It may be a year since Sandy struck, but the effects of the storms are still being felt. To mark the anniversary, Google is donating 17,000 Nexus 7 tablets to communities still feeling the impact of the hurricane. The devices, worth a total of $2.7 million, have been donated to community centers, libraries and other centers in the affected areas in New York.
The tablets were donated to the non-for-profit service the New York State Community Action Association who worked with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to store and distribute the devices. The Nexus 7s will be used in a number of ways including being loaned out as e-readers in areas where libraries are yet to re-open.
When it comes to Android tablets, they are all rather ho-hum; big rectangular slabs. In an effort to use them comfortably as a display or for watching a movie, clunky cases and folios must be purchased in order to prop them up. Sure, you can lean it against something and hope it doesn't fall over, but that is risky business.
Lenovo feels the pain of Android users and has created a new solution -- a better way, if you will. The company has been teasing a device for three weeks now, but it is finally unveiled. Meet the all-new Lenovo Yoga Tablet.
Surface is the tablet market's laughing stock. Microsoft has introduced the two-slate lineup in an attempt to steer consumers away from Apple's iPads and the myriad of Android tablets, by luring them with Windows and its services. In theory, the idea sounded great when the lineup was unveiled in June, last year, showing plenty of promise from the get-go but, as it turns out, most people only want Windows on their desktops and laptops, and not on tablets. The lineup has yet to make great strides in the business segment also.
The moment of truth was in mid-July when Microsoft revealed a $0.9 billion write-off related to Surface RT inventory adjustments. This has clearly shown that the software giant planned to sell a lot more units while the market had other plans, which involved (yes, you guessed it) iPads and Android tablets. Fast-forward a quarter later and Microsoft is now carefully choosing its words, saying that Surface sales have since more than doubled but without announcing an exact number of units that were shifted during the three months ending September 30. But, the $400 million in revenue that the lineup generated still points to a bleak quarter, despite a different picture being portrayed.
I am the sort of person who values a versatile device, that lends itself well both to productivity work and content consumption, in a portable package. In my opinion, Microsoft's Surface Pro 2 strikes the right balance and is definitely the tablet that I would buy if I were in the market for such a device. On the productivity side, it is an uncompromised machine that can run every piece of software that I want or need. Unquestionably, it puts Apple's new iPad Air to shame in this regard.
But the same cannot be said about the Surface 2, that ships with Windows RT 8.1. The tablet is not as good as the Surface Pro 2 when it comes to productivity work as it cannot run the same software nor is it as good as the iPad Air when it comes to content consumption, due to a still inferior app selection. But what happens when the Surface 2 is compared to the iPad Air, from a productivity standpoint?
In early August, Surface Pro received a $100 price cut in an attempt to lure prospective buyers, following the less than stellar revenues generated by Microsoft's tablet lineup. The base model would run for a more accessible $799, with the flagship costing $899. Now, the software giant is at it again, slashing the price of its Surface Pro one more time.
The latest Surface Pro price-cut comes in response to the arrival of the new Surface Pro 2, that touts significantly better battery life and performance improvements and a price that kicks off at $899 for the base model. Unsurprisingly, Microsoft wants to give Surface Pro a real fighting chance at raking in more sales before pulling the plug.
New iPads reveal much about Apple's current and long-term device dilemmas. Full-size iPad cannibalizes Mac sales, while mini does the same to the larger tablet. Those are the clear takeaways from yesterday's product launches.
CEO Tim Cook is no Steve Jobs, and perhaps that's a good thing. Where Jobs championed grammatically incorrect "think different" -- as a marketing and product development strategy -- Cook thinks differently, making fundamentally difficult branding and pricing decisions to preserve current and future Apple crops. There's great risk in the strategy and greater by doing nothing.
When you spend a sizable amount of money on a device, it's understandable that you wish to have a bit of insurance on your investment, and a fair amount of us do that by purchasing a protective case. Apple is no stranger to the accessory market and today pushes it a bit further, announcing new offerings for its latest iPad devices.
These protective wombs for your tablet are available in a range of colors. The Smart Covers for iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display will retail for $39, and hit the market in a choice of blue, green, pink, yellow, black and red.
It was a feature-packed morning of announcements where it seems as though Apple was going to give away everything for free. Sadly the freebies are limited to software and the new range of hardware has to be purchased in the regular way. The big news for tablet fans is the iPad Air. Borrowing its name -- in part at least -- from the MacBook Air range, thinner and faster are the adjectives of the day.
Phil Schiller said: "Thinner, lighter, more powerful than ever before, and incredibly, excitingly new that it deserves a new name: iPad Air". Boasting the same A7 processor as the recently announced iPhone 5s, the iPad Air is just 7.5mm thick and weighs 1 pound -- compare this to 9.4mm and 1.4 pounds for the previous model. Despite the thinner design and smaller battery size, we can still expect 10 hours of usage from the tablet which offers up to eight times the performance of the original iPad, and up to 72 times the GPU performance.
As Microsoft's hardware partners are moving away from Windows RT, Nokia is now embracing the controversial tablet operating system. The Finnish maker has officially unveiled the Lumia 2520, which runs Windows RT 8.1, alongside two new Windows Phone 8 phablets, the Lumia 1520 and Lumia 1320. It is a rather bold bet seeing as the tablet OS has never been popular with slate buyers, with vendors only shifting 200,000 units in Q2 2013.
Let us take a look at what the Lumia 2520 offers. The Windows RT 8.1-based tablet comes with a 10.1-inch AH-IPS display with a resolution of 1080 by 1920, 665 nits of brightness and Gorilla Glass 2 on top. Like the Lumia 1520, it is powered by a 2.2 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor and 2 GB of RAM. Inside there is a large 8,000 mAh battery which, according to Nokia, helps deliver up to 11 hours of video playback.
Despite poor sales for the first gen model, Microsoft is pushing forward with its Surface tablet. While other manufacturers build Windows 8 devices, the Surface serves as a reference tablet, spotlighting the right way to produce the hardware, and that is a good a reason to continue production.
And continue it does, with the second generation sales kicking off tonight, including midnight openings at select Microsoft locations around the US. "Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 and the new accessories go on sale at 12:01am Tuesday, and Microsoft is hosting midnight events at 10 Microsoft retail stores across the country to celebrate", the team announces.
Combined shipments of devices -- PCs, tablets and mobile phones -- are set to reach 2.32 billion units in 2013 according to technology research specialists Gartner. This represents a 4.5 percent increase over last year, but much of the growth is driven by a shift to lower priced devices.
Traditional PCs are forecast to show an 11.2 percent decline, which drops to 8.4 percent when ultramobiles are included. Mobile phone shipments are forecast to grow 3.7 percent to around 1.8 billion units. It's tablets that are still the darling of the consumer though, shipments are expected to be up a whopping 42.7 percent this year reaching 184 million units.
It has been almost a month since Amazon unveiled its Kindle Fire HDX tablets and began thrusting them in consumer's faces via its homepage. While its been long enough for this tablet model to seem the new norm, Amazon was not actually shipping the devices, but that changes now.
The seven-inch Amazon Kidle Fire HDX begins shipping today, coming along with the latest version of Fire OS 3.0, known as "Mojito". Amazon promises "a beautiful 323 ppi perfect-color HDX display, 3x the processing power, 2x the memory, 4x the graphics performance, and Fire OS 3.0, we think customers are going to love the new Kindle Fire HDX", according to Peter Larsen, Vice President of Amazon Kindle.
Today has been a big one in the annals of Microsoft -- Windows 8.1 rolled out the door to a fair amount of headlines, and Visual Studio 2013 also arrived, to much less pomp and circumstance. Next week promises the same, with Surface 2 hitting store shelves amidst stories of stock shortages.
But nothing in the Microsoft universe is ever as simple as it should be -- the tech giant seems to almost enjoy keeping customers guessing. Hence the case of the Surface Pro 2, which promises to ship on October 22nd -- providing you only wish to score a 64 or 128 GB model.
There is no denying that Windows 8.1 dwarfs Windows 8 in every single way that matters. The new operating system is more feature-rich, more suited for tablet use, more suited for PC use and far closer to what a modern OS should be like. The warm feelings towards it are reflective of how Windows 8 was like at first -- let's just say that the standards were low to begin with.
But for some strange reason, Microsoft still does not prioritize having a notifications panel in any of its consumer operating systems. This is an oversight that I thought the software giant would address in Windows 8.1, seeing as it has been a major known problem since Windows 8 arrived. However, once again Microsoft has decided to not include it. And, to be frank, it is one of the worst decisions that the company made this year. I bet not many will miss Steve Ballmer. I sure won't.
The old adage is, "when it rains, it pours". All of a sudden, it seems that it is raining 8-inch Windows 8.1 tablets. Yesterday, Lenovo announced a Bay Trail-powered tablet and today Acer follows suit with the Iconia W4.
The company says the tablet is "equipped with the Windows 8.1 operating system and a 4th-generation Intel Atom processor, offering faster tablet performance as well as battery life up to 8 hours for video playback and up to 10 hours for web browsing".