Amazon to Launch its Android Tablet on September 28?

Remember that rumored Android tablet that Amazon was working on? From the looks of it, it seems like it may be closer to launch than we previously thought. We estimated that the tablet would be launched in October or November, in time for the holiday shopping season. Apparently, Amazon is planning to launch it much sooner.

Amazon has been sending out invites for a press conference that it is holding on September 28. While it hasn’t announced what it could be, my guess is that it’s going to be its new Android tablet.

Amazon has the best chance of beating the iPad in terms of sales, by pricing its tablet at nearly half of what the iPad is priced at. Here’s why I think Amazon may beat the iPad: Why Amazon May Have the Best Chance at Dethroning the iPad

The Amazon Android tablet will apparently have a 7 inch touchscreen display and should come with a customized version of Android, integrated with Amazon’s various services. It should be priced under $300.

Stay tuned, we will be covering the announcement by Amazon on September 28.

Amazon Announcement

Motorola’s Unannounced Tablet Caught In The Wild

The Motorola XOOM was the first Android 3.0 Honeycomb powered tablet. For an iPad competitor, the XOOM was nothing short of a disaster. Compared to the iPad 1 and iPad 2, the XOOM was bulky, slow and buggy.

Motorola_7_tab

Motorola’s CEO Sanjay Jha had hinted earlier this year that the company will release a funand portabletablet for consumers. Now, the folks over at This Is My Next have got their hands on a leaked picture of the upcoming tablet from the Google-owned-Motorola.

From the leaked picture, this new tablet from Motorola looks pretty sleek and sexy, unlike the XOOM. The styling of this unannounced tablet from Motorola is clearly influenced from the recently released Photon 4G. From the picture, it also looks like the tablet will have a microUSB port and a mini-HDMI port.

Hopefully, unlike the XOOM, this new tablet from Motorola will be priced sensibly. Also, I hope Motorola will not make any promises which it is not able to fulfill. (Hint: XOOM’s 4G LTE update)

Perhaps, Motorola will announce this new tablet in conjunction with Google’s announcement of the next version of Android?

Notion Ink CEO Confirms That Google Will Launch Android Ice Cream Sandwich in October

Ever since details of the next version of the Android OS – Ice Cream Sandwich – were revealed, there has been a lot of speculation about when it will be released. If I were Google, I would do it slightly before Apple launches the iPhone 5, to take at least some of the attention off the new iPhone.

Apparently, Google plans to do the same. Apple is expected to launch the iPhone 5 in mid-October, and according to rumors, Google will launch Ice Cream Sandwich before the end of October.

Today, Notion Ink CEO, Rohan Shravan, confirmed that Google has already started seeding manufacturers with Android Ice Cream Sandwich, and that it will be launched before the end of October. He also stated that while Notion Ink hasn’t been provided access to Ice Cream Sandwich, he plans to update the Notion Ink Adam with Ice Cream Sandwich by November. Hopefully, the biggies like Samsung, HTC and Motorola will also follow suit.

Ice Cream Sandwich will be a unified OS for both smartphones and tablets. It will likely be launched with the Google Nexus Prime, Google’s next Nexus device after the Nexus S. The reference platform for Ice Cream Sandwich will be the TI OMAP4.

Android fans, the wait is nearly over. Until the actual launch, check out these images of Android Ice Cream Sandwich.

Touch Me! Microsoft gets ready for BUILD

build

We were greeted to Windows 95’s launch by The Rolling Stones’ Start Me Up, a reminder of the new, but now iconic Start button in Windows. Maybe for Windows 8, Microsoft should use The Doors’ Touch Me.

//build/

We have been waiting anxiously for this day to arrive. Tomorrow, after months of keeping a tight leash (leaks notwithstanding) on the progress of or the details about Windows 8, Microsoft will reveal its newest operating system to the world at BUILD.

BUILD is Microsoft’s new developer-focused conference, a combination of PDC (Professional Developers’ Conference) and WinHEC (Windows Hardware Engineering Conference). It is being held at the Anaheim Convention Center, Anaheim, CA.

What we know

Ever since Steven Sinofsky and Julie Larson-Green revealed Windows 8 at All Things D’s D9 conference in June this year, the anticipation and expectations have gone up for what Windows 8 will be. Windows 8 sports a brand new Metro style interface with its big tiles. This interface is obviously suited to touch gestures and along with the upcoming Xbox dashboard update, it completes the trifecta of Metro styled interfaces from phones (Windows Phone 7) where it started, to PCs and TVs. Recently, Microsoft started a new blog dubbed Building Windows 8, where they have revealed (or confirmed rumors regarding):

  • Support for ARM architecture
  • System requirements for Windows 8 will be the same or less than Windows 7 requirements which means the hundreds of millions of PC’s being used today can be upgraded to Windows 8 without the need for further investment
  • The teamswithin Windows 8, which in some ways confirmed rumors such as existence of Hyper-V in the Windows 8 client and an App Store for Windows.
  • USB 3.0 support
  • New file copy/move/delete experience in Windows Explorer, along with a new conflict resolution user experience
  • Ribbon-ized Windows Explorer
  • Native support for accessing ISO and VHD files
  • Hyper-V in Windows 8 client
  • Extremely fast boot times in Windows 8

From what is explicitly mentioned in the blog and what was demonstrated at D9, we also know that Windows 8 will have two user interfaces. The first being the Metro style, tile-based, interface and the other being the classicWindows 7-style interface. Both these interfaces, Microsoft claims, are an effort to have no compromise. By no compromise, they are implying that just because an interface has touch-first design, does not mean it will not support keyboard and mouse. Microsoft realizes that a large portion of its user base uses Windows in an enterprise where the tile-based, touch-first interface may not be the most optimum. Hence, instead of ditching the past and starting afresh with the new paradigm, Microsoft is now at a stage where it has to explain how the two interfaces will co-exist. This co-existence leads to many more questions, which brings me to my next topic.

Toshiba AT-200 Tablet; Makes the Galaxy Tab 10.1 Look Fat!

Toshiba has just announced a new tablet at the on-going IFA event. The new tablet has a strange name, AT200, and packs a 10.1-inch display with WXGA(1280×800) resolution.

The AT-200 is the thinnest 10.1-inch Android tablet until date, with a slim waistline measuring only 7.7mm. The tablet is also reasonably light at only 558 grams. Unlike other 10.1-inch tablets, this tablet from Toshiba is powered by a 1.2GHz TI-OMAP processor (OMAP4430 chipset), and along with a PowerVR SGX540 GPU.

The tablet also comes with other basic’ features like Wi-Fi b/g/n, Bluetooth 3.0, GPS with A-GPS, microSD card slot, 3.5mm audio jack and sensors like accelerometer, proximity sensor and gyroscope etc.

The AT-200 is also capable of handling all the multimedia needs of a user, thanks to its stereo speakers and the micro-HDMI port. The tablet is also capable of recording and playing back full HD video content. The tablet will be available in various storage capacities with up to 64GB.

At the back of the tablet is a 5MP camera with an LED flash, and in the front is a 2MP one.Toshiba states that the AT-200 has a battery life of around 8 hours, which is not too shabby.

Overall, the Toshiba AT-200 looks like a sleek Honeycomb based tablet, with all the necessary ports and connectivity features in place. Hopefully, Toshiba will be sane enough to price the AT-200 competitively, and while they are at it, they might come up with a   better name for the tablet as well!

Sony Tablet S and Tablet P Announced

Sony today at IFA 2011 announced two tablets, the Tablet S and Tablet P. The Tablet S was initially rumored as S1 while Tablet P was rumored as S2. The Tablet S has a unique and attractive folded’ design which has a good grip when held in portrait style, while Tablet P is a dual screen tablet and can be folded to fit in the pocket.

sony-tablet-s

The Tablet S and Tablet P sports Nvidia’s Tegra 2 SoC and has 1GB of RAM. The Tablet P comes with a 9.4LED (tru-black) screen with a resolution of 1200*800 and weighs 1.33 lbs. It has a 5MP rear camera and a VGA front camera. It also has a SD card slot and a USB slot. But there is a catch in the expandable SD card; you won’t be able to play contents on the SD card directly. For playing contents on the SD card you’ll first have to copy it into the internal storage and then play it. The Tablet S will have only Wi-Fi support, if anyone was expecting 3G/4G support will be disappointed.

sony s1, s2 tablets

Both the tablets will sport Android 3.1 at release. There are few services which Sony will be offering with their tablets like Video Unlimited and Music Unlimited. By Video Unlimited you can either buy or rent latest releases. Initially, the content will be limited but more will be added later. Music Unlimited will offer over 10 millions songs from major record labels and will have six months free trail. Moreover, both the tablets are Play Station certified and two PS 1 games will come pre installed.

The Tablet S will be available from mid-September in 16 GB and 32 GB versions and will cost $499 and $599, respectively.

The Tablet P has 5.5″ twin-screens with a resolution of 1024*800. It has a 5MP rear and a VGA front camera, just like in Tablet S. It has a 4GB internal memory and a expandable SD card slot. This tablet is 4G capable exclusively on AT&T. It also has a 3080 mAh battery. The Tablet P will sport Android 3.2 at release.  The price of the device is not disclosed and it is expected to release later this year.

(  UPDATED:  Details of Tablet P.)

Firefox for Honeycomb Tablets Design Revealed

Mozilla has been very keen on entering the tablet market with their browser and just like for mobile, the browser will provide a unique experience for tablets.

Firefox Honeycomb Browser

Today, one of the design team members at Firefox; Ian Barlow, revealed some new designs for Firefox that will run on Honeycomb based tablets. Most of the design has evolved from the mobile version of Firefox, however, it has been modified to take advantage of the larger screen sizes of tablets.

Firefox Honeycomb Tablets Awesomebar

The Awesomebar on Firefox for Tablets will continue to use tabbed menu to allow for quick access to bookmarks, history and synced desktop activity on the tablet.

Firefox Honeycomb Tablets Tabs

Additionally, Firefox for tablets will display more UI elements on the screen rather than hiding it like they did it on the mobile version of the browser. This will allow you to quickly perform tasks like opening new tabs or scrolling through them.

Overall the design for the tablet version of Firefox looks pretty good and I would definitely like to try it out. However, there is no date on when the tablet version will be released and it might only be compatible with Honeycomb and higher versions of the tablet. Ian has also posted some more mockups of the design of Firefox for tablets on his account, which can be viewed by visiting this link.

So what do you think of the design mockups of Firefox for tablets? Do you like it? Do you think you would prefer it over the Android browser? do drop in  your thoughts through your comments.

Why Amazon May Have the Best Chance at Dethroning the iPad

AmazonThe iPad currently commands more than an 80% market share of the entire tablet market. It sells way more than all the other tablets combined, and beats every other tablet on both, price and user experience.

Traditionally, Apple products have always offered the best user experience, but have always been priced at a premium. With the iPad, Apple managed to not only offer the best tablet experience, but also the lowest price among all tablet manufacturers, thanks to its excellent operational efficiency. Without sacrificing margins, Apple still makes a hefty profit on each iPad, and undercuts most other players like Samsung, Motorola and HTC.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab was a moderate success, and the new Galaxy Tab 10.1 is currently mired in litigation in the U.K. and the U.S., the most important markets.

Amazon is rumored to be working on a new tablet which will be based on Android. Here’s why I think Amazon has the best chance at offering a good alternative to the iPad, and maybe even surpassing it, at least in terms of sales.

Price

Last week, most of us had a very surprising revelation. Before HP announced that it would be discontinuing webOS smartphones and tablets, the HP TouchPad had abysmal sales. More than 90% of the limited TouchPad inventory was lying untouched. But then, it slashed the price of the HP TouchPad to $99 in the most popular fire sale of the year.

What followed was not entirely unexpected, but it did give us a lot of insight into what consumers really want. In less than a day, almost all the available HP TouchPads were sold out as consumers flocked to buy them for $99. I wanted to buy one too, but ran out of luck.

Amazon is expected to launch its tablet at a much lower price than the current crop of tablets. After the Kindle experience, Amazon knows that it stands to make the most money by selling its tablet to consumers at or slightly above cost, and then making money on digital content like ebooks, movies, videos, music etc. It is apparently working on two tablets currently, both of which will undercut the iPad.

Ecosystem

Consumers now expect an entire ecosystem with their devices. After Apple, Amazon is possibly best equipped to provide them with one. An Amazon tablet would come integrated with various Amazon services like the Kindle store, Amazon Appstore, Amazon’s Cloud Drive, Music Store, Amazon Instant Video etc.

Most of the other Android tablet manufacturers cannot provide the kind of ecosystem that Amazon can. They also make money from hardware sales, so they cannot undercut the iPad without taking a hit.

This is why Amazon has the best chance at capturing a large portion of the tablet market.

I’m definitely buying an Amazon tablet, are you?

Lenovo Throws Their ThinkPad Tablet Into The Mix

With tablets being the talk of the town recently, thanks to HP liquidating their TouchPad for $99 after killing off webOS, Lenovo has decided to finally announce and release their ThinkPad Tablet. Although Lenovo has had the IdeaPad series of tablets available for quite some time, the new instalment brings along the well-known “ThinkPad” brand and markets it directly to the the business crowd.

 

Built atop Android 3.1, it brings along corporate-centric software such as Documents To Go, Citrix Receiver and PrinterShare. The ThinkPad Tablet even goes to the extent of bundling McAfee’s Mobile Security package for Android in an obvious attempt to appeal to upper management. Full device and SD card encryption is supported, along with anti-theft software and remote device disabling.

With Android pushing the ARMs race, it should come as no surprise that the ThinkPad Tablet continues along with the trend.

  • NVIDIA Tegra 2 Dual-Core 1GHz Processor
  • 1GB LPDDR2 RAM
  • 10.1 WXGA (1280×800) 16:10 IPS screen with Corning Gorilla Glass
  • 5 megapixel rear-facing camera
  • 2 megapixel front-facing camera
  • Up to 64GB of storage
  • Bluetooth, WiFi and 3G connectivity
  • Native USB 2.0 and micro-USB ports, full-size SD card slot and mini-HDMI output

The tablet also brings along 3 accessories for maximising productivity. The Tablet Dock is as it sounds, a dock that stands the device up to provide easy viewing angles and port extension. The Keyboard Folio packs a case and physical keyboard all into one. The Tablet Pen allows for fine-tuned pressure-sensitive precision on the capacitive multi-touch display.

The Wi-Fi-only version of the ThinkPad Tablet is priced unusually high. $499, $569 and $669 for the 16GB, 32GB and 64GB devices, respectively. Lenovo plans to integrate mobile broadband into the next version of the tablets to allow for 3G connectivity.

It’s nice to see that ThinkPad continues its styling and design in the tablet instead of straying to provide an iPad look-a-like. Targeted mainly towards the business professional, a market where the only competitor is the BlackBerry PlayBook, the ThinkPad Tablet certainly has clear advantages over consumer devices. Both RIM and Lenovo have strong ties to the corporate world through existing products, and with HP no longer pushing their TouchPad, it’s become an even smaller space to compete.

TabCo Tablet Revealed

Back on August 4th, I wrote an article called “TabCo Creating a Lot of Buzz! Who Are They?“. The mysterious TabCo, which vowed to “reinvigorate” the tablet market, turns out to be Fusion Garage. That’s right, you’ve heard that name before. Can you say “Joo Joo” Tablet? The epic failure I am sure Fusion Garage would love to forget. Today they revealed the Grid 10, Grid 4, and the GridOS.

Grid 10

The Grid 10 is all about “eye candy” and it is obvious the designers wanted to create a visual experience. It boasts a 10.1″ screen with  1366 x 768 pixels. Designed to be a more “natural” navigation, the Grid 10 is completely gesture based and button free. One unique feature this tablet brings is the “wheel-based” interaction. Basically, you tap the screen with your finger and it brings up a wheel with context sensitive spokes surrounding it. Your finger turns the wheel to reveal more menu items. You tap on the menu item to activate it.

The Wheel

Below you will see the contacts. It is certainly not the typical address book one may be used to. It acts as sort of a hub for all things related to that contact. For instance, you not only get their phone number but you can also see their Tweets.

Contacts

Some other technical aspects of note is that it packs a  Nvidia Tegra II 1.2Ghz Dual Core processor, 512MB RAM, and 16GB of storage. It runs on the GridOS. It is Wi-Fi and 3G capable. It has a front facing camera that will work with its video calling feature that boasts one to one, and one to many, video calls. It also allows for HDMI connectivity.  Currently the tablet is only  available  in the U.S. It retails for $499 for wi-fi only and $599 for 3G.

The Grid 4 was an unexpected surprise from today’s announcement. It is a 4″ phone with 800 x 480 resolution. It also runs the Grid OS. It has a whopping 5 megapixel camera with autofocus and LED flash. It also has a front facing camera. It has a 4 points capacitive TFT touch screen. It comes with an impressive 16GB of storage.

Grid 4

Powering the whole thing is a new GridOS. It is built on the Android kernel so it will run Android Apps like “Angry Birds”! They claim to have rethought every process of the way a user interacts with the interface.

There was definitely a lot of pomp and circumstance when it came to marketing this new tablet. Fusion Garage has a history of epic failures however, it seems like they have done a lot of homework in the design of this new tablet. Will it “reinvigorate” the market? I doubt it. I do believe that it is a tablet worth looking at. Not to mention the Grid 4 phone which, I believe may end up being the better product before this is all said and done. Good luck Fusion Garage! I hope this goes better for you than JooJoo.