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.
For some strange reason, Microsoft is repeating the same mistake over and over again -- whenever a new Surface tablet is launched, its availability is limited to a low number of markets. No surprise then that the lineup is a sales flop. Consumers may like what they're seeing, but if they cannot buy Surface they will get something else. I know I've been there. Fortunately, not long after launch, Microsoft fixes this problem.
Less than two months after it went on sale, Surface Pro 3 is finally heading to 25 new markets, announces Microsoft's Brian Hall. Prospective buyers will be able to get all variants of the slate (starting with the entry-level Intel Core i3 model and the Intel Core i7 flagship), from the end of this month.
Gigaset (previously Gigaset Siemens) is launching a range of affordable Android tablets in the UK. This is the first foray into the tablet market for the home phone specialist which will initially be offering two devices -- an 8 inch model and a 10 inch one.
The smaller tablet, the QV830, is available to buy from Curry’s now, priced at £99.99, while the larger QV1030 will be available shortly. The price for that model has yet to be confirmed.
Very rarely in the technology world, do we get to experience a truly game-changing product. Sure enough though, the world was treated to just that in 2014 with the Surface Pro 3. Don't get me wrong, the previous iterations of the Surface Pro were good and fundamentally the same, but the 3rd finally achieved the original vision. You see, the iPad was revolutionary, but forced the user to think of devices as home computing vs. mobile. In other words, the user had to compromise and give up productivity for portability and convenience. The Surface Pro 3 literally rewires one's brain to no longer think of computing as dichotomy -- you can have your cake (tablet) and eat it too (laptop).
Recently, I wanted to achieve root access on an Android tablet. Of course, the process required Windows. So what did I do? I connected the Android tablet to the Surface Pro 3 with USB and accomplished my goal. I came away from that experience feeling like the Android tablet was a toy. To use a car analogy, with the USB cable between them, it was like the Surface Pro 3 was a Ford F150 and it was jump starting a Fiat. Well today, the F150 -- I mean, Surface Pro 3, gains two more models in addition to the existing Core i5. Yes, the less expensive i3 and more powerful i7 have arrived!