Tag Archives: Gadget News

Sony Announces Xperia Tablet S with Remote Control and Multi-user Mode

The Xperia tablet that was introduced to us by the way of leaked slides is now official. A short while back, Sony announced the new Xperia Tablet S at IFA 2012. The new tablet shares a lot of the design traits of the original Sony Ericsson Tablet S; however, there are improvements and tweaks all around.

Sony-Xperia-Tablet-S

The new Xperia Tablet S is slimmer and lighter, and has a diagonal length of 9.4 inches. The specs revealed in the leaked slides were bang-on, and the Xperia tablet comes with an NVidia Tegra 3 chipset, a 1080p IPS display, expandable memory, and 6000 mAh battery. The tablet will hit the shelves with Ice Cream Sandwich; however, a Jelly Bean upgrade is in the works.

The Tablet S is gorgeous and powerful. However, even that might not be enough to guarantee success in the crowded tablet market. And, Sony knows this. The Japanese electronics giant has thrown in quite a few nifty goodies to give the Tablet S an edge.

On the content front, Sony is integrating its multimedia service titled Music and Video unlimited that provides full access to Sony’s online music and video catalogue for a flat subscription fee. 5 GB storage in PlayMemories (Sony’s cloud storage service) is also thrown in.

Sony-Tablet-S-Remote-Control

On the software front, Sony has added a WatchNow app which will act as your personalized TV guide. It will recommend TV shows based on your social stream and viewing preferences, allow you to checkin to TV shows, and talk about your favorite series over various social networks.

Like its predecessor, the Xperia tablet features an IR emitter, which enables it to act as a programmable universal remote. The improved remote control app now supports macros, which will allow you to pre-configure a sequence of commands.

Finally, the Xperia Tablet S features a guest mode, which is great if you are going to share the tablet with your family and friends. Guests will have their own set of preferences and apps, and can be restricted from accessing certain stuff.

Sony-Tablet-S-Keyboard-Cover

As you might expect, Sony is also going to launch a host of accessories for the Tablet S. The most attractive among them is the Microsoft Surface like smart-cover, which is essentially a cover that can double up as a keyboard. There is also a docking stand that can come in handy when you want to get some serious work done on the tablet. Both of these accessories will cost about $100. Other accessories include a dock speaker ($130), a case ($80 for leather and $51 for non-leather), a charging cradle ($40), and a stand ($25).

The Xperia Tablet S will launch on September 7 with the 16 GB version costing $400 and the 32GB and 64 GB models going for $500 and $600 respectively.

Leaked Slides Reveal Sony Xperia Tablet

Several slides, purportedly from Sony, have surfaced online, which offer a sneak peak at Sony’s next Android tablet. In spite of inspired design, Sony’s (then Sony Ericsson) first shot at the tablet market turned out to be a major disappointment. However, the Japanese electronics giant is not giving up.

Sony-Xperia-Tablet-Photo

The new tablet is going to use the Xperia branding, which has so far only been used for smartphones. The new Xperia tablet will sport a slim, splash proof aluminum body with sandblasted, anodized finish that will be only 8.8mm thick. Sony will retain the wedge design, and 9.4-inch display (1280×800) that we saw in the Tablet S.

The Sony Xperia Tablet SGPT1211 will be powered by Tegra 3, and feature PlayStation certification, along with integration with Sony Entertainment Network. It will feature an 8-megapixel rear-cam, and a 1-megapixel front-cam.

Sony-Xperia-Tablet-Multimedia-Features

Sony is also planning to release a bunch of accessories, including a charging cradle, dock speaker, dock stand, tablet stand, carrying case, and LCD screen protector.

According to the source, the Xperia tablet will launch in time for the holiday season. Although the slides suggest that the 16 GB, 32 GB, and 64 GB variants are going to cost $450, $550, and $650 respectively, the tipster believes that all of the units will retail for $50 less than the earmarked price.

Google Announces its New Augmented Reality Glasses

Remember the ultra-futuristic Google Goggles we had reported a couple of months back? Well, they just moved a couple of steps closer towards becoming a reality. A short while back, Google officially acknowledged the existence of the top-secret project, and offered the world a glimpse of its grand vision. Check out the somewhat poetically titled Project Glass video embedded below.

We think technology should work for you—to be there when you need it and get out of your way when you don’t.

A group of us from Google[x] started Project Glass to build this kind of technology, one that helps you explore and share your world, putting you back in the moment. We’re sharing this information now because we want to start a conversation and learn from your valuable input. So we took a few design photos to show what this technology could look like and created a video to demonstrate what it might enable you to do.

Google-Glass-Male

Initial speculation had suggested that Google Glass is going to be similar to an Oakley Thump. Thankfully, the design that Google showed off today is a lot more slick and practical. The new pictures suggest that Google Glass is simply going to be a heads up display (HUD) instead of a full on goggles. As far as functionality is concerned, Google Glass behaves like something right out of a sci-fi flick. Google will tap into several of its services to power the glasses. Google Maps, Latitude, Gmail, Calendar, Picasa, GTalk are some of the obvious ones.

Google-Glass-Female

I would absolutely love to get my hands on one of these uber-geeky gadgets. However, whether or not I will use it daily is another question. For the gadget to be practical, Google will have to make it reliable, intuitive, and unobtrusive.

iPad3 Specification: Improved Display, Camera, and Processor

Apple has just unveiled iPad 3. The conference is still going on, but no major surprises so far. The new iPad features a higher resolution display, improved camera, and a significantly faster processor. We have already discussed the US launch prices of various iPad 3 models. Listed below is iPad 3’s hardware specs.

Apple-iPad

iPad3 Specification

241.2 x 185.7 x 9.4 mm dimension.
9.7-inch multi-touch capable capacitive screen with a resolution of 2047 x 1536 pixels (Retina Display – 264ppi).
A5X processor (Dual-core 1 GHz Cortex-A9) with quad-core graphics (probably PowerVR SGX543MP4).
5-megapixel iSight camera with 5-element lens, backside illumination, and hybrid IR filter. The new camera supports video recording at 1080p. Image resolution is 2592 x 1944 pixels.
4G LTE support for AT&T and Verizon.
Bluetooth 4.0.
10 hours battery life on 4G, and 9 hours on 3G.

Google Goggles with HUD Might Arrive Soon

A couple of years back, Google launched Goggles for Android, which is pretty cool by itself. However, Google is now reportedly trying to build the real thing – an actual goggles with a HUD (heads up display).

9To5Google learnt by the way of a tipster that Google is currently developing wearable glasses that resemble Oakley Thumps. These glasses will be fitted with a tiny HUD for each eye on the sides. The display is expected to provide an augmented reality experience by showing real-time information corresponding to objects in your sight. Navigating the on-screen HUD is said to be as simple as tilting your head. The glasses will have a tiny camera equipped with flash, along with a mic for recieving voice commands. CPU, RAM, and other storage will be equivalent to previous generation Android smartphones, which will be stunning considering the form factor for the device.

Oakley-Thumb
Oakley Thump

The glasses are still a long way from being done, and Google isn’t even sure if there is an actual demand for such a gadget. However, what this clearly illustrates is just how ambitious and bold Google has become. It’s not afraid to invest money and time into projects that almost appear to be science fiction. 9To5 believes that Google might launch a public beta testing program to gauge demand, as it did with the Cr-48 Chromebooks. Let’s hope that they are right.

Dell Re-enters the Ultrabook Arena with XPS 13

Dell was one of the first companies to jump aboard the super-thin laptop bandwagon. However, after the ultraportable Adamo failed to make a dent, Dell seemingly dropped out of the race. It stood by and watched as Apple, Sony, HP, Asus and others flooded the market with ultrabooks during the 2011 holiday season. Now, with the XPS 13, Dell is re-entering the ultraportable laptop arena.

Dell-XPS-13

The XPS 13 is being touted as a 13.3 inch laptop in near 11 inch form factor. Thanks to the resilient edge to edge Gorilla glass, Dell has managed to do away with the bevel almost completely, thus saving previous space. The XPS 13 measures in at 18 mm at its thickest point, and weighs just over 1.36 kg. The ultrabook looks like the a child born out of a marriage between consumer and corporate laptops. The mix of machined aluminum and carbon fiber material used is stunning, but it’s still nowhere near as flashy as the HP Envy. However, this is not necessarily a bad thing.

The XPS 13 is quite obviously not built for gaming or heavy duty multimedia tasks, but it is no pushover either. Consumers have the option of choosing either Core i5 2467M or Core i7 2637M CPU. Dell’s ultrabook will ship with 4 GB RAM, SSD (128 GB or 256 GB), USB 3.0, and almost 9 hours of battery backup.

The XPS 13 will launch in March, and the base model is expected to cost about a thousand bucks.

Full Specification:

  • Ultrathin laptop (0.24-0.71”/6-18mm) with Microsoft Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium; precision machined aluminum with a carbon fiber composite base
  • Intel Core i5 2467M and i7 2637M processor choices
  • 13.3” HD WLED, 300-nit (1366×768) 720p; edge-to-edge hardened Gorilla Glass
  • Intel HD 3000 video graphics
  • 4GB DDR3 SDRAM 1333Mhz memory
  • 128 GB SSD or 256GB SSD drive options
  • Full size, backlit chiclet keyboard; glass integrated button touchpad with multi-gesture support
  • Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6230 802.11 A/G/N and Bluetooth 3.0 wireless connectivity
  • High definition audio with Waves MaxxAudio 4
  • Built-in 47WHr 6-cell battery (Dell XPS 13 batteries are built into the laptop and are not replaceable by the customer) offering up to eight hours, fifty-three minutes of battery life[5]; 45W AC adaptor
  • USB 3.0 (1) + USB 2.0 with PowerShare (1), mini Display-Port, and headset jack (1)
  • Built-in 1.3MP webcam (H.264 enabled via Skype) with dual array digital microphones
  • Dell ProSupport for business customers, Dell Configuration Services and Windows Trusted Platform Module options for commercial models
  • Dimensions: Height: 0.24-0.71” (6-18mm) / Width: 12.4” (316mm) / Depth 8.1” (205mm); Weight: starting at 2.99lbs (1.36 kg)

Update: The Ultrabook is now available for pre-order.

Sony Showcases Intriguing Concept Tablets at CES 2012

Sony’s first attempt at creating bold new tablet devices elicited mixed responses, as the S1 and S2 ended up prioritizing x-factor over plain old usability. However, that hasn’t stopped the Japanese electronics giant from thinking out of the box again.

At this year’s CES, Sony is showcasing two new tablet concepts – the Slate and the Hybrid. The Slate is a sleek tablet with a unique oval design and a beautiful silver back. However, once again, Sony’s penchant for uniqueness means that the tablet is not without its flaws. The bezel is unnecessarily thick, and the rear has oddly placed buttons that might be prone to accidental presses.

Sony-Viao-Slate

Paired with the Slate is an equally stunning wireless keyboard. The remarkable design of the keyboard manages to transform a mundane accessory into something drool worthy.

Sony-Wireless-Keyboard

Sony-Wireless-Keyboard-Thickness

The most noteworthy concept on display was the Hybrid, which is a cross between traditional laptops and tablets. It is essentially a tablet that docks with a keyboard with embedded speakers. Once again, the design is simply stunning. Interestingly enough, the Hybrid also features a blast from the past in the form of a stylus that fits in beneath the keyboard.

Sony-Viao-Hybrid

Even though both of these devices carry the old Vaio tag, they represent intriguing attempts by Sony to redefine what we expect from a tablet. Absolutely nothing is known about the technical specifications of the Hybrid and the Slate, which were tucked inside a glass case to fend off the inquisitive journalists. In fact, we don’t even know if Sony plans on manufacturing them.

HP Unveils New Glassy Ultrabook with Killer Looks and Innovative Features

HP unveiled its new Envy 14 Spectre ultrabook that will be running on the upcoming Ivy Bridge processors that were earlier demoed by Intel. The HP Spectre is definitely a looker. It sports a glossy mid-night black Gorilla-glass lid, is 20 mm thin, and features a 14 inch screen with super thin bezel and Radiance display. HP insists that the glass lid will not compromise the durability of the ultrabook.

HP-Spectre

In terms of configuration, the Spectre is a pretty standard affair with Core i5-2467M CPU and 4 GB of RAM. The battery is said to last for nine hours. Interested users will have the option of upgrading to 256 GB SSD and 8 GB RAM. Typical HP goodies such as impactful speakers with Beats technology, and CoolSense are also present. HP has even thrown in free copies of Photoshop and Premiere Elements 10, along with a two-year subscription to Norton Internet Security. The other differentiating feature of the Spectre comes courtesy the Intel Ivy Bridge processor that includes NFC support.

The Spectre is drool worthy, but it will definitely make your wallet a lot lighter. Priced at $1,399.99, the Spectre is more expensive than the MacBook Air that is likely to be its biggest competitor. The Spectre will launch in the States on Feb 8, and goes on sale in Australia, Canada, Germany, Japan, Singapore, Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom in early March.

1.4 Million Aakash Tablets Booked; Manufacturer Struggles to Cope with Demand

We had earlier reported that India’s Aakash tablet, also known as UbiSlate, had sold out soon after it was up for preorder. At that time, we didn’t have specific sales figures; however, Economic Times has now revealed that as many as 1.4 million Aakash tablets were ordered.

In order to cope with the unexpectedly high demand, the UK-based manufacturer, Datawind, will be establishing three new factories in India. The new manufacturing units will come up in Cochin, Noida and Hyderabad during the first half of this year. The Aakash, which retailed for less than fifty bucks, was conceived as an educational tablet. However, delays on the part of the Indian government has meant that individual customers and corporate clients will probably get the device before educational institutes.

Aakash-Ubislate

The unexpected demand has also brought to light how ill prepared Datawind is to handle significant volumes. “We never expected such a high response from both corporate and individual buyers. We plan to supply 70,000-75,000 units per day once the factories are in place by April,” revealed Suneet Singh Tuli, CEO of Datawind. Digit has highlighted that many customers are in the dark about the status of their shipment and are unsure about how to seek help. Perhaps Datawind needs to take a more proactive approach, or partner with established online retailers like Flipkart in the future.

Samsung Caught Fudging Testimonials, and Lying about Galaxy Tab’s Thickness

Last month, Apple received a fair amount of flak for fudging facts and misquoting rivals during the iPad 2 launch event. However, it seems that Apple is not the only one busy with distorting the truth. Samsung, which has been one of the primary targets of Apple’s reality distortion field, is now trying to return the favor.

Earlier in the week, Samsung unveiled a couple of new Galaxy Tab models at the CTIA the revised Galaxy Tab 10.1″, and a new Galaxy Tab 8.9″. One of the biggest wow factors of the new Galaxy Tab 10.1” is its sleek design. Omar Khan, Chief Strategy Officer and SVP of Products and Services at Samsung, heralded the new Tab as the slimmest tablet in the market. Samsung claimed that the Tab measures in at 8.6 mm, which is 0.2 mm less than Apple’s iPad. However, in reality, the Galaxy Tab is a tad thicker than the iPad 2. It’s still pretty slim, but not slimmer than the iPad. Have a look at the comparison pictures snapped by Information Week’s Fritz Nelson.

Galaxy-Tab-vs-iPad-2-Thickness

Unfortunately, misleading consumers about the Tab’s thickness wasn’t the biggest folly committed by Samsung. During the press event (embedded below), Samsung spent a fair amount of time on its Galaxy Tab Interview Project. The project purported to document how Galaxy Tab changed the life of busy, successful New Yorkers, who were given an opportunity to try the device. The New Yorkers interviewed included freelance travel writer Joan Hess, independent filmmaker Karl Shefelman, and leading real estate CEO Joseph Kolinksi.

The trouble is that these ordinary New Yorkers were gushing about products that aren’t even available in the stores, and they were showering the Tab with cheesy praises that only a PR guy can come up with. Harry McCracken of Technologizer did some digging around, and soon uncovered the real identities of Hess, Shefelman, and Kolinksi. Yes, all of these people exist, but they aren’t who they claimed to be. Joan Hess and Joseph Kolinksi are professional actors, while Karl Shefelman is a filmmaker who works for a NY production company that has done work for Samsung in the past.

It is immoral to fudge minor details here and there, but lying outright by faking testimonials is simply despicable. It’s the act of a company that is desperate. It’s the act of a company that thinks their customers are foolish. This incident demonstrates that Samsung is willing to do whatever it takes to lure customers, even if that means violating established ethical boundaries. Will you be willing to trust such a company with your hard-earned money?

Blackberry Playbook Hands-on Videos

The ; a 7 inch tablet from RIM will be out soon. The tablet was featured at the CTIA 2011 and I got a good chance to play around with the tablet.

Blackberry PlayBook

I must say that I was pretty impressed with the tablet and definitely look forward to it’s release next week. The interface is fluid and smooth. I addition to that, the tablet is a multi-tasking powerhouse with live widgets that will continue to play in the back while you launch other applications.

For example, if you are playing a video and switch to another app, you can still view a live feed of it in the apps panel. The same goes for games, emails, and practically every app.

To know more about the feature take a look at the PlayBook hands-on video I shot at CTIA 2011. Click here or here if you can’t watch the videos.

Motorola XOOM Gets Overclocked to 1.2 GHz

After getting rooted within hours of its release, the Motorola XOOM has been overclocked as well. Michael Huang, the developer of SetCPU, a popular underclocking/overclocking app for Android, has succeeded in pushing the clock speed to 1.2 GHz using a custom kernel. The 20% increase in clock speed allowed the XOOM to touch the 40 MFlops mark in Linpack. However, in reality, XOOM should be able to do better, as Linpack is a single core benchmarking tool, which can’t properly harness the power of the dual-core Tegra 2 powered XOOM.


First OC attempt on the Xoom: Success. 1.2GHz booted and working perfectly.less than a minute ago via web

Huang has promised to make his kernel patch public soon. In the meanwhile, here’s the screenshot of the Linkpack result.

XOOM-Overclocked

Motorola XOOM is a “Google Experience” device, and one of the first Honeycomb powered tablets to hit the market. Honeycomb is a specially crafted version of Android, which is targeted squarely at higher resolution devices like tablets. Riding on the back of a myriad of usability enhancements introduced in Honeycomb, and impressive hardware, the XOOM has been garnering largely positive initial reviews. However, the real test for the XOOM will come once the iPad 2 is launched.

Opera Software Set to Showcase New Tablet Browser at CES 2011

OperaLast year, Opera Software gained attention at the CES by demoing the breezy Opera Mini for iPhone, which went on to become the first non-webkit based alternate browser for the iPhone. This year, the browser maker will be demoing its new browser tailor-made for Android based tablets and netbooks.

In 2011, tablets are a new must-have. Opera is creating waves with the first public preview of Opera for tablets,said Christen Krogh, Chief Development Officer, Opera Software. Opera for tablets brings the same trusted Internet experience to tablets and netbook PCs as users have come to love on their mobile phones and desktops.

Opera for tablets will be based on the yet to be unveiled Opera Mobile 10.5. As you can see in video embedded below, the user interface has been tweaked for bigger screens. Nevertheless, according to Haavard K. Moen, Opera for tablet will be supporting a wide range of form factors, and should be able to adapt itself to both small and large screen sizes. Little else is known about Opera for Tablet. However it will support flash, and should come with all the standard features of Opera Mobile like Opera Turbo, Opera Link (synchronization), speed dials, password manager and kinetic scrolling.

The Notion Ink Adam Fiasco Worsens: Why I Am Not Pre-Ordering, and You Shouldn’t Too

Notion Ink’s Adam was expected by many to be the dream tablet – a tablet that will successfully marry iPad’s elegance and usability with Android’s flexibility. Critiques questioned the ability of a startup with little experience to pull off such grand plans, while others, including me, hoped that Notion Ink might just have what it takes to succeed.

Notion-Ink-Adam

After a long delay, Notion Ink finally opened pre-orders for Adam yesterday. However, things have gone rapidly downhill since then. It’s been one disaster after another. Keith discussed some of the issues raised by Android Police and others. However, that’s not all that bothers me. Some of the other factors raising eyebrows and causing suspicion are:

  1. As pointed out by PhanDroid, NI takes your money even without asking for a shipping address. This has now been fixed, and was possibly an oversight. However, how many oversights can one ignore from a company that is launching an international product that costs around about half a thousand bucks (depends on the model).
  2. We had earlier pointed out the lack of any real pictures or videos of Adam. Once again, it’s possible that this is just a marketing strategy gone wrong. Notion Ink had been building up hype by slowly unveiling the product, and Rohan probably thought that holding back the hands-on videos will probably help sustain the air of mystery. The trouble is that you can’t just expect people to shell out money in blind-faith, especially when you are the new kid in town.

    Notion Ink has now stated that an in-depth video will be released on December 18. The justification being offered is that NI wanted to hold back videos and photos of the actual product, as they intended to demo it at CES 2011. That is a pretty flimsy logic, and also brings me to the third caveat.

  3. Although Notion Ink claims that they will be demoing Adam at the CES, as pointed out by Android Police, they aren’t anywhere to be found in the official CES exhibitors list.

    It’s also worth mentioning that, Adam is yet to receive a formal approval from the FCC. Without that, Notion Ink can’t even ship it to the US. Obviously, NI is confident that Adam will soon be approved. However, this only adds another element of uncertainty to the entire equation.

    Even if all of this is just a series of massive but honest mistakes by Notion Ink, and Adam is not an elaborate scam, I don’t think I can recommend Adam any longer. The main culprit being the refund and return policy.

  4. There is a lot that can go wrong with electronic gadgets, and that is why warranty and return policies are extremely important. Unlike its competition (Apple and Samsung), Notion Ink doesn’t have established retail presence or support centers spread across the globe. Hence, if something goes wrong, you will have to simply ship your device to Notion Ink. This is not an ideal scenario, but could have been acceptable. The trouble is that Notion Ink wants you to bear most of the charges, as a result of which, you will end up paying a hefty amount, even during the warranty period. Here are the relevant sections from the ToS.

    In case your products needs a physical inspection or repair, you need to ship the product with return shipping paid to Notion Ink’s International Service Centre’s along with an transaction number of 9USD payment made on Notion Ink Website as International Service Assistance Fees.

I hope that I am wrong and Notion Ink succeeds. I really do. However, at this moment things are looking bleak. I still believe that the device is real. However, we have to remember that Notion Ink is a new startup without any proven track record. There is uncertainty regarding how they are sourcing the hardware for the device and its quality. There are simply too many unknowns at this moment. It’s obvious that a lot of people are willing to give Notion Ink a chance – the Pixel Qi editions were sold out within hours. Unfortunately, I can no longer be among those recommending Adam.

Rumor: iPad 2 Camera Manufacturer Selected

AppleAlong with Microsoft’s Kinect, the iPad is quite possibly the most popular consumer electronic device of the year. It kick started an entire new segment virtually on its own. Over the past few months, we have seen dozens of tablets being launched by both big and small companies. Unfortunately, none of them have managed to offer strong competition to the iPad.

While others are busy playing catchup, Apple is already working on the iPad’s successor. Rumors about the iPad 2 have already begun to trickle in, mostly via Digitimes and other Chinese news sources. After disclosing that the successor to the highly successful iPad will feature a camera as well as Facetime support, Digitimes has also dug up the name of the manufacturer.

Largan Precision, a Chinese lens manufacturer, which also supplies lenses for the 5 megapixel camera for the iPhone, is the rumored manufacturer of iPad’s camera. The iPad 2 is expected to be launched in Q1 2011.