This week, Microsoft unveiled the Surface Pro 3 with a larger, 12 inch display and surprised some by holding off on a "Surface Mini". While Microsoft continued to harp on their "best of both worlds" mantra, it was very clear that this device was focused on productivity use cases and enterprise users. Does this signal a new era in tablet computing or is this simply a niche product?
I recently downgraded my tablet sales estimate because tablets haven't encroached upon productivity use cases as quickly as "phablets" have encroached on consumption use cases. So wouldn't the Surface Pro 3 fit with my definition of upmarket movement? Not quite. The challenge for tablets is to move upmarket into productivity use cases without compromising on their advantages over PCs -- 1) ease of use, and 2) lower price points. With the Windows 8 operating system and a price tag starting at $930 (incl. the keyboard cover), the Surface Pro 3 misses on both points.
Microsoft just announced a bigger and badder Windows 8.1 hybrid PC, pitched by the company as a laptop and tablet replacement that outclasses Apple's mighty MacBook Air. Offered in five significantly different configurations, which range from an affordable $799 to an eye-watering $1,949, on paper the Surface Pro 3 looks like a device that can be used by undemanding users and professionals alike.
The Surface Pro 3, powered by Intel Core i5 processors, is said to launch on June 20, while the less powerful Core i3 and faster Core i7 configurations are expected two months later, on the last day of August. Interested buyers, however, can pre-order one now.
Today's Microsoft event in New York City was something of a mixed bag with its fair share of highs and lows. There was an obvious highlight -- the Surface Pro 3. It was a highlight for two reasons. Firstly, despite expectations to the contrary, this was in fact the only device to be announced today. Secondly, at least in terms of looks and specification, it's bloody amazing. But there were at least a couple of low points. No Surface Mini, and the frankly bonkers, nuts, crazy, mad Surface Pro 3 pricing.
The Pro side of Microsoft's Surface range has long been criticized for being a little on the pricey side, but the third generation takes things to the extreme. At the top end of the scale -- a rather juicy sounding Intel Core i7 device packing 8GB RAM and 512 GB of storage -- you'll need to save up an astonishing $1,949. Panos Panay made a great deal of noise about how this is the tablet that can replace your laptop. For that price, I should flippin' well hope so. For that price I can buy a top of the range laptop and still have enough left over to buy a decent tablet. I could even venture into Apple territory if I was feeling a little saucy...
When I boarded the train earlier this morning to go to the Surface Event in NYC, I had small expectations. Let me clarify -- small but not low. In other words, I was expecting a Surface Mini. Truth be told, I wasn't overly excited about yet another small tablet (manufacturers are already doing a good job with them). However, despite my trepidation about a small tablet, I was excited because it would have been a Surface, which is known for high quality. Plus, there were rumors about a new Surface Pro 3, and that had me giddy.
Imagine my surprise, when internet rumors about the Surface Pro turned out to be true and the Surface Mini was vaporware. I was front row today while watching Satya Nadella and Panos Panay unveil the Surface Pro 3 and I was smiling ear to ear the entire time. Not only was the tablet amazing, but so too was the presentation. It was very Steve Jobs-esque, which is rather appropriate. Today, Microsoft is finally a step ahead of Apple with devices. The magic has left California and gone to Washington. Here are some of my first impressions of the game-changing laptop/tablet PC hybrid.
Goldilocks knocks on Apple's door looking for the right mobile device. She first picks up iPad Air, which with 9.7-inch screen is too big. Then she tries 4-inch iPhone 5s, but it's too small. Finally she grabs iPad mini, thinking the 7.9-inch display is just right. But unlike the fairy tale, Goldilocks is disappointed. She drops the tablet, goes next door to Samsung's house, and takes the Galaxy Note 3, which at 5.7 inches -- and with stylus -- is just right.
There's a gaping hole in Apple's product line -- and one CEO Tim Cook better quickly fix. Through it sales leak to competitors, but into a category where Apple doesn't compete. Tech-Thoughts analyst Sameer Singh observes about first calendar quarter global handsets: "As of now, we can assume that ~20 percent of all smartphones shipped have screen sizes large enough to become acceptable substitutes for tablet computing tasks".
This upcoming Tuesday, Microsoft is holding a Surface press event and yours truly will be attending. While nothing has been confirmed, many are speculating that we will finally see a "Surface Mini" -- a smaller Windows tablet bearing Surface branding.
That is exciting on its own, yet further rumors and speculation are predicting a Surface Pro 3 to be unveiled. Again, this is not confirmed -- purely chatter at this point. Still, as a Surface fan, a third version of Microsoft's Pro tablet has me giddy. Truth be told, I have been daydreaming about what the Surface Pro 3 could be. Here are my 5 wishes for it -- Microsoft, you'd better be reading!
The past week was one dominated by privacy and security related stories. A court ruling in Oracle's favor means that the company is able to claim copyright protection for APIs subsequently used by Google in Android. The long term effects of the ruling are yet to be understood, but they could certainly be far-reaching. Privacy hit the headlines again as SanDisk works on a self-encrypting SSD, and Google was told that users can request that information about them be removed from search results -- of course it didn't take long for the requests to start rolling in.
New research shows that there has been an increase in online suspicion, indicated by a huge increase in the levels of encryption used. The UK government approved the use of Samsung KNOX devices which could help to allay fears about BYOD. Google announced GAME -- Google Apps Message Encryption -- to provide end-to-end encryption for email outside of the Gmail ecosystem.
The market is flooded with tablets of various sizes and shapes. It is easy to lose track of them all. Samsung is one of the biggest offenders. The manufacturer makes so many tablets, that it is hard to distinguish all the features from within its offerings alone.
Today, Samsung is delivering yet another tablet, but this time it has a very focused market -- K-12 education. Yes, Samsung announces the Galaxy Tab 4 Education and your kids may be using this for learning very soon.
Public sector workers in the UK will soon be able to use Samsung handsets after the UK government gave the greenlight to devices running Samsung KNOX. The Communications and Electronics Security Group (CESG) tested the KNOX platform and the government has now published End User Devices (EUD) Security Guidance for Samsung KNOX on certain handsets and tablets. It's not clear whether this paves the way for a new wave of BYOD for government workers, but it is certainly a possibility.
Samsung is pleased with the announcement, and Injong Rhee, Senior Vice President of KNOX Business, IT and Mobile Communications Division, says "Samsung devices with KNOX are already extensively deployed globally across the private sector but now with this significant recognition, government agencies across the UK will be able to adopt Samsung KNOX enabled Galaxy smartphones and tablets setting the scene for other governments to follow".
South Korean maker LG admits that, at least when it comes to tablets, one size does not fit all. Today, the company announces that the G Pad 8.3, which was unveiled last year, will soon be joined by three new G Pads in its slate lineup, which will range in size from a small 7-inch to a large 10.1 inch option.
The upcoming G Pad 7.0, G Pad 8.0 and G Pad 10.1, together with the G Pad 8.3, can allow LG to reach more potential buyers and, ultimately, establish itself as a top tablet vendor, joining the likes of Apple, Samsung, ASUS and Amazon.
I've never owned an iPhone -- I went from a Treo to BlackBerry and ultimately Android. However, I do own the iPad Air, which is my second-ever Apple tablet (the other being the first-generation iPad). While Android is great, I prefer iOS for my tablet needs; this includes consumption and creation.
Yes, the iPad is mostly a consumption-focused device, but I can successfully write on it by utilizing third-party keyboards. The problem is, many of them are heavy, thick or just plain bad. Finding a high-quality and thin iPad keyboard can be tough. Well, Belkin announces a solution -- the svelte and sexy QODE Thin Type Keyboard Case for iPad Air.
So far HP’s approach to tablets has been pretty clear cut, choosing Android for its low-cost 7-inch to 10.1-inch tablets, and Windows for its more premium-priced 11.6-inch and 13-inch convertibles. With the Omni 10, however, the company is really shaking things up. First, it’s a 10.1-inch tablet at the kind of price point where you used to find Android models only. Second, it’s running full-fat Windows 8.1, not Windows RT, with a quad-core Bay Trail processor and a full HD screen.
It’s as if HP has realized what other Windows 8 tablet manufacturers have struggled to come to terms with: That it’s not enough to produce a tablet with low-end specs and high-end pricing, and expect that people will buy it just for the chance to run Windows and use Office. You need to produce something that competes with its Android rivals on every level, including the screen, the performance and the price.
It looks like the growth of the tablet market may be starting to slow down according to a new study carried out by research specialist IDC.
Tablets and 2-in-1 shipments slipped to 50.4 million units worldwide in the first quarter of 2014 according to IDC's Quarterly Tablet Tracker. This represents a decline of 35.7 percent from the high-volume holiday quarter and just 3.9 percent growth over the same period last year.
If there is one thing Amazon loves, it's a good sale. The company seems to always be discounting one product or another, and a favorite target is its line of Kindle Fire tablets. That's the case now, this time in honor of your mom.
The company has slashed prices on its lineup of tablets in an effort to convince customers to grab one for dear old mom before her day arrives on May 11th.
Tablets are über cheap these days. It seems as though just about every electronics company has them flying off the production lines. But even if you manage to pick up a cheap tablet, you still want to keep it protected -- no one wants to end up with a screen that is scratched to the point of being unusable, or a body that's smashed to smithereens. The need to protect is even greater if you have handed over a few hundred dollars / pounds for something from the Apple family, and there are all manner of cases to whet the appetite of those keen to keep things safe.
One such offering is the 360° Case from Everything Tablet (operating in the US and Canada as well as the UK) which features a folio-style wrap-around design. I took a look at the Nexus 7 model and my previously svelte 7 incher was transformed into something resembling a leather-bound personal organizer from the 80s. Such is the price one pays for protection, I guess.