Here’s the Rundown of the New Windows 8 Tablets

Ever since Microsoft announced its Windows 8 platform, the industry has gone abuzz about the touchscreen capabilities of its new OS. Even now there is a huge consumer electronics show going on in Berlin, Germany called IFA 2012. All of the big industry names are rolling out Windows 8 devices faster than I can honestly wrap my mind around. I will say this Christmas season is going to be tough for the average consumer as there are so many variations of hybrid tablets coming out from all of these manufacturers. We in the tech industry are going to have our work cut out for us trying to muddle through all the specs and separating the good from the bad. So without further ado, here is a list of Windows 8 tablets that have recently been announced.

HP Tablets

HP announced today, its lineup of hybrid PC and tablets. Pictured below, you can see what they look like.

HP Lineup


hp
The HP Envy x2 is a hybrid PC. It is basically a laptop and a tablet built into one. The 11.6 screen attaches seamlessly to a magnetic base on the keyboard. Slide it off and you have a tablet. The tablet weighs 1.5 pounds and runs on Windows 8. It has a front-facing HD webcam and an 8 megapixel camera on the back. HP expects to have the Envy x2 available around the holiday season and has yet to announce the price. HP also announced two ultrabooks, the HP Spectre XT TouchSmart Ultrabook, and the HP ENVY TouchSmart Ultrabook 4. 

Samsung Tablets

SamsungThe Samsung Ativ Tab seems to be getting a lot of attention and looking at the specs, probably rightly so. Pictured below, you can see it has a beautiful design. They put a Windows 8 button at the bottom of the screen so you can switch between Start screen mode and Desktop mode in Windows 8. It has built-in USB and HDMI ports so you can connect a mouse or printer without the hassle of special software. It also comes preloaded with Microsoft Office. Battery life seems to be incredible.

Samsung Ativ

They claim 13 hours battery time watching movies. It has a 1.5GHz dual-core processor and 2GB of RAM. It also has a front facing 1.9 megapixel camera and a 5 megapixel rear camera with LED flash. Currently it is unknown when the tablet will be available or what the price point will be.

Dell Tablets

Dell announced today, its new lineup of tablets, touchscreens, and ultrabooks. The XPS 10, pictured below, is Dell’s new 10 inch tablet running on the Window RT OS and ARM processors. If you’re not familiar with that jargon, I will try to simplify it for you. The RT version of Windows 8 is basically a souped smartphone OS made for a tablet. You don’t get the full blown desktop experience like you do with Windows 8 however, you do get a lot of apps. So it is more like an iPad than a desktop. The ARM processor is Qualcomm’s Snapdragon S4 processor, which is a mobile processor. This isn’t a bad thing, because these mobile manufacturers have learned how to make these mobile processors powerful but easy on the battery life. The XPS 10 comes with a dockable keyboard. When docked it can get up to 20 hours battery life. They expect to release this tablet in late October.

Dell XPS 10

Dell also announced a hybrid pc called the XPS Duo 12. Picture below, the ultrabook transforms into a tablet by rotating the screen and folding it down over the keyboard. The specs on this model are a little bit sketchy at this time. It too is expected to be available at the end of October.

Dell XPS Duo 12

Sony Tablets

Sony unveiled its new line of tablets at the IFA show in Berlin as well. Specs on this particular tablet are a little sketchy. It appears that it is intended to be a full blown laptop that transforms into a tablet. It comes with a stylus and the keyboard slides out instead of detaching like some of our previous contenders. The model they showed in Berlin sported an i7 processor and 8GB of RAM. That is some serious horsepower. They do plan to offer i5 and i3 processors as well. This is good because it is doubtful most consumers are going to want to spend the money for an i7.

Sony VAIO Duo 11


 

 

ASUS Tablets

ASUS unveiled the ASUS Tablet 810 and the ASUS Tablet 600 to the world. The 810 model is the full Windows 8 tablet. Here are the specs listed on their website:

Display11.6“ Super IPS+ Panel with 1366×768 resolution,
Touch panel: 10 fingers multi-touch
Operating SystemWindows® 8 Release Preview
CPUNext Generation Intel® Atom™ processor
MemoryRAM: 2GB
Storage64GB eMMC
Connectivity802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0
DigitizerWacom digitizer stylus
CameraRear: 8MP Auto focus with LED Flash / Front: 2MP
SensorG-Sensor, Light Sensor, Gyroscope, E-compass, NFC ,GPS

Asus 810

The Tablet 600 is the RT version of their tablet. It too has a removable docking keyboard. Below are the specs per Asus’ website:

Display10.1“ Super IPS+ Panel with 1366×768 resolution,
Touch panel: 10 fingers multi-touch
Operating SystemWindows® RT
CPUNVIDIA® Tegra® 3 Quad-core
Memory / StorageRAM: 2GB / Storage: 32GB eMMC
Connectivity802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0C
CameraRear: 8MP Auto focus with LED Flash / Front: 2MP
SensorG-Sensor, Light Sensor, Gyroscope, E-compass, NFC ,GPS

Pictured below, you can see the ASUS Tablet 600.
Asus 600

As you can see, the selection is going to be pretty incredible this fall. The big question is how much are these things going to cost? Everyone seems to have their eyes on Microsoft as they are set to announce pricing for their Surface tablet in late October. I doubt we’ll get any ideas about these other tablets until Microsoft announces their pricing. Keep checking back with us as I am sure this list will increase with time. We’ll be sure to keep our eyes open for the latest and greatest as it comes out.

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.

Firefox for Android, Plume and ASTRO Get Major Updates

Over the last 24 hours, quite a few popular Android apps have received major updates. Firstly, Mozilla has released a major update for the tablet edition of Firefox browser, aimed at improving the speed and overall fit and finish of the browser. The speed enhancements in the latest version is visible right from the reduced start-up time to the reduced loading and navigating web pages time.

The latest version also brings robust support for HTML5 capabilities allowing developers to create rich web apps based on HTML5, CSS, JavaScript and other open Web standards. The tablet version of the browser also supports Flash on devices that are running Honeycomb.

Second in the list is LevelUp Studio’s popular Twitter client, Plume. The application recently got a major new UI refresh with a Holo based theme, but LevelUp Studio has further tweaked the UI of the app in the latest update. The latest update brings a new fly-in menu, some layout optimisations for the Nexus 7, and a much faster performance overall. Slowly and steadily, Plume has become the go-to Twitter client in the Android ecosystem.

Last, but not the least is a popular File Manager app for Android, ASTRO.The application has been updated after ages from its developers, Metago, and now features a drop-dead gorgeous UI. As of now, the latest version is only for Android 4.1.1 Jelly Bean users, but the developer has promised to release the new update for older versions of Android as well.

Review: NABI 2 Tablet for Kids (Parents Too)

Let’s face it, tablets are in! Everybody seems interested in getting one. I can’t tell you how many times a week that I get pinged about what is the best tablet to buy. Lately, I have received a lot of questions about what parents should get their kids. Tablets can be a great educational tool, but as a parent myself, I know that unfettered access can be a huge nightmare. One accidental tap and your kids are watching something that would make a sailor blush. It’s also hard for me to recommend a $500 10 inch tablet for use by a kid, especially when my own 18 year old has broken the screen on his iPhone twice. It’s not all doom and gloom though. Recently, my wife and I acquired the NABI 2 Tablet. This ruggedized tablet is designed with kids in mind. The dirty little secret? It’s great for parents too and best of all, it won’t break the bank! Today, I will lay out my review of this tablet and give you all the info you need to make an informed decision.

Kid Friendly Tablet

Below, you can see a video that gives you about a 3 minute tour of the NABI 2. You can see that they put a lot of work into making the outer shell rugged and with a good grip.

[Video Link]

The makers of NABI have 3 main concepts that they built the tablet features around:

  1. Learn – NABI is designed to work with Fooz Kids University. The University offers state standard curriculum designed by grade level. Kids can take classes on the NABI and you as a parent can monitor their progress with reporting tools. This is a pay service, however and there are different levels you can get.
  2. Play – The NABI has NVIDIA TEGRA HD games available that the kids will love playing. Adults would probably like this feature too. It also has features for kids music and streaming videos.
  3. Grow – Parents can assign chore lists to the kids and assign “NABI coins” that the kids can redeem in an app called “Treasure Chest”. The kids can exchange their earned coins for new games and apps that the parent approves.
The really cool part about all of this is that you the parent get to decide what apps are available to your children and when they are available. You can also create multiple IDs for your kids so they can have their own personalized experience.

A Truly Legit Tablet

One of the great features about this tablet is that it is a real tablet. I don’t mean just for kids either. This is a fully functional Android tablet. It features a “Mommy” mode, which requires a password so the kids can’t get the full features. In “Mommy” mode you’ve got all the power of an Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich tablet. You can read your Kindle books, watch Netflix, browse and purchase apps. So while they market this as a kids tablet, it really is every bit as good as other Android tablets out there on the market today. Plus, it only costs $199. So for the price of a Kindle Fire, you not only get a regular tablet, but you also get all the safety features for your kids.

Let’s Talk About Specs Baby

Pictured below, you can see NABI pictured in “kid mode”. The tablet has a nice weight and feels good in your hands. Video on the screen looks great. The front facing camera is decent enough for the kids to use to play games and video conference. Take a moment to check out the quick specs I have listed below the first picture.

NABI Specs
NABI 2 Tablet
  • Display – 7-inch, Capacitive, Multi-Touch Display, 1024 x 600 Resolution
  • Processor – NVIDIA® Tegra® 3, Super 4-PLUS-1™ Quad Core
  • Storage – 8 GB, Expandable via MicroSD (Up to 32 GB); It also comes with 2GB of Cloud storage for your apps and pictures.
  • Memory – 1GB RAM
  • Camera – 2MP front facing camera; 720p video
  • OS – Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich
  • Network – Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n; Bluetooth 3.0
  • Battery – 3,850 mAh Rechargeable Lithium-ion Battery
  • Physical Parameters
    • Width: 8.69 Inches (220.8 mm)
    • Height: 6.05 Inches (153.7 mm)
    • Depth: 1.14 Inches (29.08 mm)
    • Weight: 1.31 Pounds (596 g)

As you can see, this tablet has some hefty specs. It also has some pretty impressive inputs and outputs. This is something I find very encouraging. A lot of tablet manufacturers try to force you to their cloud by not offering storage options. This isn’t the case with the NABI. You can use MicroSD cards to store your stuff if you so choose. If you look at the image below, you can see that it also offers a lot of connectivity options such as MicroUSB and Mini HDMI.

Inputs and Outputs
NABI 2 Tablet Inputs and Outputs

The Good: There are a lot of positives with this tablet. It’s a fast Android tablet with all the features you love, but with the added safety for your kids. NABI has a great community and very responsive support. It is also very inexpensive.

The Bad: There’s not a lot of bad to this tablet. It doesn’t feature a rear facing camera, but seriously, why use a tablet for taking pictures? It’s just awkward. The only negative we have found with ours is that the screen kind of froze up on the kids when we first got it. We believe that these issues have been resolved with the latest update.

There’s just too many positives with the NABI for me to not give it 5 stars. So 5 stars it is! For more information about the NABI, and to find out where you can buy one, visit http://www.nabitablet.com/where-to-buy/.

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.

4G LTE BlackBerry PlayBook Price And Release Date Leaked

Back in 2010, Research-In-Motion (RIM) unveiled the company’s first tablet device, the BlackBerry Playbook. It packs a 7 inch multi-touch capacitive screen LCD display, sporting a resolution of 1024 x 600 pixels, 1 GHz dual-core processor, 5 megapixel rear camera with full HD (1080p) video recording, 1GB RAM and much more. Sadly, the BlackBerry PlayBook sales were below the expectations of the company. RIM finally went ahead and slashed the price of of BlackBerry PlayBook tablet by almost half in Canada, India, UK and US.

The company has also announced the 4G LTE variant of BlackBerry Playbook at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2011 in Barcelona. However, it got delayed due to the failure of the original Playbook. The guys at Mobile Syrup have recently got their hands on the leaked document purportedly showing the specs and launch date of the 4G LTE BlackBerry PlayBook.

The latest variant of Playbook will feature a 7 inch display, sporting a resolution of 1024 x 600 pixels, 1.5GHz dual-core processor, QNX 2.0 OS, 5 megapixel rear camera with full HD (1080p) video recording and playback, 3 megapixel front-facing camera, 4G LTE with HSPA+, 1 GB RAM, 4800mAh battery and so on. This tablet will be available only in 32 GB version.

According to the leaked document, the 4G LTE BlackBerry Playbook will go on sale from Tuesday, July 31. This tablet will be exclusively available for the Bell subscribers in Canada. The 32 GB version will come with a price tag of $550. Are you willing to but this tablet or you will go for the powerful Android tablets? Let us know your views in the comments section below.

Belkin India Launches Bluetooth Keyboard for Tablets

Belkin India has launched YourType Bluetooth keyboard, a sleek and stylish keyboard available for Android tablets and Apple iPads.

The keyboard is designed with comfortable well-spaced keys and facilitates a convenient typing experience. A spring mechanism underneath each key ensures a tactile response with every stroke, ensuring faster and error free typing. Belkin claims that the keyboard allows 6o hours of active usage and comes with a 2,000 hour standby battery life. The device comes with an integrated stand to place the tablet at your preferred viewing angle. It also offers function-specific keys for copying and pasting text, volume and music control. Belkin’s YourType™ Bluetooth keyboard is priced at Rs. 3699 and comes with one year limited warranty.

“It gives us immense joy to innovate products that are inspired by the needs of our consumers. Belkin strongly believes in creating technology solutions that add great value without altering the technology lifestyle of its users.”

Mohit Anand, Managing Director, Belkin India Sub-Continent

Belkin has taken rapid strides establishing itself as a leading tech and digital lifestyle brand since 2009, and has become one of the fastest-growing tech brands in the Indian subcontinent.

Intrestingly, several companies have released Bluetooth keyboards in the recent past (I wrote about Microsoft’s Bluetooth Mobile Keyboard 5000 couple of months ago). While a lot of users have given up on desktops and laptops for tablets, typing long documents on a touchscreen isn’t very convenient as yet. A lot of my blogger friends use tablets mainly as a consumption device but use keyboards or alternate devices to research and author articles. Taking a cue, Microsoft’s upcoming tablet device – Surface – includes a physical keyboard as part of the cover panel.

Asus Teases The “Next Transformation”; To Be Unveiled At Computex 2012

Back in 2011, when all Android tablets were barely able to make a dent in the iPad’s sales figure, the Asus Transformer did extremely well. The tablet, along with its keyboard dock, made a great alternative to a laptop or a small netbook. No wonder the Asus Transformer was the most popular Android tablet of last year.

Asus released the successor of the Transformer, the Transformer Prime, late last year which packed in a Nvidia Tegra 3 SoC, an aluminium unibody and was an overall better package. A few months fast forward to Mobile World Congress, and Asus unveiled three new Transformer branded tablets. The company also announced a new top of the line tablet, the Transformer Pad Infinity, that was similar to the Transformer Prime except for its full HD (1080p) display. More than two months have passed by since Asus announced the Infinity, and the tablet is still not available in the retail stores.

Now, it looks like Asus is all set to release another new variant of their Transformer tablet during Computex 2012. The latest teaser video from the company teases a new “transformation” will be announced by the company in Computex -:

I doubt Asus will be announcing a brand new Transformer tablet with some radical changes. If anything, they will announce the retail availability of the Transformer Pad Infinity.

Microsoft launches Bluetooth Mobile Keyboard 5000 for Tablets and PCs in India

Microsoft has introduced the Bluetooth Mobile Keyboard 5000 for the Indian market making it one of the first multi-platform Bluetooth keyboards to be launched in India.

Bluetooth Keyboard 5000 pic 1

At less than three-quarters of an inch thick and 400 grams in weight, the Bluetooth Mobile Keyboard 5000 is a slim and sleek alternative helping you get rid of pesky wires, docks, or trans-receivers. I’ve been using the Microsoft Arc keyboard for several months and have been looking for an alternative that takes away the need for a trans-receiver. The small unit can easily be lost and also occupies a USB port all the time. The Bluetooth Mobile Keyboard 5000 is very easy on the hands and has an ergonomic Microsoft Comfort Curve design. The design promotes a more natural wrist position whether you are working on a desk or in a casual posture.

“Microsoft Bluetooth Mobile keyboard 5000 is especially designed for people on the move and as the market for mobile products such as the Tablets and Laptops increases; this is poised to become an accessory consumers would definitely want”.

Mr Satish Parreddi, Senior Product Marketing Manager, Retail Sales & Marketing, Microsoft India

The compact keyboard offers full functionality of a keyboard and is compatible with both tablets and PCs, although it is small enough to slip into a bag. Priced at an attractive price of INR 3350 in India, the Bluetooth Mobile Keyboard 5000 works equally well with Microsoft Windows (Windows Vista and Windows 7), iPad, iPad2, and many Android devices. Available only in black color, the keyboard requires the standard AAA batteries.

Gartner Predicts Windows Will Command 4% Of The Tablet Market In 2012

With Windows 8 set to hit the shelves sometime this October, it should come as no surprise that tech analysts are already making predictions about how well the highly tablet-optimized OS will sell. Gartner Group made a bleak prediction, stating that they predict that Microsoft will only command four percent of the tablet market in 2012.

“Despite PC vendors and phone manufacturers wanting a piece of the pie and launching themselves into the media tablet market, so far, we have seen very limited success outside of Apple with its iPad,” Gartner analyst Carolina Milanesi said.

The slow growth estimated by Gartner Group in 2012 doesn’t just have to do with the fact that Windows 8 is touching down towards the end of the year, however. They note that by 2016, Microsoft will only have 11.8% of the consumer tablet market as they feel that Windows 8 lacks consumer appeal. They do, however, feel that Windows 8 will be aided by enterprise interest in the product.

“Many vendors will wait for Windows 8 to be ready and will try to enter the market with a dual-platform approach, hoping that the Microsoft brand could help them in both the business and consumer markets,” Milanesi said.

Gartner released a slightly brighter forecast for Android and iOS tablets, however, expecting that 31.9% of tablet sales in 2012 will comprise of Android, with that number rising to 37% by 2016. The iPad will maintain the lead, with a share of 45% forecasted for 2016.