The latest tablet from Samsung, the Galaxy Tab S, recently launched, and received considerable attention, as with many products the company does. Samsung also launched an advertising campaign to go along with its latest offering.
"The third installment in Samsung’s new tablet commercial series puts the Galaxy Tab S’s industry-leading display to the test, showing side-by-side comparisons of a wide range of images on the device’s Super AMOLED screen next to traditional LCD screens. These bring the extraordinary Super AMOLED technology to life, resulting in more immersive and breathtaking visual experience", the hardware maker claims.
When it comes to portable gaming, the iPad and whole ensuing tablet explosion saw the start of a shift away from traditional gaming handhelds, and a new piece of research has underlined this with the news that tablets have now outdone the Nintendo 3DS.
The study from Futuresource Consulting posed over a hundred questions to children aged three to twelve across the UK (and also the US, Germany and China). It found that in the UK, tablets are now the most popular personal device owned by kids -- with 44 percent having a slate, meaning that they've overtaken the 3DS as top gaming dog.
Fourth in a series. Before adopting the Chromie lifestyle and declaring independence from Apple two summers ago, I primarily was a Mac user. I wrote most of the so-called anti-Apple stories (so some commentary say) on the company's laptops. Chromebook still warms my heart, but for the summer -- and likely longer -- we part ways. On June 20, I walked out of Microsoft Store San Diego with a free Surface Pro 3. But I am accidental thief; that story later.
In April, I wrote about "My two years with Chromebook", giving loads of praise. I might still use Chrome OS as my primary platform today, if not for sudden partial loss of vision -- non-diabetic macular edema in both eyes. The ailment compelled a reevaluation of my computing needs. I purchased a refurbished Surface RT preinstalled with Windows 8.1, because of the free Word, which will ease ebook publishing. I really enjoyed the user experience, much more than the Surface Pro reviewed in February 2013. Updated operating system is major reason. Also, Microsoft's ClearType improved my diminished reading ability.
At the I/O 2014 conference, Google showcased the latest version of Android, known only as L until its official launch later this year. Compared to its predecessor, KitKat, it comes with 64-bit support, design changes, the ART runtime running the show, tightened security, battery life and performance improvements, notifications tweaks, new APIs and more.
Android L may not yet be ready for prime time, but a preview version is now available for Nexus 5 and Nexus 7 (2013 Wi-Fi model), giving users the option to get comfortable with the slew of changes it introduces. Here is how you can download and install it.