Apple’s iPad has dominated the tablet market for quite a few years now. Nonetheless, many Android tablets have taken a shot at the iPad, and according to recent stats, they are succeeding. The tablet space is finally seeing some fair competition, now that Android tablets have captured 20% of the tablet market. Now, a new player has entered the tablet space. Aaron Seigo has revealed a new tablet called Spark, based on the KDE Plasma Active interface.
The biggest complain that open-source advocates have against Android, is that all the Android development done by handset manufacturers happens behind closed doors. This goes against the true philosophy of Open Source. This Plasma Active based tablet, developed by Aaron Seigo and team, aims to change this scenario. This tablet will be unlocked, and will sport a Linux stack, making it open in every possible form. The hardware specs of Spark are given as
The hardware is modest but compelling: 1 GHz AMLogic ARM processor, Mali-400 GPU, 512 MB RAM, 4GB internal storage plus SD card slot, a 7″ capacitive multi-touch screen and wifi connectivity.
Moreover, the price of the tablet is 200 euros or a decent $260, which is acceptable for the features it has to offer. The Spark tablet has big ambitions for the future.
The people who get to use these tablets will have in their hands a device that is more than an application bucket that sees them as a consumer. They will have a device that places value on who they are and what they are doing. This lies at the heart of Activities in Plasma Active and the open software stack will drive that trend further.
Let us see if it is able to capture the interest of the regular tablet consumer and the open source enthusiast.
Ultra Violet (UV) rays have magical powers. At the right wavelength they can be used to disinfect surfaces. During a startup event in Syracuse, I saw a demo of the concept being used to cleanse door handles. It seemed cool and somehow I forgot about it till I came across a patent application filed by Microsoft.
If you thought finger smudges were the only issue when it came to touch screen computers, there is the cleanliness aspect as well. Knowing people who would spend 20 minutes wiping the keyboard and mouse in my school’s computer lab, I believe there are people who would love to have self-cleaning touch screen devices. Then there are hospitals and public systems like the automated teller machines. Microsoft’s patent application uses UV rays to sterilize the touch screens.
UV rays at a particular frequency can kill germs and the concept is known as Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation (UVGI). Quoting parts of the Wikipedia article on the topic:
UVGI is a highly effective method of destroying microorganisms. It is used in a variety of applications, such as food, air and water purification. UVGI utilises the short wavelength of UV that is harmful to microorganisms. It is effective in destroying the nucleic acids in these organisms so that their DNA is disrupted by the UV radiation. This removes their reproductive capabilities and kills them.
According to the patent application, the concept is fairly simple. In addition to the backlight LEDs, the devices will now have UV LEDs too. The system will make use of proximity sensors to determine if a user is close to the system and deactivate the sterilization process. If not, the UV rays would be activated. The idea is simple and from the demo I saw on the concept, public touch screen based computing systems should use it. Image from the patent:
If Microsoft plans to let its OEM partners leverage Microsoft’s IP to make such self-cleaning tablet devices for hospitals, it’d be a great USP over the iPad and get Windows 8 based tablets through the door in enterprise.
Earlier this month, HTC announced its first tablet device, the HTC Flyer at the Mobile World Congress 2011 in Barcelona. It runs on the Android 2.4 (Gingerbread) operating system. Recently, the Wi-Fi only version of the HTC Flyer has been emerged in the Germany. CyberPort, a popular online retailer in Germany, is currently taking pre-order for the Wi-Fi only version of the HTC Flyer. Check out the complete specs below.
HTC Flyer features a 7 inch touch-sensitive TFT screen with 1024 X 600 pixels resolution, 1.5 GHz Processor, Android 2.4 OS, HTC Sense, Bluetooth 3.0 with A2DP, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, 5 megapixel colour camera with auto focus, 1.3 megapixel front camera, 3.5 mm stereo audio jack, Micro-USB, 32 GB internal memory, 1 GB Micro SD memory card extension, GPS, up to 820 hours stand-by time, up to 4 hours vieo playback and a 4000 mAh battery.
HTC Flyer comes with the HTC Watch service, which allows you to download hundreds of HD movies from major studios. The original HTC Flyer is up for pre-order at Amazon Germany for â‚¬669 (approx. $915). The Wi-Fi only version of the HTC Flyer is currently up for pre-order at CyberPort in Germany for â‚¬499 (approx. $620/ Rs.28,000). Which version of HTC Flyer will you buy? Or you will go for other Honeycomb tablets? Let us know your views in the comments below.
Last 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.
If you are curious, here’s the latest peek at the Chrome OS wallpaper and screensaver.
(Wallpaper: click to enlarge)
(Screensaver: click to see animation)
Naturally, these images could change any time before the actual release.
Some people believe that the delays in Chrome OS are due to Android being used in more and more devices. Some say that there isn’t a big demand for a cloud OS that depends entirely on web apps. For a good example of a cloud OS, see Jolicloud.
After Samsung and Binatone launched their tablet device, NEC launched its Android-based tablet in India. The 7 inch NEC tablet is powered by Android 2.1 Operating System and it comes with a 3 megapixel camera, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi Connectivity and so on.
“Due to recent corporate demand to reduce IT investment expenses and total cost of operations (TCO), both the interest in cloud computing and its actual use have steadily increased. The LifeTouch cloud communicator enables corporate customers to generate new revenues through customer services and to improve the efficiency of business operations through an optimized user interface,” NEC said in a statement.
It features a 7 inch LCD display, Android 2.1 OS, ARM Cortex A8 processor, four navigational buttons, 3 megapixel camera, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth connectivity, stylus and finger touch, A-GPS, G-sensor, accelerometer, light sensor and so on.
The price and availability of this device is still unknown, but the price is expected to be less than Rs.10,000.
Binatone, a UK-based telecom giant, launched a new touch tablet in India, the Binatone Home Surf. This tablet is powered by the Android Operating System. Binatone Home Surf touch tablet is the third Android tablet launched in India after the Olivepad VT100 and Infibeam Phi.
According to Mr. Sat Murthi, Executive Vice President Binatone India said, We are committed to breaking the barriers of technology reaching the masses. Our products are specifically Indianised with special features like Audio boost, Power saveand Binatone Zone, which all have been carefully market researched and implemented to address the specific Indian needs. He went on to outline development of futuristic products with solar charger mobile handsets to address the frequent power outages in rural markets.”
Binatone Home Surf touch tablet runs Android 1.6. It features an 8 inch resistive screen, ultra slim design, 667 MHz ARM 11 processor, Wi-Fi, 2GB of internal storage, 128 MB RAM and more. This tablet is said be as slim as the popular Apple iPad.
Binatone plans to invest Rs 50 crores in the next 12 months in technology, product development and marketing. They are also planning to launch low cost 3G handsets by end of the year to cater to the deployment of newer technologies in India.
This tablet is priced at just Rs.8,990. Are you planning to buy this device? Let us know your views in the comments below.
Research in Motion, the creators of the famous BlackBerry have filed a trademark in Canada for SurfBook. According to rumors this is probably going to be name for the upcoming BlackBerry tablet.
According to the trademark unearthed by Tablets Unleashed, the trademark has been filed to the word SurfBook / Surf Book with the Canadian government. The trademark application was filed on August 9th, 2010 and has several users according to the Wares section. So is this what the new BlackBerry Tablet will be called?
The much-hyped $35 tablet announced by the Indian government is on track, and is expected to arrive before January 10, 2011. LiveMint is reporting that the contract for manufacturing the low-end tablet has been awarded to HCL Technologies Ltd, which will be manufacturing 100,000 units.
Back in July, India’s HRD (Human Resource Development) minister had created a flutter by promising to deliver an Android tablet to students for just $35. Initially, in spite of the hands on demo provided by Mr Kapil Sibbal, many pundits maintained that the tablet was priced too aggressively to become a reality. Nevertheless, this announcement should help the device in shedding its vaporware status.
IIT (Indian Institute of Technology) Rajasthan has been tasked with carrying out intensive laboratory and field tests across the country. The government is hoping to make the affordable portable computing device available to university level students from the second half of next year.
The ambitious touchscreen tablet which runs on Android OS also has a camera and 2GB or RAM. It also contains several ports including USB port, Mini SD card slot along with a SIM card slot for 3G access. The device is both Wi-Fi and 3G enabled, so you can easily use it on the go.
The 7" and 9" Android based laptop can also be run on solar power besides the batter operated system. It has also got an virtual keyboard and a stylus for more touch screen comfort. It also has a eBook reader.
Indian HRD minister Kapil Sibal has promised that the gadget will be made available exclusively for Indian students for a price of Rs. 1,500. The minister has also promised that million of units of the $35 laptop/tablet will be produced soon. There was no fixed date as to when it would be unveiled in the retail market.
Here is an hands-on video of the Indian $35 tablet/laptop and interview with the HRD minister Kapil Sibal whose dream and vision was used in creating the device.
What do you think about the $35 laptop? Would you purchase it when it released in the Indian retail market, or would you rather go and buy a high end laptop from other popular manufactures. After all you hardly get any par Rs. 1,500 devices these days.
Let the “iPad Killer” hype begin. According to multiple unconfirmed reports, Samsung is all set to unveil the Galaxy S tablet, whose existence was confirmed back in June.
Very little concrete information is available about the Samsung Tab, other than that it will run on Android 2.2 and will feature a 7 inch screen. PCWorld expects it to be powered by a 1.2 GHz A8 processor, with a Super AMOLED screen, 16 GB of internal storage and 32 GB MicroSD expansion.
There is a good possibility that the tablet will be officially announced on August 11. Samsung has already invited members of the tech press to celebrate “a new dimension of Wonder with new products and announcements” in an event scheduled to be held on August 11.
In related news, the other highly anticipated tablet – Notion Ink’s Adam, is also making steady progress. The Adam, which is expected to arrive by October, has already passed the HALT (Highly Accelerated Life Test) test and Notion Ink is preparing to revamp its brand identity.
Cisco has finally entered into the tablet market with the launch of its Android based tablet named Cisco Cius. Cisco believes that Cius is a business tablet and it is definitely not a competitor of Apple iPad. This device has a 7 inch diagonal, high-resolution color screen with contact-based touch targets which delivers an elegant and intuitive experience. Check out the specs of this device below.
Atom Processor 1.6Ghz
32GB of Flash storage
802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, 3G/4G
HD video (720p) with Cisco TelePresence
7diagonal (unknown exact resolution)
External display support
Virtual desktop client
Android operating system
Cisco Quad, Cisco Show and Share, WebEx, Presence, and IM
Cisco AnyConnect Security VPN Client
This device can run modified Android Apps as well as Cisco’s software products such as Cisco Quad, WebEx, Show and Share, Presence and Cisco TelePresence. It has support for both USB 2.0 and Bluetooth 3.0 keyboards, mouse, and headsets. The Intel Atom 1.6-Ghz processor and 32-GB of flash memory allows you to run and store Android applications locally.
Cius supports various connectivity options such as 3G/4G, Wi-Fi, Micro-USB and Bluetooth. This device has a front facing camera with HD (720p) video recording capability and a 5 megapixel rear-facing camera. These cameras can be easily used for teleconferencing. The price of this device is not announced yet and it is expected to be shipped in early 2011.
While the iPad has been setting tablet computing on fire, a tiny Indian startup, Notion Ink has been working diligently to roll out its own tablet computer – Adam. We covered Adamfairlyextensively in the past, including an exclusive interview with its CEO Rohan Shravan.
Some recent reports suggested that Adam might have been delayed until November. Notion Ink has now come out and debunked those rumors without promising any specific release date. “We are on track” is all Rohan Shravan revealed in his blog post. This probably means that Adam will be launched in a couple of months. However, like the iPad, Adam will have a staggered roll out all over the world. The good news for Indians waiting for a competitive tablet device is that India will definitely be among the first to receive the gadget.
Notion Ink has also closed their final round of fund raising. Once again, they didn’t provide any specifics, but Shravan did seem pretty jubilant about it. He wrote, “We have closed the final round of funding and are now in perfect sync with our investors. This is extremely good news for everyone. I say that, because if we have Global ambitions, there must be someone who can help us achieve that. And now we have got the muscle power”.
The Adam is an nVidia Tegra 2 powered Android tablet with Pixel Qi technology, which ensures readability even under direct sunlight. A cheaper version with normal LCD screen will also be available for users who don’t plan on doing too much reading on the Adan. In fact, we may even get a third variation, which is supposed to run on a mysterious battery efficient platform.
Whether Fusion Garage is a fraudulent entity or not is something the courts will have to decide. Nevertheless, they have now proved that they are at the very least dumber than dirt.
Apparently, Fusion Garage wanted to gather feedback from their entire customer base. So, they fired off the following mail to their customers:
Dear Sir and Madam,
Thank you for supporting JooJoo.
We hope to get your feedback about the JooJoo Tablet.
Please revert back to us want you think of our product.
Please drop us a line on how your JooJoo is working.
The trouble is that not only did their customer relations guy not know how to use a spell checker, but he was also oblivious to the purpose of the Bcc (Blind Carbon Copy) field. You can very well guess what happened next.
JooJoo Support dispatched the email using the CC field and in the process revealed the e-mail id of its entire user base.
As if this guffaw alone wasn’t embarrassing enough, it also revealed that Fusion Garage has managed to sell a grand total of 64 units. Yes, JooJoo has managed to do the seemingly impossible. It is faring even poorer than the rock bottom market expectations.
Update: Fusion Garage has denied that this e-mail represents their entire customer base. Apparently, this mail was intended for only a select group of customers. See the comments section for more information.
Google is on the edge of announcing its own Google Tablet PC. The tablet is expected anytime now, given that Eric Schmidt was recently describing it to some of his friends at a party in Los Angeles. NYTimes reports the device to be an e-reader that will also behave like a computer. It is quite obvious from these facts that it will be powered by the Android OS.
The choice of the OS also ends at Google Chrome which provides some basic cloud services. Though, Android is a better choice, given a huge developers community and the customizations that can be carried out on this scalable OS.
If and when this tablet arrives, it will be the perfect challenge to the Apple iPad. Currently, Google is the only company which would dare to stand up against the iPad and bring out its own tablet. Google’s services and their integration with the Google tablet will make it a hot favorite amongst avid internet users.
The Google Tablet will be heavily web based and will offer cloud storage. However, if this device is a response to the iPad pressure, it will not fare well. Google should stick to its charisma and simply do its original thing.