Tag Archives: Tablet

Renders and Details of Unreleased Sony Xperia Tablet Leak Out

Sony’s unannounced Xperia tablet has been leaked out. Rumoured to be released in September 2012, pictures and specifications of the successor to the Tablet S have been posted on XDA-Developers.

The renders show off what looks to be a ~10″ 1280×800 screen, along with a fairly thick bezel. The regular array of buttons, I/O, and cameras are present. Regular kit in this day and age for a tablet; power button, volume rocker, front facing 1MP camera, 8MP shooter with a cutout for an LED flash…

But look carefully at this next side-profile render. Sony has decided to go with what can only be explained as a “comb-over”. It’s what people do with their hair when they have no idea what the hell do with their hair. Sony must really be out of designs with this one. There’s no need for a large hump, an 8MP sensor is not thick enough to warrant a bump like that. The entire back section is likely housing a battery. The battery is flat, there’s no hump in the 6000mAh battery being used. It seems it’s purely aesthetics. Scratch that. Assthetics.

The Tegra3 powered tablet is reported to be announced in September, and will be available in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB variants for $449, $549, and $649. The only upside to purchasing this tablet, should the render ring true, is that it will be coming with Ice Cream Sandwich.

If Sony’s track record tells you anything, it’s to learn to enjoy the release of Android that your unit ships with. When Google releases new code, Sony will most likely decide to skip your device updates in a transparent attempt and getting you to upgrade. Just be happy they didn’t put a Memory Stick Duo Pro slot in, instead of a microSD one.

HP Still Hinting Towards Tablets

Although HP’s investment in Palm went down in glorious flames with the TouchPad, they clearly haven’t given up in the tablet market yet.

At the end of July, HP posted the “Make it Matter” commercial on YouTube. While the video is an entire minute of inspirational crud, at the 35 second mark there is a whitecoat clad chap sporting a tablet. So HP still wants to make tablets? That’s inspirational. A closer shot of the device can be seen right at the end of the video.

He may not have a shadow, or a soul, but he definitely has what might be the HP Slate 8. Oh look at that, so does she…

Given the style of the commercial, and some more recently seen advertisements that include the same device, Hewlett-Packard is very clearly going after both the small enterprising business owner, and large corporate crowd.

HP hasn’t officially talked about the tablet, so no specification are available. Looking at the pictures we can clearly see the 3.5mm auxiliary jack, a power button, and silent switch on the right portion, and what might be a lanyard or lock spot on the left side of the device. It’s a bit thick, looks to be around 10″ and largely uncomfortable to hold. The upper black portion is likely where the WiFi and/or cellular antenna would be housed.

Rumour is that the Slate will be running Windows 8. Well, what are the other options? Let’s see, use their open sourced webOS platform? Nope. License Android? Highly unlikely. They’ll probably ship with Windows 8, which recently hit RTM status. Wait, yes, of course they will ship with Windows 8. Meg Whitman specifically said so. So did these slides.

 

So there we go. HP Slate 8. Windows 8. Coming soon.

Apple Continues to Dominate the Tablet Market in Q2 2012

Apple has been ruling the tablet market with the iPad since it first launched it in 2010. In a way, it created the market for tablets when everyone else had just given up by creating one of the best tablets to date — the iPad — and creating a complete ecosystem around it.

Even though the iPad is one of Apple’s most relatively inexpensive products, it is still priced higher than most new Android tablets, which have been priced at around the $200 to $400 range to beat the iPad on price, since none of them can beat it on design, features or anything else just yet.

There has been speculation that while Apple will continue to sell tons of iPads, its market share will drop significantly in the coming years, as competing Android and Windows 8 tablets start beating it in unit sales, if not profits.

However, according to some new numbers by Strategy Analytics, Apple continues to wipe the floor with its competitors, and is still dominating the tablet market, even more so in the last quarter, after the launch of the iPad 3.

Apple sold nearly 17 million iPad units in Q2, up 84% year-over-year, generating more than $9 billion in revenue. The total tablet shipments in Q2 2012 were 24.9 million, which gives Apple a 68.3% market share. Android comes a distant second with 7.3 million unit sales, or a 29.3% market share, while Microsoft and others lag far behind.

In the next couple of quarters, Apple’s share may decline again, as Windows 8 tablets gain market share and Google’s Nexus 7 and other cheap Android tablets gain traction too.

However, the iPad will continue to lead the tablet market for years to come, at least when it comes to profits. If Apple launches the iPad Mini as rumored, then it may be able to easily grab even more marketshare, by not leaving a price umbrella for its competitors.

via Techcrunch

Rumor: Amazon Working on 5-6 Kindle Fire 2 Variants

Amazon may be planning to launch more than five different variants of the Kindle Fire, all with different display sizes, including a 10 inch model.

The original Kindle Fire had a 7 inch display, and was a fairly huge hit. However, with Google launching the Nexus 7, and Apple reportedly working on an iPad Mini, Amazon may feel the need to compete in different segments.

If it does decide to launch multiple tablets, we expect them to be priced extremely cheaply, at just about break-even levels. Amazon aims to make money not by selling tablet hardware, but by selling digital content to its tablet users.

It has been building out its digital content ecosystem over the last couple of years, and that could generate a significant amount of revenue in the coming years, boosting its low margins.

Since the launch of the Kindle Fire, Amazon’s share of the online video and music market has increased significantly. Amazon may also be planning to launch a smartphone soon, to compete with the iPhone and other Android smartphones.

We certainly expect to see at least a smartphone, a 7 inch Kindle Fire and a 10 inch Kindle Fire before the end of the year. However, 5 to 6 different models may be a long shot. In any case, we will know soon.

via Reuters

Tablet Showdown: Google Nexus 7 vs Microsoft Surface vs Apple iPad 3

The launch of Nexus 7 by Google has set the tablet industry ablaze, not for producing a super cheap tablet, but for packing in a fully featured tablet for a small price tag of $199. So let’s see how well does it stacked up against the new iPad, the current undisputed king of the tablet world, and Microsoft’s own Surface, which was released just two weeks back.

Comparison: Google Nexus 7 vs Microsoft Surface vs Apple iPad 3Nexus 7 vs Microsoft Surface vs Apple iPad 3

Spec Nexus 7 Microsoft Surface New iPad
Operating System Android 4.1 Jelly Bean Windows 8 iOS 6
Display 7” 1280×800 IPS Display 10.6” ClearType HD Display 9.7” 2048×1536 IPS Display
Camera 1.2MP front camera

5MP rear and 0.3MP front camera

Memory 1 GB RAM

Unknown

1 GB RAM

Storage 8GB and 16GB 32GB, 64GB for Surface RT and 64GB, 128GB for Surface Pro 16GB, 32GB and 64GB
CPU Quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 processor

Nvidia ARM processor on Surface RT and Intel iCore i5 on Surface Pro

1.0 Ghz Dual-core Apple A5X processor

Connectivity
  • WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
  • Bluetooth
  • MicroUSB
  • NFC
  • GPS
Surface RT is WiFi Only while Surface Pro will be WiFi + 3G/4G LTE
  • WiFi 802.11 b/g/n/a
  • Bluetooth
  • MicroUSB
  • HDMI
  • 3G/4G
Misc.
  • Google now
  • Play Music
  • Play Magazines
  • Play Books
  • Play Movies
  • Office
  • Touch Cover
  • Pen with Palm Block
  • Siri
  • Newstand
  • Game Center
  • Photo Booth
Dimensions 198.5 x 120 x 10.45mm Unknown 241.2 x 185.7 x 9.4 mm
Thickness 10.45mm Surface RT – 9.3mm
Surface Pro – 13.5mm
9.5mm
Battery 4325 mAh (Upto 8 hours of active use) Unknown 11560 mAh (Upto 10 hours of active use)

Verdict

This ‘pure Google experience’ tablet has fragmented the tablet market into two sections — The premium section led by the iPad and the affordable section for which the Nexus 7 has been made for.

In the upcoming 6-7 months, I’m pretty sure that the Nexus 7 will cover a significant tablet market share by focusing sorely on the ‘Affordable’ section while iPad will undoubtedly remain the king of the ‘Premium’ section. The real challenge will certainly be felt by the Microsoft Surface, which will have a tough time trying to enter in a market that exists between these two sections.

What I Wish Today’s Microsoft Announcement Will Be

Windows Logo

On Thursday June 14, late in the afternoon, Microsoft sent out invites to media for a special event in Los Angeles, CA which promised to be a major announcement not to be missed. Since it was so cryptic, it created a flurry of rumors, leaks and conjecture. Several pundits have written about what it could be, connected the dots and come to a conclusion and in fact this morning, one of those guesses was even shot down.

Instead of trying to think of what it could be, I am going to write about what I hope it will be. Based on the fact that this event is in Los Angeles, I am hoping it has everything to do with entertainment tie-ups. At E3 earlier this month, Microsoft took the wraps off their new entertainment brand (Xbox-everything) and showed some bits of their new (improved?) Xbox Companion app, Smart Glass. Also, Microsoft gave a glimpse of Xbox Music, their successor to the Zune Music service. However, neither Smart Glass nor Xbox Music were looked at in detail. What we do know is they said that the Xbox Music service will have a catalog of 30 million tracks (compared to Zune Music today, which is around 20 million).

So, here’s my list of what I hope may come today:

  • Details of Xbox Music service: Additional deals to get the catalog from today’s 20 million tracks to the promised 30 million. Also, most importantly, access for the service from other platforms besides Windows (8, RT and Phone) – so, iOS apps and Android apps.
  • Unveiling of Xbox Video service: While it was made clear that Xbox is the center of Microsoft’s entertainment strategy, not much was discussed about Xbox Video. I hope that Microsoft is able to cut some deals with Hollywood to get exclusive content built into Xbox Video. Hollywood has got to be scared of Apple (and Netflix), so a good tie up with Microsoft would of course make sense for them.
  • Merge Zune Music Pass and Xbox LIVE Gold: The most ridiculous thing about Xbox as an entertainment device is that to access almost any entertainment service on the Xbox, you need an Xbox LIVE Gold account, listed at $60/year. Although there are a lot of promotions for the Gold account (Amazon routinely sells these for $45 or so), it is still an unnecessary cost for normal (read: non-gaming) customers to access services they already pay for. On the other hand, Zune Music Pass is an awesome subscription service which can be accessed over the Xbox in addition to the PC and Windows Phone. It is time for Microsoft to merge the two and call it the Xbox Pass which enables access to the video services on the Xbox platform, as well as unlimited music.
  • Xbox Lite: The Xbox today is still seen as a gaming device which can also do entertainment, never mind the stats which show that Xbox users now consume more content on the device than play games. Also, a lot of households have multiple TV sets and getting a $200 Xbox for each TV may not be worth it just for say, Netflix and Hulu. What if Microsoft made a Xbox Lite which like Apple TV would have close to no storage and would not be used for gaming. This would work great for the non-gaming customers who want to consume the unlimited music catalog and also get access to the tons of video services now available on the Xbox. If it is priced at $79, it would be a super hit, I’d imagine.
  • Announce global availability of all of the above: Most of the Zune/Xbox LIVE services are poorly represented around the world. It would be fantastic if Microsoft is able to get availability parity across the globe.

Note, I am staying away from tablets, phones and cellular stuff. I do hope that it is not about a Microsoft tablet or a Nokia phone. On the cellular front though, some random rumor about a Verizon event have some tie in to this Microsoft announcement intrigues me – Verizon is a huge hold out when it comes to Windows Phones and any partnership they have with Microsoft, I see it as a positive step.

What do you think? Too much to hope for?

Google Pad Coming Up In July

Google had initially planned to launch an iPad competitor in May, but the release of that device has been delayed till at least July to give it a competitive price. Said to be priced at around $200 (down from the original $250), this device is almost a steal when compared to the reduced-price iPad versions.

There were always strong rumors about Google releasing its tablet in the first half of this year. Currently,  the company plans to seek approval from Chinese authorities to go ahead and use Motorola facilities to manufacture hardware products that it will release in future.d to the reduced-price iPad versions. As Google already offers phones co-
stared by Samsung, moving into the tablet market will not be a random move as it partners with Asus in this venture.

Techie-buzz has already broken the news that the tablet will be available through the Google online tablet stores. Google has recently rebranded their market place as Google Play, which collates its app stores, ebook stores, and so on. As its ecosystem is setting up, hopefully, this product will not be a fiasco like the Google phone (though there are claims that it was a pilot test for Google anyway). It remains to be seen if that product was just a dry run for mass deployment of future Google hardware products.

Some features that are rumored to be part of the Google tablet are:

  • 7-inch display
  • Wifi
  • Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich
  • Nvidia Tegra 3 quad-core processor (or dual-core processor)

The question on my mind is on which features will Google compromise on save costs; the hardware quality or the processor?

This device would also be a strong competitor for the Kindle Fire. It seems to target the market segment where volume sales are a higher priority than quality features (as is the iPad’s focus). It is already hard enough for other devices like the Kindle Fire to even come close to matching the iPad’s popularity primarily because of its lack of hardware features like the camera, in addition to the relatively smaller repository of apps. It remains to be seen what the “Google Pad” will bring to the market.

Nexus Tablet: Why It is Different from a Nexus Phone

Google Nexus Phone

In the past few days, the rumors of Google making and selling their own tablet have gained steam. The rumors also point to a Kindle Fire-like price point of $199. The instant reaction is to look at Google’s earlier attempt to sell hardware directly to consumers, the Nexus One phone. We know it was a failed experiment which Google acknowledged, by shutting down the operations.

Nexus tablet, on the other hand, is a completely different story. I have firmly believed that tablets should not be sold by the carriers. Yes, there are some options with tablets where you can get cellular broadband service, but first and foremost, a tablet should be sold like a PC. I mean, a computer store or a consumer electronics store. Best Buy, Fry’s Electronics and the like. The carriers can also hop in and sell the 3G/4G versions of the tablets like they tried selling the 3G-enabled netbooks. So, taking the sales point away from the carrier stores is a good sign. Compare this with the phone where, at least in the US, it is extremely hard to sell a phone without subsidies. Nokia tried it long time ago and failed. Even Apple briefly tried the unsubsidized route but realized people are much more sensitive to upfront price than you would think. Given that the sale of the phone is tied so much to a carrier, it does not make much sense to conduct the sale away from the carrier. Apple is clearly an exception here, like in many business processes today.

Secondly, the price. If the rumors are true and the tablet is in fact around $199, it will be a huge win. A stock Android tablet with no “skins” installed, for $199 could be an interesting device. Kindle Fire has its ecosystem to rely upon but out of the box, it does limit which Android apps can run on the device. If a Nexus tablet can run all Android apps, and additionally support Amazon media consumption (either via Amazon apps like Kindle app or via the browser for Amazon Video), it becomes a superset of the Fire, for the same price as the Fire. Yes, the current Android tablets already do all of that, I understand. However, none of them have gained any traction yet, and if Google can get behind the marketing and sales, and create a Nexus phone-style clean and crisp user experience, I think users may get interested.

In fact, if this strategy does not work, you can presumably call it the end of the road for Android tablets.

Google Planning to Launch Online Tablet Store

Google may be planning to launch its own online tablet store, according to a report by the WSJ.

Google is rumored to be working on its own Nexus tablets, to target the budget segment and capture more share of the tablet market, since it clearly hasn’t been able to do very well in competing with the iPad in the premium segment.

Speculation suggests that it may sell not only its own Nexus tablets, but also other co-branded tablets directly to consumers through its store.

With its Motorola acquisition, Google now has the capabilities to manufacture its own hardware, besides working with hardware partners.

Google has tried the direct online sales model before in the smartphone market, with the Nexus One, but it didn’t do very well in the U.S., where most smartphone sales are driven by carriers. However, the tablet market is quite different, with sales driven by retailers.

Like smartphones, Google doesn’t intend to make money directly from tablet sales, but by mobile advertising on tablet devices. Having an online store will allow it to lower costs, and offer its tablets for even lower.

Unlike the smartphone market, which is currently dominated by Android, Google has failed to capture much market share in the tablet space, which is still ruled by the Apple iPad.

With Windows 8 still months away from launch, Google has a good window of opportunity to capture a majority market share at least in the budget segment.

Why Android Tablet Makers are Screwed and Apple Will Have the Last Laugh

Working title: Why Android Tablet Makers are Screwed and Apple Will Continue to Capture Most of the Tablet Industry’s Profits

It’s clear now that Apple is positioning the iPad as a reasonably priced tablet, which provides the best experience to users. Initially, almost all Android tablets were priced much higher than the iPad, but once that strategy failed, most of them are now focusing on the budget segment to capture tablet market share.

The iPad, which was one of the best priced tablet just a couple of quarters ago, now seems like one of the most relatively expensive ones. However, it remains one of the most low priced Apple products, and the best tablet you can buy. This is why despite the flood of cheap Android tablets, Apple still commands a majority market share, and an even higher proportion of the tablet industry’s total profits.

Apple iPad
The iPad. Being smug. Rightfully though.

Amazon was the first tablet maker to kick off the race to the bottom, with the $200 Kindle Fire. It has been a hit in terms of sales, but has weighed on Amazon’s profit margins, with Amazon taking a small loss on each sale.

Now, almost everyone is competing with each other to launch a cheaper Android tablet. Google itself is rumored to be working on a $199 Nexus tablet, which would force other tablet makers to price their products even lower. Once you start competing on price, with no other differentiating feature, it doesn’t take long for the whole segment to become loss making as a whole.

The only tablet maker which isn’t competing on price is Apple, and they don’t really need to, with iPads selling like hot cakes, and selling way more than all Android tablets combined, despite being priced much higher.

Windows 8 is still at least 6 months away from launch, and Windows 8 tablets will likely be priced higher than the entry level iPad, which now starts at $399.

In the meanwhile, while Android tablet app support remains pathetic, Apple continues to improve the iPad ecosystem, further bolstering its position as the best tablet on the market, increasing the gap between the iPad and every other tablet on the market.

This is why, despite having a lower profit margin for the iPad relative to its other products, Apple seems to be the only tablet maker which can remain largely profitable in the long run, while Android tablet makers fight amongst themselves and bleed each other with losses, with only a few biggies like Samsung and HTC possibly standing till the end.

PS: Even Amazon is positioned well, as it never intended to make money by selling the Kindle Fire hardware, but on digital content that it could sell to Kindle Fire users. Most other Android tablet makers are screwed, because selling hardware is the only way they intend to make money, and that seems to be a game in which the only winning move is to not play at all.

Amazon Kindle Fire
This little guy spoiled it for everyone. Some men just want to watch the world burn.